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Comment Re:HAHAHAHA! (Score 1) 68 68

If they'd build SkyTran, then a lot of people wouldn't need either manually-driven or automated cars to get to work, or anyplace else if they don't need to haul a bunch of kids or cargo. SkyTran isn't that complicated because it's confined to suspended rails, so it doesn't have to worry about other traffic (the system knows where all the cars are, and extra safety systems keep track of cars in front and behind on the same rail), there's no intersections, no worries about kids running out into traffic (since they're elevated well above the street), etc. Plus, since there's no intersections and the cars can go 50-100mph in the city nonstop, you can get to your destination far faster than any driverless car could.

For highway driving of trucks and other vehicles, automated is the way to go as that's a lot simpler than city streets.

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 1) 843 843

No, it's not at all. The total volume of emissions is directly proportional, but the type of emissions is not. Older vehicles produce much more toxic emissions (carbon monoxide, etc.), whereas new cars produce much cleaner emissions (water and CO2, with far less of the nasty stuff). CO2 is a global warming gas, but it's a lot better than carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, unburned hydrocarbons, particulate pollution, etc. Newer cars produce far less of these than old ones.

Comment Directional arrows aren't as silly as you'd think (Score 1) 153 153

These can not be very good cables because they lack the direction arrow that the Belden audiophile Ethernet cables have (had?). This was so you would know which way to plug them in. Packets flow from hub/switch to the device.

And if you believe this, I have a bridge to sell you. It is orange and you will make your money back in picture postcard royalties.

It's in the caption of the very first picture:

Audiophile-grade "Vodka" Ethernet cables, from AudioQuest. They even have directional indicators!

But, surprisingly for Ars, they missed the point of those directional indicators. The article on electrical testing hints at it:

Finally, the braided shield inside the cable drew some comments. "There is no continuity from the body of the one connector to the body of the other, indicating that the shield has not been terminated to one or both of the connector," noted Denke. "Our 6A uses an absorptive shield—that is, the cable is shielded but the shield is not terminated at either end. Alien crosstalk is the crosstalk which occurs between cables, as opposed to the internal crosstalk which occurs between the pairs in a cable. This may also be why there are unterminated shields on the Audioquest cable—I’m not really sure what the reason is there, though I had thought that the shields on Cat 7 were required to be tied to ground. It is also possible—I have no handy way to test—that they've tied the shield to one end only, though this would be highly nonstandard for network cabling." (emphasis added)

It's highly nonstandard for network cabling, but highly standard for audio cabling - it's called a telescoping shield and is used to prevent ground loops and audible (60 Hz) hum. Typically, you leave the shield connected at the low-impedance source, and disconnect it at the high-impedance load... as a result, the cable actually does have a directionality, but on the shield, rather than the signal lines. I can guarantee that's the intent with these cables and why they're marked with directional arrows, and it's pretty surprising that Ars and Denke missed it. Maybe they were stuck thinking "network" cable rather than "audio" cable.

That said, because these are network cables, that telescoping shield is irrelevant. You're not going to get ground hum into your amplifier from your network card, the way you would with a shield on an analog audio cable. They're simply not connected, and if they were, you'd have much bigger issues - like that hum causing all sorts of problems on your PCI bus. This is why network cable shields are typically connected at both ends: ground loops are irrelevant.

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 1) 843 843

Rent doesn't go up fast if you move frequently. They only jack up the rent when you stay there a long time. Then they lower it to attract new tenants.

You're never going to pay off a house if you buy a house, move in 2 years, buy another house, move in 2 years, etc. The overhead costs of buying and selling are just way too high. So it makes more sense to rent until you're in a place where you're pretty sure you're going to stay for at least 5 years.

Personally, I really don't want to be where I am now in 5 years, so I rent. My current location is just a stepping stone. For most engineers, it should be the same; these positions just aren't long-term any more.

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 1) 843 843

The economy already recovered.

According to whom? Official government figures? The stock market?

All the unemployed and underemployed millenials would disagree with this assertion. What you're seeing is a widening gap between the rich and the poor, with the number of people on the latter side growing. A small number of rich people getting richer on paper does not make for a sound economy.

If the newer car has side-impact airbags, it will have a much higher safety rating. If not, then it won't have a higher rating

Even sub-$20k new cars these days have side airbags and side-curtain airbags. They also have better-designed chasses; the IIHS small-offset frontal crash test is only a few years old, and a lot of new cars (which are older designs) aren't faring well on it, but brand-new designs are doing well because the automakers have designed for this. Something from 1995 is not going to do well in that test at all, or in a side crash since cars back then didn't have side airbags or curtains.

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 1) 843 843

When I lived in Portland we shopped at Whole Foods for fish, and a few other items. They have the best labeling anywhere. Yes, it was more expensive.

I've had the same experience with meats: WF is the best place to buy them usually, because they have great selection, including grass-fed beef which shitty grocery stores don't usually carry, and free-range chicken. The meats at regular stores are really lousy.

And no, the specialty cheese shop will be much, much cheaper.

I'm not a big cheese eater, so I don't know much about this. I've only noticed that WF has a far, far better cheese selection than regular grocery stores.

That said, most shoppers will find everything they buy at WF at Trader Joes for 20%+ less money, and often higher quality. But there is no fresh fish.

I have to disagree with this one. TJ is simply a much, much smaller store than WF, at least at every location of each that I've been to. There's no way for it to have a comparable selection. And for things I've looked for, it usually doesn't. They certainly don't have a comparable selection of hot cocoa IME. This isn't to say that TJ sucks: it's a great store, and usually cheaper than WF, but this comes with the disadvantage of a more limited selection. Also, I don't believe TJ has a butcher department at all.

Another thing that's nice about many WF locations is the deli department, and the prepared food tables next to it (not at all locations). At the one I used to go to in New Jersey, they had a huge hot-bar buffet section, so you could just go get your lunch there and eat it in the large open area in front with free WiFi. Or you could get something made for you at the deli. TJ's doesn't have any of that. The hot-bar stuff is a bit pricey ($8.99/lb I believe), but generally good and lets you pick and choose what you want. Deli sandwiches and wraps are actually pretty well-priced IME, compared to the King's grocery store that it competes with in that area, which is even more expensive than WF.

As a side note, WF is not the most expensive grocer around. In NJ, they have King's which is rather pricey, and in AZ they have AJ's. At least at WF, they have a policy forbidding anything with HFCS and trans fats, so the foods all have to meet a certain quality level; the other fancy stores will happily sell you mass-market junk from Coca-Cola, at an inflated price, and with really nice tile floors in the aisles.

On the west coast, there are a variety of stores that offer these types of higher-quality items without the extra premium that WF charges. ... In places without a strong health-food culture, WF might be the only game in town for things like organic fair trade cocoa in a glass jar; on the west coast you can actually find that almost anywhere.

So basically I need to move to the PacNW?

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 1) 843 843

Yep, from what I'm seeing, in a lot of places it seems to make more sense to rent than buy (a home) because of this. Landlords may have bought the houses when they were cheaper, so the rent isn't as high, plus with more people renting there's more competition.

Plus, at least in my line of work, and with the crappy economy, it makes more sense to me to not be locked into a mortgage payment, so I can be more mobile. If my job disappears, I can pretty easily pack up and move for another job; that's not so easy when you own a house.

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 1) 843 843

Exactly how did it do that? CfC was a one-time thing (or was it two-time?), you can't get cash for your clunker any more. And it only applied to gas guzzlers as I recall. The cars I've been looking at (both new and used) have been ones getting at least 25mpg and usually over 30.

That did seem to be a rather stupid program though, as it concentrated too much on fuel economy rather than emissions. The focus should have been to get old, poorly-maintained cars off the road, because they're the ones creating the most pollutants, by orders of magnitude. Some 10-year-old car getting crappy fuel economy because it has a big V8 doesn't produce nearly as many emissions as a 30-year-old 4-cylinder. The latter is the one that should be prioritized in removing from operation.

Comment Re:Truck Stops, Gas Stations, etc (Score 1) 843 843

That's nice, but it doesn't help me keep track of it. Even cars which display some of this info to the driver don't help much; my car tells me the instantaneous mpg (which is somewhat useless as it varies so much), the "average mpg" (which is since the last time it was reset, even more useless), and then the trip mpg (since the car was last started, probably the most useful, but only displays for a few seconds when I turn the car off). It has no facility to track fuel economy over time or by the tank. (The trip mpg isn't even that useful, because a 3-minute trip with poor economy isn't comparable to a 3-hour trip on the highway; seeing the per-tank mileage gives you a better perspective of how your car is performing.)

Comment Re:Crooks are afraid of the dark, too (Score 1) 285 285

Or you could just carry your own source of light, like a torch?
I've never had problems finding my own car in the dark, it's actually easier when there are no lights whatsoever because your eyes adjust and everything is the same level of brightness... If there are light sources, your eyes adjust to that and the areas not covered by the lightsource look much darker.

Comment 8.1 randomly decides to not open or shut down here (Score 1) 461 461

sack 'o' pus updates often don't say whether they are working, don't shut down. I have had to pull the battery out of my laptop to be able to eat supper or go to bed so many times the gold is probably rubbed off the contacts. there is no excuse for hijacking the computer and not saying a damn thing about it, Softies....

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"