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Star Trek Continues Kickstarter 2.0

Announcer This *IS* Star Trek! (108 comments)

The first fan-fiction Star Trek I watched was "New Voyages" a number of years ago. As a fan of Trek since TOS was in syndication in the early 70's (I was only 4 in 1966!) I have to admit, I was quite pleasantly surprised! Then, along came Star Trek Continues, running in pretty much the same vein, and with similar quality to "New Voyages".

As others here have said, this really *IS* like watching "lost episodes" from TOS! Both my wife and I really enjoy this! It is like getting brand new Star Trek stories, again... just a LONG wait between each one.

It is also quite telling, when you see that both of these high-quality fan-fiction productions are actually getting the ORIGINAL actors and actresses to reprise their TOS roles in various ways... this is where "time-travel" stories are actually being used in an enjoyable and meaningful way. For example, "World Enough and Time" (By New Voyages) was only the 2'nd Star Trek story to bring tears to my eyes! (The first was "Inner Light" on TNG.) Yeah, it was THAT good!

I look forward to watching what BOTH of these top-notch fan-fiction production groups do in the days ahead! If the Powers That Be would REALLY PAY ATTENTION, they would see what the majority of the Star Trek fan base REALLY WANTS.

Those "new" movies don't even deserve more than this one-line mention. I only saw the 1'st one. That did it for me. No more.

Live Long and Prosper, New Voyages and Star Trek Continues!!

about two weeks ago
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Best Cube?

Announcer The BORG! (265 comments)

You KNOW there's only ONE universal enemy that strikes fear into the hearts of all civilizations, and that's the BORG!

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

Announcer Re:The "crybaby" tone (790 comments)

Yes, that tone sounds very much generated. In fact, on my 150-in-one kit that I had as a kid, I could recreate this very same tone with a 3-transistor circuit. One transistor works with the audio transformer and makes the raspy tone. (Just a narrow-width pulse.) The other two are a free-running flip-flop, at approx. a 1Hz rate to modulate the frequency of the other. A capacitor will "integrate" the squarewaves feeding the base of the audio/pulse oscillator, and this tone is born.

No, the one I am talking about sounded VERY MUCH like a recorded human voice. That is what made it so fascinating.

Perhaps it was unique to the Southern New England Telephone (SNET) system.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

Announcer Non-existant phone number sound (790 comments)

Going back to the old rotary-dial phone days... How about that "awahhhawwwahhhawwwahhhaww" weird sound that you got when you dialed a nonsensical number? It sounded like an old lady's voice... probably recorded onto a tape loop, because if you listened to it for a few seconds, it abruptly started again, and kept repeating for a while. If my memory serves, if you stayed on the line listening to the weird thing for too long, it cut off, and was replaced by a very LOUD "busy-signal" type sound.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

Announcer Re:For that matter... phones. (790 comments)

I did something very similar, only I used the Radio Shack "Telephone Amplifier" kit, with some modifications. ;) One of those mods was to install a NC pushbutton to use for dialing. When I held a "D" cell battery in my hand as a weight, it helped my timing. I used the bottom of the battery to press the button, and it's internal spring would push the battery back up. With just a little bit of practice, I was dialing actual phone numbers, and getting through. :) I amazed my friends by doing this several times as they watched.

about two weeks ago
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Audience Jeers Contestant Who Uses Game Theory To Win At 'Jeopardy'

Announcer He's busting 'em up! (Mr Data) (412 comments)

I couldn't pass this one up... Remember when Mr Data played Kolrami, the galaxy's greatest Stratgema player... and how instead of seeking to win, sought to keep the game going indefinitely? :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... (The game scene is at the halfway mark.)

"He busted him up!" ;)

about a year ago
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Utilities Fight Back Against Solar Energy

Announcer Re:Footshooting... (579 comments)

I could see lawsuits (class-action) if they try to outright ban homeowners from installing DC power systems in their homes. I doubt they could ever do that.

Making a direct back-feed connection to the Grid illegal? They can most likely pull that off... for a time. An act of Congress could be forthcoming to change that, too. (Remember the old Ma Bell, where you couldn't connect ANYTHING user-owned to their network?)

about a year ago
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Utilities Fight Back Against Solar Energy

Announcer Re:One sided analysis (579 comments)

Curious... how much does a "typical" home installation cost there? (Assuming a family of 4, average house around 2,000 SF)

about a year ago
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Utilities Fight Back Against Solar Energy

Announcer To whom the Watts flow... (579 comments)

It matters to the Utility, because of the watts are flowing OUT, then they have to PAY YOU for that power. They don't want to do this.

It all boils down to this simple axiom: "Follow the money."

about a year ago
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Austrian Professor Creates Kindle E-Book Copier With Lego Mindstorms

Announcer Cloud-based OCR? Really? (61 comments)

OK, how long will it take until the DRM running on the "cloud" OCR provider recognizes what's going on, and puts a stop to this? The Mac should be capable of running a local OCR. What happens at home stays at home... what happens "in the cloud" is everyone's business.

Overall, this would be a cool thing to set up... start it, go to work, then come home and have the whole book on your laptop. Just get rid of the "cloud middleman".

about a year ago
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EFF Slams Google Fiber For Banning Servers On Its Network

Announcer Re:WEB hosting isn't expensive (301 comments)

This post was voted "troll"? Good grief, all I did was ask an honest question! I did NOT intend this as a troll.

My definition of "server" in the context of this post was a WWW server that would be hosting multiple page sites, possibly even leasing space to others. Obviously, that definition is different than some people's.

The idea of it being a completely PRIVATE "server" where one logs in to control devices in their homes didn't occur to me.

So, if that was worth wasting Mod points to vote "troll" so be it. They're YOUR Mod points. Waste them if you wish.

about a year and a half ago
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EFF Slams Google Fiber For Banning Servers On Its Network

Announcer WEB hosting isn't expensive (301 comments)

Why run a WWW server at home, when you can use a hosting service for as little as $4 per month? Why not let someone else worry about installing patches to the OS, and keeping the hackers/bots at bay 24/7? I have several sites on several domains, and it's only $100 a year. IMHO, that's far more worthwhile than having to keep constant vigilance over my own hardware.

about a year and a half ago
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Researcher Runs IP Network Over Xylophones

Announcer Increased speed with solenoids & FFT (83 comments)

With today's DSP technology, FFT algorithms, and a bank of solenoids, two computers could, in theory, transmit data via xylophones a LOT faster than one baud!

FFT analysis on the receiving ends determines which notes are being played and when, even simultaneously. By using notes unique to each machine, both can be playing and receiving simultaneously. It would be quite noisy, but would definitely work.

It would also be a good idea to "damp" the chimes, to dramatically reduce the audio decay rate. This would allow notes to be played in rapid succession, without losing the distinction between individual strikes of a given chime. Yes, the data throughput could become surprisingly fast without the PEBKAC! (Or in this case, PEBXAC)

Sounds like a cool project for someone with a bit of time on their hands, and a good pair of ear protectors.

more than 2 years ago
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Raspberry Pi Reviewed, With an Initial Setup Guide

Announcer Re:User friendliness? (188 comments)

Very well said, Bert64. You've perfectly delineated what I was trying to say, but with much better detail. Thank you!

Hopefully, someone involved with the Pi will read your comments, and "make it so!"

Ideally, a pre-programmed SD card should also be available, so one need only buy it, connect it, and power it up to see a window on the desktop with:

READY.
_

(Or some other such prompt!)

As someone else pointed out, make a default, hard-coded, "ROM"-based OS for the Pi, which cannot be "broken" by inexperienced users "PEEK"-ing and "POKE"-ing around the system... like the computers we both grew up with!

For me, it was a VIC 20, then a C64. I was not just into "hacking" the software, I was also into building and modifying the hardware! I had built a speech synthesizer board around the SPO256 chip for my Commie64, and had a blast making that thing say all kinds of crazy stuff. ;) I also built a relay box to control lights! (A 4-channel "Light-o-Rama".) Imagine if there were similar things for the Pi?

more than 2 years ago
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Raspberry Pi Reviewed, With an Initial Setup Guide

Announcer User friendliness? (188 comments)

My 2c worth:

How about making it so that when it powers-up, it's ready to go, without having to set up a user account, etc... just create the image on the SD card, then have the Pi come up to a desktop environment with a few helpful links. One of them should be a user-friendly programming environment that's just a mouse-click away, containing a few useful and easily modified example programs. Make the language something better than BASIC, but just as easy-to-use/learn... "Think of the children".

more than 2 years ago
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The Large Hadron Collider Has Been Recreated In Lego

Announcer Re:Excellent idea in the article (80 comments)

I referred to "sets" simply because this is the way Lego has been selling for years, now.

When I was a kid, all we had were blocks. Even plain ol' wheels were RARE! We made everything from the basic bricks, building, smashing, rebuilding... exactly as you described.

Now, having helped my nephew build a few Lego "models" (a reasonable description, IMHO) over the years, I also understand the appeal of these custom sets. They have taken the place of the plastic models we had to glue together when we were kids. Now, they just snap... and if you have enough OTHER Lego sets, your imagination can still go wild! Take parts from each, and come up with something unique... as kids will do!

The idea is for the PARENTS to GET INVOLVED with their kids. I can't help but picture geeky parents having geeky kids... it would just kinda rub off, but also, the children would be NURTURED in their pursuits of all things "geeky"! How do non-geeky parents end up with geeky kids? I don't know, but they do! Yours Truly is a geek, born to non-geeky parents. :)

more than 3 years ago
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The Large Hadron Collider Has Been Recreated In Lego

Announcer Excellent idea in the article (80 comments)

The author suggests that the Lego company should produce models of real-world scientific devices of all levels of complexity, from simple machines, to Tesla coils, etc, all the way up to this. (No, not WORKING Tesla coils!)

I think this is an idea that is well worth pursuing. Granted, it probably won't outsell "Star Wars" toys any time soon, but for one thing, the GEEK FACTOR is off the scale! I think there are plenty of kids (and parents too) who would definitely buy such Lego sets! I'd even be interested, myself... and I'm pushing 50!

more than 3 years ago
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US Bans Loud Commercials

Announcer Re:about freakin time (289 comments)

Correct, it's not "Normalize". That algorithm seeks the highest peak in the audio, then raises or lowers the TOTAL GAIN to bring THAT PEAK to the preset level. Here is the caveat. You can have an audio file that is -50 db (barely audible) with a single "clunk" (like the mic got bumped) at 0 db. If your "normalizing" to -6db, then it's going to reduce the gain of the ENTIRE FILE by 6db, leaving your desired audio at -56, with the single peak at -6.

What you want to do, is technically known as DYNAMICS COMPRESSION. This is a variable gain adjustment, on-the-fly. Radio stations use "audio processors" to do this in realtime. With digital audio, the process can be MUCH more precisely controlled, since it is NOT in realtime. With proper dynamics processing, you'd have that -50db audio raised to at least -20, and that 0db peak dropped to -6. Yes, you can "crank it to 11" by having it raise the -50 db audio to -6, and bring the 0db down to -6 also... but with too much gain increase, noise is raised, as well.

Dynamics compression is what those LOUD commercials are using. If you open the audio in an editor program like Audacity, it looks almost flat, with minimal hills and valleys. You will also see this on MOST modern music. The compress the daylights out of it, to make it all sound LOUDER. It works, too... having 0 db of dynamic range in audio sounds quite loud, and becomes fatiguing to listen to for any length of time.

What would REALLY be needed, is a "smart" detector that not only examines peak amplitude, but also the AVERAGE. If the average is always high, then the gain will be dropped proportionally. It would take some doing to make a system that could do this reliably. I have a TV with what they call "Equisound", and it is absolutely DREADFUL! I have thought of using an outboard audio processor, like my Alesis "Nanocompressor".

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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X-Class CME on its way?

Announcer Announcer writes  |  about 5 months ago

Announcer (816755) writes "According to Spaceweather.com, a significant solar flare has erupted on the Earth-facing side of the Sun, and should be here within less than 2 days.

Since spaceweather was a smolering pile of silicon by the time i heard about it, here is the Google cache of the site:
http://webcache.googleusercont..."
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Laptop destroyed by excessive airport x-rays?

Announcer Announcer writes  |  about a year ago

Announcer (816755) writes "I have traveled many times with my old workhorse Thinkpad, and never had any problems until Saturday, 11/30/13 in Charlotte, NC. They scanned my computer repeatedly, holding it in the x-ray machine for more than a minute, changing views, etc. When I got home and tried to use it, the CMOS memory was scrambled and now has a lockout password, where none existed before. (Cannot clear it. Already tried.) Has anyone else had their computer hardware damaged by excessive x-ray scans? They also destroyed not one, but TWO PCMCIA WiFi cards. (They no longer detect any signals.) It was all packed securely, and I carried it on, so it was not mishandled. I sent an e-mail to the airport. I await a response. What does the Collective of Slashdot suggest? (Besides replacing the computer. I already know that.)"
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Device to detect/prevent S.I.D.S.

Announcer Announcer writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Announcer writes "Students from Ben Gurion University in Israel have developed Baby Beat, a software that interprets changes in skin tone and measures a baby’s heartbeat. The software will be used to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the sudden death of an infant up to one years old, of which thousands of babies still die every year. The new system could help prevent the phenomenon by the use of a simple web camera."
Link to Original Source
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Announcer Announcer writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Announcer writes "This is a quick, short article describing "hacking" something really far-out. Ever wonder what kinds of mischief you could get into with the back of a dead digital watch? How about making a tiny AM radio transmitter? http://www.mymorninglight.org.nyud.net:8080/ham/in saneBTN.htm I've now built two of these, so the proof-of-concept is there. Comments welcome. Links to others who've duplicated this are appreciated."

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