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Comment Cannot stand alone (Score 1) 143

What bothers me about "personalized" learning is that at some point, these people will need to interact with others, so there must be commonality. Being able to communicate and share ideas is absolutely vital- and the language behind the ideas and how they are represented are a vital aspect of the idea itself. Personalization may help an individual, but it can hurt in the collective sense, where the people must work with the ideas of others.

Comment #1- It's not "Sharing" (Score 4, Insightful) 260

I think the idea of Uber & Lyft are great- but I really wish they would stop calling it "Ride Sharing" as it totally misrepresents what it is. It's selling! Sharing implies "I was going in the same direction, and I could give you a ride, and I'll split the cost with you." Of course this is what Uber and Lyft want people to think they do.

Comment Re:Albedo (Score 1) 386

Tropical storms in the Atlantic are strongly affected by the weather in the Sahara- it's part of the modeling they use to determine what the hurricane season will be like. It is worrisome because we don't know what it will do- it could make the hurricanes bigger or smaller, more or less frequent- the big issue is we don't know. I can't see how a big shift in the albedo *won't* change things.

Comment Re:Oh, stop spreading Apple's FUD, what a pile of (Score 1) 401

It is hard to design USB well, particularly with respect to power: a *huge* thing is making sure it's safe- Lithium batteries are dangerous when charged wrong, and if there is a fire, the lawyers will be after everyone they can possibly name in the suit. Remember that the lithium battery is very energy-dense- a lot of energy in a small space means the potential for a lot of heat in a small space.

All computers have some method of limiting the current out of their USB ports- if they don't, they can't get a USB Logo. During enumeration, a device requests more current, and the computer keeps track of the current available. If the current isn't available, enumeration fails. If a device draws too much current, the computer can crash, as it will drag the computer's 5V rail down. Most computers have current limiting in the form of a NTC resistor that will limit current but only after it heats up, so there is a delay, so short term overcurrents that aren't long enough to heat up the NTC resistor are dangerous. USB relies on the devices following the spec. If you violate the spec, you fail to get USB logo- and many of the big OEMs require logoed devices.

There are many USB hubs that can natively support more than 4 ports: Microchip's USB2517 is one (of many) I'm familiar with.

The 100W devices are coming as part of the USB C Connector, but with all that additional power, you better believe that the computer manufacturers are going to be careful as there is a much bigger chance of fire. To even get 100W, you have to have an active cable that identifies itself to the system as one that can handle the increased power. And Apple is very involved in USB type C development.

Comment Re:standarizing phone chargers (Score 1) 401

Apple is big into type-C. Using the D+/D- to signal what current/voltage to deliver is risky, as a mistake can blow up the phone and it plays hell with the signal integrity- these lines are for data.

The big things that type-C allow are: 1) up to 100W power, source and sink, 2) widely re-assignable signal paths. The spec allows for devices to both supply current and to consume current over the same connector. To get to 100W, the devices have to negotiate what kind of power to supply (voltage/current). The spec defines the communication to determine this- it doesn't happen over the USB connection, as the information has to be available before the USB connection is established (such as if the device is completely unpowered/dead battery). You also have to be able to tell if the cable is rated to support the power requested- you don't want the cable getting too hot and catching fire. Since the data pathways are re-assignable, you also have to know if the cable can support the signalling you want.

I think that Apple is big into type C as it follows with their simplicity/aesthetic. One connector is all you need for power/data/video- and that's not something you can do with lightning.

Comment Re:How about the FCC just does its job? (Score 2) 173

They do investigate, but investigations take expensive equipment out into the field and are extremely time consuming. The certifications are there to reduce the chance that an interfering piece of gear gets out on the market. The question is, where would the money for these investigations come from? The requirements today are mostly about paperwork and a few measurements on sample devices. For a commercial device, it's pretty effective- but the airwaves are a shared resource and we need a mechanism to prevent "the tragedy of the commons" type scenario. I'm not sure what is the best method, but I think that Bruce has a good idea.

Comment Re:Dell (Score 1) 237

I got mine as a refurb from woot so I didn't have the option- but the microsoft tax is not all that big relative to the cost of the laptop, I think that you might save $50- if you're buying a $2000 laptop, that may be in the noise. I decided that there are some times that I may need windows (sometimes you can't get around it), so I decided to get another mSATA drive, and I'll just swap the whole drive when I need to go Microsoft.

I do like it- especially the screen- it's beautiful. I tried an XPS13- the combination of limited memory (8G, soldered down, so not expandable) and a 13" UHD screen made it not as desirable. Still beautiful, but there are enough programs out there that do not scale text size, It is a 13" laptop and a 13" screen, especially for development, it is still awfully small. The precision also has a more USB ports- while thicker and heavier, it is still a better option for development.

Comment Re:Dell (Score 1) 237

I've got one- one of the few laptops I could find that had the capability of 16G and the UHD display. Ubuntu 15.04 installed fine, but I did have to do some fiddling to get the Wifi going. Still haven't gotten bluetooth working right. Doesn't have a built-in wired ethernet port- which can make things a pain. Definitely has issues with sleep/suspend- sometimes it wakes up, sometimes not, often it starts, but the Wifi chooses not to start.

Comment Re:Its all in the taxes and incentives. (Score 1) 211

The OP actually did specifically refer to the damage to the 'bulk electric system' which I believe was referring to the grid. No matter. A serious frequency/phase excursion can FUBAR the grid. If you FUBAR the grid of a modern country,that country is pretty much instantly moved to 3rd world status, particularly if the equipment needed to manufacture the necessary parts to repair the system are themselves powered by the grid. Big transformers are not a part that is kept on the shelf in a ready to install state, at least not in any volume. Even in small scale incidents, repairs are costly and time consuming.

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