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The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

50000BTU_barbecue Code of the Lifemaker! (347 comments)

Fun novel by James P Hogan about a sophisticated alien robotic space mining craft that gets damaged and crashes on Titan. It starts making defective replicating mining robots that eventually evolve into a medieval robot society.

Can't believe I'm the first to mention it, but I'm probably just old.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

yesterday
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Ask Slashdot: What Can I Really Do With a Smart Watch?

50000BTU_barbecue Re:One year too early (219 comments)

The unit you want is probably dB.

2 days ago
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After 40 Years As a Double Amputee, Man Gains Two Bionic Arms

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Unfortunately.... (66 comments)

Oooh, and he has to wear a '70s track suit.

2 days ago
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NASA Tests Feasibility of 3D Printing on the Moon and Other Planets

50000BTU_barbecue Re:WTF (58 comments)

Get a better life.

2 days ago
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The Joker Behind the Signetics 25120 Write-Only Memory Chip Hoax

50000BTU_barbecue Re:AH, the good old days (100 comments)

I am amazed at the kind of scut work "engineers" do these days. Electrical engineers in the days of yore were scientists, physicists.

I used to work for a company that used label printers. I mean high-speed printers for production lines. These machines are all ready and set to go from the box. Why do you need someone to go to university for 4 years and go through three interviews to check a few wires, enter a few digits and look at the end result of the printed label?

You need engineers to design the machines, some engineers to mass-produce them, and technicians, not engineers, to install them.

3 days ago
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The Joker Behind the Signetics 25120 Write-Only Memory Chip Hoax

50000BTU_barbecue Re: AH, the good old days (100 comments)

I think of it as trying to apply a social model based on scarcity while we are awash in surplus.

4 days ago
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The Joker Behind the Signetics 25120 Write-Only Memory Chip Hoax

50000BTU_barbecue Re: AH, the good old days (100 comments)

I'd gladly trade my modern computer and phone for the lifestyle of the 1960s-1990s. Something happened quite recently to make work much more hostile and corrosive.

4 days ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Nitche Market (433 comments)

Who said there would be no punishment?

Can you explain why society didn't collapse when we went from the 19th century's 100 hour work week to the the 40 hour work week?

Can you explain what all this technology is for and what we are producing if we are all working so hard?

And why have we gone back to 19th century levels of "work" when both heads of the family work, it adds up to a hundred hour workweek.

Why? What for? Who benefits?

What is "work"? What do you do that convinces a farmer to feed you every day?

It's just a social convention.

Why can't we go to a 20 hour workweek? Why do you assume that every person is the same and will automatically revert to savagery just because they have to work less?

I'm the innocent one?

5 days ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Nitche Market (433 comments)

That's nice, so you think people are self-destructive by nature and no attempt should be made to have a rational social model, as long as the powerful get what they want, even if we're awash in surplus capacity and resources.

Wonderful.

5 days ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Not really missing vinyl (433 comments)

"It is simply not possible to get a full-wave 20kHz signal out of a standard 44kHz sample rate,"

What the hell are you babbling about? A 44.1KHz system is band-limited to 22KHz and you can ONLY get a sine wave out with two data points!

Jesus Christ already!

What does "full wave" mean anyways? Are you one of those types that throws technical-sounding jargon around without a clue?

5 days ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Just part of the complexity collapse (433 comments)

Maybe to a mundane person, but anyone with at least the curiosity of a mollusc might try to understand something beyond the level of the UI.

5 days ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Mesmerizing (433 comments)

And for the 50Hz/60Hz difference.

5 days ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Not convincing at all (433 comments)

"Audio is just a crazy world of snake oil and placebo."

So is software...

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Nitche Market (433 comments)

Aren't we supposed to be "sapiens"?

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Nitche Market (433 comments)

Are you implying that a continuous growth economic model will magically bypass real physical limits? The current culling program of permanent wars, police state, homelessness, crippling medical costs, and poverty is acceptable, though?

In what way does a leisure society imply "culling"? Why such a simplistic two option world?

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Just part of the complexity collapse (433 comments)

Can you explain how a record works? You can see the squiggle and even play it back with a sharp piece of plastic and you can hear the sound.

Now explain every bit in a MP3 and how the processor works.

You're confusing convenience with complexity.

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Nitche Market (433 comments)

That's just a social model, a human convention. We will have to do away with "growth" as the "#1 model over all else" mentality we have. It works now and then, but it basically ignores all the productivity gains and technology we have.

What's wrong with a leisure society and guaranteed minimum livable conditions for all? And for the people with weird wiring who absolutely must have an owner or must dominate others or must have a bigger car, let's put them in a reserve and watch them fight over artificially scarce resources...

Oh wait, that's Monday morning. Shit.

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

50000BTU_barbecue Re:I don't really get it either. (433 comments)

Man, I don't know what reel to reel is "dramatically" less than a digital source. My TEAC X3 and Pioneer RT-909 sound just fine.

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Not really missing vinyl (433 comments)

Yeah and the scope has a bandwidth in the megahertz, those steps aren't going to be in the output signal to the speakers, and even if they were they would be smoothed out (filtered) by the speaker crossover and the mechanical time constant of the speaker parts.

And then there's the air, those steps aren't going through the air...

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

50000BTU_barbecue Re:NO DRM! (433 comments)

So will you, and that's the human aspect of it.

about a week ago

Submissions

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What's on your hardware lab bench?

50000BTU_barbecue 50000BTU_barbecue writes  |  about a year ago

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) writes "I made a comment a few days ago in a story basically saying the oscilloscope is dead. While that's a bit dramatic, I've found that over the last 20 years my oscilloscopes have been "on" less and less. Instead, I use a combination of judicious voltage measurements, a logic analyzer and a decent understanding of the documentation of the gadget I'm working on.
Stuff is just more and more digital and microcontroller based, or just so cheap yet incredibly integrated that there's no point in trying to work on it. (I'm thinking RC toys for example. Undocumented and very cheap. Doesn't work? Buy another.)
While I still do old-school electronics like circuit-level troubleshooting (on old test gear), that's not where the majority of hobbyists seem to be.
Yet one thing I keep hearing is how people want an oscilloscope to work on hardware. I think it's just not that necessary anymore.
What I use most are two regulated DC lab supplies, a frequency counter, a USB logic analyzer, a USB I2C/SPI master, and a USB-RS-232 dongle. That covers a lot of modern electronics.
I have two oscilloscopes, a 100MHz two-channel stand-alone USB unit and a 1960s analog plug-in based mainframe that is a '70s hacker dream scope. But I rarely use them anymore.
What equipment do hardware folks out there use the most? And would you tell someone trying to get into electronics that they need a scope?"
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What's the problem with tech in Canada?

50000BTU_barbecue 50000BTU_barbecue writes  |  about a year ago

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) writes "Why is Canada unable to sustain a technological lead? Blackberry, Nortel, the Arrow, we are able to be world-class for a while, but then, nothing. Are we still just happy to be a resource-based economy? Do we lack a certain something, maybe personality traits? What's the deal?"
Link to Original Source
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What's the most depressing sci-fi you've ever read?

50000BTU_barbecue 50000BTU_barbecue writes  |  more than 2 years ago

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) writes "Usually sci-fi provides adventure with happy endings for everyone. But what story have you read that resonates years later because of some insight about human nature or society that's basically cynical or pessimistic? For me it's Fred Pohl's "Jem" with its sharply divided resource-constrained future world driven by politics, and its conclusion that humans are just too destructive to handle contacting alien life, especially if humans have the technological upper hand.

I'm wondering what other stories have stuck in people's minds. It can be a short story, a novel or an entire series of books.

(Sorry, I have no idea what the tags are supposed to do or how they work. I click and it becomes "!politics" or there's a picture of a hat. No matter what I type in "tags" it stays as "politics" with a "x" I can click to make it "!politics". I've rarely seen something so useless be so counter-intuitive. sci-fi doesn't work, but when I type "science fiction" the space bar apparently acts as en enter key so all it sees is science. I think my next submission will be about depressing user interfaces.)"

Link to Original Source
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Why are old hard drives so expensive?

50000BTU_barbecue 50000BTU_barbecue writes  |  more than 3 years ago

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) writes "I was idly daydreaming about how I could build a small lapping/polishing machine when I thought of using an old hard drive as the platform. The mechanics and finish are perfect, just put a lapping film on the platter and power the thing. So I started looking for old hard drives on eBay, figuring the size and heft would be best for tinkering. I was amazed to find that the prices on 20 year old hard drives is staggeringly high. With that kind of markup, there has to be a reason. It's not just one model that could conceivably be of use in old but very expensive medical equipment for example. It's all of them. ST-506, MFM, ESDI, you name it, the prices are insane.
So there's either a market for a universal Flash->ancient HD bus interface (go for it!), or some people know something I don't!
What gives?"

Link to Original Source
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Fusion power in four years?

50000BTU_barbecue 50000BTU_barbecue writes  |  about 4 years ago

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) writes "A few years ago I researched fusion as a practical energy source in the foreseeable future for a school paper. I thought I had been quite thorough in finding and describing all the contenders starting with the usual suspects like Tokamaks and Polywell, etc. My conclusion, based on my skepticism was that, at best, real practical fusion energy was half a century away and would likely be just another energy source and not a panacea. Things like peak helium and the need for superconducting magnets really stood out as a problem. Somehow, the folks at General Fusion escaped my attention at the time.

They are proposing a "solid based" system of fusion using a large spherical reaction chamber filled with molten lead and lithium and then using acoustic shock waves to compress the core where all the good stuff will happen. I'm looking for insights and comments from /.ers in the know about the project. Is this viable? Can it produce power? If so, this is a huge deal."

Link to Original Source
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50000BTU_barbecue 50000BTU_barbecue writes  |  more than 7 years ago

50000BTU_barbecue writes "I just bought a Logitech G5 mouse and I find that the scroll-wheel/middle-button is useless. It triggers a scroll before it detents, so using it as a button is very frustrating since if you don't click just *exactly* between detents and *exactly* in the right orientation, it will scroll before registering as a click. Of course this means you're not clicking where you thought. Should I exchange this mouse or are they all like that? Which mouse correctly implements a usable combo scroll/click wheel? This is for finicky CAD work on a large monitor rather than gaming, BTW."

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