Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Submission + - No, you can't use Wi-Fi to power your phone. Do the math! (

richi writes: Did you see the headlines squawking about how Wi-Fi will charge your smartphone in the future?

Bunkum, I say. Each time the story gets repeated, it loses a little more veracity. So I aimed my Computerworld curation cannon at this.

Researchers have improved the ability to capture power from radio waves. By tweaking some standard Wi-Fi hardware, they've increased the amount of power that can be leeched from unused transmissions. It could help power IoT sensors.

But wait — don't believe everything you read on the interwebs, kids. Predictably, some science-illiterate journalists and bloggers are saying it can actually charge your smartphone. Sadly, the researchers only achieved power levels of a few microWatts — that's about 100,000 times too small to run your phone, let alone charge it.

Comment Re:Not the phone (Score 1) 243

KitKat is the latest model, on the Moto G. 4.2.2 is recent enough that I considered it "late model" enough, which is on the Moto X.

I don't consider either version particularly usable.

The Republic Wireless Moto X is running 4.4.2 Kitkat as well. If you order now, you may receive the phone with Jellybean (4.2.2), but it will upgrade immediately after activation.

Comment Re:Unmetered != unlimited (Score 1) 243

I understood what was meant: "A subscriber on this carrier is entitled to 5 GB of fast data and unmetered slow data in each month."

But I think BitZtream might be playing word games as a way to remind you that nothing is truly "unlimited". No computer is Turing complete because memory is bounded; at best they're linear bounded automata. There is no way to physically transfer "unlimited" information to a computer, even with a 10 Gbps Ethernet drop. And cutting a subscriber's speed to, say, 64 kbps is a substantial limit on how much the subscriber can transfer during a month. Assume 10 payload bits per byte to account for TCP/IP overhead, then 64×86400×30÷10÷1000000 = 16.5 GB if the subscriber leaves the phone running 24/7 after the fast data expires.

I assume that people that have this issue have never had a smartphone, or home internet connection, or perhaps they're a bit special. The term 'unlimited' in the context of cell data and internet means 'unlimited usage' not 'a trillion quadrillion bits per second'. You can have unlimited dial-up internet at 52Kb/s or unlimited internet over fiber at 10Gb/s. The data rate is not a factor in the terminology.

Comment Re:Not the phone (Score 1) 243

I like how they list "unlimited wifi" as a feature of all their plans. XD

Too bad they only seem to support two phones, and both are Moto and running late-model android versions. :P

They "only" offer two current generation, less than 6-month old, Motorola phones: the Moto G and Moto X, both highly rated. "Late-model android versions" means the current version, which is Kitkat (Android 4.4.2). Who's running a new version?

Comment Re:Not the phone (Score 1) 243

I'll do you one better. My dumbphone costs me $100 US a year for voice and messages (I turn text messages off, though -- the phone's too small to type on with my fat thumbs), and any money I don't spend on calls gets rolled over to the next year. The phone doesn't use data, and I don't need it to. Email and Internet's what my laptop is for. Why would I want to spend $35 each month when what I've got now is more than I need? Oh, and that $35 is just the starting point. After you add state and federal fees, it's more like $50 a month.

It's $25/month (voice/text/data on 3G and WiFi), and the taxes and fees are about $3, depending on the state and locality. If you're replacing a landline, they have a $5/month plan that's WiFi only. The advantage of course is that you can take it with you anywhere you have WiFi, and from the phone you can switch to the $10, $25 or $40 plan instantly on a daily prorated basis. So that's about the same annual cost after taxes and fees, but you get a smartphone and all the functionality that comes with that.

Comment Re:Not the phone (Score 2) 243

I'm currently on Republic Wireless $10/month plan (unlimited voice and text/MMS, WiFi data only). I always have WiFi available; our cable company has even lined all the major highways with access points. All major retailers (and even some minor retailers) have free WiFi (via AT&T). The nice thing is that Republic Wireless lets you switch the plan from the phone with immediate activation twice a month. So if I need data, I can turn it on, and it's prorated on a daily basis.

So if you have four smartphones and reasonable access to WiFi (who doesn't), all four will cost $40/month.

Comment Re:Not the phone (Score 2) 243

At least in my area, Sprint is great. They've also been doing a massive buildout over the last year, so you may want to check again. Republic Wireless also offers free roaming onto Verizon and local carriers. So you get coverage if you have WiFi, Sprint, or Verizon. Many people are even using the phones overseas - any place you have WiFi, you're connected. Unlike VoIP apps, you use the same incoming/outgoing number no matter how you're connected.

Comment Re:Not the phone (Score 0) 243

Data plans are no longer expensive. I use a Moto X from Republic Wireless, no contract. Unlimited voice, text/MMS and data (5GB/mo, then throttled) is $35/mo for 3G and $40/mo for 4G. We've been with them two years, and they're not the only option around this price range. The only reason to pay more is because you want to, not because you need to.

Sorry, that should have said: Unlimited voice, unlimited text/MMS and data (5GB/mo, then throttled) is $25/mo for 3G and $40/mo for 4G.

Comment Re:Not the phone (Score 0) 243

Data plans are no longer expensive. I use a Moto X from Republic Wireless, no contract. Unlimited voice, text/MMS and data (5GB/mo, then throttled) is $35/mo for 3G and $40/mo for 4G. We've been with them two years, and they're not the only option around this price range. The only reason to pay more is because you want to, not because you need to.

Comment Re:Doesn't pass the laugh test (Score 2) 381

Software / hardware development and design are creative processes as well. I guess that 'devaluing creative work' only applies to your own content. Google has figured out how to make money while giving the fruit of those creative processes away, something that the content industries have been fighting as long as they have existed.

Comment Re:Child abuse is machine recognizable; piracy is (Score 1) 348

It is not an impossible task. It is a difficult one. But we're fundamentally simply talking about two data analysis tasks. One is visual data, the other is textual data... and some checksums. Someone who can reasonably take on the former ought to be able to take a serious stab at the latter. Google doesn't want to, because they fear they will be forced to; probably true.

What is the license for 123d56.iso? Are its content copyrighted? If it is copyrighted, does it's license permit this particular use case, in the source and destination regions involved? Google has 40,000 extraordinarily skilled people working on problems like this. If they say it's a problem they can't solve, I believe them.

Comment Re:Awesome! (Score 1) 729

This is totally awesome. Gnome has been taunting me for years, continuously demolishing perfectly fine functionality I use daily, but at the same time just not taking it far enough for me to permanently switch. Not anymore though; this will definitely make me switch to some other desktop environment. Awesome. I'm happy for this loss:-)

Yup. After using GNOME since it came into existence, I finally switched to KDE. I can't for the life of understand why I wasted so much time on GNOME now. All the workarounds I had developed for lost functionality are no longer needed. My wife had never used anything other than GNOME, so I thought that would be a challenge. Nope; she liked it much better too, because she could configure the environment to her liking instead of learning how the GNOME developers required her to work.

Slashdot Top Deals

Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.