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Comment: Nintendo and TV quality (Score 1) 167

When I used to have a Nintendo (NES), I would hook it up to my cheap TV and the picture was fuzzy, edges were clipped, etc. Then I connected it to an Amiga 1080 (?) NTSC video monitor. The improvement was dramatic. Same (theoretical) resolution, but much sharper and better color.

Comment: Re:Legally questionable, doomed to fail! (Score 1) 427

by pjwhite (#46951049) Attached to: In SF: an App For Auctioning Off Your Public Parking Spot

This sounds like a bad idea, and not just the reasons others have already posted.
In order to make use of this system, drivers looking for a spot, by definition, are not parked safely off the street, they are driving. And they are looking at their phone/tablet/whatever, not at the road.
San Francisco is notorious for the high number of pedestrians injured by cars.
How many will die thanks to this new app?

Comment: Re:Don't expect it to be Cable (Score 1) 219

by pjwhite (#46633377) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Experiences With Free To Air Satellite TV?

I had a FTA receiver connected to a small dish that was mounted on the roof of the house when I bought it a few years ago. After some fiddling with the receiver settings, I was able to detect several dozen channels, only a few of which were unencrypted. The best one was the NASA TV channel, which I watched quite a lot until one day it went encrypted like the others. I tried re-aiming the dish a few times, to see if I could pick up other satellites, with no luck. Without proper equipment, aiming is very difficult if not impossible. For a casual TV watcher like me, it wasn't worth the time and effort.

Comment: My high school was cool (Score 1) 623

by pjwhite (#43852797) Attached to: How Did You Learn How To Program?

My high school (ca 1972-1975) had a computer lab with 3 or 4 desktop programmable calculators. I think they were CalComp or Monroe. They had a system where you could write a program on one to three punch cards that the calculator would read in and execute. The punch cards were standard IBM size, but they had pre-perforated holes that you would push out with a stylus on a special card holder. You could fix a mis-punched hole by gluing the chad back in place.
I spent a lot of time learning all about those machines and exploring their limits. I wrote many programs that used the maximum number of instructions possible, and learned a lot about program optimization that way. I discovered some undocumented op codes that allowed some interesting printer operations and wrote a program to print sideways banners on the tape printer.

Comment: Re:Keyboards no, $750 RAID cards yes (Score 4, Interesting) 338

by pjwhite (#42208095) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Old Technology Coexisting With New?

I have been using the same keyboard layout since 1989, when I first got a Northgate keyboard, and I refuse to switch. The function keys are in two vertical columns to the left of the main keyboard and on the left-hand side of the main keyboard I have, from bottom to top, "Alt", "Shift", "Ctrl" "Tab" and "Esc". (Caps Lock is safely out of reach just to the left of the space bar). There is a full numeric pad on the right as well as a cursor control group just to the left of the numeric pad.
I find this layout much more efficient ergonomically than more modern keyboard layouts, which sacrificed good layout for compactness.

One of my main computers that I use almost every day is a Pentium 3 Win98 machine, with four different parallel port devices (attached through a switch to the single parallel port on the computer) -- an HP LaserJet Series II printer (still making clean prints), an EPROM programmer, a security dongle and a JTAG adapter. I also have (and use regularly) a Houston Instruments plotter connected to this computer via RS-232.

Comment: Re:Low efficiency? (Score 1) 123

by pjwhite (#38455162) Attached to: Inductive Charging For EVs To Be Tested In Berlin

The answer to this question is, "convenience."
Imagine the scenario where you recharge your commuter car overnight. With a plug system, you will have to remember to 1) plug in the system when you get home and 2) unplug it again when you leave for work the next day. If you forget either of these steps, you end up with either an uncharged car in the morning, or the plug gets ripped out of the side of the car when you drive off.
If you can drive over an inductive loop when you park, your car will charge automatically when you park and there is nothing to disconnect when you leave again.

"Life, loathe it or ignore it, you can't like it." -- Marvin the paranoid android