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Ask Richard Stallman Anything

Rastloser Get things done - or get software done? (573 comments)

I volunteer at a club that runs a technical museum, providing an open laboratory for school children. It offers them the chance to repeat some fundamental physics experiments that are crucial to our world view. We're using mostly Free Software, but there are some niches where we have to rely on non-free stuff. I have noticed that using some proprietary commercial tools, we are able to work far better and easier than when using their free counterparts.

What would you suggest to do in such a case? Do you think it's better to compromise on freedom and work more efficiently, thus providing a more interesting experience to our visitors, or to divert our (very, very limited) funds and manpower to improving the Free Software tools out there, thus neglecting our core mission but ultimately benefiting a different community?

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Hearing Aids That Directly Connect To Smart Phones?

Rastloser Link tip: Helga Velroyen (183 comments)

At the last Chaos Communication Congress, Helga Velroyen discussed this and other topics around hearing aid evolution. You can find her talk at ftp://ftp.ccc.de/congress/2011/mp4-h264-HQ/28c3-4669-en-bionic_ears_h264.mp4 and a corresponding blog project at http://blog.hackandhear.com/ . While I do not have to rely on hearing aids and thus have not looked very deeply into her activities, I get the impression that she is one of the most knowledgeable persons regarding this topic in the European hacker scene.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Where Should a Geek's Charitable Donations Go?

Rastloser Local technical museums, hackerspaces or similar (263 comments)

As a volunteer for the club that restored Germany's first radio telescope (see http://astropeiler.de/ ), I am certainly quite biased, but I think that technical, hands-on museums would also be a good target. Check your area for volunteer-run astronomical observatories, open electronics labs, private physics labs... essentially places that are open to everyone interested in science, give people a hands-on experience with old (or current) technology and where everyone can repeat important experiments that shape our world-view. For example, we offer everyone the chance to repeat the measurements by Oort et al. from 1958 that show that the Milky Way has a spiral structure, and hope to support and promote an evidence-based world view by doing so. (And, besides, it's just great fun to operate your own radio telescope!)

more than 2 years ago

DIY Live Photos From ISS

Rastloser TV, but not video (42 comments)

For all the non-hams reading this, it should be pointed out that SSTV transmits images based on the same technical principles as television, but that it's not video. The transmission of a single "frame" takes several dozen seconds. This has several advantages, however. The greatest is probably that the requirements for signal quality and receiving equipment are much lower than for TV, meaning that anyone interested will be able to pick up those images with relatively little tech on the ground.

more than 6 years ago


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