Anonymous' Airchat Aim: Communication Without Need For Phone Or Internet
HAM radio has long irritated me -- because while I completely see the value in people forming clubs to learn to use it, and value in cooperation so the bands can be used constructively? I think getting federal govt. involved in it was a HUGE mistake.
I don't care how "easy" the licensing has become. The idea I should have to earn (and pay for) a license before I have the privilege of transmitting over the airwaves disgusts me. I was always very interested in the hobby, even purchasing a hand-held HAM radio receiver at one time to play around with. But ultimately, I got into CB radio and sold the HAM gear, because it's more true to how I think it should all work.
When I used to listen to the "regulars" on the HAM bands, chatting, it struck me as largely a crowd of entitled, older men who felt self-important that they had this govt. issued call-sign to flaunt around.
I'm sure many others simply take HAM radio as a serious responsibility (ability to get communications through in major emergencies, etc.) -- and that's great. But I'd rather see CB radio expanded to be far more useful by turning over a bigger chunk of these licensed HAM bands for the general public. Even on existing CB, I've seen channel 9 monitored very efficiently by volunteers at local radio stations who path you through to emergency services if needed. No govt. licensing necessary to make that function.
Anonymous' Airchat Aim: Communication Without Need For Phone Or Internet
The thing is though? The truth is typically someplace roughly in the middle.... EG. In Bundy's case, the truth is somewhere between his idea that federal land ownership is "unjust", and the idea that federal govt. should buy up huge swaths of land and just sit on them (for over 100 years at a time, in this instance, and probably many others) -- and then selectively enforce rules with an iron fist, when they suddenly deem it worthwhile.
So the "anarchy" brings attention to the initial problem, and *hopefully* brings about an end result of some modification to existing regulations, to improve things in the future for everyone.
It's pretty well documented in historical records that when the United States fought for freedom from England and the Revolutionary War began, there was a lot of this "over the top" behavior involved too. British soldiers, ordered to simply stand guard in certain areas, were spit on, had beer bottles thrown at them from nearby taverns, etc. -- in an attempt to provoke one of them to give in and fire a weapon. Bottom line? You can't really create effective change if you just sit quietly by and follow all the rules. The protesting/anarchy isn't usually 100% right, but it serves as a catalyst for change.
Aereo To SCOTUS: Shut Us Down and You Shut Down Cloud Storage
People *do* still want over the air broadcasts. What I think people didn't want was the increased difficulty level of receiving a constant, watchable signal. That's the unfortunate side-effect of the OTA broadcasts going digital. With analog signals, sure -- you might lack some clarity. But poor reception that only caused the picture to get a little fuzzy (or occasionally lose vertical sync) becomes a total interruption of both audio and video.
A lot of people would like the option to receive those broadcast stations without the hassle of getting an antenna rigged up that pulls them in reliably. But others still prefer the OTA broadcast, because it frees them from reliance on a 3rd. party delivering it to them. ISP's are starting to talk about bandwidth caps and throttling, increasingly, as people generate more and more traffic streaming video content. OTA frees you from having to chew up bandwidth on any of that content, at least. And you don't get stuck with fees like you do with cable or satellite.
Honestly, I think what's rather ridiculous is that our legal landscape encourages companies like Aereo to exist in the first place! Their whole business model is technically insane.... (Really? Maintain whole fields of micro antennas all doing the exact same thing, just to try to find a way around legislation we've got in place preventing them from offering the same service in a far more sensible manner?) If the OTA broadcasters had any sense, they'd offer free Internet streaming as an alternate method of reception, and do all of that themselves! Then they could substitute advertising that made sense for the wider audience listening via the Internet, on the streaming version.
Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance
I don't think the majority were ever really shitting on blue-collar work that requires special skills, for one thing. That's just a false perception, brought to you by crybabies in the unions who are mad they didn't get a free ride all the way through to retirement with 100% paid healthcare, while not making more than the minimum effort.
To be honest, I knew an awful lot of people in I.T. who switched careers both INTO it from a blue-collar job AND back out of it to a blue-collar job. It used to be surprisingly common, for example, how many long-haul truck drivers took an interest in an I.T. career, and by contrast, how many who worked in I.T. for years got burnt out and said they'd rather go into construction.
Doctors are kind of in their own separate class in the work-world, IMO. They're so heavily invested in their schooling, it's a pretty major commitment to change careers after that and discard the medical training. Many who you'd think earn pretty big salaries never get to enjoy their money until they're within 10 years of retirement, because they're still paying off student loans until then.
But yeah, skilled trades like electricians, carpenters, plumbers? I think they've always commanded a certain level of respect, if they can prove they're competent.
The real problem with those trades is they're tied to how many clients out there have the financial ability to remodel, rehab, or build new properties. When the housing market goes into a slump, people in these fields start having problems finding work. I had a buddy with a lot of "tool and die" experience, for example. For years, everyone told him his skillset was in high demand and he could command premium salaries. For a little while, he did ... but when there was a general downturn in manufacturing in the U.S., fewer people needed to hire tool and die guys, so he struggled.
A lot of "white collar" jobs, by contrast, tend to be a little more stable, only because they deal in things a business needs every day it stays open, like accounting. (When your pipes aren't leaking and a bathroom remodel isn't on your "must do" list, you don't need to pay a plumber. But you probably DO have bills to pay and bills to mail out and collect on every day.)
Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance
I'm *positive* this is true. I spent well over a decade doing I.T. in manufacturing environments, and my wife spent years more working in similar facilities. Since then, I've also done on-site computer service calls for a number of manufacturing places (mostly steel fabricators and plastics molding companies).
The one thing I've found in common at ALL of them is a strong desire by management to squeeze costs to the bare minimum, to the point where "standard practice" dictates using as much unskilled, barely qualified labor as possible, while sticking one or two "senior level" guys with the job expectation of training everyone else.
Of course, this usually leads to disgruntled senior level workers, who feel like they have to spend most of the work day "babysitting" incompetent people all around them (while still being expected to turn out the same amount of work as they always did before). The other low-paid hires tend to be a revolving door, as management fires them whenever they don't learn something quickly enough, or they make a costly mistake or two while trying to learn.
From the I.T. standpoint, I witnessed the same "penny-wise but pound-foolish" behavior more directly when it came to the equipment on the shop floor or in the labs. They'll invest tens of thousands of dollars on special equipment (most of which is tied in to a standard-issue PC running DOS or a flavor of Windows, except creatively mounted in some kind of steel cabinet so it doesn't *look* like an off-the-shelf PC on the outside). Then when something goes wrong, they want an I.T. guy like me to try to fix it, because the hourly rate for a service call from someone specializing in servicing it is "way too expensive". So far, I've been asked to tear into and try to fix everything from X-Ray Spectrometers to a control system for a "web press" machine that punches holes in steel beams as they roll down a conveyor belt. Truth is, if it's just something simple like bad RAM or a failing hard drive, sure -- I can eventually get that going for them again with a little trial and error. But so often, the issues have been with calibration (mechanical parts drift out of calibration over time, so the software needs some adjustment of values in it to compensate). Or it's some failure with an oddball hardware controller board in the system that I have no way of finding a suitable replacement for.
In a Hole, Golf Courses Experiment With 15-inch Holes
I know around the metro D.C. area, you definitely have a decline in the popularity of golf courses. This area used to be loaded with them, and one by one, they're closing down.
Meanwhile, cycling is *huge*. The area has always had very good trails for cyclists, so that probably doesn't hurt either .... But I've seen an increasing number of people getting involved in various cycling races or just riding nice mountain bikes along the side of roads on the weekends.
The traditional country club catered to the "old rich", IMO. The "new rich" tend to be people who are more "showy" with their money (driving fancy luxury cars, wearing designer clothes in public, etc. etc.). I think for the traditional, old money types, the wealth was viewed more as something inappropriate to flaunt in the general public. Rather, it let you buy into an exclusive social group of people with similar wealth. The younger, affluent people would rather just go out in public with their nice things.
If you remove the exclusivity factor from golf, you're left with something that doesn't seem like it has a lot of value for the dollar. The skills required (mostly about skillful estimating of trajectories and the power needed to land a ball where you want it) are pretty similar to the skills needed to be a good billiards player .... a pastime which costs FAR less and likely draws a larger audience too (if you're good at it while playing on a table at a local bowling alley, bar, or pool hall).
Why Tesla Really Needs a Gigafactory
You might have a point, except owning a reliable car tends to tie in to other factors.
For example, the majority of people in the U.S. don't live in one of the big cities where mass transit is truly practical as an alternative to driving to get to and from work each day. Even for many who DO live in such cities, mass transit imposes too many limitations. (For example, if you work as some sort of on-site service technician -- for computers or copiers perhaps? A good, reliable vehicle may be a requirement to perform the job.)
When you purchase a vehicle brand new and finance it, you usually get a better interest rate than lenders will give you on a used one, for starters. And then, you have a consistent payment every month for the next 5 or 6 years, as you pay it off. That consistency is "key" for most people earning those "under 6 figure" salaries. Surprises like a cheaper, used car suddenly having a transmission failure outside the warranty period, are a much bigger problem to tackle.
When your new car, under a factory warranty, has a problem -- you're generally given a loaner to drive while it gets repaired. That means no interruptions with your work.
The trick is to buy only a new vehicle that offers a warranty as long as your financing period. That "3 year, 36,000 mile" stuff they used to sell everyone wasn't such a good value at all.
Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?
The funny thing is, I'm hearing the exact opposite complaint coming from some of the people with many years of actual work experience in their fields. They're saying that recently, the college grads with a B.S. or Masters in the field are getting hired over those with real experience.
I don't know? Personally, I suspect the REAL issue is just a high unemployment rate overall. We're all stuck in a "buyer's market" when it comes to those doing the hiring, so expectations and requirements are very high, and opportunity to get hired is low. No matter where you're at on the education and/or skills ladder, it's difficult to get hired right now. So people begin tossing out accusations, trying to explain why they can't get jobs.
I've worked in I.T. for over 25 years myself, and yet I don't have a degree. (I'm one of those people with "some college", meaning a few classes shy of an Associates' degree.) I've *definitely* encountered my share of jobs I was passed over for because someone really considered the degree of prime importance. Yet I don't think my track record for employment is really any worse than my counterparts who did have the 4 year degrees. Yeah, some of them earned $20K - $50K/yr. more than I did, especially during the dot-com boom era.... but in the long-haul? A lot of them lost those high-paying jobs when budget cuts or corporate mergers came around and they had to accept less to get back into the ranks of the employed. Others just got burnt out on I.T. completely and changed careers.
Meanwhile, I don't have all the college debt they had to pay off, and since my salary has been relatively steady for the last decade or more, I didn't get so caught up in the thing of moving to a more expensive area, buying a large house, etc. -- only to have to give it all up when times got rough.
There's a key difference though between the "old guys" like myself and people trying to get a start in I.T. today. I think most of us who lived and breathed computers in the 80's really got into it when it was still a hobbyist's world. Corporate America wasn't even really looking at home computers as more than a passing fad, or something to just "keep an eye on, in case it eventually became useful". When you bought a computer ,you got a 200-300 page manual you had to read, cover to cover, to learn how to make it work. You might have shared knowledge with a few friends you made who owned the same machine, or joined some computer club in town. But all in all, you had to be really motivated to learn it, hands-on. Otherwise, why even waste time with it? My college courses in anything resembling I.T. were largely a joke. Either I knew way more than the professors did, or the courses went in depth on something I didn't know much about because truthfully, it DIDN'T MATTER in the grand scheme of I.T.
These days, I think colleges have figured out much more about what people actually need to know to be successful in I.T. -- and you actually *can* take classes and learn really useful material. At the same time, I see a lot of younger people who seem to be just as "into computers" as I was growing up, but they focus on much different things; social media, web sites, mobile device apps, and MMORPGs that can really suck up a LOT of one's time. It's all pretty cool and entertaining stuff -- but won't translate that well to a career doing network or systems administration, working as a PC support specialist, or systems analyst.
Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?
That's partially the case, but especially with certain categories of items, there are demonstrably "better" and "worse" time periods to have purchased them.
For example, when it comes to homes, you can find a large number of people in real estate or aspects of home repair/improvement who will tell you that in general, in the USA, the best built homes are from the late 1800's through the 1920's. (Among other things, the wood framing typically used old growth forest lumber, which you just won't ever see in use on more modern homes. Many also had such features as corrugated, galvanized steel sheet roofing -- which was designed to last around 100 years, vs. the typical asphalt shingles which are rated for as little as a 10 year lifespan.)
With computer technology, it's not that difficult to compare and contrast the early personal computers of the 1980's with what's typically sold today, and see a BIG difference in build quality. Who builds keyboards with steel frames around the keycaps these days? Look at the difference in sturdiness of the typical enclosure. Heck, the entire case of the Apple //e was metal! Look at the old dot matrix printers from companies like Epson or Okidata.... I'd say the majority of them you run across these days still work, 30 years or more after they were manufactured. Most were simply cast aside as completely obsolete before they actually broke down. (I used to know a guy who loved buying them cheap just to rip the servo motors out of them for robotics projects.)
Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment
Ok, thanks for the info. That's one of the things I really do like about Slashdot. People from a WIDE variety of backgrounds are here, and can share first-hand information the rest of us wouldn't have.
I imagined the cows would pretty much just ignore such things as solar panel installations, since they're stationary objects and they can graze around their perimeter. Still, building fences around them doesn't seem like a bad idea anyway -- as you probably don't want random people climbing around on them, vandalizing them, etc. etc.
Detroit: America's Next Tech Boomtown
It doesn't necessarily mean someone is making a dumb decision. This can be a perfectly legitimate, sensible option, IMO.
I knew people who moved to Mexico in the past, with similar motivations. If you can earn enough money there, you can easily afford to build yourself a fortress of a house and hire people to go out and run errands for you, etc. It might not make sense for someone with a whole family to take care of. But a younger, single person who might tend to be more of an introvert in the first place might be happy to "go where the money is" and spend a portion of it to buy the security that's lacking in the environment otherwise.
Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment
I keep seeing news clips from sources like MSNBC who are apparently on a mission to frame Bundy in that light (thief, welfare mooch, etc. etc.).
If you look at it a little further though, I don't think it's quite that clear....
First off, the entire argument centers around his letting his cattle roam and graze on the grass on all of the otherwise unused land that the Feds are NOW putting up a fuss about. Do animals not roam and graze on land in nature anyway? This isn't a case of Bundy building physical structures on govt. land, or even so much as parking vehicles on it. The government's main defense here is a claim that he owes them a large amount of money for unpaid "grazing rights". Ok ... except if you look at the history of grazing rights? All they were was a way for ranchers to avoid having to deal with the hassles of maintaining grazing lands themselves -- repairing broken fences and so forth. A govt. agency offered to make things easier on them by performing those services centrally and collecting grazing fees to fund it, and they agreed. Bundy was actually doing the fence repairs and maintenance himself ... so his failure to pay these fees is little more than a technicality.
Additionally, I think many folks supported him primarily as a way to "poke a proverbial stick in the eye of big government", as opposed to a direct interest in seeing justice done for Bundy and his family/relatives/friends. As a taxpayer myself, I have a big problem with government buying up large tracts of land and then just sitting on them, as they clearly did here. That's a huge waste of our money! Government's purpose is to serve the public -- so any land it purchases should be clearly towards that end. In this case, Bundy's ancestors had cattle grazing on the same land for over 100 years ... and it didn't bother anybody. Only *now* is it such a big deal, govt. felt the need to use helicopters, vans with SWAT teams and more, to basically invade the area and put on a show of force -- even attempting to seize the man's cattle.
Lastly, there's the issue of govt. clearly lying about its intentions. A claim was initially made about the land being purchased for the purpose of preserving an endangered species of tortoise. Interestingly enough, there are records showing the boundaries of the protected land were re-drawn in the past, to accommodate other government projects - when they were found inconvenient. So the idea Bundy has to go for endangering these animals now is ludicrous.
Bottom line? If the guy owes the IRS back taxes and keeps refusing to pay, fine... Collect it from him the usual way. Seize his bank account or garnish some of his income. If the govt. *really* wants to FINALLY do something constructive with the land they sat on for over a century? Again, fine ... but do it in a sensible way. Inform people of exactly what's going on (not LYING about it), and if it's something like a solar project? Why not just build it there and leave the cattle alone? I don't see why they couldn't co-exist and keep everyone happy.
The Graffiti Drone
Like other people said, it's too bad these artists disrespect the property rights of others.
It takes some practice to fly these drones well, even though they have such high-tech features as on-board GPS systems and smartphone or tablet software as control devices in many cases. They're usually smart enough to do things like stop moving and hover in place, when they lose a control signal, until you catch back up with them. But flying one precisely enough to draw actual paintings with spray paint is surely not something everyone can just run out and do well.
I'd like to see this become a new "thing" ... but in a more acceptable setting. I think people would enjoy watching or even pay to see good artists creating art with flying drones -- but spraying it on places where they were ALLOWED to do it!
Born To RUN: Dartmouth Throwing BASIC a 50th B-Day Party
When I first got interested in running a computer bulletin board system, around 1986-87, I had a Tandy Color Computer 2 (with a whopping 64K of RAM) and a 300 baud auto-dial/auto-answer modem. What I didn't have was any good software to use for the purpose. Back then, the only BBS package I really knew of for the platform was a commercial one called Colorama (typically sold in "Rainbow" magazine, a Tandy Color Computer publication). As a kid who had a LOT more time than money, I was pretty uninterested in trying to buy that one.
A buddy of mine who was learning to do assembly language coding for the Motorola 6809e processor in the Color Computer started working on a device driver which could translate screen output to modem output, and intercept the results of BASIC INPUT statements, taking them as input received from the modem. That was the missing piece of the puzzle for me, allowing me to code the rest of my own BBS package using BASIC.
(As a side note... one of the limitations of the Color Computer 2 was the fact it couldn't display any lowercase letters. It knew about the ASCII codes for them, but would only show them on screen as inverse video; essentially looked like the usual uppercase text, except with black blocks behind each letter. Eventually, my friend enhanced his device driver to put the machine into a graphics mode and draw all of the text in a graphical font giving true lowercase and more characters per line than the 32 you got with the original Color Computer text font. It was a little sluggish, but worked and looked great!)
Due to lack of suitable mass storage devices back then, I wrote the message forum portion of the BBS to store each line of text in DIM variables. Rather limiting, but looking back, it was kind of amazing it worked as well as it did. (I gave people a 15 or 20 line limit per message, I believe.)
Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP
That's one theory -- but I'd say previous experience shows it wasn't the case.
For example, there were quite a few people who hung onto Windows '98SE *long* after it was discontinued, yet they never really ran into any new security threats of significance. (The biggest problem for some of them was finding anti-virus software that would still install and run on the platform, after a while. But a few packages still supported it, and downloaded AV signature updates just as well as they did on other OS's.)
In that situation, the hackers quit focusing on anything Win '98 and concerned themselves only with exploiting the more recent code out there, which had an ever increasing market-share, not a decreasing one.
We saw this again with Windows 2000 Server, where security updates stopped -- yet many businesses kept on using it in production, in situations where older and complex applications were already running well on it, and redoing the whole thing on a newer server version was a big and costly undertaking. (I know my previous employer still uses Win2K server for a custom written app developed in the PROGRESS language. It's a virtual machine now, instead of a physical server -- but there's simply no need to go through the hassle that would be involved to move it to Windows Server 2008 or 2012.)
I'm not sure where your 98% statistic comes from, but I suspect you pulled it out of thin air. Many of the old exploits and bugs affecting XP systems had to do with aspects of its design which were changed considerably in Vista and later. (We're talking everything from restricted areas of the system registry that random apps aren't allowed to change anymore, to issues related to Active-X and the older versions of IE which XP users are forced to use since the new ones won't install on it.) I doubt hackers, moving forward, will put a huge effort into finding new exploits for IE version 6,7, and 8 that weren't already patched, or trying to write malware that wouldn't be effective in the first place on any Windows version with UAC?
Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin
Monster Cables CEO found to have the Stradivarius family in his family tree! :P
App Developers, It's Time For a Reality Check
The primary reason you don't see the real upward mobility in America is primarily a function of the proverbial "crab bucket". If you're surrounded by people who lack the motivation to try to do more or to "rise above" the situation they're in, they tend to see you climbing past them and attempt to pull you back down to their level again -- just like a crab escaping a bucket full of crabs.
When you're the son or daughter of successful/wealthy parents, you already have higher expectations placed on you, as a rule. You probably live in a place where most of those you go to school with or have as friends are in a similar economic status. You don't want to be the "odd one out" in your peer group who doesn't maintain that same level of success, AND you're repeatedly told there's no reason you CAN'T maintain it.
Who you know will always be as important as what you know .... but many of the successful entrepreneurs I've read about don't appear to have been handed a "free success" ticket by their family members, even if those family members had the financial means to do it?
App Developers, It's Time For a Reality Check
I'm constantly thinking of places where more software development is needed. The problem is, most of those places aren't the "sexy" ones. The kids in school are all about being the next video game coding superstar, which only makes sense when you consider they're raised on titles like Minecraft.
To be a successful developer right now, you almost need to run away from anything that's being hyped. If it smacks of "social networking" -- pretend you never saw that! Video gaming? Saturated ... avoid it.
Niches that aren't really being adequately addressed yet?
1. Home automation. Yes, there are complete "systems" on the high-end, but that's stuff that nobody but the very wealthy even bother with. The real money is going to be with inexpensive, mass-produced systems that "John Q. Public" can go out and buy, piecemeal, and build his own "smart home / apartment" with on a budget. This was basically done before with the X10 controllers, a couple decades ago. But that was all "pre Internet" and "pre wi-fi" -- yet they STILL sell some of it today, because there's nothing more modern that's roughly equivalent in price and functionality. The Nest thermostat and smoke alarm are, by most counts, big "hits" - yet they're just stand-alone smart devices that don't integrate into a whole! There's big money to be made if someone does all of this right ... maybe using Arduino gear as a base?
2. Automotive systems. The auto-makers are starting to show they have a clue about this stuff, at LAST ... but they're still in the early stages of really "getting it right", IMO. Cadillac has the CUE system now, while Ford outsourced to Microsoft (with rather mixed results). It's probably difficult to get a foot in the door with these places -- but maybe there's room for a 3rd. party to engineer replacement stereo systems that make serious improvements on the factory designs? I don't see why I can't, for example, buy a replacement stereo that has a custom plate on it so it's a direct fit replacement for a specific make/model of vehicle, instead of buying some "single DIN' or "double DIN" stereo and then paying $25 for a company like Metra to sell me a crappy plastic "dash kit" to make it fit -- and netting a result that looks like I yanked the factory radio out? The replacement should integrate with the vehicle's steering wheel controls, out of the box, and do everything the factory unit did. It should also be able to talk to the OBDII system in the car, showing me any vehicle fault codes on screen, letting me get a readout of things like the fuel-air mixture while I drive and more! Integrate a GPS and navigation system that actually works well, like Waze, and let people with cellular data connections submit updates in real-time! There's so much to do here!
How a 'Seismic Cloak' Could Slow Down an Earthquake
Well, obviously, I'm not Mr. Tesla and I'm just throwing the general idea out there, for people more knowledgeable than myself to argue the details / merits of it.
But his original oscillator was steam powered and quite small in size. The whole point was that it would continually amplify the initial frequency with each repetitive slamming of the piston into the ground, making an initially small wave very large. It doesn't sound like it would require all that much energy, even if you built it much larger in size? How many would you need? I don't have any idea .... I would guess that even large magnitude earthquakes start out in a similar fashion -- with waves that increase in energy as they build in energy over the first few seconds? If so, maybe timing is the most critical thing.... cancelling some of it out before it has that chance to amplify?
How a 'Seismic Cloak' Could Slow Down an Earthquake
For some reason, this article made me think of that story about Tesla and his "oscillator" experiment:
I wonder if, rather than relying on these "metametals" in special soil, one could station units similar to these at strategic locations along fault lines, designed to pick up an earthquake's resonant frequency and generate a corresponding one tuned to cancel it out?