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Comment Re:Proprietary charging cables are devil's work (Score 1) 196

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) 196

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) 196

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) 196

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...

Comment Re:"Failed" push for renewables? (Score 2) 277

Nuclear is an over-centralized, expensive, and dangerous technology based on a limited fuel source.

You want to call Nuclear over-centralized and expensive in the same breath you praise wind? Take a good look at the Pickens Plan:

"New transmission lines, worth $64 billion to $128 billion, would be needed to carry the power from the windmills to the cities. Pickens [...] said the government should begin building transmission lines for wind-generated power in the same way that President Eisenhower did by declaring an emergency to build the interstate highway system in the 1950s and 1960s."

Comment Western US anti-nuclear feelings (Score 1) 277

In the western US, the anti-nuclear sentiment has more to do with historically bad experiences with non-commercial activities. Open-air nuclear tests. A few years ago the DOE declared the Rocky Flats site in Colorado to be clean; there's a growing body of evidence that they did the job on the cheap and the remaining plutonium will get loose. Last year the WIPP in New Mexico had a leak, and DOE agreed to pay a $74M fine. This month, DOE asked the court for a further 17 year delay to 2039 to finish the vitrification plant that is key to cleaning up the disaster that is the Hanford Site in Washington. Given Republican attacks on the DOE budget, Washington has asked the reasonable question, "What are the chances Congress will continue to fund construction for another 24 years?" On the commercial side, Yucca Flats will probably open eventually, and be substantially expanded, against the wishes of the people of Nevada.

It's not all that hard to understand why western politicians are not given to believing the nuclear scientists and engineers who say, "Yes, but this time will be different."

Comment Re:Idiot (Score 2) 277

At least in the US Western Interconnect, it's feasible to solve this problem. The West has diverse renewable sources -- hydro, wind, solar, even geothermal. The West has these over geographic diversity -- eg, the wind is unlikely to stop blowing in both the Columbia Gorge and Wyoming's South Pass at the same time. There is plenty of opportunity for pumped hydro storage. It's not inexpensive because you do have to overbuild capacity, but there are a lot of detailed studies that show it's feasible.

The Eastern Interconnect, on the other hand, is a completely different problem, both in scale and in complexity.

Comment Re:Screw paying for ANY television viewing (Score 1) 232

As for the mountain ranges I bet there are TV repeaters on top of those ridges.

Absolutely not. ATSC doesn't really support single-frequency networks/repeaters.

2edge, 60 miles away, and -117dBm according to TVFool, yet good-enough reception for my purposes (some channels break-up more than others).

50 miles south of the Jacksonville ones.

That sounds entirely doable, even with pine trees. At least Florida doesn't throw mountains in the way. Trying TVFool with a zip of 32134, it says you have very good signal strength, even at that distance.

Ten years ago I got a new extreme range one, didn't help.

Every cheap $20 antenna claims to get extreme-range reception... that doesn't mean they do. What you need is an 8-bay for UHF, like a Winegard 8800, combined with a mast-mounted preamp like the RCA TVPRAMP1R. For VHF stations, an AntennaCraft y10-7-13, connected to that same preamp. Even with the large obstructions, I have no doubt you'll get solid reception.

And yes I want to watch what I want, my sports and The Walking Dead.

You're welcome to do what you want... Just not justifying it by pretending you don't have any (free) alternatives, when it looks like you're got a far better signal than many of us who go the free route.

Comment Re:Screw paying for ANY television viewing (Score 1) 232

I meant I'd have to go to 350 ft to get signal that I could actually watch reliably.

That still makes zero sense. How high your antenna tower needs to be is directly correlated with how good your antenna is, (and how many of them you install together). TVFool contains NO INFORMATION on how good antennas are, so it never (directly) tells anyone how tall of a tower they need. So it seems you're making some big assumptions, somewhere, which likely aren't accurate. You were quick to claim you were technically adept, but haven't shown any knowledge of RF, thus far. The quickest way to get at the facts of the matter would be to give a rough location, so your claim could be verified, or useful advice could be give to correct your misunderstanding.

One simple hint: Using TWO antennas is equivalent to doubling the height of your tower. Four antennas doubles it, again. Even taking your unexplained "350ft" antenna tower at face value, a quad antenna setup gets you down under 90ft, which is far more manageable.

Comment Re:If you're a $100k/yr engineer (Score 1) 416

It's pretty well documented. Wealthy and educated people get treatment programs, while poor (and let's face it, black) people get jail. It's because what we're really using our drug policy for is to keep the poors in check.

What's even better documented is the fact poor black people get harsher sentences, because poor black people vote for politicians who advocate tougher sentences in their jurisdictions.

It's unfortunate, but it's caused by sociological factors, NOT a grand conspiracy by white people to keep black people down...

Comment Re:Screw paying for ANY television viewing (Score 1) 232

TV Fools says I would need a 350 ft tower to get any signal

That makes no sense. Except for the dark side of the moon, there's no place on Earth where you'd have ZERO radio signals. TVFool doesn't have a zero value that it would ever show. It might show stations in RED or GREY as a quick hint that the signal isn't strong, but a good antenna can handle very weak signals in those ranges.

So what is TVFool showing as the dBm of your strongest network station? I've got good (but not perfect) reception with ATSC signals as weak as -120 dBm, with just a single good 4-bay UHF antenna and preamp. And mine are all 2Edge reception...

If you really are on the fringes, it's possible touse two or even FOUR antennas, together, to pull-in even weaker signals without a huge tower.

Comment Re:Screw paying for ANY television viewing (Score 1) 232

I watch live events carried only on ESPN. Or a certain few programs only available on cable

There are plenty of people who have become accustomed to the shows they watch on cable, and just refuse to adapt to the near-equivalents available OTA. You're not unique in that aspect, but I'm completely unsympathetic to those who are merely set in their ways. And you really are part of the problem, one of those making it profitable to lock-up content under expensive paid TV service packages.

I have to have the satellite for broadcast channels also because I live in the middle of a pine forest and would need a 100 ft tower to get an antenna over the trees.

OTA TV signals do NOT require line-of-sight. In my case, I've got TWO mountain ranges in my way, but I still get OTA television.

What's your zip code? I looked-up Yosemite, since that was the first (and biggest) "pine forest" which came to mind, and found a good TV antenna 20ft above ground can EASILY receive all the major network stations in the area. Of course you could be in one of the few areas in the country where OTA signals are too far away, but it sounds like you've really never tried, and you've always just assumed the worst.

Comment Re:Screw paying for ANY television viewing (Score 1) 232

I see 'streaming video on mobile devices' as another tech bubble that will burst sooner than most people think it will. There is only so much bandwidth available, and people keep demanding more and more of it, and all the while wireless providers like AT&T and Verison are literally gouging people for service,

Except "streaming video on mobile devices" does NOT imply that people are using their cellular data plans at all. The linked article even talks about people using free business/municipal WiFi.

I see it either coming to a point where you can't get more people and more bandwidth because it just doesn't exist, or it getting to the point where people are paying so much money that they start backing away from it

I don't see that happening... Spectrum reuse (smaller towers, lower-power antennas, with much shorter range) will allow the existing available cellular frequencies to be utilized many times more efficiently, blanketing small areas (neighborhoods) with much higher speeds, which don't interfere with the big towers covering large geographic areas.

The up-coming FCC incentive auction will give the cellular companies big new swaths of lower frequencies. Meanwhile micro-cells and pico-cells are decreasing in price and increasing in popularity with cellular carriers, and their operation necessarily involves higher spectrum reuse. LTE-U operates just like WiFi, on the same unlicensed frequencies and with a very small radius of service, and those devices should be available very shortly.

Meanwhile there are people like me (and I don't believe I'm anything like alone in this) who have no smartphone and see no reason to ever get one, because of how much wireless companies gouge for 'data plans'

You're not alone, but certainly in a very, very tiny minority. Back in early 2013, the majority of all Americans owned smartphones, and that trend has only increased several percent per year:

Early 2015: "overall smartphone penetration up to 77% of mobile phone owners in the U.S. Among recent phone acquirers, 91% chose smartphones as their mobile handset [...] Overall smartphone penetration continues to rise rapidly, increasing 8 percentage points"

While there's some truth to what you say about the two biggest US cellular carriers, it doesn't apply to T-Mobile/Sprint.

T-Mobile now offers unlimited video streaming (Netflix, HBO NOW, Hulu, more) that doesn't apply against your data allowance. And that's besides T-Mobile offering "unlimited" data plans for some time.

Sprint doesn't charge overages at all... they prefer to throttle your data connection down to much slower speeds, rather than disconnect your data, or charge you extra fees. And a Sprint service like Boost with several GBytes of data is just $30/mo, including most taxes/fees.

MVNOs can have even better deals. RingPlus, FreedomPop and others offer free plans that include cellular data. Some MVNOs like Republic will allow activating your smartphone for $10 with unlimited calling/sms, but NO DATA PLAN at all. You are tied to WiFi for internet, but that means no overage charges, ever.

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.