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Comment Instrument manufacturers (Score 1) 953

I work in a gov't lab, and we have lots of $100k instruments that are running Windows 95, 98 and XP. Many are not upgradeable, as the instruments are locked into specific proprietary I/O cards, mostly ISA. Most do not have USB. We bought a $50k instrument two years ago that had XP as the OS. I asked management why we would buy a new instrument that shipped with an obsolete operating system and was told "That's the way it came." I find it hard to believe that an instrument manufacturer can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars of R&D money to improve their instruments and yet can not afford to update their software to run on non-obsolete operating systems.

Comment Re:Universal, open-hardware car CPU (Score 1) 478

You're right, it's pretty stupid to have a computer for processing lift gate signals or a passenger presence system.

Also pretty stupid to have an electrical configuration for a car so complex that managing the data and specifications is a nightmare.

Ditto for a manufacturer to have 27 different models of carwith almost no interchangeable parts and "stone age" hardware.

I think there's plenty of stupid to go around.

I will admit that legislation has played a role in the increased complexity of cars, and the manufacturers have probably made a decent effort to comply, but it seems like more and more systems keep getting tacked on; how did we ever survive without real-time tire pressure monitoring? Side-cushion air bags? Multi-zone air conditioning with HEPA filtration? A "Check engine" light that comes on when the gas cap door is left open? Simply making something more complex does not make it better.

Comment Universal, open-hardware car CPU (Score 4, Interesting) 478

It's B. S. that every single model of car has a different computer. $700 for a used 93 Toyota ECM that consists of maybe $15 worth of parts? Make a single, universal cpu that can be programmed for whatever car it's going in. Then I can go to the junkyard, get a box out of a wrecked Chrysler, have it reprogrammed at the dealer, and stick it in my Toyota. They can make their software proprietary, I don't care. Make the hardware open. Imagine the state tech would be in if every computer manufacturer made its own cpu, motherboard, graphic processor, interface protocols, operating system and software, and they were all non-interchangeable between models. USB? Which flavor? The protocols would all be different: If you bought a flash drive to fit in a Dell laptop, it wouldn't work in a Dell desktop or any other model of Dell laptop, or anyone else's. Forget about any kind of networking. Software? You only get what the manufacturer loads on the machine. No upgrades, no third-party software. Oh, and if you buy a new machine, the software will all be different. Asinine? Yes. Unlike auto makers, tech manufacturers realized long ago that keeping every single thing proprietary wasn't a good business model. If nothing else, imagine the cost savings to manufacturers if they adopted a universal hardware architecture.

Comment Registrars are part of the problem (Score 1) 800

Several years ago, I was looking at a particular .org domain for a nonprofit site. WHOIS reported that the domain had been registered, the registration had expired, and the domain was "pending deletion". I found out the registrar was dotregistrar, so I jumped through their hoops and paid them $20 a year for the priviledge of "backordering" the domain when they got around to deleting it. They said the "grace period" wasn't up yet (it's normally 15-90 days). Fast forward three years - the domain is still a "pending delete", and I'm out $60. I tried contacting them one last time to find out what's going on. I'm still listed as #1 in the backorder list, but the domain hasn't been deleted. I say the hell with it and refuse to renew for a fourth year. The NEXT DAY, the domain has been registered to a new owner, who coincidentally, is a squatter whose sites are all registered with dotregistrar. Either this is a really unlikely coincidence, or the whole "backorder" thing is a pretty blatant scam.

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