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Comment Autoplay abuse (Score 4, Insightful) 114

Seriously, what is the case for auto-playing? Does anyone like that?

Advertisers like it.

We, speaking of the majority, variously known as "the product" or "the victim", depending on how honest one is being at any particular moment, don't count. Because we, again speaking of the majority, will continue to return to sites that abuse us in this fashion.

I highly recommend a local blacklist. When a site does this, slap a 127.0.0.1 into your hosts file for the site name. This will prevent the site from ever loading into your browser again via normal links.

Or, you can keep going back. And they'll keep abusing you.

Comment Precedent is other (Score 2) 422

But surely states can impose fairness restrictions on in-state connections. i.e. if a computer in Fort Worth seeks to reach a computer in Dallas, the State of Texas (assuming they would want to) could regulate neutrality, no?

They may be able to, but the feds will likely be able to stick their hands in as well. For instance, you call your local neighbor on your phone, connecting only through local telephone exchanges, if there's a federal statute about what you're doing (say, selling pot), then (among other things) the feds claim jurisdiction because you used "an instrument of interstate commerce", or IOW, something that could have enabled you to do whatever it was in an interstate fashion.

This is one of the underlying reasons for the assertion that the feds have inverted the meaning of the commerce clause (which says they have the authority to regulate commerce "among the several states", not "within the several states") and are therefore acting in an constitutionally unauthorized manner.

So bottom line, the feds can apply their rules and make them stick. Even if whatever it is happens only within the confines of a single state.

Comment Access to charging (Score 1) 1050

It's no big deal to do. Here, we have plug-ins pretty much everywhere we park for more than a few minutes (and even in some of those places.) The reason is because we have to plug in our car's electric heaters for our oil pans and batteries in the winter months, or odds are the cars won't be able to start after a day at work, or sitting overnight or for more than a few hours anywhere. Businesses inevitably have plug-ins all across their employee parking lots, the hospital lot is fully populated with them, etc.

In cities and towns, I suspect that instead of parking meters, you'll just see a bunch of charging posts. You'll probably still have to put quarters in them. Or dollars. Don't think of it as an inconvenience to do: think of it as a new way to get money out of people parking. Then all of a sudden the rise of the appropriate infrastructure becomes obvious and inevitable. Nothing gets infrastructure built like the lure of income.

Comment Re: Where's Mac Pro? (Score 1) 234

All I really have to say to that is I don't consider internally non-upgradable desktop machines to be anything I could describe with "great" other than greatly undesirable. And that's what the trashcan design is to me: a machine that's frozen in its capacities as soon as I buy it, short of littering my desk with power warts, easily stolen / damaged drives, an external PCI cage, and a nest of unwanted cables. Which kind of obviates that "neat small cylinder" idea pretty thoroughly. Not to mention being a security nightmare.

If you like the cylinder design, that's all you and of course that's fine. But I don't. I find it appallingly short-sighted and 100% unwanted.

Fortunately, my bought-cheap-off-EBay 2009-era 12/24 core, 64 GB, 3 GHz-ish Mac Pro tower is humming right along. So I can hold off a while yet before having to go the hackintosh route. So really, we're both happy, eh? :)

Comment Re:Charging's not the problem you think it is (Score 2) 1050

There are many areas where the generating capacity is already marginal.

Actually, there are very few areas where whatever capacity there is, isn't considerably more available at night. Because almost everyone is asleep, it's cooler, A/C loads are down, and not much else is going on. And of course, there is plenty of solar waiting to be tapped, etc. once they work out a way to store it half-decently. Sure, it won't be perfect. But you know what? The nearest city in my state is 290 miles away, and the three gas stations are arranged along that trip at 70 miles, 210 miles, and 230 miles respectively -- then finally in the city there's plenty. Underserved areas are nothing new. It won't stop the process. Where new capacity needs to appear, it will. Eventually. Even if my area doesn't get enough power in the right places right away, most everywhere else will. But you know what? While they have to truck fuel to us, we have a huge dam 20 miles from here with a couple huge hydro generators. So I might do better than one might think. The trick is that 290 mile drive... need a vehicle that can do that with the heat or AC running, lights on, etc. Nothing like that on the radar. Yet.

Perhaps we can even stop wasting so much power blotting out the night sky with all those damned streetlights. Who knows? Perhaps the nation's kids will be generally able to see the stars again. It's a nice thought, anyway.

Also, just as sort of a postscript, lighting, even fairly high powered lighting, is transitioning to a considerably less greedy tech, LEDs. Power consumption of a converted light source is way down. Things like that, applied nationally, will also have positive effects on available power, even if the paranoid keep the streetlights on forever.

Don't worry. Power's not going to be the showstopper. Unless we can get around it somehow, it'll be storage that bites us all in the posterior. Because right now batteries, in a word, suck.

Comment Charging's not the problem you think it is (Score 5, Interesting) 1050

Not arguing about the time frame - seems optimistic to me - but:

Where are all these electric vehicles going to CHARGE?

Many of these vehicles will be able to adequately charge at home, at night, when the grid is considerably unloaded as compared to the day - it's a perfectly reasonable scenario. Most of us rest at night. Most of those vehicles won't be going on long trips on any given day, and so most of them won't even need that much of a charge. You'll see charging stations where you're used to seeing parking meters in cities and towns, too.

The idea that there's insufficient infrastructure to handle a fleet composed of mostly electric vehicles is almost entirely wrong. And for the high-charge, long-haul requirements, those waystations can be built the same way: pick up energy at night, hand it out 24/7. Most of this is just engineering.

The real problem right now is batteries, or energy storage in the car. Expensive, short-lived, toxic, heavy, and simply not enough of them. When and if that's solved, EVs will come into their own. Not before. Right now they are a wealthy person's toy. 30 grand for what amounts to a VW bug, only with less Hitler.

Comment That paper tape (Score 1) 234

Nope, not that generous any more. Plus, I no longer have a paper tape reader. :) I'll probably sell it someday, so it doesn't get lost in some relative's WTF box at the time of my death.

However, I did write a complete emulation of the 6809 and the Flex OS, which you can get from here, if you're so inclined. It's a few years later than the paper tape, but on the other hand, it's hugely more capable, just as one might expect. Plus, the 6809 is a dream to program, unlike any other microprocessor of its vintage, or prior.

Comment Re: Where's Mac Pro? (Score 3, Interesting) 234

They don't need (and I really wish they would not consider) a case redesign. The 2008/2009 cases were (still are) fabulous. Great cooling, hugely serviceable, expandable, plenty of room for drives, rackable, plenty of I/O, good looking, tough, quiet, reasonably secure...

All they actually need to do is abandon that trashcan thing as a (really) bad idea and cook up a new tower-fitting motherboard, for which I have no doubt whatsoever Intel has readily available sample electrical designs, add the I/O sauce of the day to it, change a few cutouts for the case to match, and ship the damn thing.

That whole "sometime in 2018" could mean they're going to do something "courageous" again. Otherwise there's little excuse for the timing. Well, unless they're not starting until 2018. Which might be the case. [lies:] No pun intended.

It's possible the new "courage" will be something worthy, but based on the trashcan and the headphone screwups and the lack of wired networks on various models and the withering of the mini's capabilities... I think "courage" has failed them as far as actually making something, you know, better. I just wish they would go back to the tower. Maybe pop out a mid-tower for the masses, too.

Here's hoping. I'd almost certainly buy a new mac pro with current CPU and (upgradable) GPU hardware and upgradable memory and drives and so on. Unless they screw it up. Again.

Comment Re:Disagree (Score 1) 360

What do you do for a living?

I write software. Generally non-trivial application software. For instance, this is something I'm working on, and have been for some years now.

How would you feel if 10 years from now something failed and you were required to go back and fix it?

I have been fixing products for years as the bugs / errors were found. For free. Usually within hours or at most, days. I feel really good about it. For my commercial work, I charge for new features and keeping up with OS malfuckery. Not for my own errors. I am also very careful to maintain maximum compatibility with various OS releases -- rather than using the new OS features, I concentrate on using as few OS features as possible; and when they break I write my own if at all possible, thereby eliminating the dependence on the now-broken OS feature. For instance, at some point Apple's OS X file dialog began hanging the system when opened, which is pretty much a death sentence for real time signal processing software. So I wrote my own. No more hangs, plus it has some cool features the OS X dialog doesn't -- and it's highly unlikely to break, because it is coupled in as limited a manner as I could manage to OS X. But if it does, I'll fix it.

I am willing to put my best efforts forward fix every bug I can find that is "mine." I work around OS bugs if and when I manage to figure out how. I keep my documentation up to date, basically the same philosophy applies there: the docs should be as "right" as I can make them. I wrote my own documentation system to make sure I could keep control of that without my work becoming roadkill consequent to the "next cool thing" WRT someone else's documentation system.

Again: perfectly content with this. I like keeping my work as current as possible and as reliable and accurately represented as possible. I sleep very well because of it.

A car manufacturer is actually legally required to support their vehicles. If your car has a problem, and you discover it 10 years or more after manufacture, even if they sell the same model where they've fixed that flaw, they are in no way required to fix it on your car.

If the vehicle was defective with regard to features and/or capabilities touted at the time of sale, then in my opinion -- and I agree, not the law's, but the law is often bad and/or wrong, and I submit that this is one of those cases -- then the manufacturer should remain on the hook. That's not about wear; it's about it being what they said it was at the time of sale. If it isn't what they said it was, then they either owe a fix, or a refund. Simple fix: Don't sell stuff you aren't willing to put your best efforts into. I don't find that to be any problem. Then again, I'm the boss, so I get to say that. I don't need the law to tell me to do that, I do it because I am confident that it is the right thing to do.

Legally, 10 years tends to be the expected lifespan of things. Don't believe me, look how long your houses structural warranty lasts. Yup, 10 years. Even though standard mortgages are 30 years.

Apples and oranges. I'm not talking about something wearing out. I'm talking about it being supplied in a defective state.

1) Company sells you a home, claims has full basement
2) You buy it
3) Turns out there's no basement ...yes, even if it takes you fifty years to figure it out, they should still be on the hook for the deceit and the consequences of that deceit.

Again, simple fix: Don't DO stuff like that.

Comment Disagree (Score 0) 360

If they outright say a product is no longer supported, I see no reason to hold them accountable for user laziness/stupidity/cheapness/pick a negative attribute.

How about "my software doesn't work on your new stuff"? Where's the negative attribute there? Eh?

Here's my view: If you sell a product, you should fix any bugs or non-performance issues that relate to claims made when you sold it. Application, OS, driver, etc.

An example:

Let's say you sell me a product, version N, on the basis that it loads images, allows me to apply various image processing operations including contrast, and then save the resulting changed image.

Later -- even much later -- I discover that the contrast operation doesn't work. You're still selling the product, and you've fixed the problem (so in such a case, we know you *can* fix the problem) but now it's on version N+X, and you want me to buy an upgrade to get a working contrast operation.

It is my position that either you should fix it, provide me with the upgrade at no charge to remedy your screwup (which some OS vendors will do, Apple, for instance), and your upgrade must in no way take away any advertised capability I already bought from you, or which depends on APIs you published, or: you should give me my money back.

If you won't fix the problem, I see that as you having sold me a product under false pretenses. You said it would work: it doesn't. You won't fix it.

What I don't see as reasonable is basically selling broken stuff and then expecting everyone to accept that. If you sell me a defective chair, house or swing-set, I expect you to fix it to the best of your ability. If you sell me defective software, I expect you to fix that to the same degree.

This whole "I'm selling you two things: broken software and a big fuck you" is a bad idea, and leaves a huge trail of broken and incompatible shit around for everyone to deal with.

There's more to this, but it all boils down to a presumption of "abandonment is okay" that I see as almost always a sign of ethically bankrupt management. Not always. But usually. Certainly in every case where the software in question won't / can't do what it claimed it would.

Comment Some (cough) light at last (Score 1) 117

Thank you. Although I have no great depth in the areas you're describing, you did provide a coherent framework that gives me some idea what might be happening. And you provided enough touchstones for me to fumble through learning more. Very much appreciated.

I got the idea that electrons = photons from camera sensor descriptions in the popular press. No doubt there was some level of error there, starting with me and possibly extending further. I've parked that idea. :)

You can't really separate the magnetic and electric fields in the far field, in the sense you can't have one blocked and the other propagate as a wave.

Well, that's not really what I was saying; a loop antenna responds very little to electrostatic stimulus; this property makes it highly immune to local noise. Instead, it responds to the magnetic field, which tends to not be large in comparison for low energy local sources. Switching antenna types to a loop can and does result in noise levels dropping very significantly, and signals appearing that were previously completely buried in said noise. So both fields are there, but detecting the one doesn't have to involve detecting the other, and therefore the reception achieved can be said to be specifically of the magnetic component. Which I didn't understand to be composed of particles, as you have explained. Now that you have explained it, I understand the process to be an exchange of particles, and so that answers my original question - how is [idea in TFS] different than radio. Answer being, no particle exchange vs. particle exchange. That about sum it up?

Comment More bewilderment on my part (Score 1) 117

There are two basic ways to build yourself a radio antenna.

One responds to electrostatics; this, generally speaking, is electron, or photon activation - electrons in the antenna move because the applied charge across the antenna varies. This is ambient electron pressure varying as a function of the radio signal. This results in push-pull down the antenna cable, and it's amplified at the receiver, etc.

The other responds to magnetic fields. Not ambient electron pressure. A loop antenna is a classic example of that, and it's why I used it in my example.

Radio is an electro-magnetic phenomenon. EM for short. Electricity (electron flow and potential) is not the same as magnetism. Either one can induce the other. But they are not the same. And the claim that magnetism is photons... I just don't understand how that could describe reality. Unless photons ignore solid objects, and everything I've ever experienced (again, not a physicist or anything approaching one) tells me they don't. Electrons - photons in another life - stop at insulators. They don't transit them. Whereas magnetism is well known to do exactly that, and with zero trouble. Or so I conceived of it all until today.

So... the statement "magnetism is photons" makes no sense to me because radio goes right through very dense insulating materials, generally speaking. Materials that, for instance, the photons from my flashlight will not. Even if it's hella bright. Further, there is so little energy in radio waves that are nonetheless receivable, the idea of them (meaning photons) transiting a dense, thoroughly opaque substance with no particular attenuation is notionally counterintuitive to me. Which still doesn't mean it's wrong (see (a), below.) I can tell you for a fact that the magnetic component of radio waves do this, though. Which, it seems to me, implies that magnetic waves are not photons doing... well, whatever.

I have read all the answers and either (a) I am missing so much of the underlying physics information (most likely) that I cannot understand it, or (b) it hasn't actually been explained yet, or (c) the entire idea is somehow misdescribed so I *can't* understand it, but it's really something, just something else.

Comment So... (Score 4, Insightful) 117

How is this different than radio?

If I'm 11000 miles from someone's radio transmitter, waves of magnetism induce electron movement in my local loop antenna (this description applies only to loop antennas.) The only particles -- electrons -- I'm dealing with are local. The particle movement is not induced by electrons that travelled from the source to my antenna. Magnetism isn't carried by particles. Right? Because it goes right through non-ferrous solid objects.

Light is just radio at a really high frequency, as far I understand it. Which may not be all that far. :)

Anyway, shine a light, induce particle movement at the receiver by detecting the waves...

Sounds like radio. What am I missing? There must be something, or this wouldn't be news.

--[not a physicist]

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