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Did you use technology to get into mischief as a child?

NixieBunny Re:Locks (230 comments)

A key that will open 2000 locks is nothing to sneer at, whatever you choose to call it. It's a very dumb system, defeated by a couple bored high school sophomores in a couple hours.

about two weeks ago
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Did you use technology to get into mischief as a child?

NixieBunny Re:Locks (230 comments)

I used the key to make it easier to open MY lock, and for bragging rights. I had no desire to own anyone else's sports equipment. I'm a slashdot poster, after all.

about two weeks ago
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Did you use technology to get into mischief as a child?

NixieBunny Re:Locks (230 comments)

The school admin was told that what we did was impossible, so your concern never registered on them. Besides, they need to be able to remove locks that students left on lockers past the end of the school year, or on the shared lockers at any time. (These are gym lockers, not hall lockers. Smelly socks etc.) Smelly socks don't warrant any sort of controls on keys.

about two weeks ago
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Did you use technology to get into mischief as a child?

NixieBunny Locks (230 comments)

My brother and I each made a master key for our school's Master combination padlocks that everyone used in gym class, using an old house key and a file. It took a year and a half for the school to find out. They suspended us for three days after telling us that their locksmith had informed them that what we had done was not possible.

about two weeks ago
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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.

about a month ago
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Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

NixieBunny That's why I use chat instead of phone (368 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 a month ago
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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 a month ago
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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 a month and a half ago
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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 2 months ago
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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
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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
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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 3 months ago
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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 3 months ago
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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 3 months ago
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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 3 months ago
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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 4 months ago
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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 4 months ago
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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 4 months ago
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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 4 months ago

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