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Comment Hundreds of little propretary buses (Score 1) 151

It may not have killed RS232 (which is way too old and simple to replace i completely), but do you remember the time when every external device (scanner, camera) had it's own implementation of talking to you computer? Or when big PC vendors would define their own "expansion busses".

These times are gone for good.

Comment Re:Lack of network connectivity is a deal breaker (Score 2) 98

The problem is that the USB port now requires a special cable which not all of us have lying around in quantity. It doesn't make it impossible, but it does make it more of a hassle.

Micro USB is hardly a "special cable" by any stretch.
It's the same cable and connector all of the raspberry pi models use for power

Pretty much all tablets and smart phones except Apples use them these days.
Also a good number of USB wall chargers typically have a USB-A on them and include a USB-A to Micro USB cable.

I was quite saddened to see most Slashdot posters don't even have a cheap-o $5 USB keyboard or ten laying around, and not including one with the original Pi being labeled "a deal breaker" - but really, no one around these parts has massive piles of both of those parts and more laying around anymore?

Comment Re:Which one is sub-$10? (Score 1) 98

Which one is sub-$10?
Unless you get your hands on the MagPi or live near one of the twenty-five Micro Center locations in the USA

The later being exactly what I did. The Pi Zeros were $5 each, and I now have two of them.
The CHIP isn't being sold anywhere yet, either online nor Microcenter.

So the answer to your question is "The Pi Zero"

Comment Re:Yes/No (Score 1) 205

Stadium matches have their own security procedures and personnel. The French police are already spread thin with the current level of alert, and from the looks of it on TV they've even brought in military personnel to help augment the patrols. They simply do not want to have to devote additional resources to provide security for a protest, even if it was already scheduled and organized.

Atypical security personnel armed and trained to deal with militants tend not to mix well with an angry mob of protesters.

Comment Re:I Process Retail Returns Daily (Score 1) 95

In brick and mortar, top electronics returns are phone chargers with the wrong plug (Lightning instead of micro-usb or vice versa)

So not only does Apple flaunt the EU directive to standardize on micro-USB for phone charges, it shifts the cost of their non-compliance onto retail stores (and thus the rest of us) which have to deal with the returns?

Comment Re: Will Apple be able to spec/source a good OLED? (Score 2) 208

Color cast is entirely an Android problem. If Google would get off its butt and implement color management in Android, you could simply profile the screen and correct the color in software. That is in fact what Apple does with its phones, tablets, and laptops to eliminate color casts - they color calibrate each screen and implement the correction in software. It's got nothing to do with OLED - as long as red, green, and blue are being generated in sufficient quantities, you can have a perfectly color calibrated display assuming the software lets you actually calibrate it. And OLED generates gobs of red, green, and blue - enough to cover AdobeRGB color space and beyond. Most LCDs are limited to sRGB or less (they only use blue LEDs, and a phosphor which converts some of that blue light into yellow, with the yellow substituting for red+green).

Uneven backlighting and dark splotches a LCD problem. You try coming up with an arrangement of lights around a rectangular perimeter which provides even brightness across the entire surface area. LCDs use an complex arrangement of diffusers and light channels to try to spread the light around evenly. It is not precise at all, and very fragile. I had left my laptop closed on a table, and someone signed a piece of paper on top of it. Apparently they pressed down very hard, because the pressure from the pen was concentrated enough to deform the diffusers slightly, and that laptop screen developed a dark splotch right where the person signed.

Pixel noise is due to most LCD panels being 6-bit and using time-dithering (rapidly flickering it between two 6-bit color values) to achieve 8-bit color depth.

Color gradients I've seen on OLED screens, but it's not because of the OLED layer itself. It's something to do with the layers they put on top. It's greatly exaggerated if you look at the screen through polarized glasses. In theory OLEDs should look identical through a polarizer as without. But something they're doing with the layers above it (maybe the capacitive touch layer?) leaves stresses in the material which are obvious through a polarizer.

Burn-in is the one problem OLED does have. But I used my Galaxy S for 5 years without any significant burn-in.

Comment Re:Or just make the diesels hybrids (Score 1) 179

Hybrid electrics complement gasoline (petrol) better than diesel. You basically have three modes of vehicle operation you want to optimize. Acceleration from a start, highway cruise (only requires about 20-25 HP for most cars), and acceleration at speed for passing on the highway.

Gasoline engines hit their torque peak at mid-RPM (torque is basically how much energy is generated per cylinder firing), and their power peak at high RPM (horsepower is how much energy is generated per second, so torque * RPM). Typically you can design an engine for optimal efficiency at a single RPM, and so the sweet spot for a gasoline engine is mid-to-high RPM. In an ideal case, the engine would only ever operate at this sweet spot RPM. This means gasoline engines are great for passing at highway speeds, but suck for accelerating from a start (low RPM) and highway cruise (low power). Hybrids complement them exceptionally well because an electric motor's gobs of torque at 0 RPM helps with acceleration from a start. And the electric can handle highway cruise, with the gas engine starting up only occasionally (and running at its peak torque or HP range) to recharge the battery.

Diesel engines have a higher compression ratio so hit their torque peak at low-RPMs (in addition to being more efficient than gasoline). This makes them good for acceleration from a start, great for highway cruise (why most freight trucks are diesel), but they suck at accelerating at highway passing. A hybrid electric motor doesn't complement diesel as well - the main benefits it adds are things a diesel already has. The primary benefit would be regenerative braking, which is only about 30% efficient anyway. The tech which best complements a diesel is a turbo, which increases power output at higher RPMs.

If you did want to do something to a diesel to help with the start-stop cycle of city driving, some sort of mechanical flywheel arrangement to provide regenerative braking would probably be a lot cheaper and weigh a lot less than batteries and electric motors. And yes I know most locomotives are diesel electric. That makes complete sense when you force a tiny engine to pull a huge load. If you compare hp to weight ratios, a locomotive is roughly equivalent to a car with a 5 hp engine. If you wanted to make a car with a 20 hp diesel engine (so it could generate enough power to overcome aerodynamic drag at highway speeds), then coupling it with an electric motor is much more preferable to having a transmission with 25 gears.

Comment Re:The dark matter between their ears (Score 1) 164

I don't have to provide alternative explanation to point out that what I see here is an ungrounded assertion. They're trying to manipulate facts to match the theory, not the other way around like actual scientists do.

No actually you DO have to provide an explanation.
We observe things happening. We are trying to make an explanation why they are happening.

Your claim that "they are not happening" when all observations and evidence and facts show 100% of the time over a few trillions of observations that your claim is WRONG.

It's completely on your head to show why your already-proven-incorrect "thought" is not wrong.

The facts you claim are being manipulated are right there in front of your face with no manipulation by anyone - except yourself of course, who keeps insisting the facts must be ignored because they don't fit your personal crazy "theory"

So get to explaining

Comment Re:Scheduled programming is doomed. Maybe ads too. (Score 1) 232

The future of television is on-demand and not scheduled programming with the option to pay subscription fees to kill all advertising. This means no cable TV as we currently see it. All TV programming will be sent over IP networks. Over the air local TV stations will start offering TV streaming to smart TV's, and will retire their transmitters. The spectrum will be freed up for other uses.

Well, that last one won't happen until cellular Internet becomes ubiquitous (so broadband speeds are available everywhere). But I agree, Cable TV is on the way out. I just got a Roku this weekend. The thing that struck me most was how much clearer the image was. See, when you have Cable or Satellite TV, they have to transmit all the channels to you all the time regardless of whether or not you're watching it. That takes a huge amount of bandwidth, so they have to do a lot of compression on all the channels. With streamed content, only the channel you want is transmitted to you. There's still compression - Internet speeds aren't yet realistic for streaming Blu-ray quality (48 Mbps). But from what I've seen so far it's typically a lot less than with Cable or Satellite.

(Note: Get a Roku only if you just want this stuff to work with minimal fuss. It intersperses its own video ads, which gets annoying real fast if you're trying to watch a bunch of short clips. And get a 2015 model Roku 2, not a 3. I went from a 3 to a 2 and got to play with both of them. As far as I can tell, the base units are the same, the only difference is the remotes. The Roku 3 remote would even pair with the Roku 2 base. The Roku 3 remote has some useful features over the 2, but the fly in the ointment is the new voice search button. They put it right next to the OK/select button. If you're navigating and reach down to hit OK, and accidentally hit Search, you drop back to the Home screen and have to start your navigation all over again. That cost me more time than I saved by using voice search. Unfortunately the Roku 2 remote is IR-only, so you have to point it at the Roku. The Roku 3 remote is RF so doesn't need line of sight. I just ended up getting a Logitech Harmony hub + RF remote, since I needed to consolidate my control of the TV, Roku, A/V receiver, and cable box anyway.)

My take on Advertising: Advertising is a scourge which causes weak minded people to go into debt wasting money purchasing things they don't need. Think of it as the 20th/21st century Jedi Mind Trick.

Like most things in life, advertising has good and bad sides. Yes the slick feel-good ads are designed to unnecessarily part you from your money. But ads are also informational, telling you about new products and services that are available. This became apparent when I lived without a TV for a year. I was hanging out with my friends and we decided to go see a movie. They began discussing which movie they wanted to see, and I was completely lost because I had no idea what all these movie titles were. The movie ads they'd seen on TV had been enough to give them a sense of the theme and plot of the movie. They tried quickly summarizing each movie, but there were just too many and a verbal description is much harder to remember than a slick video. After a couple minutes of wasting time that way, I just told them to pick what they wanted and I'd watch it as well.

Point being that while excessive advertising is bad, no advertising is bad as well. There's a balance point where a certain amount of ads is enough to inform you, without becoming annoying or irrationally skewing your behavior.

Comment Re:iFixit is NOT unbiased (Score 3, Insightful) 241

The declarations of someone who is complaining that others are making it harder for him to make a buck need to be taken with a large grain of salt. iFixit for all their merits sells spare parts & repair kits. It is thus clearly in their own interest for everyone else to make it profitable for them to sell their products. iFixit would be very profitable if all phone manufacturers did everything they could to make it easier for them to sell their repair kits & repair/upgrade instead of replacing.

I disagree. iFixit would be out of business if all phones and laptops were easy to take apart to repair. I don't have to visit iFixit to repair most Windows laptops because their disassembly is (reasonably) straightforward. I do have to visit iFixit to repair most Macbooks because Apple tries to make it as difficult as possible. Most of the spare parts and repair kit tools iFixit sells are only necessary because of the proprietary and weird things Apple has done to make their products difficult to open up and take apart.

So iFixit is actually advocating something which would effectively put them out of business. A true sign of people who value the craft more than the money they earn from it.

Comment Re:Windows 7 (Score 5, Interesting) 357

Maybe. Unless MS gets to reason and windows 11 gets the next windows for coroporations. I am 100% sure that 8 and 10 will be skipped in the upgrade cycle of big corporations. Most skipped vista, and 8 and 10 have a very short period between.

So when the chances are that MS will produce something which works as well for word, excel and PPT and windows XP and Windows 7 did.

Comment Re:Wait, they shipped the private key? (Score 1) 65

I've actually seen this before with OpenVPN setups. The standard setup procedure has you generate the keys and certificates on the server, but doesn't make clear which files are the private keys and which are public. One of the guides now carefully points out which files you're supposed to keep secret. But I've seen several OpenVPN setups where someone didn't know better and just installed the client, then copied all the config files (all the certificates and keys) from the server to the client.

Explaining it in the documentation isn't enough. The code which generates the keys should explicitly put the private and public keys in different directories whose names say whether they need to be kept on the server, put on the client, or copied to a USB flash drive and locked in a safe. Right now everything is just dumped into the current directory under the assumption that the person generating the keys knows which key is for what. You shouldn't assume everyone who will use the software will know how the software works.

Comment Re:I have an idea (Score 1) 591

The U.S. bases in Japan are there because the peace treaty ending WWII says Japan cannot have an external military, and instead the U.S. will provide for its national defense. Frankly I think it's time to revise those treaties and have Japan pay for its own defense (which would drive China nuts), but until that's done the U.S. bases in Japan have to stay.

The U.S. bases in Germany are there because both are NATO countries. The original objective of NATO was to repel a Soviet invasion, so having U.S. troops on the ground in place was necessary. This is probably due for revision as well, given the unlikelihood of a foreign invasion of Western Europe.

The U.S. bases in South Korea are there because there was no peace treaty ending that war, only a cease fire. Technically we're still at war with North Korea. Anyhow, the U.S. forces aren't there as an occupying force nor to provide stability. If you ask any of the troops there, they know exactly why they are there. They call themselves speed bumps. Their job in a North Korean attack is to die, so the U.S. has a reason to join the hostilities on South Korea's side. Their purpose is deterrence.

All three countries are more than stable enough to not need a U.S. military presence anymore, and have been stable enough for at least two decades (South Korea being the most recent to transition from a military to a civilian government). Unfortunately, we abandoned Iraq before it was self-sustainably stable.

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time.