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Comment Re:Not replaced: serial and parallel ports. (Score 1) 198

That's because most (but not all) USB serial devices use +5/0v rather than +/-12V. Most but unfortunately not all of them are tolerant of +-12V. By the same token, some 12V serial devices will communicate with a TTL serial port and some won't.

Going by spec, it's the TTL level port's fault if they don't communicate, but it's so common these days we might as well consider TTL the standard and 12V operation is a bonus.

The TTL level ports started showing up well before USB was a thing.

Just to make it worse, there are now 3.3V "serial" ports in the wild and some of them do not tolerate TTL levels! That's not good, but at least they are implemented only as header pins on the board and not a 9 pin D.

Comment Re:Not replaced: serial and parallel ports. (Score 1) 198

It may be excessive in some sense, but USB serial has absolutely replaced serial ports on desktop and laptop machines. I can get all the serial ports I want by plugging in inexpensive USB serial devices. The microcontroller in the device may be excessive, but no more so than the glue logic for a PCI device would be just to transmit at 115,200 bpx MAX.

I agree completely on the parallel port. The only remaining use I have for a parallel port is as poor man's GPIO lines. Unfortunately, for reasons that elude me, the standard for USB parallel ports doesn't accommodate that at all.

Comment Re:WD Black the 3rd most broken item (Score 1) 96

That used to be expected in the U.S. as well. Take it back to the store, show that it doesn't work and a receipt to show when you bought it. Leave with a new one.

Really, it makes sense. The store is the one that has a business relationship with the manufacturer. You bought the item from the store.

If the brick and mortar stores in the U.S. hadn't stopped doing that, they might stand a chance against online retailers.

Comment Re:Important to note (Score 1) 416

It's almost as if the antis just wanted to force others to bow to their will and now they're ticked off that there is a solution that invalidates their best "objective" arguments. Thus they must stomp it out so they can go back to demanding that others bow to their will.

If they were actually objectively concerned about people's health or even the costs to society, they'd be dancing in the streets and arranging to get ecig starter kits to all smokers.

Submission + - France using emergency powers to prevent climate change protests (

Bruce66423 writes: Following the Paris massacre, the French government declared a state of emergency. One of the regulations this introduced was control of large scale gatherings, and one of the events that is being caught up in this is planned protests to do with Climate Change conference in Paris next month. This has resulted in some activists being put under house arrest — yet other gathering, such as commercial street markets — are being allowed to go ahead. Funny that; anyone would think that the government is using the opportunity to suppress dissent.

Comment Re:Duh (Score 1) 737

Actually, the degraded option does NOT work for BTRFS or at least hasn't when I've tried it. I still ended up in the shell. I checked the changelog for systemd from present back to the date of that report and there is no mention of it at all. Once in the shell, mount -odegraded / will work just fine. If systemd' wasn't too mind-bogglingly stupid to just try the mount command nobody would have to get out of bed at 3AM just to type that. But if I just rip systemd out and use the supposedly old and broken down sysV init, it works every time. If systemd had a sane configuration, I'd just poke that mount commend in as an explicit action and it would just work, but in all of that tangled spaghetti just below the surface, there appears to be no way to do that.

For md devices, they get around the problem by having a regular old script in the initrd go ahead and assemble the RAID before systemd gets a chance to get the vapors and refuse.

Mainframes certainly DO cost 100x more than (for example), a supermicro server.

Sure, networks do go down, but in those cases, you're either dual homed or no amount of non-stop can help you. Again, take the 90% solution or be prepared to start paying a lot more. I did say it should be in a good datecenter with backup power. If that fails, again, no amount of non-stop can help you.

Submission + - Pwned Barbies Spying on Children? Toytalk CEO downplays hacking reports (

McGruber writes: Earlier this year Mattel unveiled "Hello Barbie" (, a $74.99 wi-fi equipped interactive doll. Users press a button on Barbie's belt to start a conversation and the recorded audio is processed over the internet so that the doll can respond appropriately. The doll also remembers the user’s likes and dislikes.

Now Security Researcher Matt Jakubowski claims that he has managed to hack the Hello Barbie system to extract wi-fi network names, account IDs and MP3 files, which could be used to track down someone’s home. “You can take that information and find out a person’s house or business. It’s just a matter of time until we are able to replace their servers with ours and have her say anything we want,” Jakubowski warned.

Mattel partnered with ToyTalk to develop "Hello Barbie". ToyTalk CEO Oren Jacob said: “An enthusiastic researcher has reported finding some device data and called that a hack. While the path that the researcher used to find that data is not obvious and not user-friendly, it is important to note that all that information was already directly available to Hello Barbie customers through the Hello Barbie Companion App. No user data, no Barbie content, and no major security or privacy protections have been compromised to our knowledge.”

A petition by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood asking Mattel to drop the doll has already been signed by over 6,000 people.

NOTE: The original reporting of this hack appears to have been this NBC-Chicago newscast:

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.