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1  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Google's Satellites Could Soon See Your Face from Space on: August 14, 2014, 11:39:57 AM
This is just silly. The resolution is roughly the size of your face, which means that in the resulting image, it'll be represented by a single pixel. It won't be possible to recognize who is who, or even if you're wearing clothes or not.
2  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: New "censorship" technique on Youtube on: August 11, 2014, 04:04:27 PM
I had a YT video that was flagged for infringing on a music copyright. They alerted me, and presented me with a list of choices from which I could choose how I wanted to handle it. I could say that I had permission to use the piece, and stuff like that. But "mute the audio" wasn't one of the choices, as far as I can recall.

What sticks out in my memory about the incident though, was something else. They were right that the audio wasn't mine - but the piece that they flagged it as being a copy of was incorrect! They said I was copying X (I forget what), but my video was not X, it was a different song entirely. And of the choices they give you for how to handle it, they don't give you an option for "YT identified the audio wrong, it's not really that song at all". I was stuck.
3  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: SPAM reaching epidemic proportions on: July 31, 2014, 03:16:49 PM
From my own personal perspective, spam incidence has just jumped up dramatically in the past week or so.

In the past 24 hours, I've had ~90 messages that were obvious spam stopped at my ISP, plus another 65 making it through the easy filter and stopped by my Bayesian filter.
4  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Declaration of Independance- some scholars say we've been reading it wrong. on: July 10, 2014, 09:37:52 AM
Coincidentally, I just saw this article. Apparently the Mexican government have been using, while considering cases, a non-existent "provision" of their Constitution.

Quote
DHS officers and the Administrative Appeals Office (“AAO”) within DHS have relied on provisions of the Mexican Constitution that either never existed or do not say what DHS claims they say. In Saldana’s case and in others, DHS has relied on the proposition that Article 314 of the Constitution of Mexico provides that...

At oral argument, however, the government conceded that Article 314 of the Constitution of Mexico does not exist and never did.
5  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Declaration of Independance- some scholars say we've been reading it wrong. on: July 08, 2014, 05:25:44 PM
The thing that cracks me up is many people...

I don't understand why we celebrate Independence Day as the birth of the USA. All this holiday marks is when we started trying to break away from England. But we weren't successful with becoming independent for several more years, and the form that our country now takes wasn't solidified until the ratification of the Constitution in 1789.

In a sense, the Constitution was written to guarantee individual rights. The reason that stuff is relegated to the BoR is that the individual rights was so fundamental a foundation, that it was simply assumed. The Constitution documents a limited set of powers that the people cede to the government; obviously it therefore guarantees anything not mentioned therein to the people - they never gave away those rights!

There was a fair amount of controversy over the BoR, not because anyone disagreed with its intent, but because there was a fear that (even with the 9th Amendment trying to explain the situation) the list would be taken to be inclusive, and the government would just start doing things that the list doesn't explicitly forbid. And this is exactly what has happened.
6  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Declaration of Independance- some scholars say we've been reading it wrong. on: July 08, 2014, 11:57:45 AM
As others have noted, I can't see how the presence or absence of that punctuation has any real effect on the meaning.

I don't think that there's any doubt about where the heads of the founders were at - folks like Jefferson and Franklin, who wrote it, or Madison who wrote much of the Constitution were very much interested in the (classical) liberal ideology, as in the writing of JS Mill. Their philosophy was all about the sovereignty of the individual, and were not of a communitarian bent.

You might not like that, you might think that we've learned better since then, but the body of writing from these guys is pretty clear, and it's nutty to believe that a single punctuation mark, whose impact escapes most of us anyway, should be taken to contradict all that.
7  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Reindexing in the background software for databases on: July 07, 2014, 11:32:53 AM
Shades, your description of Oracle doing index maintenance offline isn't quite right. Any real relational database (Oracle, SQL Server, etc.) requires that the database be entirely consistent at any point in time (see ACID). Thus, index maintenance is occurring in real time, as the data to which they refer is being updated.

This is crucial to some more advanced DBA optimization techniques. In particular, covering indexes allow a query to see data that would otherwise be locked by another process's locking operation, by taking the data out of the index rather than the real data tables.

Keeping any indexes up-to-date is indeed a resource drain on your system, but it's not really correct to say that indexes should be avoided as a result. Rather, you need to consider how your system is being used -
  • When SELECTing data, what are the most common patterns (e.g., are you looking for "all the orders submitted yesterday", or "all the orders from this customer"?)
  • When INSERTing new data, will it tend to be appended onto the end of the index structure, or must it be stuffed into the middle?
  • Does the kind of multi-process access going on suggest that you'll need covering indexes?
  • How much can you trade off additional storage (or faster more expensive storage devices) to improve overall system speed?
...and so on

An increasingly common way to get around some of these problems is to have two distinct databases, once that's updated in realtime for the live transaction processing, and a second that gets updated periodically, and has different indexing structures (maybe even different table structures) to better facilitate reporting on the data.
8  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Remember Alice's restaurant? on: July 03, 2014, 11:44:08 AM
...With circles and arrows and diagrams on the back perhaps??

Naturally. The beginning of the song has the narrator cleaning out Alice's Restaurant, and because the landfill is closed, they just dump it down a hill. So there you have the recycling reference from the OP.
9  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Antilock-breaking (ABS) vs Stabilty Control (ESP) vs Traction Control Video on: June 23, 2014, 11:30:37 AM
A defective brake caliper about 25 years ago grabbed my disc and ripped itself off its mounting, thus opening the hydraulic line. That's the only time I've ever experience such, or heard of it happening.

It was quickly clear what had happened to the brakes. But note:
  • Once this happens, any rational person is going to drive very slowly and cautiously to the nearest service station, if not stop entirely. If at this point you get yourself into a situation where ABS would be required, you're beyond stupid.
  • When this happened to me, I still had partial braking. That's because car designs anticipates such a failure. You'll have two independent hydraulic "circuits", probably governing opposing wheels. So loss of pressure in one loses only half of your braking potential. I suppose that if I'd needed to drive more than 2 miles to get to service, the master cylinder might have run dry trying to push fluid into the broken line.
  • The vast majority of people today drive cars with automatic transmissions, which don't really afford a good means of engine braking.
10  Main Area and Open Discussion / Non-Windows Software / Re: Android: (Wired) File Transfers from PC on: June 11, 2014, 04:16:50 PM
For some reason, connecting an Android phone (this has happened with three different ones) gives me a BSOD on my desktop (even after upgrading XP to Win7). So I've relied on WiFi transfer, having SMB shares on my desktop and pulling with the phone using ES File Explorer, which has worked out pretty well.

Until my new phone and KitKat. Now, file explorer apps are useless, because Android only lets the app that "owns" a directory write to it. I hate KitKat.

The only solutions I've found was to make my desktop computer an FTP server. The built-in explorer program still has write authority, and includes an FTP client. Alternately, open up the phone, remove the SD card, and write directly to that. Then put the SD card back in the phone.

Did I mention how much I hate KitKat?
11  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Antilock-breaking (ABS) vs Stabilty Control (ESP) vs Traction Control Video on: June 11, 2014, 11:04:56 AM
I think that's where the other side in this debate is coming from.

Fair enough, mouser, and thanks for the injection of sanity. If I might sum up, then:

  • In any particular incident, if you feel the ABS kicking in, and you really do need to stop quickly, you should maintain foot pressure to let the ABS do its job.
  • If you find that you're using ABS in general, you should reconsider your driving. Are you going too fast for conditions? Are you over-driving your visibility so you've got less distance to react? Are you exceeding the capabilities of your equipment (check your tire wear and brakes)?
12  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Antilock-breaking (ABS) vs Stabilty Control (ESP) vs Traction Control Video on: June 11, 2014, 09:55:51 AM
But under normal driving conditions, if you hear the ABS buzzing you need to back off of it and conserve your traction.

Sorry. I don't want to be the jerk guy that just can't let something go on the Internet. But this is special because it directly affects the safety of each one of us, and I really don't want to let something like that lie.

Do not believe that you can achieve better results than the ABS, whether that's by backing off and trying to stay right on the limit, or any other trick.

The fact of the matter is that under any circumstance other than deep snow, the ABS will do better than you. It will also do better than Michael Schumacher, Ryan Hunter-Reay, or Sebastian Loeb. The limiting factor for a human is that there's only one brake pedal, so you cannot control each wheel individually. Thus, you cannot keep all four wheels at the limits of traction simultaneously. You're either going to have some at the limit and others locked and sliding, or you'll have none sliding, but not using all available traction. The ABS sensors watch each wheel individually, and modulate the pressure of each wheel individually, allowing each one to get closest to its greatest potential traction.

In Formula 1 racing, the cars have had ABS and traction control in the past. These technologies were all banned because they made the sport too boring: having the cars perform so perfectly took much of the interest out of the sport. Consider that F1 has said that ABS (and traction control) are, even for arguably the best twenty or so drivers in the world, an unfair advantage. No human, given the means of control we have, can do better than the ABS computer.

In 1997, the McLaren F1 team had a nifty idea. They added a 2nd brake pedal (where the clutch would have been in the old days), allowing the driver to send additional brake pressure to just one of the rear wheels. This innovation allowed the two McLaren drivers to lap the field. Once this innovation was discovered (by a photographer who stuck his camera down into a stopped car and quickly snapped a picture), it was quickly banned. If the addition of driver control of just one separate wheel was such a huge advantage, imagine what a difference separate control of each wheel makes.

Edit: typo
13  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Favorite Sci-fi movies? on: June 10, 2014, 01:30:36 PM
Not my favorite but i'm surprised no one has mentioned the Cube series -- good stuff.

I really enjoyed the first Cube movie. Are the sequels in the same ballpark of quality?
14  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Antilock-breaking (ABS) vs Stabilty Control (ESP) vs Traction Control Video on: June 10, 2014, 12:19:10 PM
As others have said, one emphatically should not ease off until ABS stops pulsing.

The fact is that it's physically impossible to brake any better than ABS can, and anyone who tells you they can stop the car faster than if they just put it to the floor and let ABS handle it is lying.

The key here is that you've got just one brake pedal, so even if you've got the most sensitive reactions of any human, you can only give general directions to all wheels simultaneously. On the other hand, ABS can control each wheel independently. So if you're locking just one wheel, ABS can release pressure in that wheel's caliper while continuing to hold the other three. You simply cannot accomplish that with a single brake pedal.

There's one place where ABS logic fails, though. If you're in deep snow, having your wheels locked causes the snow to build up in front of you, and in some cases, the resistance of that piled snow exceeds what your braking force can achieve, so you would be better off just letting the wheels lock. But that's rare enough, and you're not probably qualified to make the determination, so best to let ABS do its thing.

The video in the OP showed that even with proper clutch technique, the traction control can do better than you.

So, as a driving enthusiast and go-kart racer, I think it's best to let the computer-aided safety measures do their thing and not try to take matters into my own hands.

Edit: spelling
15  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: What modern music (today) is considered to be both pop AND intellectual? on: June 05, 2014, 04:30:04 PM
Most of the music cited dates back to the 70s, plus or minus, and I'm not sure that qualifies as "modern", unless you mean that in contrast with classical. Certainly some of them are great examples of a thinking/feeling balance at the time (I'd call out Al Stewart and Jethro Tull from those mentioned earlier).

The power metal genre was mentioned, but as much as I enjoy that (although I prefer the American side to the Euro), I think it's actually kind of sophomoric when analyzed closely.

When I want something today that's both interesting and catchy, the current stuff I go to are Rush (which may be cliche, but they've certainly learned balance over the years), and a few newer prog bands like Big Big Train.

I explain the difference between a good and great musician this way. A good musician plays the notes you expected to hear - or one of the readily anticipated options. A great musician plays notes that wouldn't have occurred to you but somehow they're still the right notes.

I strongly agree with this statement, and in fact have thought the same thing frequently. But (and I'm sure you meant this) don't limit yourself to notes. This obviously applies to rhythms, progressions, and even timbres and dynamics.

And especially Lori Anderson! Kiss Kiss Kiss
If you're a fan, take a look at this... http://youtu.be/ZVuiYhAVgFE?t=1m23s
The guy wandering around the background there is a good friend of mine, who has worked with her a bit. He's a researcher at RPI's Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center.
16  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: TrueCrypt is Now Abandonware?! on: May 30, 2014, 01:13:10 PM
I'm not very excited about any of the alternatives offered by ghacks. I'm looking for an encrypted container, and only a couple do that. And BestCrypt is very expensive, and the other one gives too few details to trust.

There'a a wikipedia article offering a Comparison of disk encryption softwarew that might be a better place to start looking. There are a whole pile of programs considered, with comparison for OS supported and a bunch of features.
17  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: TrueCrypt is Now Abandonware?! on: May 30, 2014, 01:00:12 PM
I just can't see that the means of announcing this is in character for this project. It just doesn't make sense to recommend BitLocker (given suspicion of MS being sympathetic to gov't surveillance), or to completely ignore Unix and Mac users. I think there's something more than meets the eye.

I’m giving equal odds between:
  • Warrant canaryw (“we’re not saying that we’re being forced to introduce a vulnerability, but we have reason to believe that users of this program may be in danger”). While difficult to add an actual backdoor, it may be that they're being pressured to put a flaw into their PRG code or something subtle like that.
  • The developer(s) is in a snit, maybe because of the trouble of the audit, and just wants to burn it all down
  • The developer just wants to move on, and is taking an opportunity to make a political statement by stepping out in this way (like the Reichstag fire – cause the damage yourself, but make it look like your enemy caused it)
18  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Our experiences with LED light bulb replacements on: May 21, 2014, 01:08:16 PM
none of those points are borne out by my electric bill reduction.  The realities kinda kill the theories in such discussions.  Financially, LEDs have altered my budget.

I don't doubt you, but I'd like to feel out the specifics of it. My suspicion is that you might see a relevant difference in the warmer months, particularly when you're using air conditioning. This part is really easy to believe, because you'd otherwise be paying double for inefficiencies: once to run the heat-generating lights, and again to run the air conditioner to get rid of the waste heat.

But in the cooler months when you're running heat, this is much less clear to me. To a first approximation, I expect that inefficiency in the lighting is essentially free. That is, the waste heat thrown off by the lighting simply replaces the running of your furnace that would otherwise be generating that heat for you. The only loss in winter, then, would be a theoretical difference (that's probably not possible to realize for most of us due to the design of our HVAC system) in improved efficiency if you're using a heat pump for wintertime heat.

More simply: in the summer, inefficient lights bite you twice. But in the winter, I expect that inefficient lights simply allow you to run the furnace somewhat less.
19  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Our experiences with LED light bulb replacements on: May 20, 2014, 09:03:01 PM
the heat in an electrical system is generated by resistance.  Wattage, voltage and amperage have nothing to do with it, except in how they influence resistance

No, these are all parts of the same trinity.

VOLTS x (VOLTS/OHMS) = WATTS

We know volts is 110V. And rearranging the equation gives us

OHMS = VOLTS ^2 / WATTS

So given a constant voltage of 110, talking about Ohms and Watts are really just two sides of the same coin. You can't say they've got nothing to do with each other.

For a much better discussion, see http://amasci.com/elect/vwatt1.html. From that page (emphasis mine):

Quote
Conductive objects are always full of movable electric charges, and the overall motion of these charges is called an 'electric current.' Voltage can cause electric currents because a difference in voltage acts like a difference in pressure which pushes the conductors' own charges along. A conductor offers a certain amount of electrical resistance or "friction," and the friction against the flowing charges heats up the resistive object. The flow-rate of the moving charges is measured in Amperes. The transfer of electrical energy (as well as the rate of heat output) is measured in Watts. The electrical resistance is measured in Ohms. Amperes, Volts, Watts, and Ohms.
20  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Our experiences with LED light bulb replacements on: May 20, 2014, 06:53:33 PM
But if I remember what little I do correctly, the total amount of heat generated by any electronic device is a function of its resistance, not the interplay of voltage, wattage and amperage

I think you're overthinking it. It just comes down to basic conservation of energy. The amount of energy you put into the device is the same as what comes out of it. The only question is in what form is the energy emitted? But since we're looking at devices that are emitting roughly the same amount of light, we can even discount that portion of it to compare the total amount of heat generated

Technically, the total amount of energy being expended easy to figure. In the USA, the voltage should be 110V. The amount of electrical energy you're putting in is the amps, which you can calculate by dividing the bulb's wattage by the volts. We don't just how much is being turned into light, but it's a small number and similar across all the devices anyway. So it's a decent estimate to compare the relative amount of heat generated as the relative wattage of each device.
21  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: ImgBurn - full of OpenCandy and other crap on: May 20, 2014, 03:11:08 PM
When I'm dumping archival stuff onto optical discs (maybe backups of my photographs, or old audiobooks I'm done listening to), my workflow is to create an ISO image of the desired end disc first using ImgBurn. I then run that through DVDisaster to add PAR error recovery data onto the disc so future glitches can be recovered. Finally, I use ImgBurn to burn that ISO onto a real disc.

ImgBurn works really well in this flow because of how easily it (a) creates an ISO from an input list of folders/files; and (b) burns an ISO to disc.

Does anybody else know another tool that accomplishes those tasks as well?
22  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Our experiences with LED light bulb replacements on: May 20, 2014, 03:07:56 PM
Regarding the heat...

Light bulbs are hideously inefficient. Almost 100% of the input energy is converted to heat. And the improved bulb technology (tungsten incandescent -> CFL -> LED) is the result of improving on that efficiency.

But in any case, the amount of energy emitted by a lightbulb in the form of light is pretty tiny. Viewed another way, wiring up fifteen, hundred-watt incandescent bulbs is almost indistinguishable from a space heater. At the end of the day, the amount of heat you're going to generate is pretty much the wattage of the bulb, regardless of technology.

LED bulbs use far less watts, but still get hot. I believe that's because the LED is soaking its heat into a much smaller area. So an incandescent is making more heat and radiating it out through a relatively larger area. An LED makes less heat, by generating a similarly high temperature but radiating it out through a smaller area (so that if you touch a fingertip-sized area of each device, they feel about the same).
23  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Licensing Software: Version based vs. Time-Period Based on: February 26, 2014, 02:20:49 PM
Sorry to be pedantic, but I've spent the last year managing a project that tracks and enforces compliance for an enterprise's license agreements.

It appears that you've actually got a lifetime license -- for a particular version of software. You're allowed to continue using that version in perpetuity with no additional costs. If the actual license were annual, then after that year expires, you'd no longer be allowed to use the software at all.

The actual controversy here is over maintenance terms. That is, under what circumstances are you allowed to transfer your license to a different version of the product? The two cases mentioned then translate into
  • No maintenance - this is the version you get, period
  • Time-based maintenance - you're allowed upgrades within a specified span of time

I'm not asserting any answer to which of these is morally superior. It's just that the landscape of software licensing is crazy these days, and it's only getting more and more complicated. If you hope to stay legal, and not get screwed, you really need to understand the various factors and how they relate.
24  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: My pop/imap Android experience on: February 25, 2014, 03:44:10 PM
Just curious, since it seems you've already got your mail in gmail, what does the gmail client app lack that K9 is giving you?
25  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Collage software recomendation on: January 10, 2014, 12:35:55 PM
My favorite is Microsoft's ImageCollage. (this isn't a normal Microsoft product, it's put out -- and not really maintained -- by Microsoft Labs).

The two unusual things about this program are

  • The resulting collages don't have hard edges between their pictures. They blend into one another, and it's really cool the way this can work out in many cases.
  • You point it at a folder of images, telling it how many it should incorporate and the desired relative sizes between the primary, secondary, and other photos (which can be equal), and it automatically chooses them and lays them out. It recognizes faces, and tries to place the faces properly so that they don't get chopped.

I use this every year at Christmas. My wife and I produce a calendar for family and friends, where each month's picture is a collage of photos we took the corresponding month of the prior year.

I've never seen another tool do this, and it's cool enough that I really recommend that you look at it.
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