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The Data Dome: A Server Farm In a Geodesic Dome

NixieBunny Re:But why a dome? (62 comments)

A dome doesn't care which way the wind blows, because it's round. Your long low building might have issues with that.

4 days ago

Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

NixieBunny That's why I use chat instead of phone (364 comments)

Just yesterday I had to engage with my ISP's support folks to resolve a network speed issue. Fortunately, I had saved the chat sessions from when the same problem occurred two years ago. I ended up pasting part of a previous chat session into the current chat session so that the CSR could see what worked last time. Result: problem resolved in hours, not days

about two weeks ago

Brookings Study Calls Solar, Wind Power the Most Expensive Fossil Alternatives

NixieBunny Re:And when you include end-of-life costs? (409 comments)

The cost *is* minimal, since they aren't actually doing anything about the byproducts these days. The folks in Nevada who wanted to store that stuff in Yucca Mountain are still working on that plan, while the nasty stuff itself sits on the power plant properties in temporary storage. Paralysis costs nothing (as long as there's no disaster on a power plant site).

about two weeks ago

How long ago did you last assemble a computer?

NixieBunny Re:Glad to see you use the term 'assemble' (391 comments)

I agree wholeheartedly. It took a lot of wire wrapping work to make a computer back then. Later I started designing them for a living, which often involved soldering together the first article and testing the bejeezus out of it. That got harder after BGAs appeared.

about three weeks ago

Disappointed Woz Sells His "Worthless" Galaxy Gear Watch

NixieBunny Re:Nixie Watch (242 comments)

He wears his Nixie tube watch every day on the left wrist. His right wrist has held a variety of smartwatches, including an iPod Nano. (I make the Nixie watch, so I'd know.)

about 1 month ago

The lightbulb I've most recently acquired ...

NixieBunny Trailer clearance lights (196 comments)

Each new clearance light fixture that I bought last week for my 1977 pop-up trailer came with two #194 wedge-base bulbs. The light fixtures cost $4 each. The plastic must be worth something, so I said "under a dollar".

about 2 months ago

Disappointed Woz Sells His "Worthless" Galaxy Gear Watch

NixieBunny Re:OMG WOZ TOUCHED IT. (242 comments)

I'm the guy who supplies Woz with his Nixie tube watches. I've had to repair a few of them after too many Segway polo matches. They get just as crusty as anyone else's watch.

I briefly thought about selling the broken parts on eBay, but it seemed a bit too squicky. Although you know the auction would end up on Reddit.

about 2 months ago

Boston Trying Out Solar-Powered "Smart Benches" In Parks

NixieBunny Re:If you're worried about being tracked/viruses.. (119 comments)

You will wait quite a while to get a charge that way. The devices negotiate the charging current over the data lines. The default is either zero or 100 mA. Best to buy a purpose-made USB data isolator that negotiates a good rate with a built-in microcontroller, but doesn't connect the phone to the charger data lines.

You can build one using a few resistors. See Adafruit's MintyBoost.

about 2 months ago

What's Your STEM Degree Worth?

NixieBunny Re:It's Worth Very Little (148 comments)

That's like most jobs, but not all. Unfortunately, the fulfilling ones tend to pay less. Fortunately, you don't need to go shopping so often to fill that void if you have a fulfilling job.

about 2 months ago

How Vacuum Tubes, New Technology Might Save Moore's Law

NixieBunny That would be handy for radio astronomy too (183 comments)

I work in a lab where we make radio receivers that work at frequencies around 460 GHz. As it is, we have to use a mixer diode to convert to a lower frequency (10 GHz) before amplifying the signal. This technology would be well suited to this application, provided that the noise is low enough. We already cool the mixer to 4K in a vacuum chamber.

about 2 months ago

Construction of World's Largest Telescope Finally Underway in Chile

NixieBunny Early 2020s? (76 comments)

Based on how long most of these big telescope projects end up taking, I'd expect late 2020s for it to become usable. We'll see.

about 2 months ago

Which desktop environment do you like the best?

NixieBunny Re:TOPS-10 (611 comments)

Ah, I remember sixbit. The PDP-11 had another one called RAD50, which was 50 octal, which fit three alphanumeric characters into a 16 bit word. I had to encode my high school's attendance rolls into RAD50 to get them to fit on one RT-11 floppy disk.

about 3 months ago

Which desktop environment do you like the best?

NixieBunny TOPS-10 (611 comments)

Straightforward commands. Case insensitive. Gets the job done. All words limited to six characters, because that's the longest word a person should have to type.

about 3 months ago

Goodbye, Ctrl-S

NixieBunny Re:I'd rather not use (521 comments)

Back in my day, computers would fail for no explicable reason.

Or, more likely, your hand would brush against the RESET key that was prominently featured on the keyboard right below RETURN.

about 3 months ago

James Cameron and Eric Schmidt's SOI Grieve Loss of Nereus ROV

NixieBunny They will build a better one (72 comments)

Underwater robotics is all about advancing the state of the art. A machine that lived six years was reaching obsolescence. I'm sure that the boys in the back room will have fun building its successor. (I have helped to build a few underwater robots for competitions, and it's always a joy to start work on the next one.)

about 3 months ago

SpaceX Wins Injunction Against Russian Rocket Purchases

NixieBunny Re:Oh how the mighty have fallen (166 comments)

This case turns the usual defense procurement bugaboo on its head.

about 4 months ago

US Nuclear Missile Silos Use Safe, Secure 8" Floppy Disks

NixieBunny Re:Are there any old drives around that read these (481 comments)

I seem to recall from my BIOS writing days with CP/M, that the 8" drives had twice the data rate of the 5" drives. They also spun faster, 360 RPM vs 300 RPM. The 8" IBM format was soft sectored 26 sectors of 128 bytes, and the 5" used 16 sectors of 128 bytes or something like that. too many numbers to remember.

At any rate, the four 8" floppies that I still have in my meager collection are all different, for different CPUs, OSes, languages, different sector formats, etc. The closest I came to inter-system compatibility was to write a CP/M floppy reading program for the PDP-11.

about 4 months ago

Interviews: Ask Bre Pettis About Making Things

NixieBunny Parts to finish a 3D printed design (69 comments)

Many useful items that one could build require some metal bits in addition to 3D printed parts. I've recently encountered this situation when trying to make a little gizmo with motor drive. Small gears, shafts and so forth are very hard to come by. Have you considered starting an ancillary industry that provides the sorts of things that the company Small Parts used to offer, before Amazon killed them?

about 4 months ago



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