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Comment O-scope experiences. (Score 2, Informative) 337

What you should buy depends on what you plan to do, obviously. I've used several of the korean imports (Owon, Rigol) and although the feature set on those is incredible for the price, the units themselves have strange firmware problems that can be maddening when they strike. Also, the knockoff scopes can't seem to get "Automatic" triggering correct (they only sweep 3 or 4 times a second, no matter how fast you crank up the sweep rate, and that can be annoying when you are monitoring a signal), the Tektronix scopes are much better with regard to this feature.

Comment Re:Value Added Tax (Score 1) 658

Your line of thought is so short sighted that you could be a guest host on the Rush Limbaugh show. 1. Governments are NOT trying to make a profit. If I get a local candidate who promises to use their "business experience" to improve the local government, I almost always RUN AWAY to the other candidate. Governments exist to provide services to their constituents. People like this are the ones who say, "lower taxes and everything will be ok." Reaganomics already proved that this meant "lower taxes and everything will be ok for the rich". Governments need to balance income (taxes) and expenses (services). They've been doing pretty badly for a while now. 2. Pay-for-what-you-use is a nonstarter. Besides the already-pointed-out "how would you determine that", it would turn us into a 3rd World country. Quickly. You know, the kind where you don't have a road system, power & phone service isn't available anywhere besides the capital, and schools are run by charity groups from other countries. Here's a not-too-far-off scenario if this happens: "You know, we wanted to have a highway come near our town, but it had to be built through 4 other towns who didn't have anyone with cars, so we would have had to pay for the highways through them too. But our people didn't want to pay for the highway through the other 4 towns, since its NOT OUR RESPONSIBILITY. So, there's no highway. Actually, there's no paved streets, well, I lied, there is a paved street in the rich section, where the people repave the street in from of their house when they have their driveway redone.."

Comment Re:How Fast Loaders Worked (Score 1) 245

No, most fastloaders actually used only two of the serial lines to transfer data. They worked by transferring byte data synchronously, by synchronizing the instruction stream at the start of each byte so that there was a sequence of 4 reads or writes to transfer each byte. This involved some other blackmagic trickery, since the 1541's 6502 processor was completely unfettered, while the C-64's 6510 processor was stalled for sprite DMA and display memory access (basically, 1 out of every 8 scanlines), meaning that you had to either turn off all of that DMA (turning off sprites and blanking the screen) or make sure you run your transfers when you knew that the DMA wasn't going to take place. A couple of other schemes used asynchronous transfers which were STILL faster than the standard kernel code, then a few systems like Copylock and Vorpal used custom sector formats to minimize the amount of processing needed by the 1541 to decode the data. If I recall correctly, the drive I/O on the C-64 is a stripped down version of an older interface which was actually a parallel 8-bit interface, they simply removed 7 of the lines from the interface but still retained the same control scheme. This resulted in an I/O speed of around 300 bytes/second for a "stock" C64/1541. The 1541's OS itself was able to encode/decode and read/write sectors with an interleave of 3, which is about 7k/second, but the processor-driven serial I/O reduced that by quite a bit. Many fastloaders simplay used the existing read/write routines and accelerated the serial I/O, which easily put the drive at an interleave of 8. Some rewrote the GCR routines too, and I've seen those go down to an interleave of 4. Vorpal rewrote the serial I/O and the sector format, disabled all DMA, and synchronized both processors to +1/-0 cycles to run multiple byte transfers, making it the fastest software based accelerator, with an interleave of 2, reading and transferring an entire track in two revolutions of the disk, or about 12K/second.

Comment Re:Use the Coax as a wirepull for the cat5 (Score 1) 608

Don't even bother installing PVC wires, just use plenum-rated cable everywhere. That way, your butt is covered no matter what the inspector thinks. As was mentioned in prior posts, all modern ethernets require twisted pair matched impedance wires. They also require the wires to be pretty much the same length, too. Just forget about re-purposing the coax wires as ethernet. 802.11g/n will be much easier to install, but if you need bandwidth, you will need to pull new wires.

Comment Karma.... (Score 1) 297

It seems that big publishers, who have had last word in the price of the songs/books that they sell, enjoyed being able to set the price of what they purchased the content for and sold the content for. Here comes newfangled electronic media, and now they are the middlemen and not the end distributors - and it appears they don't like being in the position that they have had authors (/musicians) in all along. Seems like a heaping dose of karma to me.

Comment Re:Apple A4 (Score 1) 1713

Ok, so now I'm curious... what's so special about *this* low-power low-performance (fixed that for you) non-x86 ARM chipset that differentiates itself from the horde of other low-power low-performance non-x86 ARM chipsets?

Comment Re:Right of free speech + right of association (Score 1) 1070

Your point is terribly misplaced, since citizens do not make the laws. Elected representatives make the laws. Corporations do NOT (well, as far as I'm aware) make contributions to citizens who are not elected officials (or potential elected officials). The issue here isn't "buying off the general public", it's "buying off our elected representatives". Too bad you are too conservative to see that.

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