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Comment: Re:Simple (Score 1) 509

by grumling (#47462753) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Future-Proof Jobs?

Mortgage rates have nothing to do with why you shouldn't pay off your home loan. Your home loan is your single biggest tax deduction...

Maybe if you have a million dollar home. Most people who own modest homes don't pay out that much interest. Even if they do pay a lot out in interest, say $10,000, that still works out to be around a $200-300 write off. Spend $10,000 to save $200? Great advice!

The vast majority of people get their biggest deduction from having children and using the standard deductions. Small business owners get to write down a lot of their business expenses. Mortgage interest deductions aren't the deal they're made out to be.

Comment: Re:Apple stole nothing (Score 1) 194

by grumling (#46763065) Attached to: How Apple's CarPlay Could Shore Up the Car Stereo Industry

When I was picking options for my last car I decided not to go with the in dash navigation system, simply because I knew I could install a bracket for my phone that did much more than the nav system. If the nav system was $300 more than the "premium" stereo (with line-in) I could have justified it, but it was a whopping $1800 more than the mid-range system, which I'm sure wasn't cheap (it was part of the package). For what basically is a small PC running VXWorks or some such real-time OS and a DVD drive.

Comment: Re:External touchscreen (Score 1) 194

by grumling (#46763003) Attached to: How Apple's CarPlay Could Shore Up the Car Stereo Industry

Exactly! Just provide a display and hooks to the steering wheel controls (use something standard like Bluetooth HID profiles and HDMI). No need to come up with your own "solution" that will be obsolete in 3 years, or worse, lock me into a monthly fee.

The problem continues to be that car manufacturers want to control the whole "experience" no matter what, because they know that their products are remarkably similar to everyone else's products. The stereo/info-tainment system is about the only part of the car that isn't designed by DOT regulations, so that's where they differentiate themselves from other manufacturers.

Comment: Re:CATV leakage is an issue too (Score 1) 158

by grumling (#46205895) Attached to: L.A. Building's Lights Interfere With Cellular Network, FCC Says

You're sort of confusing leaks and ingress, but because they go hand in hand you get a pass. A leaking cable system usually doesn't cause problems for the cable system, except that a break in the shield will often cause an impedance mismatch, which will in-turn cause microreflections (standing waves) on the transmission line. I've driven out poorly maintained plants, where my leakage detector never stopped, but for the most part the plant still was able to deliver good bit error ratios and decent analog pictures.

Comment: Re:"Must accept harmful interference..." (Score 1) 158

by grumling (#46205837) Attached to: L.A. Building's Lights Interfere With Cellular Network, FCC Says

I don't know what the cost of repair was, it wasn't up to our club to fix it. In fact, I'm not entirely sure it has been fixed yet, but if we don't get resolution we can contact the FCC. We all hope it doesn't come to that, and I'm sure the owner will cooperate with us since we rent space in the same building.

Comment: CATV leakage is an issue too (Score 5, Informative) 158

by grumling (#46203179) Attached to: L.A. Building's Lights Interfere With Cellular Network, FCC Says

As Verizon (especially) lights up LTE they bring in trucks that look for problems in the 700MHz bands. They are taking a proactive approach to cleaning up the band before RFI causes problems. This makes sense since LTE uses QAM and high symbol rates to push data, meaning that the carrier to noise requirements are much higher than 3G. Most cable companies use the same frequency band, up to 750MHz. To make matters worse, cable systems use QAM carriers too, so the demodulators can get confused and pick up the wrong carrier.

Cable companies monitor their plant for signal egress from broken coax, cracked housings, poor craftsmanship, etc (leakage), but usually around 115MHz, in the aeronautical bands (since there's been cases of planes lining up on leaks instead of the glide path). Because some types of leaks are frequency dependent, a system that looks great in the aeronautical band might leak like a sieve at 700MHz. In fact a certain set top box happened to have vent slots that made a perfect antenna at 700MHz.

Comment: Re:"Must accept harmful interference..." (Score 1) 158

by grumling (#46203089) Attached to: L.A. Building's Lights Interfere With Cellular Network, FCC Says

One of our club repeaters started getting a lot of QRM (interference) back in November. It is located on top of a ski mountain in a building that houses a small restaurant. It turned out when they opened the restaurant and turned on the florescent lights the QRM started. At the end of the day they shut off the lights and it stopped. It took the better part of a day for the guys to track down the source, thinking it had to be something like a wireless router or plasma TV. It's likely that it was just one bad ballast or transformer, but it was more than enough to make the repeater unusable.

Comment: Missing Two Very Important Points (Score 1) 732

by grumling (#45950799) Attached to: If I Had a Hammer

The lackluster jobs reports have almost nothing to do with automation and worker replacement. Big companies don't hire in the mass needed to move the unemployment stats much more than a few tenths of percent. This is because they already have hired people. They've been hiring people for years as the grow. At some point you can decide to get a little more out of the people you hire by pushing them a bit, or maybe making their jobs a little more productive. But either way, the last thing a modern business wants to do is hire a bunch of people they'll have to layoff down the road.

Small business is where the growth in employment happens. Small business expansion is at an all-time low, and has been since the rise of stupid laws like Sarbanes/Oxley, that can devastate a small company while just adding to the accounting burden of big companies (who can absorb it or pass it along to their customers). Until the US becomes small-business friendly again, there's not going to be much job growth.

And what about all that automation? The whole point is that robots are getting cheap. That means it's going to be possible for small businesses and entrepreneurs are going to be able to buy them. What will they do with them? How about custom manufacturing everything? If you've ever remodeled a kitchen, you know that there's a lot of activity around building cabinets, designing the space, picking materials, etc. It's one of those things that produces a lot of activity and is expensive, but not so far out of reach that average people can't afford it. Now think about the automotive aftermarket, custom motorcycles, even additions to homes. All of these things are somewhat custom today. Imagine if those same ideas were applied to cell phones, where a designer could build a model of a phone just for you, have the circuit board made, 3Dprint the case in any color(s) you want, Assemble the phone in the back room and finally, gets you a detailed breakdown of the cost, which is surprisingly not much more than today's iPhone 5S.

Oh, and when you drop it, can easily fit a new glass cover on it because he knew you were going to do that.

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan