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Comment Batteries... (Score 2) 904

EVs are not necessarily cleaner or better because they need batteries. Mining of the rare earth metals required for the batteries is mostly monopolized by China, and is an unregulated ecologically damaging industry. A shift to electric will move the US from a being energy independent with fossil fuels to being dependent on Chinese rare earths. At any point, China could make our lives miserable by cutting off exports of rare earths, making it very expensive to make or buy batteries. The cost to restart rare earth mining in the US is in the tens of billions, and a decade or more away after all the lawsuits by the eco-lobby.

Comment Apple and Proprietary (Score 1, Interesting) 184

Let's just dispense with the "Apple does proprietary connectors to charge royalties and profit!" line. Let's ignore for a minute the fact that modern Macs (including the new USB-C sporting MacBook) have zero "proprietary" connectors on them. And let's ignore for a minute that Apple was the greatest early champion of USB, Ethernet, and WiFi. When Apple does do a home-grown connector, say FireWire for example, it is because they have come up with something better than anything that exists in the market. This was even true of Lightning, which arrived years before USB-C, and was so much better then any small form-factor USB connector. Often, as in the case of FireWire and Mini DisplayPort, Apple either made them available for anyone to adopt as standards or added to an existing standard. And let me just throw this in here preemptively, because I know someone will bring it up. Thunderbolt was developed by Intel and adopted by Apple, so it is not proprietary. Any PC maker can adopt Thunderbolt, and it is inexplicable so few have.

Comment Re:Wonder how many incidents are accidents... (Score 1) 445

Spoke to a friend of mine who is an air traffic controller. He says that laser incidents are primarily reported by helicopter pilots, and rarely by commercial jet pilots. He pointed out that jet aircraft flying at cruising altitude and speed would be nearly impossible to track from the ground with a handheld laser, although there are lasers available with beam ranges that could easily reach them. Tracks with what others said here, helicopters fly lower and slower, and have significantly more glass surrounding the cockpit.

Comment Re:Wonder how many incidents are accidents... (Score 1) 445

It's just a silly sig, riffing on my favorite Arthur C. Clarke quote and my platform of choice. The truth is, when I discovered the Mac in 1990, it was magic to me. The sig may come off as a fanboi-ish, but I have always said that if anything better than Mac OS comes along, I would switch. Nothing better has come along. BTW, this has been my sig since I joined /.

Comment Wonder how many incidents are accidents... (Score 1) 445

These lasers are often marketed as "great for sky pointing", and indeed a tour guide used one for that legitimate purpose on my recent trip to Puerto Rico. I am sure there are dumbasses purposely doing this to low-flying aircraft (during take-off, approach and landing), but I wonder if pilots are also reporting lasers that are unintentionally pointed in the vicinity of aircraft during legitimate ground uses. And yes, I will be buying mine before they get banned...

Comment Divorce... (Score 1) 682

My son got an iPod Touch when he was 4, for the express purpose of FaceTime with me and his grandparents. He doesn't see me daily due to a divorce. I set up the device with favorite contacts and a few games for him. He can't take it to school, and FaceTime requires WiFi, so he pretty much just uses it at home. He brings it in his bag when he travels between my house and my ex-wife's house. He is 7 now, and I can't see that it has affected him adversely. He gets good grades, reads, plays outside, has friends, etc. He probably uses the iPod Touch less than I played Atari when I was his age.

Comment Forget patents, about blatant cloning... (Score 1) 1184

This isn't about patents and conceptual design and innovation. This is about blatant copycat ripoff knockoff cloning, right down the the boxes the products ship in, the 30-pin dock connector, and the identical wall wart. Samsung's infringing products are no better than street corner Gucci knockoff handbags. Samsung has no shame, and neither do consumers who reward Samsung by buying their Apple knockoffs. Because Apple is rich and makes cool stuff, it's best for consumers to let companies who can't or won't invest in their own innovations shortcut the R&D process by merely copying Apple's successful and popular products? I like EFF in general, but was pissed off by their Robin Hood argument that Apple shouldn't be allowed to be the only one to benefit from their inventions, as it would stifle innovation which hurts consumers. Apple doesn't want or need to stifle legitimate innovation and competition, they are big enough, rich enough and smart enough to respond in kind with innovation of their own. Apple wants to stifle clones and knockoffs. Inferior products designed to look just like superior products implies to the consumer there is no difference. Yet the consumer who thinks there is no difference ends up with a fake, imitation product that does not compare to the real thing, and dilutes the value of the copied product. This harms consumers. This verdict puts copiers on notice; design you own stuff, don't use Cupertino like your personal R&D lab.

Comment A remembrance... (Score 1) 1613

I came to Macintosh post-Steve in 1990, though my Mac Plus still had his signature inside, I only knew him as the founder that had left. Mine was a world of Scully and Spindler and Amelio. I became a Mac tech support professional during this period, and it has remained my career to this day. When Steve came back in 1997, it was a pivotal time early in that career. My second employer had decided to abandon Macs, but wanted me to stay on as a PC tech, and Apple wasn't doing so hot.. I was intrigued though by the plans to use NeXTstep as the basis of the next Mac OS, so I actually bought a used NeXT Color Turbo Slab with the 21" NeXT Color Monitor and NeXTstep 3.3. The first time I turned on that 5 year old machine, it felt like I had jumped 10 years into the future. I knew then, I would remain a Mac tech. I left that job for one supporting Macs again and never looked back. Over the remaining years, I read everything I could find about Steve and came to appreciate his unique genius. Thank you Steve for making my career and passion possible.

You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements. -- Norman Douglas