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Comment UX/UI is stuck in the 90s (Score 0) 30

Let me start by saying... Can we be less american-centric? I bet statistics show most users here are not american.
As for UX: Just look at your competitors and do the same as them. People expect certain modes of interaction.
This is like, UX haphazardly developed by "bits and bytes" geeks, and I myself am one of those old school bit logic and assembly lovers, but I'm not going to pretend I can do a decent GUI (let alone that I would enjoy it).
Showing raw ID codes for users? ID codes for posts? What. You call this web design?
I mean I stare at IDs in databases all day long, but normal users shouldn't see the guts of a system.
What other website / forum has such a limited number of votes?
The zoo system. Do people actually use that? It's strange and unwieldy.
Preview? Why? Can we just edit our posts like everyone else has been doing for the past 15 years, in forums, social networks, whatever?
Why do we have to have a privileged few random people moderating? In other places, everyone can vote, or "Like", or "+1" a post.

Comment Phones fail? (Score 1) 220

Phones are, for a lot of people, fashion accessories, status symbols, you buy the latest "just because".
A phone, failing? What? You can't afford to buy a new one every year? Or every two years, even. It's about 1% of an average IT salary?
Do you wear clothes until they start falling apart?
I mean, people crave novelty, I don't care if your phone is built like a brick, we want new toys on a regular basis, that's why the market provides them.
It's not a conspiracy to steal money from your pocket. There's simply no demand for a phone that lasts 10 years.

Comment Boneheaded and with straightforward solutions (Score 1) 698

This is so boneheaded it beggars belief. The straightforward solution is to require the UEFI variable filesystem (or whatever it is called these days) to be mounted read-only, and require (UNIX anyway, but something analogous ought to work for Windows too) an application to do a "mount -o remount,rw" to do whatever it needs to do, then do a "mount -o remount,ro" when it's finished. Not as nice as having UEFI not be seriously broken, but workable, and there's not much of an excuse for things like systemd, openrc, etc. implementing this where appropriate (and for any UEFI crap that can brick a system, this is appropriate).

Applications don't like it? Tough, patch the damn things. Requireing firmware to be exposed to harm like this on any operating system is unacceptable.

Comment You're right, it's bogus. Dang! (Score 1) 118 mentions none of this.

You're right, it's bogus.

I was told that decades ago. But a little research (in the online patent databases) shows that there were ionization smoke detectors for decades before that (back in the tube era, even, when beta emitters were easily available to the common man). NASA says their only involvement with smoke detector design was (in collaboration with Honeywell) coming up with a variable-sensitivity design to stop annoying false alarms in Skylab.

Sorry to have repeated a myth. B-b

Comment Heroes in more ways than one. (Score 4, Interesting) 118

The Appollo I martyrs are heroes in more ways than one.

One of NASA's responses to the fire was to design a detector for miniscule amounts of smoke particles, to provide an early warning of electrical problems that might lead to a fire - in time to evacuate the capsule if on the ground or hunt down and fix the problem if in space.

The detector used a miniscule amount of radioactive material to ionize the smoke particles and then detected the current conducted by the ions. (Radioactive materials were for NASA, a government agency, to design with, difficult for random inventors or corporations to even consider.)

The first, space-rated, low-volume prototypes were pricey. But the circuitry and the detection chamber were dog-simple and could be dirt-cheap when manufactured in volume.

So this was plowshared, and became the ionization-type smoke detector, the first practical, affordable, smoke detector suitable for broad deployment in residences. Even when this was the only type in use, it was quickly saving, first hundreds, then thousands of lives per year.

Modern detectors, combining ionization and photoelectric mechanisms, are credited with cutting the death toll from fires by somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2. They detect different types of fires, and the one detected by ionization accounts for somewhat less than half of them - which is still an enormous number.

So the loss of those three lives has been repaid with enormous interest in the decades that followed. The benefits are still flowing.

Comment Such sites would RATHER be boycotted. (Score 1) 118

Even better if they boycotted all sites which block ad-blocking viewers, ...

If you're blocking ads, you don't contribute to their revenue, but do contribute to their resource consumption. So the operators of such sites would RATHER be boycotted by people using ad-blockers.

Sounds like a win-win. B-)

Comment They should have argued it was a "Taking". (Score 0) 84

But the rule has meant millions in lost profits for utilities. Those companies argued that the program impermissibly targets retail customers.

They should have argued that it was a "taking" and the government had to reimburse them for their losses.

The tail end of the Fifth Amendment reads:

[...] nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

and the Supremes have already ruled that new laws and regulations, and changes to existing ones, that suck part of the value out of property (in this case, the value of the power generation and transmission infrastructure, which is based on the profit it creates) constitute a "partial taking" and require the government to pay for what it took.

Getting the Supremes to recognize that a rule change which imposes a change in the flow of money from customers to the investors in a busines can constitute a fifth amendment taking of the value of the latter's investment would inhibit arbitrary economic winner-picking regulations and move the US economy away from Fascism (alias "crony capitalism) and toward (free-market) Capitalism.

Comment Corporations will lower salaries to compensate (Score 0) 412

If you give me €200 / month for free, any future employer will offer €200 less. Who's gonna pay for that, corporate taxes? IRS? Please don't tell me I have to pay for handouts from my taxes while simultaneously earning less money.
Salaries around here seem to be determined by what you will reasonably need (what they can get away with).
People even have the nerve of asking me in interviews how much I "need", rather than deserve, or paying me according to the immense value I can add to a company by optimizing their website for SEO or reducing hosting costs through performance improvements.
It's as if they think a highly skilled professional with 15 years of experience should live barely above the poverty line. What I make, is what people made back in 1999 or so. Hello, inflation? Jeeze.
And before you tell me I don't know how to negotiate, I already make more money than everyone I know.

Comment But how about BeagleBone? (Score 1) 147

So happy to see the Raspberry Pi 3D support. Thanks for the goodies!

Goes double.

Is anything similar planned for BeagleBones - especially BeagleBone Black, which is the current cutting edge?

I have to deal with them, and the last time I looked their kernels were coming out of a separate project - which distributes an archive of script to be applied to the corresponding version of the packages, to be overlaid on and applied to the corresponding kernel sources, to hack them into shape for the Bones. It would be far easier to keep up with kernel fixes if the Bones (or at least the Black) were supported directly by the official kernel distributions.

Comment Retry: Re:Why retail? (Score 1) 298

(Stupid Lenovo touchpad just hit "submit" before I was done. Fortunately, it did it when the first part of the post was pretty clean. Reposing with the rest - unless it does it again B-b )

Why should you be paid retail for generation? That totally ignores the part the grid takes in handling your energy...

You also pay a monthly "be connected to the grid" fee, which pays your share of the ongoing expenses of maintaining the grid, along with a one-shot "get connected to the grid" fee, often amounting to thousands of dollars, which literally pays for installing the infrastructure - poles, drop transformer, etc - to bring the grid to you.

(When the contractor building my rural retirement house connected it to the grid, without my orders, I paid many thousands - money I'd intended for a solar system. Part of that was half the price of the existing transformer that I now shared with my next-door neighbor, who had paid the whole price and was now rebated half of it.)

Utilities are very good at dividing the service into appropriate chunks and billing you reasonably fairly for what you actually use. The bulk of the background costs are already covered (with the standard profit margin), so sellers to the grid are not so much the parasites you might think.

Net metering was a cheap hack - based on the common, low-end, pre-"smart" mechanical meters, which ran equally well forward and backward. It doesn't account for the losses in transmission - but (as was mentioned elsewhere) in the case of distributed generation the power doesn't travel very far, so the losses are far lower than those for power shipped from major power plants to widely distributed residences (and since much of those losses are proportional to the square of the currents, local generation reduces them more than in proportion). Billing a rate that doesn't vary by time of day is ALSO a hack based on those meters: Solar and wind tend to produce surplus power when it's expensive and have a shortage when it's cheap, so net metering (when few enough are using it to not substantially affect grid management) is actually a good deal for the power companies.

Having said that: With arbitrarily capable smart meters available a truly fair pricing scheme would involve some offset between the "buy" and "sell" prices - but the "buy at wholesale" level is far too low.

Utilities, though sometimes privately owned, are generally regulated monopolies with pricing schemes imposed by governments in the interests of their citizens. Attempting to apply free market arguments to them is disingenuous. We're dealing with Fascism, not Capitalism, here.

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Established technology tends to persist in the face of new technology. -- G. Blaauw, one of the designers of System 360