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Comment Re:Another name for the American Museum of Telepho (Score 2) 68

On the other hand, back when Bell owned literally the entire telephone network from the handset to the central office they designed their telephones to last for decades and to provide good call quality. Once the regulations changed and now anyone could manufacture/sell a telephone, the quality of non-Western-Electric phones dropped so far that there are many old landline phones that have terrible acoustic properties. [...]

Well, really early telephones have terrible acoustic properties, from the simple fact that the microphone and speaker elements were quite primitive -- carbon elements (IIRC) on paper cones with Alnico (not ceramic or rare earth) magnets.

I think it may of been the 1950s or 60s, perhaps earlier, but Bell standardized on filtering audio to pass voice frequencies in the 300 to 3400 Hertz range. I believe this (or a 300-3k Hz simplification) became an ITU standard.

I agree the build quality of Western Electric (and Nortel) telephones, particularly business phones were impressive in how ruggedly build "office equipment" was built.

Here's an interesting look at audio quality of modern (digital) mobile phones, from IEEE Spectrum (free access), Why Mobile Voice Quality Still Stinks—and How to Fix It

Comment Re:SEE! (Score 3, Informative) 37

I would be interested to see (if not classified) what the Nato recommended settings for Windows are.

The US's NSA (with NIST - US National Institute of Standards and Technology) and Canada's CSE(C) (with the Treasury Board / Public Works) publish guidelines for civilian government security policies and recommendations on their public web sites. I believe other (counter-)intelligence agencies do the same as well.

Comment Re:I hate to be a dissenter here BUT... (Score 1) 508

You are an English teacher.

There is absolutely zero need to have everything typed as a matter of fact you are doing the kids a disservice here because they need to learn how to write legibly.

I assume that a high school teacher in any subject, that it still the norm to assume that children can write / print before being accepted, just as you expect they already know the alphabet and can tie their shoe laces.

As most teachers young enough to still be working have terrible-to-no knowledge on penmanship themselves, I think it is not reasonable to expect them to teach a subject they don't have moderate proficiency in themselves.

I also expect an English teacher to teach English, the language and its associated literary culture, not computer (and its applications) usage.

There is zero need to have the papers turned in online.

For the traditional in-person classroom teaching style, I agree.

The English/Literature classes are classes where paper should still rule.

Ideally language classes should focus on the language (and affiliated cultural bodies of work), not methods or pedagogies.

Comment Re:Slower in games, faster in vector maths (Score 2) 53

HOWEVER, what gamers want is a decent priced (sub 200 dollar) mainstream i5 with SIX true cores.

6 isn't enough of a jump over 4...

For most home / personal computing (including high end video games) diminishing returns kick in hard past 4 cores. The problem is that in the few cases where tasks can be easily subdivided so as to utilize more than 4 cores, the cores will normally be stuck waiting for memory updates which continues to lag (speed / throughput wise) behind processor compute ability at an increasingly large gap which spans orders of magnitude. Of course the only known way to speed DRAM is to utilize more power, which goes against the general IT development trends (greener computing, more capable mobile).

The processor to memory speed gap is one of the reasons why Intel is investing in novel memory technology (phase change memory, etc.). The recent XPoint memory announcement hinted at potential future usage as "page swap" memory, replacing virtual memory management swapping pages out to disk (mechnical or solid state).

I haven't read all of Intel's releases this week, but one area I'm interested in is seeing how eDRAM (embedded DRAM) aka Crystal Well technology is going to end up being available and utilized across the Skylake line. In memory intensive benchmarks eDRAM has already shown considerably improvement in memory constrained benchmarks in Broadwell mobile processors, wheere it acts as an additional level of cache.

Give me 8 true cores and 16 threads, remove the IGP which I don't need for such a CPU...

Most people don't utilize more than 2 cores for more than 25-33% of the time, so the market for consumer-oriented many core processors just isn't there. People who really need the performance already just buy a Xeon.

Intel's "hyper-threading technology" is one of the biggest disappointments in many years, I wish they would let the branding and feature set die in obscurity like it deserves (IMHO).

Yes, yes, I know, Xeon and Haswell-E, but the reality is that the "need" for 8 core chips won't really happen until more of them hit the desktop market, and what AMD sells as 8 core doesn't count.

Well 8-16 core processors have been around for what, a bit less than a decade now? They won't really happen in the consumer / desktop market, because the market isn't demanding it (with purchasing dollars, not wishful thinking). Look at the very modest take-up of the Haswell-E X99 (LGA2011) 6 to 8 core processors released last year (August-Sept 2014 IIRC).

I love fast computers, personally I have a 6 core i7-5930K, and the performance difference for most home/consumer applications is so trivial that I don't notice a difference over using a 4 core i7-4790K except for in parallel benchmarks.

Comment Re:Ahh the old TIP series (Score 1) 170

Just like the 2N3055.. Yes, old. but in some cases, absolutely perfect for the job. Usually as linear pass transistors for power supplies :D

There is plenty of reason to avoid the 2N3055, well actually to avoid the TO-3 packaging. The package flexes when mounted, which can cause poor thermal transfer to its heat sink. TO-3 are manufactured to be curved so as to help ensure good thermal contact, but the curvature isn't preserved if the TO-3 is removed.

References: OnSemi's Application Note 1040, and Burr-Brown (TI) Mounting Considerations for TO-3 packages.

Comment Re: Handbooks (Score 2) 63

Any of you old timers remember the Chemical Rubber Handbook? It's a site now also:

I admit I've always heard it called the CRC Handbook(s). The "original" being their Chemistry and Physics one (the one at the link), though CRC Press does tons of technical, scientific printing in the US, they also have handbooks on topics in computer science, computer security and many others.

And my copy is I think 80-something-th edition.

Comment Re:75-year-old Neil Sloane is considered by many (Score 3, Informative) 63

Who are these "many"? Horrible journalism.

Unsurprisingly, mathematicians. Many mathematicians use the OEIS frequently, heck experts and professionals from other disciplines like Computer Science, Economics, or Physics routinely use OEIS to identify numeric sequences or patterns.

I'd hazard to say anyone who calls themselves a mathematician has used OEIS (or the book version) at least once. In fact I'd be surprised if you could find anyone with a graduate degree in mathematics who doesn't know who Neil Sloane or OEIS are.

Yes, it is that important.

Comment Price? (Score 1) 90

What is the pricing on these things? (base or standard configuration)

I would imagine they could be an attractive option for business continuity planning, but personally as a compact, tidy and suitable for global field deployment so that in the field operations don't have to be restricted by real-time networking limitations via cellular or satellite communications, where all requests are relayed back to conventional data centres.

Comment Re:Interesting; likely more limited than advertise (Score 1) 82

[...]I have serious doubts this device has sufficient resolving power to do what they claim it can/would/should do. To identify chemical components, you need a minimum spectral resolution (depending on the species you want to identify). To do quantitative analysis, the requirements are event higher. [...]

So this device might be actually able differentiate between a block of cheese and an apple :-), (like suggested by the article photos), but expecting to be a smartphone CSI able to solve mysteries with a click of an app will lead to buyers' remorse.

That said, I believe the device producers are not trying to mislead potential buyers, but the media coverage of the device has been largely hyperbolic.

Comment Re:From the "Course Goals" (Score 1) 273

Wow, this sounds like a nice university...

University of Toronto is an internationally regarded research university, the "Higher Education Ranking" by The Times (UK) ranks UoT at 20th in 2015 in "World University Ranking", and 16th in "World Reputation Ranking",

That's why the issue of the complaints, and the report are indeed newsworthy. It is not some obscure backwater university, but a school of medicine with a history of Nobel Laureates including Frederick Banting and J.J.R. Macleod who were the first Canadians to win a Nobel prize; for their isolation of insulin.

Comment Re:Ahm Mo Call (Score 0) 214

I'm going to call Bullshit on the price claims.

Reality... Experts at MIT have developed an idea that looks very promising as a source for funding dollars.

Exactly. I mean why the hell would we expect "[e]xperts in materials science at MIT" to be able to accurately calculate the manufacturing and production costs (and thus savings) for a novel battery technology? They are experts in material science, not process engineering or manufacturing.

I also don't assume they can find major cost savings in the US government's budget, cure cancer, or find Amelia Earhart.

That said, I do look forward to seeing if their idea does pan out for lower costing lithium batteries.

Comment Re:Don't use an IDE (Score 2) 257

This is half of the answer. C and text editors will be around forever, However, the missing part is documentation. There will be stuff you have done that is built on assumptions. That must be documented. We can still maintain (and do maintain) 35+ year old aerospace code, and it's relatively easy *because* all of the software artifacts are still available. [...]

Yes, the grandfather post did forget to include SCM (software configuration management) / source revision control, where numerous tools are available including : rcs, cvs, subversion, sccs, git or one of the other widely available SCMs. Of course, RCS (1982), CVS (1990), and SCCS (1972) are 25 years or older themselves.

Comment Re:A couple of things (Score 1) 583

-Keep every e-mail.

Keep your own backups of critical information (emails, files, notes, whatever), personal or project, in particular of your personal HR information.

Don't violate security policies doing this (i.e. Cloud services like Dropbox may not be acceptable for sensitive or classified information), but DVD-R / BD-R and USB flash drives make this cheap enough to do as an out-of-pocket expense if necessary.

Spend time organizing or keeping your information organized. Having lots of data / information "on one of these old hard drives" isn't helpful.

RAID is not a back-up strategy.

Comment From the very title: "Towards a Speed of Light..." (Score 1) 221

For faster Internet they clearly wants more bits to move as photons, at the speed of light through fibre. Nothing is faster (latency, throughput, bandwidth), and all the nearby alternatives including microwave as more expensive and less reliable.

The organizations that had microwave towers for communications, namely telecommunication companies and media broadcasters, have long since migrated to a) satellite or b) fibre for their primary connections. The only microwave links that I know of locally (~100km) are small short-haul for local broadcasters (not-for-profit media broadcasters) and piece-wise legacy systems as backups to fibre loops. Latency, throughput, and operational costs are all factors.

More researchers who know nothing about electrical or RF engineering (both fields with over 100 years of development) making stupid shark with laser style claims. Or at least the people who are writing about their speculations, are making such stupid claims.

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