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Comment News flash: Average income is deceiving (Score 0) 97

The average income of 10th through 70th percentile - in other words, most citizens - is $32,245 / year (source, EPI Data Library - Wages by percentile.csv, 2015 [latest] row).

Over 40 million (out of 319 million, or about 12%) of US citizens are going hungry (feedingamerica.org).

The social safety net isn't safe, nor particularly social.

I'm sure we can expect relief from the Trump administration (cough... choke.)

But hey, let's worry about tech interns. My blinders need a workout anyway.

Comment Hey Slashdot: (Score 2) 91

Slashdot Editors / owners / etc.:

o Please stop supporting paywalled sites.
o Please stop supporting sites with closed comment sections.

These things are bad for the web and the web's denizens -- of course not for the ethically crippled sites themselves, as we are their product, and both payment up and dissent down are multipliers to their bread and butter.

The paywalled sites are monetizing the news, and that almost always makes for biased reporting.

The closed comment sections make for echo chambers, and that creates an environment where fake news and agitprop flourish.

Same thing to my fellow slashdotters: if you support bad actors in bad behaviors, they will naturally persist. So think about that before you click through the next time someone thrusts a paywalled or comment-bereft site in your face.

Thanks for reading.

Comment Not quite dead yet (Score 1) 342

It means that we are now far more removed from access to the metal to even do a lot of the optimizations that we've done in the past.

Well... no, it means that you are, perhaps. Some of us still write in c or c++, and keep our attention on the details. You can tell you've run into one of us when the many-functioned app you get is a couple megabytes instead of 50, runs faster than the fat ones, and doesn't suffer from black-box bugs inherited from OPC.

I always thought that the user's CPU cycles and memory were things a developer was obligated to treat as the user's valued resource, and so not things to waste.

I know, totally out of date thinking. It's ok, I'm old, I'll die soon. :)

Comment machine code ate my neurons (Score 1) 342

But can you program in Z80 and 6502 machine code?

Yes. But more importantly, I can program in 6809 machine code. Including building all the index modes. Which, back in the day, is one of the things that saved me from having to design in, and then program, CPUs like the 6502 and z80, both of which are seriously anemic by comparison. But I prefer to program in assembler. Because I'm sane.

My affection for the 6809 ran so deep that I wrote the 6809 emulator you'll find here, which required me to implement the entire instruction set from the ground up.

But yeah, I can write machine code for about 10 microprocessors. And you know what? In the day... that was useful. I could read (E)(P)ROM dumps, I could cold-patch... but today, I just wish I could get the brain cells back. :)

Comment Re: class action suit (Score 1) 111

Most likely, Microsoft will wind up having to pay a settlement class consisting of just about anyone who owned Windows 7 and can show their system now runs Win 10 thanks to the online upgrade.

What I want to know is, how do I get Microsoft to compensate me for the time and effort of successfully preventing the upgrade, and my increased risk due to the fact that I've had to disable security updates to do so?

Comment Re:Too bad we can't own software anymore. (Score 2) 111

Bullshit. The Uniform Commercial Code and the doctrine of first sale says I own the (copy of the) software. The only thing that says I don't is a fictional, unenforceable, worthless alleged-document that isn't a valid contract because (a) it's a contract of adhesion presented after the sale is complete and (b) offers me no consideration since I already have the right to do everything it's offering me by virtue of having already bought the software.

Comment Re:GB is doing it, China is doing it (Score 1) 82

Over the last 35 years... This demonstrates the strength of authoritarianism... But things are rapidly changing, and beginning to show the downside of authoritarianism.

Funny, I thought the downside of authoritarianism was shown during the period immediately proceeding the 35-year one you mentioned. Did the Chinese (or any other government, for that matter) learn nothing from the Cultural Revolution?

Comment Re:Security is an illusion (Score 1) 153

There's just too much volume to track all the content everywhere.

There are 350 million people in the USA, more or less. Including kids not of age to use computers. One computer, just one, operates at billions of instructions per second (when the code is written in anything efficient, like c.) The NSA has a newish huge data center located on the main trunks.

You do the math. If you still think they can't sieve that amount of data effectively, why then, good on you for your optimism. :)

Comment Re:I am amazed that there is no current limiter (Score 1) 231

Resettable polyfuses are a wonderful idea - but they would not work. They require too much area to heat up and as a result - are slow. This sort of application requires a more traditional fuse. Such a fuse would require significant board space and still require that blown devices be returned for repair. In short, unless this becomes a serious problem, I can not see such protection circuitry being added.

Comment Re:Trump Derangement Syndrome (Score 1) 575

Trump is assumed by some to have won based on (anticipated) EC votes. However, three facts:

1 - The EC hasn't voted yet.

2 - The EC does not have to vote for Trump.

3 - Clinton got (a lot) more votes from, you know, the people.

Trump may well end up to be president. But he isn't the president yet; he isn't even the president-elect yet.

Comment Re:I am amazed that there is no current limiter (Score 5, Informative) 231

That is basically what a protection diode is - except they do not use zener diodes. They have one diode connected to ground and one to VCC. If the voltage drops below ground, one diode conducts clamping the voltage to ~-0.7v. If the voltage increases beyond VCC, the other diode conducts and clamps the voltage at VCC+0.7v. This is effective when dissipating a small charge that could potentially be at a high voltage - think ESD. But if you have prolonged current the diode will blow and short.

So you have a short (blown diode) but you still have a significant amount of energy to dissipate. This results in a large current that will cause the diode to physically explode or possibly blow a trace. USB data lines typically use very thin traces and can not conduct much power. If a trace goes then USB is screwed but the rest of the computer will probably function correctly. If the diode explodes your protection is gone and the high voltage will now cause all sorts of damage.

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