Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Damn you, I'm a Mech Engineer, not a Mathemetician (Score 1) 298

by Gadgetfreak (#36603494) Attached to: Happy Tau Day

We already use Tau for both torque and for shear area. The nature of both types of calculations typically involves circles, and therefore, pi. Yeah, I'm nitpicking, but the last thing I need is for my simple calculations to have three different uses of the same damned Greek letter.

Everyone knows pi. It's too late, it's been the standard for generations. The same goes for the English language - it sucks, but even though it makes logical sense to change to something better, good luck trying to get everyone on board that train.

Comment: Re:Initial unlocked numbers a bit surprising (Score 1) 274

by Gadgetfreak (#35586652) Attached to: My phone is ...

I too have the Nexus One, and always thought the adjective "unlocked" was amusing when it was never locked to begin with.

  But what I find more interesting is when non-gadget people ask me what phone I have, and then ask "who's it from." When I explain "I bought it directly from Google, unlocked, no contract" most people just don't comprehend it because they don't understand the concept of buying a phone outside of a provider, or that their on-contract phone that was provider-subsidized has trade-offs such as being locked and having some OS features removed and bloatware added.
Too many people (at least in the US) blissfully assume that you only get your cell phone from the service provider, and don't even grasp the concept that the handset and service don't have to be tied together well enough to realize they can't take their phone elsewhere.

Comment: Re:Non-Profit? (Score 2) 557

by Gadgetfreak (#35407686) Attached to: Can For-Profit Tech Colleges Be Trusted?

If I had mod points, I'd mod up. I came to this conclusion a couple years ago (a couple years after I graduated from a public university) when I noticed more and more 'hobby-like' liberal arts programs, along with much fancier classrooms and hotel-like dorms. Colleges realized that they can sell students on a promise and a dream, and leverage their payment with federally endorsed loans co-signed by the parents. The coming realization for US High Schoolers is going to be that college isn't for everyone, and with the cost continuing to rapidly outpace inflation, you're going to have to have a firm game plan in place before you even apply. It's far from guaranteed to be worth the money. Yeah, the Ivy League will always open doors, but a general "college degree" is becoming a very expensive and poorly defined label.

Comment: Re:Price (Score 1) 618

by Gadgetfreak (#35173702) Attached to: Why Dumbphones Still Dominate, For Now

I fully agree. I know plenty of tech savvy people who still use dumb phones. They simply chose not to take on that expense. It's not even the gadget cost, it's the monthly plan cost and contract.

I only made the move when my company blocked all personal email accounts along with most of the internet. Since I work for a DoD contractor, I can't get my work email outside of the office, either. So it effectively cut off my main form of communication with people. I got a BlackBerry. Since then, I've moved onto a Nexus One. Same data plan...

It's cost me thousands of dollars over the years. While I certainly enjoy the convenience and extra features, I do wish I'd found a better way to keep things simple and cheap, because I can't go back.

Comment: Re:9 year old Laptop (Score 1) 454

by Gadgetfreak (#32527138) Attached to: My laptop's battery's good for roughly ...

I just finally tossed my 12 year old Gateway 2000 (yes, still the '2000' in the name). Pentium 200 MHz MMX. 14.1" active matrix LCD. 2.8 GB HDD. 48 MB of RAM.
  The Li-Ion battery still held a charge worth ~45 minutes of use, although it was physically about the size and weight of a 3.5" HDD.
  But I scrapped it because the power cord died, and it wasn't worth spending money on a new one for the sake of the novelty.

Comment: Re:It doesn't work. (Score 2, Interesting) 801

by Gadgetfreak (#31672434) Attached to: How To Build Roads To Control How Fast You Drive

Agreed. I have an Engineering degree from UConn, and I was rather embarrassed to read the article. I still live in Connecticut, and I actually seek out unfamiliar, curvy, "slow" roads to drive my roadster on. I realize most people aren't driving enthusiasts, but if you build a twisty road, some people will want to drive on it because of that.

I've come to the determination that the adage amongst driving enthusiasts is true: It's more fun to drive a slow car fast than to drive a fast car fast. It's all about how fast it feels. The same goes for road safety... it's the perception, not actuality, that changes your behavior. You don't really need a study to prove that.

Look at Autocross events... people love'em, and they're a lot of fun. But rarely do you go over 40 MPH.

Comment: Re:Why are markets for (Score 1) 490

by Gadgetfreak (#31284110) Attached to: The Sad History and (Possibly) Bright Future of TiVo

I completely agree. I have a TiVo HD, and continue to use and enjoy it... but the problem is that I still have to deal with my cable company. I had to pester them for 2 months to get a CableCard out of 'em, and they still charge me $4 a month to rent it.

There's just something ridiculous about paying for information delivery, only to be charged even more money to decode the proprietary signal they send to you.

Before the TiVo, we had analog-only cable, and a Philips stand-alone DVR/DVD burner that worked just fine.

But this day and age, if you want more than 3 or 4 HD channels or even want to think about some of the geekier SD cable stations, you're still stuck having to get equipment from the cable company. And frankly, for the vast majority of people, it's just cheap enough not to care that it sucks.

Comment: Why would they? (Score 1) 459

by Gadgetfreak (#31250940) Attached to: NHTSA Has No Software Engineers To Analyze Toyota

They respond to problems, they don't reverse engineer things. Does the FDA or the Surgeon General's office have engineers to paw through the lines of code in MRI machines or CT scanners, or anesthesia machines, or respirators, or any other number of computerized medical machines? No... they get tested emperically, just like cars do. It's very difficult to prove that some of these flaws exist.... remember the Audi "sudden acceleration" problems in the late '80s that almost killed the brand? That was pre-computerized throttle and transmission, and STILL was impossible to prove. Audi made pedal spacing changes, but largely to avoid the inevitable suicide of doing 'nothing.'

Engineers or not, it's going to be quite difficult to prove that there's an actual "flaw" in the design, let alone negligence,when there are so many millions of vehicles without issue.

Comment: Re:100GB+ (Score 1) 362

by Gadgetfreak (#30767202) Attached to: The Largest File On My Personal Computer Is:

It's the nature of MPEG2, though you must not be compressing much. I have a TiVo HD, and it's networked to my PC for extra storage. A 2-hour HD movie is ~20 GB, while a 1 hour standard-def show can be 1 to 2 GB. I don't know what processing the TiVo does, but these files are by far the biggest on my computer, and the sum total of them take up the vast majority of my HDD space.

Comment: Re:Article summary (Score 1) 1174

by Gadgetfreak (#30008028) Attached to: Plug vs. Plug — Which Nation's Socket Is Best?

Also in the U.S. we do have 220 volt plugs for high-energy devices that need more energy - things like stoves or hot water tanks. They are bulky three-prong affairs.

That was my issue - common room outlets are 110 VAC and 15A (often 20A in kitchens and other high-draw areas) in in the US, but the actual household mains in a typical house here has 220 VAC in the circuit breaker panel. It's merely split in two for the branch circuits. So while 110v is the standard, nearly everyone has 220v available. If you want a 220v outlet, you get a 220v breaker that bridges both buses, and making sure you have adequate branch wiring installed, put a 220v outlet on the other end. Done and done.

Most electric clothes dryers are 220v, and most houses are built with 220v outlets in the laundry area and garage area for large appliances.

The F-15 Eagle: If it's up, we'll shoot it down. If it's down, we'll blow it up. -- A McDonnel-Douglas ad from a few years ago

Working...