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Comment Old Versions (Score 1) 249 hosts old versions of several android apps including es file explorer. The page loads in Spanish first, but changing to another language is pretty easily done. Versions of ES back to That old enough for ya? And it's always passed every malware scan I've run. Of course, YMMV, caveat emptor, and all that...

Comment Re:-40? (Score 1) 397

No, it's talking engine bay temp (that's where lots of PCMs are, you know) Underhood temps can get pretty high when you factor in summer heat in the desert, sitting at idle, with a 6-900 degree exhaust manifold sitting just inches away (yup, they get THAT hot!). And while cabin temps in a parked car with rolled-up windows in the summer in the desert don't quite hit 260, the do get really hot. A PCM mounted inside the vehicle has to be able to tolerate that, too. And yes, while the engine is running, it has to be able to deal with this. Although the cabin cools down quickly when you get in and open it up or turn on the a/c, the little nooks where they mount the PCM don't get the airflow and cool down a bit slower. Plus, the case is still really hot, so the internal temps of the PCM remain high for quite a bit. The environmental conditions these things are exposed to is insane.

Comment Here's a cheap and easy solution... (Score 1) 270

I use OBD Guage on a lifedrive and on my laptop for basic stuff; it's easier than pulling out my "real" scanner with all the cables. It's a nice basic program that does data stream, snapshots, acceleration tests, reads and clears codes, and some other stuff. For hardware, I have a cheap ODB2 bluetooth dongle I got off ebay for 30 bucks that talks to the palm and lappy. It has about 25 feet of range, which is great when you have to work under the hood while watching the data. Best part--no cables to drag around. It won't talk to ABS or airbag computers, though. Still, for engine control diagnostics, it's about all most folks would ever need, as it does read all the popular protocols. The have a pocket pc version too. Since most folks here already have a pda or smartphone or laptop, the final cost is about 30 bucks and a 2-week wait as they ship from China.

Comment Re:clam (Score 1) 896

I gotta agree with the Captain on Clam here, but with a twist. I run a v-lited vista install without IE and a lot of the other junk. Other than a hardware firewall and the vista firewall, I don't have any protective stuff on my system and never get an infection. How do I know? From time to time, I boot from my Ubuntu thumb drive, update clam, and scan the system from outside windows (I don't trust a scan from within the os, but that's just me). So far, system's stayed clean, but I'm careful about where I browse (no porn or warez). I also turn off flash and/or javascript on many sites--I put buttons for that on my toolbar in Opera. It's funny, I've found about half or three quarters of the microsoft updates don'd apply to my system, since they're for systems I've removed and replaced with other options--Opera and FOSS stuff.

Comment Re:Transistor count (Score 2, Informative) 219

No, I bet his caffeine content is fine. The 68K transistors would refer to the 68000 procs from Motorola which were 16- or 32-bit depending on configuration. Some of them could be switched at boot time by holding one of the pins high or low (I forget which...where are those old data sheets I have on those?) Of course the 65xx series and the 6800 series were 8-bit, however, they didn't have close to 68K transistors. But GP is right on, 68K transistors for a 32-bit architecture.

Comment Re:So only XP is out of luck? (Score 1) 442

Right there with ya, friend; I don't use XP myself. It's a pain to fresh install something that heavily patched. But if you're forced to install XP for granny or something, like your original post seems to indicate, slipstreaming is the way to go. Saves a LOT of headaches. Another approach that's worked for me in the past is to nlite the thing and rip out a lot of the heavily patched subsystems and replace those with OSS equivalents. Of course, don't do THAT for granny. That helps a lot if you want to get rid of about 25-50% of the updates. BTW, you can do that for Vista and 7 too w/vLite...built a version of Vista that boots in 30 seconds on my laptop and installs from a thumbdrive in 12 minutes. Still not as useful as most Linux distros outta the box, but it's a real improvement over stock MS installs. No cruft (well, for MS anyway) and rock stable. All drivers and updates there from the get-go and a wee bit over 700 megs for the install iso fully patched. If you gotta run windows, it's nice...

Comment Re:So only XP is out of luck? (Score 1) 442

I feel your pain, but if you're not slipstreaming the stuff in before the install (writing a batch file for this is TRIVIAL), you're doing it the hard way. No reboots beyond the standard installation reboots, either. MUCH easier. Just sayin...but yeah, if that's what you use it for, that's a pretty good definition of obsolete.

Comment Re:I call bullshit (Score 1) 38

Actually, the Skylark uses a steel shift cable, so yeah, it's mechanically linked. Just not by a more traditional hard linkage. Most cars have done that for a LONG time. The trans options on that vehicle are a 4T40E or a 4T60E, depending on the engine. Both are electronically controlled, but both use a steel shift cable to move the manual valve (that's what determines what range you're in). Look under the hood/bonnet, driver's side, on top of the trans, you'll see it. If it fails, you could be left in any range, not just neutral. But you're right, Ford does work essentially the same way. And all the car manufacturers do some really cool stuff as well as some really bone-headed stuff. Most of the rants I see here against US cars may reflect personal experience, but usually they relate to a fairly rare failure or a lemon. Truth is, they ALL work pretty well, and they ALL break. ALL manufacturers produce lemons from time to time. Personal experiences of a consumer aren't numerous enough to be statistically significant, although they are all most of us have. Most mechanics I know have biases, too. The failure rates aren't as different as most people believe. And the best car is one you like that works for you and you're confident in. Niggling cable point aside, parent is pretty much on the money.

Comment Re:This could actually be true... (Score 1) 38

You make some very valid, well-thought-out points. Didn't consider boiling brake fluid (shame on me). Much of what I said applies to the vehicle in question, and is not accurate for some newer vehicles. A lot of what you said is exactly why I'm not a fan of drive-by-wire. An electrical failure can stop being an inconvenience and become life-threatening in a hurry if the situation goes sour. While it's true that there is double or triple redundancy in these systems (for instance, multiple potentiometers reading the accelerator pedal position) the redundant parts are often subject to identical wear and usually fail within a short time of each other. It's not out of the question that they could fail at the same time. On some newer vehicles, for instance, there is no linkage between the driver and an automatic transmission; the range selection (P, N, D, etc) is controlled electro-mechanically. Although this doesn't apply to the vehicle in question, it could lead to a situation where the driver couldn't pull the vehicle out of gear if/when such a system failed. Not likely, but very possible. The freaky sensation you mentioned you experienced with your ABS is pretty common, been there myself. ABS works by alternating lockup (they typically target a 10% lockup timewise) and unlock, but without loss of full system pressure. It feels like a braking loss and can be very disconcerting. You don't really lose all braking even in the unlock phase, though; the system simply releases enough to see wheel spin again. It does this by dumping the pressure back to the input side of the ABS pump, and the same motor that runs that pump controls the bleed valving. When the system goes down or detects a failure, the ABS system goes inert and basically becomes a very expensive brake line. In that mode, it has no effect on braking at all. No pump, no bleed. The buses can be problematic, as you mentioned, but the problems are usually caused by corrosion at connectors and grounds. In this respect, American manufacturers are far and away better than their European and Japanese counterparts; the connectors are MUCH better protected from moisture intrusion and corrosion. The electrical systems are much more robust and they suffer less from over-engineering, IMO. Trying to troubleshoot an aging Benz or Bimmer can be a nightmare when you're dealing with electrical issues as they are more prone to corrosion in connectors (not trying to start a holy war here, just my experience of many years; each manufacturer has strengths and weaknesses). Pinching wiring between a frame member and a cross-member during a repair is fairly common, though, where the tech doesn't pay attention. It's possible for a bus to fail "on its own", but in practice, it's pretty rare. You're sure right about the difficulty getting wiring schematics and diagrams. I use two programs that update quarterly and provide all info available for every US market (my current location) vehicle from 82 to current, but they cost several thousand dollars a year each. Without that, I couldn't function. It can be a real pain... I think your last paragraph is one of the most insightful I've ever read on /. regarding manufacturers. They're cheapskates; that's how they stay profitable. It's another reason why fanboi-ism is just silly. While some of my conclusions differ from yours, I can't say you're wrong, that's for sure. We armchair quarterbacks will never know what really happened. It's obvious that you're pretty sharp on this subject, though. Real gearheads are hard to find on /., based on all the flawed car analogies I see here. Wish I could buy you a beer and chew on some of the possibilities presented in this story. I'm sure it would be interesting.

Comment Re:Throw it in neutral and apply the hand break? (Score 1) 38

Many mechanical devices are all-or-nothing, although you are right about a hand brake not being one of those (ever seen a sprag clutch?). If you think THAT'S scary, you should see how little material there actually is in items like your wheel spindles, wheel bearing contact surface area, etc. We put a lot of power and weight through just a few small bits of metal that are all there is between our backsides and a grisly death. The materials science involved is a really amazing thing.. The way most vehicles are set up, the actual ignition switch is a mechanical component that physically disengages contacts to cut power to the powertrain control module and controlled systems. So yeah, for most vehicles, you sorta do have a big red button. Also, most folks don't realize that brakes generally have several times the horsepower of the powertrain (typically, I hear the value of 5 times quoted, but I haven't seen that figure substantiated). That's why, at full throttle and with the torque converter at stall on an AT-equipped vehicle, which boosts engine torque output at 2:1 (typical figure), the front brakes still hold. Due to weight bias and brake system type, the rear brakes may or may not hold, but the fronts will. That's where the great majority of your braking power comes from anyway (ever wonder why front brake specs are always higher than rear?). Hauling the vehicle down from 100 or 150 kph to zero dissipates a LOT of energy, but even at full throttle, the brake system should be up to the task if it's been properly maintained. Of course, the way many/most maintain their vehicles, that can get iffy. Barring a mechanical failure in his brake system, this bloke should have been able to stop. The way he was talking about screaming, when he was finally able to stop, the real story is likely that he just panicked.

Comment Re:This could actually be true... (Score 2, Informative) 38

Sorry, g00ey, that's not how electronic transmissions and abs systems work. I know, I work on them all the time. And while there are a lot of cars that use RFID to start up, I've never seen one of those that's like anything you describe either. ABS works by pulsing the system pressure and bleeding it off. It doesn't fail in a hold-open mode, but hold-close. That's both for mechanical and electronic failures in the actual ABS part of the brake system. And typically, when a transmission controller stops working, most systems (the Ford in question is one of these, trust me, I,ve had LOTS of these units apart on my bench) the electronics are easily overridden by manually downshifting the stick. That's what controls the highest possible gear through a spool valve in the valve body; the shift solenoids just provide for control between 1st and the mechanically selected highest possible gear. Your understanding of TRACS is fairly accurate(but not quite on the money)--they also use retarded ignition timing and transmission upshifts to reduce engine output and wheel torque along with fuel system trim. I wouldn't bet on a system bus overload either. You have to realize that the computers operate at a few megahertz, but they are controlling mechanical events in the hertz to the kilohertz range, typically. They are very much up to the task. For instance, at 3000 rpm, a six-cylinder engine is only experiencing 9000 ignition and injection events per minute, that's 150 events per second per system. Each injector and spark plug is operating at 50 hertz. In computer terms, automotive mechanical systems are ridiculously slow. Fuel injector pulse width, for instance is typically in the 1-10 ms range. The control systems and communication buses COULD be at fault, but as someone else already stated, sounds like a human panic event. Those systems are built to a much higher physical standard than most of the hardware we typically see in a server room or on a desktop. Their operating environment requires it. From an automotive control systems point of view, not likely much to see here...move along.

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