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Comment Re:So what should we do? (Score 4, Insightful) 164

And if you're never allowed to move their cheese, you could never effect "progress" could you. Sometimes you have to move their cheese, and sometimes you have to let "this kind of stuff" happen. Sometimes you even have to do it with very small incremental changes. Since you used the helpdesk reference, perhaps just like the small incremental changes in every iterations of Windows.

You can move the cheese, but don't replace it with a box of poison that looks just like the cheese.

If they want to change the UI for a shifter, they should make it completely different, not make something that looks, and superficially feels the same while in actuality it's quite different. What they did is akin to wanting to have a joy-stick instead of a steering wheel, but instead of just putting in an obvious joystick, they made it look just like a steering wheel.

Comment Re:Oops (Score 1) 527

Fourth option: have lightweight unobtrusive ads.

I only started using ad-blocker when ads became a draw on performance.

Me too, the straw that broke the camels back for me was a website that started up a full page interstitial ad a few seconds after reaching the site - I'd start reading the article, then have to wait for an animated interstitial to load... then about half the time, I'd click on the tiny close box in the corner, but would miss it and the advertiser's site would load. That's when I turned on Adblock.

I kept the "allow unobtrusive ads" box checked with adblock, so I still see some limited set of ads (though I think Google is the only place I see those ads).

There's no way I'm paying $52/year to read Wired when I only go there a half dozen times a year. What I would be willing to do is fund a micropayment account, and then pay sites a few cents per page view to replace the revenue they'd get from ads.

Comment Sounds familar (Score 5, Interesting) 271

Sounds a lot like what happened to the company that tried to run ferry service between the islands, the government supported the company and helped them start up, 2 years (and several lawsuits) later a judge shut them down because whatever law was passed by the government was against Hawaii's constitution.


In December 2008, environmental groups and the company returned to court for an appeal of the previous ruling. On March 16, 2009 the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that allowing the Superferry to operate prior to completion of the environmental study was unconstitutional.[37] The company immediately suspended service and laid off its 236 employees.

Hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment lost.... and probably hundreds of millions of future investments lost because investors won't invest in infrastructure when they have no assurance that when the government says "we need this, do it", that they really mean it.

I actually had tickets to ride the boat, but the company had already shut down before my trip.

Comment Re:Stupid design (Score 1) 135

Current doesn't kill silicon, voltage does. Example, you take an LED. It's a red one that runs at 2V. You can probably dump 3-4x that voltage through it without a resistor, and it won't care as long as the polarity is correct and it has adequate heat sinking. Now, this same LED has a reverse breakdown voltage. Many LEDs now days have native protection about double their nominal operative voltage. So for this LED, it can take upwards of ~4V reverse polarity. You give it 5V or higher in reverse, you will destroy the p-n junction.

This knowledge is what is used to design LED arrays which can run natively off wall power without any power driver circuitry.

V+ and GND are power supply rails, are you claiming that an external device can overdrive the computer (or USB chipset's) power supply without sending enough excess current through it that would trip the fuse?

Comment Re: This is why (Score 1) 229

If she's taking that many photos, you should really consider upgrading her to something with a decent sensor and optics (there is no cellphone that can take DSLR-level photos, I don't care what the Genius at the Apple store says). If money is tight, a use Canon Mk I or II wouldn't be too expensive (yes, I realize the Mk I didn't officially have that designation, but that is how we refer to them - I own one).

Posting anon because I suspect your post was hyperbolic and I don't want to get in a discussion (with you or anyone else) about the merits of cell phone cameras.

Show me a DSLR that will fit into my wife's tiny purse so she'll take it around with her everywhere she goes.

It's not the cost that keeps a lot of people away from DSLR's, but the size and weight. I retired my Canon 40D DSL and stopped using it for travel pics because the camera and a few lenses was just annoying to carry around. I replaced it with a Canon G15 and have been very satisfied. I wanted the bigger sensor of the G1, but wanted the longer zoom of the G15, but found that the tradeoff was worth it, I don't do a lot of handheld low-light photography, so the smaller sensor hasn't been a problem, but I get a longer zoom when I want it.

The reason so many people take so many pictures with cell phones is not because the picture quality is stunning (though today's phones do surpass the quality of handheld dedicated point-and-shoot cameras of a few years ago), but because they have their phone all the time and the picture quality is "good enough".

Comment Re:Bad tool (Score 1) 229

A better tool would be to split the data among smaller files. A 1.44 GB BMP is sure to attract attention. 1440 one MB jpegs isnt. Am I right? Peeps?

I think it's easier to validate that a JPG file is really a JPG than a BMP, or at least it's harder to store arbitrary data in a JPG and still have it decodable as a JPG.

So just store the data as 1 MB BMP's or TIFF's.

Comment Re:Why this is special (Score 1) 133

I hope that is a work desk, that you're in a cubical, and that you tried varied amounts of force. It's not that I don't like you, or anything. I just have this picture of people staring at you as if you're a lunatic and it'd be disappointing were it not true.

Cubicle? That's so 1990's, no one has cubicles anymore. It's just one big open area at work.

but i performed this experiment on my cheap sit-stand desk at home, it's not super stable at full extension, so it's easy to hit it hard enough to move stuff around.

The $1200 desk at work is a lot more stable than my $250 home desk, so it would take a much more substantial hit to get stuff to slide around.

Comment Re:Why this is special (Score 2) 133

For those who'll say "it's been done before:" no, not like this.

Yeah, one of my coworkers has a wireless charging Android phone of some sort, and every time someone bumps his desk it "breaks".

That said, given Apple's track record the past half-decade (in my experience, at least), I wouldn't be surprised if their offering is terribly buggy as well - at least at the software end of things.

I think I'd be more annoyed at people repeatedly bumping my desk hard enough to make my stuff slide around than I would at having to reposition my phone on the charger. Though I just tried it with my desk - my charger is "sticky" enough to grip the phone so when I bump the desk hard enough, the charger and phone slide together, the phone doesn't slide off the charger.

Comment Re:Vampires (Score 1) 167

WHY oh WHY would a cable company need to have the service staying up while I am not watching?

Also to keep the program guide updated.

With over a gigabit/sec of downstream bandwidth available, they *could* just update the program guide every time you turn on the cable box by allocating a little more bandwidth to the program guide, no need to capture it continuously -- they could send out the next 2 hours worth of programming every few seconds to allow you to see what's on right now as soon as you turn on the cablebox, then send out the full program guide less frequently.

Comment Re:Vampires (Score 1) 167

If its a DVR it needs to be on at all times so it can actually record the things you told it to record.

Also it needs to be powered up so it can update when the cable company has something to push to it (e.g. new encryption stuff)

The DVR I owned a decade ago didn't need to stay powered on 24x7, it just used a timer to turn itself on whenever it needed to record.

Likewise, it can schedule itself to check in twice a day to get "encryption stuff" or whatever else it needs. Or it could use a modern low power CPU to do housekeeping like that that doesn't need the entire device to be turned on.

40W a day 24x7 is over 300KWh/year of wasted power - that's more electricity than my household uses in a month. The simple fact is that the cable companies just don't care, it's not their money.

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