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Comments

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Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential"

adolf Re:Tesla needs just a few more things (359 comments)

Ah, now we've officially extended the discussion to broad generalizations.

Most people (not all, but most), I'd day say, have families and already have two vehicles in the household. Using a particular one to use when making extended trips, and either one for everything else, is not an absurd proposition.

4 days ago
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Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential"

adolf Re:Tesla needs just a few more things (359 comments)

It's a perfectly cromulent approach in that it offers solutions to the perceived problems.

"Nails are hard to use because I keep breaking bricks on them" is an obviously silly thing to say when hammers are cheap and available.

Likewise, "Teslas are hard to use because they take forever to recharge, and only go a few hundred miles" is also a silly thing to say when other tools are readily available, especially since most people don't drive more than a couple of hundred miles round-trip on a regular basis and normally come home every night.

It's a matter of using the right tool for the job. I don't need to drive a car every day that can do anything, and most other people don't either.

I'm not going to explain why it's better to use a hammer, or the proper application of a wrench. Their relative merits are implicit.

5 days ago
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Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential"

adolf Re:Tesla needs just a few more things (359 comments)

Meh.

I drive quite a lot, at least compared to most people I know around here. I drive an old, small, fun, reasonably efficient gas-burner. Lately, I've been doing about 700 miles a week, and I'm home every night.

A Tesla would be awesome for this, if my current car weren't already so paid-for and weren't relatively cheap to maintain.

Every now and then (once or twice a year on rough average), I do drive more than 450 miles at a stretch. Filling up in minutes instead of hours is admittedly very handy.

But for a long trip, I can just rent something more appropriate. No big deal.

I made a conscious decision a long time ago that I didn't need to own a truck because I can always have Big, Heavy Things delivered, or just rent something more appropriate. ("Renting something more appropriate" usually means renting a truck by the hour from Lowes/Home Depot, but has also included U-Haul box trucks of various sizes. Either is economical and easy compared to owning, driving, insuring, maintaining...etc...a truck of my own.)

If I were in car-buying mode I could very easily decide that I don't need a gas tank, and that a Tesla would be a perfect fit.

If the Tesla is cheap to drive (it seems to be), and fun and comfortable (no stated complaints there that I've ever read), than yeah: A range of a few hundred miles would be perfect for the vast majority of my driving.

Sure, I'll occasionally need something else: But that's what rental agencies (and friends!) are for. ("Hey, you want to use my Tesla this week while I take your Honda to Florida for a week?")

So...*shrug*

5 days ago
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Apple, Google, and Amazon's Quest For One Remote Control Is Futile

adolf Re:Damn you, Amazon and your bluetooth! (130 comments)

I've seen it work perfectly more often than not. It's not rocket surgery, but just a matter of having the right tools for the job....

about two weeks ago
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Wi-Fi Problems Dog Apple-Samsung Trial

adolf Re:Why is everything else allowed on the network? (80 comments)

This is the best solution. But running wire is a PITA.

But the wire is already there.

Ever work on cabling in a courtroom after, say, 2005? I have. There's Cat5* reasonably close to all of the requisite points, already. There is at least one computer on the judge's bench, also hardwired.

Network cabling in the courts is a PITA, but it's already been done.

*: No, maybe not 5e or 6, but whatever: Even common gigabit performs just fine, by specification, on the plain-old Cat5 that we've had for decades now. There may also be Cat3 installed, but that's also a perfectly cromulent way to get 10Mbps 802.3 10base-T between endpoints on the Court Recorder system...which ought to be plenty, even with fast-talking lawyers driving the content therein.

And the press will still ignore largely it, bring in all their crap, and turn it on.

Then they dig their own grave. Let them. At least the proceedings will continue without interference.

about two weeks ago
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'weev' Conviction Vacated

adolf Re:Interesting (148 comments)

I was actually waiting for someone to bring up a rape analogy. Your analogy fails.

If you break up a rape, you've done two things: Witnessed wrongdoing and attempted (succeeded?) in stopping it.

If you pen-test someone else's network, you've done none of these things. Where's the witnessed wrongdoing? Where's the stopping it?

In the first case, of course you are (or should be) a hero. But to extend your analogy, in the latter case, you're done nothing more than check every girl you can find to see if she's rapable.

Apples and ugly.

about two weeks ago
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'weev' Conviction Vacated

adolf Re:sad day for those who don't like 4chan trolls (148 comments)

I'm a bit of a devil's advocate as I write this, but:

The law is already responsible for security. When I leave the cheap door locks on my house locked and the windows open (but locked, and because the weather is beautiful), and someone breaks in (by picking the lock, using a metal rod to bypass the locked window, a sledgehammer to knock the doorknob-lock off of the door, or just throwing a brick through the window), the crime is the same as if I had fancy Medeco deadbolts, high-security doors, wrought-iron security cages over the windows, a solid alarm system, and a well-trained attack dog: B&E.

The reason? As I understand it, it revolves around intent. I intend for my house to be secure, and therefore (in the eyes of the law) it is.

What makes electronic security different from physical security?

about two weeks ago
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Apple, Google, and Amazon's Quest For One Remote Control Is Futile

adolf Re:Damn you, Amazon and your bluetooth! (130 comments)

Huh? I'm not talking about the remote being a keyboard, I'm talking about the remote identifying itself as a keyboard. It's the equivalent of bar-code scanners that you plug into a keyboard port and that "type" whatever you scan with them.

Oh, neat. Where do I buy one of those? Will it work with my other stuff, too?

Keyboards have some buttons that are very good for remote control functions, like "up" and "down" and "left" and "right" and "enter" and "escape" and "pause/play" and "fast forward". Make a handheld stick with just those buttons, and have it pair over bluetooth as a keyboard, and that remote would then work with an Apple TV, an Ouya, a Fire TV, a Linux box running MythTV, a Windows box running Steam in big picture mode, et cetera, et cetera. That's what I'm talking about.

Oh, I guess it won't work with my other stuff: So when you want to switch devices (say, from using Apple TV to a Linux box with MythTV), you have to perform the device-specific re-pairing incantation? That's not handy. It promotes one-remote-per-device and therefore physical clutter and needless expense.

I see. There are features in a remote that I'm so uninterested in that I don't even think of them, that you consider absolutely essential. (Though a subset of those are easy. They could all be easy given specific device choices which I'm not going to assume.)

So you're uninterested in turning things on and off, and adjusting the volume?

You and I will not like the same remotes.

That's actually a realistic possibility.

But I dare say that you might be unique. Most people want a simple remote, and don't want to think through the configuration of their AV system every time they change tasks. I submit that this has been wanted by people ever since VCRs required people to tune to channel 3.

about two weeks ago
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Wi-Fi Problems Dog Apple-Samsung Trial

adolf Re:Why is everything else allowed on the network? (80 comments)

...which is a problem that is better-solved by having the local conglomerate provide a temporary, fast(ish) pipe for press over cable/*DSL, with a couple of well-configured 802.11g access points on non-overlapping channels (and another 802.11n at 5GHz, just because), with some decent QoS rules on a router and the WPA key of the day taped to the front of the judge's bench.

Have the court add it to the court costs. It's not even (relative) pennies on this scale, and it is in-keeping with some other things that court costs provide for: HVAC, lights, power, building maintenance...

Or, you know, hardwiring the court recorder's system....which has no business using 802.11 on ISM bands to begin with.

I'm sure I'm not the only one here who could optimistically have this all going, and going well, before lunch...or at worst, mid-afternoon on a lazy Saturday, with some behind-the-scenes tweaking on Monday morning to match traffic expectations with reality.

about two weeks ago
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Apple, Google, and Amazon's Quest For One Remote Control Is Futile

adolf Re:Damn you, Amazon and your bluetooth! (130 comments)

Well, the device presents itself as bluetooth using the HID profile. That's a start.

Perhaps. But being HID doesn't mean anything except that the name of that layer in the stack that it talks through.

IIRC, even the ODB-II Bluetooth dongle that I use to diagnose cars is an HID device. As are PS3 controllers. Ain't much standard about them, though -- at least not as-specified by the "HID" TLA.

Given that, I'd consider any remote that presents itself as a keyboard with well-defined keys to be extremely standard. (Remember, media control keys like "play/pause" and "fast forward" are well-defined and widely supported on keyboards already.)

Archaic. None of the "remotes" that I use in my living room are keyboards.

When I hear "remote," I think "something simple and dedicated that I can hold in one hand to easily control remotely-located things." I don't think "something with at least 60 buttons, some of which are actually useful, that takes up too much room on the coffee table, and functions only as a basic input for a single device."

(I in fact often carry a bluetooth device that's remote-sized and is a full keyboard with integrated two-button trackpad and built-in laser pointer. It's hard to beat for presentations, and also controls my AppleTV and my Ouya very nicely.)

Neat. Now how easily does it switch between presentations, AppleTV and Ouya? Does it change inputs on the TV and/or AVR? Turn things on and back off again? Turn the volume up and down?

No? Oh. I'd consider that a lousy remote, then. Double-lousy as it's as likely to be in your bag or in your office as it is available for other people to use.

That would currently require a bunch of one-off solutions, as there isn't a "standard wifi HID profile" to use. Myself, I'd rather have an app on my phone that presented itself to the world as a bluetooth keyboard or gamepad that I could then use even with devices that didn't have IP at all.

TCP/IP is only about as generalized as HID is. Try again. (Also: You fail at understanding "custom integration" as it relates to consumer electronics. IP or even RS-232 is preferred, IR is a distant third, and Bluetooth isn't even on the radar because Bluetooth is a PITA to implement).

(Hey, as long as we're talking about TLAs that generally don't actually work in the real world: HDMI CEC is also a complete pile of shit, even though it's supposed to solve all of these problems and has been "supported" by devices for over half a decade.)

Myself, I prefer my fixed electronics to be controlled by dedicated controllers, so that my friends/family can - gosh - watch TV without fumbling with an app on their own smart phone or borrowing mine from me or taking away from someone else's Flappy Birds time.

I imagine that if I were at Ddj's house and he had to step out for a minute, saying "make yourself at home," I'd stare blindly at a cacophony of different controller devices and have no idea how to make any of it work, and wouldn't even try to make anything happen because I might break something software-wise.

Nay. Play, Pause, Stop, up/down/left/right, Enter, Back, volume up, volume down, channel up, channel down, and automated input/power commands based on task.

-That's- the basis a useful remote. But it's not one that does "standard" Bluetooth HID.

about two weeks ago
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Apple, Google, and Amazon's Quest For One Remote Control Is Futile

adolf Re:Bluetooth alphabetic keyboard (130 comments)

An alphabetical keyboard, as an AV remote? How archaic.

about two weeks ago
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Apple, Google, and Amazon's Quest For One Remote Control Is Futile

adolf Re:Damn you, Amazon and your bluetooth! (130 comments)

If the bluetooth in use is extremely standard, so that other devices and even software can be used to "emulate" it, then I'm delighted, as I'll (eventually) be able to integrate the box with other stuff.

Is there any such thing as a "standard" Bluetooth remote?

If there is: Which store should I go to if I want to buy one?

That said...if you want custom integration, Bluetooth is overkill. These things are implicitly already on the network. Just use IP.

about two weeks ago
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Should Microsoft Be Required To Extend Support For Windows XP?

adolf Re:Difficult decision. (650 comments)

OS/2 was withdrawn from sale and ended support in 2006.

Sorta.

about two weeks ago
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Should Microsoft Be Required To Extend Support For Windows XP?

adolf Re:Microsoft still provide support for Windows XP (650 comments)

Sadly, I have a high capacity 8-bit ISA XMS memory expansion card for which driver support ended with MS-DOS.

My Voodoo3 3500TV also only only worked up through XP, but has no analog signals to receive now anyway; except I'd like to use it to digitize old VHS tapes. ...which, while all true, is more-or-less meritless. Nothing stops you (or me) from having an old XP box in the corner, securely disconnected from the network (or just properly firewalled), just in case you want to use some cherished old hardware.

Computers move on. This isn't a new trend. XP is twelve years old. You know what also doesn't work on modern OSs? My Diamond Speedstar 24x video card. (Oh, the humanity!)

And whose fault is this? It's not MSFT's -- they didn't write the drivers to begin with. In the case of the XMS card, I can blame Intel. For the Voodoo3 3500TV, I can blame a mixture of 3dfx and nVidia.

That all said, USB 2.0 NTSC input devices can be very cheap, indeed. Modern scanners tend produce very high-quality output for very few dollars.

about two weeks ago
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Nest Halts Sales of Smart Fire Alarm After Discovering Dangerous Flaw

adolf Re:Does everything need to be smart? (128 comments)

I think a fire alarm is an instance where I'd like something to have as simple and foolproof a mechanism as possible. I suppose a smart alarm could perhaps call the emergency services or something... but I'd still probably combine it with a bog standard fire alarm.

Because what I have in my kitchen is oh-so-much better.

I have a photosensitive smoke alarm that goes off every time I cook on my stove (and no, not because my food is on fire). My immediate response is to dismount the smoke detector, put it somewhere whereabout it could never go off, and continue cooking.

Sometime later, I have to re-install the smoke alarm until the next time. If I remember. Which, sometimes (I am human) takes a day or two.

I'd love to wave at the thing, and say "This is -intentional- smoke/steam/whatever," and keep it installed. I would pay extra for that. But apparently that's no longer an option.

Thanks, liability!

about three weeks ago
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USB Reversable Cable Images Emerge

adolf Re:Voltage != Power (208 comments)

A Type-C cable with100W racing through it sounds like a fire hazard to me.

Since you're a physicist, you should be perfectly able to apply everything you just wrote to the notion that the potential is not necessarily 5 volts. There could be more potential than that in later iterations; TFS doesn't say.

(I, for one, have never been satisfied with the notion that USB @ 5V is all that useful as a means of powering devices.)

about three weeks ago
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WSJ: Prepare To Hang Up the Phone — Forever

adolf Re:It is the single most reliable piece of tech (449 comments)

When I said "most," I meant what I said: Most.

Most small-ish generators are the type you see on construction sites or at harbor freight. They are loud. They do not have oil filters. Why "most"? Because they're the most available, and they're the cheapest.

This trend is not unique to generators, but extends to all manner of tools that consumers buy. Everyone should want a Simplicity mower, but most buy MTD. Everyone should want a Stihl saw, but most buy Poulon, HF, or other cheap tool.

The generator I was using was brand new, as in bought retail and unboxed on the first day of the blackout. It had a very loud Briggs & Stratton engine. It had a stated requirement for a fresh quart of oil every 30 hours. An oil filter would certainly extend that dramatically, but it was not equipped with one. Most aren't.

I realize that you're fond of telling people that they're wrong. But neither my observation, nor my anecdote, are wrong.

about three weeks ago
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Samsung SSD 840 EVO MSATA Tested

adolf Re:It's all about the IOPS... (76 comments)

I think the marketing people who sell them to us are full of shit, just as marketing people tend to be.

If I could converse with the engineers directly, my opinions may be different...but all I've got to work with is marketing fluff and speed benchmarks -- only the latter of which is useful.

SSDs haven't always been reliable. And brand name hasn't has much to do with it, either.

I mean, I expected the early SSD failures from OCZ. But Intel? Sheesh. (I presume from the 640k suffix on your moniker that you've been around plenty long enough to remember these debacles.)

In terms of Samsung in particular, they've somewhat-recently crossed the bridge wherein a single bit of flash can have more than two states. It's awesome tech. It's also entirely unproven.

And anecdotally, if I were to trust a company to build durable goods, I would not have had to replace two power supply caps in my 52" Samsung LCD TV. Capacitors are not wear-items in well-designed circuits, and inherently unreliable caps are inexcusable. The new caps (all $2 worth of them) have now been working longer than the original caps lived for. (Last I checked, there are lawsuits involved between consumers and Samsung related to these particular capacitors.)

Nevermind the well-vetted and wildly popular Xbox 360, most of the early units of which suffered a terminal Red Ring of Death...which itself was due entirely to an unfamiliarity with the properties of lead-free solder and bad engineering. (Yes, a failure of that sort is bad engineering. Engineers are not infallible.)

We do ourselves a disservice if we blindly trust that all of these things have already been figured out on our behalf, especially if a marketer is the person telling us that it's a good and durable design. Because time and time again, we get lousy products which aren't durable at all -- no matter what any marketing fluff might say, or a user's expectation might be.

That said, if you have any citation of a Samsung engineer talking freely about their latest flash technology, I'm all ears.

Meanwhile, I'm standing firm: We don't know how durable it is. You don't know, and I don't know. We do not have enough data at this time to make such a determination.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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When a greeter stops you from leaving a store

adolf adolf writes  |  about 4 years ago

adolf writes "Do you:

Stop and await inspection
Ignore any alarm and keep walking
Pretend to be deaf
Pretend to speak a different language
Keep moving, and drop a copy of the Fourth Amendment on the floor
Fight
Other (explain)"
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Slashdot's new comment interface blows chuks

adolf adolf writes  |  about 6 years ago

adolf writes "A couple of days ago, Slashdot changed its comments interface. Gone is the whitespace in its previously easy-to-read format. Gone are the simple textual links for replying and navigation. New is grey boxes surrounding each comment with a set of large grey buttons at the bottom of each. It is ugly and hard to read. Why the change? Why is it not user-selectable? Why do I find myself not reading comments anymore?"

Journals

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Jesus-hot

adolf adolf writes  |  about 9 months ago

So I'm cutting up a Trinidad Scorpion Butch-T pepper with gloves on, and sprinkling it around a pizza that I am going to cook and eat. Grown in worm casings, it is said to be the hottest pepper in the history of anything, ever.

I didn't have a surplus of worm casings when I planted my plant, Trisha (yes, I name my ridiculous pepper plants). But I did have enough household compost to dig a big hole and replace it with the results from a worm-heavy cold-compost pile before planting the little girl in the middle of that pile of worm-digested food.

Therefore I suspect she's very well-fed; indeed, she's grown much larger than any other first-year pepper plant in the garden, without any purposeful chemical treatments or chemical fertilizer.

I've grown ghost peppers (bhot jolokia) for a few years, and I think I understand what I'm in for. The Scorpions have just started to ripen for the season and this is my first of them.

So I pick a deliciously-colored one, quickly sharpen a good knife, and chop it up finely with gloved hands. Still wearing the nitrile gloves, I scrape the minced pepper from the cutting board and sprinkle it onto the pizza. And I take the gloves off and throw them away, because I'm done handling it now -- right?

But seeing those tiny morsels of pepper on that slab of cardboard crust, tomato goo, and imitation cheese makes me think: Gee, how hot could it be?

So I gather up a tiny sliver from the surface of the pizza with my fingertips and eat it. Yep: It's hot. So hot that it has no redeeming qualities, other than just being hot. None of this was unexpected, though at least by comparison a Habernero has a strong and sweet citrus quality once one gets past the pain... But there was no redeeming quality to this pepper: Just pain.

Well enough, I say to myself. I set the oven to pre-heat the oven and go take a leak while I wait.

Twenty minutes later, my fingers are fine. My palette is fine. My throat is fine. My genitals are on fire.

It's not like I can buy these things at the market, so it's amusing to see how persistent this pepper is in casual use.

And, by God, I'm going to cook that pizza. And I'm going to eat it. And I'm going to handle each and every bite with dishwasher-safe, stainless utensils, and I am going to wash them with an enzyme-based detergent and then a bleach-based detergent -- nobody needs to experience this on accident.

I might even put a fresh pair of nitrile gloves on, just to make sure that nothing that goes in my face winds up somewhere other than in my face when I eat this pizza.

But the question is: Why? Why not just enjoy some bland, cheap, freezer pizza? Why, while I wait, do I suffer from a special kind of burning nasal distress every time I emit a tiny burp or belch, having eaten just the tiniest sliver of a pepper? Why can't I just admire Trisha in all of her visual Trinidad Scorpion Butch-T delight? (She is a very lovely plant, after all.)

Why must I torture myself by eating her fruit?

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Wal-Mart gestapo

adolf adolf writes  |  about 4 years ago

So, the other day I was at Wal-Mart. My wife and I had done some shopping, and among other things (mostly food) we had bought a new-release Blu-Ray movie.

At the checkout, the clerk passed the movie over the security-tag deactivation thingie several times, but there was no response from it.

However, on the way out, the alarm went off. The greeter (an elderly woman) says "Over here, over here," motioning to me that I should go see her. I ignore her. She grabs onto the cart and pulls, as if attempting to stop me. Not stopping for even an instant, I calmly say "Ma'am, you have no right to hold me here," and proceed on my way. She lets go.

Behind me, through the open door to the parking lot, I hear her say "But you're SUPPOSED to stop."

Now, pause: Why am I supposed to stop? Did I do something wrong? Am I in some kind of trouble? Is anyone else in some kind of trouble that I should be assisting them with? No, no, and no. I own my stuff, I paid for it, and I'm leaving with it -- plain and simple.

I kept walking. When we finally reached the car, which I always park on the far edge of the lot to avoid car door dings and cart damage (cheap insurance, and a good walk, too), we calmly loaded our new possessions into the car. After that, my wife looks back at the store, and sees the greeter-lady standing there, holding the automatic sliding door open, watching.

We get into the car. The greeter is still watching. Wondering how long this can possibly play out, and what might happen if it did, we rolled down the windows and smoked cigarettes for a few minutes. Still, way over there, the greeter was watching.

The greeter won the staring contest, and we eventually left, but: blah.

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