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Comment: Re:If it bother you that much (Score 4) 944

by davros74 (#45784359) Attached to: 60% of Americans Unaware of Looming Incandescent Bulb Phase Out

While I'd like to switch over to more LEDs, every LED bulb I have purchased so far has had manufacturer instructions that they should NOT be mounted in an enclosed fixture (such as a ceiling dome). So what are the millions of people supposed to do when these fixtures, which basically only allow incandescents, have no suitable replacements? Same applies for certain types of recessed lighting - CFLs and LEDs are not allowed in some fixtures.

I stopped buying CFLs because in the winter they take forever to reach brightness (horrible for a bathroom) and they are a bigger environmental mess to dispose of than incandescents. LEDs have potential, but I don't understand the reasoning for a complete ban when the new technology is not a suitable replacement in 100% of use scenarios.

Comment: Re:Topology (Score 1) 378

by davros74 (#44893947) Attached to: Obama Asks FCC To Make Carriers Unlock All Mobile Devices

Just to clarify, only the newly released iPhone 5S/5C actually has CDMA and GSM in the same physical phone. For iPhone 5 and older, there is both a CDMA model and a GSM model, but not in the same handset, so moving an iPhone from Verizon/Sprint to ATT/T-Mobile isn't physically possible even if it were unlocked.

Comment: Re: Topology (Score 1) 378

by davros74 (#44893843) Attached to: Obama Asks FCC To Make Carriers Unlock All Mobile Devices

Not true. The only iPhone which supports all US carriers' data networks with a single SKU is the new iPhone 5C/5S. For iPhone5, there is only one model that supports AWS (A1428) and that only became available in March 2013. The iPhone 4S and earlier models have no AWS support at all, and there are still a lot of iPhone 4/4S's around.

So the new iPhone 5C/5S US models will work on all carriers. (The A1453 is a superset of the A1533, so technically the "Sprint" version is slightly superior.) However, Canadians might be a little upset that the US models (A1453/A1533) do not support LTE band 4 and band 7 in the same handset, so that's not quite optimal for carriers such as Rogers which uses both.

I think it's a bit disingenious to say all GSM-network iPhones support AWS when in reality only some iPhones less than 6 months old actually do, and the version Apple finally got right (all US carriers in a single handset) is just NOW coming out.

Comment: Re: Topology (Score 0) 378

by davros74 (#44884919) Attached to: Obama Asks FCC To Make Carriers Unlock All Mobile Devices

"if one wants high speed data".

I should add - or get off the Apple bandwagon and go with Android. As I mentioned above, all of the Android phones I know of these days have AWS support and work with all US carriers. Most of this incompatibility network nonsense is because of Apple's iPhone and Apple's business decisions.

Forcing unlocked phones would improve network compatibility by forcing the phone manufacturers to go back to making truly "unlocked" and compatible phones, vs making carrier tie-in specific changes to the phone hardware which renders them bricks or limited functionality on other networks, even if unlocked.

Comment: Re: Topology (Score 1) 378

by davros74 (#44884855) Attached to: Obama Asks FCC To Make Carriers Unlock All Mobile Devices

Actually you are both right. T-Mobile has refarmed spectrum and Apple has now added AWS support to the iPhone. Older iPhones may only work in 2G (EDGE) mode in some areas, but in many they will now work on HSPA+ on the 1900 MHz band. I suspect eventually all T-Mobile coverage areas will have 3G on 1900.

For the state of Iowa, some areas means the entire state except for a few pockets in Des Moines, which has 1900MHz HSPA+ 3G. The rest of the entire state (T-Mobile) requires AWS 1700/2100MHz support in the phone or it's EDGE.

Also, since most of the state is actually covered by an independent T-Mobile affiliate, there are no 1900MHz plans on the table, since the affiliate does not officially sell or support the iPhone, and all supported Android phones have AWS 1700/2100 support. From the carrier's point of view, why upgrade the towers for some 2-3 year old iPhones they don't support? Alas, dumping the iPhone 3/4/4s and going to iPhone5/5C/5S is the only practical short term solution if one wants high speed data (or pay a lot more and go with ATT or Verizon).

So why don't I switch to Verizon or ATT? Because I pay $100/mo for two lines with unlimited (yes, REAL UNLIMITED), 3G/4G/LTE, with tethering and personal WiFi hotspot. I have a 4S, my wife has a 5. Since her 5 has AWS1700/2100 support, I just piggy back off her WiFi tethering when I can't get by with EDGE on the 4s.

So now with the 5C/5S rollout (I haven't been following), did Apple at least combine the radios in the ATT iPhone5 and T-Mobile 5 such that there is once again a single GSM version of the 5C/5S that works on all US carriers? Or do they still have the ATT vs T-Mobile incompatibility but phone uses same SKU nonsense they did with the iPhone 5?

Comment: Re:Topology (Score 1) 378

by davros74 (#44883673) Attached to: Obama Asks FCC To Make Carriers Unlock All Mobile Devices

Weren't you paying attention? Different carriers got licensure for different bands, so even the vaunted SIM-card regime means that to go from one carrier to another, your phone has to work on the other carrier's band.

Living in a country with 4 carriers using different GSM bands I can tell you: That isn't really a problem.
Practically all GSM phones nowadays are tri-band as a minimum.

For voice calls? Yes. For data access? It's all over the place. The only "common" denominator amongst GSM providers for data is 2G (EDGE/GPRS). Anything better than that (3G or higher) depends on the frequencies and standards used by each carrier, and the phones out there are NOT compatible with all of them.

For example, you can unlock your ATT iPhone and bring it to T-Mobile, but your 4G/LTE data will not work since T-Mobile's 4G is 1700/2100MHz AWS band 4, which the ATT version of the iPhone5 does not support. If you live in a T-Mobile "Network Evolution" area, your ATT iPhone5 will get 3G on 1900MHz, and if you're not in one of those areas, your ATT iPhone5 will support EDGE as a maximum on T-Mobile.

Comment: Re: Topology (Score 5, Informative) 378

by davros74 (#44883307) Attached to: Obama Asks FCC To Make Carriers Unlock All Mobile Devices

T-Mobile did not refarm its spectrum to support the new iPhone. They worked with Apple to get a special version of the A1428 iPhone 5 to support AWS band 4 (1700/2100)MHz, which allows the phone to work on their data network. ATT is not using 1700/2100MHz for their data network.

Now, to relieve congestion on their 4G networks, T-Mobile is moving their EDGE networks over to HSPA+ on 1900MHz to provide additional 3G bandwidth on a predominantly only 2G frequency. This is only happening in major cities, such as Denver, Chicago, Minneapolis, etc. If you're like me (in eastern Iowa), this "network evolution" doesn't mean crap for me. Now, as a pure side-effect, providing HSPA+ on 1900MHz allows 3G to also work on earlier iPhone models, such as the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. That was NOT the primary intent.

So the situation still is - if you want fully featured data services, you must know the frequencies and waveforms your carrier uses and make sure they are compatible. For me, with an iPhone 4S (unsupported on iWireless, a T-Mobile subsidiary), I get EDGE speeds here, but when I viist larger cities operated by T-Mobile, I get 3G. For the iPhone 5, well, there are no less than FOUR versions today (and it was more complicated before the T-Mobile iPhone rollout in early 2013), but as of now, there's the CDMA/Verizon version, there's the international GSM version (which does not work on AWS 1700/2100MHz), the ATT GSM version (which does not work on 1700/2100MHz) and the "Unlocked/T-Mobile" GSM version, which does work with AWS 1700/2100MHz. Clear as mud, right?

Even if the phones were unlocked and everyone could switch carriers, until you get the cell phone manufacturers to start making "world" phones again for data, it's still pretty much locked down (such as the ATT vs Tmobile vs Verizon/Sprint iPhone5 issue described above). At least for VOICE, yes, any GSM phone works just about anywhere in the world, but we let the companies make a mess out of "standards" for 3G/4G/LTE data.

Comment: Re:Fantastic. (Score 2) 261

by davros74 (#43423623) Attached to: Microsoft Game Director Adam Orth Resigns Following Xbox Comments

Microsoft eventually got this right, IMO, with the X360.

Yes, downloaded content will only work on the original console it was purchased from (by serial number) or the Xbox Live Account. However, I suffered through no fewer than 3 red-rings of death from 2006-2009.

The first console came back with a different board, different serial number. My content would only work by logging into Xbox Live. Royal PITA.
Second console came back but MSFT allowed the content to be re-downloaded and authorized on my new serial number. While a royal pain, after re-downloading everything, it would work offline again.

Skip ahead to about 2009-2010 time frame. MSFT finally put the option to TRANSFER your content from one box serial number to another on their website. It is restricted to one use per 6 months, so it cannot be abused, but lets the user move their content to another console if their old console is broken, sold or they purchase a newer model. I did this in 2011 when I upgraded to an S-series xbox.

I personally think this is a fine compromise to DRM. Online connection always authorizes the content. Offline is allowed by serial number of original purchase. Serial number of primary device is transferrable to another console at the user's discretion (with some restrictions, once per 6 month period, etc).

Without that last feature, however, I consider the DRM draconian. I took my originally repaired console with me one xmas to my in-laws, and found I couldn't play my Oblivion game because my saved game had used Knights of the Nine and without internet access I could not play. However, I could load an older save file that was created before I had any DLC content for that game. My in-laws at the time only had dial-up modem (56K), so it rendered most of the content useless.

If this is the future of gaming, I will not be participating. I will punt on the next Xbox and especially if it has no backwards compatibility. I think it is reasonable expectation from consumers that a new device should at least be able to play games from it's predecessor, but not go back further than that. But if that is what happens, so be it, there is plenty of good (OLD) games I would like to play again via Steam or GoG.com on my PC.

Comment: Re:It has? (Score 4, Informative) 131

by davros74 (#43417963) Attached to: Hijacking Airplanes With an Android Phone

While DH2 is a good movie, the whole concept behind the ILS manipulation is horse manure. ILS isn't a digitally encoded system with GPS coordinates or something, it's a localizer beam with elevation and azimuth. The plane picks up the radio waves and "rides the beam" down. The only way to move the landing point is to go physically move the transmitter. And in the case of DH2, bury the transmitter 100' below ground or something. (And expect the pilots and flight computer to ignore the ground altimeter, which is pretty hard to mess with remotely).

Comment: Re:Same is not good enough (Score 2) 163

Yeah, because that really worked out well for the cellular companies.

You need to turn the clock back about 30 years. The way you get corporations with natural monopolies to act in the best interest of the public rather than themselves is through REGULATION.

Yeah, yeah, socialism, blah blah. But natural capitalism does NOT work in these kinds of markets that require massive infrastructure with high barriers and costs of entry for new businesses. Free market does not work here. Companies have no incentive to build out better infrastructure. They have lots of interest to control pricing and making sure other companies cannot enter their market.

Comment: Re:Egads...Gnome 1.4.6 all over again... (Score 1) 818

by davros74 (#40288183) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Aren't You Running KDE?

Amen. I used OS/2 2.11, 3 and 4, and back then, and even now, the Workplace Shell was a beauty of a desktop interface. The fact that it was object oriented and had scripting support (back in '94-'95) was so nice to work with. Naturally, when OS/2 died it's slow painful death at the hands of IBM, I converted to Slackware 4.0 + KDE. The pinnacle there was 3.5.10 - I am still using it on my primary work computer stuck on RHEL4 - even without updates, it just works, runs fine on a 2.6GHz Core processor and only 2GB of RAM.

I have used KDE since 1.1.2 (had to bootstrap gcc and a bunch of GNU utilities onto Solaris 5.6 on an Ultra60 in order to compile it), and KDE 3.5.10 was probably the most productive desktop environment I've ever used. I am dismayed that it is getting harder and harder to maintain on newer distros (or even obsolete ones like RHEL3/4), despite the efforts of Trinity.

OSX though gets my vote for best overall desktop environment. Personally, it's not my favorite (KDE + Eterm terminals), but considering it's the one machine/interface that both my wife and I can stand to use, Apple does deserve a lot of credit there. My wife can have the Gui she likes, and I simply turn on the SSH server, and ssh into the macbook from my slackware machine or use the Terminal. Best of all worlds, except for the pricey hardware OSX typically comes on.

Comment: kpanel and kmail (Score 1) 818

by davros74 (#40284063) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Aren't You Running KDE?

I upgraded to KDE-4.5 only when I upgraded my slackware distro to 13.37. This version is already quite dated, it's usable, but I still miss some kde-3.x features that still do not exist (that I am aware of) in KDE-4.

Sounds silly, but I really miss kpanel the most. It is the best virtual desktop manager I have used (from 3.5.x series), showing thumbnails of all applications (can recognize by sight), proper desktop backgrounds, and ability to move windows from desktop to desktop from inside the panel itself. KDE's (at least as of 4.5.5) panel app doesn't let me move windows, and it doesn't show image pixmaps of wallpapers or applications. Usually the text of a window doesn't fit, and it's quite unusable to be able to tell one window from another.

I also used to use Kmail heavily, but the new one seems so much more bloated, requiring SQL (is that akonadi?). Don't know why I need an SQL server running to read my email off an IMAP server (messages stored on the IMAP server, not "fetched" to the local KMAIL app).

I also don't quite get the Activities and Plasma stuff, would prefer to just have a plain virtual desktop like KDE-3.5.10.

I've thought about Trinity, but Slackware-13.37 isn't officially supported (despite being more than a year old)... maybe it would work, but I haven't had time to try yet. Probably makes more sense to try and upgrade slackware-13.37 from KDE-4.5.5 to a newer version.

I also must be one of those "older" folks who prefers the standard drop down cascaded menus. I don't need a "start" menu that isn't big enough to show me everything, and require scrolling a menu (what a stupid concept, thanks Windows7), or requires typing to find what I want. At least KDE can still be customized better than Windows7 can be.

I also prefer the older Konqueror file manager over Dolphin. Just from a user "experience", there seems to be more visual polish on KDE-4 but less functionality than KDE-3.5, in my opinion.

Is there a Subversion plugin for Konqueror or Dolphin yet (TortoiseSVN equivalent)? That's one thing that is sorely lacking from KDE-3.5.x series since SVN was only taking off about then.

Comment: Re:Zip discs (Score 2) 247

by davros74 (#39703833) Attached to: 30 Blu-ray Discs In a 1.5TB MiniDisc-Like Cassette

At the time (mid-to-late 90s), the computer labs at college were full of ZIP drives. For a brief time, they became the best way to transfer word docs and homework from dorm computer to lab computer and back. But very short lived (2 years maybe?)

Being a /. member, I was early adopter, so naturally I already had a SCSI controller to support those new CDROM thingies that showed up in the early 90s, so it was naturally to get the SCSI/parallel port version of the ZIP drive. On my computer, SCSI speeds (40MB/sec), but parallel port compatibility with everyone else (external drive naturally). Using a DB25 connector. One problem. Iomega decided to not use a DIP switch to control the modes, but instead auto-detect the SCSI bus or parallel port. Except they screwed up the termination on the SCSI bus. So the only *approved* method of using the external device was as the SINGLE and ONLY device on the SCSI host bus adapter. Seriously? My SCSI bus was notorious for parity errors and data corruption issues with the Iomega ZIP drive. I ultimately decided my data integrity was more important (several SCSI HDDs and a CDROM burner and tape drive), and the ZIP was then dead to me.

So it wasn't just the click of death that killed it. The Parallel/SCSI combo version had potential, but that too was foobar'd.

You can not win the game, and you are not allowed to stop playing. -- The Third Law Of Thermodynamics

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