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Comment: Re:Odyssey 2 was awesome- (Score 1) 47

by kackle (#48549473) Attached to: Ralph H. Baer, a Father of Video Gaming, Dies At 92
I double-negate your "nonsense"! :) Both the Atari 2600 (which I pined for in the late 1970s and finally owned in the early 1990s) and the O2 (which I had in the late 1970s) had advantages and disadvantages.

The O2 had a built-in keyboard which allowed for general text inputting (e.g., high scores), and the eventual purchase of a cheap "learn programming" cartridge for me. I was coding in assembly and machine language before I was a teenager. It is probably the reason I am a software developer today.

The O2 had well-made joysticks; my original, ~40-year old joysticks still work like new today. The Atari's sticks were poorly designed with that plastic flex-return mechanism and short-lived microswitches. I had to fix so many of those over the years for friends.

The Atari usually had better graphics, but the O2's screens were always flicker-free; something the Atari could not boast for every game.

Atari's library of games was huge, but some of them were poor. O2's line-up was thinner, but some of the games were quite creative, complete with game boards, tokens, and playing pieces. (My Minecraft-playing niece and nephew say they love "Take The Money And Run!") It was a lot of fun, and is surprisingly still entertaining.

Either way, I know Ralph Baer's story, and I respect what he's done for (to?) all of us. I thank him for creating such a clever invention.

Comment: Re:The only features ... (Score 2) 243

by kackle (#46940739) Attached to: The Feature Phone Is Dead: Long Live the 'Basic Smartphone'
I started in cellular in the late 1980s. The analog, one-frequency-per-call system was MUCH better than cellular phones of today. The analog cellular system we put customers on had 3 times the bandwidth as they allowed for the upcoming digital system calls. You could easily confirm this on an RF spectrum analyzer.

When we were told to give customers free digital phones for beta testing, many were angered by how poor the quality had become as they ran their businesses from them. They demanded their old phones be returned (reinstalled, since they were mostly car phones), but I was told by my boss to assure them the software upgrades would improve the service in the future (which I believed). From what I've seen, they never did.

I'd bet it's even worse now due to the sheer quantity of users and the multitude of different services bouncing between the air, antennas, and equipment. Think about it, if they need more bandwidth at a certain tower, it's probably not hard to dynamically take some bits away from the voice channels.

Comment: Slightly Off Topic, But A Worse Situation (Score 5, Interesting) 358

I find myself in a similar situation. I am looking for a new job. I have never had time for an online presence, but an heavily foul-mouthed person, who shares my uncommon name, does. Worse, we're about the same age. Without looking like a nut job, how do I put on my resume that I am NOT that guy?

Comment: My favorite story about hidden cellular fees... (Score 1) 338

by kackle (#43811583) Attached to: AT&T Quietly Adds Charges To All Contract Cell Plans
I brought cellular connectivity to a medium-sized town to connect the remote points of their water SCADA system. When looking deeply into the charges on their monthly cellular bill, I learned that they were (and still are) paying a 'municipal tax', that is, a tax, indirectly charged by them, to collect from any cellular users accessing the towers within the city!

Comment: Try The Demo Version (Score 1) 397

by kackle (#41319565) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Much Is a Fun Job Worth?
I've had the same job for over a decade. Although I mostly enjoy it, things have changed, and it may be time for me to move on. I have weeks of vacation to burn and was thinking of "trying" the next job out. That is, I am considering taking a 2-week vacation from the current job (keeping them unawares), and openly asking the future employer for 1-2 weeks to try the new job out (even for free) to see whether it's a fit for everyone involved. It sounds dramatic, but I really think it'd be a good way to reduce the "gamble" for both sides, especially since I am experienced enough to know that the people can make or break a job, in addition to the tasks you sign on for.

Error in operator: add beer