top Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?
I've lived in the same house for almost 30 years and it was over 90 years old when we bought it.
You learn to do almost everything: electrical, plumbing, carpentry, paint, roofing (ugh!). You learn on a basic, visceral level how things work, fit together, fall apart. You 'feel' aging. You learn to predict.
In that time I've probably been through 25+ computers (many were servers), who knows how many peripherals, software, etc. Many are just a blur now.
And in the basement is a darkroom for, wait for it,.... film development and printing.
So, I can wake up in the morning, walk across 120 year old floors, and partake of a hobby that goes back over 150 years, essentially unchanged.
Ah, you young whipper-snappers...
top My degree of colorblindness:
I seem to recall reading a stat some years back that approx 20% of men were colorblind to some degree; the percent for women was lower, but I don't remember it.
It can manifest in situations like; you have several pairs of socks, you wash them at the same time, but some are dark blue and some are black. You go to sort them and you can't distinguish in order to pair them up. Some people have tremendous difficulty telling the difference.
And judging by some of the house color choices in my neighborhood recently, colorblindness is becoming an epidemic!
top Four Weeks Without Soap Or Shampoo
I assume a shower because most homes built in the last 40 years have them. It is, essentially, a standard build now. (My house is much older, and one bathroom has only a tub)
top Four Weeks Without Soap Or Shampoo
I suspect there are slashdot readers who, uh, know someone who takes long spells between showers...
top Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon
And just for the record, Widmer and Fullsail are tiny compared to actual big breweries like Anheuser Busch.
I recently toured the Widmer brewery and it takes up less than one city block.
top Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?
I have owned a few (formerly-high-end) film cameras and they were built like tanks.
My Nikon F4 is 25 years old (?), has lots of scuffs and dings, but just keeps on working accurately and consistently. They were built for hard, daily professional use. I seem to recall that it was recommended that you get them CLA'd (Clean, Lubricate, Adjust) every 150,000 frames. They are complex cameras, with lots of adjustments and accessories. (Have you ever seen a cut-away of the insides of a high-end film camera? Amazing how they fit so much stuff in there.) You can pick these up for a few hundred dollars. (An interesting side-note: the F4 will take Nikon lenses made from 1960 to the present. Talk about backward-compatibility!)
Look at the way the bodies of the old 500-series Hasselblads were made. Take a solid ingot of aluminum alloy and mill out all the metal you *don't* need for the body. No seams, no rivets, no screws. Very rigid. (Of course, if you smack it so hard that it deforms, toss the body - it can't be repaired. But that takes a serious fall.)
top Should NASA Send Astronauts On Voluntary One-Way Missions?
I wish we could get past this obsession of feeling like we have to send humans everywhere (in the short run). (I'm thinking of long distance missions more than popping up to the ISS.)
If you look at the overall costs associated with programs sending humans versus programs that are all robotic, we could fund many times as many robotic missions for the cost of one human-containing mission. How many Hubble's or Cassini's could we fund for the cost of one manned Mars mission? I'm as big a fan of the space program(s) as the next nerd, but we have to be realistic about costs in a world where we have a long list of human and environmental issues to deal with just to keep our existing house in order.
After we have a solid handle on things like managing the health effects of zero or micro-g, food production, propulsion and radiation exposure, then we can consider a manned, long-distance mission.
top Ask Slashdot: What Software Can You Not Live Without?
(I have not had to install a fresh OS of 10.x in years - knock on wood)
Firefox - lots of control thru add-ons
GraphicConverter - I shoot lots of digital pix and this piece of shareware does most of what I need to manipulate the bulk of them BBEdit - just the best test editor JAlbum - easy way to make web albums of hundreds of pix at a time Transmit - most refined ftp client I've ever run into LIttle Snitch - nice to know what's coming and going on your box
top Ask Slashdot: What Does Edward Snowden Deserve?
So he should negotiate on those terms.
He has a portfolio of assets of significant value (as-yet-unrevealed secrets) that can be traded for options/assets that the guv'ment possesses (jail-time, amnesty, for example). Not revealing ABC is worth taking XYZ off the table. Two columns/sides - come to an agreement and be sure to make it very public. Use a third-party to draw up papers (Switzerland?).
Or, go the clandestine route: Snowden agrees to drop from public view for so many years and not reveal anything further and the US agrees (in writing) to leave him alone wherever he goes (except maybe the US).
top Chinese Firm Can Now Produce 500 Cloned Pigs Per Year
"If it tastes good, you should sequence it"
Fast forward 100 years and all livestock is cloned into 'taste-families': you can define the general palette of tastes you enjoy, and they produce it.
OK, maybe only 30 years...
top The Dismantling of POTS: Bold Move Or Grave Error?
Your final point is an important one: people who grow up accustomed to low quality (or reliability) will tolerate far more than those who grew up with higher quality.
I've worked in telecom for 15 years and I frequently hear people spout that they switched to VoIP/SIP and saved lots of money. You talk to their staff people (who use the service daily, not the ones who make the financial decisions) and they'll admit to inconsistent quality. For a personal/home account, that loss of quality is a viable trade-off. But if you're running a business, you have to consider the affect on your communications with your clients. If your client calls regularly and half the time gets a low quality voice connection, in a subtle way, their opinion of your company declines.
Ultimately, just how a low a quality can we tolerate? (note that I am NOT talking about the speed of the service the voice runs over, just the voice connection quality) I am often appalled at the quality of cell calls - I struggle to understand words that are cut short or experience some sort of distortion, reducing me to guess based on context. Isn't this a race to the bottom, where everyone eventually will lose, except those who control the services from on-high? (Don't forget that downward pressure on prices eventually leads to downward pressure on your wages)
[further analogies can be made to low cost (and thus low quality) electronics that are only designed to last a short time before you have to pay again for a replacement]
top Scientists Invent Urine-Powered Robots
Your robot is also your urinal.
OK, but a 'robot' that was small enough to carry around with you would seem unlikely to produce much power. (The article implied a small robot - maybe I'm incorrect.) Maybe just enough to occasionally charge your cellphone? You're gonna carry around a bag of pee to charge your cell?
I somehow hoped for something (ultimately) on a larger scale.
top Scientists Invent Urine-Powered Robots
I didn't realize that compounds found in urine (a waste product, after all) contained enough convertible energy to make the net work output worthwhile. After all, you have to take into consideration the energy expended in gathering and transporting the urine to the robot. The article also mentions using waste water - waste water from what? Is the world just full of all kinds of energy sources that are being discarded, or are we finally realizing that what was once considered 'marginal' capacity for energy harvesting is worth pursuing, since much of the low-hanging fruit (e.g. easily-accessible oil deposits) has already been picked?
(Obligatory comment: I, for one, welcome our new urine-sipping robot overlords. What's that you say? You need several samples for my employment pre-screening?)
top UK Government Backs Three-Person IVF
I guess I'm still stuck asking why?
OK, so you've had your genome sequenced (or whatever) and determined there might be a problem. Isn't that nature's way of saying 'sit this one out'?
Rather than encourage society to devote so many resources to finding new ways to let you make a baby, how about adopting? There are soooo many deserving children out there who are aching for a home. They already exist - they already have the need.
Don't fiddle with nature - do the simpler thing and bring an existing child into your life.
top Was That A Tsunami?
"The wave is being considered 'complex' and is believed to have been caused 'the slumping at the continental shelf east of New Jersey' or a strong storm according to the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center."
How is it that they need a center on the West Coast to determine that it was something off the coast of Jersey that caused it?
Are they spending too much time watching the Jersey Shore and not enough time watching the shore of Jersey?
top Archaeologists Discover Lost City In Cambodian Jungle
Wouldn't it have been better if they did NOT announce to the world that they found this new city until they *knew* that the gov't could secure it against looters?
I mean, now that this 'unlooted site' has been announced, isn't it just a matter of time before someone loots it?
top In terms of general neatness, I am ...
I swing back and forth.
I'll slowly let things get too messy/disorganized - piles start to develop - then something (like visiting someone else's house which is neat) will light a fire under me to get my place cleaned up. So I'll swing the other way and start throwing out things (like old software manuals, receipts, parts that I'll never really use) and taking old computers to be recycled. (fess up - how many computers are in your place right now that should be gotten rid of?)
I'm not consistent - unless you count the oscillating cycles.
(Do I get extra points for saying "oscillating cycles"?)
top Iain Banks: Extremely Ill With Cancer
Banks used a motif in his Culture books that I wish we saw more of in Sci-Fi: a future where (almost) everyone's basic needs of life were taken care of. No poverty or war (most of the time). You didn't have to take a crappy job just to put food on the table and live in some tiny apartment.
This allows the author to explore the potential the human mind and society have if you remove the day-to-day worry of survival. We are, as a species, capable of so much more than just 'survival' and 'business efficiencies' and minimal laws governing what large corporations/governments can do to us. Banks pondered new ideas about what we could dream up if freed from daily worry. New ways of living, thinking in very broad vistas (over time and space), exploring what is possible beyond the body we were born with. Wondering what it would be like to be another gender or species? Make the change! Want to enjoy (truly) exotic adventures, but still maintain a good chance of surviving it? The Culture's got you covered!
I believe that our (unfortunately necessary) focus on survival in our present world draws off energy and creativity that could be applied to expanding what it means to be human. It's nice to read an author who wants to speculate about what might lie beyond our present existence.
Banks will be sorely missed.
top Giant Robotic Jellyfish Unveiled by Researchers
Welcome our new Giant Robot Jellyfish Overloads and... oh never mind
about a year and a half ago
top Manga Girls Beware: Extra Large Eyes Caused Neanderthal's Demise
I believe the article alludes to the
diameter of the eyes having a 6mm difference, not the radius.
A 6mm radial difference would be a 12mm diameter difference, which would be... practically Manga.
about a year and a half ago