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Comment Re:Disappointed (Score 1) 108 108

The competition for good DC-DC conversion is reasonably fierce(given the existence of DC telco and datacenter operations, and the fact that even 'AC' shops are really just doing the conversion in each chassis(and unlike the old AT PSU days, an ever larger chunk of the output power is 12v going directly to a DC-DC converter on the motherboard to feed the CPU and RAM, with fewer and fewer components, aside from HDD motors, being sufficiently high voltage to feed directly from the PSU); so even modest improvements in DC-DC efficiency would make you quite wealthy indeed.

I haven't kept a close eye; but I think that the present standard for DC-DC modules still uses a number of off-chip components(whether because the needed capacitance and such simply can't be done in silicon, or are cheaper as discretes, I don't know); but you can get some very, very, dense little modules.

Comment Re:Why not both? (Score 1) 108 108

Especially if you are dealing with solar-derived DC, which is going to be (reasonably) steady. For some purposes, it doesn't matter that much whether or not the voltage actually crosses zero; but the ripple is essential if you want the magnetics to work correctly. If you have to go to the trouble of switching the DC to get that working, odds are that it's time for a pure DC design.

Comment Re:Why not both? (Score 1) 108 108

There are good reasons to be skeptical of complexity(such as basically all software); but at least for motors small enough that solid state switching isn't heroically expensive and/or practically disposable, 'complex' and 'digital' also mean 'has convenient ways to monitor and control the motor's activity in some detail'. Simple is good; but when the complexity is in solid-state parts you get a serious discount and sometimes some cool features.

Comment Re:Why not both? (Score 1) 108 108

Certainly possible; but probably only efficient or sufficiently cheap for some items.

My (admittedly limited) understanding is that motors are one of the parts where you can get a relatively refined and mature design for almost any remotely normal flavor of electrical input; but the design of the motor is going to reflect your choice, and work either inefficiently or not at all from some other input. Since AC units are basically all motor(some fans, a compressor, maybe a pump), that is a problem.

Some devices just don't care very much(resistive heating works for basically anything except voltages too much lower than the system was designed for); and others(pretty much all modern electronics) always use DC internally, so you can re-use almost the entire design; but need to choose the correct PSU. Some hardware makes swapping one after the fact really obnoxious; but at very least it's an easy thing to choose at assembly time.

Comment Re:DC power (Score 1) 108 108

This is it exactly. 5V for usb, 1.5 V for the processor, 48 volt for the back light, etc. and what about things like your stove, refrigerator etc? things that use AC power for their motors.

you get 120/240V at every outlet, you can then convert it to any voltage you need fairly easily. if you are running 48V DC it is a lot harder to convert that down to 5 V.

Comment Re:Um... (Score 1) 228 228

We are primarily a government contractor, and our main contract had a Siebel-based client management system (only a government would have the combination of money and stupidity to invest in an ancient technology like that, but oh well), and up until late last year, we had to run IE in the lowest security mode and IE7 compatibility mode just to make the ActiveX components function. The new version is by and large HTML5 compatible, and though they recommend Firefox, we've had only a few bumps running Chrome. I doubt more than a handful of our staff even use IE now.

Comment Re:Um... (Score 1) 228 228

Yes, well, we often hurt the ones we love.

About the only place I still see IE is on some web-based applications from the late 90s thru the mid-00s that were built using IE 5 and 6's very insecure ActiveX architecture. Up until last year, we were forced to use such software on one of our government contracts, and it literally meant viewing the site in Compatibility Mode with security settings cranked down to nothing. They finally updated the underlying Siebel engine to the HTML5 version, and after that everyone just seemed to go to Chrome. I suppose at that point where we start rolling out Win10 desktops, Edge might end up being used, but I have a feeling that MS has missed the bus here, and Chrome is king.

Comment Re:Closed Ecosystem (Score 4, Interesting) 85 85

I can update a proper linux system. apt-get update (etc etc) and I'm good. it could be a 5 yr old linux install, 10 yr even more. it will still get security and major bugfixes.

android? yeah, right. my nexus one (go ahead, laugh at the old guy with the ancient phone) has not had an update for over 3 years now; probably more than that. 2.x distro from cyan and even they stopped doing updates. I have no time in my schedule to learn android internals well enough to do this myself (I could do it for linux, but I have no desire to waste time on phone crap, too many other things to get done). and so, I am running quite old software on a mobile computer and unless I pay for new hardware (my old hw works fine, still) I can't get updates.

this is the main reason why I hate google so much. they totally messed up on the whole android build/deploy/update system. its not linux, its not separatable (gfx and kernel and ip stack all are comingled, like a college-hire might design, sigh) and you can't update just the parts you need. its a whole update or nothing at all. HOW UTTERLY STUPID.

I wish I could get to love apple gear. then again, they EOL their old products, too, and so I'd have to keep rebuying hardware just like android guys are forced to do.

I may just go back to dumb phones again. this is ridiculous. a mobile computer with wireless access, a lot of my personal info on it and yet no update mechanism at all. essentially its abandonware. hundreds of dollars and I have a device that won't ever get updated even though there's not a single good reason for that.

what I can't figure out is: was google stupid or smart when they planned this? I tend to think they were both; stupid due to having too many kids onboard who don't understand the longevity of embedded systems in the real world; and smart since they force people to keep re-re-rebuying things and that must make their hardware partners very happy. they also can ignore older hardware and save time on multiple forks and build trees. but it was all the wrong design for END USERS. we are the ones who get screwed by this.

I cannot ever forgive google. they could have kept linux clean on the phone and allowed users to update ip-stack, kernel, etc. but they put a lot of effort into NOT allowing this and we all pay for it with security problems; and ones that we won't ever be able to fix, either, unless we do the work ourselves (which is not acceptable for an embedded system).

Comment Honest question. (Score 1) 85 85

Can someone explain why the program handling interaction with assorted media files would be so closely linked to the rest of the system working? I understand that parsing the ghastly mess of different standard and pseudo-standard formats out there, as poorly or even maliciously interpreted by various 3rd parties, is a difficult and dangerous task; so I'm not surprised by the fact that there is a bug in the media component; but if it is known to do such a dangerous job why isn't it compartmentalized more aggressively? Why does losing the mediaserver process make a mess of the phone, rather than just causing it to mark the file that killed it as tainted, restart the process, and carry on?

Comment Re:Or... just hear me out here... (Score 4, Interesting) 1047 1047

I'd say if it's over my property at a low altitude, yes, I should have the right to shoot the thing out of the sky, and further, if I can determine who was flying it, I should have the right to sue them.

Drone operators are getting an incredible sense of entitlement out of playing with their toys. I think it's time for some serious and substantial financial penalties.

Keep your fucking toy way from my fucking property.

The moon is made of green cheese. -- John Heywood