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Comment: Re:Extended battery (Score 2) 268

by Grishnakh (#49754345) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Dumb Phone?

I looked into one of these (can't remember which brand now) for the Samsung S5, and all the reviews said the new replacement back sucked, wasn't waterproof like the old one, and worst of all, killed the speakerphone functionality because they didn't bother putting a hole for the microphone I think.

Your suggestion sounds good in theory, but in practice it seems like the replacement back/battery makers do a lousy job with engineering. It's too bad the phone makers themselves don't offer OEM batteries and matching fat back panels.

Plus, it doesn't help that the trend now is to eliminate removable batteries altogether. The S5 was the last Samsung with one; the S6's battery is non-removable. It seems that most consumers are just too stupid to appreciate removable batteries, and only care about how thin a phone is, and really don't care how long the battery lasts. Apple was right.

Comment: Re:What is it you want again? (Score 3, Interesting) 268

by Grishnakh (#49754307) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Dumb Phone?

Exactly. You can't have it both ways. If you want a good camera, then you're firmly in smartphone territory, and recent phones too. Even my 4-year-old smartphone's camera sucks.

What we need to be doing is figuring out how to make our own smartphones that actually work well. The key to this (since we can't build them ourselves obviously) is to back some of the open-source community projects like CyanogenMod (or any better ones, I'm open to suggestions) and get those working well, just like OpenWrt works well for a lot of routers. If you want a good router that doesn't have any spyware or other BS from the manufacturer, you don't *need* to build your own router from the ground up, you just need to find a cheap consumer router that's supported by OpenWrt and install that, and then you're set. We need to do the same for phones.

There's always going to be limitations, however. Phones only come with batteries that are so large, but by customizing the software some of that can be mitigated, by removing all the bloatware and making very stripped-down builds which don't have much running in the background. Obviously, the phone makers and carriers are not going to provide what we want for us, at any price, so if we want this stuff we have to do it ourselves. And, there's already projects in existence with goals much like this, so it shouldn't be that hard to piggyback onto one of them.

Comment: Re:It's not a risk (Score 1) 218

by Grishnakh (#49753837) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

Back then, we had far more resources because they hadn't been tapped out. People also knew how to live without technology and agriculture back then. Not any more.

It's not like we'd suddenly go back to peacefully living like they did thousands of years ago. The survivors would be fighting over what little resources are left.

Comment: I completely disagree (Score 2) 218

by Grishnakh (#49753699) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

First, they talk about asteroids like they're just a risk to be calculated. The problem is that a large enough asteroid wouldn't just kill a lot of people, it would be the end of civilization as we know it, and quite likely would cause the extinction of humans. So even if the odds are low, the consequences are bad enough that we should be worried about it. Also, it's not like it hasn't happened before. An asteroid hurt a bunch of people in Russia a few years ago, and a really big one killed off most of the dinosaurs in the K-T Event. The dinosaurs learned the hard way how foolhardy it is to not have a strong space program.

Second, a danger like this is good for us as a species right now, if we take it seriously. We need to get into space for a lot of reasons; we're destroying our ecosystem, using up our resources, polluting the planet, and there's no end in sight. There's huge opportunities in space: there's untold resources ready to be mined in asteroids or on the Moon nearby, and if we could come up with the technology, we could even live there just in case this planet becomes uninhabitable. However, if we wait around until it's too late, we won't be able to take advantage of space-based resources (or deflect a killer asteroid); we have to start now, developing our capabilities.

Finally, a threat like this is good for us to focus on, because it gives us a reason to be more unified. We humans are stupid and fight with each other when there's no external threat; the only time we band together is when there's an even bigger external threat which forces us to look past our differences and work together. Killer asteroids are good for that, forcing us to develop our space technology without needing to demonize some other group of people.

Honestly, the authors of this article should be ashamed of themselves. Even if they were right, they shouldn't publicly proclaim this because of the negative effects on society. What would they rather we do, give up on space technologies and work instead on building more ground-based weapons systems so we can fight each other more and pollute our ecosystem even more? Good job, assholes.

Comment: Re:Signals, zoning, and subsidizing transit (Score 1) 823

by Grishnakh (#49739005) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

I'm pretty sure today's full-size trucks are usually close to 5000 pounds. Yes, the small pickups are lighter, but most people drive the full-size ones, at least where I live. Ford's new F150 does succeed in shaving some weight off with an aluminum body, but it still is about 4000 pounds for the lightest model.

Comment: Re:This is backward! (Score 1) 823

by Grishnakh (#49736237) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

soon all the cars on the road will be electric and with just a gas tax there will be little money to maintain roads and they will, over time, become impassible

BS. Even if everyone drove an EV there, how is all the cargo going to get around? There's no such thing as an electric tractor-trailer, and those are the vehicles doing all the damage to the roads.

Raise the diesel tax, or better yet raise the commercial vehicle taxes.

Comment: Re: Why? (Score 1) 289

by Grishnakh (#49725513) Attached to: North Carolina Still Wants To Block Municipal Broadband

And how exactly do you propose to lock a dish onto a single satellite when they're moving around like that? Or is the idea to have enough of them out there that you don't need to lock onto a single bird, just have one in range?

Either way, it sounds expensive. Launching 7000 satellites isn't cheap, plus you have to have them reboosted constantly (500 mi is not a very high orbit, though it's better than the ISS) somehow. Unless they think they're going to get a ton of subscribers (and their system will actually be able to handle them all), it's not going to be economically feasible. Remember, they tried almost exactly this not that long ago with the Iridium satellite-phone system. It was a complete failure, and while it's still in use, the company that built and launched the satellites went out of business and it all had to be sold to another company for pennies on the dollar; they kept it going because their start-up costs were so low and they didn't have much of an investment to recoup. That doesn't sound like a good business plan to me. The only commercial satellite services that have been successful have been ones using GEO satellites, like DirecTV, since you can just launch one or two satellites and get coverage of the whole USA and not have to worry about boosting or replacing it frequently. GPS has been successful, but it wasn't commercial at all (the government does it for military purposes; we're just all benefiting from it), and even it only has a few dozen satellites.

Comment: Re: Why? (Score 1) 289

by Grishnakh (#49722357) Attached to: North Carolina Still Wants To Block Municipal Broadband

We already have satellite internet. Go to and check it out for yourself.

The problem with it is that the ping times are terrible. There's nothing that can be done about that unless you figure out how to communicate faster-than-light, because radio waves take a certain amount of time to travel to a geosynchronous satellite and back. You could stick satellites in lower orbits, but then they won't stay there long without boosting, and more importantly, you can't fix a satellite dish on them because they're constantly moving across the sky, just like the ISS does. Only GEO orbits allow you to fix a dish on a satellite and not need to move it.

Comment: Re:It's about money. (Score 1) 289

by Grishnakh (#49722335) Attached to: North Carolina Still Wants To Block Municipal Broadband

How did he violate his oath? He was supposed to uphold the US Constitution, is he not? His state's anti-gay law was unconstitutional, so he had every right to refuse to enforce it.

If his state passed a law banning Catholicism, do you think he should be bound to enforce that one too, even though it's obviously and clearly in violation of the First Amendment?

If it's working, the diagnostics say it's fine. If it's not working, the diagnostics say it's fine. - A proposed addition to rules for realtime programming