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Comment Re:So what should we do? (Score 1) 370

The manuals I've driven never had this. I've driven cars with both foot and hand brakes and for manuals neither was very friendly if you didn't know how to use the clutch properly. One of those cars also had the high beam as a button you used your foot to press under the parking brake pedal. It took a lot of practice with one of those cars. It had a very finicky clutch that was either on or off with very little play in between. I had another manual where the only time I ever used the clutch was to go in and out of first gear or reverse from a stop. I could upshift and downshift just by rev matching. I also learned to do some interesting things using my foot to hit both the brake and the accelerator to get the engine to rev up if I were on a hill because the car was so gutless. My current car is the first car I've owned with a hill hold feature. It was added in a software update. I never really saw the need for it. My Tesla behaves like a cross between a manual and an automatic with the way I have it configured. I let up off the accelerator and it decelerates strongly. If I'm stopped and I lift my foot off the brake (and I'm not on a hill), the car rolls like a manual with the clutch pedal engaged with no creep like an automatic. Basically as far as I'm concerned hill hold is needed for inexperienced drivers or those with slow reaction times or if you have a really gutless engine.

Comment Re:So what should we do? (Score 1) 370

And how often do you RTFM when you get a rental car and are in a hurry to get to your hotel room after a long flight? The controls on most cars are fairly universal. The only ones I've driven that behave differently are the Prius and some high-end cars like my Tesla. It's muscle memory with most cars with automatics.

Comment Re:So what should we do? (Score 1) 370

I rode in a Fisker Karma that behaved like that, except it kept going bong bong bong the whole time it was being driven due to a software bug. You could clearly hear the turn signal clicker also screwing up. They fixed that in a later software update but the software was so buggy I couldn't believe it was used on a production car. It was maybe OK for a prototype, but not even alpha quality.

Comment Re:hyperloop without the hyper or loop (Score 1) 216

Once the vacuum has been created, the amount of energy required to maintain it is not significant assuming that there are no major leaks. I imagine that at the stations that the pod would enter a chamber where the air is removed before entering the main tube. Since most of the volume would be from the pod the amount of air needing to be removed would not be all that great. It also isn't a high vacuum, so it takes much less energy to obtain.

Comment Re:Density is nice, but what about longevity? (Score 1) 180

I imagine that in a DVR a decent SSD should do just fine. Each NAND block is good for several thousand write cycles. If you completely overwrote the SSD every 24 hours that would give you years of service, though even a DVR rarely overwrites the entire hard drive in 24 hours.

Comment Re:I don't blame FTDI, fake chips hurt them (Score 2) 268

Just using a counterfeit chip could potentially introduce unintended behavior. I've dealt with a number of USB to serial chips and many of them are crap. I have cables that will just suddenly stop working, or the baudrates that suddenly change. I wouldn't be surprised if the counterfeit chips have similar problems. FTDI should be able to program their chip and expect it to work as designed. If it's counterfeit and it doesn't, then it's not their fault. They shouldn't have to debug problems in counterfeit chips. On top of that, the counterfeit chips eat into their bottom line. FTDI chips tend to be more expensive and for good reason. They're better chips. On top of that they have excellent documentation as well as library support for doing all sorts of things. Want to do i2c or JTAG with their USB to serial chips? It's fully documented with a library to support it.

I can tell you as someone who writes device drivers that trying to debug problems caused by some unknown counterfeit chip is a nightmare. After all, it's not your job to Q/A not only your own hardware, but cheap Chinese counterfeit chips as well.

As far as I can tell, sending an ASCII string is probably the best thing they could have done given that they're screwed no matter what they do.

Comment Re:How can FTDI not figure out how to do it? (Score 1) 268

No, their drivers belong to them and are designed to work with USB devices that have the FTDI vendor ID and FTDI product ID, which FTDI paid for. If the devices fail it is because they are counterfeit. With this change, nobody in their right mind will use counterfeit chips and distributors will be more careful about their supply chain. No matter what FTDI does people will complain. If their drivers just don't work at all it's basically the same as bricking the device. At least this way the device will continue to work. FTDI are in no way responsible for transmitting reliable data over counterfeit chips. If those manufacturers want reliable data then they should write their own damned drivers.

Comment Re:How can FTDI not figure out how to do it? (Score 1) 268

Probably because nobody would want to use a non-FTDI chip. I've worked on products where we specifically chose FTDI due to the features of the chip as well as the reliability. I have used a number of other non-FTDI USB to serial chips and had a lot of problems with them. In our case, we use the quad FTDI USB to serial chips and make use of features like i2c and JTAG support.

I really can't blame FTDI. After all, if the fake chips are causing a lot of support issues, that affects their bottom line as well as their reputation. Why should FTDI need to provide a bunch of support to customers who keep having problems with fake chips? By doing this they will drive the counterfeit chip manufacturers away since any product based on these chips will be rendered unusable from the start. The supply chain will also be more careful to prevent the fake chips from entering it.

A serial driver cannot just pop up a message and say that a fake device was detected. The next best thing is to do what they are doing.

Comment I don't blame FTDI, fake chips hurt them (Score 4, Informative) 268

One problem these counterfeit chips pose is that all the sudden companies like FTDI end up with a lot of support costs for people who bought shoddy products with the fake chips, which often don't work nearly as well as the real thing. This is a way for FTDI to crack down on the counterfeit chips. While it sucks for the consumers that end up with the fake chips, it will also help put a stop to the counterfeit chips since any product that uses them will not work.

At my company we make a number of development boards using the quad FTDI chips for the serial interface. We use them because in addition to RS232 they also can talk I2C and JTAG, among other things. I can reliably run the FTDI chips at 10Mbps. I've used other USB to serial devices in the past but I've had lots of problems with them. Some cables I bought, for example, will just suddenly stop working and I have to periodically reset the baud rates.

Why should FTDI have to bear the burden and support costs of counterfeit chips? If somebody else slaps the FTDI manufacturer ID and product ID onto their USB device then they deserve whatever happens. Why should FTDI have to spend resources supporting fake chips? By doing what they are doing, it will drive the fake chips out of the system and prevent future ones.

I work for a chip manufacturer and while there's a very low risk that someone will make fake chips like ours (very complex network processors), we have had to add features to our chips so that our end customers can prevent counterfeit equipment which just copies their software. We have some large customers who have been battling Chinese made counterfeit equipment.

Comment The nanny state is ridiculous (Score 4, Insightful) 545

When I was in kindergarten I walked to school every day, it was only around 3 blocks away. Going to the park alone was also normal. The sad thing is that it is a lot safer today than it was back then. I consider myself quite liberal, but I detest the whole nanny state. I've also read numerous articles about parents who are arrested for leaving young children in the car, in the shade with the windows open while running into the grocery store.

Hell, reading this article reminded me about how my mother would go into a local supermarket to do some quick shopping while I watched my younger sister in the car. Today my mother would have been arrested.

As a kid I ran around all over the place without my parents hovering over me every second. I got out and got exercise and explored, something many parents won't allow today. That was before the days of the Internet or before cell phones or bike helmets. The only difference I would have with my own kids is to make them wear a bicycle helmet when riding (due to experience with how it saved the life of a relative several times) and possibly a cell phone.

Kids need to be kids and also to learn responsibility, not be coddled like crazy.

Comment Unfortunately it's OCZ (Score 1) 117

I have not had any non-OCZ drive fail. I bought an OCZ drive a couple of years ago and within two weeks of relatively light duty (Linux boot drive) it bricked.

Last year I was working on a project and the machine they gave me had an OCZ enterprise class drive. Within two weeks the drive was corrupting data, rendering the machine unusable. I will never buy another OCZ drive again. I still have two OCZ drives but they are backed up daily.

Comment Re:State doing the CYA thing (Score 1) 261

After my company switched to Microsoft Office 365 I had to use an outside email server to access my email because Office365 was so broken. IMAP didn't work at all. 99% of the time I got authentication failures due to problems on their end both for sending and receiving email. This problem lasted for almost a year. I ended up setting up Office365 to forward my email because otherwise I just couldn't access it at all. Eventually my work set me up with a Google account in addition to the Office 365 one.

Office365 is better now, though I still frequently have problems with it and it is slow, though not as bad as it used to be. Running Outlook was not an option since it doesn't run on Linux and the web interface sucks to put it mildly and is incredibly slow (it takes several minutes just to log in to the web interface).

I understand that the State Department's email system was very antiquated and had a lot of problems since congress refused to give them a budget to upgrade their IT infrastructure. I wouldn't be surprised either if Clinton's email server was more secure than the State Department's server which has been known to be hacked.

Comment Everybody spies on everybody (Score 5, Insightful) 267

How many times has Israel been caught spying on the US? All countries spy on each other. Senators conspiring with foreign heads of state though could be considered unamerican, however. It sounds like we were spying on Israel and some congress critters got caught up in it. In other words, the NSA was doing what it's supposed to be doing, monitoring and spying on foreign activity.

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