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Comment Re:Trap? Usually its a tarpit of unusable service (Score 1) 187

Have noted zero congestion issues, at 4 different locations. Did have one location which had ancient (lead-jacketed, even) copper and took forever (easily 100 man hours) for them to get it to work properly, but they did.

Ever have a look at your stats at

The bitloading graph at the bottom of is instructive, too: It's a representation of the spectrum currently being used on your circuit.

Comment Re:Totally enforceable! (Score 1) 221

i really wish they'd get around to whacking the whackers around here. I'm getting tired of hams driving retired cop cars with aftermarket lightbars and "REACT" painted on the doors with a somewhat official-looking seal and a plastic badge they bought at the security guard outfitter supply thinking they're somehow entitled to do more than use the radio.

Those aren't hams, those are nutcases.

Hams are licensed amateur radio operators and are generally very picky about following each FCC rule to the letter and practice the art of long-distance communications using gear running from batteries. When all of our wonderful communications systems fall apart (which happens), hams will (and do!) find a way to reach the outside world for everyone's benefit.

REAC is a group of baffoons trying to make themselves feel important, often with unlicensed CB radios illegally using linear amplifiers, and in my direct experience are an unsavory sort of folk who would be the last people I would accept help from, much less ask. I teach my daughter to stay away from them.

To conflate the two is brutally both disparaging toward hams, and far more respectful toward REAC than they could possibly deserve.

Comment Re:Still a bad value (Score 1) 130

I've seen high-quality (Motorola batteries for 2-way radios) lithium rechargeable batteries lose 40% of their capacity in 3 years, sitting in their factory-sealed packaging in a desk drawer.

And I'm not talking about self-discharge, but permanent capacity loss. But since you mention self-discharge...

I've seen barely-used, only-a-few-weeks-old Porter Cable power tool batteries that would discharge overnight in the back of a truck in a climate-controlled garage, connected to nothing.

But since these things are impossible, I guess I'm imagining the day I delivered replacement Motorola batteries to a customer whose spare batteries weren't. I suppose that I was dreaming the day that I charged up all of the Porter Cable batteries, before foolishly trying to use them the next day.

Comment Re:The 120 yr Limit (Score 4, Interesting) 35

My Jr. High music teacher died from brain cancer. He was brilliant, highly-skilled, and excellent with showing kids their vocal potential. He remembered everyone; name, rank, serial. And he never gave up on any of them.

One of the more painful memories I have, ever, is of meeting this man a few years later, at work: He's browsing movies, and I'm coming back from a long day of installing satellite dishes -- my first "real" job.

I'm all "Mr. [ZZZ], how are you? I haven't seen you in awhile."

And he's all "Uh, hi. Yes! Yes, I remember you! You're uhm, Jason? No that's not it. Andy? No no. I'm very sorry, but they tell me I've got brain cancer and it's really hard to remember..."

Me: "Can I help?"

"No, no, they say I've still got 72% of my brain left. I've got brain cancer, haven't you heard? Let's see, uh, I know I know you and I'm very embarrassed that I can't name you."

At this point, I let the then-old-to-me damaged dude (45-50-ish) know my name, which still drew a blank. It was difficult excusing myself from that situation, and apparent that the missing 28% was inclusive of all of his genuinely-beloved students. He died a year or two later. Mein herz brennt -- I used to could talk to the guy about anything.

I mean, FFS: My grand-dad died from Parkinson's, which is a terrible fucking way to die when it gets stretched to multiple years of uselessness: You still know everything, but you can't do anything about it. (He was an engineer, but couldn't communicate his ideas at all. One scribbled note, discarded by the nurses because they'd since moved/re-adjusted him and no longer cared, said "Neck hurts." By the time I got there, they didn't care about my interpretation. He cried, which was perhaps the best he could do, paralyzed and unable to speak but having successfully had his written complaint understood only to be ultimately ignored).

My other grand-dad died from a bad stroke, leading to other strokes. This is also a terrible fucking way to die, especially it also involves years of uselessness. (He was a salesman and a wildly successful realtor and a lot of other first-party things, but couldn't reach the people he used to know after the first real stroke)

Fuck all brain diseases, in general. But brain cancer? Sheesh Fuck that one in particular. Brain cancer is silly-crazy-scary. Shell-of-a-ghost-of-a-human scary. I wish we could fix that one. At least my grand-dads knew who I was.

(I'd tell you about the staph infection my school-teacher aunt got in her own brain, but she's mostly better, ish: She used to know everything, and she's sure that she still does, but she's a bit more reserved about relaying that than she used to be.)

Comment Re:launchd not as bad as systemd (Score 1) 160

Then you could put the whole OS (ROMs aside) into a recoverable ramdisk... talk about a quick boot.

I've heard of this trick, though I never owned an Amiga or any manner of useful Apple (though there is ostensibly a useless pizza-box-shaped Mac over there on the table, and an example of the Last Hoorah of the PPC 24" iMacs working fine and being useless in my garage waiting for me to figure out how to ship it because they're still valued at hundreds of dollars, but not to me because it largely fails at Spotify and Youtube, which are two things I need from a fixed PC in my garage.).

It was certainly a clever hack: A loader that linearly (FAST!) loaded the OS into a RAM disk, and then booted from that RAM disk, and then would pivot back to the disk and free the RAM it was using.

Folks don't do anything clever like that anymore.

I remember scoring a 2MB EMS card (an Everex card that would use Intel drivers) for an XT that I ran a BBS from, and then scoring the 72 individual DIP RAM modules to populate it. Half was used as a RAM drive; frequent and generally read-only boot and BBS stuff would live there. I even toyed with optimizing it: Some of the TSRs would load overall-faster from the RAM disk, but once loaded they were resident so they could be flushed to make room for other things that would be used later. The other half was disk cache, at a time when disk cache was a thing that wasn't often done. The rest of the machine lived within its 640k of base memory.

Optimizing, tweaking. Pushing the edge to get booting faster, and regular operations going faster. I miss that.

Nowadays, we (or at least I) just throw parts at the problem:

Oh, your machine boots slowly? Here, try this SSD.

You're having a hard time switching between big programs? Here, let me plug in an extra >half-dozen gigabytes of RAM.

The answers these days are so easy, and so much less rewarding. (I should be able to chooch that G5 iMac in my garage into the modern world, but it's been forgotten for the purposes I want it for.)

Comment Re:Sony makes the best camera modules? (Score 1) 134

Sony's been in the camera business a long, long time, with everything from CCTV to studio cameras. Their sensors are behind lots of lenses.

That they might make the best compact modularized camera is a concept that I'll take with the appropriate quantity of salt, but I would not be surprised at all if the claim were true.

If I have not seen so far it is because I stood in giant's footsteps.