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Piracy Police Chief Calls For State Interference To Stop Internet "Anarchy"

Sooner Boomer People of Great Britain... (297 comments)

...remember, you are not citizens, you are subjects if the Crown! You will be treated as such!

2 days ago
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Study Links Pacific Coastal Warming To Changing Winds

Sooner Boomer Demanders! (207 comments)

There are those, who, in spite of evidence to the contrary, DEMAND that there be global warming, and DEMAND that it be caused by man.

about a week ago
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Facebook's Auto-Play Videos Chew Up Expensive Data Plans

Sooner Boomer Re:Not a problem for me (108 comments)

Absolutely not a problem for me - I DON'T USE FACEBOOK!

about three weeks ago
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Newly Discovered Virus Widespread in Human Gut

Sooner Boomer Re:crAss (100 comments)

Is this the cause of (cr)Assburger's?

about 2 months ago
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The debate over climate change is..

Sooner Boomer debate? (278 comments)

People who question the gospel of global warming are called "deniers" to try and shut down any debate. I'm calling them out as "demanders"; that is, whether or not there actually is any global warming, they DEMAND that there be. Possibly an extension of liberal guilt, since most global warming claims come loudest from the left.

about 2 months ago
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U.S. Passenger Jet Nearly Collided With Drone In March

Sooner Boomer F-4 Phantom jet... (151 comments)

Yeah, I know, replying to my own post...

Another article: http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/09/...

"The pilot reported that the small unmanned aircraft involved looked similar to an F-4 Phantom jet, and not like a helicopter that might hold a camera that many associate more closely with drones. Such planes have gas turbine engines and can fly higher than an average drone, according to the FAA. Neither the drone in this case, nor its pilot, have been identified.

Why does the media insist in calling everything from model airplanes to 747's "drones". I think they're the real (mental) drones...

about 5 months ago
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U.S. Passenger Jet Nearly Collided With Drone In March

Sooner Boomer Model fighter jet... (151 comments)

From: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/... - "The pilot said it appeared the drone was a high-end model built to look like a fighter jet and powered with a small turbine engine, according to the FAA. Such model planes are capable of reaching higher altitudes than drone copters and may cost thousands of dollars. "

about 5 months ago
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Texas Sheriffs Crash $250k Drone They're Not Supposed To Be Flying

Sooner Boomer Re:Texas Rangers (93 comments)

The eyes of the ranger are upon you, and they're quite heavy.

The eyes, or the rangers?

First one, then the other...

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Professional Journaling/Notes Software?

Sooner Boomer Re:paper...pencil (170 comments)

My notebooks weren't always spiral bound, sometimes they were the kind with the bound backing (I bought several of whatever was cheapest at the beginning of each semester). When whatever form they were, got full, they went into a 3-ring binder (including the covers which have beginning-ending dates, phone numbers, and other important info). Almost all of these (college ruled) notebooks are also pre-punched, so I just carefully remove the pages.

I started using expensive refillable mechanical pencils. After they were dropped (once!) and broken, I went with either cheap mechanical pencils, or the old fashioned wooden ones (which no one seemed to steal!). I need the ability to correct things, ink is not practical (except for some drawings where I use lots of colored pens to keep functions seperate)

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Professional Journaling/Notes Software?

Sooner Boomer Re:paper...pencil (170 comments)

The automated search thing uses the wiggly bits at the end of your hands and the lookey bits on either side of your nose. Sorry, not trying to be snide, but the things I'm usually searching for 1) were written by me, so when I get close to the proper page, my memory kicks in and I usually remember where stuff is*, and 2), I'm usually not searching for an individual search term. If something is unique, I can usually get close enough to find it by flicking through a few pages. Weekly/monthly/quarterly reports also help narrow time frame.

  *this is a kind of a Fourier Transform, where the "when" (time function), turns into a "where" (spatial location) in the series of note pages.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Professional Journaling/Notes Software?

Sooner Boomer paper...pencil (170 comments)

I've been working on a research project in Chemical Engineering for the past 5 years as a consultant. I struggled, like you, to find a technical solution for a professional journal. I had to settle for fifty cent spiral bound notebook and pencil (I found a neat plastic case to keep them in). No other solution could provide me a way to easily keep a written ledger of text and numbers, draw diagrams, schematics, and allow me to easily edit mistakes. When the notebooks were full, they went into a three-ring binder. Searching through the pages of the binders is fairly easy, especially since *I'm* the one that wrote the notes.

Don't over-think the problem.

about 5 months ago
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CSIRO Scientists' Aquaculture Holy Grail: Fish-Free Prawn Food

Sooner Boomer Prawns? (116 comments)

I've got a better idea than little shrimpies. I say feed the homeless to the hungry. Gets rid of two problems at once!

about 6 months ago
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The Verge: Google Is Working on a TV Box Of Its Own

Sooner Boomer Fuck Google... (117 comments)

...and fuck Google TV. A couple of years ago, I bought an LG TV, which ran on Android. Fairly good performance, fairly good price. It's a 3D TV, and I was disappointed that ESPN cancelled it's 3D broadcasts just after I bought it, but what the heck. I found a Samba client that let me watch video files over my network. I even had a couple of 3D video files, like the Dr. Who Anniversary episode I could watch in 3D. Then Google "upgraded" Android. I tried EVERYTHING I could do to reject the upgrade and not accept it, but somehow it went ahead and installed the new version. Now, almost everything on the TV is broken. The native media player that was part of the original Android software is gone. The Samba client is gone. I can't even play videos from an attached USB device. LG has been less than useless. I've sent multiple emails and they are either clueless or blame Google. They have DELIBERATELY removed functionality that I specifically purchased the TV for. All that's left now is legal action.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Essays and Short Stories Should Be In a Course On Futurism?

Sooner Boomer Isaac Asimov (293 comments)

" Before The Golden Age " vols. 1-4. A series of science fiction anthologies written before 1939 (the beginning of the "Golden Age" of science fiction). A look at how our great/grandparents saw today (their far future).

about 7 months ago
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North Korea Developing Electromagnetic Pulse Weapons

Sooner Boomer Re:And let's not forget... (191 comments)

Who said that WMDs were found in Iraq?

 

Well, NBC News for one...http://www.nbcnews.com/id/4997808/

about a year ago
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NSA's New Utah Data Center Suffering Meltdowns

Sooner Boomer Cooling problems? (241 comments)

Did they check for jellyfish in the intakes?

about a year ago
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Swiss War Game Envisages Invasion By Bankrupt French

Sooner Boomer Re:Countries do this all the time (245 comments)

And its paid off so far... no one has touched them.

And then the USA IRS paid a visit. The Swiss folded like the French...

1 year,7 hours
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Four Month Mars Food Study Wraps Up

Sooner Boomer Flatulance (142 comments)

Seems that if you're going to be in an enclosed space with other people for an extended time, you want foods that produce little/no "natural gas", because, of course *your* farts don't stink, but that other guy's....

about a year ago
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Illuminating Window-Less Houses With a Plastic Bottle

Sooner Boomer well, hail.... (240 comments)

What kind of hail do you have that would damage the small end of a plastic bottle? I'm trying to imagine how much force it would take to damage one.

Here in Central Oklahoma (you know, the place with EF 5 tornados...), hail the size of ping pong or golf balls is common at least once a year (frequently more often), and hailstones up to 3" is not unheard of. These will go completely through a commonly-decked roof.

about a year ago
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City-Sized Ice Shelf Breaks Free Of Antarctica

Sooner Boomer Re:The poet Smash Mouth said it best (249 comments)

Judging by the hole in the satellite picture
The ice we skate is getting pretty thin
The water's getting warm so you might as well swim
My world's on fire how about yours
That's the way I like it and I never get bored

Burma Shave

about a year ago

Submissions

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LG breaks TVs with software "upgrade"

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  about 7 months ago

Sooner Boomer (96864) writes "I bought an LG 47" TV last year (2013). The picture was good, and it would play not only 3D video from a Blu-Ray player, but also would play 3D video files from an attached USB drive. Not any more. After a forced update to the software, which I did everything to avoid, LG removed much of the functionality from the TV. A 3D video file, still on a USB stick in the TV from before the update, will not play. In fact, they have removed the media player entirely. Their response:

I understand your concern and apologize for the inconvenience. I am afraid that the update cannot be uninstalled. With the latest update the TV changed to Jelly Bean. However, as it was announced directly from adobe, Android will no longer support flash player on the latest versions of the OS (Jelly Bean). Hence, all Google TV&#39s updated to jelly bean will no longer have flash support. Adobe has stopped supporting flash on the new versions of android. This is also the reason why media player is no longer available on the TV. ... Now, about the files that it won’t play, that part doesn’t seem normal.

No shit Sherlock. It's not normal. You REMOVED the media player and a bunch of other features! So, Slasdotters, what are my options?"

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Need E-Reader Recemmendations

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  about 2 years ago

Sooner Boomer writes "Black Friday is coming on strong. The one thing I'm looking for this year is an e-reader. Actually, it doesn't need to be a dedicated e-reader like a Kindle or Nook, it could be a tablet. The requirements are: it has to read as many formats as possible (.pdf, .lit, .mobi, .txt, .etc). It should play .mp3s (audio books). It should be as inexpensive as possible, yet actually available. I don't mind jail breaking or rooting a device if that will increase the available formats. It would be nice if it had a memory card slot, or would br able to access my home nerwork (smb server). I've got terrible eyes, so it would be nice if it was backlit, but not a requirement. Suggestions?"
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Michael O'Hare Dead at 60

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  about 2 years ago

Sooner Boomer writes "'Babylon 5' Star Michael O'Hare Died at 60 from heart attack. O’Hare, who starred as Commander Jeffrey Sinclair on the first season of the sci-fi series Babylon 5, died Friday after suffering a heart attack five days earlier. He was 60.


“This is a terrible loss for all B5 fans, and everyone involved with the show wishes to convey their condolences to the O'Hare family,” series creator J. Michael Straczynski wrote on his Facebook page. “He was an amazing man.”


O'Hare left the show after the first season (Straczynski at the time called it a "mutual, amicable and friendly separation," with the star being ostensibly replaced by Bruce Boxleitner), but the actor came back for an episode in season two and back-to-back installments in season three to wrap up his character's storyline.


More at The Hollywood Reporter and Huffington Post.


I guess this will spark another "Kirk vs. Picard"-style squabble."

Link to Original Source
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How to share pics, text, other files for mail list?

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Sooner Boomer writes "I'm a member of a long-running mail list. We recently migrated back to it from years-long trials with efforts involving google and yahoo groups. The legacy mail list does not allow the posting of binary files, so no pictures, PDFs, or similar files can be shared. The folks are not very tech savy, and don't want to download/install programs like what are needed for dropbox and other services. Other web free sites such as Photobucket are picture and video only. What other free solutions are there to allow the list members to share files, preferably with password protection to try to limit it to only the list members?"
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Dental cavaties a thing of the past?

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Sooner Boomer writes "A scientest ib Chile has discovered a chemical that could keep us cavity-free, no matter how much sugary treats we eat. The chemical, KEEP 32, kills the bacteria, Streptococcus Mutans, that livew on our teeth, metabolizes the sugar, and produces acid (causing cavities). The inventors have a provisional patent on the molecule in the U.S. and are seeking funding to complete human trials for a period of 14 to 18 months, preparing a product for the market. "The molecule can not only be incorporated into a gum, but products like toothpastes, mouthwashes, toothpastes sheets, candies, dental night gel and other (products) who may be inside the mouth 60 seconds at least," said Erich Astudillo , CEO of Top Tech Innovations, a company that hosts this development. "In Chile we were seeking funding for two years and no one is interested in putting resources to R & D," he says. So he joined the Founder Institute (one of the largest incubators and business accelerators in the world) to better model the business and looking for capital in international networking. more at http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.df.cl%2Fcientificos-chilenos-patentan-molecula-que-elimina-las-caries%2Fprontus_df%2F2012-06-29%2F195432.html (Google translation)."
Link to Original Source
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"All Your Books Are Belong To Us!"

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Sooner Boomer writes "Ignoring the exclusive rights of authors, and particularly their moral right to release of their works, the French parliament seems prepared to seize control of the French 20th century written heritage, and grant its exploitation to commercial publishers, at the expense of the public, the libraries that preserved them, and most of their authors. Scribes have just six months to opt-out, or lose their moral rights and the ability to determine a price for their work. It's essentially a Compulsory Purchase Order for intellectual property — the author's work is no longer their own. Ownership is instead transferred to a quango answering to the French Ministry of Culture, which is authorized to make it digitally available. Publishers are the big beneficiaries. The law applies to ALL authors who have published in France, French and foreign, and superceeds international copyright treaties. Ironically France prides itself as the home of creators' rights — and pioneered moral rights — or droit d'auteur as they call them. The state, of course, is a middleman with unique characteristics: it can enforce its seizures of individual property with its monopoly on violence. Which makes it a uniquely powerful foe. And the French Free Software movement, recognising the freedoms of software libre depend on strong copyright, has called it "legalised piracy". The land grab is so brazen that even the French Pirate Party has come out fighting against it. "And they call us pirates?" asked Marcel Baptiste, secretary of the Party in a blogpost. "We are all united with the authors, artists and all those who are regularly ripped off by middlemen," he added. Comments by the French Free Software User's Association here: http://aful.org/communiques/french-senate-proposes-to-legalize-piracy-french-20th
Comments by the French Pirate Party here (Google translation): http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=fr&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fpartipirate.org%2Fblog%2Fcom.php%3Fid%3D1425"

Link to Original Source
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LightSquared CEO resigns

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Sooner Boomer writes "Sanjiv Ahuja, the CEO of LightSquared resigned suddenly on Tuesday. Ahuja’s resignation comes after Obama’s FCC suspended conditional approval of a waiver LightSquared needed to complete its high-speed broadband network. Until two weeks ago, the company’s final approval appeared imminent. It was recently revealed that Ahuja gave the maximum allowable $30,400 contribution to the Democratic National Committee on the same day his lawyers were trying to arrange a meeting for him at the White House with top Obama technology adviser Aneesh Chopra and other officials. Emails and documents indicate political ties and numerous meetings between LightSquared and Obama administration officials as the was undergoing regulatory review. In emails between Ahuja’s lawyers and White House officials Ahuja wanted to meet with, his lawyers pointed out that he would attend an Obama fundraiser on or about the same day he wanted the meeting. In a statement accompanying the company’s announcement of Ahuja’s resignation, he made no mention of those revelations."
Link to Original Source
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Your cat (or its parasites) are controlling your brain.

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Sooner Boomer writes "A Czech biologist, Jaroslav Flegr, is investigating how a common parasite found in cats (and their poop) may significantly alter human behavior. He found that women infected tended to dress nicer, be more outgoing, trusting, image-conscious, and rule-abiding than uninfected women. Infected men rended to be more introverted, suspicious, oblivious to other peopleâ(TM)s opinions of them, and inclined to disregard rules. My cat just tells me he needs more fresh fish. Off to the store!"
Link to Original Source
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Here's a bright idea...

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Sooner Boomer writes "As part of the Federal Budget deal, the Republicans have inserted a bill that overturns the upcoming incandescent light bulb ban. That agreement is tucked inside the massive 1,200-page spending bill that funds the government through the rest of this fiscal year, and which both houses of Congress passed on Friday. Mr. Obama is expected to sign the bill, which heads off a looming government shutdown. It negates a 2007 law that would have set energy efficiency standards that effectively made the traditional light bulb obsolete. Some have argued that the cost of manufacturing and hazardous materials offset and energy savings from alternative lighting sources such as Compact Flourescent bulbs or LEDs."
Link to Original Source
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Biggest storm seen on Saturn

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Sooner Boomer writes "The Cassini space probe has been monitoring an enormous storm on Saturn since it was detected last December. The storm was first discovered by the radio signals produced by the incredible lightening strikes. The storm, dubbed "The Great White Spot", now 500 times larger than any previously seen by Cassini at Saturn, is 8 times the surface area of Earth. Observers on Earth have been able to see a bright white "smudge" in the northern half of the planet. Article with audio of storm here: http://www.tgdaily.com/space-features/57070-cassini-monitors-biggest-ever-saturn-storm , great pictures here: http://www.universetoday.com/87269/the-sights-and-sounds-of-saturns-super-storm/ , NASA Cassini page here: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/main/index.html"
Link to Original Source
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Why you really should pay your web designer

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Sooner Boomer (96864) writes "An unknown web designer and hoster had enough of not being paid by the client, Winona Chiropractic. After not being paid for more than three years, the web designer took over the site and made his complaint public. The above link at mashables shows the web site, which has since been taken down."
Link to Original Source
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US military now preapred to help with "cyber attac

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Sooner Boomer writes "The US DoD is prepared to provide cyber expertise to other government agencies and to certain private companies to counter attacks on their computer networks, the Pentagon's cyber policy chief, Robert Butler, said Oct. 20. An agreement signed this month with the Department of Homeland Security and an earlier initiative to protect companies in the defense industrial base make it likely that the military will be a key part of any response to a cyber attack. Homeland security will still perform the lead in cyber defense, but, the two agencies — Defense and Homeland Security — "will help each other in more tangible ways then they have in the past," Butler told a group of defense reporters.

Unfortunately, this does not mean the beginning of Predator drone attacks against spammers and malware authors..."

Link to Original Source
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Bob Guccione dies at 79

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Sooner Boomer writes "Many of us remember Bob Guccione for the magazines he published. Some remember him for Penthouse, others for Omni. Both were groundbreaking when they came out. Guccione passed away Wednesday in Plano, Tx, at the age of 79 from cancer. Make your own jokes about him being a stiffie now.

And, BTW, this new dynamic insexing SUCKS. I cannot read Slashdot like this and your system will not save cchanges back yo the original style"

Link to Original Source
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Possible Hint to origin of Stuxnet Worm

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  about 4 years ago

Sooner Boomer writes "There is a possible hint to the origin of the Stuxnet Worm which has been reported as running in the wild in Iran. Several of the teams of computer security researchers who have been dissecting the software found a text string that suggests that the attackers named their project Myrtus. The guava fruit is part of the Myrtus family, and one of the code modules is identified as Guava. FromTFA:

"Deep inside the computer worm that some specialists suspect is aimed at slowing Iran’s race for a nuclear weapon lies what could be a fleeting reference to the Book of Esther, the Old Testament tale in which the Jews pre-empt a Persian plot to destroy them. "

But,

"Ralph Langner, a German computer security consultant who was the first independent expert to assert that the malware had been “weaponized” and designed to attack the Iranian centrifuge array, argues that the Stuxnet worm could have been brought into the Iranian nuclear complex by Russian contractors.


“It would be an absolute no-brainer to leave an infected USB stick near one of these guys,” he said, “and there would be more than a 50 percent chance of having him pick it up and infect his computer.”

So — put on your tinfoil hat (or yarmulke...), but watch out for unknown USB keys..."
Link to Original Source

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Computer worm found in industrial control systems

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  about 4 years ago

Sooner Boomer writes "In the Sept. 14th Computer World is an article about a sophisticated worm designed to steal industrial secrets and disrupt operations has infected at least 14 plants, according to Siemens.


Called Stuxnet, the worm was discovered in July when researchers at VirusBlokAda found it on computers in Iran. It is one of the most sophisticated and unusual pieces of malicious software ever created — the worm leveraged a previously unknown Windows vulnerability (now patched) that allowed it to spread from computer to computer, typically via USB sticks. Stuxnet has infected systems in the U.K., North America and Korea, however the largest number of infections, by far, have been in Iran.


Once installed on a PC, Stuxnet uses Siemens' default passwords to seek out and try to gain access to systems that run the WinCC and PCS 7 programs — so-called PLC (programmable logic controller) programs that are used to manage large-scale industrial systems on factory floors and in military installations and chemical and power plants.


If the worm were to be used to mess up systems at a chemical or power plant, the results could be devastating."

Link to Original Source
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Flying car approved by FAA

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Sooner Boomer writes "The Terrafugia Transition, a light aircraft that can convert into a road-legal automobile, is to go into production after being given a special weight exemption by the US Federal Aviation Administration. This "car" is about to go into production, with about 70 people putting down $10K each (into an escrow account) for a deposit, towards $200K final cost. Still no word on the Moller flying car (...any day now...)."
Link to Original Source
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Sci-fi (or other reading) for girls?

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Sooner Boomer writes "This is a follow up on a question I asked of Slashdotters a few years ago. Not having found "Mrs. Boomer", I'm left with spoiling the daughters of my younger brother and sister. The oldest two are about 17 and starting college. The youngest two are 14/15. I've given them a wide range of science fiction and fantasy, everything from Heinlein and Asimov to the modern-day vampire stuff and Terry Pratchett. What should be on a "must read" list, and how does this change with age? Are there any books of this genre specifically aimed at older teens? Any specifically aimed at girls/young women?"
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Nigerian "Scam Police" shut down 800 web sites\

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Sooner Boomer writes "Nigerian police in what is named Operation "Eagle Claw" have shut down 800 scam web sites, and arrested members of 18 syndicates behind the fraudulent scam sites. Reports on Breitbart.com, and Pointblank give details on the busts. The investigation was done in cooperation with Microsoft, to help develop smart technology software capable of detecting fraudulent emails. From Breitbart "When operating at full capacity, within the next six months, the scheme, dubbed "eagle claw" should be able to forewarn around a quarter of million potential victims.". So maybe Microsoft does a little bit of good after all."
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9/9/09 First Computer Bug

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  about 5 years ago

Sooner Boomer writes "It's 09/09/09. Besides being numerologically interesting it's also the 64th anniversary of Grace Hopper discovering the first computer bug. The moth was preserved in the log at the time. Computers have come a ways since then, and so have the bugs associated with them."
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Searchble archive for literature w/keywords?

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Sooner Boomer writes "I'm trying to help drag a professor I work with into the 20th century. Although he is involved in cutting-edge research (nanotechnology), his method of literature search is to begin with digging through the hundreds of 3-ring binders that contain articles (usually from pdf's) that he has printed out. Even though the binders are labeled, the articles can only go under one "heading" and there's no way to do a keyword search on subject, methods, materials, etc. Yeah, google is pretty good for finding stuff, as are other on-line literature services, but they only work for articles that are already on-line. His literature also includes articles copied from books, professional correspondence, and other sources. Is there a FOSS database or archive method (preferably with a web interface) where he could archive the pdf's and scanned documents and be able to search by keywords? It would also be nice to categorize them under multiple subject headings if possible. I know this has been covered ad nauseum with things like photos and the like, but I'm not looking at storage as such: instead I'm trying to find *what's* stored."

Journals

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RasPi and other developments

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  about a year ago

In a previous entry, I stated that the Pi didn't have "real world" interfacing. It looks like that has changed considerably. And the Pi now has competition. I just bought a BeagleBone Black. It's a small single-board computer similar to the Pi, but with what many consider to be improvements. One is on-board storage. It has 512M of DDR RAM, and 2G of flash memory. It also has a microSD slot. There are linux, android, and other OS's developed specifically for it. My previous entry comment about lack of real-world IO does not apply either. There are a multitude of accessory boards - from memory expansion to touch-screen screens to motor drivers and CAN interfaces. My original intent was to use it as a media server, but seeing the other options, I may have to buy a second to play around with. Let's see what the next six months brings...

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Getting started in computers in the year 2010 (and a few years past...)

Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Computers are reaching new lows. Low prices, low size, and low thresholds for intraductory use. Devices such as the Basic Stamp and Arduino are available from Radio Shack, with starter kits under $50. These are different from a Raspberry Pi in the way that a mainframe is different from an old Apple II. The mainframe and the RP are great for programs that deal with files and data, but can't interact with the real world. The BS (and kin) and the Arduino are made for the real world; to make measurements and control outputs. No high lever driver or interface is needed - the Arduino can drive an LCD screen directly. There are input modules for the BS with everything from a sonar ranging circuit, to GPS, to fluxgate compass, and even gas sensors. They are the equivalent of modern-day Erector sets. The Pi is a great device, and I don't want to minimize its importance, but until you can easily hook up a breadboard with buzzers and lights, it's just another video game.

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Sooner Boomer Sooner Boomer writes  |  about 9 years ago Well, I suppose I should use this space since it's available.

I got started back when you didn't take "computer programming" classes, you took "data processing", and the real cool thing was to write a cobol program that would print a Snoopy or Enterprise on greenbar paper. The first serious program I wrote was on a Wang programmable calculater in 1978. It was written by punching out the instruction code on a card by hand. The card was placed in a reader that looked like a vertical waffle iron and closed. The variables and whatnot were entered into a terminal that looked like a big calculator with a Nixie tube display. The program calculated the pH of a solution given the concentration of the ions and their ionization constant. This was an important program for me because the calculation involves solving the quadratic, which gives a real and an imaginary answer. The answers had to be tested to see which one was the valid one - I had to learn branching in programming.

The first computer I owned was a KIM-1 6502-based single-board microcomputer. Actually it was two boards because I had a memory and I/O expansion board. I learned a lot programming in machine language (and the value of coffee!).

My main interests now are hardware related, although you need an understanding of software and operating systems to be able to interface and control the hardware.

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