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EU Votes For Universal Phone Charger

CCarrot Re:Use an existing standard please (358 comments)

Yeah, I totally hate HDMI cables too, they suck! So what if I can get pure digital HD video and audio on the same tiny cable, as opposed to the five required for component (with stereo sound and lesser vidoe quality). I just hate having to actually look at the cable and port I'm trying to plug it into: I'd much rather just jab them together blindly until it goes in!

Nice attempt at sarcasm, but you missed the point. People want 'everything'. I'd say that I've plugged more cables in under less than ideal circumstances than with a good view of what I'm trying to plug in - such as into the back of a computer when I can't see the back, less than ideal lighting, odd angles, etc.. Having a cable where I don't have to worry about orientation makes it so much easier. Component video is less than ideal because you still need 3-5 cables plugged into the correct spots.

Roughly speaking, the question might be WHY is HDMI only orientable in two ways? Could they have made it so it's reversible without sacrificing any utility?

Heck, consider the bandwidth available from coax. Why do we need all those wires, because it's cheaper?

Well, I suspect it would have something to do with keeping to a standard pinout. Yes, they probably could have made HDMI a fully x/y mirrored plug, but probably at the cost of doubling the number of power and data connectors, hence doubling the connector and socket thickness or length...while knowing full well that one set of contacts will be idle every time the cable is plugged in. Apparently apple gets around this by using both serial data paths at the same time, but the HDMI standard needed a bit simpler connection: it didn't have the equivalent of a desktop computer's processing power on either end to handle variable serial data streams across one set of contacts. Note that I said didn't: with the rise of smarter and smarter devices, it's entirely possible that now it does have that brains on either end...but we do have to pick a system and go with it, and the one that works with the widest array of devices will ultimately win in the end.

From an engineering and materials efficiency point of view, having uni-directional plugs is simply an accepted standard. Other than audio and component video cables (and that little apple plug, of course), what else is omni-directional? (Okay, the lightning plug is only bi-directional, but you know what I mean) Hard drive connectors (sata and IDE), all of the power connectors in your computer, 120V plugs, 20A plugs, USB cables, thumb drives, etc, etc, they only go into the socket one way: if you force it you break it. At least micro-usb has those little springy things on the bottom: I can feel them with a finger, figure out the orientation and plug in my phone in the dark, no problem. If it were a USB-A plug, I might be cursing a bit...

about 5 months ago
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EU Votes For Universal Phone Charger

CCarrot Re:Use an existing standard please (358 comments)

Speaking of power, those wall outlets supplying mains voltage also require orienting them correctly, as do ethernet cords, even fibre optic cords are designed to require proper orientation (though that one has always struck me as odd) people seem to manage all of these in their daily lives without issues, yet as soon as you put it on a phone it confounds them.

Yet they still manage to get their sparkly cases on their phones, even though there's not a camera and charger hole on both ends...funny, that :)

about 5 months ago
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EU Votes For Universal Phone Charger

CCarrot Re:Use an existing standard please (358 comments)

To be fair, a cable that is plugged in daily is a very different use case than one that is plugged in once and left plugged in until a component is replaced. The design tradeoffs are different if it gets a lot of plugging in/out action.

You mean...like USB Type A cables and thumb drives?

Yeah, maybe we should scrap the lot and go back to every developer using proprietary plugs to drive up peripheral sales. Works for me!

about 5 months ago
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1GB of Google Drive Storage Now Costs Only $0.02 Per Month

CCarrot Re:Yeah, you can totally trust your data... (335 comments)

Well, I don't use data upload software. That does not absolve the OS from a responsibility of elementary fairness among processes, nor routers from the same among connected devices. This is a primary function of OS and router.

That you admit through silence the same lack of features in CPU throttling, is proof enough.

Google drive might not be justified in omitting a feature that is necessary because of limitations of YOUR OS and router, but I wouldn't have the fundamental responsibilities of different software blurred.

Sorry, now you're just talking out of your butt. The onus for responsible resource management is not on the OS, it's on the programmer. I don't know of an OS that won't give a program whatever free memory and/or CPU cycles it requests by default (i.e., without the user setting explicit limits), because the OS frankly doesn't know what the program wants to do with them.

For video encoding, it's entirely reasonable that the software could peg the processors, bogging down everything else running on the computer, but that's a function of the nature of the program. It needs those cycles in order to process video in a reasonable timeframe, and the user should be aware of that when they install it. This behavior is not acceptable for, say, a browser, which is why Firefox got a lot of bad press about five years back: memory leaks and periodic takeovers of processing power. People complained because that's not what a browser should do, and rightly so.

Omitting throttling on an upload client is like omitting color correction in a photo editing suite. Sure it'll do most of what you need, but it severely restricts the usability.

about 5 months ago
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1GB of Google Drive Storage Now Costs Only $0.02 Per Month

CCarrot Re:Yeah, you can totally trust your data... (335 comments)

Ok, Google drive awaits the same fate then. I don't see a problem. But that is irrelevant because I was talking about expectations from software in general, which don't include throttling as universally as you claimed.

Just curious: what data upload software do you use that doesn't provide user-controlled bandwidth settings? I honestly can't think of any other than the GDrive client...well, perhaps browsers, but in their case the throttling has to be built-in and transparent (or a function of http traffic?), because when I use GDrive through the browser interface, it behaves.

about 5 months ago
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EU Votes For Universal Phone Charger

CCarrot Re:Use an existing standard please (358 comments)

The only actual features of the lightning connector are that it can be used by people who have suffered too much brain damage to understand spatial orientation

One way sockets that are hard to get the right way around first time annoy people. If you haven't noticed that, then you are very unobservant. If you think that kind of annoyance isn't worth fixing with new sockets, then you are an idiot.

Good plug & socket designs go in the first time, and don't require looking. Take the jack plug as an old, yet excellent example.

Yeah, I totally hate HDMI cables too, they suck! So what if I can get pure digital HD video and audio on the same tiny cable, as opposed to the five required for component (with stereo sound and lesser vidoe quality). I just hate having to actually look at the cable and port I'm trying to plug it into: I'd much rather just jab them together blindly until it goes in!

Same goes for DVI, S-Video and even VGA! Yeah, screw them all, I'll stick to composite, man! Fight the power!

about 5 months ago
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1GB of Google Drive Storage Now Costs Only $0.02 Per Month

CCarrot Re:Yeah, you can totally trust your data... (335 comments)

How does MS Excel allow the user to specify that 20% or 600 MHz of CPU is available for it? I couldn't find the setting.

I suspect your OS is better in fairness about CPU allocation than network. Foreground vs background heuristics are easier for CPU, I guess.

Um, I think you missed the point. If I were running a program that was bad-mannered enough to consistently hog all of the processing power available to it, then I would be 'throttling' it...by uninstalling it. Which is what I did for Google Drive.

I will not tolerate poor manners from people or from software.

about 5 months ago
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1GB of Google Drive Storage Now Costs Only $0.02 Per Month

CCarrot Re:Yeah, you can totally trust your data... (335 comments)

But default settings is for no rate controls on the OS or router side...meaning that both the OS and the router expect applications to play nice and manage themselves, or be user-adjustable at the very least.

Then your OS is not very fair about allocating network resources among running programs, is it? If it is across machines, your router is not fair about allocating network resources among connected machines.

For Linux, nice, ionice work well enough so that you could manipulate if you don't want fairness, though default behaviour is kind of "fair". Other operating systems would have their own mechanisms.

I am curious if CPU using software (e.g. spreadsheet, calculators etc.) come with CPU throttling settings.

That's an interesting thought.

Actually, they pretty much do: if I ran a calculator or spreadsheet that took every CPU cycle I had even for a couple of minutes at a time, guess what I would do? That's right, uninstall the bitch and use something more resource friendly...it's not like there isn't umpteen bazillion alternatives available.

There you go. Throttled to zero, due to poor resource management on the part of the developer.

about 5 months ago
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1GB of Google Drive Storage Now Costs Only $0.02 Per Month

CCarrot Re:Yeah, you can totally trust your data... (335 comments)

The problem isn't google using the bandwidth, it's exactly what the GP typed. ISP's (The very provider of the internet to your location...) throttles upload speeds.
That makes the upload speeds.... slow. That causes the problems you've mentioned, not the fact that google is using it.

So why, then, when I am using DBox, FileZilla, uTorrent, etc, etc, etc...etc it doesn't do this?

Google Drive is the only local upload client program that I've had this problem with. It works fine if I only use it via the web interface, so is it my browser that's keeping Greedy Drive in check? If so, why can't they upgrade their client to do the same?

Having the ISP unthrottle upload bandwidth would simply shorten the length of time that GD hogs the connection, not prevent it from doing so in the first place. It's like trying to water the garden with a damn firehose...

about 6 months ago
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1GB of Google Drive Storage Now Costs Only $0.02 Per Month

CCarrot Re:Th real cost (335 comments)

How does that compare to encfs?

Not sure, haven't used it :)

AxCrypt has an excellent user interface, though, and provides a self-decrypting option where you can encrypt a file, email it and the other person doesn't have to install AxCrypt to be able to decrypt it, they just need the shared secret (file or password or both). It doesn't automatically obscure the filenames, however, which it seems like encfs does (?)

I'm trying to figure out how encfs works: it's a filesystem / folder encryption program, yet the files are still individually visible to the operating system so you can back them up individually / move them around? Is that right? AxCrypt doesn't care where the encrypted file is, you can move it to a thumb drive, throw it on a cd, or throw it in DropBox...sounds like with encfs you can do the same, only it's a whole folder that you have to move all together, is that right?

about 6 months ago
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1GB of Google Drive Storage Now Costs Only $0.02 Per Month

CCarrot Re:Yeah, you can totally trust your data... (335 comments)

It's not the application's responsibility to limit its upload. Your operating system and/or your router should take care of that.

But default settings is for no rate controls on the OS or router side...meaning that both the OS and the router expect applications to play nice and manage themselves, or be user-adjustable at the very least.

Can you name any other application used to upload large amounts of data that doesn't provide user-adjustable bandwidth settings? My FTP client does, my DropBox does, even my bittorrent client does...I don't know about Picasa or FB, cause I don't use them, so I'm honestly curious here...?

about 6 months ago
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1GB of Google Drive Storage Now Costs Only $0.02 Per Month

CCarrot Re:Yeah, you can totally trust your data... (335 comments)

Eh? Can't you just throttle it at your router? How hard is that? Hand in your /. credentials plz...

Mom and Pop aint gonna be using Google Drive, so don't bother with that excuse... any Gen Y and beyond should know how to fiddle with a router.

On the contrary, I propose that Google Drive is squarely aimed at non-technical (or barely-technical) people more than it is aimed at network admins. Much like DropBox, it's advertised as easy-to use and universal, so it's very likely that Mom and / or Pop will be using it...then calling the grandkids when they appear to be 'losing the internet' at semi-random intervals.

Have fun talking them through setting up router-level throttling from halfway across the country...

about 6 months ago
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1GB of Google Drive Storage Now Costs Only $0.02 Per Month

CCarrot Re:You can get a 1TB external for like, 80 bucks (335 comments)

> Certainly not ease of access across multiple devices in and out of your own network or away from your own storage. Certainly not for backup, without investing in your own off-site recovery method.

Make a friend. Store it at his house.

Rent a safety deposit box.

Buy a fire safe.

Mail a copy to your mother's house.

The problem with "the cloud" is recovery speed. Upload speeds aren't that great either.

Or, you know, just send it upstairs and tell her 'this is important! don't lose it! And YES, I'll have some brownies!" :)

about 6 months ago
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1GB of Google Drive Storage Now Costs Only $0.02 Per Month

CCarrot Re:Th real cost (335 comments)

Just upload encrypted filesystem containers and go about your business.

Truecrypt containers are nice, but the downside is that the entire container has to be re-uploaded every time something inside it is changed. Good argument for having multiple small containers, but then it's a bit of a shell game figuring out where your data is...

If you're looking for file-by-file encryption, try AxCrypt. It can bulk encrypt / decrypt files, apply strong encryption, and securely shreds the temporaries once you close up a file you opened for whatever reason. And it's also open source ;)

about 6 months ago
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1GB of Google Drive Storage Now Costs Only $0.02 Per Month

CCarrot Re:Now we have an answer to the 20TB backup questi (335 comments)

10TB for $99 a month isn't too terrible for a backup if you value your data enough to do so.

That's $1200 a year. For the same $1200 you can buy a NAS box of equal or greater capacity that's yours and doesn't require monthly payments.

Pretty close.

Still, even at the price points I linked to it's still under a two-year payback window, and that includes setting the backup up as Raid 5 so you have some basic redundancy...

It doesn't help with the 'but what if the house burns down' argument, though. Unless you set it up at a friends house and use FTP, I suppose.

about 6 months ago
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1GB of Google Drive Storage Now Costs Only $0.02 Per Month

CCarrot Re:Yeah, you can totally trust your data... (335 comments)

Seriously. This "article" reads more like an ad. $120/year for 1 TB is more than 9 times what I'd pay for 5 years of a 1 TB internal SATA.

There are several problems with the whole "cloud" thing:

- I can buy a few terabytes of local storage for the same or less than paying Google
- Google constantly changes things (features, terms of service, etc) and if you don't like it, tough shit
- Encrypted or not, you have no control over your own data, they do
- ISPs severely throttle upload speeds. Getting a few terabytes into the cloud will take a really long time

Ah, if only...

Unfortunately, the biggest problem with Google Drive is that they don't provide any upload throttling at all.

So...post a folder of pictures to your drive account, then go do something else for a couple of hours, because your internet is useless until Google's done hogging all of your bandwidth...funny, DropBox had this figured out right from the start, yet after over two years of customer complaints, Google still hasn't figured out how to implement this.

about 6 months ago
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Environmentalists Propose $50 Billion Buyout of Coal Industry - To Shut It Down

CCarrot Re:How do we fill the energy gap? (712 comments)

In the USA, a kilowatt-hour of electricity costs an average of only 12 cents. Even if that doubled, the poor would still be able to afford some electricity.

Try removing 37% of the supply, and see what that does to the demand pricing. Bet'cha it does a heck of a lot more than double it...it's not like it's a luxury good that people can do without, anymore. It's light, cooking and for some, heat for their families. Imagine trying to retrofit a wood stove into every low-income apartment in the US. Then imagine the emissions from all those low-efficiency stoves...

Of course, one potential positive could be that we'd have fewer annoying blinky billboards around...*sigh*, probably wishful thinking, that...

about 6 months ago
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Environmentalists Propose $50 Billion Buyout of Coal Industry - To Shut It Down

CCarrot Re:The future (712 comments)

Kind of like how managers think you can just throw a few more programmers on a project and get it done on time...

Yep, pretty much.

They always forget the time required to get up to speed on the project / standards, and any extra training time...heck, it works when I put it into Microsoft Project, therefore it should work in real life!

*headdesk*

about 6 months ago
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Environmentalists Propose $50 Billion Buyout of Coal Industry - To Shut It Down

CCarrot Re:The future (712 comments)

They're not "theoretical", they already exist. At least in MA, we only have two coal plants left and they're both looking at shutting down.

The natural gas infrastructure is a bit lacking. There was a shortage this winter when everyone was warming their houses (not cooking burgers), so a lot of places needed to switch to oil which we really don't have infrastructure for. Some higher capacity pipelines would be a good addition to more renewables such as off-shore wind power without needing to rely on coal.

Sorry, I meant 'theoretical' as in brand new stations or new capacity at existing stations, which you would need to address if you are looking to shut down existing coal sites. Of course, if your currently built capacity is already sufficient to forego the generation from the coal plants, then there's no barriers...other than, as you say, cold cold winter nights where the gas supply can't keep up with the domestic load, much less industrial.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for switching to natural gas generation in favor of coal generation, but people should realize that there is a whole lot of infrastructure required to make that happen. It's not 'just' bigger, stronger pipes (although that's certainly a huge component...and not a simple process to install), it's also upstream compression, alternate supply routing (probably with additional compression), cathodic protection to keep the pipes from corroding, and in some areas it's additional specialized instrumentation required such as moisture, heating value and H2S analysis.

In comparison, coal can be trucked to site, burned and produce steam generation with minimal fuss. It's not hard to see how coal got it's stranglehold...

about 6 months ago
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Environmentalists Propose $50 Billion Buyout of Coal Industry - To Shut It Down

CCarrot Re:How do we fill the energy gap? (712 comments)

If we replace [coal] with things that won't meet the demand...

Demand for energy isn't perfectly inelastic, so in the absence of a price ceiling, there's no such thing as "won't meet the demand."

So, electricity is reserved for the rich, then?

Nice to know this isn't a step backward, no, not in any way...

about 6 months ago

Submissions

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New Fabrication Process May Realize Potential Of Solar Nanoantenna Arrays?

CCarrot CCarrot writes  |  about a year and a half ago

CCarrot (1562079) writes "From the article:

A novel fabrication technique developed by UConn engineering professor Brian Willis could provide the breakthrough technology scientists have been looking for to vastly improve today’s solar energy systems.

For years, scientists have studied the potential benefits of a new branch of solar energy technology that relies on incredibly small nanosized antenna arrays that are theoretically capable of harvesting more than 70% of the sun’s electromagnetic radiation and simultaneously converting it into usable electric power.

The technology would be a vast improvement over the silicon solar panels in widespread use today. Even the best silicon panels collect only about 20% of available solar radiation, and separate mechanisms are needed to convert the stored energy to usable electricity for the commercial power grid. The panels’ limited efficiency and expensive development costs have been two of the biggest barriers to the widespread adoption of solar power as a practical replacement for traditional fossil fuels.

Unfortunately, the stumbling block for nanoantenna solar arrays has always been the inability to produce a rectifier small or fast enough to convert electron flows to usable energy at the speeds of visible (and infrared) light. Researchers at the University of Connecticut have now developed a way to use atomic deposition technology (widely used in the production of microelectronics) to create small, fast rectifiers (or 'rectennas') that should, in theory, convert the high frequency electron flows generated by the nanoantennae into usable electricity.

Could this really be the breakthrough moment that at last allows an alternative-energy source to truly compete with non-renewable sources on all fronts: convenience, availability, efficiency and cost?"

Link to Original Source

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Facebook considering technology to allow children under 13?

CCarrot CCarrot writes  |  more than 2 years ago

CCarrot (1562079) writes "It's not clear where exactly these rumours are coming from, but apparently Facebook is trialing some methods to allow parental control for children's accounts. From the article:

Facebook is reportedly developing technology that would allow children younger than 13 to use the social network, potentially leading to increased concerns over privacy and safety online. The Wall Street Journal claims that various systems are being tested by the newly-listed Facebook, including connecting children's accounts to their parents, or controls that would enable parents to decide who their children can "friend".

Is this a good thing, considering we all probably know of at least one child under 13 who has an account (many having been set up with the help of their parents)? Or is this just another money grab in response to their reportedly declining revenues from widespread migration of users to mobile platforms?"
Link to Original Source

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Ask Slashdot: No comprehensive app for Slashdot yet?

CCarrot CCarrot writes  |  more than 2 years ago

CCarrot (1562079) writes "While looking for a comprehensive Slashdot app for Android, I was somewhat shocked to find that there isn't one out there (yet). There are plenty of apps that allow you to read stories and comments, including this one that lets you download and read stories and comments offline, however there are none (that I could find) that allow you to a) log in, or even b) post comments, not to mention check on friends' posts, monitor your comment history and replies, moderate posts, etc., etc.

To be fair, the mobile version of the site is very usable on cellphones and such, although html markup is rather a pain on a phone. It just surprises me that nobody has developed a dedicated app for it yet, especially considering that /. is 'news for nerds'. Any thoughts? Is one of the regular readers currently developing one in their oh-so-abundant 'spare' time? Or would anyone even use such an app if it were available? (besides me, of course...)"

Link to Original Source
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Intl. Scrabble dictionary updates with new slang

CCarrot CCarrot writes  |  more than 3 years ago

CCarrot (1562079) writes "FTA:

THAT'S definitely a word, innit?" could soon be the cry of many a Scrabble player battling their way to victory. New slang terms, including "innit", "thang" and "grrl", have been added to the official list of words that can be used in the popular board game.

One can't help but wonder what's next. Perhaps they'll add number tiles, so we can score 3x7r4 points for l33t?"
Link to Original Source

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