* Posts by rcxb

742 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Aug 2018


Car dealers openly beg Biden to put brakes on electric vehicle drive

rcxb Silver badge

cost, reliability and serviceability were more important

Years back, a friend bought an old used Taurus, and asked me to check it out.

It had a plastic (likely ABS) splitter on the coolant system/hose next to the battery, with a very small takeoff going to a smaller hose. This looks like it: https://images.carid.com/gates/products/22337.jpg

I bumped said smaller hose, which promptly broke the small plastic bell-end and sprayed me with antifreeze. That's not what I call reliable or even particularly serviceable.

This came on the heels of having owned 3 Fords over the prior decade or so, which were all maintenance burdens. That Taurus nonsense convinced me to thereafter switch to buying GM vehicles, where I've never seen any such stupid and fragile powertrain components. Have had an extremely good tract record with GM vehicles since. (Better than Toyota and Honda vehicles owners I know, though of course it's quite a small sample size.)

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Re: Interesting lines from the article

The article refers to sales of "light duty EVs and hybrids", which isn't a useful measure of EV sales alone.

...and you couldn't be bothered to click the link in that same sentence to go to the source and see the breakdown of EV sales?

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Re: Interesting lines from the article

The real question is what percentage of new car sales are EV

And that was in the Reg article, too. So what's your complaint?

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Dealerships are parasites, adding no value while taking a big cut of car sales. They have lobbied many state governments successfully to make independent dealerships a legal requirement, enshrining in law their rent-seeking position in the new car market, otherwise they would have gone extinct long ago.

They're overplaying their hand, here. If they don't quickly adapt to selling more EVs, they'll find automotive companies bypassing them, as they enter a death-spiral, just linger around for a time and fighting each other for the last few scraps of an ever shrinking ICE vehicle market.

In fact, I'd say they are a threat to national security... Inhibiting the uptake of EVs causes greater reliance on imported foreign oil supplies, much of which is supplied by sometimes-hostile nations.

If Trump or any other Republican gets elected next year, they'll very likely get their way, and EV adoption will be delayed by years.

Ex-school IT admin binned student, staff accounts and trashed phone system

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Re: The three rules of effective revenge


"France Has Extradition with US"

Someone better tell Roman Polanski

Bank boss hated IT, loved the beach, was clueless about ports and politeness

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Re: Every single time

I still remember it fondly.

Well then, it must not have been one of the units phuzz touched.

Datacenter architect creates bonkers designs to illustrate the craft, and quirks, of building bit barns

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Black Helicopters

multiple fully underground 260,000 Gallon Swimming Pools at 10 metres by 10 Metres by 10 Metres each!) and a way to radiate the waste heat to the outer environment without it AFFECTING said outer environment (i.e. for stealth hiding purposes and for keeping negative local environmental thermal affects to a minimum!)

So you built a data center under Yellowstone, and that is the real source of the Old Faithful geyser?

How TCP's congestion control saved the internet

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Incredible backbone speeds

One reason that I give credit to congestion control algorithms in explaining the success of the internet is that the path to failure of the internet was clearly on display in 1986. Jacobson describes some of the early congestion collapse episodes, which saw throughput fall by three orders of magnitude.

The reason the internet didn't collapse is that the backbones were able to continue to get drastically faster. More than just keeping up with traffic growth. That has ensured that the vast majority of the distance of your data travels, is entirely free of congestion, with congestion only an issue at the last mile. This reality is very different than the old 1980s assumptions of telcom networks, that we needed protocols that would handle heavy congestion all the time.

1 in 5 VMware customers plan to jump off its stack next year

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there don’t appear to be many options

How many supported enterprise level virtualization systems do you think the world needs?

Citrix Xen



Red Hat Virtualization


Most have a pretty good free tier if you have in-house techs.

Several more options if you consider containers.

Intel to build hush-hush fabs to bake chips for US military

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Re: Simpsons prognosticated this

Intel has been supplying components to the defense industry since its inception.

The joke was that they would stick a logo on a missile to advertise.

The only thing that has changed is that they've realized the risks, and they're getting serious about preventing infiltration and sabotage.

CompSci academic thought tech support was useless – until he needed it

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Re: Depends.

Americans do not speak English and I don't know why they insist that they do.

Quite right. Thither tis but one c'rrect f'rm to writeth.

IBM to scrap 401(k) matching, offer something else instead

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Re: Not sure this is the right interpretation

there is little incentive for the investment company to provide class-leading service or fees.

There is incentive. People can opt out of the 401k entirely, and perhaps privately invest in an IRA instead. Company executives are in the same 401k plan as low-level employees. Individuals may opt to keep their money in the same 401k plan after leaving the company if the terms are reasonable.

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Re: Now scraping under the barrel

It's not unusual for bad employers to offer 401k services with long term yields of -10% annually.

"For 2011, the average total administrative and management fees on a 401(k) plan was 0.78 percent" -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/401(k)#Fees

401k plans typically have 50+ investment options to choose from, and I have yet to see one that doesn't have an S&P 500 option with low fees. They certainly offer options that have higher fees, but only people so lazy as to not read a couple pages and select a good investment option will get steered into those.

If you don't like your company's plans, the moment you leave the company, you can transfer the entire cash value of your 401k into any brokerage firm's "Rollover IRA" account and invest it without restrictions, even day-trading with your balance. Or more realistically, sticking it in a lower-fee S&P500 fund. And of course you can just opt-out of the company 401k plan entirely if you choose.

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Re: Not sure this is the right interpretation

The attached strings are that the administration & underlying investment is controlled by the employer and their choosen investment company. The individual cannot (E.G.) use the funds in the account to purchase an S&P 500 ETF, and earn the 10% (or whatever) tax free for their working life.

The employer does choose the plan administrator, but they typically have 50+ investment options to choose from, and I have yet to see one that doesn't have an S&P 500 option, with the low fees.

The moment you leave the company, you can transfer the entire cash value of your 401k into any brokerage firm's "Rollover IRA" account and invest it without restrictions, even day-trading with your balance. Or more realistically, sticking it in a lower-fee S&P500 fund.

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Is there an answer to this conundrum? Probably not,

Restructure taxes... make capital gains double or triple its current rate, and restore tax-advantages back to dividend yields.

That way, holding shares for long-term investment would become preferred over juicing short-term profits and selling your shares to a bigger idiot.

Theora video codec to be coded out from Chrome and Firefox

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Unfortunately there's now an av1 patent pool mudding the waters.

MPEG patent-holders have always been spreading FUD about patent-free codecs. This is to be expected. It's an existential threat to their business.

The MPEG-LA got a pittance settlement out of their court case, and were being investigated by the US Department of Justice for their anti-competitive actions. Nokia's patent claim failed in a German court. VPx has not fallen afoul of a single patent yet, and the huge players implementing AV1 like Cisco and Google without being sued is a pretty strong statement that none of the claimed patent holders actually even believe their own claims will hold up in court now, either.

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Theora was a sad chapter. VP3 was made free in 2001 back when it was reasonably competitive with other patented video codecs. But it saw almost no adoption, as the Theora project was in the works that was going to dramatically improve the codec and standardize it. Not until 2008 did Theora get an initial release, long after the world world had moved on to newer formats Theora couldn't hope to compete with. And all the while there were loud-mouthed Theora supporters using cherry-picked demos to insist it was better than everything else, while 99% of the world utterly ignored it as a failed experiment in non-commercial public collaboration and development of video codecs. You can still see echos of this petty advocacy in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theora#Performance

I anxiously await a patent-free video format gaining popularity. It's one thing to use it on your computer, but quite another to have something widely implemented in hardware so you can play your videos on all your multimedia devices.

Firefox 119 unleashes PDF prowess and Sync sorcery

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Re: Name one

That's a valid point. System requirements for Adobe's Acrobat Reader alone are: "450MB of available hard-disk space"

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Re: Name one

It is not about programs that can _view_ PDF files. It is about programs that can: [1] Allow you to complete PDF forms. [2] Allow you to annotate non-form PDFs, so you can fill in forms that were meant to be printed.

That's fine. By all means, point me to a platform that doesn't have applications that can handle PDF forms and annotate PDFs, but does get modern versions of Firefox.

Personally, I've always hated the Firefox PDF viewer, as it quite often doesn't print out PDFs as they are formatted, which is the #1 feature PDFs have going for them. Disabled it across my company, to eliminate all the regular complaints that PDFs (that my program generated) were cut-off when printed, as well as terrible performance on very large PDFs. I'm happy to try it again to see if they've improved things, though I don't see any compelling reason to when the native PDF viewer works great (on all platforms).

The *only* Linux one I could find that could do both was Okular, which is ugly and needs hundreds of megs of KDE libraries installed.

Fortunately you found one.

I'm not sure why you need ONE app to be able to do both, when we're talking about lightweight free apps. That sounds like the Windows mindset. In the Linux world, I'd go straight to a fully capable PDF editor, instead of using a tacked-on annotation feature in a crippled "viewer" app.

Personally, I open PDFs in Xournal if I need to edit, erase, draw on, or annotate them. Well known and even more capable PDF editors include Inkscape, Scribus, LibreOffice Draw, and Qoppa.

rcxb Silver badge

Name one

This eliminated the need for a separate PDF viewer or plugin – especially handy for operating systems that may not have one.

Please name ONE operating system where modern Firefox runs, but which doesn't have one or more PDF viewers...

Because I can name a huge number of the opposite... Lots of platforms can open PDFs but don't or can't have modern web browsers.

For instance, the official Adobe Reader for Linux was discontinued after version 9 and that decade-old version doesn't install smoothly on modern Linux,

Right, no Adobe Acrobat on Linux, but a dozen PDF readers available for sure. Ghostscript (found on practically every Linux system) is great, allowing converting anything to or from PDF, stripping password protection out, quickly lowering image resolution to shrink gigantic PDFs to reasonable sizes, etc., and that's just one common tool, not mentioning all the things you can do utilizing a few others

NASA to equip International Space Station with frikkin lasers (for comms)

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ILCRDLEOUMAT = Integrated Laser Communications Relay Demonstration Low Earth Orbit User Modem and Amplifier Terminal

ILLUMA-T = I'LL (take) UMA Thurman

Ask a builder to fix a server and out come the vastly inappropriate power tools

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Re: Shocking!

I have never seen a bit of equipment killed by static electricity.

ESD protection is a feature in chips these days. Not that equipment is invulnerable now, just much more robust than it used to be. Go back to about the 486 or Pentium 1 era, and motherboards would just suddenly die if you touched them before putting on a wrist strap... micro static you don't even feel, and it is just gone, black screen and no activity on power-on. Making it worse, components were quite a lot more expensive back then, so it was a significant loss whenever it happened.

Still got a job at the end of this week? You're lucky, as more layoffs hit the tech industry

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Re: No poets got fired last week.

I'm all for not memorizing things you can look-up easily...

And I'm in the camp of "If I was looking at the config file I could tell you exactly what to change, but I can't explain--theoretically, in a conference room--how I do my job.

But still, I'm not with you on being completely ignorant of the name wireshark. It is an incredibly well-known cross-platform tool any network admin would have experience with, it comes up in discussions and documentation.

I mean... how do you install and run it when you don't have a clue what it's called?

It's pretty extreme to be unable to recall the name. The problem in this case may not be with the whole rest of the world. This seems to be just a "you problem" that you might want to look to fix, by doing something as simple as carrying around a card or small notebook with important job-position relevant terms written down with definitions.

Bad Vibrations: Music publishers sue Anthropic AI for using copyrighted lyrics

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Giving back lyrics with proper attribution might be fine

No. Absolutely not. Not ever.

You might as well say it would be okay to play back a feature film, or output a full newly released book. Absolutely not allowed.

It's usually fine to show a small snippet, condense/summarize, list facts about it, or offer your imprecise recollection of it, but otherwise, just no, not allowed and not fine. Certainly not in a for-profit commercial setting with no way to claim it's for news, educational, or commentary purposes.

Thwarted ransomware raid targeting WS_FTP servers demanded just 0.018 BTC

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WS_FTP is from 1991, 32 years ago.

So is Linux...

Russia to ban all VPNs – again – says senator

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Yeah, let me know how the great firewall of Russia or China keeps the vpn's out.

China certainly does. Deep packet inspection identifies likely VPN endpoints, and blocks those foreign IPs.

They've been lenient about VPNs years ago, but more recently have been very aggressive and rather successful at blocking nearly all VPN services.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Firewall (Search for "VPN")

They do generally allow VPNs to/from foreign companies, but they get blocked from time to time. I had to deal with it myself a number of years ago when my company had offices in China. And these days they may need to be registered to be allowed at all.

Nukes, schmukes – fuel cells could power future datacenters

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how do you make the hydrogen?

Step 1) Create the universe.

Step 2) There's no step two! Hydrogen everywhere.

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Flow batteries are cheaper and more efficient

"Flow batteries typically have a higher energy efficiency than fuel cells"

"cycle energy efficiency (50–80%)."


Flow batteries allow "fuel" to be brought-in by truck or pipeline, but they don't NEED to unless there's an unexpectedly long outage. Instead they can have enough storage tanks on site and just "recharge" them while electricity is available which is far cheaper/more efficient than hauling anything in.

Plus, if you were a truck driver, would you rather haul electrolyte, diesel, or hydrogen?

Security researchers believe mass exploitation attempts against WS_FTP have begun

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are people seriously still using FTP in 2023? what's up with SSH / SCP

You may be shocked to learn that Alphabet Inc doesn't just go around selling alphanumeric characters, Amazon.com has nothing to do with the rain forest or river, Twitter.com will not sell you any birds, Facebook offers neither books or faces, etc.

WS_FTP also, strangely enough, supports more than just the "FTP" protocol. Since at least 2010, they have offered SFTP support:


Raspberry Pi 5 revealed, and it should satisfy your need for speed

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Unfortunately, it seems the price on that one has risen to £86. Hope that's not due to a flood of ElReg readers purchasing them. In any case, do look around for the best priced option available.

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Will it velcro to the back of your TV to provide silent streaming from the interwebs?

Obviously that one won't, but there are plenty of sub-$100 USD Intel mini-PCs that will.

Like this one for £68:


rcxb Silver badge

Re: Lost the plot

If Microsoft was going to lock down computers so I couldn't do that, they've had about three decades to try.

They've tried, far more times then you're willing to admit. They've been taken to court over such behavior, and even an anti-trust trial where they were almost split into multiple companies.

They had a lot of success for many years telling OEMs they had to pay the Windows license fee for all systems sold, even if with an alternative operating system, making it much more costly NOT to include Windows.

They had some success making ACPI locked-down to Windows, to the point that Linux systems have to report themselves as "Microsoft Windows NT" in order to operate on just about any PCs. Bill Gates got caught red-handed writing a memo on that topic trying to sabotage other OSes: "Maybe we couid define the APIs so that they work well with NT and not the others".

Would you like more? As I said, there's a whole DOJ antitrust lawsuit full of material.

rcxb Silver badge

Re: Lost the plot

EEE PC 900 [...] underpowered as hell, but it's very small, and lightweight enough to hold in one hand while I type with the other while it's plugged into a ethernet switch as I debug networking problems.

Mine's going strong, too. I've upgraded it though, doubling the RAM, installing an mSATA adapter for more & faster internal storage, and dual-band USB Wi-Fi.

One of the nice features is the 12V power input. Powered directly from my car with a $1 plug adapter, instead of a $30 power supply with voltage conversion. Maybe USB-C PD will make this cheaper.

So small it drops right in a duffel bag, no protective case needed.

Not my first time around with netbooks though. I kept a 486 Compaq Contura going for a lot of years, right up until the EEE PC arrived on the market actually. What good is a large, high performance laptop that you don't have with you because it's too bulky to always carry around with you? Couldn't justify the ridiculously expensive sub-notebook prices before the EEE... I'm a bit rough on them.

GNU turns 40: Stallman's baby still not ready for prime time, but hey, there's cake

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Re: Minix 3

it hasn't contributed back upstream. As the other comments show, this is the problem with permissive licences

Not really. If someone doesn't want to contribute anything back, they won't.

With the GPL, you can make source changes pretty much unusable by upstream.

This was the situation with Apple and KHTML: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebKit#Split_development

Or with NeXT and Objective-C: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objective-C#Popularization_through_NeXT

Not to mention patents, Tivoization, "cloud" services (no code released to the public), some companies' flagrant license violations, etc. And let's not forget RedHat's recent removal of source repositories and restrictive RHEL license agreement.

It tends to be bad PR that forces companies to be good stewards of open source and free software, not minimal adherence to the license.

With more liberal license like the BSDv2, companies who wish to contribute have a choice, and may decide they're in a better position to contribute money upstream, while keeping code changes to themselves. The BSDs are seeing continued development with no shortage of funding, despite their liberal licenses.

Sometimes contributing your code back is just plain self-interest, as you can get others to maintain your code for you, such as the case of Paragon's NTFS driver, and any of thousands of other cases where companies have put in considerable effort to get their horrible mess of patches into shape to be accepted into the Linux kernel. Nvidia Linux drivers serve as a counter-example, showing all the effort required to stay on top of kernel changes if you don't wish to contribute your code upstream.

Then there's lots of companies that release their code as open source despite having no obligation to do so, just because they can. Though the above free public maintenance might factor into the decision in part.

And let's not forget standardization... Lots of network services whose implementations were released under very liberal license (Apache, BIND, OpenSSH, Sun NFS, bittorrent, etc.) have become widespread standards, while I can't think of one GPL licensed implementation of a network service which has been nearly so widely successful... only Rsync comes to mind as getting some little traction.

Uncle Sam names three Amazon execs as Prime suspects in subscription ripoff case

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Re: Talking of airlines

The thing I most want listed on airline ticket comparison sites is seat width. I'm almost 2m tall with wide shoulders, so a seat the size of an A4 piece of paper just doesn't work. Last flight, I sat with my body turned at a 45 deg angle the entire 2 hour flight because I was next to a similarly large guy and there was just no pretending the airline seats could work as seats for both of us. Airlines keep shrinking them because they can keep those changes secret until after you've paid and are boarding. I'll gladly pay considerable extra for whatever ticket showed I'd have an extra inch or two of seat width... just not the exorbitant prices of 1st class tickets.

Flying was fun as a child. Now it's the most miserable and demeaning process I ever have to go through, maybe just above invasive medical exams... and in both cases I'm paying to be abused. I'd rather hop into a coffin and have my box shipped to the destination. I either drive, take the train, or most often just decide I don't need to travel at all.

Lawsuit claims Google Maps led dad of two over collapsed bridge to his death

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Re: Were there no signs indicating that the Bridge was out?

Perhaps you should read through the article:

"There were no barriers or warning signs along the road leading to the hazard, the complaint states."

Power grids tremble as electric vehicle growth set to accelerate 19% next year

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Re: For many of us, hybrids make more sense than BEVs


Microsoft calls time on ancient TLS in Windows, breaking own stuff in the process

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not all of which have reliably redundant power supplies. (I've been burned before by supposedly 'redundant' PSUs which fail when they have to support the load they're supposed to be rated for).

Best to find that out for certain during your scheduled maintenance window, rather than unexpectedly...

USENET, the OG social network, rises again like a text-only phoenix

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Crappy web boards killed text Usenet.

Like The Register's forum and comments section? Is that what you mean?

Netflix flinging out DVDs like frisbees as night comes for legacy business

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Re: ...streaming rights are expensive and don't offer much of a return

IIRC they are running out of DVDs.

They're not, still a huge selection, although there have been odd gaps in their selection the past few years.

An ironic one that comes to mind is Longmire. Series 2 is unavailable on DVD, but 1 & 3-6 are there. Guess who owns Longmire? Yes: Netflix.

There's always the routine small % of discs that get damaged in shipping and need to be replaced.

Most of their DVD customers now are art film fans who want obscure criterion collection disks

Unlikely. The most rented film are overwhelmingly new releases:


Virginia industrial park wants to power DCs with mini nuclear reactors, clean hydrogen

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Pie in the sky

Pretty obvious they're using impractical "green" technology promised down the road, to sell a heavy electric utilization on a dirty grid right now. They'll slow-walk and spend barely any money on the reactors and hydrogen for a few years, then quietly announce they had to give up.

It's strange because solar and wind power are immensely practical and economical right now.

And a much more efficient alternative to generators than hydrogen are redox-flow batteries, where the charged electrolyte can similarly be generated from electricity, stored in tanks much easier than hydrogen, and trunked in from far away if a refill is needed during an extended power outage.

80% of execs regret calling employees back to the office

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Re: unpopular opinion: no, WFH and WFO are not the same.

I'll just fork out another £200 the rent to get +1 rooms

I would gladly do so, to avoid the hour commuting to/from the office daily, and transit costs (be it fuel or ticket prices).

Being able to expense my cell phone, home internet, and more that I'd be paying for anyhow, eats away at some of that £200 figure as well, even if your time is worthless and transit is free.

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Re: unpopular opinion: no, WFH and WFO are not the same.

I have acquired a medical problem (well, the Covid vaccine left me with an immunological problem where I need to stay away from different people as much as I can

What is the name of this condition and how might i go about contracting it?

rcxb Silver badge

Re: unpopular opinion: no, WFH and WFO are not the same.

I get more excited when I can read reactions immediately, or have ad-hoc whiteboard discussions.

Video conferencing has been a thing for decades.

when my work desk was in my bedroom, I found myself thinking of work

So put together an office in a separate room... even if it's just a small converted closet. Else, take your laptop into a coffee shop, or rent a small office space.

rcxb Silver badge

Re: unpopular opinion: no, WFH and WFO are not the same.

Maybe because he said the only thing that WFH is good for is "a dull job of resetting passwords" and nothing else. Ignoring all the ways people can and do "collaborate" without talking to each other in person.

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Re: unpopular opinion: no, WFH and WFO are not the same.

What about blacksmiths & carpenters?

Not much of a work-from-home debate for people in those professions.


trying to work out what the sender implied rather than said. Misunderstandings abound

How many people in your office should be punished because a few have poor written communication skills? Why shouldn't those poor communicators just be required to improve their skills?

Besides, WFH doesn't require all communications to be written. When I find someone is poorly communicating in e-mail or chat, I just start an ad-hoc video conference with them, as long as needed.

Always nice to have people for whom WFH doesn't work, yelling at everyone else that it must not work for them, either, so they should go into an office every day.

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Re: unpopular opinion: no, WFH and WFO are not the same.

bumping into someone in the hall and discussing a topic neither of you planned on discussing five minutes earlier. Or overhearing coworkers discussing a problem that they don't realize involves you...but you realize it does

I'd call that a 1% thing. The other 99% is noise and distractions which are detrimental to doing your job. We can put a little more effort into getting those 1% communications happening, in exchange for eliminating most of the 99% of garbage.

Internet Archive sued by record labels as battle with book publishers intensifies

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Re: Leave them alone, damn

They certainly weren't only lending out old books.

My opinions on copyright length don't make me blind to the law. I don't run a business where I go handing out DVDs of movies from the 80s, claim it's perfectly legal and was cleared by my lawyers, and expect no negative consequences from my actions.

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Re: Leave them alone, damn

Lots of organizations do good things, even while they break the law.

Archive.org seriously screwed up with their "National Emergency Library". At the time of launch, everybody could see it was a clear copyright violation with no plausible legal basis. That stupid move ruined their formerly sterling reputation, and opened up the floodgates to lawsuits.

I'll be the first to say that copyright terms are much too damn long if they're getting sued for digitizing scratchy old 78 records. The US should go back to it's original 14 years and one optional 14 year extension, and quit pretending there's any public benefit in preventing Charlie Chaplin movies from entering the public domain.

NASA to test potential 400Mbps laser link for Mars

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Re: error correction

there is significantly more risk of a laser if the beam hit something. Unless the outputs are really silly RF is generally on dangerous if you are in the vicinity or the transmitter.

There's nothing particularly dangerous about lasers, except that the human eye can be easily damaged by very powerful lights. And this one is in the infrared range where that's even less of a concern. A laser would have to be insanely powerful to pose a danger to people all the way from Mars, so that's really not a concern at all.

As for real human health risks, visible light happens to be the dividing line between safety and danger, and this is below that... Lasers in the high UV spectrum, or RF at or above those frequencies, are classified as ionizing radiation. Here's a nice chart:


There is nothing mentioned about the power of the laser but it cannot be insignificant.

It's just a 4 W, 1.55 µm laser. The low power requirements are one of the big benefits to NASA.

Light is also impacted by atmospheric conditions such as cloud. Now if the laser was at Cerro Paranal or Mauna Kea that mitigates some of that.

RF is impacted by atmospheric conditions as well. Moisture in the air / clouds absorb a lot of RF energy across much of the radio spectrum.

While it's not quite Mauna Kea, the receiver is the mountain-top Palomar Observatory in California.