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Comments

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Happy Tau Day

Gadgetfreak Damn you, I'm a Mech Engineer, not a Mathemetician (298 comments)

We already use Tau for both torque and for shear area. The nature of both types of calculations typically involves circles, and therefore, pi. Yeah, I'm nitpicking, but the last thing I need is for my simple calculations to have three different uses of the same damned Greek letter.

Everyone knows pi. It's too late, it's been the standard for generations. The same goes for the English language - it sucks, but even though it makes logical sense to change to something better, good luck trying to get everyone on board that train.

more than 3 years ago
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My phone is ...

Gadgetfreak Re:Initial unlocked numbers a bit surprising (274 comments)

I too have the Nexus One, and always thought the adjective "unlocked" was amusing when it was never locked to begin with.

  But what I find more interesting is when non-gadget people ask me what phone I have, and then ask "who's it from." When I explain "I bought it directly from Google, unlocked, no contract" most people just don't comprehend it because they don't understand the concept of buying a phone outside of a provider, or that their on-contract phone that was provider-subsidized has trade-offs such as being locked and having some OS features removed and bloatware added.
Too many people (at least in the US) blissfully assume that you only get your cell phone from the service provider, and don't even grasp the concept that the handset and service don't have to be tied together well enough to realize they can't take their phone elsewhere.

more than 3 years ago
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Can For-Profit Tech Colleges Be Trusted?

Gadgetfreak Re:Non-Profit? (557 comments)

If I had mod points, I'd mod up. I came to this conclusion a couple years ago (a couple years after I graduated from a public university) when I noticed more and more 'hobby-like' liberal arts programs, along with much fancier classrooms and hotel-like dorms. Colleges realized that they can sell students on a promise and a dream, and leverage their payment with federally endorsed loans co-signed by the parents. The coming realization for US High Schoolers is going to be that college isn't for everyone, and with the cost continuing to rapidly outpace inflation, you're going to have to have a firm game plan in place before you even apply. It's far from guaranteed to be worth the money. Yeah, the Ivy League will always open doors, but a general "college degree" is becoming a very expensive and poorly defined label.

more than 3 years ago
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Why Dumbphones Still Dominate, For Now

Gadgetfreak Re:Price (618 comments)

I fully agree. I know plenty of tech savvy people who still use dumb phones. They simply chose not to take on that expense. It's not even the gadget cost, it's the monthly plan cost and contract.

I only made the move when my company blocked all personal email accounts along with most of the internet. Since I work for a DoD contractor, I can't get my work email outside of the office, either. So it effectively cut off my main form of communication with people. I got a BlackBerry. Since then, I've moved onto a Nexus One. Same data plan...

It's cost me thousands of dollars over the years. While I certainly enjoy the convenience and extra features, I do wish I'd found a better way to keep things simple and cheap, because I can't go back.

more than 3 years ago
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Julia Meets HTML5

Gadgetfreak Re:Why is this surprising? (129 comments)

Anything fun is blocked on my work computer. I barely got over 1 megaflop (although the counter refresh is slow) but repeatedly using the page makes my Nexus One toasty warm.

more than 3 years ago
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Hacking Neighbor Pleads Guilty On Death Threats and Porn

Gadgetfreak Re:What's not to like? (284 comments)

Agreed. Wide open WiFi creates reasonable doubt.

  That's why I use my neighbor's for my MPAA/RIAA torrents, and mine's on WPA2 and doesn't broadcast. If they get a C&D, they can play dumb, which I don't think will take any actual acting.

more than 3 years ago
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My laptop's battery's good for roughly ...

Gadgetfreak Re:9 year old Laptop (454 comments)

I just finally tossed my 12 year old Gateway 2000 (yes, still the '2000' in the name). Pentium 200 MHz MMX. 14.1" active matrix LCD. 2.8 GB HDD. 48 MB of RAM.
  The Li-Ion battery still held a charge worth ~45 minutes of use, although it was physically about the size and weight of a 3.5" HDD.
  But I scrapped it because the power cord died, and it wasn't worth spending money on a new one for the sake of the novelty.

more than 4 years ago
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On Pennies:

Gadgetfreak Re:Rounding to EUR 0.05 (594 comments)

Sure, we have imagination! The issue is, when we visit a Canadian strip club, we're too distracted by the novelty of being allowed to actually touch boobies. You'd get a slap in the face and a boot out the door if you did that here, so there's little interest in getting creative for a Toonie.

more than 4 years ago
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How To Build Roads To Control How Fast You Drive

Gadgetfreak Re:It doesn't work. (801 comments)

Agreed. I have an Engineering degree from UConn, and I was rather embarrassed to read the article. I still live in Connecticut, and I actually seek out unfamiliar, curvy, "slow" roads to drive my roadster on. I realize most people aren't driving enthusiasts, but if you build a twisty road, some people will want to drive on it because of that.

I've come to the determination that the adage amongst driving enthusiasts is true: It's more fun to drive a slow car fast than to drive a fast car fast. It's all about how fast it feels. The same goes for road safety... it's the perception, not actuality, that changes your behavior. You don't really need a study to prove that.

Look at Autocross events... people love'em, and they're a lot of fun. But rarely do you go over 40 MPH.

more than 4 years ago
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The Sad History and (Possibly) Bright Future of TiVo

Gadgetfreak Re:Why are markets for (490 comments)

I completely agree. I have a TiVo HD, and continue to use and enjoy it... but the problem is that I still have to deal with my cable company. I had to pester them for 2 months to get a CableCard out of 'em, and they still charge me $4 a month to rent it.

There's just something ridiculous about paying for information delivery, only to be charged even more money to decode the proprietary signal they send to you.

Before the TiVo, we had analog-only cable, and a Philips stand-alone DVR/DVD burner that worked just fine.

But this day and age, if you want more than 3 or 4 HD channels or even want to think about some of the geekier SD cable stations, you're still stuck having to get equipment from the cable company. And frankly, for the vast majority of people, it's just cheap enough not to care that it sucks.

more than 4 years ago
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Space Exploration Needs Extraterrestrial Ethics

Gadgetfreak Seems to me (162 comments)

that this guy just wants politicians to go watch Star Trek again.

Which is probably not a bad idea, now that I think more about it.

more than 3 years ago
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NHTSA Has No Software Engineers To Analyze Toyota

Gadgetfreak Why would they? (459 comments)

They respond to problems, they don't reverse engineer things. Does the FDA or the Surgeon General's office have engineers to paw through the lines of code in MRI machines or CT scanners, or anesthesia machines, or respirators, or any other number of computerized medical machines? No... they get tested emperically, just like cars do. It's very difficult to prove that some of these flaws exist.... remember the Audi "sudden acceleration" problems in the late '80s that almost killed the brand? That was pre-computerized throttle and transmission, and STILL was impossible to prove. Audi made pedal spacing changes, but largely to avoid the inevitable suicide of doing 'nothing.'

Engineers or not, it's going to be quite difficult to prove that there's an actual "flaw" in the design, let alone negligence,when there are so many millions of vehicles without issue.

more than 4 years ago
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Routine DNA Tests For Newborns Mean Looming Privacy Problems

Gadgetfreak Re:We've been doing this for years! (268 comments)

They never were a database to begin with. They were a collection kit that parents kept at home. If the kid goes missing, then you give the fingerprint card/DNA sample to the investigators. Otherwise, it sits at home.

more than 4 years ago
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The Largest File On My Personal Computer Is:

Gadgetfreak Re:100GB+ (362 comments)

It's the nature of MPEG2, though you must not be compressing much. I have a TiVo HD, and it's networked to my PC for extra storage. A 2-hour HD movie is ~20 GB, while a 1 hour standard-def show can be 1 to 2 GB. I don't know what processing the TiVo does, but these files are by far the biggest on my computer, and the sum total of them take up the vast majority of my HDD space.

more than 4 years ago
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Plug vs. Plug — Which Nation's Socket Is Best?

Gadgetfreak Re:Article summary (1174 comments)

Also in the U.S. we do have 220 volt plugs for high-energy devices that need more energy - things like stoves or hot water tanks. They are bulky three-prong affairs.

That was my issue - common room outlets are 110 VAC and 15A (often 20A in kitchens and other high-draw areas) in in the US, but the actual household mains in a typical house here has 220 VAC in the circuit breaker panel. It's merely split in two for the branch circuits. So while 110v is the standard, nearly everyone has 220v available. If you want a 220v outlet, you get a 220v breaker that bridges both buses, and making sure you have adequate branch wiring installed, put a 220v outlet on the other end. Done and done.

Most electric clothes dryers are 220v, and most houses are built with 220v outlets in the laundry area and garage area for large appliances.

more than 4 years ago
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How Terahertz Waves Tear Apart DNA

Gadgetfreak Re:The airport scanners are passive (279 comments)

For now. But the last paragraph of the MIT article indicates newer cameras will have their own emitters.

more than 4 years ago
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Student Loan Interest Rankles College Grads

Gadgetfreak Re:All mine were cheap! (1259 comments)

I thought they co-wrote all their songs?

Sorry.

about 5 years ago
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Do You Provide Tech Support To Friends and Family?

Gadgetfreak I don't mind at all (606 comments)

But that's largely because I generally get repaid like most other favors, like help with moving, or on other home projects requiring more than one person. Or I get repaid with beer/wine. Heck, a few weeks ago, I reformatted and reinstalled WinXP my wife's aunt's computer, due to a mess of viruses/spyware. But I spent 5 hours doing it because they kept my wine glass full.

about 5 years ago
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Chevy Volt Rated At 230 mpg In the City

Gadgetfreak Re:Vaporware (1006 comments)

A 1500W heater might work to *keep* a small room warm, but it would take quite a while to warm up a cold car with lots of single-pane windows.

Then there are wipers, lights, window defrosters, and heated seats that drivers expect in a car of that price range.

After all that, what's the efficiency of the batteries themselves when the temperature drops. Ever leave a fully charged laptop in a cold car and try to boot it? You'll find you "lost" some energy somewhere.

And who knows what summer a/c will do to the battery life...

more than 5 years ago
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MS — Dropping IE6 Support "Not an Option"

Gadgetfreak I use IE6 almost every day.... not by choice (374 comments)

I suspect that's the case for many people, at least in the US. It's on my company PC, which I have no control over. The scary part? I work for a gov't contractor. A big one. And the IT people have no interest whatsoever in trying something new.

Even my 11 year old laptop, which is still alive, runs FireFox on Win98. Not very quickly, mind you, but faster than it ran IE.

For reference, it's a Gateway (Gateway 2000 at the time) original Pentium 200 MHz "MMX" with 48 MB of RAM. And it only has a 10-base wired ethernet card anyway, so it's not like browser speed matters much.

more than 5 years ago

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