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Comments

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Apache OpenOffice Reaches 100 Million Downloads. Now What?

50000BTU_barbecue For their next trick (240 comments)

get the damn thing to work properly. I seem to have the magic touch to get every obscure and unexpected behavior to happen.

yesterday
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Vintage 1960s Era Film Shows IRS Defending Its Use of Computers

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Uproar? (144 comments)

Alex 7000 from the Bionic Woman. Hilarious. And what about Cylons?

yesterday
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Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Automating away bureaucracy... (415 comments)

You think I'm the only one in this situation? And you're talking to me about statistics? Wow. Why are all low UID accounts owned by assholes?

yesterday
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Nokia Had a Production-Ready Web Tablet 13 Years Ago

50000BTU_barbecue In other words (237 comments)

don't be a Commodore.

yesterday
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Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Automating away bureaucracy... (415 comments)

"Think about this: thanks to incomes growing faster"

Stopped there. I make less than I did 15 years ago, and when you include the fact I no longer have a health care plan and matched retirement contributions, I make even less than that. And who the hell drinks milk anyways?

2 days ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

50000BTU_barbecue Have I got news for you! (767 comments)

Not just the USA. Pretty sure boring old Canada is as well. And Quebec, and Montreal, and my condo. Just the way it really is. Pane et Circem.

2 days ago
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Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

50000BTU_barbecue Yes, technology must be used (415 comments)

but only to outsource technical and engineering jobs. Heaven forbid if we automate away accountants and bureaucracy. THEN technology is taking jobs away!

2 days ago
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Carpenter Who Cut Off His Fingers Makes "Robohand" With 3-D Printer

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Good for him (90 comments)

LOL OK. Got it. Makes his sig doubly delicious.

2 days ago
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Carpenter Who Cut Off His Fingers Makes "Robohand" With 3-D Printer

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Good for him (90 comments)

And pray tell, how will you make money selling these devices? Surely the investors will want a return? The moment you sell them, you'll have the full force of the audiologist's association in your area against you, and they'll have the weight of the government to enforce it. Or they'll force you to sell them at the same price as all the others.... And now you're back to square 0.

3 days ago
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Carpenter Who Cut Off His Fingers Makes "Robohand" With 3-D Printer

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Good for him (90 comments)

Um, the local "professional association" whose mandate is to "protect the public" from low prices?

3 days ago
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Carpenter Who Cut Off His Fingers Makes "Robohand" With 3-D Printer

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Good for him (90 comments)

Well, look (ha!) no further than the egregious monopoly exerted by Luxottica and the equally corrupt professional associations in your jurisdiction making sure that the prices stay high.

3 days ago
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Carpenter Who Cut Off His Fingers Makes "Robohand" With 3-D Printer

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Good for him (90 comments)

Beats me, but I always use a scrap of wood to push or guide my workpiece.

3 days ago
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Carpenter Who Cut Off His Fingers Makes "Robohand" With 3-D Printer

50000BTU_barbecue Good for him (90 comments)

Anything to bring down the scandalously high prices of some of these medical gizmos. Next, glasses. Hearing aids.

3 days ago
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Russia Wants To Establish a Permanent Moon Base

50000BTU_barbecue Re:There isn't enough rubles in Moscow (312 comments)

Sochi were the most expensive games in history. I was just amazed at the pitiful quality of the materials.

4 days ago
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Russia Wants To Establish a Permanent Moon Base

50000BTU_barbecue Re:There isn't enough rubles in Moscow (312 comments)

Really? That's fascinating. Does cardboard usually look like sawdust too like the doors in my place? And where did all the money go?

4 days ago
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Russia Wants To Establish a Permanent Moon Base

50000BTU_barbecue Re:There isn't enough rubles in Moscow (312 comments)

Yeah no kidding, did you see that athlete that was locked in a bathroom and punched his way out the door? The door was basically cardboard.

4 days ago
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Can You Buy a License To Speed In California?

50000BTU_barbecue Meh, more of the same (324 comments)

In Montreal we had the VIP parking sticker fiasco. The roads here are too cracked and broken for anyone to speed on them, so instead, we had special stickers so people could park for free.

about a week ago
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Fruit Flies, Fighter Jets Use Similar Evasive Tactics When Attacked

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Anyone (65 comments)

Yes, but they're also quite deaf. They seem oblivious to the vacuum cleaner. I've seen some fat, stupid fruit flies resting on my kitchen counter that *stay put* as their wings start to bend from the suction... Then, womp! down the hose and that's that.

about a week ago
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NASA Setting Up $250,000 Mars Lander Competition

50000BTU_barbecue Re:Horizontal (44 comments)

I assume it's far easier to drop the samples into a horizontal tube with an open hatch. You just let gravity magically suck the sample into the hatch. I guess a rocket erector is less failure-prone than some sort of telescopic arm to put samples into an upright rocket. Also, the hatch door will close by itself when the return rocket is horizontal. One less mechanism to worry about, or at least simplify.

As for the return, I'd assume again we're talking about a capsule the size of a basketball that either crashes back to Earth or gets caught in mid-air by a plane. That's how film was recovered from early spy satellites.

about a week ago

Submissions

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What's on your hardware lab bench?

50000BTU_barbecue 50000BTU_barbecue writes  |  about 5 months 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 7 months 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  |  about a year and a half 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 2 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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