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Comment Re:Ah, a newbie (Score 2) 46

They didn't have caps, but I was billed per minute. Ah, the joys of rural living, paying exorbitant amounts of money for a 56k connection that in reality was closer to 14kbps. Oh, and the line was such poor quality that it would fry modems and cordless phones regularly. We never were able to get that fixed, I just kept a spare modem around, and we went back to basic analog phones that would likely survive a nuke blast. Dial-up tones cause my eye to twitch to this day.

Comment Re:How will you tell? (Score 0) 74

Oh no, he expects every unit to undergo thorough testing. And not any piddly flying probe type crap, oh no, every unit should be stress tested for hours while the senior greybeard stares at it sagely. It does cost several hundred dollars, surely they can work that into their margins. After all, automobiles cost tens of thousands, and there is never a safety defect on a single car that leaves the factory. Hell, manufacturing is easy. Children do it every day in sweatshops all around the third world, and look at the quality wares they produce...

Comment Re:Only the tip of the iceberg (Score 1) 42

They certainly have problems, but my dad has been living with lead acid batteries for his solar array, as lithium was too expensive at the time. The batteries will need replaced soon, but lead acid still looks like the way to go. The memory affect sucks, and power density is horrible, but they are pretty darn safe. I wouldn't want to short the system, but if you dropped a wrench on the output terminals it wouldn't be nearly as serious as doing the same on a lithium system, provided the protection circuitry failed. He may go lithium, but if so those batteries are getting moved into a pit external to the house, the potential failure mode is too ugly to have that bank inside the garage. I wouldn't want any portable device with lead acid, that's for damn sure, but they are still pretty darn viable for stationary use.

Comment Re:So many things wrong (Score 1) 338

Because no mechanical engineer has ever released a product that was defective in any way, no siree... And I'm sure the software running the power grid and every modern form of transportation is completely unnecessary. These things happen in every field of engineering, the CS guys just release more faulty products into the wild. In their defense, a respin for software is a hell of a lot cheaper than making new molds or changing a product mid-run.

Comment Re:False equivilency (Score 1) 420

While that's true, there are only a few prototypes made for each product. What of all the machinists who used to crank out production parts? Those jobs are gone forever, so are the motor machinists who used to rebuild your motor every 50k miles. Manufacturing is almost all CNC now, and consumer products are either non-repairable or last longer than they used to. Nobody overhauls their car engines anymore, and nobody fixes televisions. I wouldn't go back, but there are a lot of formerly promising careers that don't exist now.

Comment Re:False equivilency (Score 4, Insightful) 420

While you can't outsource blue collar work, look at the way many of the trades have changed in the last quarter century. While plumbing, electrical, and HVAC are still great money-makers, many other trades are nowhere near as good as they once were. Craftsmanship isn't valued, customers don't know or care how shoddily their mcmansions are built. Additionally, it's hard to find Americans (of any race) who are willing and able to do the work. Anyone with a work ethic and half a brain has been convinced they need college and an office job. Technology has also eliminated many blue collar jobs, mainly in manufacturing. This is happening worldwide; a machinist friend is one of only two machinists employed at his plant. 15 years ago this company employed 14 machinists and machine operators, and the business has grown since then. While the trades are safer than programming jobs, they aren't immune or safe by any measure.

Comment Re:I call BFD here (Score 1) 623

If you've ever been through Wyoming on I-80,theyve taken this into account. All the speed limit signs are electronic, and the speed varies with conditions. That way, people trying to drive 70mph during a blizzard can get rightly ticketed, even if they are doing 5 under the normal speed limit. Unfortunately, they didn't increase the max speed up to 80mph like they did elsewhere.

Comment Re: If they didn't want unlimited use (Score 1) 422

Really? Link me to a current Verizon ad that claims unlimited mobile data. They used to advertise that, and they honored those contracts. However, all of those contracts have expired, and anyone with an unlimited plan is now month-to-month. Which means that both parties can cancel the plan each month. Forcing Verizon to offer this plan in perpetuity opens the legal possibility of Verizon forcing the consumer to continue a month-to-month plan in perpetuity as well. Personally, I think it's a good thing they can't do that, or else they'd be taking full advantage of that.

Comment Re: Justice? (Score 1) 302

But if you truly believe that all governments are illegitimate, then the concept of buying a plot of land is also impossible. Without government, how exactly does one own a plot of land? Sure, you can defend yourself and force others off of that land, but what stops a better armed group from occupying 'your' land? Without government, the concept of private property becomes fiction, ownership is a merely temporary matter determined by whomever currently has possession.

Comment Re:I hate it when companies decide what's good for (Score 1) 284

I really wonder about that argument, though. Historically, privacy among a family is a relatively recent development. It used to be the norm for a dwelling to be a single room, and also common for parents and children to share the same mattress. I will agree with you that exposing modern children to pornography is much more likely to shock them than violent imagery, but that is only true for our culture. Children from sometime as recent as the settlement of the American West would likely be much more traumatized by watching die hard than watching porn. I suspect this change has a lot to due with cultural mores during the development of mass media: even radio programs directed at children (silver shadow, the lone ranger) had no compunctions featuring violence, but were very sexual repressive. Prohibition may be related, but that's just a WAG.

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