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Comment Re:If you're still mucking about with com ports... (Score 2) 581

It is like this because not all MCUs support USB device mode netively and also because it is easier to program the MCU to communicate in RS232 and then stick the converter chip between it and USB and then use the driver provided by the manufacturer of the chip instead of writing your own. This is suitable if the device does not need high speeds, the FTDI chips can do about 1mbps IIRC.

This is great for things like device programmers, 3d printers, diagnostic and/or control of industrial machines and other low bandwidth applications.

Of course, real serial ports are still used, for example for console access of a managed switch (mainly for initial configuration or recovery) or other similar devices. Hell, I even use serial console (on linux) on a couple of servers to hopefully get some diagnostic information if the server crashes.

Comment Re: Microsoft's responsibility and WHQL (Score 2) 268

In my opinion, this is worse. The previous driver corrupted the chip, but did not do anything else and the chip could be repaired in Linux. However, inserting fake data in the stream is much worse because of how the device might react to it, for example, if such a thing happened with a USB-to-serial converter connected to an APC UPS, it would cause the UPS to run battery calibration discharging the battery. This may not be that bad unless power failed soon after, but if the system is left unattended, the UPS will run the calibration over an over staying at low battery and wearing out the battery in the process.

What about some industrial machines? the fake data may open/close valves etc causing damage to the machine or even an injury.

And all this because the manufacturer of the machine was scammed - paid full price for a fake chip (or the chips got switched out in the assembly plant).

How about making the driver just not work or at most cause bluescreens?

Comment Re:Who likes Ads? (Score 1) 442

Open your door, step outside. If you live in a city, chances are you'll see several ads immediately.

There are some billboards, but even the few animated ones do not produce sound, do not pop up in the middle of the street and do not slow my car down. Actually, I only notice them when I am standing at an intersection waiting for the light. Otherwise I am too busy looking at the road to notice the ads.

Watch sports? Watch ads.

Last time I was watching basketball, the advertisements were really not intrusive, they did not took my attention from watching the game.

Watch TV? Watch ads.

This is why I prefer to record the show and then watch it fast forwarding trough the ads.

Watch movies? Ads are now called product placement, watch them. It is beyond ridiculous.

Actually, I do not care about product placement. As long as it is not intrusive, if the character drinks a soft drink, it may as well be Coke or Pepsi instead of "brand name hidden", the car he drives may be Mercedes or Ford or whatever else, again, I do not care. Actually, I dislike when movies hide the brand name of some device or whatever, seems less realistic - I do not know of anyone who covers the labels of Coca-Cola and brand name of his stereo at home.

Of course, if the character suddenly starts talking about how tasty Coca-Cola is and how everyone should be drinking it with no relation to the plot, then I would care, but a charecter in a sitcom eating Pringles and drinking Coke - no problem whatsoever.

Comment Re:Old Habits Die Hard (Score 1) 442

You can have security vulnerabilities by visiting an ad-free page that uses JavaScript. Hell there are exploits in CSS.

Yes, however, I may trust some websites (say, /. or some news site) to not do this on purpose. The ads they serve, however, are out of their control and may contain malware.

Comment Re:Old Habits Die Hard (Score 1) 442

There are multiple problems with ads online beside the fact that they are annoying (one could say that this is the price we pay for free content). Annoying/distracting I can handle. The much bigger problems with ads are the fact that the ads load slowly and eat up data (on a cell phone), the privacy invasion (traacking across multiple sites) and the biggest one of all - malware. Ads were used many times to infect computers. If the advertisers somehow manage to ensure 100% clean ads (simple - just allow static png images, no scripts and no flash) only then I would even consider turning adblock off.

Comment Re:Old Habits Die Hard (Score 1) 442

People would ditch Firefox for that pretty quickly. Or keep using the old versions. If all browsers did it and somehow the old versions stopped working, ABP could be easily remade into a proxy server and it would no longer depend on the browser.

Actually, the first ad blocking I ever used was a part of a software firewall (I forgot the name), it looked for URLS and banner-sized images and blocked them. Worked with any browser.

Comment Re:It's energy density, stupid (Score 1) 645

not to mention all the weapons proliferation issues it creates

All the big countries, especially Russia and the US have enough bombs already to destroy everything multiple times, them making more bombs isn't really an issue. Iran building bombs is an issue, but that should not prevent the US or the EU from building new reactors.

As for "better" - would you like if, say, most of the electricity that your country needs came from Russia (or if you live in Russia - the EU), with it threatening to have an "accident" if your politics do not match theirs? At least if it cuts off the gas line, gas can be imported via ship.

When it becomes possible to use renewables to make fuel for the fuel burning plants, then renewables would be possible to use as a base load. However, I doubt it is going to be that way tomorrow (compared to keeping the oil plant working) or 10 years from now (compared to building a new nuclear power plant).

Comment Re:It's energy density, stupid (Score 1) 645

Solar power needs lots of sunlight, so, being far from the equator is bad.
Hydro needs big rivers and (preferably) mountains.
Wind could be useful, but it is intermittent.

Maybe yours will come from a solar plant that's 1000 km further south.

That requires power lines that go over multiple countries. While it may work out most of time, having most of your energy needs come from other (fixed) countries is not that great (because you are dependent on those countries and because you pay more money out instead of keeping it inside the country by, say, paying wages to the power plant constructors and employees). It would be better to build new nuclear or fossil fuel power plants and just import the fuel, since changing the fuel supplier is easier than moving the power plants.

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