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Comment Re:Probably to reduce churn. (Score 1) 68

Then charge for support.

I can type an SIM card number and/or IMEI into a web portal. That portal can check validity and spit out a human-readable answer - invalid number, device not supported, already in use, OK-done. There's zero reason a "typical" activation needs a human involved from the carrier.

Now, if I have problems with reading comprehension and want someone in India to "help" then sure...charge me for the luxury.

Activation fees are virtually always nothing more than front-loading costs to make the advertised (recurring) price look better. Leases are a classic example: That $199 a month is really (at least) 50% higher when you factor in the "3500$ down plus taxes, DMV charges, lease initiation and disposition fees."

Comment Re:Of course... (Score 4, Insightful) 49

While I do appreciate a user-replaceable battery, I certainly don't agree that a non-replaceable battery is purely, if even mostly a greed decision.

First and foremost, design challenges. It's much more difficult to design a phone (especially a larger one) that's rigid enough to survive normal use while not being able to count on the back for structural support. Furthermore, you need to dedicate interior space to the closing/locking/waterproofing mechanisms. Same goes for spring-loaded battery contacts and some minor sort of retaining mechanism. The choice of materials for the back is also limited. You effectively can't do a glass-back anymore (which is great for rigidity).

Then, you need to protect the rest of the interior for when the battery is swapped. This takes up further space, and forces certain layout changes.

And finally, you introduce an additional problem - 3rd party batteries. Bad quality, defective, dangerous 3rd party batteries. People want a spare battery so badly...but often are disinterested in paying the ~$50+ for one when there are ones for $10 in amazon/ebay advertizing "exact match, same as OEM" nonsense. While some might tack a greed charge on this, it's actually a revenue option for the manufacturer. They'd sell quite a few batteries too.

And finally, you CAN still replace the battery down the road when it eventually loses capacity. Granted it requires much more work, but absolute worst case I can imagine involves replacing the battery yearly.

So no, Samsung wasn't greedy by making the battery non-replaceable. They were stupid that they rushed a(n otherwise awesome) product to beat Apple to market (there's some greed if anything) which had an inherent design flaw (twice) and resulted in a huge cost to them and inconvenience to consumers.

Comment Re:Since they determined autopilot wasn't to blame (Score 4, Insightful) 186

Typical logic-fail, overly-conservative, sheep-herd, think-of-the-children thinking.

In the absence of cars, no one would die in a car crash. However cars provide a massive overall benefit so we accept the risks.

In the absence of autopilot, (theoretically, pending more stats) many people would die in accidents that the 'autopilot' is quick enough to avoid and/or limit the severity of. 'Autopilot' (potentially) provides overall benefit even if it introduces some less severe risks that would not otherwise be present. Additionally, expecting this to be perfect is ridiculous anyway. Human drivers are extremely fallible. It doesn't take much to improve in the crash-and-death sense, not to mention traffic flow situations (compare humans merging 5 lanes to 1 for an accident/construction vs. AI)

Furthermore, the risk here is drivers mis-using a technology to begin with. You can mis-use almost anything. You do so at your own peril despite the eleven-teen billion warnings everywhere.

Comment Re:No headphone jack ... (Score 1) 205

The digital hole is called CDs. Every CD is a very-low-loss unencrypted digital copy of the music.

Done and done. Granted, people strongly prefer streaming these days and I really don't think it matters all that much. What's to stop someone from taking and making USB/lightning 'headphones' that's just an analog-out signal you could plug into your mixing board/evil pirate tool/elevator speaker system?

Comment Re:No headphone jack ... (Score 1) 205

Yeah, before everyone had a headphones jack on their phone there was all kinds of crazy, wonky adaptations. Mind you, this is LONG after the 1/8"/3.5mm headphone jack was standardized.

So finally, after painstaking years, the phone manufacturers finally got their collective heads out of their asses and put standard headphones jacks on their devices. They worked. They worked with trendy shit-buds and dusty decades-old headphones alike. They. Just. Worked.

Now, long after everyone actually agreed on something that wasn't brand new, proprietary, or just-fucking-stupid, they want to UNDO all that and go back to split standards. Even two is one too many. Especially since it's pointless and you could STILL offer the USB-C/lightning headphones alongside the standard headphones jack.

As for headphones jacks (and USB ports) breaking all the time...WTF are you people doing to your phones? I haven't broken a headphones jack in a decade or more, and I don't think I've ever broken a micro-USB except on some chinese garbage that was defectively soldered to begin with.

Comment Re:Multiple reasons (Score 1) 205

The only reasons to eliminate user-replaceable batteries are to save cost, and maybe to profit from expensive battery-replacement services.

Those are legitimate reasons but they aren't the only ones. By making the batteries not user replaceable companies like Apple avoid a variety of problems. The most important consideration is that don't have to worry about poor quality batteries from third party vendors. This can cause all sorts of headaches including warranty claims, product image problems, counterfeit batteries, lawsuits, etc. Being able to maintain full control over the product should in principle result in a better or at least more consistent product. Another consideration is that by sealing the device up tight they don't have fitment issues where pieces come lose or break unexpectedly. The more parts that can move the more chances something will break.

I expect the battery quality aspect is even more prevalent in the thinking than people realize, but it's more than that and above.

Structurally, it's much more efficient to have hard joined pieces and be able to rely on the whole case for strength when you design. The S5, while a great phone, is not as rigid as it would be if the back was permanently affixed. Plus, the snap-off, slide-off, or other attachment methods take up precious interior space. Maybe not a lot, but there isn't much to begin with. The seals on any removable cover will also wear out much more quickly than a fixed seal. So to make a battery user replaceable, you have to make your device larger, less durable, AND take into account poor 3rd party batteries ruining the phone's reputation.

While replacing a battery is handy, it's not THAT much smaller than bringing a battery pack or using a battery-case, some of which DO have removable batteries.

To be honest, I respect what HP did in their latest round of laptops - made them slightly thicker and significantly increased the battery. Oh, and they have a headphones jack too. FML.

Assuming Samsung makes this stupid choice as well, this will be the first generation of cell phones that I DON'T upgrade to since...pretty much Nokia/StarTac era.

Comment Re: Prior Art? (Score 1) 75

Guess I should have googled. Correcting myself and answering your 'question'.

The basic concept of MagSafe is copied from the magnetic power connectors that are part of many deep fryers and Japanese countertop cooking appliances since the early 2000s in order to avoid spilling their dangerously hot contents.[2][3][4] Apple was granted US Patent No. 7311526 on MagSafe ("Magnetic connector for electronic device", issued in 2007) as MagSafe was deemed to be a sufficient improvement due to the connector being symmetrical and reversible, and the fact that magnets within a connector are arranged in opposing polarities for improved coupling strength.

Comment Re: Prior Art? (Score 1) 75

If memory serves, Apple didn't patent magsafe. The licensed it, exclusively, in the the laptop market. The basic tech isn't new at all and the patent has since expired - clearly since there's at least a dozen kickstart/indegogo/etc. crowd funded magnetic connectors for phones and laptops floating around at the moment.

There may have been something unique about the magsafe method as well which separated it from the appliance usage of similar tech.

Comment Re:100 years? (Score 1) 173

Of all the vaguely plausible options floating around this thread, that is BY FAR the least likely. A way to 'disable' radioactivity would imply/require a way to manipulate or halt the strong nuclear force's action. Whatever it takes to do that, especially on a macro scale to deal with nuclear waste, would certainly require manipulating things (like physical constants) that are far more dangerous.

You might as well ask for a gravity drive to ship the waste to pluto. It would be easier since you're "merely" asking to direct one of the funamental forces...not suspend it.

Comment Re:100 years? (Score 1) 173

That KIND of nuclear plants are not a good idea.

There are significantly safer and more efficient designs now. A trend that's likely to continue.

We know they are free of design flaws because their proponents tell us so, and because they are almost tested. Anyway, we can always test it in production. That kind of thinking never got anyone in trouble.

We also know they will have no construction flaws because human nature precludes such a thing happening, and the idea that once it is in operation someone will cut costs and create an unsafe environment is laughable. No one would ever do that with an untested nuclear reactor, or even a tested one.

Luckily, not everyone subscribes to this kind of negative logic nonsense. Just because something MIGHT, CAN, or even WILL go wrong is not a universal reason not to do something.

Accidents have happened and will continue to happen. That's the nature of an 'accident' after all. Letting the world be paralyzed by fear or the extraordinarily unlikely while ignoring far greater, common risks is comical. I'm not promoting nuclear power in the absence of safety and regulation...and that regulation and safety get better and better as time progresses.

What we've done instead, because of paranoia like above, is leave existing nuclear plants in place. Nuclear plants with much less inherent safety, even with upgrades, than current-generation plants have as a default. Paranoia prevents us from actually building newer, safer, and more modern plants.

Car analogy turned into plane analogy - if the wright brothers gave up because their plane worked but crashed...and convinced others it was too dangerous...well whatever. Analogies are dumb. :)

I'd happily welcome a nuclear plant to my neighborhood. Some of the very small, buriable nuclear 'batteries' would be perfect...and offer the added benefit of free (waste) heat in the winter.

Comment Re:100 years? (Score 1) 173

Some people will fear radiation no matter what anyone says. Show them a person holding a nuclear fission core in their bare hand and you get one of thee reactions:
- That's fake
- He's a walking corpse, must have died shortly after
- He really should use gloves, that shit is toxic to handle

I'm sure there's plenty of *very* toxic substances floating around in those remains. I'm equally sure they'll do a lot of the cleanup and removal with robots partly for that alone. It'll probably lead to some interesting advances in robotics too so I'm looking forward to it.

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