Pontificus | Pondering the past, present and future…

CAT | Technology

Aug/11

5

HP TouchPad in Denver… Or Not.

No HP TouchPads in Denver

No HP TouchPads in Denver1

Can this be real? If you use a HP TouchPad in Denver, the product warranty will be blown.

That is the conclusion we drew reading the TouchPad product specification in conjunction with the fine print from the limited warranty.

The “Environmental Requirements2 for the HP TouchPad state:

“Altitude (unpressurized) Operating 0 to 5,000 ft (0 to 1,524 m)”

The 1-Year HP Web OS Limited Warranty3 in turn states:

EXCLUSIONS: This Limited Warranty does not apply … (2) to damage caused by … any other cause beyond the range of the intended use.

This seems to imply that places like Denver are off limits to HP TouchPad users. Salt Lake City, Reno and other similar cities are marginal. Not to speak of almost every respectable ski resort around the globe, or the cabins of most commercial aircraft (that have effective cabin altitudes above 5,000 ft in cruise.)

What were they thinking??

Maybe they should rehire some of the people they let go.

© 2011, Pontificus. All rights reserved.

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The Obama GrabThe Obama Grab

The Obama GrabTM

Everyone surely knows the whole body naked-scanning machines that TSA rushed into service at airports around the country immediately after the mid-term elections. These days they are impossible to miss while traveling.

If one were to wonder if safety was forgotten in the rush to field the machines as quickly as possible, here’s some food for thought:

  • Boston TSA employees seem to be experiencing a higher than average rate of skin cancer1
  • FDA has not tested the full body scanners for safety2
  • NIST has not tested the full body scanners for safety3
  • additional action was recommended by the Johns Hopkins University to avoid exceeding the general public dose recommendation of 100 mrem per year4
  • the units have areas where beam overshoot will expose bystanders to repeated doses; protective shields were recommended, but seem to not have been implemented5
  • the systems were never studied for their cancer inducing properties using standard methods such as mutant mice6
  • the often quoted comparison between cosmic background radiation received during flight and the scanning machines is inaccurate, because the energy levels of the radiation are orders of magnitude different7
  • the dose estimations are likely to be inaccurate (too low), because the energy levels used concentrate more of the radiation in and near the skin, causing localized doses much higher than the “full body average”8

To be fair, the FDA responded to some of these issues9. Strangely, in the lengthy response nowhere does the FDA state that it studied the systems itself, or that the FDA has determined the systems to be safe. The response made reference to third party safety studies, but not only were these studies not performed on behalf of the FDA on the systems themselves, some of them pointed out issues that had not been addressed by the TSA10.

Further, a key study made by JHU was heavily redacted, making independent verification impossible. Not to mention that the characterization of the third party evaluations was at best questionable, as the FDA claimed NIST had provided “safety data”, when NIST states that it didn’t test the units for safety11.

And last but not least, in a response to the FDA, it seems that the JHU report was inconsistent and in fact implies that the primary radiation was measured in a manner that provided a lower than actual reading12.

Perhaps we should all just drive a car or resign ourselves to the Obama GrabTM until we can all vote out the Dear Leader and his gang that brought us this multi-billion dollar skin cancer experiment.

© 2011, Pontificus. All rights reserved.

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Tin Whiskers

Tin Whiskers

The European “Reduction of Hazardous Substances” regulations (aka RoHS) might have claimed another victim. A few years ago a billion dollar Swatch watch recall was apparently related to tin whiskers, a known failure mode of RoHS-compliant electronics.1 Now, according to an industry news report, Toyota might have fallen victim to the same thing.2

We’re sure that some anti-industry environmentalists will be pleased, as this could make RoHS the most expensive piece of electronic industry regulation ever written.

What makes tin whiskers interesting, is that there is really no way to prevent them in lead free electronics, as all industry efforts focus on “mitigating” the effects, not preventing the formation of tin whiskers.3

We find it amazing that legislation that was in part intended to reduce waste is now apparently causing massive amounts of new waste due to accelerated failures, not to mention the indirect costs to the economy.

What strikes us is how similar the inclusion of lead in the RoHS legislation has been to the inclusion of carbon dioxide in the various attempted “Global Warming” laws. We recommend that our readers review the various references to this article and make their own conclusions as to the mindset and motivations of those who rammed through RoHS without regard to its implications. Unfortunately for the electronics industry and us (the consumers), there was no easy way to show that the benefits of lead-free electronics are possibly just as illusory as the benefits of a “carbon neutral” economy.4

© 2010, Pontificus. All rights reserved.

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Islam Is... no query suggestions shown

Christianity Is... many query suggestions shown

One has to wonder who still buys the tagline from Google to not be evil?

It’s not too long ago that Google participated in censorship of the Internet for the Chinese government1, so that the Communist leadership would accept Google. It seems that the Chinese keep Google on a relatively short leash, reminding them sometimes who’s the boss.2

Now it seems that an entire religion has hijacked Google, or Google is kowtowing to one. If one were to type “Christianity is“, “Scientology is“, “Judaism is” and many other terms followed by “is” into the Google search field, many query suggestions will be shown before the user hits the enter key, some offensive3, but reflective of common queries and search results.

However, if the typed term happens to be “islam is“, there will be absolutely no query suggestions presented. This is not normal behavior, as Google specifically states that the query suggestions are a typical feature unless disabled.4

This inconsistency was first publicized on Fox News’ website.5 According to the article Google explained the unusual behavior to be a very unique bug, but the same article continues to state that no clarification was provided by the company.

Everyone can draw their own conclusions, as not much more needs to be said.

Don’t be evil? Yeah, right.

© 2010, Pontificus. All rights reserved.

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