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Comment: Re:I, for one, welcome... (Score 1) 444

by Auroch (#42491475) Attached to: Al Jazeera Gets a US Voice

Well actually I do, it's great to have an alternative voice and hopefully this will bring more understanding and humanity to the news.

Unfortunately, the simple fact of having an "alternative voice" does nothing to further understanding or humanity. To be directly beneficial, you must have something worthwhile to add with that voice, and it should be clear of bias and misdirection. As I understand it, Al-Jazeera is as biased and controversial as both the left- and right- leaning institutions already in place, and I fail to see how an additional news network adds anything beneficial to the conversation. Simply having another viewpoint isn't fundamentally more (or less) useful simply because it is different.

Whether or not Al-Jazeera is going to be beneficial remains to be seen - but more is not always better (or worse), and different is not always good (or bad).

Comment: Re:Lack of direction? (Score 1) 98

by Auroch (#42484615) Attached to: Facebook Gives Free Voice Calls a Trial Run in Canada

Does Facebook even have any sense of direction towards monetizing their platform?

Facebook (unlike many other products) has focused on delivering a scalable platform and pleasing user experience. While the web has been around for awhile, there is no standardized business plan for social media. Each "successful" platform has grown (or not) based on a unique combination.

I'm happy with their attempts to monetize - especially considering the more obnoxious attempts are easily ignored with adblock and/or noscript.

Comment: Re:The Catch Is Obvious (Score 1) 98

by Auroch (#42484583) Attached to: Facebook Gives Free Voice Calls a Trial Run in Canada

Mobile data costs so much more than phone minutes these days, people probably won't save anything.

While this might be an attempt to troll the canadian population regarding the high price of mobile communications, I'm quite happy with my $40/month unlimited nation-wide calling and data. It's not free, but it's quite reasonable.

Although, why I'd need VoIP when I've already got unlimited minutes and decent coverage, I can't imagine ...

Comment: Re:Lack of direction? (Score 1) 98

by Auroch (#42484567) Attached to: Facebook Gives Free Voice Calls a Trial Run in Canada

Since Skype is already available on Android and iOS, and brought with it a sizable existing customer base and mindshare built up over some years,..

Yes, but this is "Mom" friendly. And (un)fortunately, I already see many 12-and-13 year old kids using cell phones (paid by their parents) before they've learned cell phone etiquette. Now they don't need either a plan or software/VoIP knowhow - just a wifi connection.

This might be news, but I'm not convinced this is progress.

Comment: Re:PCs for Kids (Score 1) 291

by Auroch (#41815799) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What To Do With Over 500 Used DIMMs?

No, but they can reduce their tax burden while gaining some control over where their resources help the community.

Right, so they can upgrade for a cost far below full price, because they make enough money to have the taxable portion of their income reduced.

Someone making substantially less couldn't do that, since they couldn't deduct from their income tax ... but probably couldn't afford to buy it in the first place.

In other words? I just disproved my initial statement - yes, they CAN upgrade for free, if they didn't depreciate the value of the ram.

Comment: Re:Ethernet! (Score 4, Insightful) 372

by Auroch (#41796267) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Ideas For a Geek Remodel?

Lots and lots of Ethernet ports. Wireless is insufficient for the True Geek.

Well, it's not a bad idea. The wiring can be done in a way that you can thread other things when ethernet is no longer fast enough.

Though, if you're going to do that - why not send all the cords to a central part in the house, and install a command centre there? You can use it to re-direct connections, spy on internet usage, selectively disable (or re-route) certain wires ...

Comment: Re:Signal isn't chaning, the noise floor is (Score 1) 615

by Auroch (#41724703) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Does Wireless Gear Degrade Over Time?

PLEASE STOP OFFERING THIS ADVICE.

Increasing your WAP broadcast power does nothing to improve signal in the other direction, so while it will make your mobile devices show more bars, it won't actually improve network performance. TCP doesn't work unless a host can both send and receive (packets need to be ACKed), so even if the client receives further away from the WAP, it'll stop getting new packets if it can't notify the sender that those packets were received.

All that really happens when you increase broadcast power is an increase in interference with neighboring WAPs, which tends to lead other people to the conclusion that they also need to increase broadcast power in order to overcome the interference that you created.

... so you're suggesting you turn up the power on BOTH ends?

Comment: Re:Several causes, but a few that spring to mind.. (Score 1) 615

by Auroch (#41723533) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Does Wireless Gear Degrade Over Time?

1. slow burnout of emitter gear due to thermal degradation (yes, clock chips and transistors get hot, as do solder tracks and joints). Thermal runaway can occur if a solder joint fails and arcs, or overvoltage causes signal tracks to vapourise. 2. ionising radiation, particularly on unshielded components such as antenna conductors (I've seen something like this occur on an externally mounted amateur radio antenna: the sunward side of the antenna completely degraded, the result being that the only signals received (or sent) were on the shadow side). 3. component quality on consumer gear is not as stringent as it could be. Components can and do fail, and considering the number of components in a lot of consumer gear, it's a wonder any of it actually leaves the factory. 4. the noise floor of several years ago was far, far lower than it is now. The ERP of newer gear is (by design or by necessity) higher than older gear as more and more transmitters have to share the band. As a result, the signal quality taking a dive may be at least partly illusory. The equipment may actually be perfectly fine. 5. parasitic structures in semiconductor packages may be the catalyst for failure, either immediate or delayed. Such structures may be as small as a single atom of chlorine embedded in a crystal of germanium - innocuous at first (undetectable, even), but over time and use, that contamination will alter the chemistry of the semiconductor, possibly causing it to bond with the package material and rendering it useless. This might not even be an issue in high powered gear like regulators but in something like a microprocessor, it's a showstopper.

No facts, please. We're all happy complaining about signals, noise, and the general decline of the human race.

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