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Comment: Re:Kingston selling shit USB3 flash keys (Score 2) 289

I myself don't have a single USB 3 host device.

I purposefully bought one of the cheap USB 3 Kingston keys after reading the reviews. Been very happy with it: It often operates at close to the theoretical USB 2.0 transfer rates, and there have been instances where my USB 2.0 host is plainly the bottleneck. It was the right drive for the right price on that particular day, perfectly in the corner of the price/performance curve.

Meanwhile, none of this is news: If you buy an ATA/66 hard drive in 1997, you already know that you don't necessarily get 66 megabytes per second from it because the spinning rust can only transfer things so fast. The speed of the physical interface has typically nothing to do with the rate at which data is transferred, and it never has.

The only thing new here is your own flawed perception.

Comment: Re:Are you kidding me? (Score 1) 322

by adolf (#47166355) Attached to: Registry Hack Enables Continued Updates For Windows XP

That's a bad security model in that it relies on the assumption that the local network is physically secure, which is never a good assumption to make.

NetBEUI over the Internet impossible? What are you going to tell me next, that I can't watch TV over the Internet either because the IP doesn't know how to deal with ATSC?

A small SBC running OpenVPN in tap mode will work just fine in a "it's not a router, it's an Ethernet bridge!" sort of way. And...done: NetBEUI, over the Internet, with every bit of untraceable clusterfuck that NetBEUI ever had.

And all you might notice is one or two new MAC addresses lurking around.....if the attacker is sloppy AND if you're paying attention. Which you aren't, or you'd realize that the model is unsound to begin with.

Comment: Re:Prison == New Free Cinema? (Score 1) 186

by adolf (#47044001) Attached to: Ohio Prison Shows Pirated Movies To Inmates

Prison is not meant to be torture, but it is meant to be punishment.

The trouble with an FPS or an MMO, or routine fun in general, is that people would be more likely to do dumb things just so that they can live in prison: Three squares a day, one's own bunk, laundry service, and regular gaming sessions?

We've already got enough people who LIKE prison and jail. :-/

Comment: Seriously. (Score 4, Funny) 222

by adolf (#47015303) Attached to: The Physics of Hot Pockets

I've never had a problem with Hot Pockets: Follow directions, learn how it works in a given microwave oven, and...done: Ridiculously-hot cheap, bubbly, unhealthy goodness.

Meanwhile, I don't need to read TFA to learn how the powdered aluminum wrapper turns RF energy into thermal energy. And I don't need TFA to know that any thing has a certain reluctance toward changing temperatures, as nothing is a perfect thermal conductor.

In fact: Dude, I've been cooking with a microwave since I was a little kid: It was the first kitchen appliance I was certified on other than -- maybe -- an electric can opener.

Up next on /.: How shoelaces work to keep our shoes on our feet, followed by a lesson in using a light switch to illuminate a dark room. Or "Toast: Why bread is caramelized only on the outside when using the every-day toaster."

*head in hands*

Comment: Re:640k isn't enough for everybody (Score 1) 522

And when you download an installer, it's a ZIP with a single file: One compressed EXE.

So you extract the EXE (which is not meaningfully bigger than the ZIP), and execute it.

Then, the first thing it does is extract a compressed CAB (which is not meaningfully bigger than the EXE).

After that, it installs the CAB, which could have been accomplished by simply double-clicking on the (again, already-compressed) that it's finally exposed after all of the needless wrappers.

This behavior would have never been considered acceptable in the day of the floppy disk, and it shouldn't be acceptable now: It's grossly inefficient in terms of CPU utilization, disk utilization, and (most importantly) human utilization. In many ways, we've forgotten much of what we used to know.

I can't fathom the number man-hours that are wasted daily by end-users just to save a few hours of optimizing such installers once, but if I had to take a guess, I'd think that [human lifetimes wasted] / [day] would be a cromulent unit to factor it in.

Comment: Re:Amen, brother Amen! (Score 4, Insightful) 522

I email myself all the time.

I keep backups of most of my data, of course, but email is the most easily-searched, most easily-accessed, and most redundant system I have...and it takes zero additional thought on my part for it to behave in this way.

Additional redundancy is also simple: If something is Really Important to me, I can send it to myself at multiple independent email servers with ridiculous ease.

I've been doing it this way since I discovered IMAP something close to 20 years ago.

The fact that someone is using a tool in a way that you didn't intend should not be taken to indicate that such behavior is wrong, and if IMAP were totally unsuited it wouldn't handle multiple concurrent clients of different types, much less folders, much less generally-sane handling of attachments, much less [...].

(Granted, this is for stuff that is not secret to me -- just important to me. I don't have many secrets, and any that I do have certainly aren't anywhere near the Internet or any other network.)

Comment: Re:TFA (Score 3, Informative) 66

But of course the object is keeping everyone interested in 5 different stories waiting on the one they care about.

No. The objective is to keep everyone interested so that they can observe the advertising.

Depending on locale, there may be easy answers to this problem: NPR, PBS, BBC, CBC, [et cetera].

Comment: Re:Funding (Score 1) 664

by adolf (#46936465) Attached to: Death Wish Meets GPS: iPhone Theft Victims Confronting Perps


Sometimes, yes: The brakes can be bigger. I remember when Crown Vic cop cars started coming with 17" wheels, because that was the smallest that could be fit. (Other Crown Vic-alikes of that era aren't so-equipped, IIRC).

Why would bigger brakes be needed? I'm not going to answer that. I'm just going to let you look at brake rotor sizes today vs 15 years ago, and come to your own conclusions.

The difference in production costs of the base vehicle are negligible.

There's a -lot- of extra wire and wiring provisions that come from the factory for a cop car: They're designed to be kitted out (and indeed are). And you forgot the extra coolers, and the larger and/or extra battery. None of this is free. A real spare tire is normal equipment (it gets removed immediately upon delivery, of course, to make room for other stuff but, but it means that the department will have a proper spare laying around for when a tire inevitably fails in the middle of a shift).

One can easily look at the BOM and go "oh, well, it shouldn't be THAT much more..." until you start looking at doing the same things with aftermarket gear and aftermarket installers, and then: Yep, it's not so much money after all to have GM/Ford/whoever just take care of it. And it comes with a warranty.

The chief virtues of the vic were mass and interior room. It's got to be seriously cramped in that shitty warmed-over Impala with all the cop shit on the dash.

Fail. Mass? The new cars -- even the smallest -- are each heavier than the Crown Vic. Look at the chart in the article I linked previously.

Granted, the old-new FWD Impala was garbage. The first generation killed batteries because the alternator wasn't able to keep up with Cop Stuff with the engine at idle. The second generation improved electrical things a bit, but eliminated the provision to mount the siren speaker behind the grill, instead requiring it to be mounted behind the driver's side headlamp (I shit you not) or externally.

But it doesn't matter. The Impala is now dead as cop cars go, and should have been stillborn to begin with.

The new Chevy Caprice is not at all like an Impala. The thing is huge inside, on-par with a Crown Vic. Made by Holden in Australia, it has little in common with domestically-produced GM cars except for drivetrain bits. Of the three current choices for a new cop car, it is the only one designed for the role of playing cops-and-robbers in the US.

Oh, and it's also the most flexible, as far as installation options go. Programmable buttons on the dash for controlling aftermarket, third-party gear? Check. Automatic high-idle based on alternator load? Check. Built-in functionality for flashing headlamps and tail lamps? Check. Lots of dedicated 12V and ground connections, of various ampacities which are variously accessoriy-switched, third-party switched, or unswitched all amply pigtailed or studded out as appropriate forward, aft, and in midship? Check. Extra, dry wires already installed and documented as such for other accessories? Check. Extra relays wired in and supporting documentation, awaiting instruction? Check. Good paths for other cabling? Check.

This all lends itself toward durability and safety, while maybe even reducing total end-user cost: One doesn't need to be all that competent with proper automotive wiring to do a fail-safe installation in a new cop car with zero firewall penetrations.


~$30k doesn't sound so bad to me.

(You and I banter back and forth about cars a lot, but I've been working on cop cars for a decade. I'm always up for an apt debate, but I'm not sure you'll convince me of anything on these points. I've kitted out bunches of Crown Vics and police package Impalas, and while I seem to be moving away from that sort of work, I've also done a few Caprices, and some of the new Dodges and Fords. Time is money, and it's a lot less time have the companies who build automotive wiring harnesses do all this stuff on an assembly line than it is to have each individual car be a totally custom installation. It's also better.)

Comment: Re:Make sure it has s-video output (Score 2) 201

by adolf (#46916719) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Which VHS Player To Buy?


There's a lot of misinformation here: Not just with your post, but everywhere.

Let's start with audio.

Initially, all VHS tapes had a monaural sound track that is recorded linearly at very low speed, in a manner not at all dissimilar to a Compact Cassette (but worse). It sucks, but it's all that such a tape has: If you have such a tape, you'll have to make the best of it.

Some VHS tapes (mostly original studio releases) also have a linear stereo soundtrack. This also sucks (again, because the tape speed is too low for excellent audio), but it's all the tape has. This stereo linear soundtrack is often recorded with Dolby B, but not always (and if it is, you better have a proper Dolby B decoder on the output, or you're doing it wrong). Consumer VCRs that could deal with linear stereo were and are rare.

Many tapes, whether studio releases or otherwise, that were recorded on equipment newer than the mid-late 80s also have a Hi-Fi soundtrack, which can be either stereo or monaural. This is both recorded and played back using the helical-scanning video head, and is (indeed) rather Hi-Fi: It has excellent channel separation, and excellent signal-to-noise, and excellent frequency response.

Lots of home-made Hi-Fi tapes have mono sound, because that was all the recorder could handle, even though the Hi-Fi standard specified two channels. This was for marketing purposes: You could sell a mono Hi-Fi VCR or camcorder next to a stereo Hi-Fi VCR, and both would perform similarly...except the former was cheaper, and the latter had stereo IO. (===$Profit!)

Yes, VHS Hi-Fi uses a frequency modulation system to accomplish its awesomeness (and it is still awesome, even in these modern enlightened times). But it was never marketed as such, so looking for a VHS VCR that supports "FM" is a non-starter.

Which of these is best for playback and archival depends on entirely the tape in question, and what audio formats it has recorded on it, and how those formats were handled through the original signal chain, the level of deterioration of the tape itself, the calibration of the playback machine to the recorded tape, [...].

Meanwhile, video. Video is simpler to discuss, because VHS only has one video format: Composite NTSC.

A lot of people keep saying "Oh, and make sure it has something with an S-Video output, because that's better."

And I'm here to tell you: Dude, it doesn't matter. You might theoretically buy a VHS player with a Faroudja-scaled 1080p output over SDI, and it STILL doesn't matter: Regular VHS tapes always and only just have composite video on the tape itself, with the luminance and chroma signals multiplexed together. Accordingly, the very best unprocessed video that a regular VHS tape can present is composite NTSC, because that's all that is on the tape.

The only inherent difference, again with regular VHS media, between a player with an S-Video output, and a player with a composite output, is which device is responsible for comb filtering the composite video: The tape machine, or the playback machine/capture device.

So, one has a choice: Do you trust this role of Y/C separation to a possibly decades-old analog machine on blind faith that "S-Video is better," or do you trust it to modern video hardware wherein the capacitors have not yet aged, the solder joints are still good, and much of it probably happens in well-developed DSP-land?

I'll pick the latter, myself, unless I had a remarkably good and recently tuned S-VHS deck which is known to have an excellent comb filter....and even if I had such a beast (which is going to cost a nontrivial amount of money), I'd still compare the two methods with a very skeptical eye. Digital scalers, de-interlacers, and digital comb filters have progressed by leaps and bounds over the past decade and a half or so, to the point that a cheap TV from Wal-Mart can a better job of handling these things than the very best (and very expensive) hardware from a decade ago.

And just because S-Video has more wires does not make it better in an end-to-end perspective, especially since VHS tapes (again...) only have composite video.

All that said, the only time that an S-Video output should be an important consideration is when dealing with S-VHS tapes. S-VHS is quite a different beast than regular VHS, in that the luminance and chrominance signals are recorded separately on the tape.

S-VHS is the singular reason that we even had S-Video as an interface standard, and for S-VHS media one should certainly be using an S-Video connection. But regular VHS tapes do not and cannot inherently benefit from this connection scheme.

And S-VHS never really did catch on, so that's mostly irrelevant to the question.

(Oh, and while I'm at it: Laserdiscs? Same game: The source media only contains composite video. Sure, there are plenty of old Laserdisc players with an S-Video out, but again that simply moves the comb filter to the playback machine instead of the TV/encoder where it has resided since the dawn of color NTSC. Conventional C-Band satellite? Composite. Etc, etc, etc. Why? Because TVs displayed amplitude-modulated composite video, and these standards were developed simply to be seen on those existing televisions.)

"Confound these ancestors.... They've stolen our best ideas!" - Ben Jonson