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ISS's 3-D Printer Creates Its First Object In Space

TWX Re:Next step - Semiconductors (27 comments)

I think that now that the craziness that was building it so incredibly slowly is over, it's actually doing something useful in that it's teaching us what it takes to live in space, and giving us means by which to test living in space where the consequences of screwing up are relatively minor. We've already learned the full-Russian approach and gained insight from their moments, and ISS is allowing us to see if we've learned from those mistakes.

I look at it along similar lines to Biosphere II down near Tucson, Arizona. It was the first major attempt to build a self-sufficient (within the scope of allowing for the ambient conditions in the local climate to influence heat) habitat that was supposed to be independent of outside assistance. It failed, but why it failed is important and can be learned from. Unfortunately I don't think that those lessons are being applied to the original facility, so we're not continuing to learn in ways that we should, but hopefully all of the studies of what happened will inform future scientists and engineers of the pitfalls in their plans and designs.

36 minutes ago
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ISS's 3-D Printer Creates Its First Object In Space

TWX Re:Next step - Semiconductors (27 comments)

I should add, I'm no fan of 3d printers for mass-market goods. Niche market products or niche markets themselves are an entirely different situation though.

2 hours ago
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ISS's 3-D Printer Creates Its First Object In Space

TWX Re:Next step - Semiconductors (27 comments)

it's that you can't stock Digikey on the space station, but can "print" all of the knobs, buttons, and switches you need when one breaks. It reduces the number of spare parts needed in inventory and might offer a solution for a broken part that was not anticipated for, or to make something new when otherwise macguyvering a temporary solution.

think of the cheese spacer from the pizza box scenario as the eggheads are prototyping a solution.

2 hours ago
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ISS's 3-D Printer Creates Its First Object In Space

TWX Coupon? (27 comments)

bad choice of term. Sounds like the license is really unfavorable.

2 hours ago
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Raspberry Pi-Powered Body Illusion Lets You Experience Parkinson's

TWX Na-na-na na-na (37 comments)

Gettin' jiggy w'it!

With apologies, however slight, to Will Smith.

yesterday
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Married Woman Claims Facebook Info Sharing Created Dating Profile For Her

TWX Re:Delete Your Facebook Account Already (182 comments)

Oh, believe me, the smartphone has been an extremely useful tool. I've gone from pager and carrying a palm pilot (technically a USR Pilot 5000), to an alphapager and palm (a newer one), to a semi-dumb phone with a few capabilities (Moto Razr V3), to a T-Mobile G1 (HTC Dream), to a Samsung Galaxy SII. My wife has followed a similar path but without the pagers and with an analog cell phone in the mix. Neither of us would voluntarily give up our smartphones.

The crux of it is, we don't have our lives revolve around the smartphones. We use them as a means, not an end, and they're far from the only means at our disposal.

If someone took the time and effort needed to correspond in a meaningful way by way of personal letter then I'd probably consider them a friend, but I don't really expect that to ever be the case again.

yesterday
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LinkedIn Study: US Attracting Fewer Educated, Highly Skilled Migrants

TWX H1B Abuse (310 comments)

Considering that companies have been abusing the H1B process for some time now, perhaps we're just seeing a correction in-part inspired by greater success in potential migrants' home countries.

Salary is a supply/demand characteristic. The more people capable of doing a job, generally the less it pays. This holds true across the entire spectrum of employment until one reaches those that control the market in which they are paid from (ie, corporate executives). Desirability of a job is often not much of a deciding factor in the worth of that job either; janitorial services employees have awful jobs sometimes, but nearly every able-bodied worker could do those jobs, so the wages are particularly low because no individual worker is much in-demand.

This applies to H1B skilled-worker visas since more techncial workers means less demand per-worker, so wages fall. It's further excerbated by the H1B worker not being as free to exercise the free-market due to a real risk of deportation, so they can be paid less than the market average, which further helps to pull down the market average.

I expect the situation isn't as dire as the article makes it out to be.

yesterday
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Married Woman Claims Facebook Info Sharing Created Dating Profile For Her

TWX Re:Delete Your Facebook Account Already (182 comments)

I'm so sorry for you.

My friends are the ones I call and speak with in real-time or visit with. Do those that aren't willing to make the effort to communicate in real-time deserve to be called friends?

yesterday
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Nuclear Weapons Create Their Own Security Codes With Radiation

TWX Re:This is the voice of world control. (102 comments)

I'll have to give the Youtube link a try when I get home. Only time I saw the film it was on a multigeneration VHS tape, so who knows how awful it looked compared to its initial release...

There's a whole series of books starting with this one too, been meaning to read 'em.

yesterday
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Linux On a Motorola 68000 Solder-less Breadboard

TWX Re:How is this "News for Nerds"? (146 comments)

Wow.

At the time I was into seti@home. I had a 486 Microchannel box running it, it took a very, very long time to do packets. If there even was a seti@home client that could run on that IIci I wonder how long it would have taken to do a single packet...

yesterday
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NASA Remasters 20-Year-Old Galileo Photographs of Jupiter's Moon, Europa

TWX Re:never send a robot to do a man's job... (38 comments)

So long as they're a talented artist, yes. If they're like me, it'd look like something drawn on a kids' menu at a sit-down restaurant with the provided four crayons.

yesterday
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Spaceport America Loses $1.7 Million Due To Virgin Galactic Delays

TWX Re:taxpayer-financed spaceport ??? (46 comments)

And there are several business parks around here that are empty, with fully paved streets and services in the ground waiting for buildings to hook up to. They end up being places for informal 1/4-mile drags for a couple of passes before the driver bails so to avoid the cops.

yesterday
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Spaceport America Loses $1.7 Million Due To Virgin Galactic Delays

TWX Re:taxpayer-financed spaceport ??? (46 comments)

There's a college and city partnership "Research Park", a full square-mile of business area, near me. They are used as a tech incubator, giving extremely reasonable rent to student and post-graduate business ventures and other tech ventures- significant E-ink research and the development of the screens for those old Motorola Razr V3 flip phones happened here.

I don't look at this spaceport as being really any different.

2 days ago
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NASA Remasters 20-Year-Old Galileo Photographs of Jupiter's Moon, Europa

TWX Re:Remastered? (38 comments)

You do realize, that if they do any of this to the Moon Landing imagery, it'll just give the conspiracy theorists that much more ammunition to annoy us with...

2 days ago
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NASA Remasters 20-Year-Old Galileo Photographs of Jupiter's Moon, Europa

TWX Re:never send a robot to do a man's job... (38 comments)

Trouble is, data captured by the human eye cannot be shared in its original raw form with other viewers. The closest we've ever come has all of the foibles of the medium (ie, paint on canvas, carved stone, etc).

2 days ago
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Spaceport America Loses $1.7 Million Due To Virgin Galactic Delays

TWX Re:taxpayer-financed spaceport ??? (46 comments)

I didn't miss the point at all. The point is, New Mexico decided to play venture-capitalistsocialist after a fashion, and like lots of venture capital projects, this one hasn't panned-out. Now people are complaining over what's a fairly insignificant amount of money that might have paid-off had Virgin Galactic succeeded before now, and could have attracted more space-faring business. New Mexico wanted the American version of the Baikonur Cosmodrome to be in their state; they've got the land for it and for terrestrial recovery (as opposed to ocean splash-down), but some didn't account for the possibility of the project failing to meet its goals.

I think they should keep at it a bit longer. It's already built, now it just needs to be maintained.

2 days ago
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Eizo Debuts Monitor With 1:1 Aspect Ratio

TWX Re:Monitor Tiling! (326 comments)

I prefer my coding at 80x25, or better, 132x44.

2 days ago
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Spaceport America Loses $1.7 Million Due To Virgin Galactic Delays

TWX Re:taxpayer-financed spaceport ??? (46 comments)

You really have no idea how governments solicit corporations to their areas, do you?

Nowadays, corporations look for the most favorable places to operate. That could be a place that's desirable to live in, a place with a large population that's qualified to do the work, a place with favorable laws that make land-use or permitting easier, or a place with favorable tax laws that make it inexpensive.

New Mexico has some really beautiful places like Ruidoso, but it also has a lot of land that can't even be used for ranching, and short of mineral extraction there's no interest in economic development there. There's a reason why the Manhattan Project tested the first nuclear bomb there; it directly impacted only one family whose land and ranch house were taken from them during the project and couldn't be returned afterward due to the contamination.

On the flip side, Virgin Galactic needs someplace to play with their vehicles. There's a certain, higher than average risk associated with these vehicles. There's also the possibility that future vehicles might not be mothership-dropped and instead might launch from the ground, which would further increase the risk associated with them. This means that they need land, land far enough away from others that the risk to the population is low, land as a buffer in case of accidents. This is the same problem that modern air force and navy air bases face; they're built a distance from a supporting city to try to minimize the impact on the city, but the city grows to the base's edge then gets upset that the base is there. So the solution is to look for someplace to build the facility where it won't impact anyone.

Now, the downside, it's hard to attract talented people whose ability will let them write their own check to places that aren't terribly desirable to live. New Mexico has harsh climate, its cities aren't exactly known for being centers of modern popular culture, it lacks world-renowned education, and it doesn't even have major sports teams. That means staff need even more compensation to come there.

If New Mexico wants both the immediate business and wants the longer-term infrastructure that could make it a hub, that means they have to find a way to attract it. The only major means at their disposal are tax relief and easy permitting. That costs them and doesn't guarantee that it'll work, but the payoffs for the risks are generally pretty favorable.

2 days ago
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Spaceport America Loses $1.7 Million Due To Virgin Galactic Delays

TWX If you work on the bleeding edge... (46 comments)

...you get sliced from time to time.

While I commend New Mexico for their efforts toward making it possible to push the limits, this was bound to happen. On top of that, if they're balking at $1.7 million , how do they feel about their other budget line-items, like their schools that probably exceed a couple- billion dollars spent?

I don't know New Mexico's budget off the top of my head, but I do know that in my state, the largest school district's budget is somewhere between $600 and $700 million dollars, for about 65,000 students. There are upwards of a hundred school districts, and the education budget is something like 70% of the state's annual expenditure. $1.7 million dollars on the scale of a state budget is almost down to rounding-error money.

2 days ago
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Linux On a Motorola 68000 Solder-less Breadboard

TWX Re:How is this "News for Nerds"? (146 comments)

If Slashdot is going to drop one or the other, I'd much rather they drop the News aspect than the Nerds aspect.

About fifteen years ago I had a Macintosh Centris 660AV running Linux, just as an experiment. I kind of wish that I still had that computer; it had an AUI port so I could adapt to 10Base-T Ethernet, and could have redirected all incoming unsolicited network connections to it. Let 'em hack it; with no compiler, all binaries for m68K only, and 16.9 bogoMIPS it would have made for an entertaining honeypot.

3 days ago

Submissions

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Ask Slashdot: What would you actually want in a smart watch?

TWX TWX writes  |  about 2 months ago

TWX (665546) writes "With the hype in recent Smart Watch offerings lately, no one seems to be truly happy with what's available or the capabilities in various devices. I personally want one that acts a a central hub for 3G/4G/LTE connectivity for any other kind of device that I want to use, but manufacturers now seem to be stressing more functionality on the watch itself as opposed to a modular approach. So, what do you want in a smart watch and other wearable, personal computing?"
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Poll: Magnets near my electronics?

TWX TWX writes  |  about 3 months ago

TWX (665546) writes "Poll Options:
Get that thing away from me!
I know in my head it's fine, but no.
Eh, whatever.
Pretty magnets stuck to my case.
Tablet magnetized to my case!"
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The sorry state of FOSS documentation

TWX TWX writes  |  about 4 months ago

TWX (665546) writes "I've been out of computers as a serious home-hobby for many years and in returning I'm aghast at the state of documentation for Open Source projects. The software itself has changed significantly in the last decade, but the documentation has failed to keep pace; most of what I'm finding applies to versions long since passed or were the exact same documents from when I dropped-out of hobbyist computing years ago. Take Lightdm on Ubuntu 14.04 for example- its entire configuration file structure has been revamped, but none of the documentation for more specialized or advanced uses of Lightdm in previous versions of Ubuntu has been updated for this latest release. It's actually harder now to configure some features than it was a decade ago.

TLDP is close to a decade out-of-date, fragmentation between distributions has grown to the point that answers from one distro won't readily apply to another, and web forums for even specific projects are full of questions without answers, or those that head off into completely unrelated discussion, or with snarky, "it's in the documentation, stupid!" responses. Where do you go for your FOSS documentation and self-help?"
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Resources for a new Infrastructure Specialist

TWX TWX writes  |  more than 2 years ago

TWX (665546) writes "I've just graduated at my employer from desktop support to network infrastructure support, dealing with everything from smashed telecom receptacles to switch failures and single-mode fiber between campuses. They're interested in purchasing equipment for the job beyond the punch tool, sheetrock saw, and 10/100 Fluke Nettool that we already have. I'm looking for suggestions for tools and equipment, specifically to test gigabit copper and both single and multimode fiber. Anything else special that you think would be useful for an infrastructure technician in an organization with upwards of a hundred sites with hundreds of telecom rooms, a hundred-thousand copper horizontal runs, and miles of fiber would be much appreciated."
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Would you buy a color E ink ebook reader?

TWX TWX writes  |  about 4 years ago

TWX (665546) writes "Yes!
Maybe, depending on how it looks.
No, I prefer my ebooks LCDish
No, I prefer dead-tree editions
I'm stuck with monochrome, you insensitive clod!"
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Inexpensive wifi/radius for home hobbyists?

TWX TWX writes  |  more than 4 years ago

TWX (665546) writes "I'm looking to get some hands-on experience with Radius and commercial-style Wifi. I'll also soon have an environment where three or four APs will be necessary to cover everywhere, so there's a practical side as well. The trouble is, all of the equipment that I can find is prohibitively expensive, and while I expect to spend something on APs and cabling, I really would like to avoid paying for expensive commercial APs if I can avoid it. I'm looking for consumer-priced solutions, if any exist, and documentation. I know that several consumer APs are marketed as friendly to hobbyists who wish to modify them, so I'm hoping that some project for those APs to make them work with Radius is available..."

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