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Comment Re:Why would anyone install this? (Score 1) 202

You must be so confused. It's ransomware: it encrypts your files with a public key. The private key is controlled by the gang. You don't pay, you end up with a bunch of random-looking data substituted for your files, since the gang destroys the unique private key after the time is up. Yes, you're basically just back to where you were, before you "installed" the software. The "bother" is with the software being ransomware. It's malware. It installs itself when you don't pay attention, like most people out there...

Comment Re:More pharma-financed bullshit coming our way! (Score 1) 554

now everything is grown on nutrient devoid soils

It doesn't matter all that much, since the plants, you know, synthesize stuff. If there isn't enough nitrogen in the soil, the yields will be poor, but it's not like you'll get nitrogen-deficient plants. They'll be plant-matter-deficient in general. So talking about "nutrient devoid soils" is quite pointless: it only affects the yields, not the nutritional value of the end product. There'll be less stuff, smaller bulbs or fruit, etc. At least that's my high-school understanding, plant biologists please correct me.

Comment Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (Score 1) 554

Sure as heck multivitamins will help if you're on a ramen diet, you don't get any water-soluble vitamins from that, only a tiny bit of stuff that's naturally dissolved in chicken fat (or beef fat)! The flavor and the salt should be in split sections of the pouch. I really don't need the salt, nor do most other people.

When I was on a ramen diet (by default, not by choice), I'd get a chicken thigh every once in a while and boil the heck out of it in a small pot with minimum amount of water. I tossed the bones and joint tissues out, chopped the remainder on a plastic cutting board, put it back into the pot. Boiled out as much water as possible, then dehydrated further in the freezer. This was a great replacement lower-sodium chicken flavoring for ramen. A small amount would do (half a teaspoon, say). I'd supplant the fat with a bit of butter. Worked great as we had a freezer at work.

Comment Re:Past vs present (Score 1) 120

If you want to do things hard way first, you might as well do SDR. The hard part then is the software. Or use a voltage controlled oscillator, and use a potentiometer as your input element - there's plenty of both of those. Heck, be fancy and noncontacty and use an eccentric on the shaft and a light-based angle sensor to derive the tuning voltage. I don't think there's much reason to use variable capacitors for across-the-band tuning in any modern circuit, even if doing it just for kicks. There's a whole bunch of obsolete kinds of parts that were popular once but make no sense anymore. I'd say it doesn't take out any of the fun to use more modern methods, but that's just my opinion, of course.

Comment Re:nothx.jpg (Score 1) 289

Hmm, you are right. Then perhaps whatever metal was used in the connector end of things wasn't so great? Perhaps it was getting magnetically saturated? There is a possibility it's all in my head, but I remember rather vividly how easy it was to knock off the original magsafe connector. Now it almost never happens, and try as I might, I still don't see myself using it any differently.

Comment Re:nothx.jpg (Score 1) 289

I think that there must be batches of weak magnets out there on Apple-branded MagSafe connectors. I have destroyed two MagSafe plug/cable combos, mostly due to exposure to moisture and ensuing damage to the ID chip embedded in the plug. I've replaced them with chinese off-eBay knock-offs that work great and seem to have magnets much stronger than the original. It is nearly impossible to yank them out by mistake.

Well, maybe those are not knock-offs, just recycled parts or parts swiped off the production line, but they don't look like hang been recycled at all. The replacement involved breaking apart the power supply enclosure, as I didn't want to splice the cable. It was a bit of a pain the first time, I admit. The cable is simply soldered onto the power supply board and trivial to replace once you get to it.

Comment Re:So Would Apple (Score 1) 289

It's not about electrocution risk, it's about the risk of blowing the gold off the connector's pins when you accidentally short-circuit them across, say, the corner of a unibody macbook. You do not want to have the low-impedance DC supply circuit energized until you know the connection has been made. The little spring-loaded pins are quite fragile, short-circuiting across them will make them useless in short order.

Alas, my magsafe I system doesn't turn the power supply off when the load is detached. You can still make some impressive sparks if you touch the connector to the corner of the machine, so this isn't really a feature of magsafe I at least.

Comment Re:patented (Score 1) 289

There's no such thing as "penetrating the skin". You will always get some current flowing, even if you "touch" the skin across a circuit that has a few millivolts across it - it will simply be too small to affect your nervous system, in most circumstances. The impedance of the circuit dictates what the current will be at a given voltage, and it's the magnitude of the current that matters. Knowing merely the voltage without knowing the impedance is fairly useless. 24V can kill you if you insert the electrodes into the (low impedance) arteries of both forearms :) 48V, a "safe" voltage, can be quite unpleasant if you're wet, even more so if you're wet with saltwater.

Comment Re:patented (Score 1) 289

You won't get mildly electrocuted by a plug with 16V potential difference across it. Even if you're very wet with seawater, you might feel a slight tingle at best. The potential to Earth is at worst in the same ballpark, if it isn't potential-free to Earth to start with (as in isolated from Earth).

Comment Re:No Question (Score 1) 120

Ah, I have another Radio Shack story from 1989. I went to a store with my dad, and there was another customer with a question that my dad, as an EE, was able to answer. He then asked the clerk, perhaps a tad naively, something along the lines of why didn't he know this or that about the products he sold. The answer was "If I knew it, I wouldn't be working here now, would I?". Still gives me a chuckle, but there's a lesson there: ultimately, corporations are keeping their employees just passably able to do their jobs. RadioShack, as well as many other corporations, don't care much for people with anything but most rudimentary knowledge for customer-facing positions. They want to keep their costs as low as possible, no matter how many people are pissed off. As long as "few enough" are pissed that the company is afloat, everything is considered peachy. That's a bit sad.

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