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Comment: Re:What are the practical results of this? (Score 1) 420

by dgatwood (#48943995) Attached to: FCC Officially Approves Change In the Definition of Broadband

have you ever worked in a union? while this is true, most of them make it hard as heck to jump through the hoops needed to jump through to ensure none of your dues are used towards political campaigns.

Yes, I worked in a union shop. I didn't join, but I seem to recall that being one of the checkboxes on the paperwork you had to fill out whether you joined or not, along with the option to opt out of the union and pay "fair share" fees.

Comment: Re:Power Costs (Score 1) 253

Yeah, but park ramps have been around for a couple of decades (the earliest patent filing I could find was filed in 1992), and they only started having insane levels of trouble fairly recently (by comparison). So it's probably the combination of excessive amounts of parking (as you mentioned) and having less structural support for the heads that makes them so problematic.

Comment: Re:U-verse (Score 1) 420

by dgatwood (#48943967) Attached to: FCC Officially Approves Change In the Definition of Broadband

Not all devices show LTE bars identically, so your mileage may vary. To compare apples to apples, we'd both need to be using dBm. Truthfully, even that wouldn't necessarily be a valid comparison, depending on multipath interference and a whole host of other factors. My point was that there are a lot of places that have service, but where the minute-long connection latency caused by high packet loss results in such a horrid real-world speed that it might as well be truly slow.

Comment: Re:Anecdotal Example (Score 1) 88

by dgatwood (#48943885) Attached to: Wi-Fi Issues Continue For OS X Users Despite Updates

Would be nice. I also wish they'd go back to the pre-retina enclosure, and instead of wasting space on an optical drive, I'd like to see them use most of that extra space for additional battery capacity. If I run Photoshop or Finale or Xcode or any of the other software that I use to actually get stuff done with my retina MBP (about one year old), I'm lucky to get 2.5 to 3.5 hours out of it. If I were designing a computer to meet my needs, the "four cores running at full tilt" duration would be eight or ten hours, and the "just wasting time doing light-duty web browsing" number would be measured in days.

Or just bring back removable batteries. Either way.

Comment: Re:What are the practical results of this? (Score 1) 420

by dgatwood (#48934455) Attached to: FCC Officially Approves Change In the Definition of Broadband

Union contributions are, more or less, under the control of the people who are in the unions, and if you don't agree with a union's political agenda, you have a legal right to withhold that portion of your dues, so your portion of that contribution is 100% under your control.

Corporate contributions, by contrast, are entirely under the control of its board of directors. As a shareholder or normal employee of that corporation, you have no control over your portion of the contribution. Corporate contributions represent a concentration of power in the hands of a few individuals, which makes them fundamentally different.

Comment: Re:U-verse (Score 1) 420

by dgatwood (#48933789) Attached to: FCC Officially Approves Change In the Definition of Broadband

Real-world LTE speeds only qualify as broadband if you're very close to the tower. By the time you get into two-bar territory (where their LTE network is "available"), you'll be lucky to get EDGE speeds, and at one bar, you'll be lucky to get any data at all. Yet technically, LTE is available in all those places. That's the problem with wireless; the speed falls off a cliff as distance increases.

Comment: Re:Power Costs (Score 1) 253

In a curiously ironic twist, the hardware designed to protect consumer-grade disks from damage ends up destroying them. As I understand it, a number of fairly recent consumer drives exhibit a higher than normal failure rate because the heads break off of the arms when they collide with the park ramp. This is, at least in part, a consequence of making the arms smaller and lighter to improve seek times.

Comment: Re:Lot's of bad ideas here... (Score 1) 250

by dgatwood (#48919389) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?

At more than 8 cents per gigabyte, archival DVDs are horribly expensive. You could cycle your backups across three hard drives for about the same amount of money, and then you have three backups instead of one.

Not to mention... have you ever tried backing up your 4 TB hard drive onto a spindle of 1,000 DVDs? Have you ever seen a spindle of 1,000 DVDs? It's slightly taller than an average person. Yes, if you don't have much data, you can do what you're proposing, but....

Hard drives are really the only viable backup medium unless you have a big enough collection of data for tape drives to make sense—maybe Blu-Ray, but only if you don't have more than about a 100-disc spindle worth of data (2.5 or 5 TB) to back up (and really, most people lose interest at more like ten or fifteen discs).

Comment: Re:Pair of external HD's (Score 1) 250

by dgatwood (#48919305) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?

I think the point was that after you clone your backup drive to a new one, you can reuse the drive to replace or expand your main system drive, whereas once you burn an optical disc, "reburning" means throwing away the old plastic (or keeping an extra copy around). This effectively makes optical media a lot more expensive than magnetic media.

Comment: Roswell (Score 1) 476

by dgatwood (#48908127) Attached to: Best 1990s Sci-fi show?

Admittedly, Roswell barely qualifies as 1990s, because it began in 1999, but it was one of the better sci-fi shows I've seen. Among other things, it turned the genre on its head by being told from the perspective of aliens, in the present day, on Earth. It had a lot of things going against it, of course, with network politics being the big one, and season two strayed awfully far into X-Files territory, but it had good writing, good acting, and much like Stargate, it didn't take itself too seriously, somehow managing just the right blend of humor, romance, dramatic tension, etc. And in spite of the main characters being teenagers, it managed to almost entirely avoid the usual teen drama that you'd expect to clog up such a series.

My favorite funny moment had to be when Jonathan Frakes (playing himself) told one of the alien teenagers that he just didn't make a believable alien. And my favorite episode was the Christmas special; it was almost pure character development, did nothing to drive the plot, but it was a breathtaking tear-jerker that gave a lot of insight into the main characters' personalities.

If you haven't seen Roswell, it's worth a look.

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