Re: Good (Score: 1)

by in Driverless cars may reduce U.S. auto sales 40% by 2040 on 2015-05-22 05:13 (#9H1J)

There are too many cars polluting the skies and requiring vast quantities of landscape to be paved for roads and parking.
It's likely pollution will increase. Automation will make it cheaper and easier for vehicles to drive MORE miles. Who needs trains when you can stick a mattress in your car, tell it to drive across the country, and just wake-up in a new city? Mass-transit will have an even harder time competing. The switch to EVs and hybrids could help with pollution (and road noise), but that's really independent of the introduction of self-driving cars.

It could mean we get away with fewer parking-spaces, but will probably require even MORE roads. Automated cars should more efficiently utilize existing roads, but when miles driven climbs substantially, you'll still hit capacity limits.

Re: In SciFi predictions (Score: 1)

by in Driverless cars may reduce U.S. auto sales 40% by 2040 on 2015-05-22 05:02 (#9H1B)

The article forgot to mention that AI may make all knowledge workers redundant!!!
Sweeping predictions of AI taking over the world have been falling-short for the past half century. I'd say we've got a few hundred more years before we need to worry about it.

As long as there is ONE JOB out there, which humans can do just slightly better than machines, the economy won't collapse. Sure, you won't earn much money for, say, sorting rocks by shape and texture, but you'll live quite comfortably since extreme automation drove prices of everything very nearly to zero at the same time.

Re: Grab a faraday cage for your keyless entry fob (Score: 1)

by in Keyless entry fobs result in rash of vehicle thefts on 2015-05-17 19:20 (#97G2)

Why would anyone do that, when you can get something just as functional for a tiny fraction of the price:

Re: I can't say I understand this 100% (Score: 1)

by in Keyless entry fobs result in rash of vehicle thefts on 2015-05-11 19:00 (#8V64)

No doubt the signal boosters/amplifiers in question are bi-directional.

There is no way for a radio signal to be limited to any specific range. The typical working distance is based on the common antenna configuration(s). Using a highly directional (high gain) antenna, you can reach a signal from many times further away than it was ever designed for. For example, how many people are stealing distant neighbor's WiFi, thanks to a Pringles cantenna, or similar?

Re: Great start (Score: 1)

by in NASA search and rescue radar saves lives in Nepal on 2015-05-10 14:15 (#8RD7)

Re: Time for a change (Score: 1)

by in Aircraft fire-suppression systems can't prevent lithium-ion battery fire and explosions on 2015-05-07 13:04 (#8JNH)

I'd say the same thing about traveling by passenger train, instead of flying.

Re: Old news (Score: 1)

by in Crack any Master Lock combination lock in eight tries or less on 2015-05-03 05:40 (#898B)

I did that with the very cheap combination (and bike) locks myself, but it didn't work with master locks... The later would lock the dial and not allow turning it while there was any pressure on the latch/shackle. I guess they've changed that design in the decade since I last bought one.

Not to say that they're very good... The latch (was?) only spring-loaded, so that they could be closed without putting in the combination, which means either shims or one good swing with a hammer and the shackle would dutifully pop-free. That experience is why I NEVER consider ever using combination locks; I can carry a key around just fine, thanks.

Re: Desal (Score: 1)

by in Arizona to fight drought by seeding clouds on 2015-04-25 05:44 (#7SE1)

Desalination is getting cheaper by the year. Currently, it might only be 2X the cost of traditional supplies:

And renewables are a great power source for desalination... The process can start/stop based on electricity supply/prices without trouble, and any excess can be easily stored, long-term.

Re: Not very enticing... (Score: 1)

by in Project Fi - Google's take on mobile phone service on 2015-04-25 05:01 (#7SCS)

Used to be higher than that
Actually, it used-to be lower... $19/mo for unlimited voice/text + 5GB of data. You can still get that plan if you buy a used Defy XT (or an even older LG Optimus) phone from an old RW customer. Lots of reasons not to do that, though... Old Android 2.x phone, and WiFi to cell hand-off apparently never worked properly.
But do they resell Sprint, like most of these MVNOs?? cuz that's not real useful in my area.
They offer FREE roaming onto Verizon for VOICE calls at least. It's only where you've got a weak Sprint signal that keeps breaking up that you'll curse their coverage... No roaming data right now, but that could change (likely for an extra fee).

RW is a little cheap and rough around the edges... Their voicemail timestamps are stuck on EDT times, with no indication they'll ever fix it. Text & calls on rare occasions may appear to come from a different phone#. etc.

Re: Not very enticing... (Score: 1)

by in Project Fi - Google's take on mobile phone service on 2015-04-23 05:40 (#7MQ8)

Republic Wireless is also an MVNO, and yet they have better pricing.

Not very enticing... (Score: 1)

by in Project Fi - Google's take on mobile phone service on 2015-04-23 00:46 (#7MC7)

Hmmm... $20/mo + $10/GB doesn't sound competitive, unless your data usage is MASSIVELY inconsistent from month to month, usually using just a bit of data, but sometime needing HUGE amounts of data.

T-Mobile has offered a $30/mo 5GB service for years. Republic Wireless (on Sprint) offers 5GB of LTE for $40/mo and 3g for just $25/mo both with unlimited voice/text/mms. Boost/Virgin (Sprint) offer 2.5GB LTE for $35/mo. If you're going to use more than 6GB/mo, Sprint's completely unlimited $80/mo plan (which drops for each successive phone) should do it.

Re: This USAian is envious ... (Score: 1)

by in India to invest in nuclear power as well as renewables on 2015-04-22 21:00 (#7M1T)

The US is easily the best-position country for renewable power. It has some of the best locations for solar, wind, hydro, biomass & geothermal. Plenty of other resources, too. Canada isn't so lucky when it comes to solar and needs much more power for heating, while India has far too many people on too little land-area. Thermal-storage solar power plants are being developed and deployed in the US, as is pumped-hydro and wind. There are federal (and most states) tax incentives, as well as feed-in tariffs and other regulatory preferential treatment for those who wish to install their own roof-top small-scale solar power. At least two cities require them on all new homes.

California is deploying solar as fast as possible with a mandate for 33 percent renewables by 2020, and is second only to Texas in wind power.
If you want renewables, now, you just need to move to WA, where they have more hydro power than people. California got 30% of its electricity from hydro a few years back, but growing demand (and drought) keeps making that an ever-smaller fraction of the energy mix, while wind and solar deployments expand rapidly.

Re: This is huge (Score: 1)

by in Norway to shut down all analog FM radio on 2015-04-22 20:07 (#7KZ4)

iHeartRadio had a fix for this problem several years ago... Their service includes a dial you can adjust from only playing familiar artists, to exploring a wider range of music, or somewhere in-between.

Pandora lets you keep adding more and more artists to a station, which will similarly keep including a larger range of related music than when you just specify a single artist.

Re: This is huge (Score: 2, Informative)

by in Norway to shut down all analog FM radio on 2015-04-21 20:05 (#7HH8)

I think the proliferation of divergent standards is what has kept digital radio from taking-off, and giving streaming services the upper-hand. DAB in Europe, DMB (based on DVB-H) in parts of Asia, proprietary HDRadio in the US, DAB+ trying to usurp DAB, then DRM on shortwave making little headway.

If everyone would have standardized on DRM for their SW & MW frequencies, China would be turning out dirt-cheap recievers for it, it would be cheap enough to be built-in to almost every radio sold, so most everyone would have one.

For FM replacements, there's no clear winner. DAB and DAB+ requires several (independent) broadcasters to all operate together from the same broadcast tower, making it a difficult conversion. It does potentially offer CD quality audio thanks to the lossy codec, but that makes it a poor choice for squeezing in lots of lower-quality sub-channels. DAB+ fixes this latter issue, but takes away the advantage of the former, and being completely incompatible destroys the installed-base. DMB has too much overhead and no particular benefits. The IBOC (in-band on-channel) standards are much better options, but HDRadio is expensive and proprietary for no good reason. So once again, I'd be happy to see DRM adapted to operate on those higher FM frequencies as well. But countries that chose DAB are planning on repurposing their FM bands, so not even the frequency range is close, world-wide, and proliferating incompatibilites even more.

The ability of a broadcaster to merge their FM, MW (AM), & SW offerings into a single, seamless data stream would be incredible. Driving away from the city, your radio would just seemlessly jump from the FM station to a longer-range AM station carrying the same content, at slightly lower quality, without a hiccup. When going back into a city, the switch to higher-quality FM channels would be seamless as well.

A nation-wide network of MW transmitters with the same content would be relatively easy to do, thanks to their huge footprint, taking the band from the least valuable, to the more valuable spectrum for broadcasters. And potentially having a SW station or two as a backup even further out, would mean you'd have satellite-radio like coverage at pretty good quality, without the fees.

BUT, since DRM hasnt caught-on yet, I'd rather see a new IBOC transmission standard which uses patent-free modulation and error correction, the better & patent-free Opus codec, and require radios to include SD card slots for dowloading data broadcasts, as well as optional video screens, so radio stations can occasionally send images to listeners, wheter just album cover-art, traffic maps, personality headshots, relevant news images. etc

Re: What about goats? (Score: 1)

by in Lawn mowing robots to inferfere with radio telescopes on 2015-04-20 03:22 (#7D2Z)

Here in CA, I've seen 2 goats on just 1 acre. No idea how much supplemental feeding was required, though. And I am often surprised just how often cities' zoning regs allow horses, pigs, chickens, goats, etc., provided you meet some fairly modest minimum lot size.

Re: A couple years ago (Score: 4, Insightful)

by in Claims of gender bias in Canada's Science Hall of Fame nomination process on 2015-04-17 07:10 (#77WM)

is there a lack of women joining IT because the industry is actual hostile to them, or is it because it's perceived to be hostile to them.
3rd option is that they just aren't interested in the high-stress, inflexible hours, no job security, continual retraining, etc, that a career in IT brings.

Notice that nobody complains and makes a political issue out of how few female truck drivers and auto mechanics there are. Nor is anyone overly concerned that nursing & social work is overwhelmingly dominated by women.

Re: He Didn't Say It (Score: 1)

by in Microsoft may one day open source Windows on 2015-04-15 03:42 (#72T2)

It's not the job of reporters to post an exact transcript of what someone said. Instead, they include the highlights. Sometimes it's easiest or most useful to include exact quotes in there, but often it's best to just summarize the key points. The fact that they summarized instead of including his exact words, doesn't make it somehow invalid. If you've got some *other*, more compelling reason to believe they're guilty of inaccurate reporting, I'd like to hear it.

Re: None of the above? (Score: 1)

by in To correct my eyesight, I: on 2015-04-14 20:16 (#726Y)

I'm in almost the same boat... My sight is good enough that I pass DMV eye exams without issue, but I do have prescription glasses for an astigmatism, and came to realize the world is a bit fuzzier (and slower to come into focus) for me than it is to most everyone else.

Re: Why the government funding snark? (Score: 1)

by in High spectrum prices force wireless carriers to invest in pico-cells on 2015-04-09 19:46 (#6R0N)

No snark was intended. I was even thinking about mentioning how auctions funded the HDTV converter box rebates, but opted not to make it any longer.

But your reply suggests there's no alternative to auctioning spectrum, which isn't true at all. Instead, meritocratically assigning it (as is done with TV, radio, public safety, etc.) without any money changing hands, could be just as effective a way to utilize the available spectrum. After all, it's not money pulled from thin-air, but money the public will have to pay for (in service fees) in the end. And the rules and restriction the FCC puts on the spectrum auctions, in addition to the price, is similarly because pure capitalism doesn't result in ideal distribution of these resources.

While I didn't intend to go down this road, let's not forget that the incentive auctions are a pretty bald-faced money-grab, selling off highly useful broadcast TV spectrum, causes changes which are likely to cost consumers many millions of dollars (to replace existing TV antennas) and will certainly reduce media diversity, local news sources, etc., etc., and disproportionately affecting the poor and minorities.

Re: not sure about the second link... (Score: 1)

by in Burt Rutan may unveil amphibious motorglider on 2015-04-08 22:54 (#6NY7)

Quick DDG search of the sentence turns up this article:

Re: Meh (Score: 1)

by in Pipedot adopting Esperanto on 2015-04-03 20:51 (#6CED)

... storty ...
Google Translate doesn't work if you can't type the words right in English. Should be "rakonto".

Re: will the stick work with an old laptop? (Score: 2, Informative)

by in New Chromebooks and Chromebit stick start at $100 on 2015-04-03 20:41 (#6CDT)

Nope. Not unless your laptop has HDMI inputs, and the rest of hardware (keyboard, mouse, etc), can be plugged-in to a USB hub... The Chromebit is designed to plug-in to HDTV & computer monitors, taking over for a tower PC.

Besides, a Chromebook is only $50 more than the Chromebit... so if you want the laptop form-factor, you should spend the extra $50 and get the former, ready to go out-of-the-box.

Re: Stick is it (Score: 1)

by in New Chromebooks and Chromebit stick start at $100 on 2015-04-03 19:20 (#6CAH)

Oh well (Score: 2, Funny)

by in Pipedot adopting Esperanto on 2015-04-01 23:44 (#68H8)

And here I was expecting an announcement that MikeeUSA was made the new Pipedot editor-in-chief. He's certainly contributed plenty to the site. e.g.: #2V9H

Usurped by simplified English (Score: 2, Informative)

by in Pipedot adopting Esperanto on 2015-04-01 23:29 (#68GN)

Esperanto was a good idea at the start, and one that looked-like it could have had a future, for the first few decades. However, since about 1930, it has been very successfully replaced by (multiple) rigidly defined small subsets of English:

Basic English can be at least as simple as Esperanto, just as fast to learn with as few as 850 root words (Esperanto had 900), Being a defined language these have all the supposed benefits of Esperanto, too: the terms in question being static, not including slang, avoiding complex conjugation rules, etc. Plus simple English has added benefit of allowing you (basic) communication with billions of people, access to untold tomes of information, etc.

Re: Thanks California (Score: 4, Insightful)

by in Kill switches reducing smartphone thefts on 2015-03-28 18:39 (#5Z6F)

California is 1/8th of the entire USA, both population-wise and economically. If it were a country, California would be the 8th or 9th largest economy in the world. That's not a market that anybody is going to overlook.

Re: Florida doesn't care. California though... (Score: 1)

by in Hybrid invasive super termites menacing Florida on 2015-03-28 08:11 (#5YDT)

Concrete block structures don't fare well during earthquakes... They require extensive retrofitting and typically need a massive steel support structure before they are allowed to be re-occupied. Wood structures survive far better, without nearly so much extra effort. HurriQuake nails are one very inexpensive upgrade that can help wood structures, substantially.

With California's many extensive wooded forests, most of the firefighters will remain employed, no matter what materials homes are built from.

Re: Can I have such a force field for my private car? (Score: 1)

by in Boeing granted patent for force field on 2015-03-27 05:41 (#5VSN)

My favorite car theft deterrent is still the trunk monkey:

Re: pipedot is gooder, no click bait yet (Score: 1)

by in Boeing granted patent for force field on 2015-03-24 21:09 (#5NF9)

Hmm, they may have copied the headline from ABC (US), CNet, or Sky News...

Re: google define:attenuation (Score: 1)

by in Boeing granted patent for force field on 2015-03-24 16:51 (#5MXX)

"shock wave attenuation system" just sounds like attaching a bit of padding... Nothing to indicate this is new and unusual. Headlines are necessarily going to be oversimplifications.

Re: What makes this news? TEMPEST ANYONE (Score: 2, Informative)

by in Stealing Keys from PCs using a Radio: Cheap Electromagnetic Attacks on Windowed Exponentiation on 2015-03-23 04:33 (#5G4F)

To tell you the truth "what makes this news" is the fact that it was in the queue, there hadn't been a story for a couple days, and I'm very busy at the moment...

Re: pricing (Score: 1)

by in Handheld Wi-Fi 2-way radios on 2015-03-22 03:05 (#5E28)

I was thinking just about the same thing. But companies buy the $200+ Motorola radios because you can submerge them, bounce them off the pavement, stand on them, etc., and they'll keep working. That feature is worth quite a bit of extra money. A cellphone isn't nearly as durable or as reliable.

Update: Reponse from CEO (Score: 1)

by in Mars One is a massive scam on 2015-03-21 18:18 (#5DG9)

Not surprisingly, the CEO of Mars One says the company is really not a scam at all:

Missing options (Score: 3, Funny)

by in When I use a SCM, I do it in the: on 2015-03-20 19:38 (#5BP9)




...library with the lead pipe.

Re: pricing (Score: 1)

by in Handheld Wi-Fi 2-way radios on 2015-03-19 04:44 (#57ND)

As mentioned in the summary, FRS & MURS radios don't require any license fees, either, so they are mostly directly comparable, although NOT private.

Amazon has heavy-duty Motorola MURS radios for under $200, Dakota Alert MURS radios under $100, and unlicensed Chinese imports that can be set for MURS frequencies and power limits, for just $30.

For lesser range, Amazon has Midland FRS radios under $30 each (Motorola/Giant FRS radios are junk), and unlicensed Chinese imports for $15 each.

I guess the Australian equivalent would be UHF CB radios.

Re: Legacy (Score: 1)

by in Apple's New MacBook on 2015-03-12 21:21 (#4TSH)

the best part of USB was getting away from PS/2 ports. Those stupid pins kept breaking off.
I've never broken a PS2 pin, though I've seen it happen a couple times over a decade. PS2 supplied more power than USB, and even now, you can hit a key on a PS2 keyboard to wake-up a computer, while I've still never seen that working with USB keyboards.

USB offers more flexibility than PS2 did (monitors and keyboards with built-in USB hubs are convenient), but some good features were lost in the process, too.

Legacy (Score: 2, Interesting)

by in Apple's New MacBook on 2015-03-10 07:09 (#4M8C)

Anybody remember computers in the late 90's?

2 9-pin RS-232 serial ports (older mice, modems, etc)
2 PS/2 ports (keyboard/mouse)
1 25-pin IEEE 1284 Parallel port (printers, storage devices, even ethernet adapters)
Often a SCSI-1 port (scanners, external drives)
Game ports (controllers)
Sometimes even MIDI ports
Often firewire ports.

And then a couple USB (v1.1) ports, which was the most useless of all... Nothing made for it, except maybe your new mouse using an adapter. Slower than parallel ports, lots of CPU-saping overhead. Couldn't boot off of it (for many years). etc.

Re: 3270 (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in When I use a SCM, I do it in the: on 2015-03-09 23:12 (#4KQC)

3270 is considered to be the original "terminal"
Oh? Then what does that make the IBM 2260?

Re: Just a first step (Score: 1)

by in The FCC has approved Net Neutrality rules and declared Broadband a Utility on 2015-03-07 21:08 (#4FTB)

Also recall that the FCC passed net neutrality rules in 2010, only to have them overturned by a Verizon legal challenge.

Republicans are also trying to overturn the new rules, though they don't have large enough of a majority to override a presidential veto:

And I think it's important to remember the widespread outcry over Wheeler's appointment as FCC chairman. With his history as a lobbyist for the cable and wireless industry, previous President of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA), a huge number of outspoken voices were SURE he was a cynical choice, which would do the bidding of the industry.

Re: Samsung phones are not rooted OOTB (Score: 1)

by in Blackphone 2: improved focus on security on 2015-03-04 16:46 (#49BQ)

I expect many "average" users would like to reduce or eliminate the ads their phone loads and shows, but they don't explicitly know they need root access for that. I commend Firefox for keeping adblock alive as all others have eliminated the option.

Re: Samsung phones are not rooted OOTB (Score: 2, Interesting)

by in Blackphone 2: improved focus on security on 2015-03-04 16:43 (#49BC)

I mostly liked the old Android app permission system, until they removed network access as a component. Where else do you get a nice list of the things an app is allowed to do? Certainly not on Linux/BSD unless you audit the source, yourself, or else install a carefully crafted SELinux policy for each. And when there are multiple apps that do the same task (say: solitaire) you can shop-around, until you find one that requests the fewest permissions.

An app update wants new permissions??? Just decline and keep using the old one. Or if you want to try it, just backup your apps before upgrading, and reinstall the old one if the new version has undesirable changes.

Unfortunately the most recent revamp REMEMBERS that you (perhaps accidentally) accepted the new permissions of the app update, and will reinstall it without any extra prompting, requiring you to clear the Play Store's app data before rolling-back.

I'm not so sure Cyanogen's system of allowing users to limit permissions would work on a larger scale... App developers would start including unit tests to see if they actually have each permission up and working, and if not, the app just exits.

A response (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in HP, Dell, Juniper offering white-box commodity network switches on 2015-03-02 19:40 (#44W9)

Re: Small Objective-Lens (Score: 1)

by in Telescopic Contact Lenses Are Here on 2015-03-02 19:27 (#44V8)

I imagine that, like with cameras, larger lens size improves performance in low light conditions. But when gathering enough light isn't the limitation, it should work fine.

Music video (Score: 3, Funny)

by in Live Long and Prosper, Leonard Nimoy on 2015-02-28 20:41 (#410X)

No story on Leonard Nimoy is complete without a link to the Bilbo Baggins video:

Enjoy the nightmares...

Uh oh (Score: 2, Funny)

by in Apple entering the car business on 2015-02-28 00:16 (#3ZDW)

The Apple car will be one hell of a white-knuckle ride:

Just a first step (Score: 2, Informative)

by in The FCC has approved Net Neutrality rules and declared Broadband a Utility on 2015-02-27 22:42 (#3ZAE)

Not the first time (Score: 1)

by in The FCC has approved Net Neutrality rules and declared Broadband a Utility on 2015-02-27 20:58 (#3Z50)

Don't celebrate yet. The FCC has done such net neutrality decisions several times before... they keep getting tossed-out by the courts. Needs at least some mention of that.

Re: Nothing to add... (Score: 1)

by in Late lament on the death of slide-out keyboards on 2015-02-25 07:36 (#3S8T)

We've searched high and low for a suitable Qwerty replacement for the inevitable day her phone is no longer usable, and there just isn't anything out there on any carrier.
First link in the summary mentions the LG D520 (Optimus F3Q). It's nearly a year-old now (but still much newer than the Photon Q) and available on T-Mobile. Might not be ideal, but at least there's still an option.

Re: bluetooth keyboard? (Score: 2, Informative)

by in Late lament on the death of slide-out keyboards on 2015-02-24 04:36 (#3PJM)

I feel the same way about bluetooth keyboards as I do about bluetooth headsets...

If somebody made one that clipped solidly and unobtrusively onto my phone, and also charged its own battery from the phone, they'd probably be quite useful, and I'd be happy to try one. Since they don't do any of that, they're an extra piece of hardware that is a lot of extra hassle, so it just gets left at home, rendering it useless.

I mentioned phone cases with bluetooth keyboards, in my earlier comment... The upshot is, they aren't available for most phones, and reviews for them range from awful to horrible.

Re: Obsoletism (Score: 1)

by in Late lament on the death of slide-out keyboards on 2015-02-24 04:15 (#3PHQ)

Oddly enough, predictive text and Swype still work just fine on QWERTY slider phones, too.

The summary gives several good examples of where Swype simply does not work, including a photo link.