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Comment Sounds more like the opposite (Score 1) 155

If TFA is correct, then Samsung tried to put the largest battery possible while keeping the phone as thin as possible. If they wanted more profit, they could've gone with a smaller battery or a thicker design with larger tolerances. Both would've been cheaper for them to manufacture and thus would've increased their profit margin. But they eschewed that marginal profit and went the extra mile for the customer - packing in the largest battery possible while keeping the phone as small and thin as possible. Unfortunately they went too far, to the point where it compromised the safety of the device.

If I had to guess, they probably goofed because this was only their second gen all-metal design. They didn't have the experience to tell them how tight was too tight (at least not until now). They could pack the battery this tightly on their older plastic bodies without problems because battery expansion would just push the rear plastic shell up a little.

Comment Re:I don't care if I know the outcome (Score 1) 117

Yup. If knowing the outcome is what's important, then you only need to watch the last 5-10 seconds of the event; you can skip everything that comes before. Heck, you can skip watching it entirely and just catch the score on a sports news website.

OTOH if the parts before the end of the game have entertainment value, then it doesn't matter if you know the outcome in advance, and there's no need to watch it live. The only benefit of watching it live is that it's easier to find other people who haven't seen it that you can watch it with.

Comment Re:Unclear (Score 1) 312

You're assuming his status and success is due to privilege, not due to ability and effort. You're making this assumption based on his race and gender, not his individual circumstances. That is the definition of racism and sexism. Exactly the same as assuming a black college student is there only due to affirmative action.

Nearly all my entire extended family immigrated into the U.S. in the 1970s and early 1980s. At the time, Korea was a backwater and afraid of all its wealthy citizens emigrating, so it passed a law that each emigrating family was only allowed to take roughly $1500 worth of money and valuables with them. So every one of our families (about a dozen) started in the U.S. with a net value of $1500 - no job, no house, no car, little or no English language capability, and no contacts among the privileged white "elite". I was only 4 when we moved here but I remember - we lived in a government low-income apartment, and scoured garage sales and the Salvation Army store for basics like dishes and cutlery. All my clothes as a child were from second-hand stores - nothing new.

Today, only one of these original families is lower class (the father refuses to get a job and is content to live off government assistance and the mother's meager income). Everyone else has managed to carve out middle class ($25k+/yr) or better lives, most in the top third ($65k+/yr). Three are upper class ($150k+/yr, or top 5%), the most successful of whom owns a multi-million dollar cell phone store chain they founded (a 1%er). Among our second generation (myself and about 30 cousins), one was middle class but is now in prison, one (child of the one lower class family) is lower class but just got his nursing degree and a job offer at a salary that would put him in the top third, one has mental health issues but falls into the middle class when he can hold a job. The rest of us are middle class or higher, with 6 being upper class ($150k+/yr).

This "privilege" you speak of either doesn't exist or has nowhere near the amount of influence on people's lives that you think it does. If you put in the time and effort, chances are that you can succeed regardless of your starting social and financial status. The only statistical deviation from the U.S. norm that jumps out in my family is that over half of us started our own business after we'd saved up some money, rather than were content to remain employees. I think that was due to not understanding pensions, Social Security, nor investing in stocks, so we sought the only other obvious way to assure an income in retirement. But it seems to have worked in our favor.

Comment "Feature" has already killed someone (Score 4, Insightful) 334

The "feature" has already caused at least one death.

Last week, a burglar pried apart some security bars at my business and squeezed in. He was able to make off with some stolen goods because once inside, he was easily able to open the locked exit door. Fire codes require that all building exit doors accessible to the public be openable from the inside even when locked. These laws were made after repeated fires with huge death tolls exacerbated by locked exit doors. That's what the bar on the door you press when leaving most restaurants and stores does. Even when the door is locked, pushing the bar from the inside will open the door. That way if a fire breaks out, you're not trapped inside because the only person who has the key was the idiot who started the fire and is dead.

Same thing with refrigerators - both the old stand-up units which latched shut, and walk-in refrigerator/freezers used in restaurants. Too many people (especially kids playing) were dying after being trapped inside, that laws were passed requiring a mechanism which allows someone inside to open the latch on the outside.

I don't see why cars should be any different. Yes easy egress makes thievery easier. But preventing that is just not worth the potential loss of life. Any car designer who thinks this is a good idea should be locked inside one of their cars on a sunny day until they admit it's a terrible idea. Heck, after dozens of kids dying each year after being locked in the trunk of a car while playing, we finally passed a law mandating a release mechanism inside the trunk. And some idiot car designer decides it would be a good idea to make it impossible for someone inside the passenger compartment to exit at will? Shame on BMW for trying to spin this to the press as a "helpful" feature.

Comment Re:Billing address? (Score 1) 108

Speaking as a former merchant, the billing address, security code, expiration date* aren't required to process a credit card transaction. They're tools the credit card companies give merchants to help prevent fraud (while simultaneously passing laws prohibiting merchants from requiring credit card users to show ID to prove it's actually their card**).

The way it works is that if you're a merchant and you accept a fraudulent/stolen card, the onus is on you to prove that to the best of your knowledge the transaction was legit. The main way this is done is by validating the signature on the receipt matches the signature the card company has on file. When you accept a card, you're supposed to check the signature on the back of the card to insure it matches the signature on the receipt. If the cardholder requests a chargeback and the signature doesn't match, it's instantly game over - the merchant loses and the card company grants the chargeback.

If it sorta matches or (for online purchases) there is no signature, then it falls onto these secondary security measures. The more data the merchant collected which correctly matches the info the card company has on file (security code, expiration date, billing address, phone number, cardholder's birthdate, I think that's all) the better the chances the merchant will win against a chargeback. So it's in the best interests of the merchant to collect as much info as possible to protect themsevles. But on the flip side if you try to collect too much info you make the transaction more annoying for the cardholder, and risk alienating them so they go make their purchase elsewhere. Or (for brick and mortar purchases) you slow down the checkout line forcing you to hire more cashiers and add more cash registers. So the merchant picks the amount of security they're comfortable with. I've always wondered what happens if someone sets up a fake merchant account, runs a bunch of fraudulent transactions without any security checks, then absconds with the money and closes the bank account once the credit card has wired the payments, before any of the cardholders can notice and request chargebacks.

There are some other ways to get fake credit card transaction to go through that I fell victim to about 10 years ago when I lost one of my cards. I promptly called to report the card lost/stolen and figured that was that. But reviewing my card statements, I noticed a fraudulent charge on the second statement after I'd gotten a new card with a new number. After some discussion with the card company, I learned that (1) as of 2007 they still allowed carbon copy credit card transactions. Older readers may recall the credit card machines used before phone and Internet credit card machines. They'd take your card, put it in the machine, put a carbon copy form on top of it, then run a roller over the card to imprint it onto the carbon copy paper. One copy became the customer's receipt, the other the merchants. The merchant would then mail these in for processing and to receive payment. Because of the time delay, the credit card companies would continue to process these even if they were received after the card had been canceled.

"But the date on the fraudulent transaction is after I reported my card lost/stolen. Why was it still processed?" I asked. (2) The thief had processed it as a subscription service. Apparently when people have a card stolen they frequently forget to update their magazine subscriptions with the new card info. The credit card companies got tired of getting into 3-way arguments about canceled subscriptions because the payment was denied due to the card being canceled. So if the transaction is coded as payment for a subscription, the card company will "helpfully" forward the charge to the new card even if the charge was processed using the account's old (stolen) card number.

* (I don't think expiration date is required, but this was a decade ago so I don't recall exactly.)

** (The card companies are also sensitive to not making credit card transactions much more annoying than cash, so they've managed to get laws passed prohibiting surcharges for credit card payments, and prohibiting requiring credit card users to show ID - the merchant can ask, but they cannot deny the transaction if the cardholder refuses.)

Comment Question (Score 2, Insightful) 116

Instead of bio-engineering an organism which collects sunlight and uses it to extract CO2 from the atmosphere, why don't we just plant more trees?

I understand that you're upset that we're not doing more about CO2 emissions. But you have to understand that we're directly in control of those CO2 emissions. If we wanted to, we could stop all our CO2 emissions tomorrow. The problem isn't the capability, it's the desire. We already have the capability, we just lack the desire.

Releasing a self-replicating bio-engineered organism which extracts CO2 from the atmosphere is an order of magnitude more reckless than wantonly emitting CO2 to generate energy. Because once you release a self-replicating organism, you no longer have any control over it. If it turns out our calculations and predictions are wrong about the effects of reducing our CO2 emissions, we can modify our behavior in response because we control our CO2 emissions. But once you release that organism, that's it. It's out of our control. If our calculations were wrong about what the steady state response of the ecosystem will be to the introduction of that organism, we won't be able to stop it even if we desire to do so.

At least with trees, you have an organism which has been around for millions of years so its steady state effect on the ecosystem is pretty well understood.

Comment Re:I thought diesel ran cleaner (Score 4, Interesting) 238

I've wondered about this too. I've noticed pollutants in emissions are measured in PPM - parts per million air molecules in the exhaust. Not in parts per distance traveled. So transportation efficiency (emissions per distance traveled) gets you nothing (volume of air ingested decreases with higher efficiency), and combustion efficiency (more energy produced per cylinder detonation) actually increases PPM even though in practical terms it would be offset by needing to fire the cylinder fewer times to get the same amount of work done. Meanwhile being able to run a lean mixture makes passing these emissions tests a breeze. Heck, you could rig up a bypass to feed intake air straight into the exhaust stream (probably illegal) and drop your PPM to near-zero.

e.g. My 3.0L V6 diesel truck cruises at 65 MPHat 1550 RPM. My 3.2L V6 gas car cruises at 65 MPH at 1800 RPM. 7% higher engine displacement, 16% higher RPM, so 23.9% more airflow volume at the same speed. So even if the diesel put out 23% more PPM than the gas engine, it would actually be emitting less pollutants per mile traveled. The difference is even more pronounced at higher speeds or loads. The diesel can hit 80 MPH at 1900 RPM, while the gas engine will be up around 2400 RPM. 35% higher airflow.

Comment Wish we'd come up with the name "fake news" sooner (Score 4, Informative) 45

A bit off-topic but:

Foxconn is a tech manufacturing giant. It makes a lot of things, including laptops for HP, phones for Apple, games consoles for Sony, and its workers so depressed it has to install suicide nets.

That was fake news. The suicide rate at Foxconn was lower than that of the U.S. at the time of the spike in suicides. The Foxconn suicide myth spread and persists for the same reason other fake news spreads and persists - the people spreading it want to believe it's true, and thus pass it on without first vetting it with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Except in this case the people spreading it are journalists in the mainstream media, whose job it is to review these stories with a critical eye before publishing them. They want to believe factory workers in developing nations were being exploited by western corporations and thus were more prone to attempt suicide, so they recklessly published these stories perpetuating the myth, and still do. Foxconn installed the nets to try to make the Western media shut up, not because there was a greater suicide problem there than anywhere else. I have no love for Apple or Chinese assembly line labor, but this is one criticism they don't deserve.

Comment Re:As someone who streams, legally.... (Score 1) 66

That's probably it right there. AFAIK the streamed PBS shows do not include ads, so they're identical to the downloaded version. In that light, PBS probably isn't a good way to test the effect of streaming on sales, since a lot of the people opting to stream PBS probably just don't want to bother with downloading and saving the video first. While purchasers of, say, shows available on Hulu might be trying to avoid the ads.

In fact, try as I might, I wasn't able to find these purported paid download version of shows on the PBS website; only DVD and T-shirt sales. There are free downloads of some older episodes, but I could find most of their library only as a stream. There was one Frontline episode I really wanted as a permanent downloaded copy and was willing to pay for, but I wasn't able to find any way to download or buy it except as non-HD DVD. I ended up downloading a copy someone had put on YouTube.

Comment Re:What's inside a fake (Score 3, Informative) 118

Not that video. The "genuine" Apple charger turns out to be counterfeit, and not much better than the cheap generic charger. You're only going to be able to tell it's crappy if you're an electrical engineer who's dissected these before. (I took 2 EE courses in undergrad so understood most of the terminology he was using, but his rant about it being terrible was Greek to me.)

This related video shows the insides of a genuine charger. Jump ahead to 9m 40s if you've already seen that first video showing the innards of a crappy charger.

Comment Should be illegal (Score 4, Interesting) 56

Pricing their video service over cellular implies that the cost of the cellular hop is zero, and that the expense of transmitting the video to the viewer is all in the Internet link. Since their own video service is hosted locally, there is no Internet bandwidth consumed, and thus the price should be zero (which was what Netflix offered these guys for free on their landline ISP service and they turned it down). For a market economy to function properly, the minimum pricing has to reflect the expense incurred by the seller.

I can understand zero rating as a temporary promotional measure (e.g. streamed video doesn't count against your cap for the first 6 months if you use our service). But making it the standard price is equivalent to dumping to try to kill off competition. Especially if they're using revenue from other sources to subsidize this service, like say, extra money they're collecting from Netflix in contravention of Net Neutrality.

Comment Way back when ESPN was first starting out (Score 2) 124

A friend of my sister's worked there and gave us a tour when we visited. He showed us their vault room where they kept all their videotapes. It wasn't very big, so I asked him since there were so many different sporting events going on every day, how long did they save the recordings of these events. He said most of the stuff (local sports, lower-interest stuff like non-Olympics track events, etc) they only kept for a month or two. Pro sports were kept at least a year, longer for more important games. Playoff finals and particularly notable games, they'd keep indefinitely. But most of the "memorable" events could be boiled down to just a few highlight clips (e.g. a world record-breaking long jump).

A shocking amount of stuff gets erased or tossed out simply because there's no space to save it (or need at the time). If you think about everything everyone does every day, it's a mindboggling amount of material which is produced daily, So it's inevitable that a lot of it is going to be lost (hopefully with a summary or end result saved). You have to be obsessive/compulsive to want to save everything.

Comment They're thinking long-term, not being fanboys (Score 1) 157

The thing that keeps Microsoft afloat is its Windows monopoly (and the Office suite and servers, but both are strongly tied to Windows as they have little presence elsewhere). Up until 10 years ago, the only threat to Windows was Mac OS which had been stuck at 5% market share for decades, and Linux for the desktop which lingered around 1%.

The last 10 years have seen two new entrants to the operating system market - iOS and Android. iOS still has a relatively small, but lucrative userbase. Android already matches if not exceeds Windows' installed userbase. A lot of people dismiss these as a "toy" OS for toy devices. But that's being ignorant of the march of technological progress. 30 years ago my primary computer was a desktop. 20 years ago it was a laptop that was nearly 2 inches thick. 10 years ago it was a notebook just under an inch thick. Today it's a half-inch thick ultrabook, but about half my screen time is on my phone and tablet.

Mobile isn't going to go away. Eventually it's going to eat the laptop and eventually desktop markets. Intel charges a fortune for their CPUs (about $100-$1000 vs about $5-$20 for ARM). As technology advances and ARM processors become more and more capable of performing everyday computing tasks, there will be less and less reason to spend an extra $100-$500 for an x86/x64-based "computer". And if x86/x64 dies, Windows dies with it. Microsoft knows it, and its shareholders know it.

That's why Microsoft worked so hard on Windows RT (basically Windows for ARM). That was their warning shot across Intel's bow that they had better do something to stave off the advance of ARM devices, or Windows was going to jump ship and abandon x86/x64 for ARM. It worked. Intel came out with some new extremely low-power CPUs which were almost competitive with ARM in power consumption but ran x86/x64 software, thus slowing ARM's encroachment into the laptop market (e.g. early Chromebooks were ARM, but they're now Intel). At least for now.

But the Intel can't keep it up forever. Their tax is very high per cm^2 of silicon compared to ARM. Eventually they're going to have to cut their prices, or ARM is going to win out. And if ARM wins, which OS do you think is going to dominate? Windows RT? Yeah neither do I. Which is why Microsoft's shareholders are so anxious that Microsoft do something, anything, to gain a foothold in the mobile (ARM) market.

Comment Re: Possible solution (Score 1) 94

The price was fine when GoPro was first starting out. Shooting underwater video (or even video where the camera might get wet, like kayaking) meant buying a video camera with a housing costing upwards of a thousand dollars.

GoPro took advantage of technological advancements shrinking the size of a quality video camera to something the size of a webcam, ditching videotape in favor of flash cards. That reduced the size of the waterproof housing needed, allowing them to make the whole thing for a few hundred bucks. That was a lot cheaper than anything else with that capability on the market at the time.

Their problem is that technological advancement has not stopped. Now other companies can make the same stuff they do for less than $100.

Comment Re:Yeah, GoPro (Score 1) 94

Getting quality footage is hard and gets in the way of the activity.

There's far better options online and most people would not care much to see yours because "awesome" stuff is like garbage these days.

I am not a hero and neither is 99.999% of people.

If you're buying something like a GoPro in hopes of shooting quality video and becoming in Internet star, then yeah there's a 99.999% chance you're going to be disappointed.

But if you're buying it to record family outings and personal events for sentimental reasons, it's actually a pretty good tool. Small, stays out of the way, and does a pretty good job for its size. The quality of the footage doesn't really matter when the footage is just to help your family reminisce about the activity later. If you want production-quality video of your outing, just hire a professional videographer to go along with you. Let him worry about all the gear, mounts, bags, repairs, batteries, dirt, and getting good shots.

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