Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!



Being Pestered By Drones? Buy a Drone-Hunting Drone

CityZen Re:Seems like jamming would be easier (151 comments)

Not all RC systems use spread spectrum. (The very popular DSM2 doesn't.) Those that use wifi don't either. Also, most video transmitters are single frequency. In any case, the 2.4Ghz band is fairly narrow. With only 3 wifi channels, you can cover most of it.

4 days ago

Being Pestered By Drones? Buy a Drone-Hunting Drone

CityZen Re:Seems like jamming would be easier (151 comments)

It's not clear to me that the wording above applies to wifi frequencies. But in any case, in order to "jam" wifi, you don't need an illegal "jammer", you could use a wifi station that broadcasts strong signals across multiple channels.

4 days ago

Being Pestered By Drones? Buy a Drone-Hunting Drone

CityZen Seems like jamming would be easier (151 comments)

Most drones operate using either 2.4 or 5.8Ghz frequencies for control. Seems like downing a drone just requires a RF jammer with a directional antenna. I suppose that the targeted drone can still get up again once you stop jamming it, so that's a difference compared to the fighting drone.

I also suppose this wouldn't block drones that were set to operate autonomously.

about a week ago

Ask Slashdot: Are Progressive Glasses a Mistake For Computer Users?

CityZen OT: Never shop at Lenscrafters or other big chains (464 comments)

While we're discussing glasses, let me rant:

*** Never shop at Lenscrafters or other big chain shops ***

The reason is that they all have the same parent company (Luxottica), and this monopoly will gladly charge you over $300 for the simplest lenses.

There's hardly ever a reason to pay more than $300 for a pair of glasses. When Lenscrafters was telling me I should pay over $500 for a set of glasses, I went to an independent optician and found a great set of glasses for $120.

Sure, I should break this down into the frame cost vs. the lens cost. For frames, pay whatever you want. You can find basic frames for $20 or designer frames for $200 or more.

Lenses can start at around $30 (a pair) or so and go up from there, depending upon the options. With the lightest materials and all the fancy coatings (including light-sensitive shading), you can go up to perhaps $200 or so.

Don't give your money (or even your insurance company's money) to the monopolist.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Drone For $100-$150?

CityZen Understand the features. (116 comments)

It's good to know why some drones are more expensive than others. (I'm going to use "drone" instead of "quadcopter" or "multicopter" since it's easier to type.)

Your basic drone will have a 3D gyro & accelerometer that will keep it flying upright. That's about it. As far as the altitude, it's up to you to constantly vary the throttle setting to keep it somewhere near the height you want. It will also drift in the wind, and you'll have to vary the directional controls to counter this. It may also rotate when pushed by the wind.

A magnetic compass can help the drone keep a constant heading. This is important, since most drones are piloted relative to the direction they are heading. (Fancier ones have additional piloting options whereby you don't need to know which way they are pointed.)

Fancier drones (like Parrot AR) have additional sensors to maintain altitude. Either a pressure sensor (barometer) and/or ultrasonic sensors aimed at the ground will allow it to accomplish this. However, the drone will still drift in the wind.

The next level up adds either GPS or an optical flow sensor (low-resolution camera pointed straight down). With one or both of these, a drone can maintain its absolute position, give or take a couple feet.

Then, of course, there's the camera. The most basic thing is a camera that records to an onboard SD card. Then there are cameras that transmit NTSC/PAL video signals over the air to a receiver (which might be combined with a screen into the controller). Or there are cameras that transmit video via wifi to your mobile device. The latter tend to have more latency (delay), making it harder to pilot (when you're flying fast).

You'll want the camera to have a relatively wide FOV (field of view). Otherwise, it's hard to know what's around the craft that you might run into.

Then there are gimbals. These keep the video stabilised. Of course, now we're in the several hundred dollar range, so perhaps that's where to stop.

about 2 months ago

Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

CityZen Re:Distribution and Generation are split (488 comments)

Exactly! Con-Ed in NYC charges more for distribution (per KWH) than Seattle Light charges for the whole bill (per KWH). The distribution costs in NYC are about the same as the generation (supply) costs (both of which are quite high).

about 4 months ago

LTE Upgrade Will Let Phones Connect To Nearby Devices Without Towers

CityZen What happens in a crowded stadium? (153 comments)

You always need to consider the extremes. What happens when there are thousands of devices in range?

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

CityZen Re:Repairability/Upgradability/Modularity (471 comments)

Tech can "last forever". Take my digital wristwatch, for instance. All it needs to keep going is a new battery every so many years. Fortunately, it's battery is replaceable. However, I agree with your point that many tech makers get this wrong. Non-replaceable batteries and closed, locked-up software environments help to make tech go obsolete much faster than necessary. Also, functional dependence on some other infrastructure (Apple Watch depends upon iPhone) doesn't help either.

about 4 months ago

Combating Recent, Ugly Incidents of Misogyny In Gamer Culture

CityZen Re:One bad apple spoils the barrel (1134 comments)

No, rather like people posting your home address and telling you that they plan to harm you.

about 5 months ago

Combating Recent, Ugly Incidents of Misogyny In Gamer Culture

CityZen Re:Nobody has the right not to be offended. (1134 comments)

Perhaps you missed the part about rape and death threats, and not just general ones, but the "I know where you live" kind?
I believe that courts have ruled that this is indeed not free speech, but criminal action.
But these criminals hide behind internet anonymity, so are difficult to prosecute.

about 5 months ago

Intel's Haswell-E Desktop CPU Debuts With Eight Cores, DDR4 Memory

CityZen Re:Elephant in the room (181 comments)

I once paid $100 for 16KB ($6400/MB). Of course, Apple was charging $400 for the same amount ($25,600/MB).

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Recliner For a Software Developer?

CityZen Just a word of warning (154 comments)

If you make it too comfortable to be sedentary for long periods of time, you'll need to find ways to balance yourself with appropriate exercise. Too much comfort (or too much of anything) can be bad. It's all about the balance.

Back exercise helps you in several ways: makes sleep more comfortable, makes it easier to have good posture, prevents you from hurting yourself when lifting/pushing things, and generally keeps you from deteriorating faster than you ought to.

(I can't say enough about good posture, either: it helps you breath better, and it looks so much more attractive than most alternatives.)

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Bulletproof Video Conferencing For Alzheimers Home?

CityZen Biscotti TV (194 comments)

I've been looking for something similar myself. I was using the Logitech Revue until they shut down their Vid service.

The Biscotti has many good traits:
1. Has HDMI passthrough so no need to switch inputs if TV normally stays on a particular HDMI input.
2. Can overlay calling notification.
3. Can switch on the TV via CEC if needed.
4. Can be set to auto-answer.
5. Compatible with SIP and various standards.

Unfortunately, it's not perfect. You don't want to put it on a hot TV, or it might overheat.
Sometimes it has issues and needs to be rebooted by unplugging/replugging.
Recently, it looked like Biscotti's servers were down for a bit, so calls couldn't go through.
But aside from these typical kinds of issues, it's the best solution I've found so far.

about 6 months ago

Is the App Store Broken?

CityZen Most online stores are "broken" (258 comments)

I'm consistently amazed how everyone continues to make bad online stores when there are good examples to follow.
Ebay and Newegg are fairly good examples. They have extensive hierarchies of categorization, a healthy supply of
sensible filters, and, most importantly, they work in a sensible manner.

Case in point: you navigate down various categories, set up some filters, click on a product, then hit the "back"
button, and, lo and behold, you're taken back to where you expected to be. With some stores, once you
click on a product, it loses all the history of how you got there, which is totally nuts. You have to start over from
the top again. (Or, even if there is a sensible back option, it may be painfully slow to get you there again.)

Of course, having a tabbed web browser makes things even easier, since I can drill down, set up filters, then
middle-click on several different products (opening up each in a new tab), and flick between them at will.
I can add products to a "watch" list, so I can look now and decide later if I want to get it.

The only way that I use the App stores on iOS or Android are to already know the app I want (from having
looked at the wider internet), click on "search", and find that specific app. Anything else is just a hopeless
potshot. I think that Apple/Google know that this is the only method that needs to work, and thus they
don't try to improve things.

about 6 months ago

Who controls the HVAC at work?

CityZen Annoying engineering with limited local control (216 comments)

So there are thermostats on the wall, but they have only limited control:
- the building central HVAC produces only 1 temperature of air: either hot, cold, or unmodified.
- the temperature of air produced centrally depends upon the outside temp and the time of day.
    (ie, the thermostats have no control over that!)
- on cool days, hot air is produced; on warm days, cold air is produced, except:
    outside of work hours, it seems the air is mostly unmodified (not heated or cooled much).
- the thermostats control the venting such that you either get the central air or recirculated local air.
- (I haven't figured out what controls whether the blower runs or not.)

The net result does seem to be that you are overheated in winter, overcooled in summer,
except after work hours, when it becomes a reasonable temperature.

about 8 months ago

Major ISPs Threaten To Throttle Innovation and Slow Network Upgrades

CityZen Re:Please support the FCC to do the right thing (286 comments)

While I won't argue that you are wrong, I'm sure the cable companies would be pleased if people just thought "eh, what's the point in trying to change anything?" and didn't do anything.

That's how we got to this situation in the first place.

An alternative way out of this BS is to develop technology to bypass ISPs. Start setting up mesh wifi, or something. Figure it out.

about 8 months ago

Major ISPs Threaten To Throttle Innovation and Slow Network Upgrades

CityZen Please support the FCC to do the right thing (286 comments)

We all know this is BS. But we also know the FCC doesn't have much backbone. U.S. folks, please show them your support:


You may also write your senator or member of congress:


Comments or complaints sent to any of the above may do a lot more good than any posted here.

about 8 months ago

Microsoft Finally Selling Xbox One Without Kinect

CityZen Thank $DEITY for competition! (227 comments)

Competition can suck, but it's usually worse (for consumers) without it.

In this case, the worst effect of competition is that you might have to buy two game consoles to play every game that you would like to.
It beats paying 2x for the only game console with no competition.

about 8 months ago

Distracted Driving: All Lip Service With No Legit Solution

CityZen Re:There is this button. (184 comments)

And your teenage driver will certainly follow this advice, just like he/she followed every other piece of useful advice you have offered.

about 9 months ago

Distracted Driving: All Lip Service With No Legit Solution

CityZen Re:Just replace the driver (184 comments)

Hear hear! I'm anxious to see the day when people-driven cars are in the minority.

about 9 months ago


CityZen hasn't submitted any stories.


CityZen has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?