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Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Find Good Replacement Batteries?

rnturn Replacement batteries are nearly useless (131 comments)

I have some cordless phones that have served our household well for a number of years. The original batteries lasted a couple of years before they wouldn't hold much of a charge. I was able to work via the cordless phone via the speakerphone for over an hour before the batteries gave out. Now, a couple of replacement batteries later, I consider it a good day if I can stay on a phone call for, say, 20 minutes and that's using a battery that's only a couple of months old. It almost makes me wonder if they're not selling used batteries. With the replacement batteries costing $15+, it's not likely that we're going to do it any more. The missus is the last major user of the cordless phones and she's switching to mobile next month. The crappy battery life is one of the reasons she's switching.

I have worries that I'll run into the same battery rip-off with my laptop. And those batteries run upwards of $100. Given the track record of the supposedly equivalent batteries we've been finding for our phones, I'll probably go with an original manufacturer battery for the laptop.That's probably no guarantee but I'm guessing they won't be as bad as the third-party batteries.

about a week ago

Do Readers Absorb Less On Kindles Than On Paper? Not Necessarily

rnturn I don't know about the test subjects... (105 comments)

... but I have more trouble
reading text that is squished
into the tiny window of
an e-reader. Having to manually
scroll interrupts my reading
and I tire of the experience
quickly. Maybe that has
something to do with
their reduced comprehension.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: What To Do About the Sorry State of FOSS Documentation?

rnturn Re:Software Documentation is bad everywhere (430 comments)

My favorite commercial software error message fiasco was when I was asked to figure out where a cryptic error message was coming from. The message had no prefix telling which component of the software package was issuing the message. The message did not appear in the appendix where error messages were listed. When I grepped for the error message in the application's "bin" directory it turned out that all the binaries contained the error message; even utility programs that had nothing to do with the operation that was generating the error. It turned out that all of the executables contained all of the potential error messages that might be issued by any of the executables. (An insane use of an "#include" directive or something similar.) So much for the high quality of commercial software and documentation.

The best -- and last -- commercial software that I think had really thorough documentation was back in my IBM mainframe/mini and DEC mini days. You really couldn't fault the documentation that came with those systems at all. Except, maybe, the quantity of it; some serious shelf space was required.

about a month ago

If You're Always Working, You're Never Working Well

rnturn Re:What's Changed (135 comments)

Dang. I've previously posted a reply before reading this comment and have no mod points.

about a month ago

If You're Always Working, You're Never Working Well

rnturn Re:No thought required (135 comments)

``It's apparently far cheaper to just muddle along with a problem for years and years and years. Or at least until the company tanks.''

Or the people who constantly point out the problem leave the company in frustration. No more complaints... no more problem. It'll be a while before the replacement hires (if there actually are any) re-discover the problem and begin complaining about it.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Is Running Mission-Critical Servers Without a Firewall Common?

rnturn Re:Every stupid idea is common (348 comments)

Well... at least they were spelled correctly.

about 1 month ago

Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

rnturn What's holding me back? (550 comments)

``what is holding everyone else back from freeing themselves from contacts and glasses''

My opthamologist. Due to my very poor vision (something like +14 diopter correction, if memory serves) she highly strongly cautioned against Lasik.

about a month ago

Firefox 31 Released

rnturn Re:Trash (172 comments)

I would welcome with open arms and tears of joy a Firefox release that could survive a day -- heck, even half a day -- without crashing. It's such a joy to come back from grabbing a cub of coffee or lunch to find that I have to restart effin' Firefox and reload all my tabs again.

about a month ago

White House May Name Patent Reform Opponent As New Head of Patent Office

rnturn Re: USPTO management structure... (211 comments)

``Currently, the office is being managed by former Googler Michelle Lee, who was appointed deputy director in December. Earlier this month, Republican Senators led by Orrin Hatch (R-UT) sent a letter to President Obama that praised Lee but that also described the current UPSTO management structure as `unfair, untenable and unacceptable for our country's intellectual property agency.' ''

Knowing the business-ass-kissing^W^Wfriendly nature of your typical Republican Senator, I think the way to read that last bit is that the Republicans were unhappy that any restrictions are still in place on patentability and that they'd like the PTO to do nothing more than rubber stamp their campaign fund benefactors' patent applications and the quicker the better.

about 2 months ago

Boston Trying Out Solar-Powered "Smart Benches" In Parks

rnturn Re: Someone put gum in the outlets. (119 comments)

Forget liquids, though those could be a problem. Call me pessimistic but I predict that within weeks of rolling these out, each bench will have inoperable USB ports because the little plastic tabs in the connectors will be broken off. (Does anyone make a USB port with the internal tab made out of something more durable like nylon?) After a year, these could just be ordinary benches with some decorative but unusable electronics attached to them.

about 2 months ago

NASA Launching Satellite To Track Carbon

rnturn Re:Contempt for Curiosity (190 comments)

``So you work for the Heritage foundation.''

Heh, heh. The same thought went through my head as well. I'm surprised that some ultra-right-wing, climate-change-denying House member didn't notice the impending launch and try to pass an emergency budgetary measure to prevent NASA from putting up any satellites that might be used to monitor CO2 emissions. I'm predicting that the measurements will show large amounts of CO2 being released around large cities -- especially American cities -- and these folks will draw the conclusion that, since most large cities are Democratic-voting strongholds, the cause of any climate change is the fault of Democrats. The large CO2 releases from Bejing will be evidence that climate change is a Commie plot. Similar data showing London as a source will be proof that government-run health care is bad for the climate. And they'll get tons of air time on the Sunday morning talking head shows.

We need a good name for these people. The technology/progress-phobic we can call Luddites. We need a succinct name for the science deniers. Something catchier than "Effing Stupid Anti-Science Whackjobs".

about 2 months ago

How Apple Can Take Its Headphones To the Next Level

rnturn Re:Step 1 (196 comments)

I've never used used Beats headphones so I can't personally attest to their being crap. My daughter has picked up more Skull Candy earbuds than she should have had to so I can attest to their being fairly crappy based on the short lifetime they seem to have under regular use. The cables break down internally so that they become useless. My personal choice are Sony's earbuds. I bought a pair years ago to replace the stock iPod earbuds that hurt my ears or fell out all the time. (I don't even notice that I'm wearing the Sonys.) The next time my daughter needs an new pair, I'll pay the difference so she can have a decent pair of Sonys.

Of course, I'll never buy an Apple audio player (the iPod I have was a gift) so I really couldn't care less about what they do with their headphone or earbud jacks.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Is It Feasible To Revive an Old Linux PC Setup?

rnturn Re:Shouldn't be a problem (176 comments)

The OP seems to have all the HW and SW he'd need. I'm not even sure why he's worried. Aside from the possibility of bit rot having degraded his media, I would be more concerned that the hardware would be a problem and become a major time sink -- bad capacitors on the m'board, etc., that have you chasing your tail.

You might be able to run a modern Linux on hardware of that vintage but you might have to borrow memory from another, similar motherboard to get the installer to run. Back when I was running Linux on a 486, I had to borrow memory from another system to get the installer to run during an upgrade. Then I returned the memory and Linux itself ran fine with only 16MB. The oldest system I currently have running -- an old Pentium MMX system with only 127MB installed (it used to only have 80MB before I stumbled across some more memory in a box of parts) -- hasn't been updated to anything really recent because I no longer have any systems that use the same kind of memory that I can borrow to perform an upgrade and the older RAM, while still available, is not something I want to invest in. (Yeah... I do have plans to phase that system out in the not-too-distant future.)

about 2 months ago

Programming On a Piano Keyboard

rnturn What about ... (57 comments)

... using computer code or math to make music. Back in the (early) '70s, you'd sometimes see these weird commercials where Fred MacMurray (I imagine most /.ers just said to themselves "Fred Who?") was showing how a bunch of Korean schoolkids were doing math using their fingers on their desks in a piano-playing sort of action. The commercial was for some kind of learning aid to teach your kids how to do that. (Q: Does anyone recall those ads? What the heck was the name of the technique being hawked?) This was some years before hand-held calculators even existed let alone were actually affordable. I thought it might be interesting to use that to numerically integrate equations, somehow translate the finger action involved onto a standard 88-key keyboard, and see what comes out. Composition titles would be the equation being integrated. I figured the resulting music would have sounded something like Philip Glass or Steve Reich so public performances might have been hazardous to your health in certain venues. (For example, a place like this.)

about 2 months ago

Judge: $324M Settlement In Silicon Valley Tech Worker Case Not Enough

rnturn Re:More (150 comments)

``There's a special humiliation in seeing your home stripped...''

Yep... how would you like to face your neighbors after they've watched the contents of your home carted away for auctioning off?

Not having closely followed this case/trial (where's Groklaw when you need it) but surely there was an email trail that led to this decision/settlement. Either one that was revealed in court or one that would have named names that would have been revealed during the discovery phase. Extract all the names of those involved in those email threads and let the games begin!

about 2 months ago

Unisys Phasing Out Decades-Old Mainframe Processor For x86

rnturn The biggest surprise... (113 comments)

... to me was that Unisys was still selling computer systems. The only time I thought about the company in recent years was when dealing with their help desk software package. Prior to that my last contact with the company was having to use an aging 110x mainframe that was running EXEC-something. A horrible user interface, BTW. It seemed to be designed to make using the system a major pain in the butt. I was so happy when a co-worker pointed out that I could move my code onto the PDP-11 and actually get some work done.

about 2 months ago

One Developer's Experience With Real Life Bitrot Under HFS+

rnturn Re:Backup? (396 comments)

Even if you did have backups how could you even begin to know which saveset to restore from? You could have been backing up a corrupted file for a lo-o-ong time.

Friends wonder why I still purchase physical books and CDs. This is why. I'll have to come up with a simple 2-3 sentence explanation of the problem the OP was describing for when they ask next time. I've had MP3 files made from my CD collection mysteriously become corrupted over time. No problem, I can just re-rip/convert/etc. but losing the original digital version of your newborn would be heartbreaking. Make several copies to reduce the odds of losing it. Make a good print using archival paper and inks and keep in away from light in a safe deposit box so it could be rescanned should the digital file become corrupted. Of course, one can go overboard as not every photo is worth that kind of effort but it appears we might be starting to see, first-hand, the problems described in Bergeron's "Dark Ages II". Even worse what if this were to happen? (So don't even bring up the "cloud", OK?)

about 3 months ago

The Energy Saved By Ditching DVDs Could Power 200,000 Homes

rnturn These researchers need to get out of the lab... (339 comments)

... and find out what broadband is like in the private sector. It sucks like a tornado outside the major metropolitan areas. Between crummy bandwidth and data caps -- neither of which, I suspect, the researchers ever have to deal with -- physical DVDs are the easiest way to watch movies in many locations.

about 3 months ago

Goodbye, Ctrl-S

rnturn Re:Bah, we already said goodbye to CTRL-S years ag (521 comments)

Did this just happen?

Ctrl-S/Ctrl-Q still work in my terminal windows. I'm not sure how useful it is as my response time can be slow enough that it doesn't usually let me stop the text display in time when I see something I want to take a closer look at. (Setting up a whopping big scrollback memory helps with that, though.)

about 3 months ago


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