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This 1981 BYTE Magazine Cover Explains Why We're So Bad At Tech Predictions

Nefarious Wheel Re:It was a "joke" back then (275 comments)

If I remember correctly, "Caves of Steel" had the protagonist using his well-worn pocket computer for calculations. That was in 1953.

2 days ago

London Council Dumping Windows For Chromebooks To Save £400,000

Nefarious Wheel Re:All that is left (193 comments)

Clearly you've never supported a group of salesmen...

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Preparing For Windows XP EOL?

Nefarious Wheel Re:No problem (423 comments)

There are analogue targeting computers on naval ships that still work, and work quite well. Deck guns that can fire a Volkswagen Golf-sized projectile from (say) Hobart to any tennis court in Launceston. Maybe not the best economical solution, but what's money to the military, anyway?

Point is, you look at the system, and determine whether you can support the subsystem that drives it. As an integrated system it either works or it doesn't, irrespective of the weight, the cost, or the paint job on any subcomponent of it. And sometimes the bit that the computer controls is just as old and slagged-out as the operating system driving it.

about three weeks ago

Is the Tesla Model S Pedal Placement A Safety Hazard?

Nefarious Wheel Re:Don't blame others for user error. (394 comments)

Three Ratios for Vintage drivers, under the sky
Seven for Volkswagen in their halls of stone
Nine gears for Porsche, doomed to drive
One Ratio to rule them all, One ratio to drive them
One Ratio for the Musk-Lord, and in the Tesla's windings

about three weeks ago

Pine Tree Has Largest Genome Ever Sequenced

Nefarious Wheel Re:Welcome! (71 comments)

Aye, go with the phloem, I always say.

about a month ago

Scientists Build Three Atom Thick LEDs

Nefarious Wheel Re:Only three atoms thick! (54 comments)

New use for the term "chip real estate".
Think of the foreclosures!

about a month ago

Deadly Avian Flu Strain Penetrates Biosecurity Defenses In Seoul

Nefarious Wheel Re:Lock up the wild birds! (49 comments)

That was atrocious.
You're welcome.

about a month and a half ago

Deadly Avian Flu Strain Penetrates Biosecurity Defenses In Seoul

Nefarious Wheel Re:Nature... (49 comments)

"There's been a fire."

  -- Andromeda Strain

about a month and a half ago

RadioShack To Close 1,100 Stores

Nefarious Wheel Re:No place for 'almost', 'not quite' and 'nearly' (423 comments)

In Australia, we've got Jaycar, half discrete electronics and componentry, half electronic toys, with very knowledgeable staff, and they're expanding. I go there by choice, because they always seem to have at least one of the odd little bits I need, and instead of blank stares I get people who listen, pay attention, and know what I'm talking about. They're able to shift their conversation levels to your level quickly.

Personally I think their educational level is a little better than average. I blame Monash and surrounds.

about a month and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Automatically Logging Non-Computerized Equipment Use?

Nefarious Wheel Re:Internal billing is dumb (130 comments)

Look into the logistics business -- specifically the tattle-tale systems that tell whether truck/trailer doors are open and shut during specific time frames. I forget the product names, was too long since I designed one.

about a month and a half ago

Girl's Facebook Post Costs Her Dad $80,000

Nefarious Wheel Grounded! (387 comments)

Grounded until the heat-death of the Universe!

about a month and a half ago

Facebook Gives Up On Desktop Apps: Kills Messenger For Windows and Firefox

Nefarious Wheel Re:Getting mental (53 comments)

Maybe they just like to subsidise programmers?

about 2 months ago

Blizzard To Sell Level 90 WoW Characters For $60

Nefarious Wheel Re: Levelling not the point? (253 comments)

I dunno, I kind of like it. I have 11 level 90's, but I'm not addicted.
I could give it up any time. Seriously.
No, really.

about 2 months ago

The Higgs Boson Re-Explained By the Mick Jagger of Physics

Nefarious Wheel Re:Still not quite correct. (94 comments)

It wasn't molasses, honest. If it appeared slow, then perhaps we were just ramping distance at the time. Up or down? Dunno, check the sign.

about 2 months ago

The Higgs Boson Re-Explained By the Mick Jagger of Physics

Nefarious Wheel Cow Particle (94 comments)

The Higgs should be renamed the Cow Particle, because it's outstanding in its field.

about 2 months ago

Are Bankers Paid Too Much? Are Technology CEOs?

Nefarious Wheel Re:tl;dr (712 comments)

If companies are paying their staff such low wages that they need public assistance just to survive, then the guys at the top need to subsidise public assistance. Tax them at 90%.

about 2 months ago

Are Bankers Paid Too Much? Are Technology CEOs?

Nefarious Wheel Meh (712 comments)

It isn't up to me to decide how much salary they want to vote themselves out of the company's coffers. They're managing their company, it's theirs to manage.

But if you're making $100 Big per year in salary or other considerations, you should bloody well be taxed at 90%. Worked for Eisenhower.

about 2 months ago

A Mathematical Proof Too Long To Check

Nefarious Wheel Re:To long, didn't check. (189 comments)

If the program that checks the proof is considered part of the proof, isn't that one of those recursive situations that Kurt Godel warned us about, as popularised in Hofstadter's GEB?

about 2 months ago

Windows 8 Metro: The Good Kind of Market Segmentation?

Nefarious Wheel Re:Nothing much (duh) (389 comments)

Memory is suddenly expensive? That commonly-available eight core Intel I7 cpu is suddenly too slow?

Was somebody perhaps solving the wrong fecking problems?

And were all those efficiency gains worth the loss of the ability to run overlapping windows?

When my nice, reliable and stable, easy-to-use Windows 7 instance can no longer be supported, I can promise I will not switch to Windows 8 because I freaking hate the interface. I have quite a few clients at the top of town who depend on my advice, and I can guarantee you W8 is getting the sad head shake.

Type the first few letters of an app, instead of choosing from a start menu? No, wrong.


Read. My. Lips. W8 is wrong.

about 2 months ago



A Billion More Years of Earth

Nefarious Wheel Nefarious Wheel writes  |  about a month and a half ago

Nefarious Wheel (628136) writes "I've been following our Martian rovers raptly, as evidence mounts for water, the effects of water, and the possibility that life existed on Mars perhaps a billion years ago.

Which all leads to the question — If a similar rover were to visit the Earth a billion years from now, would it be able to detect that life ever existed here?"

The 1% vs. The Queen's List

Nefarious Wheel Nefarious Wheel writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Nefarious Wheel (628136) writes "When Her Majesty, the Queen of England's finances were so rich they threatened to take too much money out of circulation, Parliament took over the management of her funds and put her on the "Queen's List". It's a drawing account, good for a yacht or two here and there and the extra silverware butler if you need one. She's still quite rich — most of London owed her rent, and she can throw the odd grand wedding if she wants...

What if we did that to the (say) top 100 billionaires — let the country take over the management of their money, let them buy whatever they want (with the exception of a few things like nuclear centrifuges, small armies, congressmen, corporations, judges, things like that). Let them buy whatever they want out of their fund otherwise, no real restrictions on amount beyond that. Put them on oh, call it "The Treasury List".

Would that fix the disparity between the 1% — 99% ?"

NIST releases new computer security docs

Nefarious Wheel Nefarious Wheel writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Nefarious Wheel writes "NIST just released SCAP 1.1 for helping to improve the automation of computer security. Is this a useful part of the toolkit, or just another acronym to describe what we all do anyway? (And will the boss be throwing it at us anytime soon?)"
Link to Original Source

New, cheaper Solar-Hydrogen catalytic process

Nefarious Wheel Nefarious Wheel writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Nefarious Wheel writes "A group of researchers has taken another step towards directly converting solar energy into fuel, in this case, hydrogen. A new system that converts light and water into hydrogen is less expensive than many others, and the photoelectrochemical platform it uses is more reactive, efficient, and has a much longer lifetime."
Link to Original Source

Are online jam sessions feasible?

Nefarious Wheel Nefarious Wheel writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Nefarious Wheel writes "Crowdsourcing an idea here.

What if there was a single internet portal people could use for online musical jam sessions? A place for people to continually make live music together — but live music only? I imagine something that would be a combination of Ventrilo with a "vote to kick" option similar to WoW dungeon finder groups (kicking would bounce wrong players to another Vent channel perhaps) and a moderating system similar to Slashdot, where high-karma moderators could bump players from one jam session into another (if the other players in that session permit, with "no response" equal to "let them jam"). You'd need a way to isolate players contributions (hold mouse down on player's icon to change volume, perhaps) and some sort of hardware standards and some sort of equalisation scheme. You'd have two classes of participants, Players and Audience. The whole thing could be funded by contributions toward a download of the last x minutes of play.

What say you, Slashdotters? Can we take over the music business again?"

What makes a beautiful machine?

Nefarious Wheel Nefarious Wheel writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Nefarious Wheel writes "One of the great perks of the company where I work is a huge variety of technical magazines in the coffee room, often having to do with industrial machinery, the aircraft industry, logistics, the world of the intensely practical application. Leafing through these I'm struck by how some very mundane machinery is really very beautiful. I guess form follows function, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but — why are some machines just simply beautiful to look at? Is it a case of things attracting us for monkey reasons, or intelligence crossing the barrier to emotion because of some line drawn by an artist masquerading as an engineer? Why is the nacelle of a commercial jet, a scanning electron microscope, a magnet of the LHC beautiful, when it was designed entirely to suit a practical purpose?"

Conroy won't tame 'wild west' web | The Australian

Nefarious Wheel Nefarious Wheel writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Nefarious Wheel writes "An editorial in The Australian contains a rebuttal to Stephen Conroy's attempt to introduce a blacklist filter to Internet content in Australia. No news to us, the children won't be saved, we'll all be annoyed, and it will be abused. But it's interesting that this high profile national paper has come out and said what's on all our minds. This article is definitely not a gift to Conroy's re-election campaign."
Link to Original Source

How to put an invention into the public domain

Nefarious Wheel Nefarious Wheel writes  |  about 5 years ago

Nefarious Wheel writes "I have a couple of inventions — mechanical devices, based on physical principles — that I believe could transform certain aspects of industry. The trouble is, I can't afford to file patents, and even if I could I'm not sure that would be the best way for these devices to be made available as widely as I'd like. Is there some way to publish the details of these innovations in the public domain in such a way as to protect them from being snaffled away by some patent troll? I'd be happy with a contribution (or simple attribution) model for recompense, which could be zero to whatever, but that's not as important to me as getting the ideas out there for anyone who wants to use them. This isn't copyright, and I know of no patent equivalent to creative commons.

In short, what's the best way to protect an invention against someone filing a patent on it, short of patenting the device yourself? Can this be done?"

Climate specialist for White House science advisor

Nefarious Wheel Nefarious Wheel writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Nefarious Wheel writes "According to Reuters John Holdren is to become the new White House science advisor.

A Harvard University physicist, Holdren is a climate specialist and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The President-Elect evoked the Kennedy-era New Frontier imagery in professing the importance of science and technology, mentioning the lunar landings, sequencing the human genome in his introduction.

Here's hoping for more science and less political science in the new administration. We can only hope."

Extremely long term data storage

Nefarious Wheel Nefarious Wheel writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Nefarious Wheel (628136) writes "Strange ideas day. Was thinking of economical but extremely long-term storage, longer than you can depend on a magnetic domain to remain uncorrupted by stray fields. This line of thought resulted in this odd question:

Given the paper, machining and electronics technology available today, and ignoring magnetic and ink based solutions, how much data could you reliably store on a punched paper card? I'm sure the medium could hold more than the 80 to 96 bytes per unit of the past.

If you think about it, books from 800AD onward (such as the Book of Kells) are still with us, and hold considerable detail. It's unlikely we could expect that sort of data lifespan with today's media. But the sort of paper used for US Form 5081 could be with us for a very long time, given proper care and containment. So, how much data could you punch into a standard 80 column sized card before it became structurally unusable?"

UK Tax officials lose details of 25M Taxpayers

Nefarious Wheel Nefarious Wheel writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Nefarious Wheel (628136) writes "Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs has admitted to losing the details of 25 million individuals, with 7.25 million U.K. families potentially affected. "This is the biggest privacy disaster by our government," said Jonathan Bamford, assistant information commissioner.

In a speech to Parliament on Tuesday, the chancellor of the exchequer, Alistair Darling, told of the loss of two discs containing the details of everybody in the U.K. who claims and receives child benefits. Story at http://news.zdnet.com/2100-1009_22-6219772.html?tag=nl.e550"

Nefarious Wheel Nefarious Wheel writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Nefarious Wheel (628136) writes "(From Physics News) Microfluidics is the science of carrying out fluid chemical processing on a chip whose channels are typically millimeters or microns across. In such a constricted space, viscosity becomes large, and the fluid flow can slow way down, thus limiting the kind of mixing or testing that can be done. Physicists at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, however, use tiny exploding bubbles to speed things up.See movie at http://stilton.tnw.utwente.nl/people/ohl/controlle d_cavitation.html/. the Twente scientists are the first to achieve flow visualization at rates of a million frames per second at a size scale of 100 microns."

Nefarious Wheel Nefarious Wheel writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Nefarious Wheel writes "In frustration at our very large enterprise's somewhat antiquated document management system, I went to Google and typed in "Web-based document management systems" and, lo and behold, this turned up (rather unsurprisingly in retrospect) as paid link #1 http://www.google.com.au/enterprise/gsa/index.html /

So it looks like Google is branching out into hardware. Is this new or am I just late to the party? This is the first time I've seen any reference to Google selling its own branded hardware. Nice looking 1RU and 2RU units, too. Options list is awesome. (Note to editors — not affiliated with brand)"

Nefarious Wheel Nefarious Wheel writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Nefarious Wheel (628136) writes "MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. — NASA officials signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday with a U.S. company, Virgin Galactic, LLC, to explore the potential for collaborations on the development of space suits, heat shields for spaceships, hybrid rocket motors and hypersonic vehicles capable of traveling five or more times the speed of sound.

Full text follows:

Michael Mewhinney Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. 650-604-3937/9000 Stephen Attenborough Virgin Galactic, LLC, New York +44 207-664-6030 RELEASE: 07-49 NASA, VIRGIN GALACTIC TO EXPLORE FUTURE COOPERATION MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. — NASA officials signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday with a U.S. company, Virgin Galactic, LLC, to explore the potential for collaborations on the development of space suits, heat shields for spaceships, hybrid rocket motors and hypersonic vehicles capable of traveling five or more times the speed of sound. Under the terms of the memorandum, NASA Ames Research Center, located in California's Silicon Valley, and Virgin Galactic LLC, a U.S.-based subsidiary of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, will explore possible collaborations in several technical areas employing capabilities and facilities of NASA's Ames Research Center. "As we constantly seek to build upon the advances made by explorers who have come before us, we now embark upon an exciting time in space exploration history that realizes the unlimited opportunities presented by a commercial space economy," said Shana Dale, NASA's deputy administrator. "By encouraging such potential collaborations, NASA supports the development of greater commercial collaboration and applications that will serve to strengthen and enhance the future benefits of space exploration for all of mankind." Dale is a longtime supporter of commercial space development. As the former staff director of the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, she was instrumental in the passage of the Commercial Space Act of 1998. This legislation encourages commercial space development in a variety of areas, including launch vehicles, the International Space Station and the acquisition of space and Earth science data. "This understanding with Virgin Galactic affords NASA an opportunity to work with an emerging company in the commercial human space transportation industry to support the agency's exploration, science and aeronautics mission goals," said S. Pete Worden, director of NASA Ames Research Center. "Our location in California's Silicon Valley provides a dynamic research and development platform for future potential collaborations with other such companies in support of a robust commercial space industry." "We are excited to be working with NASA and look forward to future collaborations in exploration and space travel," said Alex Tai, vice president of operations for Virgin Galactic. The agreement with Virgin Galactic was negotiated through NASA's Space Portal, a newly formed organization in the NASA Research Park at Ames, which seeks to engage new opportunities for NASA to promote the development of the commercial space economy. "This new type of private-public partnership can benefit the agency while helping to foster a new industry," said Dan Coughlin, NASA's lead for the Virgin Galactic agreement. The memorandum of understanding will be in effect for two years and stipulates that neither NASA nor Virgin Galactic will be required to pay any fees or provide funds to support the areas of possible collaboration. For information about NASA and agency programs, please visit: http://www.nasa.gov/"



Where will we get our Murrows and Cronkites now?

Nefarious Wheel Nefarious Wheel writes  |  more than 4 years ago "If we confuse dissent with disloyalty -- if we deny the right of the individual to be wrong, unpopular, eccentric or unorthodox -- if we deny the essence of racial equality then hundreds of millions in Asia and Africa who are shopping about for a new allegiance will conclude that we are concerned to defend a myth and our present privileged status. Every act that denies or limits the freedom of the individual in this country costs us the ... confidence of men and women who aspire to that freedom and independence of which we speak and for which our ancestors fought."

Edward R. Murrow, from Wikiquote, written in 1953. Have we really advanced that much in journalism since then, despite the advances in media technology?

I wish we still had journos like this old philosopher from the last century. People who could keep presidents in check, people who could have thrown a few spears in the puff when we need it, especially - as is often too well known by people in power - truth is the first casualty of war.

Where - and who - are the journalists who can replace these old veterans? The thoughtful people who were more concerned with uncovering the truth than where their audience demographic swung?

Where are our effective idealists in the media today?


Learn To Spell

Nefarious Wheel Nefarious Wheel writes  |  more than 4 years ago "Learn To Spell" is the name of my little World of Warcraft alt's guild on Aman'Thul server. Horde, natch. Guild master (me) is "Kreutzfeld". He's a Taurean, as you'd expect (Kreutzfeld-Jakob syndrome is commonly known as M _ _ C _ _ disease.)


Apricots don't appeal to everyone

Nefarious Wheel Nefarious Wheel writes  |  more than 4 years ago "The dragons left when their food supply was tainted with intelligence" said Eve. "We offered them apricots but it wasn't the same."

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