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Comment: Re:What is it you want again? (Score 1) 300

by Grishnakh (#49758727) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Dumb Phone?

No, you don't. In bright daylight, a small lens works just fine, though they are noisier than a serious camera's lens. Where smartphones really fall down is when the lighting is less than optimal. But if you're just taking some not-so-serious outdoor shots, smartphone cameras are sufficient, and certainly better than no camera at all.

Comment: Re:Extended battery (Score 2) 300

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) 300

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) 227

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 3) 227

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) 825

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) 825

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.

"A car is just a big purse on wheels." -- Johanna Reynolds