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Comment: Re:Before we go down the misinformation rabbit hol (Score 1) 415

by InvisiBill (#47398349) Attached to: Police Using Dogs To Sniff Out Computer Memory

Did you actually read the article? It's very clear they're NOT talking about merely finding concealed hard drives, but actually determining the content of the memory using a dog's sense of smell.

I saw no such claim in TFA.

“If it has a memory card, he’ll sniff it out,” Detective Adam Houston, Thoreau’s handler, says.

However, the article does seem to add "which could contain child pornography" after every mention of a storage device. While technically true, it could just as easily have said "which could contain pictures of cats with grammatically incorrect captions" to avoid sounding so fanatical.

Comment: Re:Cars (Score 1) 345

by InvisiBill (#46909823) Attached to: Why Microsoft Shouldn't Patch the XP Internet Explorer Flaw

And you totally missed the point.

Which is what? That everyone should be nice and support everything they've ever produced until the end of time? At some point, supporting legacy systems begins to take away from advancement. Would you rather dedicate resources to solving new problems and inventing new things, or regression testing patches on systems from 15 years ago?

Maybe you know more than I do about what goes on inside Microsoft, but I think you're making some assumptions that aren't necessarily true. You say it's a small price to pay, but it does add another whole OS to support (granted, this is somewhat reduced while Server 2003 is still being supported). It may be a much larger price than you believe. You also imply that simply perpetuating the XP status quo is a good thing. Keep in mind that XP was released when 9% of US households had broadband (compared to 72%+ now). It was before the 130nm 1.6GHz Northwood P4 was released. Consumer dual-core CPUs were years away. Newer versions of Windows are designed to work with modern hardware. If your XP system is truly incapable of running Windows 7, a new PC would probably benefit you in other ways too.

For what it's worth, it seems they've provided much more support than Apple, who already dropped 2009's Snow Leopard from getting updates. Windows 7 is only a few months newer than SL but will be supported until 2020.

No wonder american businesses don't give a flying f about anything but their bottom line. Apparently, customers don't either.

A capitalist business exists to make money. I expect any company to attempt to maximize the amount of money they make. That doesn't necessarily mean charging the highest possible prices for the minimum amount of product/service, as life is more complex than that. There are things that are mathematically good for profit now, but may affect the company long-term or in unrelated ways, and things that don't look as good on the books but help business overall. But yes, I expect Microsoft to draw a line when they decide that it's costing them much more money to keep supporting a product than they will ever make from any resulting goodwill of doing so.

Comment: Re:Cars (Score 1) 345

by InvisiBill (#46904691) Attached to: Why Microsoft Shouldn't Patch the XP Internet Explorer Flaw

Software evolves more quickly than cars and costs much less. Sticking with your analogy, let's use generations of cars rather than model years (which sometimes have no changes whatsoever). There have been three major releases since XP - Vista, 7, and 8. '15 is the beginning of the sixth generation for the Mustang, and '14 was the seventh generation for the Corvette. How much Ford/GM support is there for the '79-'93 Mustang or the '84-'96 Corvette at this point?

If you want to pay MS enough, they'll keep supporting your XP. But they've made the decision that they've supported it long enough and provided enough replacement options that it's not good business to keep spending money on XP support for the general public.

Comment: And it didn't require any extra work (Score 1) 345

by InvisiBill (#46904585) Attached to: Why Microsoft Shouldn't Patch the XP Internet Explorer Flaw
Well, "any extra work" is probably exaggerating a bit. However, this is a flaw in IE rather than the OS itself, and they were already releasing it for Server 2003 x86 (which is supported for another year) anyway, so it's basically just setting the flag in the installer to allow it to install on XP. I agree that they're setting a bad precedent by supporting a recently-unsupported OS, but at the same time it was probably considered fairly high ROI in terms of both general internet safety and keeping a few people in the Windows camp.

Comment: That security expert is wrong (Score 1) 345

by InvisiBill (#46904577) Attached to: Why Microsoft Shouldn't Patch the XP Internet Explorer Flaw
This week's IE vulnerability ( is not "rendered dead" by running as a non-admin. It (like many other vulns) is limited to the rights of the user account running IE, but it can still do anything you can, such as deleting all your photos or uploading your tax details somewhere. This fact actually benefits the rest of the internet more than it does the affected user. We appreciate that grandma's limited account keeps the box from becoming a complete zombie, but she's probably more upset by losing pictures of little Timmy than by Windows' system files getting corrupted.

Comment: Completely unrelated? (Score 4, Insightful) 545

by InvisiBill (#45310719) Attached to: A Plan To Fix Daylight Savings Time By Creating Two National Time Zones

The article seems to state that the problem is the constant changing of the time forward and backward due to DST. The proposed solution involves one final change at a regular DST interval, then no longer using DST. However, that change also involves redefining our four US timezones into two as well. I understand that it may be easier to make major timezone changes all at once, but I'm not sure the second is really related to the first.

I've seen other suggestions about simply not using DST anymore. It sure seems to me that today's modern technology and 24x7 scheduling make the idea of shifting daylight hours to different parts of the clock seem a bit outdated. Do we really save that much electricity on lighting to counteract the issues of dealing with changing the time around every six months?

Something I read previously suggested switching to Summer time and no longer using Winter time. Here in Michigan, it starts getting colder and darker earlier, then the DST change hits and it's suddenly dark pretty much as soon as you leave work. I'm not a fan of the author's suggestion to switch to Winter time (even if it is the "Standard" time) permanently. I'd much rather deal with dark mornings and have a little bit of light after work during the winter. I'm at the later edge of Eastern Time, so this effect should be even worse for those on the East Coast who would be seeing sunrise and sunset before me.

The author seems to make some reasonable points about people matching their activities to other timezones. I don't have enough experience to say whether that's really true for the majority of people, so as to justify converting the whole timezone. If we were to do this timezone rearrangement, the DST change might be a good time to do it, since people are already accustomed to moving their clocks an hour. However, I don't think it really has anything to do with the DST change, and personally I don't like the idea of my timezone moving to Winter time permanently.

Comment: Why would they? (Score 1) 135

by InvisiBill (#44904743) Attached to: iOS 7 Lock Screen Bug Leaves Certain Apps Vulnerable For Access

I will pay the first person who successfully lifts a print off the iPhone 5s screen, reproduces it and unlocks the phone in < 5 tries $100.

Why would a lockscreen bug have anything to do with this fingerprint scanner bounty?

Comment: Re:What exactly is their business plan? (Score 1) 191

by InvisiBill (#43842611) Attached to: Opera Releases Its First Chromium-Based Browser

Just looking at my 1GB-memory Firefox process with only simple two tabs makes me cry. I think they have a lot to improve.

Extensions and plugins? In Cyberfox (a 64-bit build of Firefox), I currently have 10 tabs open, 53 enabled extensions (26 more disabled), and pretty much all the standard content plugins other than Silverlight, even Flash and Java. On my 16GB system, Cyberfox is using 609MB. Try about:memory to see what's sucking up so much RAM.

Comment: Very different results if you tweak the numbers (Score 1) 446

by InvisiBill (#43808619) Attached to: Tesla Motors Repays $465M Government Loan 9 Years Early

The "pay as you go" is a very valuable concept. Take a common man and offer him two choices:

  • * a new car for $10K and $1K in gas fees every year for 20 years
  • * a new car for $30K and no fuel fees for 30 years

The common man will pick the first option. Why?

I understand what you're saying, and I agree with the general idea. However, I don't think the numbers you chose match up well to the ICE vs. EV comparison. What about these numbers instead?

  • * a new car for $20K and $3K in fuel costs every year for 10 years
  • * a new car for $30K and $0.5K in fuel costs every year for 10 years

Even "cheap" cars have gotten more expensive, so there's much less difference in the initial cost - more like an extra 50%, not 200%. Based on my own research comparing my Cobalt to a Volt, I think there's probably going to be more savings in recurring fuel costs too. Whereas your example shows that people will choose a low initial cost plus a recurring cost to get 20 years of service over paying that same amount upfront for 30 years of service, my example shows that the break-even point would come after just four years. Assuming you get 10 years of service out of the vehicle (I'm from the Rust Belt, not Cali), you're looking at a TCO of $50K vs. $35K. That's an extra 43% that you're paying for the comfort of the ICE you're used to. If you extend that out to 20 years, you get $80K vs. $40K. A break-even point of 20 years is completely different from 4 years when you're talking about something that's usually bought with a 5-year loan.

At this point, the long term reliability and maintenance costs of EVs aren't well known. If you have to spend $10K to replace your battery pack in 10 years, that puts it a lot closer to the TCO of the ICE. On the other hand, if the 20-year TCO of the ICE is $80K (remember that only 25% of that is the actual purchase cost), you can still save money by buying two of the EVs with a 10-year TCO of $35K. As others have stated, electric motors are quite reliable, so you may have some savings in maintenance costs there, and there are Priuses over a decade old that are still doing fine on the original batteries. The overall maintenance costs of ICE and EV could end up being a wash, or even in favor of the EV. At this point, we don't know what a 10-year-old Tesla will be like, but there's no guarantee that an ICE will be cheaper to maintain, and hopefully the existing hybrids and EVs can help us estimate.

I perfectly understand that Tesla has a [luxury] market. It is not the market for everyone, where a steel mill worker (assuming there is one left in the USA) could walk into the dealership (well, into a Tesla Store, I guess...) and order a Tesla car for his family use. I also understand that they are doing whatever they can. It's a harsh world, and Fisker's fiery demise is not making Tesla people too happy.

All I want to say is that Tesla will not get anywhere until they have a model for the mass market. They will remain a curiosity car maker for a few rich people, but they will not grow. Small market, especially the luxury market, is a dangerous place to be. It may take just one bad accident where the hardware is at fault to lose your reputation - and your sales.

I think if you sit down and look at the hard numbers, which will contain some variances for each individual as well as some not-very-proven data for EVs, I think you'll find that a $30K practical Tesla (not a $60-90K S) is a lot closer to the standard brand-new family car than you realize. With some incremental improvements to range and recharging (so that it could be refilled for another "tankful" of miles in the time it takes to do an average stop at a gas station/convenience store) to make it comparable to ICEs for extended trips, I think it could be a practical replacement for a lot of families. For example, a combination of improvements could bump the full-charge range up to 600 miles and make it so a 15 minute quick-charge could add another 300 miles (i.e. not necessarily just making it so that you can completely recharge your 300-mile battery in 5 minutes at a fueling station).

The Malibu starts at $26,725 and the Taurus at $26,700, so a $30K sedan that's saving you a couple grand in fuel costs each year isn't all that crazy. Would you tie up an extra $3,300 initially to save $2,500 a year in fuel costs? Also, it's been said that the BlueStar will be designed to compete with the $32,500 A4 and $32,550 3-series, for some reference. $30K still seems to me like a lot of money for a car (my $15K Cobalt is the most expensive vehicle I've owned), but it actually seems like a pretty good price point relative to the other cars that are available.

Going back to the steel mill worker, trucks (since he's a manly man) aren't cheap either. A regular cab, short box, RWD Chevy 1500 starts at $24,585. If he's got kids, add $4K for extended cab and another $4K for crew cab. 4X4 is another $3-4K, and we haven't even touched trim levels yet. A crew cab 4X4 LTZ is $43,380 before you add any special options. And since we're discussing fuel costs here, it gets 15-21mpg with the standard 5.3L or 12-18mpg with the 6.2L, so you're not likely to be saving money there either.

Comment: Actual cost of new cars (Score 1) 446

by InvisiBill (#43807439) Attached to: Tesla Motors Repays $465M Government Loan 9 Years Early

At this point Tesla does not have a market, and it does not have a vehicle that would fit into the spending pattern of a common man. It is known that luxury companies do exist, and can exist - as long as they are acutely aware of their audience. Jewelers, for example, remain in business, even though the only use of a diamond I can think of is to cut glass with it. Tesla can supply into that market for a while, but that won't make them a player.

IMO, Tesla needs to produce an EV that costs under $20K new. A $15K would be even better. It should have range ... as good as it gets. Beggars can't be choosers. But probably 100 miles per charge would be OK for many. A $15K car that costs little to run would be an excellent reason to buy - and that would appeal to the mass market, to the people who have to count each dollar when they fuel up their current vehicles. The mass market will make Tesla.

Have you looked at new car pricing lately? $15K is basically where new cars start. The Chevy Sonic and Ford Fiesta both start at $14,xxx. The Dodge Dart starts at $15,995. There are some subcompacts for a little less, but even the Smart Coupe starts at $12,490. Kia has the Forte starting at $15,900 and the Rio at $13,600. If you want to get into higher-quality imports, the Toyota Corolla starts at $16,230 and the Honda Civic is $17,965. My very base model Cobalt LS (superseded by the Cruze, which starts at $17,130) for $15K a few years ago went so far as to consider the spare tire an option (the standard is a can of Fix-A-Flat) and its power accessories are limited to steering and brakes (not locks and windows). Short of stripped-down econoboxes, you should plan to spend close to $20K for any new car these days.

I have a commute of approximately 19 miles round trip between two little towns. My 25/37mpg Cobalt uses about $2,000 worth of gas yearly. I looked into the Volt (as I could still have long range trips come up with short notice, so the hard limit of a pure electric won't fly for me) and figured out that it should cut my fuel bill to about $500 a year. Let's just assume that a pure EV would result in the same 3/4 reduction in fuel cost for simplicity's sake.

Let's say you could make a decent EV (with acceptable range, whatever that works out to be), comparable to the base version of the second-lowest ICE model, that also managed to eliminate 75% of your fuel costs. If you sold it for the equivalent of one year's worth of fuel savings over the price of the ICE model, it should be a no-brainer. For two years' worth of savings, it should still be a pretty easy sell. Well, compared to current ICE compact cars, that's right around your $20K mark (depending on each individual's varying fuel costs). $25-30K is obviously a harder sell, but could still result in overall savings depending on the person's driving details and the cost of gas. Depending on how the long term maintenance costs work out (simpler driveline parts vs. battery pack costs), that could add more savings when looking at the TCO. If you could somehow pull it off for $15K, you would beat the ICE compact market in every respect. You wouldn't "have a market", you'd crush the existing market.

Then again, my $3600 motorcycle does 0-60 in under 4 seconds and I've spent less than $300 on gas for it in the last 11 months (50mpg average). However, it's not so great in inclement weather or with large loads.

Comment: Re:LibXUL on Win32 approaching 4GB memory limit (Score 2) 127

by InvisiBill (#43733929) Attached to: How Maintainable Is the Firefox Codebase?
Reminds me of As one commenter in that thread asked, haven't they switched to x64 compilers yet? (Apparently there are issues getting the x86 version to compile properly on x64.)

Comment: Re:Oookkkaaayyy.... (Score 1) 246

by InvisiBill (#43724199) Attached to: Firefox 21 Arrives

What good is a browser that makes you use about:config to undo all the "improvements"?

It's better than a browser that doesn't give you a way to undo all the "improvements".

I don't expect any browser to ever match exactly what I want, short of rolling my own. However, it's rare to find something with Firefox that can't be changed via a simple plugin or even just a setting in about:config. While Firefox may not be exactly what I want right out of the box, its configuration options allow me to turn it into exactly what I want (or pretty darn close).

Comment: Positive pressure vs. negative pressure (Score 1) 197

by InvisiBill (#43250785) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Electrostatic Contamination?

This is what enthusiasts refer to as using positive pressure. Fans force air into the case, creating slightly higher than atmospheric pressure inside. The excess air then escapes out whatever holes and cracks it can find in the case. With negative pressure, the fan sucks warm air out of the case and creates lower pressure inside. Air comes in through the tiny holes and cracks in the case.

There's not a whole lot of performance difference between the two overall, but with positive pressure you have a small number of obvious entry points for air, which are easy to filter. With negative pressure, the air enters from a bunch of random spots that are nearly impossible to filter. While there's not much performance difference, one way makes it a whole lot easier to keep dust out of your system.

I'd rather be led to hell than managed to heavan.