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Comment Re:The death spiral is continuing. (Score 1) 154

"Because for some strange reason, humans need to believe that what is, is always how it will be."

That's not the point of the quote at all. It's a commentary on ambitious rulers and past civilizations. You should also give Shelley proper credit for writing it.

Perhaps that is your personal interpretation.

A whole lot of us note tht it is a poem about the hubris of people, believing that th etop dog will always be that way, and anyone else should just give up, because there is no point.

Many leaders believe that their government or ideals will last forever, or near enough. Like Microsoft sycophants, who believe that Microsoft will be number one forever. That would be a first. Look upon their Microsoft's works and despair, oh every other software company.

Comment Re: Hopefully It's The UI Design and Privacy Teams (Score 1) 154

Linux just works! Your files never just disappear after a crash when the directory entries get pruned, and when that never happens, you just rewrite the configuration because you memorized it. Linux! Bestest ever. You heard it here on slashdot, home of rabid linux zealotry!

Sarcasm only works when you don't sound like a meth head when you use it. Now go get a good nights sleep, dear.

Comment Re: Hopefully It's The UI Design and Privacy Teams (Score 1) 154

Never, it just doesn't get corrupted anyhow. And if it ever did, you don't have to reinstall the system, just reconfigure. You see, the reason why you windows users fail at using other OSes is that you expect everything to work like microsoft has told you.

There you have it! From cancelling installs when they see a warning, to trying to install off the internet to trying to impose Windows on a Unixy machine, Windows users tend to make their own problems when trying to use Linux.

Comment Re:The death spiral is continuing. (Score 1) 154

At the same time, efforts to diversify into other areas have not been, to put it charitably, as successful as they would have liked.

I'll agree that they're still critical and relevant, but at the same time, they're the least critical and most irrelevant than any other time in the history of the PC.

Relevant quote:

‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'

Because for some strange reason, humans need to believe that what is, is always how it will be.

Microsoft is on most business computers (with some very notable and important exceptions) so Microsoft will always be number one, world without end, amen.

But that isn't how it works, no matter how much some of us demand stasis.

I don't have a dog in this pissing contest, as I use and enjoy OSX (now MacOS) Linux, iOS, Android, ChromeOS and Windows. I mainly enjoy pointing out that the belief that because it was Microsoft uber alles, that it shall be Microsoft uber alles, forever. Even the National Football League, once considered firmly cemented as the king of sports forever, is doing a bit of a decline. Trying to look at it with a non-prejudiced eye - with a disclaimer that my least favorite OS is Windows, if I google "Microsoft moving to subscription OS", we get a lot of NO THEY ARE NOT! and a couple announcements that say "oh, we are", as Enterprise and Surface serve as the test bed.

IOW, the faithful will in the not too distant future will be able to prove their loyalty with their wallets, forever and ever, world without end, amen. We'll see how that works out. It won't take all that long until you have paid much more for your Windows machine than that stupid hipster and his "overpriced" Mac.

Comment Re:I activated my own phone on Ting (Score 1) 64

Ting is great....if you don't actually use your phone much or use the smart part of your smart phone. If you actually use your phone and need data? Their service adds up pretty damned quickly.

The last month I was on Ting it ended up costing me nearly $60 for minutes and data and I really don't use my phone that often, all it took was a sick relative and being stuck in the hospital waiting to find out what was going on to blow through the cash on their service. I want to be able to use my phone without having to worry about some unexpected event raising my costs so I ended up going to Cricket, its $70 for 2 phones with unlimited talk and text and 2.5Gb of data which I've found is plenty for watching YouTube when I'm stuck waiting somewhere.

Comment Re:Microsoft's effective negative advertising (Score 4, Insightful) 154

"Almost every person who has used Win 10 for any length of time is now aware of what they consider extreme abuse."....FTFY.

I thought I got a lot of work wiping Win 8 for 7 but damned people HATE Windows 10 and for good reason, all it takes is MSFT forcing a shit driver that locks the PC into endless rebooot or having it just decide to install updates and shut down in the middle of them actually doing something for people to say "fuck this POS!" and demand any other Windows than 10. I've even had people bring by brand new in box Win 10 lappys just to have me wipe the thing before its ever even turned on, its gotten THAT bad a rep.

If they thought they had a shitload still running XP at its EOL I have a feeling when Win 7 hits EOL the numbers running 7/8/8.1 will still be crazy high.

Comment Re:Just a guess.. (Score 1) 188

Oh I see. How amazing! Any idea what the composition of the solder or contact point was? I've never worked on anything remotely like that.

They wanted us to use a solder with 3 percent silver. Sn62Pb36Ag2 The silver was to help against dissolution of the silver from the contact, and had a little bit lower of a melting point.

The process to make the strips was probably similar to that used for plated through holes. There must have been some reason that they used silver instead of copper however, I suspect it is mechanical, since the plated area isn't annular, and the stresses will be different. To my surprise - silver ceramic terminals are still manufactured and sold! .

I had a little experience with plated through hole construction, but we used copper and solder plating. So anyone knowing about the silver process is welcome to chime in.

Comment Re:Just a guess.. (Score 1) 188

Bullshit! RoHS isn't silly, it wouldn't apply to spacecraft and you "bible" doesn't negate the actual research that is done on solder alloys after it was printed!

You obviously don't understand alloys and that proportions of different components plus the choice of the components makes a huge difference. You don't understand the reasoning (and research) behind the RoHS and you think an old book triumphs modern research...

It is easy to list things that changes the properties of solders, one example is that bismuth shouldn't be used in standard leaded solder as it can drastically reduce melt temperatures, in a lead free formulation there are not such problems (though an excess of bismuth will make joints fragile).

Bullshit! RoHS isn't silly, it wouldn't apply to spacecraft and you "bible" doesn't negate the actual research that is done on solder alloys after it was printed!

Chill out anger person. The pamphlet showed photograps and photomicrographs of various solders. Lead free solder is not something just thought up then designed by teams of scientists after tin/lead was declared bad. Analysis has gone on for many decades, as pointed out in a cite below. This thing had dozens of images, and the lead free solders of the time looked remarkably like lead free solder of today.

You obviously don't understand alloys and that proportions of different components plus the choice of the components makes a huge difference. You don't understand the reasoning (and research) behind the RoHS and you think an old book triumphs modern research...

Oh anger person, I think maybe less coffee or working out whatever has caused your rage might be in order, because there are one of two choices, you either have anger management issues because going wild over my post is uncalled for, or whatever that is bothering you that causes you to snap at an innocent post needs addressed.

Anyhow, yes, they did have a lot of research back in the day. Especially with solder, due both to it's importance in electronics, but in the different melting points and strength characteristics, as well as the final intended use. A lot of interesting work was going on, in aerospace and space itself, where problems could be pretty critical and life ending. In addition, Mil-Spec had it's own strict requirements due to extreme reliability requirements. In general, Lead free solders were considered inadequate, and many consider them inadequate for the same reasons today. In space, whiskers are a problem aside for their obvious shorting tendencies, but rework isn't likely at all.

If you need a more recent report, here's one from Auburn University:

Especially important is the following:

"Tin whiskers" were a problem with early electronic solders, and lead was initially added to the alloy in part to eliminate them ( On July 1, 2006 the European Union Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) and Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) came into effect prohibiting the intentional addition of lead to most consumer electronics produced in the EU. Manufacturers in the U.S. may receive tax benefits by reducing the use of lead-based solder. Lead free solders in commercial use may contain tin, copper, silver, bismuth, indium, zinc, antimony, and traces of other metals ( There is no U.S. legislation presently on the horizon pertaining to lead containing solders. Most of the focus presently on eliminating lead in electronic solders is from European community countries and Japan ( There are many lead free solders exists, but the group comprising tin-silver-copper alloys is considered the mainstream alloy system that will replace tin-lead (

Is lead free soldering important? It is commonly believed that lead is a highly toxic metal. Some studies show that past uses of lead and lead chemicals in water supply plumbing, paint and gasoline resulted in a measurable increase of lead in the environment and as a consequence, increased blood levels of lead in humans. Paint chip ingestion, mainly by children, resulted in numerous cases of lead poisoning. Consequently the use of lead in these applications has been prohibited for several years. The primary concern now is from groundwater leaching of lead bearing solder in electronic products ultimately disposed in landfills (

However, this is a very controversial subject. During debate in the 1990’s about the possible dangers of lead soldering, analyses by organizations interested in keeping access to Sn-Pb solder reported that the amount of Pb that might be introduced into the water system from electronics platings and solders posed less of a health hazard then what we already have from arsenic and considered the comparison to children eating lead-based house paint to be non-relevant. There has always been a question around whether this is fueled by cost advantages for high volume production. The horses have left the barn now making the argument mute. This does not necessarily make the pollution argument accurate.

Now, Whether tin/lead, or lead free solder was used, and if whiskers of any sort cause the problem, (even lead can form whiskers) the problem would more likely be caused by a breakdown in the conformal coating on the circuit boards, allowing wiskering to occur.

But its all speculation, nothing to get one's knickers in a knot over. Have a beer on me and relax a bit.

Comment Re:Just a guess.. (Score 2) 188

Screwed how? Was it calibrated for the thermocouple effect with that solder or something?

No, what happened was that the lead in regular solder would dissolve the metal plated onto the notch, and it would destroy the connection point. Here is the interior of one of those old scopes You can see the ceramic strips around the middle and top of the scope with the components mounted in between. Seriously weird stuff.

Comment Re:Just a guess.. (Score 2) 188

Lots of stuff is exempt from RoHS. It mostly applies to things you're selling on the open market, i.e. products. You can still buy full-fat lead solder perfectly legally.

I'm actual rather partial to the tin/lead/silver blend for rework. It's quite a bit more expensive than normal eutectic solder, but melts at a lower temperature, which is really handy.

I have multiple types of solder, modern substandard lead free solder, and Tin lead which I use for most things, depending on what the original solder was. Plus a number of silver containing We don't want to mix the types for certain. It is amazing the number of different compositions we have to choose from. I even worked on a couple ancient Tektronix scopes that used special solder that they included inside the case - the components were soldered onto ceramic bars with metal plated notches. You were screwed if you used any other solder.

But the worst solders in my opinion are the lead free, and the more tin, the more likely the whisker problem shows up.

Comment Re:Just a guess.. (Score 1) 188

Why would RoHS directives apply to spaceflight? That would be silly.

Yes it would. Of course, RoHS is silly to begin with. Even more so with more and more electronics being recycled.

Years ago, I came across an old soldering booklet put out by IIRC Kester. Of interest was the contaminants section, with failures and defects. Many of the defects shown were by the presence of the components of modern day lead free solder.

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