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Comment: Re:Evidence of a market failure (Score 1) 262

by NF6X (#48948391) Attached to: Comcast Employees Change Customer Names To 'Dummy' and Other Insults
Wow, that's really awful. I knew that I was giving up modern conveniences like good unlimited data connectivity and paved roads when I moved out this property, and consider that the price of living on acreage that I can afford in California. But I'm really surprised to hear that somebody in a developed area would have the same connectivity problems that I have!

Comment: Re:Evidence of a market failure (Score 0) 262

by NF6X (#48947803) Attached to: Comcast Employees Change Customer Names To 'Dummy' and Other Insults
As somebody living in a just-barely-rural fringe area that's not densely populated enough to get even cable service, a bit too far from the switch for DSL, and where a cell modem is my only practical so-called broadband access, Comcast is welcome to call me all the dirty names they like if it induces some other company to pull fiber out to me. :)

Comment: Re:Solution looking for a problem (Score 2) 151

by NF6X (#48845513) Attached to: Being Pestered By Drones? Buy a Drone-Hunting Drone

But wouldn't that shot/pebble-like-stuff fall and potentially hurt someone?

I don't think that birdshot is dangerous on the way back down, unless a pellet falls right into your upturned eye. It has enough kinetic energy to harm a bird (or fragile drone) within some range of the shooter, but by the time it comes back down it has slowed to terminal velocity. Birdshot is only around a millimeter in diameter, like coarse sand. The "pebble-like-stuff" would be buckshot, which would not be practical to use against a bird/drone because not many pellets of that shot fit in a shell, making it pretty hard to actually hit a flying target with at least one pellet.

Despite the relative safety of falling birdshot, firing guns into the air in urban settings is generally frowned upon. :)

Comment: Re:Good luck with that. (Score 1) 558

by NF6X (#48240043) Attached to: Rite Aid and CVS Block Apple Pay and Google Wallet

My NFC credit cards work from inside my wallets outermost pockets. So it's actually faster to get wallet out, touch to NFC and put away than by Apple Pay etc. I've heard the argument that Apple Watch makes it faster, and possibly it does, but then so would attaching my credit card to my forearm and I have no intention of doing either!

For the case of using the default card in Apple Pay vs. using a single NFC card in the outer pocket of a wallet, it seems to me that they take the same amount of time and effort. In either case, it's a matter of taking a similarly-sized item out of a pocket or purse, holding it against the reader for a moment, then replacing it in the pocket or purse. In the Apple Pay case, the user needs to rest a registered thumb or finger against the thumbprint reader (which is integrated into the home button), but doing so is probably already a reflexive move whenever taking the device out of a pocket or purse since that is how you unlock the device anyway. It's not necessary to manipulate any other buttons, look at the screen, or touch the screen in order to use the user-specified default card, and the phone generates a short vibration after the NFC transaction completes for haptic feedback.

What if you have multiple NFC-enabled cards that the reader might accept? How do you determine which one to use? I think you'll need to take the desired card out of your wallet then to separate it enough from the others. With Apple Pay, you flip through the list of cards on the screen if you want to use a different one than the default. Whether that's faster or not might vary depending on how you carry your cards. I only have one of my cards set up for Apple Pay right now, so I haven't tried it yet.

73 de NF6X

Comment: Re:Good luck with that. (Score 1) 558

by NF6X (#48236545) Attached to: Rite Aid and CVS Block Apple Pay and Google Wallet

Why does anyone think that it's "more convenient" to use NPC than swiping a credit card?

It's faster and easier to pull my phone out of my pocket with one hand, hold it up against an NFC reader for a moment, then put it back in my pocket than it is to pull my wallet out of my pocket, open it, take out my credit card with my other hand, swipe it, put it back in my wallet, put my wallet back in my pocket, and sign a receipt or signature pad.

The minor improvement in convenience isn't what excites me about Apple Pay, though. The increased security over using magstripe cards is.

Comment: Re:Yes we're going to keep using FTDI chips (Score 4, Insightful) 572

by NF6X (#48220771) Attached to: FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips
If FTDI provided a standalone counterfeit detection tool that manufacturers could use at final test or just as a spot check, then that could be helpful for conscientious designers/manufacturers like you or me who might find fake chips in our supply chain and then be really angry about that. We want to discover the problem before our finished goods end up in our customer's hands! It wouldn't address the problem of manufacturers who knowingly use fake parts or who just don't care, but it would be a step in the right direction. Deliberately and silently borking the fake chip after it's already in the end user's hands potentially causes a support burden for legitimate manufacturers of products using FTDI chips, without giving those manufacturers the information they need to constructively address the problem.

Comment: Re:Computer Missues Act 1990 (Score 1) 572

by NF6X (#48220531) Attached to: FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

They certainly don't have to ensure that their drivers don't accidentally break chips that aren't theirs. The problem here is that they deliberately broke chips that aren't theirs. If their driver refused to service chips identified as counterfeits, that would be fine, with the caveat that they risk angering their real customers if there are false positives in their counterfeit detection method. If the driver also informed the user that the chip was a fake, that would be much better. But by intentionally borking the chip, they may well have violated laws, and they certainly created a serious trust issue with both end users (like me) and engineers who may reevaluate whether to design in FTDI parts (like me).

With FTDI's announcement that they've seen the error of their ways, I'm cautiously optimistic that I will be able to continue using their parts in my designs. I am interested in addressing the real problem of counterfeit parts, but let's do so in a manner which doesn't target the wrong parties. Silently bricking finished goods bought by unsuspecting end users isn't very constructive, even though I can see how it was very tempting. Their previous statement that users should make sure that they buy their FTDI parts only from authorized distributors suggests to me that FTDI was buried too deep in their frustrating problem of countering the counterfeiters, and that they thus lost sight of the overall problem. End users of finished goods generally have no way of knowing what parts are in their products or where they came from, so a scheme which directly targets them is missing the point and just causes more problems.

Comment: Re:OK, fine, do it already. (Score 1) 83

by NF6X (#47743867) Attached to: Sources Say Amazon Will Soon Be Targeting Ads, a la Google AdWords

I bought a couple of 'Hello Kitty' flash drives close to a year ago. It was a joke, people kept stealing my generic looking ones. The Hello Kitty sticks stay in my desk. Since then, every other time I log in, Amazon has to breathlessly show me various Hello Kitty things. An impressive panoply of products, but ones that I'm not especially interested in.

If that bothers you, then definitely avoid clicking any links on The Worst Things for Sale. The recommendation algorithm doesn't automatically discriminate between things you might want to buy vs. things you looked at for shock or humor value. Thanks, Amazon, but I don't need a 55 gallon drum of personal lubricant at the moment.

Comment: Re:Astronomy, and general poor night-time results. (Score 2) 550

by NF6X (#47526651) Attached to: Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later
Thank you. I do need correction to see the target at all, particularly at rifle ranges, because I've been nearsighted since at least junior high school. I suppose that once I get bifocals or progressive lenses (probably at my next eye exam), I'll need to learn to find the target first through the long-distance part of the lens, then shift to the near-distance part to focus the sights on the correct blur. I haven't gone shooting since I started to notice the onset of farsightedness, but I can still see well enough at front sight distance without correction. But now I need magnifying glasses to focus on small things like PCB features up close, which is pretty annoying. It's not just that the PCB features are getting smaller I've begun playing around with vintage computers recently, and I even have trouble focusing on the old through-hole stuff now without external optics.

Comment: Re:Astronomy, and general poor night-time results. (Score 2) 550

by NF6X (#47525107) Attached to: Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

I'm considering doing that. I'm 45 and my eyes have just begun to change. I'm still generally myopic, but so far the change just requires me to take my glasses off when doing close work.

I'm also 45 and I'm experiencing the same thing. I am overdue for a new set of glasses anyway, but I've noticed my new farsightedness the most when doing work on the test bench. I've had to start using a set of head-mounted magnifying lenses regularly for close-up work. If I was to consider some sort of corrective procedure, I'd need something that's compatible with close-up hands-on work, staring at a computer screen most of the time, and shooting which requires both close-up vision (to see the signs) and long range vision (to see the target). I haven't researched yet whether any of the existing procedures would be a good option for a person of my age with my vision and range of activities.

Comment: Re:Slashdot Asks v. Ask Slashdot (Score 1) 381

by NF6X (#47439713) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?

Do me a favor; go to YouTube, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Ars, and half a dozen other sites, and read some comment streams. Do you see how vacuous they are? Do you see how much chaff you must wade through to find one or two poignant insights?

I don't think the owners of Slashdot care. I think they only care about eyeballs per advertisement.

Comment: No. (Score 1) 381

by NF6X (#47439705) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?
I have zero interest in having a smart watch. I haven't worn a wrist watch regularly for at least a decade, and I don't miss them. If I ever change my mind about wearing a watch, it'll probably be something older than I am. Something may come along that makes me no longer want or need to carry a smartphone in my pocket, but at this time I don't foresee it being in wrist watch form factor.

Single tasking: Just Say No.