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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

Dzimas Some of the oldest trades become useful. (725 comments)

I have a neighbour who is a weaver. She most certainly has skills worth sharing. The post-apocalyptic world would also need blacksmiths, potters, carpenters, farmers and so on. Not to mention someone capable of swinging a sword and lopping the heads off marauders intent on dragging off the young women and torching the village. The challenge is that scientists and engineers do not necessarily have the skills most critically required in the first decade or two of a new civilization, but their knowledge is critical to helping a society advance rapidly later. Hence, we'll need monks well versed in the scriptures of science.

4 days ago

How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

Dzimas Re: "Is This News"? (206 comments)

I discovered that the backup systems for our local cell towers run about 8 hours before you lose phone service during a major outage. While that is a small comfort, the pots system continued to run for days because of more robust generator backup. I know which I prefer.

about a month and a half ago

How About a Megatons To Megawatts Program For US Nuclear Weapons?

Dzimas doubtful. (146 comments)

Sadly, the military will strongly object, claiming they must retain the ability to annihilate civilization 50 or 60 times over. "To protect us."

about 2 months ago

Whatever Happened To the IPv4 Address Crisis?

Dzimas useless summary. (574 comments)

Dear Mother of the First Transistor and all that's holy, would it be too much to write a summary that actually summarizes -- "Remember the IPv4 crisis? It's still a problem, and we're going to run into trouble sometime this year." It's only a matter of time before tabloid-grade link baiting pervades every area of writing -- imagine the joy of reading summaries of scientific articles that conclude with, "Is there a statistically significant likelihood that your wife secretly prefers canoodling with carpenters rather than network engineers? Click HERE to find out."

about 2 months ago

Can Electric Current Make People Better At Math?

Dzimas Re: maybe, but . . . (112 comments)

As a child, I spent agonizing hours fighting to do long division and multiplication by hand. More often than not, I ended up with the wrong answer and came to believe that I "wasn't good at math" simply because of mild dyscalculia. It wasn't until I was older -- and allowed to use a calculator or PC -- that I discovered that my failures were simple mental processing errors ttjat could be overcome with help from technology. So, yes, on one hand I still stumble when performing elementary calculations by hand. On the other, I spend my days optimizing DSP algorithms. Thank goodness I have a computer to do the menial tasks.

about 2 months ago

Why the Internet of Things Is More 1876 Than 1995

Dzimas Re: 2014 won't be the year of Internet of Things (142 comments)

I'm not sure what decade you're from, but my washer and dryer both have digital countdown timers and chime when they need attention. Same goes for the oven. I most certainly don't need an appliance that's designed to last 20 years to be infested with a wireless communication standard that will be hopelessly outdated in five years.

about 2 months ago

Old cellphones, in my household ...

Dzimas sell it. (171 comments)

The best thing about buying an iPhone 4S a couple of years ago is that you can sell it today for 60% of its original price. That's enough to pay for a brand new Nexus 5. Ip

about 2 months ago

EA's Dungeon Keeper Ratings Below a 5 Go To Email Black Hole

Dzimas Re: Give Me Mod Points Slashdot, I fight for the U (367 comments)

The beta design simply doesn't have the information density of the production version. Instead of scanning for interesting comments, I scroll until I get sick of scrolling and then back out to the next thread. This isn't a situation in which users are grumbling because they don't like change; it's an instance where the redesign has a dramatic negative effect on the UX. That's a potential site killer.

about 2 months ago

US Cord Cutters Getting Snubbed From NBC's Olympic Coverage Online

Dzimas Re:Why? (578 comments)

NBC affiliates broadcast free-to-air across the United States, so why should they limit online streaming? Geolocation technology is good enough that it is possible to figure out where I am in the country so that the appropriate local video stream could be sent to my computer of tablet, providing exactly the same experience as if I were watching on a TV using rabbit ears.

about 2 months ago

Wozniak Gets Personal On Innovation

Dzimas Re:He hit the nail on the head... (161 comments)

The only thing worse than a Grammar Nazi is an incorrect Grammar Nazi. It's a toaster = It is a toaster (correct). Its = neuter possessor.

about 2 months ago

Asus Announces Small Form Factor 'Chromebox' PCs

Dzimas Brilliant for business use. (125 comments)

These things might sell quite well to libraries and businesses that need clients for web-based apps. They're also ideal second (or third) machines for households with kids. Maintaining my kid's Windows-based machine takes time and effort and Chrome would do away with that while still allowing him to use the sites and apps that matter the most -- Youtube, Google Apps for homework and gmail. He doesn't need or use much more.

about 2 months ago

U.S. Teenagers Are Driving Much Less: 4 Theories About Why

Dzimas Let's look at inflation adjusted costs. (635 comments)

In 1970, gasoline cost 35Â/gallon($1.65 in 2011 dollars). The OPEC crisis caused prices to more than double by 1980, but accelerated inflation meant that the cost rose to $2.03 in 2011 dollars. By 1990, gasoline hit $1 ($1.57 in 2011 dollars). Fast forward to today, and the average US price is $3.27. In other words, after adjusting for inflation gasoline is roughly twice as expensive as it has been historically. When you factor in the increased cost of high-tech cars and a sluggish economy, it's not surprising to see reduced demand.

about 3 months ago

Mystery Rock 'Appears' In Front of Mars Rover

Dzimas Unit confusion (112 comments)

I know that the US has long resisted a shift to SI measurements, but since when does JPL measure things in jelly donuts?

about 2 months ago

Revolutionary Scuba Mask Creates Breathable Oxygen Underwater On Its Own

Dzimas Let's do some math to debunk this. (375 comments)

For the sake of argument (and because I like round numbers), let's assume that a diver needs about 1L of oxygen per minute on average. The amount of oxygen in seawater varies by salinity, pressure and temperature. Assuming 35 g/kg salinity (most likely less in costal areas), 2 atmospheres of pressure (equivalent to a diving depth of 10 m) and nice 20 C water, you're looking at an oxygen level of about 11 ml/L. Consequently, you'd need to process 92.59L of sea water each minute to extract 1L of oxygen. Heaven help you as you surface, because skimming along a meter below the surface would require the system to process almost twice as much water. [in fairness, oxygen concentrations increase as the water temperature decreases, but the difference between 20C and 0C water is only about 30%.] So there you have it: Your face-mounted breathing system would be a terrifying water vacuum machine that hovers only inches from your noggin, sucking 1.5L of sea water and gunk per second through a tiny mouth-mounted system. I'll leave someone else to calculate the energy density required of the 5 x 5 cm fuel cell that has to power this magical device...

about 3 months ago

Google Chrome 32 Is Out: Noisy Tabs Indicators, Supervised Users

Dzimas Re: ...Right (141 comments)

You have obviously never configured an exception table.

about 3 months ago

Irish Politician Calls For Crackdown On Open Source Internet Browsers

Dzimas Re: I think I speak for us all... (335 comments)

The credit card company charges the merchant about 4% to accept a premium credit card, and the merchant pays that fee with your money. They give you a quarter of the discount back as a "reward" and you think you're gaming the system. Just pay cash, especially at small businesses who pay the highest rates.

about 3 months ago

Incandescent Bulbs Get a Reprieve

Dzimas Re:Incandescent bulbs have their uses (767 comments)

You're missing the point. Eventually, the incandescent bulbs installed in low use areas of my home will fail. At that point, I will be forced to purchase a more expensive replacement.

about 3 months ago

Incandescent Bulbs Get a Reprieve

Dzimas Incandescent bulbs have their uses (767 comments)

Most of the heavily used areas in my home have already been retrofitted with CFL bulbs, but there are a few places where traditional incandescents make sense - the closet under the stairs, the furnace room and the basement storage room are all excellent candidates for cheap incandescent bulbs. In each case, the light is only turned on for a couple of hours each year and the cost of replacing those bulbs with LED or CFL equivalents far outstrips the potential energy savings pver the next few decades.

about 3 months ago

Who Is Liable When a Self-Driving Car Crashes?

Dzimas Re: Efficiency. (937 comments)

The 4 year old was actually pretty smart. She figured out how to open the door. It's not her fault that the vehicle was moving and she didn't have the life experience or cognitive reasoning skills to realize that it was a bad thing to do. That's why child locks were invented.

about 3 months ago

NVIDIA Tegra Note 7 Tested, Fastest Android 4.3 Slate Under $200

Dzimas evolutionary development. (107 comments)

Company introduces new version of an established form factor, except slightly faster. Not really worthy of mention. The disruptive (or potentially disruptive) products are the ones /. should be covering -- like the tiny new laptop chargers from finsix (complete with built-in USB port so it can charge your phone at the same time). Let's hope for something extremely clever to come out of the upcoming CES show. I'm not holding my breath, though; we may have a decade of iterative improvements in tablet tech ahead of us before the next big hardware shift.

about 4 months ago


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