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Comments

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Botched Executions Put Lethal Injections Under New Scrutiny

HEMI426 Re:Use confiscated drugs (483 comments)

This. I don't understand why this quest to find the most polite way to kill someone isn't over already. Controlled-atmosphere asphyxiation is the way to go. Every year, people accidentally die in low-oxygen environments where the oxygen level is offset by nitrogen, helium, or some other (usually inert) gas. Safe, easy, pretty low skill level for the people conducting the execution and wouldn't require much more than a full-face mask and a tank of gas, which you could probably pick up at the local welding supply joint.

about 2 months ago
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Zuckerberg's $100 Million Education Gift Solved Little

HEMI426 Hrm... (335 comments)

I tend to think the problems that cause low graduation rates are most likely social or at home...Throwing money at schools won't fix those problems.

about 2 months ago
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The New York Times Pushes For Clemency For Snowden

HEMI426 You can never go home again. (354 comments)

If there was somehow a clemency offer that Snowden accepted, he could still never return to the US. He'd get disappeared as soon as possible once he got back to US soil.

about 7 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Begin Simple Robotics As a Hobby?

HEMI426 Re:EMC2 (166 comments)

Well, everyone does things differently. I used hat pegs for the mug racks; the "flare" at the end holds the mugs on better. Those pegs didn't hold well in a vise...So printing an insert worked really well and made drilling pilot holes for the screws that passed through the slats of the racks trivial. See http://www.puresimplicity.net/~hemi/Pics/Misc/mug-rack/prototype-04.jpg if you want to see what I'm talking about...That was the first one I built, before I printed the vise insert.

Drill templates...Mine seem to be durable enough for it. In fact, I've printed off a few that the local high-school shop classes have been using for a few semesters now with no breakage.

Maybe this guy's printer wasn't set up right.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Begin Simple Robotics As a Hobby?

HEMI426 Re:EMC2 (166 comments)

Eh, mine has practical uses, at least for me. I use it mostly to facilitate other projects...Need an odd-shaped vise insert? Just design and print! I did that with mug-rack pegs. Need a re-usable layout template for drilling holes? Just design and print! I did that for the rear shackle mounts when I wanted to design casters to carry the back of the car when there was no suspension mounted.

There's lots of uses for them...But yeah, a lot of it is printing out parts for other printers---my RepRap's plastic bits came from my friend's printer---or toys and such. If you're not a handy person...Then yes, you'll probably just print toys with it. :)

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Begin Simple Robotics As a Hobby?

HEMI426 Re:EMC2 (166 comments)

Also, a 3D printer. Easier start-up than a mill or router, lots of guides out there and if you're frugal you can do it for a few hundred bucks.

about a year ago
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What's Holding Back 3-D Printing

HEMI426 I'll tell ya... (348 comments)

You know what's holding 3D printing back? As someone that's fighting with one, I've got a few thoughts.

I'm building a Prusa Mendel, with hardware mostly donated by a friend that also has a Prusa Mendel. It *should* be straightforward. It's not. At all. My friend and I got the frame built, but I brought everything else home to finish on my own.

I managed to get the mechanical end sorted out fairly well, to the point where I need the entire printer to run right to get the rest of it dialed in. I managed to get the software side sorted pretty easily, too. The electronics, however, are proving to be a major pain.

The machine has a few problems that I can not seem to sort out. The hot end temps vary wildly, in about a thirty-degree Celsius range...However, it's all built "right." At this point I'm going to build a second heatcore and replace the thermistor attached to the nozzle with a new one (that I had to order from somewhere else) in hopes that something is wrong with either of these two items.

I am proficient with electronics assembly and repair, to the point where I build my own pedals to use with my bass, repair my own bass gear, repair other folks' pedals and gear, etc. I do computer software troubleshooting and programming for work, so I'm fairly proficient with that. I'm also a hard-core gearhead; I've been playing with mechanical things from guns to cars to motorcycles to machine tools and just about everything in between for as long as I can remember...But I'm having a hell of a time sorting out a *basic* 3D printer. I've spent the past three weeks of weeknights and weekends working on the thing and, honestly, I'm about ready to throw the whole pile in the trash and forget the whole thing.

It doesn't help that no one local to me has any more experience with building these things than I do, and all the people that have pre-built 3D printers are also hating them right now...My old employer has a MakerBox Replicator 2X that they can not get to run right. It seems like the vendors themselves don't really know what's going on, either...The vendor I got the hot end parts kit from seems to supply wire that I would consider wholly inadequate for moving 12V@5A around, but apparently it works.

The guy that supplied the parts for me to build my Prusa Mendel purchased a Rostock kit for no small amount of money...And is having all kinds of trouble getting it working right, too.

What's holding back 3D printing? The fact that even people with higher-than-average technical proficiency in all the areas required to make a 3D printer run well are having problems with their 3D printers indicates that they are in no way ready for mainstream use.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Does the FOSS Community Currently Need?

HEMI426 What OSS really needs... (356 comments)

It's not really any particular project...There's tons of them out there. There are some areas that are lacking, though...QA, RE and documentation practices suck. The major projects tend to be better at them, but most of the smaller projects are pretty terrible at all three.

about a year and a half ago
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"Adults Only" OpenArena Now Playable On Raspberry Pi

HEMI426 Re:GPL your levels! (65 comments)

I gave up maintainership of the port on 25 Nov 2010. Hopefully things have improved, cause they were running that project into the ground. I don't interact with the current port maintainer, so I can't say if things have improved or not from a "FreeBSD port maintainer point of view."

about a year and a half ago
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"Adults Only" OpenArena Now Playable On Raspberry Pi

HEMI426 Re:GPL your levels! (65 comments)

OpenArena is fun and may be an excellent project to play, but the OpenArena people themselves are terrible to work with.

I used to maintain the FreeBSD port for OpenArena. Used to. Why used to? Cause they were the *worst* group of open-source software people I've ever dealt with. When another open-source OS asks you what it takes to get your app built and running, the correct answer is *not* "just download the Linux version and use that." Asking FreeBSD users to use the Linux binaries when there is source available is tantamount to telling Linux users to use the Windows version when there's source available.

I had done all the work necessary to update the OpenArena port to the latest version at the time, and then played "follow the patchlevels cause their dev practices suck" for several more versions. I edited their wiki, writing out directions for getting the game running from source on FreeBSD, which was pretty easy to do...Which they promptly deleted and said, "just use the Linux version."

When I was working on the port I asked them repeatedly what the build deps were and such...They didn't know. They generally just banged on it and installed stuff until OA built and ran. Never once did they actually document what it took to build the game. They were truly representative of the kids-table level of QA/RE that seems to be commonplace in the small-project OSS development community at large. How many times did they make a major release, followed quickly by several patches to fix minor oversights that resulted in major problems and could have been avoided with checklist of "what to check before we release?"

Here's a dirty little secret for ya: they talk about making source changes to the engine but none of them matter. The FreeBSD port---now maintained by someone else, thankfully---runs on the ioquake3 engine and just uses the OA pak files and the like.

In short, they may have some decent modelers/map-makers/artists working with them, but their software-dev guys are terrible to work with. I wouldn't use OA as a benchmark for anything.

about a year and a half ago
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Learning Rocket Science With Video Games

HEMI426 Re:Lunar Lander! (64 comments)

Yeah, I considered a Scorched Earth mention, too...Fun games, and actually useful to some degree.

about a year and a half ago
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Learning Rocket Science With Video Games

HEMI426 Re:Lunar Lander! (64 comments)

Yes, the original was a relatively unsuccessful arcade game published by Atari in the '70s. I'm sure there were numerous ports.

about a year and a half ago
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Learning Rocket Science With Video Games

HEMI426 Lunar Lander! (64 comments)

No mention of Lunar Lander?! :) ... No, I'm not serious.

about a year and a half ago
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Icons That Don't Make Sense Anymore

HEMI426 Re:Let's see now... (713 comments)

I actually built my own antenna to replace a set of rabbit ears, although the rabbit ears and the antenna that replaced them resides in the attic. Maybe I'm just too old and have too much to do to pay for any TV.

more than 2 years ago
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Icons That Don't Make Sense Anymore

HEMI426 Re:Let's see now... (713 comments)

I'm somewhat scared that people have never had to use a wrench to fix anything. Most of the self-respecting geeks I know are also gearheads... No one is a musician any more? Microphones are unknown to most people? I agree...What Universe is this tool living in?

more than 2 years ago
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The Homemade Hard Disk Destroyer

HEMI426 Why not just do what I do? (497 comments)

I take my damaged/unusable hard drives into a field and shoot holes in them, repeatedly. Effective and fun. You can even invite co-workers to help. Shooting hard drives is also a good way to use my old battle rifles. :)

more than 4 years ago
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Apple Still Has Not Patched the DNS Hole

HEMI426 Re:Apple + patches == ohnoes (296 comments)

Apple has indeed caught up to most other low-end server vendors as far as hardware features goes. You can get an XServe with redundant power supplies now! They've even got a rack kit that isn't an absolute nightmare! They have LOM! You can option the machines with a RAID controller, but in our case we just reinstalled on to a software RAID mirror set up by Disk Utility. Their hardware is nowhere near anything special (although their one-piece drive sleds work decently), but it's nice to see that they're at least trying on the hardware front. If they did the same on the software front they might have something.

All of this stuff is present (and the RAID controller is available) for the Intel XServe I'm using now. It wasn't (except I think you could purchase a RAID controller) for the G4 XServe it replaced. I believe some of these features showed up in the G5 XServes.

My favorite new feature that Apple added to the XServe hardware? Link LEDs on their network interfaces.

The hardware isn't "slick." It's finally "not awful."

more than 5 years ago
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Apple Still Has Not Patched the DNS Hole

HEMI426 Apple + patches == ohnoes (296 comments)

As someone that's cursed to administer an OS X Server machine, I have nothing good to say about Apple in general and OS X Server in particular. Apple's history of patching---or, in this case, not patching---stuff has been lukewarm at best and downright abysmal at worst. The Server 10.5.3 update introduced something that causes ClamAV to crash/reboot a Server machine when mail is turned on (since ClamAV is on by default. Nice one. They've had other stellar examples of their extreme lack of QA for their Server software, such as updating their included PHP to a version that was known to break Squirrelmail (the default webmail that comes with OS X Server), even though a fix had been available for months from the PHP maintainers.

I'm a huge fan of FreeBSD. I have been doing this OS X Server thing for more than two years now. I went in to it with an open mind, hoping that Apple wouldn't screw things up too badly. I was disappointed. The only things I've learned is that their Server QA is awful, they don't actually use their own Server software internally, their customer service is horrible when it comes to their Server stuff and their Server documentation is awful. I could rant about that for several pages. All of this leads me to believe that Apple really doesn't want to do well in the "server" segment of the market...Which is really too bad, cause they've finally got the hardware side of it to the point where there's not much separating them from most other low-end server vendors.

Now, that I've got that all that off my chest, Apple's dropped the ball on the BIND update. This is not surprising. Anyone that's administered OS X Server for any length of time probably feels the same way. It's so bad that I will suppress my OS X experience next time I am in the job market again; I hope to never work with OS X (particularly as a server) again and will do everything in my power to avoid doing so. I'm batting a thousand on persuading people interested in using OS X Server to use anything else...Apple really has to get things together or get out of the "server" market.

about 6 years ago

Submissions

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FDA Orders 23andMe to Cease Genetic Testing

HEMI426 HEMI426 writes  |  about 8 months ago

HEMI426 (715714) writes "23andMe is a service that provides inexpensive genetic testing for common health conditions, ancestry and other gene-related information. Apparently the FDA believes that 23andMe's Personal Genome Service is 'a device within the meaning of section 201(h) of the FD&C Act, 21 U.S.C. 321(h), because it is intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions or in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or is intended to affect the structure or function of the body.' The FDA has ordered 23andMe to immediately cease marketing their Saliva Collection Kit and Personal Genome Testing until they get proper approval. This brings up interesting privacy questions, like can the FDA deny you access to your own genetic information without regard to treatment?"
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