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Philips Ethernet-Powered Lighting Transmits Data To Mobile Devices Via Light

ColoradoAuthor "Ethernet-powered" lighting? (104 comments)

Sure, PoE can transmit 36 W (if all eight connectors are used), but lighting a whole office that way? That's one incredibly efficient luminaire!

about 3 months ago

Driver Study: People Want Fewer Embedded Apps, Just Essentials That Work Easily

ColoradoAuthor Re:Mercedes figured this out 6 years ago. (148 comments)

I'm starting to shop for a car, and I'll be wearing gloves on the test drives. I can live with a capacitive touch screen for navigation, but I'm one of those oddball people who insists on being able to turn on the heat and tune the radio during the winter.

about 3 months ago

Four Weeks Without Soap Or Shampoo

ColoradoAuthor To maximize bacteria (250 comments)

IIRC from the book "The Life That Lives On Man," the skin count of undesirable bacteria is maximized by daily showering. That's just frequent enough to wash away the desirable strains, and to keep things moist enough for the undesirable strains to proliferate. That research is over 20 years old, so I'd love to see an update.

about 4 months ago

Bruce Schneier On the Marathon Bomber Manhunt

ColoradoAuthor Re:Slippery slope? (604 comments)

Did anyone else listen to this on a scanner? It's amazing how many times the dispatcher had to remind officers to exercise discipline and to follow the orders which they had been given. Apparently many officers felt compelled to converge on any suspected sighting, abandoning their assigned lookout posts. In general, I was impressed by the police response, but it was far below the standard that would be expected in many other cities.

about a year and a half ago

The Coming Wave of In-Dash Auto System Obsolescence

ColoradoAuthor Re:No fancy gizmos please... (445 comments)

7 replies, and no one actually addressed the problem the OP mentioned: distractions. Maps distract you more and not less.

Failing to solve the problem is not cleverness. All of you think you're being snarky by being morons.

Um, maps are hardly distracting if used as described in the comment you're responding to: before going somewhere.

about 2 years ago

The Coming Wave of In-Dash Auto System Obsolescence

ColoradoAuthor Gloves (445 comments)

My rule is to wear gloves when test driving a car or shopping for a replacement radio. After all, 4-6 months of the year, I'll be wearing gloves when I climb into the car in the morning. Radio, heater, and all important controls need to be operable.

Unfortunately, there are almost no replacement radios that have real buttons and knobs. That's one area where the auto manufacturers get it right more often than the gizmo vendors.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Become Informed In Judicial Elections?

ColoradoAuthor Re:Check out your State Bar. (153 comments)

That information has proven quite helpful in my home states (CO and NE).

Usually I'll vote against a judge if more than about 15% of attorneys recommend "Do Not Retain" (or 10%, if the the judge gets poor marks for impartiality). For borderline cases, first I'll look for mentions of the judge in news stories. If I'm still undecided, I'll vote against retention. Why? The vast majority of people vote to retain all of the judges, so even really bad judges stay in office. By voting against retention, I will amplify the votes of any voters who happen to know about a problem with the judge.

about 2 years ago

How Hair Can be Used To Track Where You've Been

ColoradoAuthor Re:Also skeptical (133 comments)

Here's one reference in the literature about the technique (co-authored by the same guy featured in TFA):

Ehleringer, J.R., Bowen, G.J., Chesson, L.A., West, A.G., Podlesak, D.W., Cerling, T.E. (2008). From the Cover: Hydrogen and oxygen isotope ratios in human hair are related to geography. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(8), 2788-2793. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0712228105 (geolocation based on oxygen isotopes in hair)

Notice that isotope analysis indicates that a person was or was not in a set of regions at a given time, as in "possibly Texas or Florida." So it's better at narrowing down a list of possibilities than at pinpointing someone's travels. Or as the NOVA story says, it's a "a starting point" for an investigation, not a smoking gun to show off at a trial. (At work, I get to play with some of this stuff, blasting microscopic objects with laser beams and analyzing the atoms that fly off. How fun is that?)

about 2 years ago

Chemist Jailed In Russia For Giving Expert Opinion In Court

ColoradoAuthor Update-chemist free for now (232 comments)

September 25 update from "Since this story went to press, a judge at a Moscow city court ruled on 25 September that Olga Zenelina immediately be released from custody, pending her trial. A date for the trial has not yet been scheduled."

about 2 years ago

GAO Slams DHS Over BioWatch Biological Defense System

ColoradoAuthor Re:Crony capitalism and security theatre (88 comments)

No, according to the cited article, 1,200 deaths per year (initially, then declining year to year) occurred because of more people driving rather than flying "attributable to the effect of 9/11."

"Two primary reasons explain the 9/11 effect on road fatalities. First, the 9/11 effect may capture the fear of flying. ... Second, the 9/11 effect may be attributable to the inconvenience of flying post-9/11" [page 9 of the paper]. The authors were unable to measure these two factors independently. I think it would be reasonable to say that for most people, the choice to drive rather than fly was due primarily to a fear of terrorism (for which security theater might arguably be a solution). Only for a small but savvy minority was the choice to drive due to the TSA itself.

about 2 years ago

South Korea Surrenders To Creationist Demands On Evolution Textbooks

ColoradoAuthor Re:Bad examples, anyway (640 comments)

I'd love to see a citation of this assertion.

Kaplan, Matt (2011). "Archaeopteryx no longer first bird". Nature, published online 27 July 2011. doi:10.1038/news.2011.443

Lee, M.S.Y. and Worthy, T.H. (2011). "Likelihood reinstates Archaeopteryx as a primitive bird. Biology Letters, published online before print October 26, 2011, doi:10.1098/rsbl.2011.0884

Xing Xu, Hailu You, Kai Du and Fenglu Han (28 July 2011). "An Archaeopteryx-like theropod from China and the origin of Avialae". Nature 475 (7357): 465–470. DOI:10.1038/nature10288

more than 2 years ago

South Korea Surrenders To Creationist Demands On Evolution Textbooks

ColoradoAuthor Bad examples, anyway (640 comments)

Whichever side of the origins debate one subscribes to, good riddance to the horse and Archaeopteryx examples!

The typical horse progression still shown in many textbooks is oversimplified and incorrect. The "horses" shown in the progression, particularly Eohippus, really belong on "branches" of a quite complex tree. I know I've personally met creationists for whom learning about the incorrectness of that picture was the turning point in their abandonment of textbook paleobiology.

Likewise, the Archaeopteryx is often criticized as a particularly weak example even by the most dedicated evolutionists. Archaeopteryx may yet be accepted as an early member of Avialae, but there just isn't sufficient evidence of that yet.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Option For Printing Digital Photos?

ColoradoAuthor Re:Photographic prints! (350 comments)

The big box stores are usually a triple-win for cost, convenience, and quality, but there are some things to watch for. Do a preliminary scouting trip and look for:

  1. What machine are they using? Some of the stores have put in new models of photo printers that I don't quite trust. I prefer a machine that's new enough to be in good shape, but old enough to have been evaluated by the archival crowd. The Fuji Frontier machines are generally very good. Whatever they're using, look up light fastness test results on a site like
  2. What paper are they using? Extra points for Fuji Crystal Archive, though again there are many good and many poor options out there.
  3. How are they handling the prints? Is the tech wearing gloves? Are they super-careful not to bend the corners?

Before you print a big batch of photos, print a couple of test images. Print a really light details on a light background, a dark one, one with lots of blue sky, and one with big areas solid gray tone. Some stores (I don't know about Costco) calibrate their machines only once or twice a year. They may print very well after calibration, but eventually they can drift and produce not-so-good prints.

Finally, if you're keeping your archival copies on DVD or CD, keep in mind that there is a huge difference in longevity depending on the construction of the disc. Be prepared to pay for true archival quality with a gold reflective layer.

more than 2 years ago

How Lasers Could Help Fingerprint Conflict Minerals

ColoradoAuthor Re:Laser spectrometry is not new (31 comments)

As someone who works with laser spectroscopy, the biggest development here is the prospect of portability. Usually LIBS and LA-ICP-MS (laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry) systems are as big as a couple of refrigerators, and just as heavy. And that's not counting the supplies of lab-grade argon, helium, and nitrogen needed to run the equipment.

The blurb from Geophysical Research Abstracts says that they're developing a "method." That's a technical term in the field, which means they're developing a reliable, repeatable procedure which specifies exactly how to prepare the samples to avoid contamination and what elements to look for to reliably produce a fingerprint EVERY time without making too many unnecessary measurements. That's routine science, but necessary to getting wide acceptance for the technique.

more than 2 years ago

Satellite Glitch Leaves Northern Canada In the (Internet) Dark

ColoradoAuthor Summary missed a few key words (282 comments)

Only those communities that are remote enough to depend solely on satellite are affected. FTA: "Northwestel said all communities across Nunavut, N.W.T. and Yukon that receive their long distance calling and data service via satellite are affected."

more than 2 years ago

AT&T Kills $10 Texting Plan, Pushes $20 Plan

ColoradoAuthor Re:Texting is free on all carrieres (348 comments)

S. Keshav, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Tetherless Computing at the University of Waterloo, calculates that the marginal cost of an SMS message is about 0.3 cents (testimony before the US Congress, June 2009). His calculation includes channel costs and billing costs, but assumes negligible additional paging costs because "once a mobile has been located, either for a call or an SMS, it no longer needs to be paged." But as someone pointed out, this is the same industry that gives us $3 MP3s.

more than 3 years ago

Vintage Collection of Tech Failures

ColoradoAuthor Re:Not all failures (160 comments)

Not all prototypes: most of the items I see in the collection are production models. Not all failures: quite a few of the items dominated a market niche during their time, even if they didn't take over the world and find a home on every desktop, and are still available for purchase.

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You File Paper Documents At Home?

ColoradoAuthor Re:Honest Question: Why? (371 comments)

I don't keep medical bills or documents

Almost every contact my family has had with a emergency room has resulted in overbilling. In several cases, when I've complained "insurance already paid for that" or "the patient did NOT receive that treatment" both insurance and hospital have disclaimed any knowledge, and my paper records were my sole defense against paying hundreds or thousands of dollars. Sometimes those bills arrived years after I thought everything had been settled. I guess if you have a couple hundred grand you're willing to spend on such waste over your lifetime, then yeah, it's not worth caring about. Or maybe you live in a place (certainly not the US) where you really can trust medical billing.

more than 3 years ago

Computer Factories Are the Energy Hogs

ColoradoAuthor Redistribution (208 comments)

For most purchase decisions, economics (to some degree) accounts for the amount of energy used in production. An exception is when some group tries to bias the market in favor of buying the "new, efficient" thing, even when it means that the "old, inefficient" things go to a landfill before their natural end of life.

An important, but often neglected, point to make is that energy used at the factory CAN come from more efficient, cleaner sources. Or at the very least, the energy-related pollution may be dumped a little farther from the neighborhoods you care about the most.

more than 3 years ago

New Houses Killing Wi-Fi

ColoradoAuthor Re:Non-issue really (358 comments)

Why not just 2 APs with some runs of "leaky coax" (RADIAX or equivalent)? Leaky coax has been bringing all manner of signals into tunnels and metal buildings for years.

more than 3 years ago



Undersea Cables Damaged by Earthquake

ColoradoAuthor ColoradoAuthor writes  |  more than 3 years ago

ColoradoAuthor writes "The horrific earthquake and the ensuing tsunami in Japan have caused widespread damage to undersea communications, according to data collected by telecom industry sources. Initially, it was thought that the damage to the cables that connect Japan and Asia to each other and other parts of the world was limited, but new data shows the extent of the problems."
Link to Original Source

Patent Troll Meets "Think of the Children"

ColoradoAuthor ColoradoAuthor writes  |  more than 3 years ago

ColoradoAuthor (682295) writes "An article at Techdirt asks, "Why Is A Charity For Abused Kids Suing A Bunch Of Tech Companies For Patent Infringement?" A group of "advocates for abused and neglected children" is a plaintiff in two patent suits against Texas Instruments, Freescale, Atmel, Samsung, and other semiconductor companies. Did someone donate a patent to the charity? Is the other litigant--Azure Networks, a frequent visitor to the Texas Eastern District Court--trying to create a positive aura around their suit?"
Link to Original Source

Side channel attack on AES and Linux scheduler

ColoradoAuthor ColoradoAuthor writes  |  more than 3 years ago

ColoradoAuthor (682295) writes "A denial of service attack on the scheduler of current Linux systems (CFS) allows monitoring memory accesses with high precision. The researchers also claim to demonstrate fully working code for recovering an AES-128 key in real time without knowing either the ciphertext or plaintext."

Spam King escapes from prison

ColoradoAuthor ColoradoAuthor writes  |  more than 6 years ago

ColoradoAuthor writes "Edward "Eddie" Davidson, commonly dubbed the Spam King, walked away from a minimum-security federal prison in Florence, Colorado. He was last seen leaving his former home in Lakewood, Colorado.

The Rocky Mountain News has a story, along with a photo so we can all watch for him."


ColoradoAuthor has no journal entries.

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