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Comment Re:Article is a load of rubbish. (Score 2) 153

At least in my state of California, the emissions testing systems I've seen when I get my vehicle tested only place one axle on rollers. The other axle is on the ground. During the test, the driven axle spins at up to 65 MPH, while the non-driven axle doesn't spin at all. If the vehicle being tested has features such as ABS or traction control, then the car needs to know that it's on a tester in order to avoid doing potentially dangerous things.

The problem here is not that the vehicles detect that they're on a tester and perform specific actions, since doing so is a critical engineering requirement. The problem is that they disable emissions controls when they are not on a tester.

Comment Re:Engine control firmware is tightly controlled. (Score 5, Insightful) 153

There has to be more to it. I doubt that Bosch would have written the code that determines whether an emissions test is under way - there is no legitimate reason for such code to exist.

But there are legitimate reasons. For example, traction control and antilock braking systems need to know that the vehicle is on a dynamotor test stand so that they don't freak out when one axle is spinning at 65 MPH and the other is at 0 MPH.

Comment Re:Is this for real? (Score 2) 122

The robo-calls were not for advertisements, they were for collections.

IE - you would get a robo-call saying your bank account was overdrawn and you owe Paypal $5000.

The only difference between what Paypal wants to do and what all other collection agencies do is if a human is on the other end of the phone.

That's what PayPal claimed when the backlash against the new ToS began. But the ToS specifically included polls and telemarketing as their allowed use of robocalls. I cancelled both my PayPal and eBay (which has nearly identical terms of service) over this. I think they could probably eliminate most of the user backlash by removing the advertising clauses from their terms of service, notwithstanding any federal regulations that might still restrict their use of robocalls.

Comment Re:Deniers (Score 1) 525

Well, I suppose it's better than, at least...

But anyway, I am not familiar with the history of the author of the articles I posted, so I apologize if I posted the ravings of a nutter. I do plan to read more on the subject of the data adjustments; it's just something that struck me as suspiciously peculiar when I first heard of it very recently.

Comment Re:Deniers (Score -1) 525

Seeing as actual measurements show a steadily increasing temperature

Do actual measurements show a steadily increasing temperature, or is this trend just visible in adjusted measurements? I do not pretend to understand all of the intricacies involved to call foul just yet, but I'd sure like to understand these alleged adjustments better. Are they valid and accurate, or are they just manipulations of the data to present a desired but incorrect result?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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