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Ask Slashdot: Stop PulseAudio From Changing Sound Settings?

ColaMan Re:are the debian support forums down? (285 comments)

Hi there, Tox pusher. Did you not even read the very first few sentences he posted? The one that said :
I use Skype because for $15/m I can have unlimitted calling to local numbers in Thailand, from the US. And can make unlimitted US calls, too. Outbound only, inbound costs extra. I have it for my wife.

So you like Tox. That's great. It doesn't have all the features of Skype. Some of that is good (one-click government eavesdropping) some of that is bad (POTS integration). And yes, one of the 'features' of Skype is the fact that it's got a very large user base. So you're not just convincing Grandma to swap over, you need to convince Grandma's friends that she also talks to, and so on and so forth. And they just don't see the need for 'secure encrypted communication that only they have the keys to'. They're just (mostly) talking shit and waving to each other.

Open your eyes a bit and admit those problems, and people will start taking your opinion more seriously. Tox may be a solution for you (and maybe me, it looks interesting), but it's not a solution for the masses, because they already have an adequate solution.

about a week ago

South Korean ID System To Be Rebuilt From Scratch After Massive Leaks

ColaMan Re:Identification != Authentication (59 comments)

It's pretty simple. One of them has to find and kill the other.

There can be only one.

about a week ago

The Cult of Elon Musk Shines With Steve Jobs' Aura

ColaMan Re:What exactly has Elon Musk innovated? (181 comments)

Have you got a lisp? Because "90th" sure sounds like one.

It's 'nineties' (90's) , not 'nineteeth' (90th) :-P

about two weeks ago

Man Walks Past Security Screening Staring At iPad, Causing Airport Evacuation

ColaMan Re:No he didn't (217 comments)

He didn't cause the delay. If you build systems for normal users, you have to expect them to make errors, and the system has to catch those errors and handle them in a non-fatal way. If it doesn't, your system is broken.

To be fair, Sydney Airport processed 37.9 million passengers in 2013, so one or two people mucking it up ain't too bad.

about three weeks ago

New "Crescent Bay" VR Headset Revealed and Demo'd At Oculus Connect

ColaMan Re:cardboard (65 comments)

And there are certainly a lot of gushing reviews and no shortage of hype.

The crotchety old man in me wonders precisely what we're going to use it for again? Apart from teh awesome!1! games.......

And with regards to old-school slashdot, need we bring up CmdrTaco's review of the iPod? There's been plenty of hatin' round these parts going on for decades now.

about a month ago

Wheel Damage Adding Up Quickly For Mars Rover Curiosity

ColaMan Re:Someone with no brain is running NASA (162 comments)

Did you care to read the link, which said things such as excellent resistance to UV and cosmic radiation?

Anyhoo, I guess it's an iterative process. Better wheels on the next one please guys.

about 2 months ago

Wheel Damage Adding Up Quickly For Mars Rover Curiosity

ColaMan Re:Someone with no brain is running NASA (162 comments)

Ultra low temperature silicon rubber springs to mind.

Could have bonded a couple of millimetres thickness onto each alloy wheel. It seems the wheels only break when they have no cushioning underneath them, then the point loads on the tread are too high.

Oh well, I guess they'll know for next time :-)

about 2 months ago

Wheel Damage Adding Up Quickly For Mars Rover Curiosity

ColaMan Odd material selection (162 comments)

Still unsure as to why they didn't go with polyurethane or hard plastic wheels or similar. Probably about the same weight as the alloy ones, much less susceptible to fatigue.

Might be hard to find something that's good for those temperatures, but surely not that hard. Or were they expecting more sandy areas?

about 2 months ago

Enthusiast Opts For $2200 Laser Eye Surgery To Enhance Oculus Rift Experience

ColaMan Re:Processing in the game (109 comments)

And binoculars, for that matter.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: PC-Based Oscilloscopes On a Microbudget?

ColaMan Bitscope Micro (172 comments)

Bitscope Micro - USB , 40MS/s, USD95 in quantities of 10 or more.

Fairly decent set of software tools for it (including a basic FFT spectrum analyser and a protocol decoder that can do UART / SPI / Canbus.) Software runs on windows/linux and Raspberry Pi - You can download the software and tinker with a few bitscopes that are online to get a feel for it.

Specs here

about 4 months ago

Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

ColaMan Re:Progenitors? (686 comments)

Either that or they're using high-compression spread-spectrum data streams and it's all just slightly different noise underneath the noise.

about 4 months ago

The Sudden Policy Change In Truecrypt Explained

ColaMan Re:That's not proof! (475 comments)

Or we could just, like, not bother.

about 5 months ago

YouTube Releases the Google Video Quality Report

ColaMan Hmmm. (66 comments)

"HD Verified" sounds suspiciously like a way to extract more money out of someone.

"Oh, you want to watch youtube? No, no, your standard account doesn't have that level of service.You need to get a Youtube HD Verified account. Only $9.95 a month extra!"

about 5 months ago

Dump World's Nuclear Waste In Australia, Says Ex-PM Hawke

ColaMan Re:I'm guessing (213 comments)

We built a couple, with the Brits. Decided to leave those things alone.

Parts of Maralinga are still a little on the warm side because of it, so you'd think it would make a good place to store your waste.....

about 5 months ago

Autonomous Car Ethics: If a Crash Is Unavoidable, What Does It Hit?

ColaMan Plan C: (800 comments)

It communicates to both cars and tells them to execute emergency maneouvers to make enough room. Failing that,, all three calculate a vector that imparts minimal g-forces to all occupants.

about 6 months ago

Physics Students Devise Concept For Star Wars-Style Deflector Shields

ColaMan Re:Sorry but (179 comments)

I can't even think of a movie (other than Gravity) that did this correctly.

'2001' did. When HAL went and cut Frank Poole's airline during his EVA, his death was shown completely silently and I think it had a far greater impact as a result.

about 6 months ago

SpaceX Looking For Help With "Landing" Video

ColaMan Re: SpaceX always have an excuse for failure (110 comments)

You seem a little harsh on them.

Recovery of the booster would have been nice for investigation, but it was never intended to be flown again and was never the stated goal. The goal for that mission was a controlled descent and touch down on the ocean, which they accomplished. A 'soft-recover' wasn't the term that they were using.

This goal needed to be reached so that Range Safety at the launch pad can determine that SpaceX can reliably put a rocket down within a mile or so of a target. The next launch - in the next week or so - will attempt to land in the ocean much closer to the launch facility.

The technical difficulties of a soft landing are considerable given the hardware that they've got. With the weight of the empty booster, they can't throttle the engines back far enough to hover. So they fall towards the surface and at the right moment fire the engines to reach a computed zero velocity at touchdown. Doing this with gusty 30-40 knot winds on the surface is tough. 'Landing' on a continuously-undulating surface where there is no consistent level is tougher.

And yes, parts of this have been done before. Sure, there's open-source avionics stacks that can do this thing no problemo. But a controlled return of the first stage of a liquid fuel rocket has never been done before, and this kind of work has most certainly never been done for the relatively tiny amount of money that SpaceX has been spending. *That* is the thing that's getting tongues wagging.

about 6 months ago

Expert Warns: Civilian World Not Ready For Massive EMP-Caused Blackout

ColaMan Re:TSA-like Money for Fear (271 comments)

- Cars don't have the long wiring needed to effectively 'pick up' EMP.
- Cars have a lot of 'passive' components that can help clamp EMP to a survivable level, most notably the battery which can deal with all sorts of spikes and has fairly heavy gauge wiring to the engine computer (for fuel injection)
- Cars are also quite well shielded (they're mostly a metallic faraday cage)
- Cars deal with lots of EMP as an everyday occurrence (10,000 ignition pulses at 80+kV in the engine bay every minute)

I won't say it's not an issue, but it's not a big an issue as you believe.

about 6 months ago

Drones On Demand

ColaMan Re:How long before the FAA stops this? (49 comments)

That's a little odd. CASA here in Australia has authoritah over most aerial devices and imposes a licensing arrangement (for those using them in a commercial manner) and a restriction that they have to maintain at least 30 metres from people.

Someone in a triathlon got whacked in the head just recently with a drone - the person flying it will be in a world of hurt once CASA finishes discussions with them.

Note that if it had been some kid fooling about in the park CASA would not have been interested, but once it becomes 'for profit', they start to take notice. Which is probably a reasonable distinction to take - 'for profit' types will generally be using more of them, more often, and licensing requirements can also mandate that they have adequate insurance and minimum safety requirements.

about 6 months ago

UN: Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple To Save Climate

ColaMan Re:Nuclear is obvious, an energy surplus is desire (433 comments)

So the entire worlds output of nuclear power is .000000372 ExaWatt Hours.

No, that's just Exawatts. You need to multiply it by the runtime per year, which you can comfortably call 8500 hours, allowing for downtime. So that makes it 3.16 ExaWatt-hours, which is just about a third of oil's output, but you can still have oil for mobile transport for quite a while and flip all the power plants to nuclear, that would certainly help,.

Oh, and perhaps you should consider smoking less crack. Or posting to Slashdot whilst under the effects of said crack. Or both.

about 6 months ago


ColaMan hasn't submitted any stories.



Bring back JonKatz

ColaMan ColaMan writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Which one would you prefer? JonKatz or Roland Piquepaille?

Try for yourself - search for "roland" and "jonkatz" in the slashdot search. Read a few of their submissions.

Let's look at their general submission style:
Jon - Was into the culture-smacks-into-technology side of things. Did tend to sometimes distort (or completely mangle) the facts, but most stories seemed to cause some genuine discussion.

Roland - Seems to be the cut'n'paster of the century. Every story so far points to his website (Roland's Technology Trends) for "more info", which is normally a few paragraphs from another linked article, with filler such as "and as you can see from the next paragraph, it's very interesting".

Now, I wouldn't have a problem with this, but he sells advertising on his site. I can deal with google adwords (I suppose), but then I see a box on the side spouting:

Reach the tech crowd!
This blog focuses on new technologies and how they will affect our lives.

This is the place to reach all these technology-savvy readers and advertise your most innovative products or services.

So, Roland pretty much uses slashdot to drive people to his site. If all he did was link to the original site (the one his blog links to) in his slashdot submission I wouldn't mind. But linking back to your site to basically get your hits up? I don't like it. It feels wrong. If I want the latest technology trends, I look at gizmodo, or techdirt. I don't need people decreasing the signal-to-noise ratio at slashdot for their own gain. If his blog was full of insightful commentary and facts from several different places, all carefully put together to have some real value, then I wouldn't feel as cheated everytime I accidently click through.

To sum up? Three words:
Bring back JonKatz.

At least his submissions had some content.


Electric Cars, Thundersky batteries and such

ColaMan ColaMan writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Amongst all the other things I've been doing, I keep thinking about building an electric car. Battery technology is certainly heading in the right direction - a decent set of thundersky li-ion batteries are good for 12kWhr for a hundred and fifty kilos. 12kWhr, at an "average to crap" efficiency of 350Whr/mile gives 35 or so miles..... which is enough to get me to work and back every day on half a charge. It's a damn shame it'd cost me nearly six grand in batteries. That, and four or five thousand for a decent sized motor and controller. 12000 bucks is a whole lot of money to try and recoup in fuel savings.

But it *would* be cool. Maybe I'll scale down a bit and build an electric harley. That'd be a little more affordable. Then I can grow a beard and a pot belly, wear some black leather and tatts, and cruise silently up behind people and scare the bejeezus out of them. Oh, and I guess I'll have to have some skanky biker chicks too.

Me and my mid-life crisis, we're all set :-)


Haunted by the past

ColaMan ColaMan writes  |  more than 9 years ago

So, I get an email from my old boss from a few jobs (and years) back. The usual pleasantries, how's things , etc. Oh, and perhaps I could make another cutter speed sampling device? No-one there has any idea about how to make one, it seems.

Well, geez, I dunno. I mean, I'm flattered that he got in touch and all. But things went horribly wrong in that job after a while. Sure, the first few years were great. But then, there was this slow, inescapable slide downhill. I lost the work car. I ended up working 70 hour weeks sometimes. And then there was the very poor handling of two sexual harassment complaints.

I will point out that, for the record, both complainants when quizzed seperately by HR, did not want to take any action. I apologised to both of them a couple of days after each incident. And all parties were a little embarrassed by the whole thing, and were willing to just let it all go. It was my misunderstanding of the difference between "workplace acquaintance" and "friend" that got me in the awkward position. Trying to be friendly, hell, I got it wrong. I'm stuck with being socially retarded, I guess.

Looking at it now, I suppose that the HR manager was just lousy at being diplomatic. But the implications and conclusions that she made about the two complaints were quite shattering. The fact that it was three months after the second incident didn't help. So much for water under the bridge and all that. I suppose that was the end of the line for me. A few months after that, I realised that I didn't want to be there anymore and my heart just wasn't in it. Oh, it was all sad farewells and all that, but I was glad to go.

And now here I am, two years after I left. Trying to decide whether to help out a company that caused possibly one of the more stressful events in my life. There's the crux of the matter though. Individually I'd help any one of them, it's the dilbert-esque Company that I'd rather just say "Fuck you" to.

My thoughts so far are to :
(a) help them out, but to screw the Company for every last cent I can.
(b) help them out, out of the kindness of my heart, and a nominal consulting fee.
(c) tell them to go get fucked.

Let's face it, my life hasn't been ruined. Leaving that job was probably one of the best decisions I made - I've now got a job with twice the pay and half the hours and I enjoy it. But there's still a heap of bad memories there. I've re-read my work diary from around that period, and I'm obviously nowhere near as upset about it as I was then. Obviously I still haven't let go of it though.

I'm leaning for (b) - maybe I'll learn to let go and get some good Karma for the next life.


What The?

ColaMan ColaMan writes  |  more than 8 years ago

I posted something in reply to someone today about the captcha required for posting, and I thought it was rather good. An edited version follows :

From "The CmdrTaco unabridged SlashDot preachings" (second edition, p476):

"Those with Karma of 'Excellent' status can post without the use of the captcha - for yea, they have proved their faith, and suffered many hardships, and trials, and aggravations, and duplicate articles, bearing them all with rare good humour, and much insightful posting, with many a witty comment. And lo! Such is their wisdom that the Karma Bonus, that most hallowed of rewards, is bestowed upon them, so that their words are writ large above the mundane postings, and can continue to enrich and inspire even the lowliest Coward. Those who possess Excellent Karma truly have been justly rewarded, and may they forever bask in the glory of that which is the New Slashdot.

For certainly, it is a New Slashdot - The crapflooding hath been lowered a significant amount, and for this, there was much rejoicing. And great was the wailing and the gnashing of teeth of the crapflooders, for they were forced to take their childlike pursuits elsewhere, leaving the hallowed moderators free to perform their sacred duty without the incessant selection of the -1, troll."

Hmm. Perhaps I should redo the whole FAQ in a King-James style.

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