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Comment: Re:Ultra Power Saving (Score 2) 251

by erice (#49755533) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Dumb Phone?

Seriously, under what circumstances will you be away from electricity power for more than two days? And that, without considering battery pakcs, a second battery or a portable solar charger...

1) Multi-day backpacking trip. Yes, you could carry extra extra battery, solar charger, etc. But, chances are these are space and weight are at a premium and those items may not make the cut. If one even remembers to bring them along.

2) Traveling to a foreign country where the requisite power adapters have not been acquired or failed to make it into the pack. Bonus for traveling through intermediate countries that have different plugs than your source or destination.

3) Shorter but busy trips where the charging just does not happen. (After a long day, arrive at hotel, go directly to bed. Wake up in the morning. Did I charge my phone? Oops. Oh, well. Gotta run.)

In some of these cases, there is no usable service anyway so you might as well turn the phone off. But I don't always remember to do this and my experience hiking is that it is very easy for me to accidentally turn the phone on and not notice if it still in my pocket.

And, of course, you need to be prepared for battery degradation. Most phones these days do not have replaceable batteries. I always cut the manufacturer's battery life in half when deciding whether it suits my needs.

Comment: Re:And OP is retarded. (Score 1) 335

by erice (#49721349) Attached to: Stock Market Valuation Exceeds Its Components' Actual Value

So let's say the world goes to hell in a handbasket... Civilization burned to the ground. Dog and cats living together, etc.

I hear this a lot from anti-gold people. Yes if the entire world civilization collapses and 98% of humans on earth die, then gold will be worthless. However I would point out that such a scenario has never happened in all of recorded history.

In all of recorded history up until somewhere about the 19th century, there were multiple essentially independent civilizations. It would take a staggering coincidence or a global physical catastrophe (like a dino asteroid) to take them all down at once. In the modern era there is just one civilization. Every place is interconnected with every other and becoming more so. A large enough, fast enough, regional catastrophe could bring everything down if the areas not directly affected can not replace what was lost quickly enough to keep their own machinery from grinding to a halt.

Further, modern technology has given us the means to create global catastrophes. We don't need to wait for the exceedingly rare natural global catastrophe.

Gold is a good hedge against economic chaos causing fiat currencies to lose value. But if the machinery actually stops, it is pretty worthless.

Comment: Re:How depressing (Score 1) 125

by erice (#49686403) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Security Certification For an Old Grad?

My suggestion is stop believing this crap "Old Grad", you're hardly old, and you're just as able as anyone to pursue this.

I doubt the OP is concerned about being unable. The concern is convincing a prospective employer. 'Been there, done that.

I graduated in 1990. After nearly 7 years of high effort, I finally landed my first engineering job in 1997. What I found is that, even well into the DotCom boom,it was very difficult to get traction. Customers understood experienced engineers. While the demand was less, they knew what to do with fresh grads too. They did not know what to do with or even want to spend the time on an "old grad", someone out of school several years but without relevant work experience. I took numerous extension classes. I carried around prototype board of a project Is working on and eventually go through to two firms at a job fair.

Hardware is harder nut to crack then software, of course but I also had a much more lively economy to work with and I was 7 years out, rather than 12. So, it is not obvious is the OP's task is more or less challenging than mine.

Comment: Re:Incompetent staff with no authority. (Score 2) 150

by erice (#49686229) Attached to: World's Rudest Robot Set To Simulate the Fury of Call Center Customers

That's not hard to answer. Nobody wants to spend hours on the phone with somebody who:

  • Can't say anything that isn't on their script.
  • Has no authority to fix the problem even if they could understand it.

Modern call centres appear to be designed specifically to infuriate people by politely wasting their time without solving any problems.

No. No. No. The purpose of the modern call center is to "solve" customer problems in the most cost efficient manner. If the customer goes away and keeps paying without the company needing to spend resources to fix something, that is a good result. It gets even better if this can be accomplished while paying the customer service rep as little as possible.

It is, of course, a delicate balancing act. Go too cheap and you lose customers. Spend too much and it cuts into the bottom line. The robot training is an attempt to get more successful outcomes (continued customer revenue) without the excessive cost of actually solving problems. Keeping customers "happy" while you screw them is key.

Comment: Re:airplanes have windows (Score 1) 435

by erice (#49675137) Attached to: Will Robot Cars Need Windows?

Airliners only need one set of windows at the front, for the pilots. But there's a row of windows on either side, and the seats next to those windows are the second-most-popular (after those on the aisle) despite the fact that they're the most difficult to get in and out of, have no access to the overhead bins, and offer less head/foot room. See also: trains, buses, passenger ferries. So I think the answer is yes: robot cars will still have windows.

The window seats have more room than either the center or aisle seats. The aisle seats do allow extra leg room by using the aisle. However, when the service cart rolls up, the window seat has the advantage.

I'm 6'2" with a 36" inseam. I generally prefer the aisle for the stretch out option but I see the utility of the window seat. The middle seat is painful, of course, as I experienced Sunday on a four hour flight where no other options were available. Mercifully, the passenger in front did not try to recline.

Comment: Re:Since last move (Score 1) 125

by erice (#49608103) Attached to: I've had my current ISP (disregarding mergers) for ...

For US residents this approximately equals to asking "when did you move into your current home" (except for those lucky ones who have both cable AND a decent offering from a phone company, they have *two* options). Where I live now, there is only cable FWIW.

I've had Sonic continuously for 12 years at two residences. In this time period, I have actually lived at three locations and it includes two periods where I did not live anywhere in particular (no fixed address).

So far, the need for service that supports a server in a practial fashion has trumped the desire for speeds faster than 6-7Mbps that DSL can provide. I've never used AT&T, though I did have Comcast for a few months at my residence while my server was hosted at a friend's house.

Comment: Re:'Hidden city' explanation (Score 1) 126

by erice (#49597721) Attached to: Judge Tosses United Airlines Lawsuit Over 'Hidden City' Tickets

How does this work with checked luggage? Presumably your stuff won't be pulled from baggage if you aren't expected to get off in Chicago, but instead in LA.

Obviously, if you only have carry on luggage, that works fine.

It doesn't work with checked luggage. It doesn't work with route trip tickets either. The airlines fixed that a long time ago. If you don't get on the second leg, they cancel your return flight.

What really the trick doesn't work for the kinds of flights most people actually take.

Comment: Re:But "bad" guys can break the law, right? (Score 2) 174

by erice (#49590917) Attached to: FBI Slammed On Capitol Hill For "Stupid" Ideas About Encryption

The best part about legislating what kinds of technology people can use is that only legal entities must abide by the law.

So, the "good companies" or "good individuals" who agree with you are now penalized by having back-doors while anyone "bad" is "free" to use solid and effective tools.

Bullet, meet foot.

Actually, this is useful from a law enforcement perspective. Much in the way that Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion rather than racketeering, anybody caught using illegal encryption could be arrested and convicted for that without having to prove that they were doing anything else nefarious.

Bad idea for other reasons but definitely useful.

Comment: Ice *cap*? (Score 4, Insightful) 60

by erice (#49581721) Attached to: NASA Probe Spies Possible Polar Ice Cap On Pluto

I would expect the whole surface of the (dwarf) planet to be ice, much like all the other outer system objects too small to be gas giants. It would not necessarily be water ice and TFA did not suggest that it was water. In a region where methane and co2 freeze there are lots of options and water ice would not be favorite for a polar cap.

Actually, the only information so far is: "There is a spot that is brighter than the rest. We don't know why."

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 223

by erice (#49580165) Attached to: Windows 10 Can Run Reworked Android and iOS Apps

Why would anybody want this? I can't think of any mobile apps that would be useful on a regular computer. Most of the really useful mobile apps are only really specific to the fact they're being run on a mobile device, and/or are really only helpful for bridging a gap between a phone and a computer.

While "really useful" is not the word I would use to describe them, Hinge and Tinder are mobile only. Neither has a web site that does more than point to a mobile app.

As I recall, some Craiglist scraping apps had features unavailable on any web site or desktop application.

Waze finally has a useful web interface after years of only being able to check routes on the mobile app.

Comment: Re:Yeah.... (Score 5, Informative) 193

by erice (#49574143) Attached to: Massachusetts Governor Introduces Bill To Regulate Uber, Lyft

Lyft and Uber call themselves Ridesharing, but they are actually a taxi for hire service

Last week I took Uber to SFO. I shared the car with another guy who was also going to SFO. The UberDude picked that guy up, then picked me up.

That's a share-taxi. A ride share would be if the UberDude dropped you off at the terminal, then parked the car and got on a plane.

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson