Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:Not good enough (Score 1) 62

Yeah, I'm not sure why they try to force people up in the plans by eliminating the bottom ones or tweaking the prices. However, I'm one that needs as much data as they'll offer, because we don't have access to landline internet at home even though we live in a major metropolitan area (Knoxville, TN) and less than a mile as the crow flies to the city center. My workaround is using a couple of hotspots connected to the same router with WAPs around the house to get the home devices online, combined with cell data. We were doing pretty well with a 22GB general access hotspot, 6GB TV streaming hotspot, and our phones with 6GB each on T-Mobile. Streaming worked well because they don't count that data against you from Netflix/Hulu/Amazon/etc with the plan over 6GB, and using one hotspot didn't work out because when it ran out of data and went to 128Kbps speeds it killed streaming too. I usually got close or ran out of data on my phone because I can't use it at work, but my wife used less than 1GB because she'd do all of her updates and such on wifi at work.

So, the latest changes that T-Mobile made were enough to finally get me to jump with the phone lines to unlimited. It is costing us less for more data (unlimited but also 10GB tethered data per line as well). As a side effect they're also making the hotspot lines tax-inclusive so that will save us some more as well. All said and done our bill will be about $30-40/mo less than last month, with more data.

For that, I'm thankful for the competition, but I can definitely understand folks in your position that have what they need and don't want to pay more.

Comment Re:It's a cost-service optimization (Score 1) 105

I recently moved into a house that, while 2mi from a major metropolitan area city center (Knoxville, TN), there is no wireline broadband available. Comcast lines stop next door and AT&T installed a cabinet up the street a decade ago for DSL equipment but hasn't populated it. There's a cluster of about 24 houses that have no wireline broadband options.

We do, however, have a solid LTE signal from all carriers here. After burning through 14-18GB the last couple of months between my wife and myself, we just ordered a T-Mobile hotspot, and I'll be pairing it up with a RouterBoard router to supply our wireless network in the house with internet access, and switch to using that while here. I expect that we will see a substantial drop in data usage and have the benefit of being able to stream netflix or Amazon Instant to our TV's unlimited as well.

What some people forget, is that in situations like this, I would much, much rather have a throttled connection for video than to burn through all of our data while at home because CNN/Youtube/everything else wants to serve up my phone with 1080p HD video. As an added benefit, I'm not going to even be charged for much of that usage.

Comment Re:Children or not (Score 1) 200

Shouldn't have been less than 3 seconds. Federal Highway Administration Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (FHWA MUTCD) minimum is 3.0 seconds for an approach speed of 30mph (minimum tabulated). If you were contemplating slamming on brakes to make a panic stop, I would make a guess that the intersection was at least a 45mph approach speed, which translates to a minimum yellow phase of 4.3sec.

Most states (excepting CA, UT, TX, MO, IN, MI, OH, MN, MD and DE) have adopted the MUTCD or the MUTCD with a state supplement. The states that haven't have their own standards but are typically in-line with the MUTCD.

If the yellow phase was less than 3 seconds, you probably had a case to protest and win. But in reality it was probably a half-second or second longer than the MUTCD minimum, depending on traffic volume and other factors. People are notoriously bad at estimating time and distance.

Comment Re:Hooray! (Score 5, Informative) 167

A couple of comments. I worked at Watts Bar for 6 years - from just before they restarted construction until 2013. I now work out at one of the new reactors under construction at VC Summer.

First off, WBN2 and WBN1 share structures. Actually, all the structures except for the reactor building itself is shared. The units are what is considered an "opposite hand" configuration, which means that essentially a piece of equipment, piping, or valve on the far west side of the plant for U1 would be on the far east side, at the same northing, for U2 with everything matching up in the middle. The units also share many systems, and in order for them to start up U1, they had to have those systems (and many of the U2 pumps, valves and other support equipment) in service. The units also share a control room, spent fuel pool, diesel generators, and more. The only completely independent structure is the reactor building, which was structurally complete when they halted construction. Most everything inside was complete (major equipment set, piped in, etc). Most of what was lacking were control systems, instrumentation, and some valves. Also, all of this equipment was under temperature and humidity controls during the layup period.

One other thing - all of these structures are reinforced concrete. The unique thing about concrete is they get stronger with age unless you have something like saltwater causing problems. They're also *very thick* and *heavily reinforced* concrete - as in, the age isn't a handicap at all.

Comment Finally gave up my pager... (Score 1) 635

... but only because I changed jobs. As part of the radiological emergency response team at a nuclear power plant (Watts Bar), I was required to have a pager on during my duty weeks. They were in transition to an email and SMS-based system (which they were using for non-REP response primarily and in addition to the pager system for REP) but that required regulatory approval from what I understand for it to become primary. It was an old-school, 10-digit motorola pager and the utility (TVA) owned and operated their own network towers.

Submission + - China Mulls Undersea Train to the United States (

MaestroRC writes: China is considering the construction of an 8,000-mile long rail line linking China to the United States via a 125-mile long tunnul underneath the Bering Strait. The line would traverse from China, through Russia and Canada and to the continental United States.

Comment Re:EPEAT = Ugly? (Score 1) 405

Yep, the article you linked to refers you to Apple's battery page here:

That clearly states that it's $199 for a new battery via Apple. Not saying it's ideal, or the right thing to do, but it does save weight/size on the laptop, which is what Apple is after. And there is obviously a market of people that don't care, or Apple wouldn't continue making these.

I can say that the market that doesn't care likely includes my parents - on a previous laptop, they continued using it for years with a battery that wouldn't hold a charge more than a couple of minutes. They just plugged it into the wall. They didn't care, and didn't want to spend the money either for a new battery ("why spend money on a computer I need to replace") or for a new computer ("this one is good enough right now, I can spend money on other things"). Note that they *knew* it needed a new battery, and that a new battery was $60-75. This computer was also 3 years old at that point, and they used it until it was almost 6 years old tethered to a wall and shut it down whenever they weren't using it.

So yes. While you do care (and so do I), there are a large number of people that just *don't*. As much as you may not want to admit it, these people outnumber you and I.

Comment Adding the missing link (Score 1) 492

I think what a lot of folks here are doing is jumping on the whole "OMGWTFGOOGLESTOLEMYBASEBALL" bandwagon. The reality is, if google's solution is even marginally good at syncing and sharing files (which it appears to be with my limited usage), it has potentially the missing link of a pretty damned good documents toolbox for text, spreadsheet, and presentations.

But let's back up here for a second. Ever since Google has had a documents platform from January 2010 on, they've been in want of an *easy* way to get your documents there. Sure, you could go in, upload them, and then pull them back out later, but that was cumbersome and annoying. You could email them to yourself, but again - cumbersome and annoying. They FINALLY added this ability - and just took a baby step forward to make it a "cloud drive" for all of your documents. Not that big of a deal for them, but a hell of a lot more useful to the average Joe.

I do understand that Dropbox has been around for a while - since 2007 in fact. But they never really picked up until the 2009 timeframe for the average user, and while they've been pretty innovative on the synchronizing front, they've not really expanded out very far. Not to mention, they have a bit of a strange market - They tout themselves as a sort of sharing and backup solution. However, the only reason there even needs to be a "sharing" solution is because emailing larger files can be inconsistent but the means to do so with Dropbox isn't particularly elegant even as they add features to make it easier. And to consider dropbox as a means to "back up" your documents is a bit of a joke when there are far superior services that don't try to get into the "sharing" market (and can therefore create a much better backup solution) that are quite a lot cheaper. I'm looking at you, Crashplan and similar services. Because when I want to back up my computer offsite, I don't want to pick a quite limited-capacity folder to do so.

So really, Dropbox is only particularly better than the competition at sharing files. But as I said, it's not even quite great at that. If Google can step up and put out a product that integrates with email for their millions of users (it does), integrates with Google Docs to persuade people to jump into the cloud documents market (it does), and can not lose your data (Google seems to be pretty good at this) - I'd say that's a *good* thing. Hell, it may even convince Dropbox to continue innovating. And isn't that the idea of free enterprise in the first place?

Comment Re:Best (Score 1) 480

I was grandfathered in on an unlimited plan (as was my wife).

That also means I can *cough* tether *cough* without regard. I DO come close to 2GB when tethering, and my wife comes close to it when streaming Pandora a lot in a month.

Even with me tethering (which I do frequently), it's generally under 2GB. But to save $5/month and then have to watch it like a hawk to make sure I don't go over 2GB, it's not worth it to me.

Comment Re:The good and bad... (Score 1) 480

It's not about having pandora or youtube going while in a call. It IS entirely about maintaining a tethered connection, verifying that the email/SMS your client/boss/wife/etc sent you while you were on the phone was received, checking the weather, SENDING your wife/boss/client/etc an email/SMS, or a sundry other things that you can't do without simultaneous voice/data.

As an iPhone 4 (previously 3G) user that lives in an area that frequently switches between 3G and EDGE (which doesn't support simultaneous voice+data), I notice it a LOT when it's not available. Also, as a VZW blackberry user (work phone), I frequently get annoyed that it is just not possible on there.

Comment Re:The good and bad... (Score 1) 480

Not true - AT&T and the iPhone (I've had a 3G and currently have a 4) DOES allow simultaneous voice/data. The only caveat is when on EDGE/GPRS (E or o next to the bars), it does NOT work. On 3G, however, you have full ability to do both.

I have many instances where I tether with my laptop while on a call, send/receive email, browse the web, use google maps, update reddit, etc, simultaneously.

If it's just after getting signal again, you may not be waiting long enough for your phone to switch to 3G before trying to do both (generally it will scale up, and you'll initially hit EDGE then bump to 3G).

Slashdot Top Deals

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982