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Raspberry Pi Gets a Brand New Browser

SIGBUS Re:Awesome (107 comments)

Recent versions of the BeagleBone Black have 4 GB of internal flash and come with Debian pre-installed.

That being said, I have a RPi, mainly for use as a media center (one of the best uses for it).

about three weeks ago

Do Apple and Google Sabotage Older Phones? What the Graphs Don't Show

SIGBUS Re:Hardly new (281 comments)

I've noticed this problem (not the CPU so much as RAM and storage space) with my LG F3. Recent updates to Google services have bloated things enough that I have trouble applying app updates in its limited storage space, and multiple apps that used to work well together now no longer fit in available RAM. Sometimes I have to uninstall and reinstall an app to update it now. Things get cramped with less than 1.3 GB of internal storage, even with an SD card installed.

I'd love to see an up-spec F3 with double the RAM and gobs of storage (but keeping the SD slot and removable battery). I don't really need a hyper-expensive flagship phone, tempting as it may be. For all of the F3's faults, it has LTE, good RF performance in general, and outstanding battery life. It also puts the lie to the claim that you can't have a slim phone with a replaceable battery and an SD slot.

about 2 months ago

My most recent energy-saving bulbs last ...

SIGBUS Switched to LED for porch lights (278 comments)

I've generally had about 3 years or so from CFLs in the porch lights, which are on all night (approx. 9-15 hours per day depending on the season). I'm still working my way through a six-pack of CFLs (the others are inside), but last fall I decided not to wait for the CFLs to go before switching the porch lights to Cree soft white LEDs. So far, I'm quite happy with the results, especially with the instant full brightness regardless of temperature. When it's -14 F, CFLs are pretty dim.

about 2 months ago

The lightbulb I've most recently acquired ...

SIGBUS Re:Cree FTW (196 comments)

Last fall, I switched my front and back porch lights from CFL to the Cree 60W-equivalent soft white LED bulbs. It was nice to have full light output on even the coldest winter days, and the light looks so much like an incandescent that it would be easy to think it really was (except for that little dark spot at the tip of the bulb). As a bonus, they use less electricity than even the CFLs (13W for the CFL, 9.5 for the LED).

Inside the house, though, I still have a bunch of CFLs to work through before I switch them over. I mainly wanted the full brightness at low temperatures for the outdoor lights.

about 3 months ago

Overkill? LG Phone Has 2560x1440 Display, Laser Focusing

SIGBUS How about a higher-spec F3 instead? (198 comments)

I've been running LG's F3 for a while, and there are things I love about it, and other things that I hate.

The good: Incredible battery life (can get two days with moderate use and still have battery to spare), slim design that can easily be operated with one hand, reasonably fast CPU, bright IPS display, good RF performance, and LTE. Also, it has a replaceable battery and a MicroSD slot.

The bad: That MicroSD slot is needed, because there's less than 1.3 GB of internal storage, and there's only 1 GB of RAM. Fortunately, Firefox allows you to move it to the SD card, otherwise I wouldn't be able to run it.

Suggestion: take the F3, and add more RAM and internal flash. A quad-core CPU would be nice, but isn't really necessary.

That being said, in spite of the overkill display, the G3 at least has brought back the replaceable battery and the MicroSD slot, which went missing on the G2.

about 3 months ago

Tesla Makes Improvements To Model S

SIGBUS Re:All the improvements could want except... (136 comments)

What he hasn't done yet is created a compelling alternative to the gas-powered car. The Tesla has a very clear niche where it might be practical if cash were no object: private garages and long, regular commutes of 50-100 miles: long enough to make you want to travel in a luxurious car, short enough to fall comfortably within the Tesla's range, home-based so you can recharge overnight.

Exactly. It's an executive car - but that's a good place to start. Advance the technology and make it available to the early adopters to get the ball rolling. The biggest single obstacle to making long-range electric cars available to the masses is the price of the battery pack. The reason a Nissan Leaf is relatively affordable is that it doesn't have the huge battery pack needed for long range.

Now that Tesla has taken care of building the cars, and the charger network is expanding, it's on to scaling up the battery production, and that's where the upcoming Tesla/Panasonic battery factories step in. Aside from reducing battery costs and increasing production for the cars, they should be useful as storage for charging stations as well.

I know there's a lot of impatience (I want my electric car NOW, and Superchargers on every corner!), but starting a car company from the ground up isn't easy, especially when you're taking over a century of auto industry tradition and standing it on its head. I'm glad to see the progress that's already been made, even if it's still a long time before I could afford to go electric.

America needs more businessmen like Elon Musk and fewer like Donald Trump.

about 3 months ago

Google's Business Plan For Nest: Selling Your Data To Utility Companies

SIGBUS If Google did Clippy... (167 comments)

It appears you are running a marijuana grow op. Do you want to:
( ) Hire an attorney
( ) Locate nearby vendors of weapons and security systems
( ) Find out about hydroponic equipment and cultivation techniques

about 5 months ago

Groove Basin: Quest For the Ultimate Music Player

SIGBUS Re:Foobar2000 for Linux (87 comments)

Foobar2000's big win is in its music library handling. You can view it by folder, by genre, by artist, by album artist, or make up your own sort criteria (including sorting by any tag that you might define). Nothing else I've tried even comes close.

about 5 months ago

Groove Basin: Quest For the Ultimate Music Player

SIGBUS Re:Foobar2000 for Linux (87 comments)

Foobar2000 runs perfectly under WINE on Linux and OS X. I have been using it for years without any problems. So far, the only flaw I have found is that it does not find new music placed into your media folder after it finishes scanning for new files during start-up, so you have to restart the thing to help it find music just added.

For values of "perfectly" that include pops, clicks, distortion, and lack of 24-bit support, in my experience.

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

SIGBUS Bad Capacitors (702 comments)

Come to think of it, that's about the time that bad capacitors started turning up in just about everything electronic. Motherboards and power supplies seemed to be the worst offenders, though, and poorly-made caps are still popping up (sometimes literally) today.

about 5 months ago

60 Minutes Dubbed Engines Noise Over Tesla Model S

SIGBUS Re:Because Hollywood. (544 comments)

That's true for audio-only recording work as well. The musical performance that sounds wonderful when heard live will turn out to have all sorts of background noise (noisy HVAC, people moving about, things being dropped, audience whispers, and so on, not to mention cell phones).

about 6 months ago

Dear Asus Router User: All Your Cloud Are Belong To Us

SIGBUS Which D-Link model? (148 comments)

I have a couple of D-Link DIR825-C1 units on my network, both with DD-WRT, one in client bridge mode and the other as my router. Both have been rock solid, and a worthy upgrade from my classic WRT54G boxes.

about 7 months ago

James Gosling Grades Oracle's Handling of Sun's Tech

SIGBUS Re:Solaris name dead, but OSS code lives on (223 comments)

I took a look at OpenSolaris late in 2009 when I was considering building a new storage server for home. I really liked what I saw (ZFS, COMSTAR, and the built-in CIFS support), and wound up using OpenSolaris for the new build. Then, Oracle decided to spoil the party. I'm very glad that illumos got off the ground; once OpenIndiana came out, I switched over to it.

As much of a Linux fanboy as I may be, I really like OI or OmniOS for storage server duty, and OI makes a nice virtual machine host with VirtualBox and SMF scripts as well. I would like to see better hardware compatibility, though...

about 8 months ago

NZ Traveler's Electronics Taken At Airport; Interest in Snowden to Blame?

SIGBUS Re:Chromebook For This Situation (453 comments)

Well, then you're trusting Google not to hand your data over to any random government official in whatever countries you travel to or through. Not to mention, is your connection between the Chromebook and Google encrypted? Is it worthwhile encryption or something as easy to crack as WEP?

Even though it's now over 14 years ago, I deliberately chose not to travel with a laptop to the UK. IMO, the best bet if you need a computer is to get a cheap netbook or refurbished laptop, and install your OS of choice onto a freshly-wiped drive. When you get it home, consider it compromised, especially if Mr. Customs Man has taken it into a back room and/or plugged anything into it.

about 9 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Best FLOSS iTunes Replacement In 2013?

SIGBUS Re:Clementine Player (317 comments)

Have they fixed the lack of gapless playback? The last time I tried Clementine, there were playback gaps between FLAC files, which really shouldn't happen. Is gapless really that hard to do? The same applies for music players on Android, by the way.

about 9 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Best FLOSS iTunes Replacement In 2013?

SIGBUS Re:Foobar 2000 (317 comments)

Not really. I've tried it a couple of times, and got lots of distortion and dropouts. I'd love a Linux port of Foobar, but that's not going to happen.

about 9 months ago

Is the Porsche Carrera GT Too Dangerous?

SIGBUS Re:In aviation (961 comments)

Two words: Beechcraft Bonanza. The early version became known as the "fork-tailed doctor killer" for precisely that reason. The people who can afford them often don't have time to keep their skills current.

about 10 months ago

Is the Porsche Carrera GT Too Dangerous?

SIGBUS Lack of stability control (961 comments)

I've always wondered if stability control does more harm than good. It can encourage people who know better to push cars harder in the belief that the electronics will save them from trouble. Meanwhile, drivers who grow up with it are unlikely to learn basic driving dynamics (since once again, the stability control takes care of it).

We already recently had a discussion about this in aviation, where automation is usurping basic piloting skills, resulting in situations like the Air France 447 crash. In that situation, we had a panicking pilot desperately pulling back on the stick, which is the worst thing a pilot can do in a stall.

about 10 months ago

SSD Manufacturer OCZ Preparing For Bankruptcy

SIGBUS Re:How many? (182 comments)

Then again, Intel's 330 is notorious for not getting along with T60/T61 Thinkpads. It happened to me as well - something about its power management didn't get along with my T61; it would randomly freeze the system for about 30 seconds, and no combination of registry hacks and/or driver upgrades or downgrades would fix it.

The workaround was to replace the drive with a Samsung 840. No more freezeups. The Intel drive went into one of my desktops, where it has worked flawlessly.

As for my OCZ experience, good riddance. I had one of their PSUs pop one day. As usual in this situation, it was caused by crap capacitors. Naturally, it was a couple of months out of warranty.

about 10 months ago

Electric Cars: Drivers Love 'Em, So Why Are Sales Still Low?

SIGBUS Re:Terribly engineered for actual customers (810 comments)

On top of all that there are a few bad design decisions. First is they keep trying to put too big a battery in the cars; this is just stupid until batteries get cheaper and better. Just meet the average commuter's needs for a round trip with margin and you will sell them a car. The next design disaster is when they try to simulate a real gas car by putting a piston engine in as in the volt. The best solution would be to have a low power gas turbine (5-10hp) that can charge the car's battery slowly. This way you eliminate range anxiety by allowing the person to realize that they don't have enough juice to complete the journey so they kick in the turbine (or automatically when they set a destination that is beyond the battery's range) which will buy more range. If the turbine doesn't provide enough immediate range the driver could pull over and get a coffee while the turbine adds a mile of range every minute or two.

Gas turbines have been tried in cars, but the problem is that a large mass spinning at extremely high speeds doesn't work out well in a car environment. The sudden changes in direction (both turns and especially bumps) are horrible for large turbine bearings. Something the size of a turbocharger can handle it, but the equivalent of an even a small aircraft APU is a different beast.

Lastly there are all kinds of engineering gaps in these cars. One interesting one is heating in colder climates. In the winter around here a smaller battery would be eaten just keeping me warm, especially if I am waiting in the car. One simple solution would be to have an alcohol heater which would be simple and single purposed for keeping me warm. This would be great if you could turn it on 10 minutes before you get into the car and it would warm up the car and maybe even the batteries.

Note that resistance heaters have given way to far-more-efficient heat pumps, so it's no worse a range hit than using air conditioning in summer. The HVAC on even a Leaf can be remotely fired up while still hooked to the charger.

Then the last and most important bit which is battery life. That is how many years will these batteries run the car. We all have laptops where the batteries have cacked after a year or two; often fairly suddenly, one moment we had a battery life and then the battery is complaining seconds after unplugging the laptop. So the car companies need to either warranty the batteries and maybe even set an eventual replacement price in stone.

Setting the price in stone might be a bit of a problem, but they are putting warranties on batteries. The Leaf's battery warranty is 5 years/60,000 miles, Tesla's 60 kWh pack is 8 years/125,000 miles, and their 85 kWh pack is 8 years, unlimited mileage.

Even with all that, an electric still isn't workable for my own use case, though it comes close. It's still the whole road trip issue for me. A Leaf would fit 90% of my driving, but it's that last 10% that's the deal-breaker. Sure, I could rent something for the long trips, but that can get expensive.

about 10 months ago


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