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Comment: For 3rd party batteries, I've had good luck with (Score 5, Interesting) 131

by aussersterne (#47733373) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Find Good Replacement Batteries?

Anker products.

As you note, the problem with batteries is there's just so much undifferentiable import crap. Lots of it has fancy packaging.

Anker is no doubt trafficking in generics as well, but they do have their own design department (even goods like their Qi chargers that are made out of glass and metal have logos embedded in them and don't look like everyone else's generics) and when I posted a lukewarm review on Amazon ("Seems to work, nothing impressive, but good that it works.") about a phone battery, a rep with native English contacted me immediately and asked if there was anything they could do or offer to improve my experience from lukewarm to stellar.

So that at least is indicative of a company that cares. Note that I don't work for Anker, but since that experience (the phone battery was my first purchase of their products) I've purchased a number of subsequent products and none of them performed more poorly than the original OEM equipment, so that's at least something in this world of mostly fake batteries.

Comment: Or save costs w/R6300 (Score 1) 427

by aussersterne (#47635869) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Life Beyond the WRT54G Series?

I have an R6300 (much less expensive, 90 percent of the power) and routinely saturate our 802.11N channels using DD-WRT, including to the outside world (connected via Google Fiber, which includes its own router, but a router that's significantly less cool). Before we had GF, we used the DD-WRT QoS features heavily and it was absolutely perfect.

The router is handsome, has been rock solid and running strong for many months now, and only cost $100 on sale at a Best Buy retail store. Prices may reach even lower now, particularly when sales are on.

Comment: The parent's question was not a moral one, (Score 1) 172

by aussersterne (#47608541) Attached to: Sony Tosses the Sony Reader On the Scrap Heap

so spare me the politics.

It was "Why is Sony failing?"

The reason that sony is failing is that you can buy (or, in your terms, "rent") more content, more accessories, more apps, more of everything, and do so more conveniently, from competitors products. The device itself is not the failing; it is that the usefulness of the device is diminished by the relative lack of things to do with it, and the lack of ways to do so conveniently.

It matters not at all what you think of the big picture to answer the posed question; it is simply that whatever Amazon offers, Sony offers *less* of it—not in the device hardware, but in everything that surrounds the device hardware, in the ways that the device hardware can be used. Sony's hardware is thus less useful, not for reasons relating to hardware or UI design, but for reasons relating to business relationships, customer-facing opportunity structure, and so on.

The politics of DRM and so on is an important discussion to have in our political life, but the fact that Amazon offers DRMed books has little to do with why Sony is failing (Sony, of course, offered the same—just fewer of them, with fewer ways to get them on the device, and fewer accessories to use with it).

Yes, the community is the product—it is also the product that the community consumes. Yes, publishers and manufacturers skim value off the top of that circular transaction. That is, as you point out, the business model.

And what I am saying is that that is the *dominant* business model right now, and that Sony sucked at it in comparison to Amazon or even to Barnes and Noble.

Comment: They're failing at UX, bigtime. (Score 1) 172

by aussersterne (#47607251) Attached to: Sony Tosses the Sony Reader On the Scrap Heap

They're still working 20 years behind everyone else, caught in a love for industrial and UI (as opposed to UX) design.

They don't get the "ecosystem" concept. In fact, they actively fight it while everyone else is trying to build it.

Everyone else has known for a decade at least that every product is part of a service.

Sony is still busy thinking that every service is part of a product.

Others: The product is one of our service's features/facets.
Sony: The service is one of our product's features/facets.

So their devices are technically great, but too often they come narrowly bound to half-assed services that have only seen enough investment to allow the product to ship with the basic claim that it's functional. As a result, you can't actually practically use their products for nearly as much or nearly as well as competing products. The content isn't there. The accessories aren't there. The third parties aren't there. The fellow users interacting aren't there. Other devices may be technically inferior, but that have a large ecosystem of content, enthusiasts, third-party developers, accessories, etc. behind them.

While everybody else is practically begging the world, "Please, community! Embrace our product and take it in organically emerging directions!," Sony is busy saying "Get lost, community! We're in control here; stop trying to take this in non-approved directions!"

Other tech companies would kill to get a community going. Sony would kill anyone that claims to be a part of a "community" around their product.

Comment: Re:FUD filled.... (Score 1) 212

It sounds like this transformer had its center tap grounded and was the path to ground on one side of a ground loop as the geomagnetic field moved under pressure from a CME, inducing a common-mode current in the long-distance power line. A gas pipeline in an area of poor ground conductivity in Russia was also destroyed, it is said, resulting in 500 deaths.

One can protect against this phenomenon by use of common-mode breakers and perhaps even overheat breakers. The system will not stay up but nor will it be destroyed. This is a high-current rather than high-voltage phenomenon and thus the various methods used to dissipate lightning currents might not be effective.

+ - Letter to Congress: Ending U.S. Dependency on Russia for Access to Space 1

Submitted by Bruce Perens
Bruce Perens (3872) writes "I've sent a letter to my district's senators and member of congress this evening, regarding how we should achieve a swifter end to U.S. dependency on the Russians for access to space. Please read my letter, below. If you like it, please join me and send something similar to your own representatives. Find them here and here. — Bruce

Dear Congressperson Lee,

The U.S. is dependent on the Russians for present and future access to space. Only Soyuz can bring astronauts to and from the Space Station. The space vehicles being built by United Launch Alliance are designed around a Russian engine. NASA's own design for a crewed rocket is in its infancy and will not be useful for a decade, if it ever flies.

Mr. Putin has become much too bold because of other nations dependence. The recent loss of Malaysia Air MH17 and all aboard is one consequence.

Ending our dependency on Russia for access to space, sooner than we previously planned, has become critical. SpaceX has announced the crewed version of their Dragon spaceship. They have had multiple successful flights and returns to Earth of the un-crewed Dragon and their Falcon 9 rocket, which are without unfortunate foreign dependencies. SpaceX is pursuing development using private funds. The U.S. should now support and accelerate that development.

SpaceX has, after only a decade of development, demonstrated many advances over existing and planned paths to space. Recently they have twice successfully brought the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket back to the ocean surface at a speed that would allow safe landing on ground. They have demonstrated many times the safe takeoff, flight to significant altitude, ground landing and re-flight of two similar test rockets. In October they plan the touchdown of their rocket's first stage on a barge at sea, and its recovery and re-use after a full flight to space. Should their plan for a reusable first-stage, second, and crew vehicle be achieved, it could result in a reduction in the cost of access to space to perhaps 1/100 of the current "astronomical" price. This would open a new frontier to economical access in a way not witnessed by our nation since the transcontinental railroad. The U.S. should now support this effort and reap its tremendous economic rewards.

This plan is not without risk, and like all space research there will be failures, delays, and eventually lost life. However, the many successes of SpaceX argue for our increased support now, and the potential of tremendous benefit to our nation and the world.

Please write back to me.

Many Thanks

Bruce Perens"

Comment: Re:Evolution (Score 1) 253

by Bruce Perens (#47485313) Attached to: New Treatment Stops Type II Diabetes


You make it sound like starving people are getting fat too.

If they are becoming obese, the particular individual has a surplus of caloric intake, if only for this year or month. This is not to say that they have proper nutrition. So I am not at all clear that the fact that there is obesity in the third world is confounding evidence.

Comment: Evolution (Score 1) 253

by Bruce Perens (#47480445) Attached to: New Treatment Stops Type II Diabetes
For most of the existence of mankind and indeed all of mankind's progenitors, having too much food was a rare problem and being hungry all of the time was a fact of life. We are not necessarily well-evolved to handle it. So, no surprise that we eat to repletion and are still hungry. You don't really have any reason to look at it as an illness caused by anything other than too much food.

Comment: Re: If you pay... (Score 2) 15


The last time I had a professional video produced, I paid $5000 for a one-minute commercial, and those were rock-bottom prices from hungry people who wanted it for their own portfolio. I doubt I could get that today. $8000 for the entire conference is really volunteer work on Gary's part.

Someone's got to pay for it. One alternative would be to get a corporate sponsor and give them a keynote, which is what so many conferences do, but that would be abandoning our editorial independence. Having Gary fund his own operation through Kickstarter without burdening the conference is what we're doing. We're really lucky we could get that.

Remember the good old days, when CPU was singular?