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Comments

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SSDs vs. Hard Drives In Value Comparison

Sandbags Re:Maybe missing the point (263 comments)

As a boot drive, it does impact boot speed significantly, and to a very limited extent other operations, but is that really a value? Saving 15 seconds once a week or so booting a desktop, is that really worth not only $110, but the complexity of needing 2 drives, and having to micromanage windows to keep it running pretty much at all in less than 80GB of space (40GB for win7? give it up, I have a boot, app, swap, and data drive, yes 4, and I'm careful about what I put on C:, and migrated what services I can to other drives, and I"ve got over 70GB used on C:. Widows is a hidden file and temp space bloat nightmare, not to mention swap space, ram dump space, and snapshots... The Windows folder alone is 11.4GB).

An SSD used for a heavy use volume, like DB logs, swap volume (though you;re better off buying more RAM for less), a video editing/scrub drive, etc, is a good idea for power users, but not really viable for the masses. At a 50-75% premium, you might see this more common, but in notebooks limited to 1` drive, unless they're extremely purpose focussed machines, and hold no audio or video files, an SSD is a grossly overprices waste with little run-time benefits.

more than 4 years ago
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Sidestepping A-to-D Convertors For Town Government's Cable TV?

Sandbags Re:Cut the cable (539 comments)

Waiting areas in hospitals, taxpayer funded clinics, and other municipal offices. They mayor certainly needs a TV handy, as does any office impacted or having to react to national news. As you said, firemen (and others) on 1on-2off shift rotations. Guard desks in rather un-trafficked locations (can't stare at a video camera showing no change all day). There are a lot of reasons a municipality has a TV contract. Most of them actually do pay for much of it.

What's likely the issue here is that the vast majority of the TVs in use here are older tubes, and do not support digital cable decoding onboard as pretty much every TV does today. ("cable ready" TVs all do analog, but mostly only HDTVs do digital as well). If Comcast is not using a digital TV compatible signal, they should provide the boxes at no charge as part of their agreement to provide basic cable service.

If the municipality is still using 5+ year old TVs in great numbers that are not digital capable (TVs over 24" were all to be digital capable as of 2005, half of all of them in 2004, and all TVs 32"+ before then), they should switch, as the electric savings alone will likely pay for the TVs over the next 5 years, and that's not Comcast's problem. In order to hook up their free cable, they had to buy those TVs inistially, right? Anything more than 5 years okld in a government building is legally depreciated, and should have been scheduled for replacement. The municipalities' failure to rotate out TVs crossing age markers by including such in the budget is their own problem.

more than 4 years ago
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Dell Selling Faulty PCs

Sandbags Re:Yep (484 comments)

Agreed.

Not to mention, After 5-7 years, I've sold machines for half their purchase price. They cost more up front, but less to maintain (mostly in software savings), and their resale value is great!

I just checked out a site for reselling old hardware when you buy new. My 18 month old Core quad, 4GB, high end graphics, multiple HDDs in RAID, and custom case? They claimed it had a street value of $0. I had to pick an i5 processor for it to tell me my street value was over $50. Looking on eBay and Craigs list, I can buy used machiones 1-2 years old for under $100 any day. Macs? I sold a 17" iMac 1GHz (lamp model) with 768MB of RAN for $750 18 months ago. I sold a 20" first gen Intel iMac for $600. I sold a 6 year old PowerCompouting Clone for $850.

You pay more, but the return is so much greater that the next mac is cheaper than any PC. The service is far superior. I've even gotten help with Windows on Macs for my mom via tech support, something even Dell won't do on their own PCs.

We only buy Macs now. I had not had one for years (dad still did, but not one in my house since 2003, as I was a Microsoft and Linux admin, and had too much crap already to keep track of than add a mac to it all). My wife wanted one for video editing and for using in her classroom, so we got her a PowerMac last year to replace her PC notebook. I'm working on replacing my VM desktop with a 27" iMac (what better platform to virtualize several systems on), and the only PC I expect to have by the end of next year is my performance gaming rig.

more than 4 years ago
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Dell Selling Faulty PCs

Sandbags Re: Dell support contracts (484 comments)

I've called Dell about inferior replacements that showed up onsite, and Dell's policy was "they never advertised performance, only size and spin speed" and this part met those qualifications, and was the approved replacement part.

I've also seen many techs with the right part screw up rewiring the board, not being able to get USBs working again (or thinking they had a bad board when they simply failed to double check if the power connector was in the right pins). I've seen techs there to replace a hot spare kill a raid by pulling the wrong drive a dozen times, and I've seen techs who can't do anything beyond replacing the part (don't know how to even get in the BIOS to establish the new drive as a RAID member).

After market replacements are not covered under warranty, so I can't fault Dell for screwing that up. As far as replacing them with better at one time, then lesser (but still better than original) later, I've never seen that happen once. Per my understanding, Dell, as does HP and Acer, track each part by ID number in a build, not a default config of generic parts. They know exactly which part is in each machine, because almost everything they sell is custom order. I've even been told before that a part in my machine was not covered because it was not the part they had in their database, because a tech came out to replace 2 drives in 2 machines, and put the wrong one in each, swapping serial numbers.

Fact is, more often than not, and I've seen Dell contractors in 11 cities, the guys coming out are not even as good as BestBuy's in-store techs/geeks. They're generic, $12/hour part jockeys with little training and no knowledge who are on staff merely because that's all a company can afford to pay someone who gets $70 flat fee for an onsite job, and no one who knows more takes pay that low.

Real service? you find it at your local outlet or service center, not by rent-a-geeks. Apple's in store people ROCK. When IBM had shops around town, their people knew their stuff too. When I worked for a compaq certified server shop, we had to continually train people, even in high class products we didn't sell. I was in training 3-4 days a month just for compaq, another 2 for HP, Then DEC, NEC, Okidata, and more. If I wasn't inside a machine, I was inside a book, or a classroom, and failure to keep all our techs to that standard meant loss of our contract for repair. Then comes along some company faxing us offers to fix Dell stuff, flat rates, no materials, not even access to service manuals, at at lower pay and no travel expenses included. It was a joke, and we told all our customers that what you got when you bought Dell, a guy dispatched by a fax with no data...

more than 4 years ago
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Apple, AT&T Sued Over iPhone 4 Antennas

Sandbags Re:They may have a case (435 comments)

Blame the FCC for that, not AT&T. Maximum frequency density has been achieved, only more air space can solve the issue. The iPhone 4 supports an additional band of 850MHz signal, not available on most other current AT&T phones, not to mention HSDPA, and now the the rollout is complete in NY, and since started in Cali, it should not be long until you see the same 70% fewer reported issues come your way. Most NYers did not notice not as the rollout was gradual, but the numbers are significantly better now. I was in NY and NY 2 months ago, and had no issues at all on several iPhones and an iPad, and Verizon gave us all sorts of issues for the few in our group with their wares.

Verizon is better there because they have significantly fewer callers per sq mile per channel, but as people flee AT&T to Verizon, this only makes verizon's issue worse. Also, Verizon's LTE is no 700MHz band, they're rushing to market a keyword, not a technology, and in it;s airspace it will get basically the same speed as 3G HSDPA, but at 2.5 times the power drain. (same as sprint it seeing with their WiMAX 4G, which is benchmarking slower than AT&T and HSDPA phones in Charlotte where both services are deployed). AT&T is rolling our 700MHz LTE, which will be delayed by several months due to restrictions, but since it's a NEW airspace, not taking signal away from an existing one, AT&T can continually add network and 2-3x the speed of Verizon LTE, starting in June next year, while Verizon has to cripple their existing towers to segregate off LTE in the same airspace, further accelerating their inevitable signal issues.

more than 4 years ago
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Blizzard To Require Real First and Last Names For Official Forums

Sandbags Re:While I do agree I still dislike it in general (833 comments)

A few hours of some lawyers debating over the legality of this issue (let alone the legal battle that I can nearly guarantee will occur, combined with a mass exodus from their game servers by the paranoid masses), would be well in excess of the cost of a few months of a few hundred people having their accounts suspended, and even companies that make profits don't miss those from the very lowest scum of their subscribers when they boot them. Plus, booting people can also be a big positive for those who pay and equally want the scum gone. Good morale in a forum by banning those who deserve it can go a long way.

more than 4 years ago
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Apple, AT&T Sued Over iPhone 4 Antennas

Sandbags Re:Just Return It (435 comments)

Confirmed they're all on the same tower and frequency using APple exclusive diagnostic tools or electronics to measure and confirm frequency response? Doubt you did that.

School radio facilities should not interfere in AT&T airspace (if they do, AT&T would be crawling up your ass (also would love to se a written statement from your school confirming this was done, as I call BS on that idea completely).

Water behaves nothing like tissue in regards to SAR, interference, or more. Water can actually amplify some signals, and refracts and causes interference with others, depending on angle and size of water body.

Did you use a large sample size of iPhones? doubt that too.

HOw about comparing that to some folks with actual signal measuring equipment, professional lab setups, not to mention the FCC and each government's equivalent to that in more than 20 countries all testing the device and reporting no complaints.

more than 4 years ago
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Blizzard To Require Real First and Last Names For Official Forums

Sandbags Re:While I do agree I still dislike it in general (833 comments)

This is simply handled by associating the forum account to the online account/game key. Get banned from the forums could also easily ban you from in-game. There's no need for revealing your personal ID (except to Blizzard) so long as forum membership is tied to a game account (active or inactive), and anonymous posters are simply not al;lowed. Proper moderation based on a system of reporting the assholes, and limiting the number of posts per day/hour of new forum members until they build up sufficient karma/post counts also helps limit the crazies. Balancing the reporting is also important. Reporting someone as a troll should have repercussions if you;re reporting someone simply based on disagreement (ie, their facts are balanced or they make good statements, you just don't like it, so you mark them troll, and that should get you banned quicker than making troll-ish comments).

Blizzard could very easily handle forum trolls by banning their battlenet/wow account for abuse. Revealing personal information is a nice idea, but not necessary, and imposes much risk.

more than 4 years ago
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Apple, AT&T Sued Over iPhone 4 Antennas

Sandbags Re:Good riddance (435 comments)

Well, since the devices don;t all exhibit this behavior, and many of them can't even be made to ground out, I;d call it a failing of manufactruing the coating proerly as it is applied to the metal rim (which shouldbe non-conductive to begin with).

I happen to have a significant engineering backing, heavy in both electronics, magnetics, and RF. I'm not an antenna engineer, but I can do the calculus and understand the physics involved very well.

The release was from anandtech, and was a well done fairly scientific, repeated multiple times on multiple devices, and using fairly professional equipment and both lab and field testing methods. It's a preliminary study, but a very competent start to a larger scale analysis. They're a well trusted source.

19db is bad, top of the curve bad, but the average is over 12 and the previous generation iPhone, which no one noticed, dropped 13. More so, better IS better, since usability and reliability actually means something compared to number on paper.

As for the car, every car performs better or worse depending on how you drive it. Shit, just making more right turns and fewer left turns can have as much as a 10% impact on your driving. That's not a valid analogy anyway. Better is better if there's no drawback vs the current option. A new system might have it;s own limitations and quirks, but so long as those limits are at their worst still above the options otherwise available, and the limitations and quirks do not introduce new negatives, then that is the very technical definition of better (not perfect, which all you anti-apple people think you deserve nothing less than).

I'm not pro or ant any vendor. i take no allegiances. I'll drop one product to buy another anytime there's a good reason to, and I'll always recommend the best product for a person's needs regardless of any perceived personal preference. I'm a systems analyst and solutions engineer, I have to be open to options. To some I recommend apple, to others android, and to others to stay the fuck away from smartphone entirely. I recommend widows to some, mac to others, linux/unix. IBM to some, Apple to others, though I've not found a reason to recommend dell to anyone in many many years. My interest here is stopping FUD, propogandsa, and general bullshit and hate flowing here. Wether the data anandtech has meets your requirements of scientific enough or not, fact is, no one else has ANY data, and until they have contrary data, it;s conjecture, and is to be dismissed or studied, but not commented on, and certainly not sued over, until there IS such data.

more than 4 years ago
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Apple, AT&T Sued Over iPhone 4 Antennas

Sandbags Re:They may have a case (435 comments)

I can't speak to sweaty hands, but if that's your situation, probably best you use bluetooth anyway (i know very few joggers who do any different, and fewer still who jog with a smartphone at all).

As for AT&T coverage, I don;t care about maps that cover places people don;t live. AT&T covers 97% of us with a voice/data concurrent network. As for our firm, we had verizon, we dropped them. We're in a big city, and have offices in 15 others across 5 states, 15K employees over half of which have a company phone. 20% were complaining about verizon coverage, and more that there smartphone didn't work when they were on a call.

On AT&T, we do very factually get more bars in more places, we only have 3% of people still complaining (small enough that we got the ones that mattered femtocells). We get 5 bars in every part of our corporate tower now, except 3 in the elevator and basement. We can SEE the Verizon tower from the building, the AT&T tower is a mile farther away, yet AT&T gets us better signal, fewer dropped calls (we actually track that btw), far superior 3G speed, and we can actually check e-mail while on a call, or use GPS and be on a call, which was not possible on Verizon (nor sprint).

Even in NY, signal stability is up 70% in a year with 40% more airtime available, thanks to a few hundred million AT&T spent, and some frequency trading in the 850MHz band the FCC helped them out with to get more airspace. SF is working better, and getting better weekly. I was in manhattan 4 weeks ago for several hours, and in NJ most of a weekend. 4 iPhones and an iPad, not a single dropped call. 2 verizon phones and 1 sprint, 16 dropped calls. On a 650 mile road trip, pandora didn't stop streaming on the 1 phone one time.

Also, 19db drop, that's still got more signal than a 3GS sitting on a table, or a nexus one. and at the same db, very weak -119db signal, the iPhone 4 did calls and data concurrency, where the 3GS could not even hit the tower, nor the nexus.

This issue is entirely a user perception one based on how the carriers want to see "more bars in more places" by dramatically lowering the threshold of 5 bars to where 2 bars used to live on the line...

more than 4 years ago
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Dell Selling Faulty PCs

Sandbags Re:Yep (484 comments)

I'm in one of the 50 biggest cities in america, 70 miles from one of the top 20, and less than that from another, about 150 miles from a top 10 population center. Dell subcontracts here. I know, I've worked for 3 of them in the past, and even at our form of 15K employees, we dropped Dell for IBM last year because they continued to send subcontracted SERVER techs to us that couldn't reformat a RAID...

more than 4 years ago
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Apple, AT&T Sued Over iPhone 4 Antennas

Sandbags Re:"Difficult or impossible" is a lie (435 comments)

In fact, in scientific testing released yesterday, even though when held "wrong" there is a 19db drop off in signal strenth, this was still a stronger signal than the 3GS was capable of, or the Nexus One. Further, at the same signal strength, the iPhone 4 can make and place calls, while maintaining a data connection, when the other two can't even associate to the tower. It IS a far superior anteanna, even when effected. This is entirely a user perception issue, relying on 5 bars on a screen that are completely arbitrary to actual signal strenth.

Now, what I'd Like to see, is fome FCC guidance on exactly how many bars should be shown at specific dB measurements, so this confusion can finally end, but that's no fault of Apple's (AT&T specifies the bar scores).

more than 4 years ago
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Apple, AT&T Sued Over iPhone 4 Antennas

Sandbags Re:Class Action Lawsuit (435 comments)

It should be noted, in the case of the MacBook motherboard replacement, the suit was settled before it entered the court. Apple essentially gave the machine a lifetime motherboard replacement warranty (actually I think they capped it at 5 years, still way more than generous), and apple already covers laptop and portable device waranty shipping both ways if you live more than 60 minutes from an apple store.

more than 4 years ago
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Apple, AT&T Sued Over iPhone 4 Antennas

Sandbags Re:wrong, no contract if returned (435 comments)

More so, if you used an upgrade option to get the phone for $200 instead of 600, that is ALSO returned to you as if you had not used it. This is backed by federal law. You can not get screwed signing up for a contract you didn't like, or buying a device you don;t want. In some cases, there will be a restocking fee for returning a fully functional device, but AT&T and Apple have confirmed if you demonstrate the issue, there will be no restocking fee.

more than 4 years ago
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Apple, AT&T Sued Over iPhone 4 Antennas

Sandbags Re:Just Return It (435 comments)

If you return a phone, whether you opened a new contract, or simply extended a previous one, by federal law they must dissolve the changes (or creation) of the contract upon return, anytime within 30 days of purchase. You can at most be charged the prorated month's airtime you used, and in some cases (which do not apply if a device is returned defective) a restocking fee not to exceed 15% (which if you return it to apple directly, regardless of where you bought it, that is waived in any case).

Further, have you seen Anandtech's testing? This issue is irrelevent, and entirely based in eser perception of what the screen is telling them, not in RF frequency response, or the device's call quality or signal strength. Even when held, it gets better signal than other devices, and at the same signal, can make calls when others can't even connect to the tower. It;s better in every category, except that signal does drop more when held (to a value still better than older devices).

more than 4 years ago
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Apple, AT&T Sued Over iPhone 4 Antennas

Sandbags Re:Just Return It (435 comments)

correction: when held NORMALLY it only dropped 19dB. the 3GS dropped 12 in the same conditions, and the Nexus one dropped 7. Even after the 19dB drop, it had stronger dB signal when held than the other two, and at the same db range the other two could not even connect to the tower while the iPhone 4 could make ands sustain both voice and data calls (and even concurrently).

The drop IS more pronounced, but the signal is STILL better. I call that irrelevant.

more than 4 years ago
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Apple, AT&T Sued Over iPhone 4 Antennas

Sandbags Re:They may have a case (435 comments)

The FCC does it;s own testing, and Apple also has to have very specific scientific tests of the radio done as well, before they can even put the prototype in the hands of a field tester on the network. You know not of what you speak. Pleas stop spreading FUD. This was extensively tested, and even with a 19dB drop off, was found to be superior to the previous iPhone, hold calls at lower dB, and even when held, have more dB than the 3GS and several other tested phones.

Quit buying the bullshit and look at some (finally released yesterday) scientific data. Everything before yesterday was conjecture and perception, and had NO basis in reality or fact. This is not a problem, it's a perception of a problem.

more than 4 years ago
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Apple, AT&T Sued Over iPhone 4 Antennas

Sandbags Re:Good riddance (435 comments)

Even "shorted" and after dropping 19db, the iPhone 4 still has more signal strength in the same conditions as the 3GS or Nexus one, so it's IRRELEVANT data (typically we call it propaganda), and the iPhone 4 even at the same strength hold signals much better and farther from the tower than any other tested phone, and can connect and maintain good call quality calls when the others can not even contact the tower at all.

This is a user perception issue, not a technical failing.

The iPhone 4 in fact is the best cell phone Apple has ever released. This is validated by scientific signal measurement. (even when it;s being held "wrong.")

more than 4 years ago
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Apple, AT&T Sued Over iPhone 4 Antennas

Sandbags Re:Good riddance (435 comments)

Fact: even when held, and the iPhone 4 signal drops by approximately 19dB, it still has a stronger signal than the Nexus One or iPhone 3GS (both of which also drop off when held as well).
Fact: At -113db, neither the 3GS nor Nexus can connect a call, let alone maintain one, and the iPhone 4 can do both, and can maintain that signal strength significantly farther from the signal source, even when held.

Yes it has drop off. Yes, you may see 5 bars become 1 (out of a 140dB scale, 5 bars to 1 bar is only 43dB on most phones, so that more than half of the time, when you have better signal, you always see 5 bars, this is an insistence from multiple carriers, not just Apple and AT&T). On average, and in testing, the iPhone 4 does have superior signal strength either way, hold calls better and farther, and is in fact correct in Steve Jobs saying "far superior to any phone we have released."

The Nexus 1 looses 8db when held. The 3GS looses 12. The iPhone looses 19. However, when it looses 19, it's still higher than the 3GS... This is an issue of user perception, not scientific fact or manufacturing defect. MANY phones drop more than 20DB when held in certain ways, and on almost all new devices, due to FCC regulations, the antenna is at the bottom.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Beyond Biofuels - Carbon Neutral WindFuels

Sandbags Sandbags writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Sandbags (964742) writes ""The Holy Grail". For years, energy researchers at the DOE and elsewhere have dubbed the conversion of CO2 to fuels "The Holy Grail". No experienced chemist has doubted that it is possible, or that the theoretical limit to the efficiency of doing this is probably between 75% and 90%. The problem has been that prior proposals for doing this conversion have had efficiencies of only 20% to 30%. In other words, the chemical energy in the liquid fuels produced (gasoline, ethanol, etc.) would be less than the 30% of the input energy required, and that input energy would be mostly electrical, which is expensive.

The combination of the eight major technical advances Doty Energy has made over the past two years will now permit this conversion to be done at 60% efficiency. That's high enough efficiency for carbon-neutral fuels made from waste CO2 to easily compete with petroleum (the fact that the cost of petroluem has increased 3-4 fold since Doty started working on this has helped as well), especially when the input energy is from wind. Hundreds of distinguished scientists and engineers have reviewed the materials on this website, and no significant technical problems have yet been identified.

The breakthroughs permit production of carbon-neutral ethanol, gasoline, and many chemicals from waste CO2 and wind energy that will be competitive in the open market. These processes have been simulated in great detail, and are absolutely sound."

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