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Comment: And done elsewhere (Score 1) 212

by Sycraft-fu (#47440405) Attached to: Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

In Tucson 10%ish of the drinking water comes from reclaimed water (aka filtered sewage). Makes sense in an area with not a lot of fresh water resources. Also in those areas you can have different kinds. You can purchase a non-potable (not for consumption) water source for irrigation. Again, reclaimed water, but it undergoes less filtering and thus is cheaper. Plenty of larger places get a hookup to keep their watering costs down.

It is a very sensible way of doing things and you actually have more control of purity than water that comes out of the ground.

Comment: That and DACs aren't the issue anyhow (Score 2) 482

It is easy to make good DACs these days. Basically any DAC, barring a messed up implementation, is likely to sound sonically transparent to any other in a normal system. When you look at the other limiting factors (amp, noise in the room, speaker response, room reflections, etc) you find that their noise and distortion are just way below audibility. Ya, maybe if you have a really nice setup with a quiet treated room, good amps, and have it set for reference (105dB peak) levels you start to need something better than normal, but that isn't very common. Even then you usually don't have to go that high up the chain to get something where again the DAC is way better than other components.

Now that said, there can be a reason to get a soundcard given certain uses. For example you don't always want to go to an external unit, maybe you use headphones. In that case, having a good headphone amp matters and onboard sound is often remiss in that respect (then again, so are some soundcards). Also even if you do use an external setup, you might wish to have the soundcard do processing of some kind. Not so useful these days, but some games like to have hardware accelerated OpenAL.

Regardless, not a big deal in most cases. Certainly not the first thing to spend money on. If you have $50 speakers, don't go and buy a $100 soundcard. If you have a $5000 setup, ok maybe a soundcard could be useful, but only in certain circumstances.

As a side note, the noise in a PC isn't a big issue. Properly grounding/shielding the card deals with it. A simple example is the professional LynxTWO, which is all internal yet has top notch specs, even by today's standards.

Comment: They don't care about the cards (Score 1) 349

by Sycraft-fu (#47409003) Attached to: Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

They track you using your credit card. The cards are because people want them these days. Albertsons finally knuckled under and started offering them. Not because they needed them for tracking, like I said they already did that, but because customers whined they weren't getting a "good deal". So they raised their prices, and introduced a card.

Comment: Also (Score 1) 110

by Sycraft-fu (#47408593) Attached to: YouTube Issuing "Report Cards" On Carriers' Streaming Speeds

It doesn't take in to account the net speeds that people have. So you might well have a provider who has no problem doing HD video from Youtube all day every day, on lines that can handle it. However they sell slower lines and some customers have that, so that skews things.

Like say a phone company offers ADSL and IDSL for customers who are way out in the boonies, but VDSL for people in the city. Well those slow connections will bring down their stats, even if their network is quite fast and makes them look bad, despite them actually being the only option for some people.

A somewhat similar deal with cable companies can be people using old hardware. DOCSIS 2 cable modems only use one channel per segment, and those can get saturated these days. Well cable providers tend to be DOCSIS 3 to deal with that... but not everyone has a new modem. The cable company can recommend they get one, but if it is your equipment they can't make you (I guess other than cutting you off but they don't wanna do that).

Comment: No shit (Score 5, Insightful) 203

Slashdot needs to knock it off with these "Child genius is going to totally upstage all those stupid companies and make something amazing!" stories they run some time. The thing is, they are essentially never true and we as geeks should know better.

Smart kids often have the problem of thinking they know everything. They have the brains to be well above their peers at pretty much everything, and so have a confidence in their knowledge and intelligence, but lack the experience to understand the limitations of both in the larger world. Hence they'll think that they have found an "obvious" solution to a problem in the world that nobody else has managed to think of. I'm sure most of us felt like that at one time or another as children.

However, it turns out that smart kids become smart adults, and those smart adults get job making the thing we use, solving the problems we have, and so on. So, usually if there's something that hasn't been solved, the reason is that there is NOT a simple solution. There isn't something that a kid will just say "Oh look, here's a better way to do it." Rather it is a complex problem and thus the solutions are complex.

So Slashdot needs to quit with stories on shit like this unless there' something to back it up. A printer actually gets released based on this kids design? Ok that's a story. Some kid says he can do way better than anyone else? That's not a story. That is, to quote the Reapers, "A confidence borne of ignorance." It's not news.

Comment: Re:So you can reuse the PC board? (Score 1) 122

by hairyfeet (#47392433) Attached to: New Single Board Computer Lets You Swap Out the CPU and Memory

What I can't believe is that they compare this weak sauce single core to a NUC, it'd be like comparing a Pinto to a Porsche as they really aren't even in the same class.

If you want something crazy affordable to compare to a NUC then check out the new AMD AM1 Jaguar kits, like this you can swap CPUs but unlike this the smallest you can get is a dual core APU while for $100 you can have the quad Athlon APU and all the chips are based on the same Jaguar chips they use in the PS4 and XBone. I've built both the Sempron dual and Athlon quad and I have to say...they are fricking great! The Sempron makes a great ULV server or basic netbox while the quad makes for a decent desktop or really nice media tank. The new APUs have hardware acceleration for all the popular video formats and they are crazy low power draw so making silent systems with them is pretty trivial. the only caveat is get the faster RAM as with APUs the RAM speed makes a difference when it comes to graphics performance but other than that they are great for DIY systems on the cheap.

But units like the NUC and AM1 are why I think the days of ARM being used on anything but ultra cheapo Chinese crap are numbered, as both AMD and Intel are dipping into single digit power draw territory while having an IPC that just curbstomps ARM. I've said it before and it looks like time is proving me right, you just can't scale up ARM without blowing the power budget while both AMD and Intel are getting better with each rev on power while still keeping a huge IPC lead. If this trend continues there just won't be a point in using ARM for anything but bargain basement as they just won't have the performance to compete with AMD, much less Intel.

Comment: Re:The main problem with all elec (Score 1) 245

by EvanED (#47384557) Attached to: Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

I don't know anyone with a personal garage who doesn't park their car in it - and apart from apartment style condo owners, if you own a dwelling, you have a garage.

I've seen it a lot. One of the houses I spent several years in as a kid had a 1-car garage that I'm pretty sure was basically never parked in -- it was used as a workshop and such.

And there are also areas around at least here and probably plenty of other places in the country where, if you look at MLS sale listings, garages are less common than no garage. There was even a million-dollar lakefront listing with no garage!

Comment: Re:What about range on this smaller car? (Score 1) 245

by EvanED (#47384479) Attached to: Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

Most people don't have a car that can move furniture or large appliances. They just pay to rent a vehicle for those occasions. I find it odd that they don't apply the same logic to EVs.

To play devil's advocate, and I only know my own experiences, but I suspect that people go on longer roadtrips far more than they need to move furniture or large appliances. Especially if you count at the point of renting instead of just "hey, call Joe to see if he will help us move this couch; he's got a pickup."

Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment. -- Robert Benchley