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Comment: Re:wut (Score 1) 113

The only purpose of ham radio is broadcasting publicly.

You have this 100% wrong.

The amateur radio service is intended for station-to-station communications; amateur radio operators are in fact required to keep a log indicating the date and time of each contact and the callsign of the station contacted. "Broadcasting" is explicitly prohibited on the ham bands.

Comment: Re:Force them to warrenty whole unit.. (Score 1) 526

by dpiven (#46209061) Attached to: Customer: Dell Denies Speaker Repair Under Warranty, Blames VLC

[While] VLC cannot send more than 100% power, it can cause the speaker to operate in such a fashion that is unintended and dangerous to the life of the speaker.

You could make the same statement about Windows Media Player, or any other audio source.

In order for Dell to successfully claim that VLC is a warranty-breaker, Dell would have to prove that given the same input data, VLC causes Dell's on-board audio hardware to generate signals that damage speakers in such a way that WMP, iTunes, Winamp, etc. do not.

Dell still doesn't escape liability, because the actual signal claimed to damage the speaker came from hardware spec'ed and installed by Dell -- they would have to claim that their audio chip was not designed to accept for all foreseeable digital inputs.

Comment: Re:Tough luck.. (Score 1) 923

by dpiven (#45618457) Attached to: Thieves Who Stole Cobalt-60 Will Soon Be Dead

The dirty bomb, as a weapon of mass destruction, is a myth. Disperse the radioactive material far enough to affect a large number of people, and you disperse the radiation as well. The concentration of radioactive material decreases as the square of the radius of the area of dispersal.

Forget the bomb part. Think, instead, of some alternative dispersal method, such as the dust in Robert Heinlein's "Solution Unsatisfactory". In that story, radioactive material was dispersed by bombers. Consider a more selective dispersal, like spreading it in the concourses of, say, Penn Station in Manhattan.

Comment: Re: What's wrong with Tokens? (Score 1) 196

by dpiven (#45537983) Attached to: Chicago Transit System Fooled By Federal ID Cards

The Chicago Card Plus let you auto-replenish -- once the balance dropped below $10, it would automatically bill a replenishment amount of your choice to the credit card of your choice.

Ventra lets you do this -- at least all but the actual billing, at which it is horribly inconsistent. (Among my family members, I have four Ventra cards set to bill to a credit card -- two haven't gotten enough usage to trigger a reload, one auto-reloads fine, and one [mine, of course] has run dry twice, forcing me to go online, turn auto-reload off and back on to trigger the replenishment. Bite me very much, Ventra.)

CC+ worked without a glitch, and also sent me emails when the auto-reloads occurred. Ventra, *pfft*.

Comment: Re:Don't really see the market (Score 1) 240

by dpiven (#45472283) Attached to: Not All USB Power Is Created Equal

[Nook Color/Tablet charging cables] ... (blankety-blank-censored-blank) is no longer available. And since the cables are no longer made or sold and since they were notoriously prone to fail means that I've been trickle-charging my unit for about a year now.

Better hurry over onto B&N's site and stock up on them, maybe.

Re trickle-charging, my experience is that the Nook Tablet wouldn't show any indication that it was charging at all if a standard uUSB cable was connected. I never left mine connected that way for any extended period to see if the battery charge actually went up. I might borrow it back from my wife and try it (if I can pry it away from her that long).

Comment:'s against trusted computing... (Score 1) 290

by dpiven (#44538807) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best/Newest Hardware Without "Trusted Computing"?

At least with a major manufacturer, I know I can still buy a replacement powerswitch or cover hinge when I need one, years after the products is no longer being sold.

Good luck with getting manufacturer parts for that five-year-old major-label laptop. Chances are that your machine was EOL'ed after two years. I've been in the position of trying to keep old Dell and HP laptops alive, and the manufacturers have been of no help at all in terms of trying to obtain small/spare parts. Usually it's easier and cheaper to locate a donor machine on eBay.

Comment: Re:I'm tellin ya... (Score 1) 189

by dpiven (#43731811) Attached to: Larry Page's Vocal Cords Are Partially Paralyzed

"It is worth remembering that the only treatments for Pancreatic Cancer are: Surgery, Radiation Therapy or Chemotherapy."

You forgot bacon, raising puppies, chocolate, Monty Python, sex, and Irish whiskey. Those are all great ways of dealing with pancreatic cancer, most of them don't require extensive periods of hospitalization, and the long-term outlook after these regimes is similar to the long-term outlook after the three quoted above (i.e., you're gonna die anyway).

"The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was." -- Walt West