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Comment Re:12V charging is better than USB... (Score 1) 115

USB3 provides completely standard 5A charging.

Not really... USB3 ports are only 900mAh. High power is only possible for dedicated "charging" ports that can't really do any actual USB things.

And the USB3 charging-only scheme is technically "standard" only in that the company that writes the specs endorsed one of the incompatible methods... So if companies don't adopt it, then it may be an official/de-jury standard, but it will still be de-facto non-standard.

Comment Re:Chromebook is a waste (Score 1) 115

Why bother making Chromebooks, the market doesn't much seem to care for them. Instead they should be putting Android onto laptops since the market is already very familiar with Android and the marketplace is already well stocked with apps.

If you've ever used a dirt-cheap tablet, you know the answer to that...

Android and its apps make numerous assumptions. Things like almost-always connected internet access... GPS hardware... Accelerometers... Touch screens. Small screen sizes that limit multitasking... etc. Running Android apps on devices that LACK any of those features VERY quickly becomes frustrating and utterly pointless.

Similarly, you would be DISGUSTED if you ever ran a "mobile" program on your desktop computer... For a simple example, change your browser's user-agent string to match some common mobile browser. After about 5 minutes of having a tiny phone-sized patch of text in the upper-left hand corner of your screen, you'll hate it and switch back. Here's a quick one... Try browsing Wikipedia's mobile site for an hour or so without throwing your computer out the window:


The same is true for using mobile apps, where things like the title bar, scroll bars, etc., are all hidden to save screen space. It makes no sense, it's time consuming, and becomes incredibly frustrating when used on a large screen that doesn't strictly NEED those particular workarounds. That's why you'll find so many "HD" apps for Android/IOS in the market, because 10" tablets are near the cut-off point where you want something more similar to desktop apps.

The different form factors are so tremendously far apart that they're just not interchangeable at all. If Google came out with an Android desktop or laptop, you'd be laughing at their foolishness in short order, and swearing you *never* thought it would be a good idea...

Comment 12V charging is better than USB... (Score 3, Informative) 115

One thing this machine lacks is the most intriguing feature of the new ARM-based (and lower-power) Chromebook 11 from HP: charging via Micro-USB.

To hell with your freaky mutually-incompatible and non-standard ways to get 3amps over USB! Give me a 12V DC, positive-center barrel plug any day... Vastly more durable than MicroUSB junk, and far cheaper.

Car adapters cost $3, since they're just a cord... Wall adapters are also dirt-cheap, and I can use any of the dozen I have lying around... Everything from my Netbook, to my GbE switch, to my computer speakers, to my NiMH battery charger, to my portable fan, to my UPSes, to my old video game consoles, ALL run on 12V DC. They can all swap adapters, because there's no crazy non-standard resistor levels on other pins that make half of them incompatible with the other half... And unlike MicroUSB jacks with the tiny reed in the center, barrel plugs are practically bullet-proof, can be inserted easily in any orientation, etc.

I tolerate MicroUSB as a middle-of-the-road standard, that is better than a complete mis-mash of incompatible charging connectors, and varying voltages (3? 7.5? 9? WTF?), but only for small devices. Tablets should NEVER have started using it, and larger phones that can't fully charge with 5V should be jumping to 12V DC barrel-plugs ASAP, and getting everyone on a compatible, higher-power standard.

Comment Re:Liars, liars, pants on fire (Score 4, Informative) 301

Bad analogy, since much (not all) of what McCarthy said turned out in fact to be true. The State Department WAS rife with people who were in fact Communist sympathizers or active Soviet agents.

Not really. McCarthy didn't have evidence or even a reasonable basis for making his claims. Playing the lottery and winning doesn't mean you can see into the future or are a whiz with statistics; claiming that there are communists in the State Department didn't mean he had even the tiniest bit of intelligence.

Plus, if he did know, it would've been grossly irresponsible to say so. Exposing known enemy spies and agents just means that they'll be replaced by others who you'll have to find all over again. The better tactic is to in some way turn the ones you know about so that you control what information they send back to your enemy.

And 'rife' is somewhat of an overstatement.

Frankly, McCarthy was a drunk bully. We'd all have been better off if he'd never been in politics at all. It's entirely proper to despise him and it's nice to see that so many do.

Comment Re:Information (Score 1) 242

The many worlds model's absurdity is right in its name. It's the belief that we have no choice, make no choices, but just randomly find ourselves in a world where certain things have happened, while duplicates of ourselves, at each instant where different things might happen, including our own different actions, find themselves inhabiting each of those many worlds. That's to say, the many worlds model requires that the illusion of choice model is the correct one for human agency. And not in the Newtonian sense where it's because there is only one causal destiny. Rather it's a claim that there's no one destiny, but we can't choose among the many destinies, and instead must realize them all, in an endless branching into infinite futures, in none of which will we ever have any real freedom, or real choice.

That contradicts everything we know about human psychology, as well as every possible evolutionary account for the advantage of consciousness. It contradicts evolution itself, since according to many worlds every possibility going forward is realized in one universe or another, even the possibilities which are, in a Darwinian sense, less fit.

Comment Re:A sarcasm detector, that's a real useful invent (Score 1) 177

The DEA is much more interested in the poster above's irrigation system.

Of course, that provides some serious opportunities for mischief... trick people who are crazy about their houseplants to install such a system, and set the timing in a way which would be appropriate for cannabis. Then wait for the raid.

Comment Re:Er, wait, what? (Score 5, Insightful) 140

Well, nuclear reactions that we can turn off like laser-initiated fusion are a lot nicer than the alternatives. The inside of your car engine is a raging inferno shot with electric sparks and compressed with inexorable steel cylinders. That doesn't keep you from going on a nice drive with your sweetie.

Comment Re:Students are Hard on Hardware (Score 2) 177

It's not just kids. I used to work on mobile software for guys doing various kinds of outdoor field work. I told clients to figure on replacing their PDAs at least every two years. I'd reckon about 20% broke outright each year, and at the end of two years even the ones that weren't actually broken were falling apart from heavy use. These were well-made PDAs in rugged cases that guys could carry in their pockets. I shudder to think what they're doing these days with iPads.

When you're thinking about adopting any kind of gizmo that's supposed to be used all day long, you have to look at that gizmo as disposable. Stuff happens to things you carry around all the time. I have a light touch with equipment, so my stuff tends to last longer than most people's; but even I once broke a Newton screen, back in the early days. There was a guy in my office who destroyed one laptop per year, like clockwork.

I used to tell my clients that equipment was made to be used and thrown away. The important thing is preserving data. If a device is so expensive you've got to count on people mollycoddling it, it's not ready for field use.

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