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Comment Blue light specials... (Score 5, Insightful) 248

Yeah, because brick and mortar stores have never had flash sales and temporary price reductions people would literally have to run across the store to take advantage of. And Home Shopping Network, QVC, etc, never reduced prices on things at different times of the day or when inventory didn't sell as expected.

Comment Sodium vs Lithium (Score 1) 102

While I didn't understand all the technical details, I thought it was fantastic that he presented that level of detail. Thank you!

I am curious about the sodium vs lithium characteristics, as he mentioned them several times. He stated the sodium discharge rate is 0.3 V less than lithium (three times, to be exact). What exactly does this mean? Would a sodium battery have to be larger / heavier than a lithium ion to generate the same voltage? Does it mean it cannot charge or discharge as fast? I'm just curious what the ramifications are. For many applications, like storage of solar generated power in a home, size and weight is not an issue at all. If sodium based batteries are cheaper and safer, even if they were double the size, they would still win out in that application.

Comment Re:Texas Instruments.. (Score 1) 857

Same here. I got mine towards the end of its life cycle apparently, just before TI stopped selling them. In fact I think the price was reduced tremendously because of that. I was around 10 at the time. I did always envy my friend's C64 though. The TI cartridge games were pretty decent for the time, but its BASIC was very limited and slow, so the TI versions of the programs in Compute! magazine were always pretty pitiful compared to the C64 versions.

Comment What??? (Score 3, Insightful) 99

Why is the FCC, which is responsible for regulation of the use of the radio spectrum, considering social aspects when making decisions regarding the technical feasibility of using cell phones on planes? The only factor should be whether or not the use of these devices interferes with the avionics of the aircraft, which we know is not an issue (although the airlines always threw that nebulous excuse out there in the past). I once worked in a hospital that wouldn't let the doctors install a WiFi access point in their private lounge (back when WiFi first came on the scene) because "it would probably interfere with the telemetry of the medical equipment". Both are red herrings and using technical aspects as an excuse to cover for other reasons (unreasonable fear of culpability, protecting monopolistic practices, etc).

My point is that the FCC should not be in a *conversation* with the airlines regarding what they may or may not prefer when the FCC makes *technical* decisions regarding the use of radio devices.

Comment Verbiage (Score -1, Flamebait) 92

I noticed this in the mainstream media. Suddenly every branch of government in the executive branch is now "The Trump Administration". Well, at least when it can be reported in a negative light. US Customs and Border Protection, which is part of Homeland Security, requested the information. We might as well just rename every single part of the Executive branch "The Trump Administration" to make the cost of printing letterheads and business cards much cheaper (you know, bulk discount).

For instance, take a look at this article about Fast and Furious: http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/27/...
CNN reported that the ATF did this, and not "The Obama Administration".

I just find the incessant and obviously biased reporting annoying.

Comment Re:Need federal right-to-repair laws... (Score 1) 199

Ahhh. You mean something like federal laws regarding the repair of your personal vehicle. Like, for example, the federal law that says you cannot replace a wheel on your vehicle with another one unless it has TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) sensors in them compatible with the vehicle, and the sensors have been configured and interfaced with the vehicle's computer, which for many vehicles requires proprietary diagnostic hardware costing thousands of dollars. So in other words I can't undo 5 lug nuts and swap out my wheel with that off another vehicle thanks to federal law.

Ooooooohhhhh, wait. You're wanting a federal law the does the exact opposite of what the existing federal laws actually accomplish... Yeah, fat chance. Let the feds keep their sticky fingers out of my life as much as possible, thank you very much.

Comment Activation Lock (Score 0) 448

This gives me an opportunity to rant about Apple, in regards to another self-serving, money-grabbing practice. I bought an Apple Watch from the local state government surplus. This is a place where surplus government property ends up when it is no longer needed. It is also where stuff from airports ends up - items that were confiscated (knives, corkscrews, toys that look in any way like a weapon, and other "dangerous" items) and stuff that was lost and never claimed.

I bought the watch knowing it may not even function (although it looked to be in perfect condition), because they did not have the means to charge and test it. They just liquidate whatever comes down the pipe. So I charge the watch and pair it up, and find it has an Activation Lock on it. Now this is a watch that sat at the airport for the prescribed legal amount of time and was never claimed, and then it went to the state level where it was also never claimed. So many months later (or a year or more - it's first gen watch) it was legally sold by the government to me.

So I came to a realization. I have no way of contacting the original owner. I can see that they have a gmail address, but Apple will not show the entire address. Apple will not contact them on my behalf, or otherwise do anything for me to get this watch back into their possession. I cannot use the watch. No one can (I spent a lot of time searching, and there is no way to circumvent at this time). In January Apple removed their online tool that lets people check if a phone or watch has an Activation Lock, so there is not even any good way to know a used Apple product of these types are usable.

So who does this serve? That's easy. Apple. Because I cannot get the watch back to the person who lost it, and because I cannot use it, this watch has been taken off the market. Each instance of a product taken off the market is one that does not complete against the sales of new products. Imagine if iPhones and Apple Watches could never be resold - it would result in a huge increase in sales of new devices (which are the only ones Apple profits off of directly). That is what this accomplishes, because you just never know if a used device is actually usable. It pretty much shuts down the ability for private individuals to resell on Ebay or any other way online that cannot be finalized in person, where the buyer can check the device before they buy it.

Sure, as a side affect, perhaps this reduces the theft of devices to some degree. I argue that is merely a minor side affect. Thieves are going to grab any device they have a good opportunity to take, because it could be an Android phone, or maybe an iPhone that was not registered with iCloud's Find my Device. But I argue the primary purpose is to increase Apple's profit margins further by "destroying" a significant number of devices that cannot be used by anyone else.

Comment Devil's advocate (Score 1) 202

Let me play devil's advocate here. Let's say for a moment that the CIA does indeed have whatever hardware is required to easily brute force modern encryption with the current key lengths we are using. Maybe that's some sort of quantum device or perhaps they have access to standard computing power beyond what anyone imagines. That part doesn't matter for the sake of this argument.

What would you do if you were the CIA? How about release exactly the information we see here - information about some actual tools of some value, in addition to misinformation that makes appear they are stymied by the encryption and must instead go after the endpoints. So we feel all smug and secure, while in reality they can simply access the data in transit. They then use these tools and methods described in the leak as the smokescreen in court (when needed) to show standard methods for acquiring data that is more traditional and highly targeted to a specific device, both to keep their data legal as admissible evidence and to hide their true capabilities.

Or am I giving the CIA way, way too much credit here?

Comment My twitter posts (Score 1) 50

My system posts to twitter accounts automatically. I don't know if these are considered "bots" - they just post community alerts (weather and stuff), and that's all. However, I have noticed that within seconds of when my system tweets a URL, that URL is hit by upwards of 20 times (not by twitter) within a couple seconds. I presume these are the "bots" in question. Further, that happens to accounts that I just set up that don't even have any followers yet.

Comment Porn (Score 2) 391

Men tend to initiate sex much more than women do. Men also tend to watch porn much more than women do. So I have a hunch the ease of access to porn has resulted in men getting their gratification alone while watching porn, thus less sex is taking place. Additionally the normal, average woman does not compare to your typical porn star, which may also result in men developing unrealistic standards and thus not having sex with their partner as much due to higher expectations.

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