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Comment Re:Phones, Computers, etc. (Score 1) 311

This is the greatest thing to happen to the libre firmware movement.

Mr. Cerf and Mr. Taht have used the VW issue in their response to the FCC in ET Docket No. 15-170, the wireless-router lockdown issue. From the contribution: "Requiring all manufacturers of Wi-Fi devices to make their source code publicly available and regularly maintained, levels the playing field as no one can behave badly. The recent Volkswagen scandal with uninspected computer code that cheated emissions testing demonstrates that this is a real concern."

Comment Re:Why no diesel hybrids? (Score 1) 311

I don't understand why we're seeing all these gasoline hybrids instead of diesel ones. Aren't diesels running in their optimum range much more efficient? And with all these emissions issues turning up, isn't it feasible to set up diesel hybrids to basically always run in a narrow range with the best emissions and efficiency possible?

I wonder about this, in the context of long-haul semis. I've wondered what it would be like if someone, say Peterbilt, would make a truck tractor with a fixed-speed diesel driving a generator, and the output driving motors on the wheels of the tractor and perhaps even the trailer? This would make it *exactly* like a long-haul train locomotive.

Or perhaps a turbine driving a generator.

You don't have the same limitations about size with a truck tractor.

Comment Re:Forfeit all revenues from sales (Score 1) 311

I've also read in the last day or two that VW is (predictiably) trying to claim that management knew nothing about the emissions and that "a handful" of engineers were responsible. While there were obviously engineers responsible I have NO doubt whatsoever that management requested and signed off on this. They're just trying to throw a few peons under the bus to save their own skin.

Have you ever worked in a larger corporation? There are quite a few layers of managers and worker bees, so the upper layers don't necessarily know what the lower layers are doing. I saw this at Motorola and Rockwell in my career. So the managers may well have been in the dark about the "defeat device", because the managers are not engineers, and would not have seen that level of report. All they would see is a single bullet item on a PowerPoint slide: "meets EPA limits for emissions."

Or, as the old saying goes, "Never attribute to conspiricity that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

Comment Re:Realism (Score 1) 311

Is there some compelling reason why these tests aren't being conducted in realistic conditions in the first place?

Repeatability. If you can't repeat the measurement, then the result can result in a "he said"/"she said" fight in the courts or in administrative hearings. That said, the testing you do on the dynamometer should bear some relation to what actually happens in the field. Engineers will tune their products to the tests. Some engineers will also test "in real life", but only if they have time and budget. And, when all else fails, they will fall back on what works in the tests. Or worse, if you can't pass the tests without a "tweak".

Comment This should cause a sea change in testing (Score 3, Insightful) 494

There is a reason Consumer Reports does most of its car tests on the road and the track -- it's more realistic. So I expect that the rules will change to de-emphasize lab testing on dynomometers and emphasize road testing using several different modes (in-town, highway, and off-road where applicable).

Comment It's not over until the fat lady sings (Score 1) 102

While Warner/Chapple says they are not considering an appeal, they say "we are reading the long opinion to see what our options are." [paraphrase] So they may decide to appeal after all. Then there is the other issue: repayment of royalties already received, going back decades. That may indeed trigger an appeal of the ruling, to hold off that fiscal event. At two million a year for decades, the cost of the appeal starts to look cheap...

Comment Re:Noscript + Ghostery (Score 1) 307

First, in NoScript I whitelist those sites that appear to take responsibility for their content. That leaves lots of unrecognized domain names in the list of forbidden-to-script. Ghostery has perhaps three out of the thousands of trackers enabled, and Facebook isn't one of them.

I also use /etc/hosts liberally; for example, I added "" this morning.

Comment Re:Why not stop making new shows (Score 2) 307

The problem as I see it isn't that there are "too many new shows". It's that there are too many new shows that target the masses, to attract advertising to said masses. That means that fringe shows rarely get the attention they might deserve on their merits, because the bean counters don't see large number of eye-balls.

tl;dr: it's a business model issue.

Unfortunately, the other parts of Hollywood, the movie studios, have been bitten by the number-of-eyeballs silliness, because they want large returns on their big-budget creations. The only time a Hollywood studio will take a chance on a movie is if it can be done on the super cheap and distributed on a smaller number of screens. Not many modern movies meet the criteria. That's why we are seeing the flood of big-budget remakes, reboots, and sequels.

I personally "cut the cord" when TCI blacklisted me: my house-mate died and I refused to take over the service or pay the back bill. (The executor of the estate never paid the overdue bill.) I wasn't their customer, but they held me responsible anyway because I was living in the house! After that, every time I moved, every attempt to get cable service has been blocked by that I do without. (I get my cable modem service through a reseller.)

And, frankly, I don't miss it. I used to rent those TV series that caught my eye, then the rental business collapsed. I've considered Hulu and Netflix, but I'm not sure I want to commit the time to that form of entertainment. So I buy DVDs of those shows that interest me. Most of them in the used market, not the new.

Movies in theatres? The time interval between my visits to theaters is pretty wide. I went from Cars to Pitch Perfect 2 -- not exactly the type of movie customer The System wants to have. Part of the reason is I don't like the "movie experience" of people talking, texting, and worse. Or, in my last outing, the movie house had the sound turned up too loud -- the singing was good enough that they didn't have to blast it out. (And the usual excuse, dating, is out because I don't date anymore.)

Let's not talk about trailers in the theatre (I don't see), on TV (I don't see), and on YouTube (I do see). Most of the trailers convince me to NOT see the movie being advertised...

Comment In the junk pile (Score 1) 284

I have an old, old box with Windows 95 on it. If I could ever find a replacement for the motherboard battery, I could probably even boot it. If I wanted to. The question would be "why?"

(The answer is that box still has a copy of Syntrilliam's CoolEdit on it, so I can convert MP3 to OggVorbis. Worth it? Flipping a coin...)

Real Programs don't use shared text. Otherwise, how can they use functions for scratch space after they are finished calling them?