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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Are Headphone Cables Designed To Fail Within Weeks Of Purchase? 4

dryriver writes: I'm a heavy headphone user. It doesn't matter what headphones I buy — Sony, Philips, Logitech you name it — the headphones typically fail to work properly within a few weeks of purchase. It is never the headphones/earbuds themselves that fail. It is always the part of the headphone cable where the small wires connect to the almost indestructible 3.5mm metal headphone jack. Result? Either the left or right ear audio cuts out and you need new headphones. Putting 1/2 a cent worth of extra rubber/plastic/metal around that part of the cable to strengthen it would likely fix the problem very effectively. The headphones would last for a year or even longer. But almost no manufacturer seems to do this. I keep trying new models and brands, and they all have the same "cable goes bad" problem — earbuds that came with a Sony MP3 player I bought developed the problem within 15 minutes of first use. My question to Slashdot: Do headphone manufacturers do this deliberately? Do they think "We'll sell 40% more headphones each year if the average pair doesn't last beyond 3 months of normal use" and engineer a deliberate weakness into the headphone cable? How can these major brands with all their product engineers not be able to strengthen the most obviously failure-prone part of the headphone cable a bit?

Submission + - "Father of Chinese Pinyin" Dies at the Age of 111 (

An anonymous reader writes: Chinese economist and self-taught linguist Zhou Youguang died on Jan 14, reports the BBC. Prof. Zhou was the leading inventor of the Pinyin phonetic transcription system for the standard Chinese language, based on 26 letters of the Latin alphabet. Developed in the 1950s and now officially adopted by China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia and used by most West-based libraries, press and educational institutions, it paved way the widespread availability of pinyin-based computer input methods (IMEs) available today on virtually all operating systems and mobile platforms.

The pinyin was first developed as a superior alternative to earlier Chinese romanization systems such as Wade--Giles. It has since proved helpful for combating the illiteracy problem in Communist China, as well as for foreign learners of the Chinese language. The availability of pinyin in Chinese elementary schools significantly lowered the average Chinese's learning curve toward computer literacy.

Mr. Zhou survived forced labor and persecution during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960--70s and became a vocal critic of Chinese politics despite his great age, publishing 10 books after turning 100. Among his other achievements, he was responsible for overseeing the Chinese translation of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Comment Re: Zuck 2020! (Score 1) 181

... Silicone Valley will never die

I would not bet on that. If 9/11 did not teach companies about providing redundancies to everything in the event of disaster, we would be foolhardy. There are plenty of other states that could provide EVERYTHING that Silicon Valley provides with a little effort. I would hope that Silicon Valley would not be so arrogant to make the assumption that they are irreplaceable.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 181

Your remark on the GOP, now that I can agree with wholeheartedly. There are still some in the GOP that do not grasp that just because they won both sides of Congress and the Executive that they can still attempt to do "business as usual". They would be wrong on that assumption.

This also applies to the Democrats as well.

This is why I looked at this election as this wasn't about two parties vying it out. There was a third party that was behind both parties that has always been manipulating both sides in order to gain the advantage. Its kind of like the "win-win" scenario. No matter who gets in, the third party will still win. Unfortunately the third party is not the US people in most cases.

Comment Re:Hypocracy (Score 1) 236

Well, I am not sure about the CIA, but the FBI was doing their job. While the FBI is about investigating national crimes, the CIA has a little different agenda.

I don't know how liberal progressives can sleep at night when the system allowed someone to even run for the highest office of the nation with the questionable history of their candidate. Granted, the conservatives could very well employ some of the same tactics, they even tried to sabotage his chances to win the candidacy . Some of the conservatives even preferred liberal progressives over their own candidate because it supported more of the "status quo" that they have been cultivating over the political career (which is the REAL issue, people did not want status quo).

Terrified, ummm, nope. That statement is just more FUD for the fire.

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