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Comment Re:Proprietary charging cables are devil's work (Score 1) 166

Power and data can and should go over the same cables.

We no longer need ANY CABLE for data. Your saddling yourself with restrictions to satisfy a long-lost need. And...

Proprietary charging cables are wasteful, annoying, redundant, and unnecessary

It's only where POWER and DATA go over the same cable that we end up with horrible proprietary crap! If phones had power-only cables, they'd have been simple, standard barrel connectors.

Now USB just needs to settle on a single un-keyed connector that can carry enough power to run a laptop

Laptops have had that forever... Their simple barrel connectors can pull 200W+, no trouble at all. And no USB connector will ever be 1/100th as durable as a tough, simple, basic barrel connector.

There's only ONE THING I give USB credit for... It sucked the air out of all the subtle variation of voltages around its range. Instead of devices that needed 3V, some that needed 6V, and others that needed 4.5V, and even with some that wanted 7.5V, now all those devices will have mini-USB plugs (usually not micro-usb), and run on 5V.

Of course if every smartphone charger on the planet switched to 12V, it would have the same effect on laptops, and all other devices that use any voltages anywhere around that range.

Comment Re:Not replaced: serial and parallel ports. (Score 1) 166

It is also unnecessary 99.9% of the time. Nearly all RS232 devices and hosts will work just fine with TTL voltages (+5V/GND).

I wish that were true, but it sure as hell isn't!

Sure, MANY devices accept TTL voltage RS232, but a big number DO NOT. So if you depend on that USB-RS232 adapter, you'll be left standing around, looking like a moron.

Just had to configure a brand new smart PDU a while ago... Absolutely no activity to my company laptop via USB. Bad cable? Incorrect wiring? Defective PDU? Nope... Plugged that cable to a server with an actual RS232 port, and it works flawlessly.

I wish I could find USB-RS232 adapters that actually output the proper voltages...

Comment Re:Discussed before (Score 1) 166

USB is dirt cheap. You can have a separate bus-per-device if you so desire. That will easily eliminate all contention.

And what you really mean is USB is useless for REAL-TIME work... When USB can do faster-than-realtime for you, the contention and other gripes aren't much of an issue. Firewire is dying out in production video shops, too, though it has been (almost-) replaced by several different alternatives, not (just) USB.

Comment Re:Discussed before (Score 1) 166

Firewire is long dead, except for a few niches in the industry.

DV cameras were the one and only practical consumer application of firewire, and they've been obsolete and forgotten for many years. Once you eliminate DV tape and switch to solid-state, you eliminate the need for the fixed-bit-rate codec, and can easily transfer faster-than-real-time over USB2.

In fact, you can skip the USB cables, and transfer your videos over WiFi these days, even with sub-$100 camcorders...


Swarm Robotics Breakthrough Brings Pheromone Communication To AI ( 21

An anonymous reader writes: Computer scientists at the University of Lincoln have invented a reliable, low-cost system which replicates in robots the pheromone-based communication behind insect swarms. Using off-the-shelf equipment including an LCD screen and a USB camera, the team has proposed what they call COS-phi, or Communication System via Pheromone. The artificial pheromone trails are traced visually onto the screen. As soon as a bot picks up on the path, it is forced to follow the leader.

Machines take me by surprise with great frequency. - Alan Turing