* Posts by mac42

13 posts • joined 2 Nov 2009

This time we really are all doomed, famous doomsayer prof says


Not to be pedantic, but...

Bees don't fertilize crops, they pollinate them.

Cattle, pigs, chickens and horses fertilize crops. (Deere do also, if their first name is John)

'MYSTERIOUS PYRAMID STRUCTURE' found on COMET beyond Mars: Landing planned


Ummmmmm.... It's a rock. There. Next question.

London commuter hell will soon include 'one card to rule them all'


Market opportunity is translated as users pay

It's sometimes interesting to hear government types excitedly speakabout how a program is worth X Billion for the market or the area. If companies receive 90 billion or 200 billion pounds/dollars, who do these government types think provides that money. There are only two sources of revenue. Government provided funds are paid by the taxpayers. If it doesn't come from taxes, this normally means the money is being paid by increases in the cost of services.

There is one other source however. If spending 90 billion means the cost of the service goes down by over 90 billion, then yes, it's free money. How often does a large, complex government IT project successfully reduce what people pay in taxes or for services? Most projects promise savings at the beginning but by the end it is way over budget, not as efficient as promised, not as usable as promised and delayed by years.

Color me skeptical.

TV scraper Aereo pulled off air in six US states after tellyco court injunction victory


How is this theft?

Mr Orlowski seems to be confused on what is happening here and the differences between cable and over the air broadcasts.

First off, Cable companies receive the over the air broadcast and reformat / reallocate that channel into their system along with the cable-only channels then retransmit this down their cable/u-verse/fiber/satellite systems to their customers. This signal is then received by the customers' cable boxes. These are not TV tuners, they are cable receivers. The signal is not in its original format. They do this to add value to their cable channels. Customers don't want to have to switch back and forth between the antenna and cable box. It appears that most of these companies also get to add some of their own commercials into some channels.

With Aereo, the signal isn't being altered. You can only sign up if you live in that local broadcast area and could have received those signals at home if you had your own antenna. You pick the program you want to record. You are the only one able to watch the program.

How is this different from having your own antenna, tv and DVR/VCR? Is it because you are renting the antenna and recorder from someone else? If I went to an electronics store and rented a tv, dvr and antenna would that be illegal since the store is profiting from it?

Are they arguing that playing it back over an internet connection is rebroadcasting? Under this argument, it should be illegal to use a tuner card and Windows Media Player. To play it back, you must rebroadcast this in a format other than a television signal.

It seems like the root argument comes down to sour grapes. Why should Aereo be allowed to profit? Same way the guy you rented the antenna and DVR profited.

Doctor Who's 50th year special: North American theater tix on sale Friday


I was looking forward to seeing it at the movies until I checked prices. $15 to watch a Doctor Who special? REALLY? I know movie prices vary according to city, but Dallas isn't the highest priced market. Gravity is playing in 3D for $9.25 locally. I guess it will be the HDTV version for me.

Greedy Sky admits: We crippled broadband with TOO MANY users


You can tell the difference between the UK & us Yanks with ADSL from AT&T

I'm on AT&T's lower plan with 1.5 MBPS. If it ever kept giving me 1.5 MBPS it would be great. Unfortunately, the normal behavior while doing a speedtest you see the speed bounce between 1.4 MBPS and 100-200KBPS. One test will be 1.2 average and the next is 300K. Just watching a video on the yahoo home page is infuriatingly slow with constant rebuffereing. (Sorry, I forgot this was the Reg. I meant "Just! watching! a! video! on! the! yahoo! home! page! is! infuriatingly! slow! with! constant! rebuffereing!)

UPDATE: GAGA team hunts down grass-smoking ROBOT


I like the IR LED method mentioned here. By using multiple sets of LEDs in unique patterns the camera could measure the distance and compass bearing to whichever set it could see. Using the LEDs in pairs could also solve the problem of an LED going out. (Rare, but it's nice not to have to make repairs as often) Each pole would have an LED pattern set and a pair of reference LEDs below it so distance could be measured The Pattern Sets could be in an L shape with the reference LED a meter below. That way, the L Pattern could be turned 90 degrees for up to 4 unique patterns. Just remember to have a white L-Shape painted behind the LEDs on a dark background so the camera can easily see the shape night or day

Don't buy my new £210 box set - Elvis Costello


The price is only half the scam

I've got a real problem with these high priced box sets. But that's the smaller part of this story caused by me being cheap.

Here's the bigger story:

Amazon UK sells it for £210. Amazon US sells it for $202. Why does this box set cost over $180 more in the UK? That's a 90% mark-up from the outrageous US Price.

University rats on Sydney suburb


This doesn't sound promising.

Did anyone else see the flaws in their theory? First, it flat out stated that the rat catchers caught both of them and that's why the bush rat isn't in Sydney. That means that both the rats were there and living together before. Second, the black rats invade (and live in) dwellings and the bush rat doesn't. Wouldn't that mean they don't compete for the same territory? Third, when they got rid of black rats in an area, the bush rats moved back in. This seems to prove that if one of the species is to be displaced, it would be the bush rat. I get this mental picture of a cartoon bush rat clinging onto a gatepost for dear life screaming "Don't send me in! Great God, don't make me go in!"

Murdoch accused of operating illegal US air force


Hobby or Business, what's the difference?

The FAA Regs that are linked have an interesting restriction. It states that current FAA policy (A policy is not a law) is that, among other things, model aircraft must be flown below 400 ft and no more than a mile distance under line of sight control. It also states that a model aircraft can only be used for hobby or sport, but not for any business uses. Oh really. It's okay for a 10-year old kid to send up a remote controlled model airplane but a company employee is somehow riskier.

Utah cops baffled in case of mysterious anonymous cuffee


Uh... Hello! Doesn't law enforcement watch the history channel?

Three Words. D. B. Cooper.

London Ambulance Service downed by upgrade cockup


Much too common to be acceptable

Interesting -

The NHS Trust noted (PDF, page 27) in a board meeting discussing corporate risks last month that: "There is a risk that the working processes in the dispatch or call taking functions of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) do not align with those required by Command Point, causing a delay to the date of Go Live, causing a cost and time overrun."

Sarcasm Alert! - Why did they think it would work? After all, it's not as if that's what the software was designed to do.

From Grumman's site-

"CommandPoint™ Computer-Aided Dispatch System (CAD)

Northrop Grumman’s CommandPoint™ Computer-Aided Dispatch System (CAD) is a mission-critical command and control system that enables communications center personnel to more appropriately manage calls for service and resources. CommandPoint CAD provides information when and where it is needed to efficiently support command and control operations of public- safety agencies. The system allows personnel to readily access information, make informed decisions, and meet demands for law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services. Enhanced operation of the emergency communications center is the most visible impact of CommandPoint CAD, but the system also provides operational benefits throughout a public-safety agency as well as benefits to the citizens of the community it serves."

I'm so sick of hearing about failed multi-million dollar/pound software implementations where the product can't do the main thing it was developed to do. It seems all too common for the vendors to give a big collective shrug and say "Oh, well, what can you do. This stuff is hard to do so failure is no surprise" Vendors need to be held accountable with clauses in the contracts that won't allow them to profit from failure. In the case of government contracts, these clauses should be required by law.

Novell tongue-lashes LA for Google cloud switch


Oops... The internet's down again!

Okay, let me get this straight. You want to save some money by going to cloud-based computing. Doesn't this require a connection to the internet if you want to get anything done? You know, silly things like e-mailing the guy in the cubicle across the room. Or, say you need to e-mail the disaster plan to your public affairs officer on the next floor. Things you may want to do after say... an earthquake, or something. You know, one of those pesky little natural disasters that may not destroy your building, but might just have the teeniest possibility of trashing your internet connection?

After an earthquake, how will the police process arrest documents? How will the public works director get a list of priorities to his managers in the same building? With building based servers at least you can get work done on site, even if you can't communicate with other locations.

Seems like a risky proposition in a city that has suffered many disaster related outages in the past.


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