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Comment Re:60Ghz (Score 4, Insightful) 136

These "lots" of energy you are talking about are not nearly enough for a modern smartphone.

How many times does this need to be repeated? You are NOT going to be able to collect significant energy by rectifying radio transmissions, unless you plan on collecting for a long, long time. Put another way, your phone is using up the battery WAY faster than you would be able to charge it from wifi, broadcast and whatever other RF you might run across.

EVEN with beam steering, where the whole half-watt of power from the router is aimed directly at your phone, you are up against:
- your inefficient receive antenna
- the inverse square law
- path loss

It's not practical. Why Apple is filing a patent on this, I don't know.

Comment Vintage 1978 (Score 1) 857

When I left high school in 1972, I bought parts for a KSR-33 Teletype from the Honeywell salvage store on Rt 9 in Framingham. Turns out, there was a Teletype Corp maintenance facility in the industrial park next to the Bose HQ just up the road, and a nameless tech there took pity on a geeky 17 year old, and built up a working machine out of scrap parts for, as I recall, about $150. For that, I owe him eternal thanks. It lived in my dorm room at UMass in Amherst for my entire college career, and was only replaced by a DEC VT05 which I acquired as parts when I worked at DEC Westfield for a couple of summers. I purchased for it, an Omnitec 701B acoustic couple ($350?) from a place in Burlington. This meant that I never had to tromp down to the computer center to do my homework...it could be done in the comfort of my own dorm room. On the strength of owning my own Teletype, I also managed to get a job (with unlimited login privileges!) at the Computer Center.

The first actual computer I had at home was not mine, but one I had on loan from a guy who wanted me to build some expansion memory boards for it. It was a SWTPC 6800.

The next one was, I believe, a home made Motorola 6802 system, as we were doing a project at my first job, based around that processor. No storage, just a 2708 EPROM with the MIKBUG monitor in it. This was followed shortly by a MEK6800D2 eval kit which we had bought for the project and which was now surplus to requirements. It followed me home. The surplus 6802 parts from the project turned into a controller for our ham radio club's repeater. I did a lot of wire-wrapping, but all the parts were free!

The first machine with storage, was a prorotype of the never-released Data General MPT. Looked a bit like a the TRS-80 with a CRT and two floppies stacked to the right of it, with the keyboard in front, and ran some version of DG operating system. It was mainly used as a terminal, and I purchased a General DataComm 9600 baud modem to go with it ($600, I think)

My first PC was a discarded 25 MHz 386 motherboard, for which I scrounged a chassis and peripheral cards. I put the whole thing together and I think I only purchased the disk drives. Everything else, I found in junk piles at work. About this time, I discovered Linux, and DG discovered DOS. They brought out the DG/One, of course, but they also had a desktop version, which never sold very well, called the Dasher/One. It was a rectangular base, which contained the motherboard and storage, and a CRT head,on a swivel, which contained the CRT and the power supply. I scrounged two prototypes, and my kids had them in their rooms for a couple of years, with warnings not to stick their fingers into any random holes. They ran DOS at 4.0 MHz (slower than the original IBM PC!) and had 3.5" floppy drives. The kids spent hours playing Popcorn, Tetris and Space Invaders on them.

By this time, PCs had become commodity items, and I had enough parts that I could build up a new one whenever better parts became available. My PCs have always been recycled ones, what with offices upgrading on a 2-3 year cycle, and being friendly with the IT guys never hurts when they're trying to get rid of last year's models. I have a couple of servers downstairs, a couple of LianLi aluminum towers with nice Gigabyte motherboards in them, and several Dell laptops with scratches or broken latches. They mostly run Linux Mint. The rest of the family runs Apple gear.

Comment Amazon needs to curate their site more diligently (Score 3, Insightful) 41

There's a whole swarm of "sketchy" vendors on Amazon.com...I avoid them in the most part by only ordering "Prime" merchandise. But Amazon needs to take more responsibility for the quality of vendors on their site. Requiring physical address, phone number and email for all vendors and displaying it on the site would be a good start.

Comment Frat boy (Score 1) 300

I got hired by a little bitty part of a large networking company. They did Token Ring (yeah, I know, but hey, it was decent money). The larger company was doing well, and was buying up small companies for their technology. Fine. The guy running the division was good. My boss, though, was a bit of a young Turk. Lots of book knowledge, some talent, but not a great deal of experience. He had been the division manager's head engineer before I was hired. When I came in, he moved up from doing design to managing me.

This was OK for a while, but I started to notice that he was all about time and deliverables, and not very much about doing things right. Sort of a cowboy.

Example 1: He developed a Xilinx part, using schematic input. Fine, it worked, but he asked me to add some features to it. Part was about 75% utillized, but what I had to add wasn't too much, and it looked doable (and we wanted to stay in the same size part). This was in the days where development tools were in their infancy, and Xilinx's wasn't particularly good. So, it ran out of resources. I played with it for a while, then frat boy boss came by and asked me why it wasn't done yet. I told him I was having problems getting the part to route. Oh, he says, just go into the part editor and add the routes by hand. So, I ask -- how do we know the part matches the schematic? Never mind that, he says...

Example 2: Same company, a year later. Networking giant has merged us in with another company they just bought, and since the new acquisition has 10 more people, we become a part of them. Guy who hired me, leaves in a huff, because he's now second fiddle to the guy who runs the new acquisition...and he leaves BEFORE doing any of the reviews. We find this out, when nobody gets a raise. Someone calls the giant networking company HR and complains. After a month of concerned mumblings, the answer comes down: no raises, your boss didn't do any reviews before he left, sorry.

Example 3: Another project, I'm designing a PLD to parse the source routing field on a Token Ring (yeah, still) packet and direct it to the appropriate port on a bridge. I thought it might be prudent to model and simulate my design in Verilog, before choosing a part. Remember how IDE's were, back in the 90s? So I do a behavioral design, demonstrate that it works, then start trying to find a vendor with an IDE that works and will take Verilog input, and generate Verilog output with timing information from the compiled and fitted design. I discover that a lot of companies SAY they can do this, but some of them are mistaken. Remember, we're running these IDEs on 486's here. End of the year, design works, review time. I figure I'll get a pat on the back for initiative, producing a working design and identifying a good IDE to use on the next design. Nope. Boss's boss (head software guy from the larger company) gives the review. Wants to know why I didn't do the design in Abel, and why it took so long. (This is like asking why you used C, when you could have done the job with BASIC or assembly). I was speechless.

Conclusion: There are a lot of f'ed up and a-hole managers out there, and even more companies who don't give a crap about their employees.

I now work for a design consultancy who DOES value good designers.

Comment Uh...yeah! (Score 4, Insightful) 391

"Once you send out the manufacturing jobs, once you send out the service jobs, once you send out the research jobs, what's left? There's nothing left,"

Well, thank goodness people are beginning to wake up. If you're doing business (i.e.: taking money from people) in a country, especially THIS country, you have a moral obligation to employ people from the community, if possible. Adjust your profit expectations accordingly. We're all in this together, or at least, we should be.
The H1-B scam has been going on long enough.

Comment Re:Change for the sake of change (Score 1) 489

"Listen, Microsoft, I spent a lot of time learning to use the UI, and you go changing it on me; you're making me spend time to learn the new one, instead of being way more productive with the old one I already know."

We know, and the great thing is all that time you waste doesn't cost us a penny! Toodles!
MS Devs and Management

"Toodles", indeed.

I now run Linux, with the UI I want, not the one Microsoft wants.

(sadly, I haven't managed to conver the IT guys at work. But, soon. Soon.)

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