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Comment Re:Wow, end of an era. (Score 1) 144 144

He was saying that the SS10 could handle 512 MB in 1992, at time when the best PCs were maxed out at 32 MB or so.

The SS10 takes proprietary memory, and I know there was a firmware update that allowed it to use larger (32 MB, I think) sticks at some point. Ultimately, I don't think there was any way to put 512MB into a SS10 in 1992, even if the machine did eventually support it. I think 128 MB was more likely, though even that's very good for a desktop box back then.

As for 128MB simms in 1992, I have my doubts. This chart doesn't really try to list *everything* that was available, but even so -- it doesn't list 128 MB sticks until 1999. (It doesn't mention 64 MB sticks until 1999 as well, so clearly, it's missing some stuff.)

According to this, there were 64 MB SIMMs available in 1995 for a massive price -- $2600 each. (I didn't try to find the ad itself, however.)

Comment Re:Wow, end of an era. (Score 1) 144 144

I was asking about the Sparcstation 10, not a PC.

Wikipedia says "The SS10 can hold a maximum of 512 MB RAM in eight slots", so that means we need 64MB modules for it, and I'm not sure they were available yet in 1992.

I've got a SS20 in my garage, and it's got 208 MB of memory -- which wasn't too bad at all, "back in the day" anyways.

Comment Re:I was thinking of "high end" in terms of (Score 1) 144 144

what consumers had access to by walking into a retail computer dealership ... and saying "give me your best"

Of course, by that metric, Suns weren't available at all.

SCSI was somewhat rare in a PC in 1992, yes, but not that uncommon. (Anybody remember the Adaptec AHA-1542B? It came out in 1990.)

800x600 was more common, but 1024x768 was available. I don't recall if it was all interlaced or not, but I do recall how much that interlacing sucked!

Ethernet (or token ring, that was still somewhat common) was quite common in environments where it made sense. Not in a one computer home of course, but in a business, sure. How else were you going to get at the NetWare server?

And in the PC space, the higher-end you went, the less you were able to actually use the hardware for anything typical.

That's not true. A high end business class PC would run games just fine in 1992, for example. (As long as it had the right graphics, anyways.)

You might need to pick a different boot floppy, however. (Windows 95 certainly did improve things there!)

I'm not sure if this applied to the few SMP PCs available the time or not, however -- I got my first one a few years later, a Pentium Pro. That wasn't specialized -- it would run anything, though I imagine that many things would ignore the second cpu. (I ran Linux on it, which did use the second cpu.)

The UNIX platforms were standardized around SCSI, ethernet, big memory access, high-resolution graphics, and multiprocessing and presented an integrated environment in which a regular developer with a readily available compiler could take advantage of it all without particularly unusual or exotic (for that space) tactics.

I understand nostalgia, but ... no.

SCSI was the (somewhat) new hotness in 1992, yes, but other drive busses had been used in the past and were still used in 1992. The large SGI I administered a few years later had ESDI drives, for example. (But it also had SCSI, and the desktop SGIs we had were SCSI only.)

Ethernet was also the current favorite, but other networking protocols were in use at the time. I was working at IBM in 1992 and most of the company used token ring at the time -- that's what I had coming to my desk, where I had a PS/2 running OS/2.

As for "big memory", yes, that was always the norm for big computers, whatever the OS -- big computers had big resources available.

As for multiprocessors, remember, the Sparcstation 10 was Sun's first multi cpu desktop box. Multiprocessing was somewhat common in mainframes and minicomputers by them (whatever the OS), but it was rare on the desktop, even *nix desktops.

As for graphics ... most Unix platforms had no graphics at all then. Sun's desktop offerings did, and they did have decent graphics, but they weren't really better than high end PCs that were available at the time. (SGI went more after the desktop graphics than Sun did, but maybe Sun had some stronger offerings that I'm not aware of.)

As for "integrated environments", I think in 1992 Sun still shipped compilers stock with their OSes, but it was just a few years later that they became a very expensive licensed add-on. gcc was available, of course, but getting it installed was kind of a chore, and it was inferior to the Sun compilers in some ways. Alas, g77 wasn't available until a while later.

And really, the environment wasn't "integrated" like it is now. No IDEs, anyways -- your environment was X windows, and you got to use vi or emacs or whatever. Really, the programming environments on a PC were integrated before they were on Unix systems as far as I know.

Comment Re:Wow, end of an era. (Score 1) 144 144

A 32 bit cpu can address 4 GB directly, but that doesn't mean it has a 4 GB memory limit.

For example, in 1995 Intel added PAE to their 32 bit Pentium Pro cpus, allowing them to access more than 4 GB of memory.

Hell, my Apple IIe had 128KB of memory, in spite of the 8 bit cpu with the 16 bit address space only being able to access 64KB of memory, through similar tricks.

And yes, 4 GB is enough for most casual users today. 2 GB even works. But give it a few more years and 4 GB will become very restrictive even for somebody who doesn't do much on their computers.

Personally, I'm not going to make any claims that "X KB/MB/GB/PB/EB/etc. will be all you'll ever need in your lifetime" because it seems quite likely that whatever I pick ... it'll turn out to be wrong.

Comment Re:Wow, end of an era. (Score 1) 144 144

and tell them it dates to 1992, when high-end PCs were shipping with mayyybe 16-32GB RAM, a single 486 processor, 640x480x16 graphics, a few dozen megabytes of storage, and no networking.

As much as I loved Sun hardware at that time (though I didn't get to touch anything better than a Sparcstation 2 until years later), since you explicitly mention high-end PCs, I'll have to point out that that 1992 hi-end consumer PCs (you did say high end, so I can pick the best of what's available) did have not just networking but ethernet (it was relatively common, and not just found on high end machines), could have 1024x768 with 16 or 24 bit (not color) graphics, perhaps 32 MB of memory (though that is on the high end for 1992. I wonder if you could actually get 512 MB into a SS10 in 1992 -- were chips of sufficient density available yet?), and could run all the exact same hard drives that your Sparcserver 10 did -- just get a SCSI card.

I also remember dual cpu PCs being available in 1992, though of course they were very high end and expensive.

Of course, a typical new but *low end* PC at that time had a 386SX, 1 MB of memory, a 640x480 VGA monitor ...

Comment Re:We need better legislation (Score 1) 102 102

I'm not sure which country you're referring to, but in the US, the typical multicopter (what you call a "drone") *is* a RC aircraft, and is regulated like one.

In general we do allow R/C aircraft to be flown in the middle of a city, as long as it's not in controlled airspace, though some cities may have laws against it. (Though the FAA claims dominion over such things, so I'm not sure how the cities get around that.)

In general, in the US hobbyist use is largely unregulated, and it's commercial use that's tightly regulated. This is changing, largely due to the explosion of quadcopters being flown by inexperienced pilots in places where they probably shouldn't be and the common (but generally incorrect) perception that they're all equipped with cameras and being used to spy on them. (When the reality is ... many may have cameras, but in general people are just trying to take pictures of landscapes, buildings, etc. and any people that are in the pictures are generally so small as to be unrecognizable unless the craft is very close to them.)

Comment Re:More Sanity (Score 1) 269 269

First, that's because historically the number of RCs was microscopic.

Even recently, far more people are injured by balls than models.

Second, exercise is something we need to promote as much as possible.

So we ban things that aren't exercise?

(Actually, I've found that I get lots of exercise doing my R/C modelling, especially flying gliders with a hi-start or winch.)

Voyeurism and general being-a-jerk needs less help.

Ahh yes, the "every quadcopter is spying on me" fiction.

The reality is ... not all models have cameras on them at all, and many of them that do are simply for FPV and the image isn't recorded at all.

And those that are taking pictures are almost invariably taking pictures of landscapes, buildings, etc. Wide angle lenses are the norm, and while there may be people in the picture, they tend to be so small as to be unrecognizable.

Occasionally they'll be flown close enough to people that the pictures will allow you to recognize the people in them, but in such cases 1) there's nothing stealthy about that -- quadcopters are not silent, and 2) the people are in public already -- you could just go to where they are and take an even better picture of them yourself if you were so inclined.

This whole "drone hovering outside my window, watching me undress" thing is basically fiction. It's possible, but people seem to greatly, greatly overestimate the capabilities of that quadcopter that's a few hundred yards away and how interesting they themselves are. But they see a quadcopter a few hundred yards away -- and so they call the police saying it was hovering next to their window spying on them.

They even get lost occasionally, but I don't recall a single instance where one was found and "peeping-tom" type pictures were found on any camera that they may have.

As for "general being-a-jerk", doesn't that describe banning hobbies that people do that aren't particularly worse than other hobbies?

Comment Re:Even More Sanity (Score 1) 269 269

Far, far more people are injured and killed by balls used in sports than R/C models.

I'm not sure why anyone would think that given how much less mass they have, and the fact they are almost entirely physically controlled. If a string breaks they flutter to the ground, not plummet.

Maybe. You seem to be comparing small kites to big models -- what if it's a tiny model vs a big kite?

I imagine that significantly more people have been injured and killed by kites than R/C models.

Ultimately, it would make sense to regulate kites in exactly the same way as R/C aircraft, as the risks are very similar -- do it by size or weight, for example. But kites are considered "normal" and R/C aircraft are not, and so we get laws like this ...

When's the last time you saw someone playing baseball (with a bat, not throwing) in the middle of a festival or crowded park? You are basically saying you would do that if given a choice?

I've seen a spectator get knocked out by a kicked soccer ball at the local park. Not that you'd have room to play this in a festival, but they play it at the local park all the time. And the reason there's signs up that say "NO GOLFING" is because people were golfing ...

There's lots of things that involve some amount of danger being done in our parks, and now New Zealand has picked one to "fix".

Comment Re:More Sanity (Score 1) 269 269

Let's flip this argument around a little bit --

How is it not sane to think that the people who could be potentially hit by your frisbee/kite/football/running toddler would have something to say about it being done near them?

I find this a perfectly reasonable law. Don't forget it means that could could play on private property NEXT to the public property, as long as you are not directly over the public area...

Far, far more people have been injured by balls than R/C models -- a kicked soccer ball has more energy than a small R/C aircraft -- and yet we aren't banning people from playing soccer in fields.

We could even apply this argument to cars -- they kill more via collisions than anything else. But of course almost everybody drives, so we can't limit them more -- but only a few people fly R/C aircraft, so we *can* discriminate against them.

And the "film from there" argument is a red herring, as the model aircraft hobby isn't just about "filming", though the aerial photography segment of the hobby has indeed exploded lately.

Comment Re:Too good to be true (Score 1) 243 243

NiMH and NiCd do have very similar discharge curves for comparable "C" discharge rates. (If you discharge a NiCd at a rate that will discharge it in three hours (to pick a rate), the discharge curve will look very similar to a NiMH being discharged at a rate that will discharge it in three hours. The differences you do see will mostly come from different internal resistances.)

some rare or non-relevant circumstances

What are you talking about? I'm talking about NiMH discharge curves, all of them, not some "rare or non-relevant circumstance".

I'm sorry that you got your information from an incorrect web page, but you did -- NiMH cells start at 1.41 volts, not 1.22 volts, and the discharge curve you explicitly linked to does not represent reality.

This demonstrates a lack of common-sense on your part, nothing else.

Again, I'm sorry that you got some bad information, but you did, and I've shown it to be bad with many different sources.

What would show a "lack of common sense" would be a failure to acknowledge that you repeated some incorrect information, learn from that, correct it, and move on.

Comment Re:Too good to be true (Score 1) 243 243

Looking at the discharge curve given in the Energizer pdf, page 6, for NiMH NH15 AA battery being discharged at 750 mA with 10 mA pulses ... the battery finally hits 1.2 volts right at about 60% discharge at the 750 mA discharge rate, and about 1.22 volts during the 10 mA "pulses".

The exact voltages depend on discharge rate -- higher discharge rates give you a lower voltage, but at a low discharge rate (around a C/20 discharge rate), the battery hitting 1.22 volts when 60% discharged is approximately what that charge shows. And even at a higher rate -- C/3 -- it finally hits 1.20 volts when about 60% discharge.

And yet the discharge curve that chihowa linked to had the NiMH cell *starting* at about 1.24 volts, then going down to 1.2 volts, then *going up slightly* before going down again -- *THAT* is pulling it out of your backside.

I linked to dozens of discharge curves, done at various rates with various batteries, but in general you'll find that when the cell finally hits 1.20 volts, it's roughly 50% discharged, with the exact voltages and discharge amounts depending on the discharge rate and the exact battery involved.

For example, looking at this specific one -- looking at the 0.2C discharge curve (0.2C means that the battery is fully discharged in five hours), when the battery is 60% discharge thed voltage is about 1.23 volts.

Comment Re:Too good to be true (Score 1) 243 243

That discharge curve you posted lacks context. What's the discharge rate? What battery?

And unfortunately, the source page does not provide these details either, basically making the chart useless. In fact, I suspect that the author just drew it freehand rather than actually measuring it? Certainly, his starting voltage is flat out *wrong* and his curve seems too flat. (In fact, he has the NiMH voltage *increasing* slightly during parts of the discharge period!)

Here's a better reference, with a much more useful discharge curve on page six. This is for a specific battery (Energizer NiMH NH15 AA) at a specific discharge rate (750 mA with a pulse (presumably the pulse is to remove the effect of the internal resistance when measuring and to simulate a low discharge rate -- which I would call slightly misleading, but they did disclose it.) Note the starting voltage of a bit over 1.4 volts, and note that once the battery hits 1.2 volts ... it is indeed about halfway discharged.

If you'd like to see a bunch more *real world* NiMH discharge curves, here you go. Keep in mind that they're not all for a single cell, but those that are start at a bit over 1.4 volts for lower discharge rates and a bit under 1.4 volts for higher discharge rates. And here's the alkaline discharge curves to compare to.

Self-discharge alone will drop most NiMH/NiCd cells to below 1.4V pretty quickly.

They do have a significant self discharge rate -- but still, they start at 1.41 volts, not 1.22 volts. And the low-discharge rate NiMH cells (like the Eneloops) have *greatly* reduced the self discharge rate.

Either way, if you were trying to explain why primary batteries are rated based on their starting voltages and primary batteries on their "middle of their discharge curve" voltages ... you didn't really succeed. The real world discharge curves for NiMH and alkaline batteries look pretty similar, but why should we look at the very highest point for alkalines and the middle point for NiMH beyond "that's the way it's always been done" ?

Comment Re:Too good to be true (Score 2, Informative) 243 243

otherwise it does not work with NiMH accumulators which only have 1.22V when fully charged

No, NiMH and NiCD cells are at 1.41 volts when fully charged. By the time they hit 1.22 volts, perhaps 60% of the energy that was in the battery is gone.

I do not know why primary cell voltages are given at their very highest possible voltage and secondary cell voltages are given approximately at the middle of their useful range -- it basically turns the "1.5v vs 1.2v" thing into an apples to orange comparison, when saying "1.5v vs 1.4v" would be far more accurate.

That said ... how useful this device would be would depend on the application. If a device will stop working when the battery gets down to 1.3 volts ... yes, this device could help a lot, especially with NiMH cells that start at 1.4 volts rather than alkaline's 1.5 volts. But that's a poorly designed device that will leave a lot of battery power unused.

But, if the device will work until the battery gets down to 0.9 volts ... there's not much energy left, and this device can not possibly help much.

Comment Re:What it really says... (Score 1) 184 184

And no, I do not use spinning media as a backup. I use tapes. Using spinning media for proper backups is almost impossible. See

Your link doesn't really seem to explain how using "spinning media for proper backups is almost impossible", so you'll either need to point to exactly where it says that, provide some other reference, or expand on that on your own.

Comment Re:Found in small town, CA? (Score 3, Informative) 83 83

1x is digital too.

It does have longer range than 3G and 4G, and so it could very well be that you were simply getting a marginal signal and there was no Stingray involved at all -- your phone just used the best that was available, and that was 1x.

And once you left, the 4G signal got strong enough again to use, and your phone switched back.

If you have to ask how much it is, you can't afford it.