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Industry-Wide Smartphone "Kill Switch" Closer To Reality

Pentium100 Re:You can bet NSA has the keys (137 comments)

What would the govt of some place like Egypt have given for a phone kill switch?

Nothing. All governments have a cellphone kill switch that affects an area.Just turn off the towers in that area and no phone will work. And I doubt that the government would go trough the trouble of identifying the protesters one by one and just disabling their phone (which can be done now, just block the IMEI).

3 days ago
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Industry-Wide Smartphone "Kill Switch" Closer To Reality

Pentium100 Re:Bad, Bad idea (137 comments)

The idea behind this is that the phone somehow discovers that it was stolen and then bricks itself, deleting all the data. If somebody stole my phone, the thief would not get service (after I notified the police and the provider), but he would still have my data. And.he could rewrite the IMEI to something else to get service.

3 days ago
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Industry-Wide Smartphone "Kill Switch" Closer To Reality

Pentium100 Re:Industry-Wide, Hacker Triggers Phone Kill Switc (137 comments)

Or, authoritarian governments who don't like protesters organizing trigger the kill switch in a town where an ongoing protest is occurring anyone unlucky enough to be around when it happens no longer has a smartphone and cannot tweet/facebook/etc any longer.

Some protesters could have older phones without the kill switch. So, the more appropriate method is to ask (nicely, or send some guys with guns) the cell service providers to shut down all towers in the required area. This method works on all phones.

Cellphones are short range devices - if the government wants to, it can shut all of them down. Same with the internet.

What you need is a satellite phone and ham radio if you want to evade the government's attempts to silence you, for a while anyway.

3 days ago
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Microsoft: Start Menu Returns, Windows Free For Small Device OEMs, Cortana Beta

Pentium100 Re:So what about server 2012 first release? (387 comments)

What about Terminal Services? It may be a server, but it may be used by lots of regular users like a mainframe was used in the past instead of running IIS, Exchange or something like that.

about two weeks ago
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Daylight Saving Time ...

Pentium100 Re:How do these anti DST people deal with life? (310 comments)

A lot of people work "normal" 8-17 schedule or similar (9-18 etc), so they tend to go to sleep and get up at a certain wall clock time. Their bodies get so used to this schedule that they might even get up at the same time on weekends without an alarm clock.
Having to go to sleep one hour earlier (later) to wake up one hour earlier (later) throws them out of sync with their natural sleep cycle until the sleep cycle adjusts.

I have a weird sleep schedule (sleep during nights on work days and sleep during days when I do not have to go to work) so DST does not affect me, though I still hate adjusting all the clocks (my car, VCR, etc).

about a month ago
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Microsoft's Attempt To Convert Users From Windows XP Backfires

Pentium100 Re:8XP is what customer want (860 comments)

OTOH, people see Win8 UI hate it and not use Win8 despite the better security etc.

I recently installed Windows 7 - because newer games (that I wanted to play, like Bioshock Infinite) require DX10 or 11. I did not install Win8 because I hate the UI and the look of it - if I could have "Windows Classic" theme on Windows 8 (like it is on 7 and 2008), I would have used Windows 8. Yes, I can have Start menu on Win8 (actually I am using ClassicShell on 7 to have the Windows 2000 start menu (with search though)), but I cannot have window edges.

about a month and a half ago
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Your Next Car's Electronics Will Likely Be Connected By Ethernet

Pentium100 Re:Imagine (180 comments)

Do not want. All this complexity of modern cars makes me appreciate my classic car (no computers at all) more and more.

about a month and a half ago
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Why Your Phone Gets OTA Updates But Your Car Doesn't

Pentium100 Re:Electric vs. Gas Powered (305 comments)

Also - by what mechanism would the filament get thinner?

The metal evaporates. The thin part briefly gets really hot and so it evaporates faster (making it even thinner for the next time).

Pulsing, but not cooling off completely, does not damage the bulb as much as blinking. This is why some disco lights (that use incandescent bulbs) keep the bulbs warm (filament barely red) all the time. That makes the bulbs last longer.

about 2 months ago
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Why Your Phone Gets OTA Updates But Your Car Doesn't

Pentium100 Re:Electric vs. Gas Powered (305 comments)

Blinking lightbulbs wear out faster because of the thermal shock and also because the filament does not heat up evenly. The thinner parts of the filament heat up faster and more (because of lower thermal mass and higher resistance), later the heat gets distributed evenly. So, during the warm-up the thinner parts of the filament become even thinner. Slow turn-on circuits reduce the effect.

This was most evident in vacuum tube based computers - if you didn't turn them off, the tubes were more reliably than in a computer that was power cycled a lot.

about 2 months ago
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Why Your Phone Gets OTA Updates But Your Car Doesn't

Pentium100 Re:Electric vs. Gas Powered (305 comments)

That is to say, shouldn't it be the lights closest to the middle of the road that are on?

Yes. So, those lights are further from the side of the road (and the ditch near it).

That sounds like a rather odd buzzer feature, though I suppose it does encourage you to double the run-time of your lights.

I guess the "both small lights on" mode was supposed to be used in other times.

I'm kind of surprised they don't blink if they're supposed to be hazard-warning lights. That could give you another 2-3x the battery life as well.

The law probably required constant on lights. Also, blinking adds another relay and shortens the life of the bulb.

about 2 months ago
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Why Your Phone Gets OTA Updates But Your Car Doesn't

Pentium100 Re:Electric vs. Gas Powered (305 comments)

Yea, on my car only one side of the parking lights can be turned on at a time (the idea is to turn on the lights on the side of the car that is further from the side of the road) if I want the buzzer to stay silent. I can turn them on on both sides of the car at once, but the buzzer still sounds.

about 2 months ago
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Why Your Phone Gets OTA Updates But Your Car Doesn't

Pentium100 Re:Electric vs. Gas Powered (305 comments)

No, the idea is that if you leave the car parked on the side of the road and the road is dark (no lights), you leave the parking lights on so that other drivers can see your car and not hit it. Though the lights will turn off eventually (when the battery discharges).

about 2 months ago
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Why Your Phone Gets OTA Updates But Your Car Doesn't

Pentium100 Re:Electric vs. Gas Powered (305 comments)

Parking lights should be on when the engine is off (if you leave the car in a dark place).

My car has a buzzer to warn me when I leave the lights on (and remove the key and open the door). I guess they saved a really big relay and also there are times when I might want to leave the lights on. Also, in my country you have to have lights on all the time...

about 2 months ago
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Why Your Phone Gets OTA Updates But Your Car Doesn't

Pentium100 Re:Electric vs. Gas Powered (305 comments)

However, it also puts a load on the battery so if the battery is weak you may have problems starting the car again. And in my country, the conditions to overheat with a properly maintained engine (enough coolant, working pump) are very rare. I guess you can modify the car either way (add or remove that relay), but I think turning off the fan when the ignition is off should be the default.

For some reason Mercedes-Benz though that having a mechanical fan (the speed of which depend on the RPM of the engine) is good enough.

about 2 months ago
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Why Your Phone Gets OTA Updates But Your Car Doesn't

Pentium100 Re:Electric vs. Gas Powered (305 comments)

That is a stupid design just for saving a single relay (that would disconnect the fan if the ignition was off). After all, the engine is off, it will cool down on its own.

At least the fan in my car is mechanically driven by the engine, so when the engine is off the fan does not spin.

about 2 months ago
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Why Your Phone Gets OTA Updates But Your Car Doesn't

Pentium100 Re:Call me paranoid... (305 comments)

Where's the profit?

Fun and untraceability. While I do not remember anyone dropping caltrops on the road, quite few people drop heavy objects from bridges on the highway below. Also, placing caltrops means somebody might see you, doing it with radio waves makes it much harder to trace (as long as you stop broadcasting after a while.

There are also criminal organizations and causing a crash with radio waves is easier and less traceable than planting a bomb.

about 2 months ago
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Time Warner Deal Is How Comcast Will Fight Cord Cutters

Pentium100 Re:what price increases? (424 comments)

And in Lithuania I pay 23.17EUR/month for 300/300mbps advertised. I reality the speed drops to about 60mbps during peak time (but not every day), but the connection is very reliable and the ISP does not complain that I upload ~30TB/month.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Linux Desktop Users More Pragmatic Now Or Is It Inertia?

Pentium100 Re:Revolt against changes? (503 comments)

Most XP users use it because their current PC is good enough for what they do and they do not want to reinstall Windows or buy a new PC. If not for DX11-only games, I would still use XP (built a new PC in November) on my old PC. The 3GB RAM was a bit limiting, but not enough to 1) spend a lot of money on new hardware and 2) the pain of reinstalling Windows.

As for why Metro is bad while Android UI is good: Metro UI is good UI ... on a phone or tablet, but not on a desktop. Just like I would not use Android UI on my desktop, I will not use Metro UI too.

A tablet has a relatively small screen and is operated by touch. You need big buttons so that it is easier to touch them. A desktop has a large screen and is operated by keyboard/mouse. Metro UI places 5cm x 5cm or larger buttons, while I can easily click 1cm x 1cm icons, so it wastes screen space and makes me move the cursor further.

A tablet is usually used for one task at a time. I use my desktop with many windows open, most of them overlapping. If I had to use one full screen window at a time, I would be much much slower. I full-screen only two types of software - video players and games, everything else runs in windows that are usually considerably smaller than the screen.

The start menu takes up a small portion of the screen, but allows me to choose from many items. The start screen takes up the whole screen (there goes my context) and allows me to choose from a smaller list of items. Oh, and desktop programs are not on it by the way (at least for RTM Win8, don't know about Win8.1).

Another gripe just with Windows 8 UI - it gives no indication that some text can actually be clicked to do something.

Different interface for different devices (that have different uses). After all, I would not want to use this

about 3 months ago
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Incandescent Bulbs Get a Reprieve

Pentium100 Re:Wattage? (767 comments)

If you dim your 100W incandescent down to where it's only putting out 75W or so of light, you could replace that with a 13W LED and get equivalent light

But the light will be at too high color temperature and since it will be produces by multiple LEDs, there won't be clear shadown (lie using a regular lightbulb with frosted glass). And LEDs are not as dimmable (I sometimes dim the lightbulb so that the filament barely glows).

A diode in series would dissipate less power, but it would most likely mess up the dimmer (not that I have tested).

Also, the lighbulb I use is 60W long life (equivalent to ~40W regular) and the resistor would dissipate ~6W, if I used a 10W resistor I most likely would not need a heatsink or fan to cool it down.

about 3 months ago
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Incandescent Bulbs Get a Reprieve

Pentium100 Re:Wattage? (767 comments)

Yes. Also, when they manage to completely ban incandescent bulbs in the EU (or they just stop making them, even the inefficient long life ones) I am buying a few boxes or them and connecting a resistor in series to drop the voltage to make the bulb last longer. With 1.7kW base load (computers and bitcoin miners, another ~600W for AC in the summer) I won't notice the difference in used electricity.

about 3 months ago

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