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Slackware: I'm Not Dead Yet!

Iron Condor Re:Year of the Linux Deadtop (252 comments)

MacOS *is* Linux. Debian, to be precise.

Next time you have an xterm open on your mac, type "uname -a".

more than 2 years ago
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12 Ways LibreOffice Writer Tops MS Word

Iron Condor Re:LaTeX (642 comments)

When amateur photographers gather, they talk about cameras. They all have their favorite tools, they all have the "best" gizmos with all the buttons and functions and they know exactly what they all do.

When professional photographers come together, they talk about light. Composition. Art. The tool is uninteresting - a mere means to an end. And any one of a large number of them will do.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Give IT Presentations That Aren't Boring?

Iron Condor Re:Everyone loves... (291 comments)

... or you could bring strippers instead of Ferraris or car analogies. You can never have too many strippers.

more than 2 years ago
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Aerospace Corp Pays $2.5m To Settle Rogue Software Dev Case

Iron Condor Re:Creative billing (129 comments)

There is, of course, the possibility that the man was just a good coder who was handed jobs that were bid as "six months of a full-time programmer" which he then slapped together in an afternoon of wild hacking and then just billed for the rest of the time while sitting in a bar. Pulling this off at two different employers at the same ime is impressive, but since employers don't exactly talk to each other who's just hired on I can easily see how one could fly under the radar like this.

more than 2 years ago
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Does your cellphone have Carrier IQ's spyware?

Iron Condor Re:How can I tell? (249 comments)

I do, indeed, have a blackberry. I can't say I consider the BB (9800/Torch) the end-all be-all of phones, but I sure seem to find daily reasons to hold on to it until the various iphones and androids and winphones and similar such toys have given way to some real smartphone standard.

more than 2 years ago
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In Australia, Immunize Or Lose Benefits

Iron Condor Re:Hurray! (680 comments)

No, it hasn't.

more than 2 years ago
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11 Amazing Things NASA's Huge Mars Rover Can Do

Iron Condor Re:#1 (147 comments)

Just curious what made you pick this one item. Yes, landing on Mars is hard. Then again, just getting TO Mars is hard. Then again, launching off Earth is hard. There's a whole string of events that all have to work to make this a success, and I'm slightly confused why you'd point to the landing stage as the important (or "critical" or "worrysome") one. From what I can gather, Mars probes have failed at launch, on transit, on approach (that's where Lockheed's screw-up with imperial units comes in) but once you're at the right speed in the atmosphere I'm not aware of any failures with descent/landing. I'm not saying there never were any, I'm certainly no expert, but I can't remember hearing of a Mars probe that made entry into the atmosphere at the expected angle and speed and then failed to make proper landing. Was there ever such a thing?

more than 2 years ago
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Sensor Enables 3D Mapping of Rainforests

Iron Condor Re:Rain forests (35 comments)

Carnegie/Stanford tell you right there on their web-page what they're looking for. Pot is not amongst their targets.

Of course they don't say how many of these kinds of instruments exist and who the other customers were...

more than 2 years ago
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Sensor Enables 3D Mapping of Rainforests

Iron Condor It isn't NASA's JPL. (35 comments)

JPL is NOT a NASA center. Why is that so hard to get into people? JPL is a division of Caltech. The people there have contracts that say they work for Caltech. They get paychecks from Caltech.

JPL had hardware in Earth's orbit before NASA even existed.

JPL does a lot of work for NASA (i.e work where NASA is a customer - think Mars rovers etc) but at all times, some fraction of JPLs work is non-NASA. Has always been. The fraction has historically varied. Especially in the sensors, detectors and instrumentation side of the house, the fraction of non-NASA projects can easily exceed 50%. Yes, that includes DOD customers, but a lot of people appear to forget NOAA (who do you think invents all those clever weather satellites?) and a host of smaller research organizations (like, in this case, Carnegie) who simply need the best of whatever device they're looking for.

JPL is not cheap - if you want cheap, go somewhere else. But if you need something that measures subtle signals (like distinguishing individual types/genus/species of underbrush from each other from aircraft altitude to identify and monitor invasive species) in adverse conditions for years at a time, then JPL is probably the go-to shop. And no, it is not "NASA's JPL" and yes, your money is just as welcome as anybody else's.

more than 2 years ago
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Endeavour Launch Now Slated For Monday

Iron Condor Re:Godspeed, Endeavour. (55 comments)

Yes and no. The time for industry to pick up the ball was in the eighties - the US and USSR had shown you can put a man into space, how to do it, where the biggest problems are and how to mitigate them. By the 1970, people had walked on the moon. By the mid seventies, everything was in place. That's when the shuttles were designed.

As it turns out, there's literally nothing in space. There's no conceivable economic gain to be had this quarter from sending people into space - and that's all that matters to big business. Even VC funding, which has a longer 5-7 year time horizon and doesn't absolutely insist on profit, doesn't see any viable business in low-earth orbit.

Right now, my hope is with nut-cases like Elon Musk; rich kids with more money than sense who want to go into space because it's cool.

more than 3 years ago
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Western Washington Univ. Considers Cutting Computer Science

Iron Condor Makes sense to me (298 comments)

There may be a hiring boom in "IT folks", but what does have to do with computer science? A hiring boom in plumbing doesn't mean we should have universities teach more hydrodynamics.

Let's face it: 97% of "computer science" graduates end up as code monkeys or cable stringers in jobs that a six-week trade certificate would be entirely sufficient to qualify for.

more than 3 years ago
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Bizarre Porn Raid Underscores Wi-Fi Privacy Risks

Iron Condor Re:guilty eh? (964 comments)

The horrible thing, to me, is that they're trying to use it to push securing your home internet. Breaking home wireless encryption isn't that hard, and it would have made it far more difficult for him to prove his own innocence. It's a bit of a double-edged sword.

Exactly! What most of the posters here seem to miss is the fact that the headline here is FALSE! What this case underscores is the need to leave your Wifi open and unsecured because that was what got this guy exonerated in the end!

This cannot be stressed often enough: if your Wifi is secured, YOU are responsible for everything that passes over it! Including the child-porn, bomb-making instructions, drug-recipes and whatnot that are passed through it by the 14-year old next door who has two brain cells (which is all it takes to realize you don't do this kind of thing on your parent's wifi and to google the simple instructions for breaking your neighbor's WEP key in under five minutes).

If anything, this underscores the importance of leaving Wifi open!

more than 3 years ago
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Worlds With Two Suns May Sport Black Plants

Iron Condor Re:Spam (211 comments)

It's surprising because the peak of the sun's spectrum is in the green. So the plants ignore the strongest part of the spectrum. That is surprising.

There's nothing surprising here anywhere for people who have actually thought aout this. Please refrain from confusing your ignorance with some kind of general human lack of expectation of this very result.

- Some photosynthetic processes benefit from being executed as often as possible. They thus benefit from chemical processes that absorb in the red, because there are many more photons per wavelength interval in the red than in the green (as a matter of fact, in terms of photons per second per area per solid angle, the sun doe NOT peak in greeen. It peaks in the near-IR). Thus evolution drove towards an optimum of absorption in the red.

Some other photosynthetic processes need as much energy as possible. They thus benefit from absorption in the blue, since the energy per photon is higher in the blue than anywhere else that the atmosphere transmits.

There is thus no reason to expect any biological system to optimize for absorption in the green (other than for non-photosynthetic reasons like attracting insects or such). If the number of photon counts, absorb red; if the energy per photon is more important absorb blue. It would be a rather odd coincidence ever to find something as complex as a biosphere that just so happens to develop a chemistry where the two just so happen to be perfectly balanced in the middle AND is unable to develop more than one chemical pathway to make use of sunlight (photosynthesis has been re-re-re- discovered during evolution many times).

more than 3 years ago
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Magical Chinese Hard Drive

Iron Condor Re:data recorder (347 comments)

it's 128MB. The first 64MBchip is addressed correctly, the second one is mapped into the rest of the 500GB (I.e. responds to the low-significant bits no matter what happens on the high end of the address bus). The FAT and the root directory end up in the first 64MB. Large data files end up "up there somehwhere".

It ain't exactly rocket science.

more than 3 years ago
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Cylindrical Rolltop Laptops

Iron Condor Re:Enough is enough (159 comments)

Is it easier to carry a fat tube than a thin rectangle? Possibly.

No. Definitely not.

Anybody who has ever flown with a laptop (which will fit into any backpack) knows the practicality of that situation - but anybody who has ever tried to fly with any kind of tube, knows how next-to-impossible that is. The overhead bins are made for rectangular items, so is the space underneath the seat in front of you. And where do you put it after you unroll it?

What possible advantage is there to something bulky that cannot be stacked; when we've already figured out how to make it razor-thin and infinitely packagable?

more than 3 years ago
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MS Wants Laws To Block Products Made By Software Pirates

Iron Condor Re:Good for US economy (617 comments)

Nothing stopping that street vendor from using a different product ...

So if this passes, it will create a major shift of people all around the world from their current pirated copies of Excel to ... what? Open Office?

A major global uptake of free software caused by a law pushed by Microsoft?

I love it.

more than 3 years ago
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MS Wants Laws To Block Products Made By Software Pirates

Iron Condor Re:Good for US economy (617 comments)

If anyone doesn't, they are opening themselves up to risk of lawsuit.

I think this is an understatement. What I read this to mean is "If anyone doesn't, they are opening themselves and everybody downstream up to risk of lawsuit."

So Dow uses your pipe to make some plastic that gets whole-sold to some manufacturer that makes high-quality cutting boards that you can buy at Bed Bath And Beyond. Apparently they're now on the hook too. And if I buy that cutting board to make sandwiches that I sell from a cart by the street, then I'm on the hook as well. And if my cart is located on MS's campus in Redmont and I sell my sandwiches to their employees...

Hilarity ensues.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Obama: NASA won't go to the moon.

Iron Condor Iron Condor writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Iron Condor (964856) writes "According to this LA Times story,

NASA's plans to return astronauts to the moon are dead. So are the rockets being designed to take them there, if President Obama gets his way.

When the White House releases its budget proposal Monday, there will be no money for the Constellation program that was to return humans to the moon by 2020. The Ares I rocket that was to replace the space shuttle to ferry humans to space will be gone, along with money for the Ares V cargo rocket that was to launch the fuel and supplies needed to return to the moon. There will be no lunar landers, no moon bases.

"We certainly don't need to go back to the moon," one administration official said.

"

Link to Original Source
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Six-Core CPU unveiled

Iron Condor Iron Condor writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Iron Condor (964856) writes "Quote: "Intel today showed once more the potential of Core with the first 6-core processor — which is not only evidence of the scalability, but also indicates the limits of this architecture. [...] In late 2006, Intel launched the Kentsfield multi-die quad-core processor and now the Dunnington multi-die six-core chip. They may not be as sophisticated as AMD's single-die quad-core CPUs, but they certainly leverage lots of manufacturing flexibility and enable the company to have achieved the 6-core mark first. AMD plans to release the single-die 6-core "Istanbul" processor in H2 2009. [...]""
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Rocket Racing

Iron Condor Iron Condor writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Iron Condor (964856) writes "The Oshkosh AirVenture 08 might not otherwise qualify for "news for nerds" — if it wasn't for the debut of the Rocket Racing League, which is exactly what it sounds like: NASCAR 1000m above ground in rocket-propelled airplanes. Created by X-prize founder/CEO Peter Diamandis, this is "the next evolution of racing" (at least according to the promo video, which is definitely worth watching)..."
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FLOSS guide and catalog for the Enterprise

Iron Condor Iron Condor writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Iron Condor (964856) writes "Every time F/L/OSS comes up at /. there's the immediate proclamation that there's just no good (/useful etc) free software for many areas of the enterprise. Conecta has published a guide (80 pages) and catalog (94 pages) of software selected to match the requests seen in the context of the FLOSSMETRICS and OpenTTT projects. From the web-page:

The application areas are infrastructural software (ranging from network and system management to security), ERP and CRM applications, groupware, document management, content management systems (CMS), VoIP, graphics/CAD/GIS systems, desktop applications, engineering and manufacturing, vertical business applications and eLearning.
The guides can be downloaded under a CC license here"

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Jan-31 is 50th anniversary of Explorer-1

Iron Condor Iron Condor writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Iron Condor (964856) writes "From the site:



On Jan. 31, 1958, the JPL-designed and -built Explorer 1 soared into space. The spacecraft, a quick response to the Soviet's Sputnik, lofted the United States into the Space Age.

JPL's Explorer 1 site features archival video footage, an interactive peek inside the satellite and a downloadable, in-depth book about the era and the mission.

The site is online at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/explorer
"

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Clinton Assails Bush's 'War on Science'

Iron Condor Iron Condor writes  |  about 7 years ago

Iron Condor (964856) writes "Straight from WIRED News. Notable quotes: "For six and half years under President Bush, it has been open season on open inquiry," Clinton said. "By ignoring or manipulating science, the Bush administration is putting our future at risk and letting our economic competitors get an edge in the global economy.""
Link to Original Source
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Mark your calendar: Pretend to be a Time Traveler

Iron Condor Iron Condor writes  |  about 7 years ago

Iron Condor (964856) writes "Dresden Codac comes up with this clever idea for a "Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day" (Dec-08) on the Koala Wallop forum.

"Remember, the only real rule is staying in character and try to fit in. Never directly admit you're a time traveler, and make really, really bad attempts at keeping a low profile."
Some of the suggestions include such gems as "Show extreme ignorance in operating regular technology. Pay phones should be a complete mystery (try placing the receiver in odd places). Chuckle knowingly at cell phones." or "Stand in front of a statue (any statue, really), fall to your knees, and yell "NOOOOOOOOO" ".

I figured the /. crowd would be exactly the kind of folks who'd get into that kind of thing (I know that I do)."

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US Slipping in Life Expectancy Rankings

Iron Condor Iron Condor writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Iron Condor (964856) writes "Just an AP piece; operative quotations:
"[...]improved access to health insurance could increase life expectancy. But [...] the U.S. won't move up in the world rankings as long as the health care debate is limited to insurance."
and
"The starting point is the recognition that the U.S. does not have the best health care system. There are still an awful lot of people who think it does."

Link to Original Source
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Massachusetts Makes Health Insurance Mandatory

Iron Condor Iron Condor writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Iron Condor (964856) writes "Massachusetts is the first state to require its residents to secure health insurance, a plan designed to get as close as practically possible to statewide universal health care. Presidential hopeful and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney originally introduced the idea in 2004.

Effective July 1, 2007, the law, which uses federal and state tax dollars, is aimed at making health insurance affordable to all residents of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including low-income populations. Those who fall below the federal poverty line may be eligible for health care at no cost. A Health Disparities Council has been created to monitor and reduce racial and ethnic health disparities."

Link to Original Source
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Iron Condor Iron Condor writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Iron Condor (964856) writes "JPL is now close to embarking on another of its trademark, one-of-a-kind missions, this time to the heart of the asteroid belt: The Dawn mission is being prepared for launch this summer from Kennedy Space Center. Dawn will explore Ceres and Vesta, the two largest known asteroids in our solar system, which lie in the vast expanse between Mars and Jupiter. In the process, the mission will make history on several fronts. Besides being the first spacecraft to orbit a main-belt asteroid and the first to ever orbit two targets after leaving Earth, Dawn will be the first science mission powered by electric ion propulsion, the world's most advanced and efficient space propulsion technology."
Link to Original Source
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Iron Condor Iron Condor writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Iron Condor (964856) writes "The German magazine Der Spiegel has an article about the progress on the largest simulation of a part of a brain on the planet — with first interesting snippets and an outlook on the future (including, so the researchers hope, a simulation of a full human brain). Notable quote:

A project this ambitious would have been ridiculed a few years ago. "Today we have the computers we need," says biologist Henry Markram, 44, the project's director. "And we know enough to begin."
"
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Iron Condor Iron Condor writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Iron Condor (964856) writes "NASA apparently figured out that the most expensive item to send to the moon is ... man. So they chose a strategy that emphasizes a robotic base as a first step before sending people. This should be a relief to those wo had feared the whole thing was going to be a second coming of Apollo, with a couple short trips by a bunch of folks and nothing left to show for it in the end..."
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Iron Condor Iron Condor writes  |  about 8 years ago

Iron Condor (964856) writes "Mike roberson writes at http://michaelrobertson.com/archive.php?minute_id= 219

I've been looking for a good verb to describe losing all of your music to DRM because it's increasingly common and I think I have one: zune.

Sample usage: He had an extensive classic rock collection that got zuned.

[...]

Microsoft made a corporate decision to abandon their previous technology called "Plays for Sure" and turn it into "Screwed for Sure". Anyone who purchased music from Rhapsody, Napster, Buy.com, Wal-mart, BuyMusic, etc. will discover that music is unplayable. (Of course iTunes music won't play either because Apple doesn't play nicely with others.) You'll be required to re-purchase that music or go without.

[...]"

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