Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×

Comment: Lose the bricks? (Score 1) 597 597

Question for engineer / mathy types that can do the conversion loss calculations:


  1. A lot of things geeks run have power bricks that output DC.
  2. Most of these run on similar voltages.
  3. Quite a lot of them have some "fudge" where they can actually run fine on quite a bit higher or sometimes lower voltage than what their included bricks put out.

I think:

  1. One big AC-DC converter in the basement that puts out a "good enough" voltage for most of your toys is (much?) more efficient than a myriad of little bricks strewn around the house
  2. DC power transmission losses are negligible in something the size of a single family dwelling.

Would there be anything substantive to gain by putting in a maybe 10-12v, multi-amp power supply in the basement and running it to the various places you plug things in? Big-ass USB power supply @5v would cover a lot of things, but more stuff like streaming TV players, maybe laptops, and the like might be able to run from a bit higher voltage.

Granted, the opportunities for shorts, magic blue smoke release, and general safety issues are probably way more problematic than what you'd save in power conversion, and you will still need 110v to run big motors, and the like, but...

Comment: Re:But can we believe them? (Score 1) 99 99

Doesn’t matter whether the identity is linked to phone or the card. On first activation of a new subscriber, have the SIM and the carrier they’re subscribing to do a key exchange dance. DH, PFS, etc. Burn the fuse on the SIM, and the SIM can’t be rewritten, and the SIM’s private half of the key pair never leaves the card.

The SIM can still be stuffed in any other (unlocked) phone, and it continues to communicate securely with the carrier it’s subscribed to. You can never re-subscribe a SIM to a different carrier or for a different user, so you need a new $5 SIM.

Comment: Re:Why paper remains supreme (Score 1) 261 261

Luddite much? I know people with original e-ink Kindles that are still reading just fine with them. They’ve been dropped dozens of times, and still keep going. They’re not terribly fragile nor is planned obsolescence an issue for them. Certainly newer versions of the hardware have more capabilities (like video playback), but you’re hardly required to upgrade if all you want to do is keep reading text.

There aren’t any ads in Kindle or iBooks books. Dunno where you got that idea.

DRM is only an obstacle if you let it be one. I agree the effort shouldn’t be necessary, but it’s really not very much effort at all.

I personally never buy a book I don’t intend to keep forever, so resale for me to others isn’t something I consider to be an issue (though I understand others do). Being able to buy used books can be a cost savings, but I really haven’t observed that wide a difference between used book prices and Kindle prices for most stuff I’m interested in. Add in the convenience / time saved factor of being able to go online and click a few buttons rather than have to search around online or brick/mortar book stores to find what I’m looking for, then wait for it to arrive via USless Post Oriface. . . The “savings” for used are pretty much nil assuming you “pay” yourself a realistic wage for your time.

Comment: Not this digital native (Score 1) 261 261

As someone who modified his TI-85 calculator to be able to store and display text for reading in high school in 1997, I think I qualify as a “digital native.” I’ve no use for dead tree books. I have a stack of paper books sitting on my desk I’ll most likely never read.

I always have my phone in my pocket, usually have my iPad on my shoulder, and can pull them out and read a few paragraphs whenever I get a few minutes. Not so with a paper book, so the only time I’d read them would be at home, and generally I’ve got other things to do then. The ability to hold libraries worth of text in my pocket far out weighs (well, no, maybe under-weighs?) any value that might be had from a physical object. I’m accustomed to the interface of an e-reader, and while it takes some adaptation and learning to be able to find things quickly (no dog eared pages on my phone), I still manage pretty well. The availability wins.

As far as the screen keeping me awake? Given the number of times I’ve smashed myself in the nose with my iPad as I nod off reading in bed, I don’t think it works like that. At least not for me.

Comment: Re:Lawyers rejoice!! (Score 4, Interesting) 114 114

That’s simple assuming anyone in the US actually gives enough of a damn. If fines are levied on Lenovo as a result of this lawsuit, US Customs would be within their power to seize any Lenovo merchandise shipped to the US at the border until all fines are paid in full.

That’s a pretty good whack in the bottom line for any company, regardless of the nation in which they’re located. As long as they expect to sell their widgets to people physically located in the United States, US law can trivially be applied to them in such a way that they would need to comply before they may continue to operate profitably.

Whether this suit will be successful of course is a completely different story, but there’s no problem enforcing any judgement which may emerge from it.

Comment: Re:No shit (Score 1) 120 120

Ahhh! Good old Atheros (and Orinoco before them...)

My 2009 MBP has a Broadcom chip, and it’s had WiFi issues (against an Apple Airport no less) since Yosemite. Haven’t noticed it happening since putting 10.10.2 on, but it’s hardly been long enough for a conclusive “fix.”

Comment: Re:No shit (Score 1) 120 120

It *does* something, but it seldom actually *fixes* anything. It’s roughly the equivalent of resetting a PC’s BIOS to factory defaults, except that Apple stores quite a bit more in the NVRAM than CPU multiplier & such that BIOS usually does. Preferences about display ordering (which is “primary”), boot device, and no doubt settings related to finding preferred networks for the recovery partition and FindMyMac to do their thing.

I have an older MacBook Pro that’s had WiFi issues in Yosemite, but I haven’t tried zapping the PRAM (as it was called in old-world PPC-based Macs & is where the P-R in the key chord comes from). It’s voodoo in probably 90% of cases, but it helps with some things.

Comment: Re:Can't avoid medical records (Score 1) 528 528

And one of the more out of shape folks lands wrong and blows out a knee, or runs too much and drops of a heart attack, or... The opportunities to get sued are practically limitless with such a thing. My own employer gave up on the idea a few years before I came on when somebody ended up with a compound fracture in their leg as part of a friendly basketball game. Ran, fell, landed wrong, bones sticking out of torn muscle, not a good day for anyone...

If there was any chance of benefit from a once-a-week thing, maybe it’d be worth it, but someone who habitually overeats and is significantly overweight isn’t going to see that “exercising can actually be fun” from a half-assed sportsball game once a week. They’ll see that exercising makes them hurt and sweaty and out of breath and oh-by-the-way they worked out, so they “earned” a “treat” after work which puts them an extra 1000kcal over their BMR for the day, and they get bigger as a result

You can’t outrun a bad diet. Encouraging someone to exercise without convincing them to also bring their intake inline and preferably below their maintenance calorie level is more likely to injure them, turn them even more off on the idea of exercise, and make them fatter.

Unfortunately an employer can’t realistically convince anyone to change their eating habits. Even if anyone would listen, the idea of my employer being able to say, “Put down the extra slice of pizza, or you’re fired,” isn’t something I’d like nor respond well to. For most people, even their closest friends and family can’t convince them.

It takes a personal moment of clarity, and for some people that never comes. Mine came after seeing a friend who was always about my size drop half is body weight over a couple of years between seeing him. It was the kick in the ass I needed. If he could do it, maybe I could too. 180lbs down, maybe another 70-80 to go...

Comment: Re:Free from captivity... for how long? (Score 2) 341 341

Even strict liability offenses aren’t generally chargeable against otherwise normal children who lack the reasoning to understand they committed a crime. I think the most generous figure I’ve read compared chimp intelligence to that of a human five-year old (and that was challenged as an over simplification and they’re really not equivalent to a kindergartener at all).

You wouldn’t charge a five-year old with disturbing the peace for throwing a tantrum in public. (The fact that I’d occasionally like to se the parents charged for it has nothing to do with this discussion...)

Comment: Re:Free from captivity... for how long? (Score 4, Interesting) 341 341

If it came to that, you’d have to appoint an attorney to stand for the critter’s interests who would argue diminished capacity and no ability for form mens rea.

So at best, they’re arguing for defining chimps as mentally challenged persons. I think we have enough mentally challenged persons as it is, several of whom can no doubt be found on one end of the ‘versus’ in this court case...

A fail-safe circuit will destroy others. -- Klipstein