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Comment: It's The Parts Count (Score 1) 293

I think the major manufacturers are afraid of the reduced parts count that pure electric cars have and the implied loss of profit margin because of it. So they keep trying to sell hybrid systems that bundle an internal combustion engine with an electric motor in order to keep the parts count high.

Comment: Re:I dunno about LEDs, but CFLs don't last (Score 1) 602

by The Phantom Mensch (#48004713) Attached to: The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

Writing the date on bulbs would be a great idea if the market was stable and all you ever saw in the store was the same brand of bulbs year after year. I probably have 20 or so LED lightbulbs in my house. My oldest one is probably 4 years old and is still going strong. I'd buy some more just like it if I could. But that model of bulb has been replaced by other designs from other manufacturers in my local stores and is probably out of production.

One of my best change overs was a set of track lights in my family room. These lights run from dinnertime until bedtime, 7 days a week. They've been flawless.

Comment: Re:Tor (Score 2) 376

I'm sure they wouldn't just accuse people at random. They'd do market research and select targets that meet a profile. Something like middle class households with parents that aren't particularly tech savvy but with teenage kids that might be, all of which use decent amounts of data. All they'd have to do is convince the parents that the kids downloaded something that could illegal or hint to the fathers that it might be the porn their wife doesn't know about. And boom $20 faster than you can blink.

Comment: Re:Definitely not the first (Score 1) 116

by The Phantom Mensch (#47606727) Attached to: Barry Shein Founded the First Dialup ISP (Video)

I had internet access at work starting in 1986 but since it was work related I stuck to fairly sensible net usage. My first home ISP was through a small startup in rural northern NJ, starting in 1992 or so The local phone service at that time under NJ Bell was pretty terrible. Local calls only serviced half the county, and not even the county seat where AOL and Compuserve's dial-up phone banks were established, so AOL use was a toll call. Recognizing this, two guys set up a dial-up phone bank in an area that serviced this little gap in dial-up access and ran with it for about 5 years. This was a full fledged ISP right from the start with IP addresses, ftp access, mail servers, Usenet, etc. And for the first year or two tech support meant talking to the sysadmin himself. Planet.net was the name of it and as far as I can tell the domain name is up for grabs.

Comment: Re:Uh... (Score 1) 116

by The Phantom Mensch (#47606505) Attached to: Barry Shein Founded the First Dialup ISP (Video)

I remember reading the Mac System 7 announcements on the Mac listserve (Appletalk?, something like that) about a year before it was released, and then downloading it from ftp.apple.com for free when it was released. In floppy disk image files. Reportedly ftp.apple.com was hosted by a Mac SE/30 running A/UX.

Comment: Re:First Contact (Score 1) 686

by The Phantom Mensch (#47219135) Attached to: Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

I think it's safe to say that if interstellar travel is at all possible it is monumentally expensive and anyone that expends the resources to get here will be interested in exploiting the rock once they do. Space is teeming with rock but Earth is teeming with organic compounds, food and whatnot. If an alien species is trying to fulfill a biological imperative, like expand the species beyond one fragile ecosystem they would probably show up to take over ours.

It'd be sort of like Independence Day, except without the happy endingl

Comment: Re:Let me makes this real fucking simple for cycli (Score 1) 490

I'd add another outlier:

Red light controlled by traffic sensor that 180 lbs of bike and rider doesn't trigger: Stop, wait long enough to be sure it's not going to change then treat like a stop sign. Look for a pedestrian crossing button on a really busy intersection.

Comment: Chromebook For This Situation (Score 1) 453

Would a chromebook make a good travel laptop for this sort of situation? Let's say you have two Google accounts, one with a bland public persona and one with any sensitive information you care to work with. Delete your sensitive account from the machine before you transit through customs and add it back when you get to a safe(ish) network. Keep all your data in the cloud.

I wonder what Chrome OS does with local files of deleted users?

Comment: Re:Every print magazine left. (Score 5, Interesting) 385

by The Phantom Mensch (#45412191) Attached to: How Blockbuster Could Have Owned Netflix

I'm not sure I'd right off the USPS. Their parcel business seems to be growing rapidly, with very competitive prices for small fixed price boxes.

I think the big shopping mall anchor stores (Macy's, JC Penney, etc) are all likely to fail in the next 20 years. Sears is already a dead man walking, Penney's is close and the others are living on borrowed time.

Comment: The Reddit/4Chan crowd needed more data. (Score 1) 270

by The Phantom Mensch (#43524935) Attached to: Crowdsourcing Failed In Boston Bombing Aftermath

The combined Reddit/4Chan photo collection was pretty crappy and lacking in metadata. The website from which the pictures of the two high school kids that got "fingered" by Reddit was very upfront about stating that the picture of the two of them from Page 1 of the NYP was taken 3 hours before the bombing. Photos from the same source closer to the time of the blast don't show them or the bomb in place yet. This could have been used to discard them as subjects if that info was more widely known.

The police/FBI had a huge advantage in that they had all relevant surveillance camera imagery plus everything 4chan had, plus more, including the eye witness reports of the surviving victims. They were probably able to correlate that imagery to cell tower call records and narrow down what phoes were in use right there and then, including the bombers.

Comment: I'd Go With Lighter Weight (Score 5, Interesting) 591

by The Phantom Mensch (#43348365) Attached to: If I could change what's "typical" about typical laptops ...

After using a Samsung Chromebook for my casual evening browsing habits for a few months I find myself loving the light weight. A 3 pound laptop is something I can keep in my lap all evening comfortably, without wishing I had a desk to throw the thing on to give my legs a break.

HELP!!!! I'm being held prisoner in /usr/games/lib!

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