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Comment Re:Bad Headline (Score 1) 473

The other companies gave no answer, which for any company that didn't have a history of inadvertently enabling genocide was IMO the right thing to do. Such political trolling really shouldn't even be dignified with a response, in general.

But you're right about IBM. Ethically speaking, they should have been the first to say no, given what happened the last time they helped with a database of everyone in a particular religious group. Then again, it is also possible that because IBM and its employees were not punished for their role in enabling the Holocaust, the bean counters that run the place would dutifully enable another one. Scary thought.

Comment Re:DEA already has rescheduled and overruled itsel (Score 1) 146

Actually, their constitutional authority to exist is that the Executive Branch calls them into existence to execute the provisions of laws passed by the Legislative branch.

It took a constitutional amendment to ban alcohol, and that amendment has been repealed. This leaves no authority for any branch of the government to prohibit the manufacture, sale, or use of any drug. Any act of the congress that purports to do so is not a law at all, it is as James Madison would describe it, a usurpation.

-jcr

Comment Re:Apple bears some responsibility here. (Score 1) 115

The G3 series had a ferrite choke a quarter inch from the plug, and that quarter inch of wire constantly broke, causing fires, so they recalled the entire lot of them and replaced them with the yo-yo power supply.

Slight correction. I'm not sure if they actually caused fires; they were recalled because they considered them to be a fire risk from overheating, which presumably was caused by shorting caused by the cable failures.

Comment Re:Apple bears some responsibility here. (Score 1) 115

Insulation plastic falls apart after a year? Hm, tell that to the PSU for my Macbook Pro bought in 2012... Still in perfect condition. But then, I never wind the cable using the ears, I always just wrap it around the PSU itself while leaving a generous loop from where the cable exits the PSU.

It has nothing to do with how you wind it. I've seen Apple power supplies that were never wound up at all where the outer insulation became brittle and flaked off in large chunks. I'm not sure if it was sun exposure or heat exposure, but something causes the jackets on the early MagSafe cables to chemically break down.

Comment Re:Apple bears some responsibility here. (Score 1, Informative) 115

Case in point: Mac laptop chargers have been known to suffer from frayed cables due to Apple's insistence on a design that lacks adequate strain relief. This has been a known engineering defect in their chargers since the PowerBook G3 series design almost two decades ago ...

FTFY.

As far as I'm aware, Apple has never in its entire history built a good laptop power supply:

  • The original PowerBook 1xx series had connectors that kept breaking. IIRC, the 5xx series was similar.
  • The G3 series had a ferrite choke a quarter inch from the plug, and that quarter inch of wire constantly broke, causing fires, so they recalled the entire lot of them and replaced them with the yo-yo power supply.
  • The yo-yo design had no real strain relief, and even better, had thinly insulated wires inside a steel-braided shield that over time wore through the insulation, resulting in cables that sparked internally. In a dark room, you could see little blue electrical arcs in the middle of the wires.
  • The iBook power supplies had inadequate strain relief and broke right at the plug end.
  • The T-shaped MagSafe connectors had the same problem.
  • The L-shaped MagSafe connectors were usually more reliable, though they still eventually fail at one end of the wire or the other, but the MacBook Air version was notoriously bad.
  • And MagSafe 2 is a disaster of failed strain relief.

So saying that third-party Mac laptop supplies are worse than the real thing might be true, but it is like saying that a Pinto is worse than a Corvair. They do, however, build reliable USB power supplies... but their cell phone power cords are even worse than their laptop power cords. Fortunately, there are many third-party manufacturers building Lightning cables that are actually built to last.

Comment Re: Apple problem mostl or platform-independent is (Score 2) 115

Part of what makes these problematic is largely that they're trying to look like Apple products. Apple makes really small power supplies, which makes it much harder to create knock-offs that work. Nobody makes knock-offs of Android supplies; they just make cheap USB power supplies. Because they aren't trying to hit an absurdly small form factor, they don't cut corners to the same degree, and the supplies tend to be more reliable at a given price point. That said, the Apple USB supplies cost $19, and the usable third-party branded supplies usually start at about $12, so there's not a lot of savings to be gained even when you take away the form factor.

More significantly, because they're trying to look like Apple products (and often pretending to be Apple products), they can't be branded. If they were, Apple would go after them for violating their design patents (and trademark violations if they use the Apple logo). That entire selling model is incompatible with branding. As a result, there's no hit to their reputation if the product doesn't work. They just change the name on their Amazon or eBay account and go right back to fooling people. So there's also no incentive to make a quality product.

Comment Re:I'd like a "stop charging at 80%" feature (Score 1) 91

So how come it continues to charge after hitting 80%?

Because that's a lot of capacity to lose. I doubt that the difference between stopping at 80% and stopping at 100% is enough to be worth the rather significant loss of capacity.

That said, the OS already does various tricks to minimize the damage caused by fully charging the batteries. For example, in OS X and iOS, IIRC the top several percent are hidden. When the charge level hits about 95% (I forget the exact number, and it might even vary depending on the age of the battery), it says 100%, but it continues to charge for a while at a slow speed until it reaches a true 100% charge. As the pack discharges, it gets down to about 95% before the UI stops saying 100%.

The reason for this is that the charge circuits in the devices won't even start charging until the pack's charge drops below about 95%, because continuously trickle-charging batteries to keep them at 100% will burn them out rather rapidly, whereas letting them cycle by five or ten percent is much less abusive on the batteries. However, it would be confusing to users if their batteries rarely read 100% after a full charge, so they fudge the numbers so that 95% is treated as fully charged.

Comment Re:always fascinating to see such drivel (Score 1) 273

This is why the only way to fix such a broken system is to get the people so mad that they self-organize to overthrow the bad leaders and stick their heads on pikes as a sign to anyone else who would go down the same path. It worked reasonably well in France, among others.

Unfortunately, that doesn't work very well if the government has tanks and fighter jets, which is why Russia's arms sales to various Middle-Eastern regimes represents such a grave threat to real, long-term stability in the region.

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