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Comment Re:USPS Investigation? (Score 1) 143

USPS is bad for many other reasons, too. The post office where I live (a major city) is basically open in a narrow window from 8:30 to 5:00 on weekdays and a short four-hour window on Saturday. Need to ship something out? Unless it can wait until Saturday, you'd better plan to take time off from work unless you're willing to leave it on the side of the road for hours. And if the sender requests that something be held for pickup, that means you have to pick it up during that window, too. By contrast, there's a local UPS store that's open until 7 M-F and until 5 on Saturday, and a major FedEx depot that's open until 8 M-F and 5 on Saturday. It's just a much better experience.

And USPS tracking is borderline useless. It typically provides little more than a delivery confirmation. UPS and FedEx track it at every point along the way so that you know almost exactly where your package is at all times, and so do they. This makes package loss much less likely.

Comment Re: Sounds too simple to be true (Score 1) 961

This is what is being lost beneath the racism, the Indians, Mexicans, Chinese, etc. are not your enemies, they're just people trying to make a buck. Your enemies are Americans.

Specifically, the wealthy ruling class. Of course, some of them have also managed to trick a lot of Americans into believing that immigrants are the enemy by pushing an exaggerated sense of nationalism. I'm still trying to figure out how they win by damaging the income of other members of the ruling class, but I'm sure there's a financial explanation somewhere if you dig in deep enough.

Either way, the whole system is rigged, and the people at the top always win. It's just a question of which group of people at the bottom get screwed when they do.

Comment Re:Anyone remember when cents/GB was used? (Score 1) 24

Stacking dies with many layers might help bring cost down by letting you burn out fuses on defective dies and then do part binning based on the number of functioning dies. I'm not sure if the defect rates on flash would yield a significant benefit from doing so or not, though.

Comment Re:Will it work in a Raspberry Pi? (Score 1) 48

It will work in a Raspberry Pi, but the Pi doesn't have the required contacts to support UHS-II, so it won't benefit from the extra bus bandwidth. And it doesn't even support UHS-I fully (max speed is 100 MHz instead of 200 MHz) because you apparently can't put the SoC into 1.8V signalling mode (or so I've read). So you'll presumably benefit from improvements to random access time from the faster microcontroller on the SD card, but you won't get the full speed benefit.

Comment Re:TechBros are the worst Consumers (Score 1) 129

The challenge, of course, is defining what "deprive others of that freedom" means. Does it mean you can't deprive other people of the freedom to have the source code to your work that extends the original work, or does it mean you can't deprive other people of the freedom to make private extensions to the original work? That's fundamentally the difference between the GPL and BSD licensees is what other group of people you want to deprive of freedom.

Arguably, the BSD license is more free because the existence of a private fork doesn't deprive anyone of anything; the original work is still freely available. But on the other hand, you could argue that some of those changes merely fix bugs, and thus are not rightfully new works, and should be available to anyone who has the original software. It's a fine line, and there's no absolute right answer.

The reason the public mocks nerds, of course, is that they argue vociferously over which license is correct, which takes time away from actually making the technology better, and is often seen as a waste of everyone's time. On the other hand, without those arguments (which expand the community's understanding of the licenses and their eccentricities), there's a possibility of critical projects choosing a license that is inappropriate and ending up stuck with it to the detriment of everyone.

For example, the FSF's decision to relicense GCC under GPLv3 created stagnation in its largest user base (the Mac community), with OS X users stuck at a much older version for years, until eventually Apple worked with the LLVM team to replace it with Clang. To be fair, in the end, everybody benefitted from a more modular compiler architecture that could better be integrated into things like IDEs, so the resulting platform is more capable than GCC ever was (or ever will be, in all likelihood), but the bad licensing decision meant that the teams couldn't take advantage of each other's work, which no doubt made that transition take much longer than it otherwise would have and resulted in a lot of duplication of work, ultimately culminating in GCC becoming an evolutionary dead end that's still a giant time sink to maintain (and that, no doubt, will continue to be maintained for many years, for no real reason other than because it exists and has to work).

So in spite of the public's belief that this is all a bunch of silly squabbles like Star Wars versus Star Trek, the reality is that there are real-world implications of these arguments, making them at least somewhat valuable (up to a point, anyway).

Comment Re:All you Apple Haters can bite my shiny metal SD (Score 1) 48

I seem to recall an awful lot of Apple Haters whining about a certain new MacBook Pro that had dropped the built in SD reader...

We were complaining about the lack of UHS-II support for about five years before they dropped it. Apple dropping it rather than updating it wasn't the first snub, but rather the last straw.

Comment Re:Prime is starting to suck (Score 1) 183

Actually, what I would do is check with the carrier, and if it claims to be delivered but isn't, contact Amazon and ask them to overnight a replacement. They'll usually overnight products at no charge if you're annoyed enough to write them to complain about shipping delays even if you're not a Prime member.

Comment Re:The machine ate my package (Score 1) 171

No matter how much damage, the ROMs are unlikely to be destroyed, which means there's value in delivering the contents no matter what, at least in this case. Of course with that many cartridges in one package, I wouldn't be surprised if some over-eager postal inspector mistakenly believed that somebody was importing pirated game cartridges to sell, in which case the package is probably fully intact in the evidence locker of some law enforcement agency.

Comment Re: Not Wi-Fi mesh I guess (Score 2) 75

What about using the scanning mode of the network adapter to transfer small messages? You could theoretically place a small 32 bytes message in th SSID then initiate scanning of nearby ad-hoc stations. That way you don't have to fully associate with a network.

If we could somehow convince Apple to support Wi-Fi Direct instead of only supporting their own, incompatible peer-to-peer scheme, this would be a solved problem. Unfortunately, the fact that Android and iOS use two fundamentally different peer-to-peer Wi-Fi schemes makes this unlikely to work in practice unless you live in an all-iOS or all-Android neighborhood.

Comment Re:the real reason theyre arguing it. (Score 1) 310

There are plenty of manufacturers who *don't* glue their batteries in ...

Plenty? To the best of my knowledge, there's only one: LG. Unfortunately, the other LG hardware I've dealt with has been a train wreck of poorly tested firmware updates that I've had to expend considerable effort rolling back because of serious bugs, and I almost bought their refrigerator until I started reading the reviews and ran away screaming. And that's the same company that seriously resisted helping their smart TV users fix devices bricked by ransomware.

At least the worst problems I've had with an iPhone can be fixed by a screwdriver, a spudger, a putty knife, and a bit of excessive force.

Comment Re:Fighting it is evil (Score 1) 310

That fundamentally changes the design constraints - you now need to make a battery that's able to deal with shocks in the post, rather than just be moved from one section of factory floor to another in a controlled manner with lots of buckets of sand near by in case anything goes wrong.

That's simply not true. Manufacturers have to be able to ship batteries to their repair centers anyway. More significantly, if those batteries were such delicate little flowers that they couldn't be shipped, then phones would be exploding in people's pockets. The problem of shipping batteries without damaging them is a completely solved problem.

Comment Re:the real reason theyre arguing it. (Score 5, Interesting) 310

You're full of it. It has nothing to do with brand consumption. The truth is that the tradeoff for cheap, reliable, waterproof and sort of shock resistant is to make things with glue and not with screws.

Maybe for the watch, but not for the phone. There's nothing glued in the iPhone other than the battery. The case has snap tabs and screws holding it together, and all the complex parts are fastened in place using screws. There's absolutely no good reason for the battery to be glued in there, either. They could just as easily:

  • Use compressible foam to hold it in place so that it doesn't rattle. Manufacturers have been doing that in battery compartments for most of a century.
  • Bond it to a thin, stiff plastic layer and fasten that in with screws from the top so that it hangs suspended by glue in the middle of the battery compartment area.
  • Bond it to a thin, stiff plastic layer that slides into a tiny track from one end. Bond the plastic layer to the bottom or top part of the case, allowing you to slide it out the bottom without even removing the back. Connect it with a couple of small spring contacts on the end of the battery.
  • Glue it to the back part of the case (or a portion thereof), and offer that entire piece as a replacement part.

It's the height of laziness to say, "We can't make it this small without holding everything together with glue." It isn't that they can't make them easy to repair, nor is it that it would make them much more expensive or bigger or anything else. The reality is that Apple doesn't want their products to be easy to repair.

I'll illustrate why this is the case with a story. My parents recently took their iPhone 5s to Apple for repairs because its battery life had turned to crap. Apple looked at the device and said that they couldn't repair it because the battery was bulged, and it would be dangerous to remove it (because it is glued in). They wanted... either two or three hundred dollars to replace what was approximately a $30 battery.

Why would Apple want to make it easy to replace that $30 battery when they can glue the battery in place and use that as an excuse to cheat their customers out of hundreds of dollars, then take the defective hardware, ship it somewhere, rip the battery out in spite of the safety concerns, glue a new one in, and make even more money selling that refurbished phone to some other poor sucker whose battery dared to swell up? No, the irreparability of these devices means big money for Apple and they know it. IMO, these laws can't come soon enough and don't go far enough.

It should be illegal to glue a battery into any device, period, full stop.

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