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Comment Re:Not replaced: serial and parallel ports. (Score 1) 291

This is true. USB parallel ports are only implemented far enough to get printers working. Pretty much nothing else from the dark ages will work.

Serial ports are a bit better, but still have compatibility issues because most of them just use TTL level (5 volt) signaling, whereas RS232 specified 12 volts. The better ones have voltage multipliers onboard that will provide the necessary higher voltages; if you want to hook up vintage terminals to your computer using a USB serial port, these are often required.

Comment Re:Not replaced: serial and parallel ports. (Score 4, Informative) 291

Centronics parallel ports are something that I do not miss. Even slightly.

Before the USB era, pretty much every peripheral that needed a faster connection than serial but was too cheap to implement SCSI used a parallel port. Webcams (Connectix QuickCam was a famous one), Zip drives, laplink cables, etc... it was insane. Parallel ports provided no power, so these devices either required a power brick or stole power from the AT/PS2 keyboard interface.

When it worked, great! When it didn't, good luck getting it working. I always used to pay a little more for SCSI when it was available because it was faster and a million times more reliable.

Remember the Zip Drive Plus? It was a drive that could either do SCSI or Parallel on the same port. I like to think of it as the height of the clunky, kludge-filled world we had before USB.

If the personal computer market ever had a "savior", it would be USB. It was truly a dark time before that.

Comment Re:systemD (Score 2) 101

Can someone explain why ALL THE MAJOR DISTROS have switched to systemd, when all I've seen is universal hate for it?

Either distro maintainers are masochists, or there's someone pulling strings somewhere to get this bullshit into every distribution.

We've slowed our move to newer versions of RHEL and Ubuntu at my workplace because of systemd. Eventually we're going to have to deal with it, but we're putting it off as long as we can. Everyone I know hates this thing. HOW did it become so pervasive?

Comment Re:"Reset to factory settings" button (Score 3, Interesting) 151

This is a $400 speaker. Are you saying people are such sheep that after doing a firmware update that breaks the speaker, they wouldn't bitch to the manufacturer? I find it hard to believe anyone would give up on a $400 speaker that quickly, unless they are rich and $400 is nothing to them.

Comment "Reset to factory settings" button (Score 5, Insightful) 151

Why the heck don't these devices have a "Reset to factory settings" button?

Flash memory is cheap. Have a permanent, unmodifiable copy of the firmware the device ships with. If you power it on while holding the button, copy that firmware over as the active firmware, clear out the user data area, and restart. Boom! TV is back to normal.

This sort of thing is ludicrously easy to implement and would save the companies money on warranty repairs.

I have a JBL speaker that I had to ship back to the manufacturer to be replaced because of a bad firmware update. A simple reset button like the one I described would have saved me a ton of pain and saved JBL money on shipping the speaker both ways. WHY isn't this sort of thing universal?

Comment NYC taxi system could DESTROY uber (Score 2, Insightful) 210

The taxi system already has good infrastructure in place and could destroy Uber if they wanted to, simply by competing fairly and adopting the "choose where you want to go before the cab gets to you" model.

But instead of doing this, they try to take the easy way out and sue.

Think of how optimized the cab system could be if they used Uber's model? But no, it's still based on the old "hail a cab and tell them where you're going" system.

Comment Re:Mainframes (Score 2) 406

Mainframes aren't even obsolete. IBM still sells them, fully code compatible going all the way back to 1968 when the first System/360 mainframe shipped.

Companies that use this stuff have big expensive support contracts with IBM. They don't replace it because it works. In fact it works so well that "the mainframe is down!" is seen as a HUGE DISASTER in the business process, akin to a building burning down.

It's a whole different world than the modern idea of blades in a rack running Linux. And it still works today, which is why it sticks around.

Comment Wondering if I've been hit by this (Score 1) 138

I've been to a few hotels where I had trouble getting my personal hotspot feature to work, and ended up having to switch to USB tethering to use it. I never really gave much thought to whether the hotel might be at fault; I just chalked it up to "tech shit sometimes breaks" and used an alternative method to just get it done because I had to get online and didn't have all day.

Of course, this would screw people over who just have a personal hotspot device with no USB capability. Luckily, my phone can do WiFi, USB or Bluetooth and the latter two work well (though bluetooth is a bit slow)

Comment I have a better idea... (Score 1) 92

How about NOT laying off your US IT workforce, and how about NOT outsourcing this work?

How about hiring people within our country first and only hiring abroad if you cannot find local talent?

This sort of thing is going to destroy our country if it keeps up. We really need some regulation in this area that makes it unprofitable to outsource IT to other countries.

Comment Company shouldn't have to pay for relocation (Score 1, Interesting) 157

Who is going to pay for relocation and construction costs for a new facility? If they were given the go ahead to build in 2012, revoking that now surely means they shouldn't have to pay for the relocation costs?

How about making the people who complained pay for it? They don't seem to understand the concept of living in a big city and that you sometimes have to deal with other people, commercial activity and noise. If they don't want that they should move to the countryside.

Comment Re:Sometimes companies deserve it (Score 2) 136

In the end, contracts are worthless unless there's the threat of men with guns showing up to physically enforce them.

Has it ever gotten to this point? I'm just thinking if I ran a company and another country wanted to send their goons in to look at my hardware and proprietary data, I'd want to be able to legally tell them to fuck off.

Comment Why not just lock down the radio portion? (Score 4, Interesting) 144

If they're going to mandate locking down, lock down the WiFi radio, as that's the part that uses the radio waves. The WiFi radio can be a "black box" with it own firmware, much like on cellular phones, where the cellular radio is a similar black box.

This keeps the FCC happy, because people won't be able to violate FCC rules, and it keeps users happy because they can keep running custom software. The WiFi firmware isn't typically something you want to mess with anyway.

Comment Re:ZFS is nice... (Score 1) 279

>athough ZoL is not that hard to get running at all.

It's easy to get running but hard to KEEP running, because DKMS has a bad habit of breaking sometimes when updating the kernel or ZFS itself.

I'd say about a 50/50 chance of having the system come up correctly after a "yum update" for the kernel or ZFS on RHEL 6.

Being able to just install binary modules would probably help considerably, provided they are built correctly by the distro maintainers.

Comment Re:BTRFS is getting there (Score 4, Interesting) 279

I recently "fixed" one of our ZFS fileservers at work which was performing very poorly by *removing* a failing drive. The drive was taking a few seconds to read blocks, obviously dying, so it was slowing down the entire system. As soon as I pulled it ZFS finally declared it dead and the filesystem was running at full performance again.

I felt so confident being able to just walk up and yank the troublesome drive; that's how much trust I've built in ZFS. It's incredibly stable and fault tolerant.

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long