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Comment Re:I'm getting old. (Score 1) 135

I understand your concerns, but these adapters are basically just wiring and physical supports. There are hardly any electronics involved (perhaps a discrete voltage regulator, judging from the images). If you would be willing to trust a non-OEM SATA cable and mounting bracket then I wouldn't see any reason not to trust a non-OEM M.2 to SATA adapter.

There are some higher-end models which provide a full 2.5" enclosure for your M.2 drive for $20-30, if you want the extra peace of mind.

Comment Re:I'm getting old. (Score 1) 135

I get the M.2 format's advantages, but I don't understand why they wouldn't offer the same drives in SATA packaging.

If you need the SATA packaging to fit existing hardware you can get M.2 to SATA adapters for $8-10:
Oley Laptop SSD NGFF M.2 to 2.5" SATA 3 PC Converter Adapter Card
AD905A SATA III 3 to M.2 (NGFF) SSD 7+5 pin Connector Converter Adapter Card

Here's a higher-end dual-M.2 to SATA adapter with integrated hardware RAID for $40:
Ableconn ISAT-M2SR 2.5" 7mm SATA III to Dual M.2 SATA SSD Adapter with Hardward RAID

Has anyone heard of NAS or SAN devices that now feature rows of M.2 slots instead of SATA sleds?

They don't appear to be commonplace yet, but here's one example:
Qnap 4-Bay M.2 SSD NASbook with Built-In 4 Port LAN Switch

Comment Re:For the percentage impaired... (Score 1) 84

Can you link to something authoritative so I can cure my ignorance?

Sorry, I didn't find anything definitive either. However, it follows from the normal use for ratios less than unity. The only difference is the magnitude. Taking "two times" to be equivalent to "200%", and "1/2 times" (or simply "1/2") to be equivalent to "50%":

50% as fast (as the original) = 1/2 (times) as fast = 0.5 * original speed
100% as fast = one times as fast = 1 * original speed
200% as fast = two times as fast = 2 * original speed

50% faster (than the original) = 1/2 (times) faster = (0.5 * original speed) + original speed
100% faster = one times faster = (1 * original speed) + original speed = 2 * original speed
200% faster = two times faster = (2 * original speed) + original speed = 3 * original speed

The expression has two parts. The first can be either "X%" or "X times", both relative to the original amount. If the second part is "as fast" or "as much" (etc.) then this is the final result. If the second part is a relative term like "faster" or "more" then this implies addition, and the first amount, after multiplication, is the difference between the result and the original amount.

Few would disagree with the statement that "50% faster" is equivalent to "150% as fast", and not "50% as fast", but for some reason many become confused by "200% faster" when the formula is exactly the same.

Comment Re:Light years (Score 1) 218

This raises a question: Why do astronomers use irregular units like "light years" and "parsecs" instead of the SI units and prefixes used in every other scientific discipline? Is it just a matter of custom, like the use of English(-ish) units in the U.S.? The SI units would not be any more awkward to work with, and would avoid the need for complex conversions:

distance from Earth to the Sun (1.00 AU) = 150 Gm (gigameters, G=10^9)
distance to Proxima Centauri (1.3 parsecs) = 40. Pm (petameters, P=10^15)
estimated size of the universe (46 billon light years) = 44 Ym (yottameters, Y=10^24)

Comment Re:For the percentage impaired... (Score 1) 84

Sorry, but "330% faster" is indeed 3.3 times faster, or 4.3 times as fast. "4.3 [times] faster" is actually 5.3 times as fast. You're off by one, and GP is correct.

Let's try it this way: "100% faster" and "1 times faster." Do you see how your statement is provably false, now?

Sorry, but the AC is right. "100% faster" = "1 times faster" = "2 times as fast".

"X times as fast" = X * original speed
"X times faster" = original speed + (X * original speed)

Comment Re:Depends (Score 1) 84

... "as slow" would seem to need to be a comparison to a value measured from a reference point ...

"slowness" = 1 / "fastness" (a.k.a. speed)

Say that an object is moving at 5 meters per second. Its "slowness" is, equivalently, one second per five meters, or 0.2 seconds per meter. "50% faster" would be 50% * 5 m/s = 2.5 m/s faster than 5 m/s, or 7.5 m/s in total. "50% slower" would be 50% * 0.2 s/m = 0.1 s/m slower than 0.2 s/m, or 0.3 s/m in total, or 3.333... m/s.

(Intuitively, "50% slower" means that it takes 50% more time to cover the same distance.)

"Twice as fast" = 2 * 5 m/s = 10 m/s.
"Half as slow" = 1/2 * 0.2 s/m = 0.1 s/m, or 10 m/s.

"Half as fast" = 1/2 * 5 m/s = 2.5 m/s.
"Twice as slow" = 2 * 0.2 s/m = 0.4 s/m, or 2.5 m/s.

Comment Re:5 is only one generation from current 5X (Score 1) 164

Its generations not phones that matter.

It's not generations that matter either. What matters is the hardware capabilities and the ongoing difficulty of supporting older models with significantly different hardware. (This is why support was dropped early for the Galaxy Nexus: the OEM for the SoC exited the market and made it all but impossible to get updated binary drivers for the GN hardware which would work with kernels later versions depended on.)

The reason why people are rightly upset with this decision is that there is very little hardware difference between the Nexus 5, which is not supported, and the Nexus 5X, which is, making this an arbitrary cutoff most likely motivated more by marketing and an attempt to drive people to buy newer phones (when their old ones are working just fine) than by reasonable technical constraints.

Oh well. There are always 3rd-party ROMs. As small as the hardware differences are it shouldn't take long for someone to port AOSP 7.0 to run on the Nexus 5. It would just have been nice to be able to rely on a reasonable level of ongoing support from the original vendor. Other operating systems, and especially ones based on Linux, tend to run just fine on hardware far older than three years, and smartphone specs are no longer improving at so rapid a pace that a three-year-old device can be presumed obsolete.

Comment Re:Can we say... MODEM speed? (Score 1) 71

but it appears most modems were built without the ability to transmit at the higher rates or its disabled in the software

Well, yes. As I said, consumer-grade modems with analog interfaces weren't designed to establish 56k connections with other analog modems, no matter how good the signal might be. It wouldn't work in most cases anyway and none of the 56k protocols cover that situation. To get 56k in one direction you need the special equipment the ISPs use, which is designed to interface with the phone networks digitally.

Comment Re:Can we say... MODEM speed? (Score 1) 71

I happen to have a PSTN simulator and I've only been able to get two modems to connect at 33.6k synchronous. Apparently I need some special hardware to get it to run in asynchronous mode.

56k connections (V.90 or V.92) only ever worked at full speed in one direction. They take advantage of the fact that the ISP is using a 64kbps DS0 digital line, so there is only one A/D conversion involved rather than the usual two. The 56k modem protocols were never intended to work with all-analog connections, and a direct link between two 56k client modems would max out at 33.6k (V.34). In theory you could get 56k or better with PCM over a suitably high-quality channel, but the protocols—and more importantly, the modems—weren't designed for that use case. To establish a 56k connection with a standard 56k modem you would need a DS0 connection and suitable ISP-grade equipment on the other side. (Sorry, I wasn't able to find any product links.)

Comment Re:I think I found the problem (Score 2) 120

Same goes for phones. A small minority want unbreakable encryption. The rest of people have some small number of edge cases where they really would want to be able to call up someone and get the phone unlocked.

True, but they don't necessarily want the manufacturer of the phone to be the one holding the spare key.

Also, unbreakable encryption doesn't mean that your expensive phone becomes completely and permanently useless if you forget the password. You generally just have to wipe it back to the factory defaults and start over. It's not the end of the world, especially if you store copies of the more important information somewhere other than on the phone. This is a good idea in any case, since, on the whole, forgetting your password is probably a less likely risk than simply losing the device or suffering physical damage sufficient to render the data unrecoverable.

Comment Re:Today it's easy (Score 1) 394

It's conceivable that you could watermark the analog output in ways that are imperceptible to human hearing.

If any signal "imperceptible to human hearing" can survive lossy compression, the compression algorithm has some room for improvement. There are watermarks that can survive certain compression algorithms in common use today, but you can't count on it remaining that way forever.

Even if you did have an erasure-proof watermark, it wouldn't make for effective DRM so long as people can record the analogue signals and play them back through their own equipment which doesn't care about the watermark (meaning just about anything with a bit of storage and a cheap ADC).

Comment Re:Dumb pipe (Score 2) 225

I really don't get how all these ISPs that discriminate traffic can get away with remaining non-liable. The safe harbor is ONLY if they are unaware, thus this should be encouragement for not knowing what is happening on their network.

It's only copyright infringement if it's not fair use and you don't have a license. The ISP may be able to detect that you're transmitting certain material, but they have no way to know whether what you are doing is actually copyright infringement. That is something that could only be determined in court after the fact.

Also, there is no way that implementing a handful of automated filters equates to the ability to exercise effective editorial control over the entire Internet.

Comment Re:Why Slashdot doesn't do Unicode (5:erocS) (Score 1) 68

It really shouldn't be this hard to do Unicode comments safely. First, all text should be in UTF-8, with no conversions anywhere. It's crazy that code points not on the whitelist show up as scrambled text; they should at least be replaced with a standard placeholder code point using a competent UTF-8-capable regex library while rendering the page. Second, put together a trivial script to collect all the non-blacklisted code points which have been filtered out and present them for review. After review each code point should be added to either a whitelist or a blacklist. After a short time of running this script regularly the operators will have classified all the common code points and we can start using Unicode as it was originally intended. Comments should be stored in their original form so that they can be displayed properly once the new code points are added to the whitelist.

Comment Re:Not going to work... (Score 1) 122

So the only legal way for you to acquire that 20 year old game is to wait another 70 years or more

No - resale is perfectly legal.

That would imply that someone else has to give up their own copy so that you can have the ability to play it. That is an unreasonable restriction when digital copies are trivial to make and no one could possibly claim to be harmed by the existence of additional copies of an out-of-print game.

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