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Comments

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The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Heavier than air flight is impossible (341 comments)

"common CB antenna magnet "????

CBs haven't been common for 30 years now, and what the heck is an antenna magnet, and what makes it different from any other magnet?

2 days ago
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The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

50000BTU_barbecue Re: Why Cold Fusion (or something like it) Is Real (341 comments)

He wrote
" For all intensive purposes I'm focused and forceful, the rest of the time for all intents and purposes I'm pretty laid back."

Try again.

2 days ago
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"Double Irish" Tax Loophole Used By US Companies To Be Closed

50000BTU_barbecue What about the Dutch Charity? (259 comments)

You know, like how IKEA is organized? Google could set itself up as a charity dedicated to the preservation of web sites.

about a week ago
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Battery Breakthrough: Researchers Claim 70% Charge In 2 Minutes, 20-Year Life

50000BTU_barbecue Re:the problem with lithium ion technology (395 comments)

I have Radio Shack NiCds in the blue case. We're talking 20 years here. My friend has some that are filled with juicy gunk in the plastic sleeve and they still work. I even have some RS alkalines from 20 years ago that still work.

RS had some good batteries back then.

about a week ago
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Smart Battery Tells You When It's About To Explode

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Now if they can implement this technology... (97 comments)

Duracells are notorious for poor quality. Avoid at all costs, they are garbage now. I try to use low self-discharge NiMH for standby electronics. Even if they go flat, they don't leak IME, I guess they're still at a price point were the manufacturer can put in the right ingredients.

about a week ago
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Raspberry Pi Sales Approach 4 Million

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Smart devices (146 comments)

1960s sci-fi was Moon bases and interstellar travel. Time lapse photography with a complex electronic timer instead of a mechanical clock is disappointing by comparison.

about a week ago
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Liking Analog Meters Doesn't Make You a Luddite (Video)

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Analog! (155 comments)

Digital! When arbitrary precision is mistaken for accuracy!

about two weeks ago
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Sharp Developing LCD Screens In Almost Any Shape

50000BTU_barbecue Re:I dont think its the chips (60 comments)

As a (mostly) PCB designer, I find these TAB (tape automated bonding) attachments to the panel to be fascinating. The chips are the column and row drivers, that is, these chips have the job to drive the gates of the transistors that control each and every sub-pixel on the panel.
So your typical 1920x1080 LCD panel has 1920x3=5760 columns to drive. That's R G and B for every pixel. There are 10 such chips arranged along the top of the panel, which means each chip (about 10x3mm) has to have 576 analog outputs driven from the RSDS digital bus, itself generated from the TCON (timing controller) which receives the video in whatever format and translates it to the particular panel's needs (ie, bit depth, refresh type, etc).
Oh yeah, each LCD shutter must never have a DC potential on it for too long, so on each alternate cycle the polarity of the control signal is inverted.
This has something to do with the crystals themselves becoming "denatured" if they're in the same position too long.
Not only that, but the gate drive is non-linear and the column driver has to compensate for that, of course each type of compensation depends on the exact chemistry of the crystals used.
Anyways, if you look at the little PCB it's 1 mil thick (~0.025mm), and has hundreds of traces packed into a few mm... Not to mention the hundreds of contacts on the chip, all perfectly aligned to the PCB.

Ever wonder how the distance between the front and back panels is kept so uniform across the panel?
There's thousands of tiny ceramic beads in the panel to maintain the precise separation ...
Ahhhh yeah, this stuff is cool, amazing what we can afford to make and throw out if it doesn't work.

about two weeks ago
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Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

50000BTU_barbecue Re:logical necessities (534 comments)

Awesome. Every once in a while I get exposed to something totally new, at my age that's quite a feat. I'll have to check out these two books.

about three weeks ago
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Arducorder, Next Open Source Science Tricorder-like Device, Nears Completion

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Arduyawn (56 comments)

What do you think was limiting it? You think someone who wants to design a (say) 15GHz sampling oscilloscope will stop because of the Arduino?

On the other hand, why not use an Arduino? I don't need a 32 bit monster "micro" controller running embedded Linux to flash the headlights on my RC car. I use a bare-bones PIC but someone who is happy with the "get it done" approach of an Arduino, what is wrong with that?

about three weeks ago
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Kano Ships 18,000 Learn-To-Code Computer Kits

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Kano? (53 comments)

If you mean turn from the 19th to the 20th, that's really showing your age!

about three weeks ago
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Kano Ships 18,000 Learn-To-Code Computer Kits

50000BTU_barbecue Kano? (53 comments)

Showing my age here, Kano was the name of the computer operator dude in Space: 1999.

about three weeks ago
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Russia Pledges To Go To the Moon

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Most promising places (197 comments)

I think WWII never happened. You have proof that half the world fought each other with jet engines and nuclear bombs when ten years prior most people didn't even have running water or electricity in their homes and still used horse?

about a month ago
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The UPS Store Will 3-D Print Stuff For You

50000BTU_barbecue Re:So in the future ... (144 comments)

You mean we'll finally see the day of the nanotechnological assembler? Will we finally get to the leisure, post-scarcity society? Will we get rid of the 40 hour work week and 95% employment when most jobs are just performance art?

about a month ago
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Assembling a Micro-scale Biochemistry Lab Like Snapping LEGOs Together

50000BTU_barbecue Ah, fluidics (26 comments)

When I was a kid my parents had a collection of very old Britannica supplements from the 1960s. Some sort of yearly book for each year after the main books came out.

Anyways, when I was a kid I was always impressed by the pictures and the descriptions. One of the articles was about fluidics, the pictures of plates of metal with holes, piled up and bolted together and doing logic operations with boiling liquids and what not.

I'm just wool gathering, but it seems like the 1960s were unusually fertile in all fields and it's fun to see one of these "anything goes"-type technologies still being useful after so long.

about a month ago
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Mark Zuckerberg Throws Pal Joe Green Under the Tech Immigration Bus

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Mark Zuckerberg is a liar. (261 comments)

Never mind all that, who's the gorgeous woman on Cringely's page?

about a month ago
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SpaceX Launches Supplies to ISS, Including Its First 3D Printer

50000BTU_barbecue Re:It's called redundancy (129 comments)

Look's like apostrophe's figured out how to make other apostrophe's.

about a month ago
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SpaceX Launches Supplies to ISS, Including Its First 3D Printer

50000BTU_barbecue Re:It's a "scaterometer" (129 comments)

Just calling it the RapidScatt would have prevented that unfortunate association... I got it wrong, it is called a scaterrometer, two r...

about a month 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  |  1 year,27 days

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  |  more than 3 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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