Saturday, February 11, 2012

Book: Seeing Like a State

Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed, James C. Scott.,  1998, 445 pages.

Seeing Like a State explains how large scale organizations like states operate and points out typical failures of planning. Most of the examples are from the agricultural sector because of its highly complex nature which in turn makes planning from above prone to disaster. James also reminds us that one of the main goals of standardization is making taxation easier.

It is a warning against being sure of how to correct social wrongs. The main lesson is that any plan should make use of local knowledge, be carried out in small steps and be corrected with actual results. But that requires a culture that values truth, especially when it is not what you want to hear, and that, in my opinion, is the main problem of humanity. As one wise man has said:
It's not that people sit down quietly and determine what is true, and then decide to act on it. Rather, quite typically, they decide what they want to do for the purpose at hand, and devise a belief system that explains that it is only right and just, which they then believe passionately.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Samsung N150 Netbook Power Switch Problem

Our N150 has a slider switch for power on/off. Today it stopped working and we were not able to wake it up from sleep mode. The charge and sleep lights were on, so we suspected that there might be something wrong with the switch. After disassembling the netbook, we saw that one of the teeth was broken and was no longer pushing the power slider.

We first tried to remedy the situation with instant glue but that did not help. We cut a piece from a toothpick and squeezed it in to support the broken tooth. After tweaking a little bit, we finally solved the problem.

A message to Samsung engineers:
1. Why don't you make load bearing parts like the power switch from strong materials instead of lousy plastics? Update (August 31, 2017): This video explains why (planned obsolescence in products):

2. If the N150 default was to wake up when the lid is opened (like our other laptop, the Samsung RV511), the slider wouldn't be used that much and it would last much longer.

Update (June 8, 2012): As said in the comments, you can set the lid open behavior to wake up in BIOS. Restart your netbook, press F2 to enter BIOS, go to advanced tab and change Lid Open S3 Wake-up from Disabled to Enabled: