Slashdot: News for Nerds


Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!



Oklahoma Moves To Discourage Solar and Wind Power

Tristfardd Re:all hail the rich (504 comments)

For some reason Slashdot would not load yesterday for me. Two points. I would feel much different if there were not subsidies. These people get a government handout that people like me have to make up. Peak capacity is a problem. The utilities have to maintain enough on-line facilities to handle some selected peak capacity. Solar homes having a connection to the grid and not using it is like having a big house with an electrical system suitable for a small house. As long as no one turns on all the lights at the same time, everything is fine. When they do, demand exceeds supply and brownouts and blackouts occur. My bills will always reflect that cost. A solar home that has an even energy balance, does not, but the owners sure want that capacity available if something goes wrong. I like solar power, but most people go into solar power now because of financial calculation. I have little sympathy for them.

about 2 months ago

Oklahoma Moves To Discourage Solar and Wind Power

Tristfardd all hail the rich (504 comments)

If homes with the solar panels had electrical storage systems and disconnected from the utility, the utility would not have a case. It's hard for me to understand why people attack the utility when the money types get a free ride paid for by those who can't cash in. The crowd that can afford the solar panels can afford to chip in to help support the utility. I live in an apartment. Why should my bills have to help cover the extra capacity needed when the solar panel people have a bad day and want the power.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Does Edward Snowden Deserve?

Tristfardd Medal of Honor (822 comments)

He deserves the Congressional Medal of Honor. What he did took courage far beyond that shown by normal mortals. Few life insurance companies, even now, would give him the normal terms for his age.

about 6 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Recommendations For Beautiful Network Cable Trays?

Tristfardd plants (250 comments)

You put small clips on the bottom of the cable trays. In a corner of the room you have a pot with a plant such as a philodendron. It grows up to the cable trays and along.

I've seen this done just using bent paper clips hanging from the frames holding ceiling tiles. It made for a great office with all that green overhead. Light-weight office plants won't bother the cables if they curl a bit into the trays. If someone is working in the tray, she can just cut off anything in the way.

The office I saw used philodendron, but there may be better plants; it depends on the green thumbs available.

about 8 months ago

Concern Mounts Over Self-Driving Cars Taking Away Freedom

Tristfardd As long as I am the only one in charge. (662 comments)

I am in on this completely if car always remains under my authority. Driving is a waste of my life for the most part. I would not get upset at other drivers, I would not be aware of them. The parent is very right. However, being in a vehicle that can be taken over by government control makes me squirm. If the car only goes where I tell it and does not pull over for the police without my authorization, then the world will be great.

about a year ago

Indiana Nurses Fired After Refusing Flu Shots On Religious Grounds

Tristfardd Re:Good (851 comments)

This treats human beings as if they were replaceable robots. In many ways I look forward to a future where actual robots do much of the work. I would trust them much more than most doctors I have met.

There are times, however, when human compassion makes all the difference. These nurses that were fired, will their replacements be as good? If they are not, do you consider the fact that the replacements have the flu vaccine a fair trade?

about a year and a half ago

New Documents Detail FBI, Bank Crack Down On Occupy Wall Street

Tristfardd Re:Paranoid Much? (584 comments)

Gosh. The power to do good comes intertwined with the ability to do evil. So what if Occupy was using techniques frequently used by criminals? Most of life is grey and the powers that be will cheerfully point at the dark in some grey in order to ban the white, all done to benefit a particular group, most often a group in power looking out for itself. The Guardian posted a vile tale, all too believable.

about a year and a half ago

Solar Panels For Every Home?

Tristfardd Re:"Grid Parity" ... on sunny days only (735 comments)

It costs money to make power and large expensive facilities. You can supplement with wind and solar. Those certainly are worth it for the individual, but not for the group. Power generation must always consider the worst case. If the Fimbulwinter strikes for a month, covering everything with snow and wind turbines with ice, society will require power supplied by industrial grade facilities.

People should install solar panels, yet someone must pay to maintain the huge infrastructure and facilities for when all else fails. A possible solution is that when a person with solar panels requires power from the grid, the rates shoot way up to help pay for having that power available instantaneously when they have a problem with their own. This would discourage some people from installing solar panels, it would encourage others to become completely self-sufficient. In the long run this will prove the best solution; in the short run the power infra-structure must be maintained and paid for whether or not people use solar panels.

Solar panels should not be allowed to put power to the grid. It will cost everybody more in the long run, but people will insist on this and so those costs will just get added to the bills. The costs won't be a sudden hit, just slow and incremental. By the time people realize the cost, a loud vocal minority with a vested interest in selling power from their solar cells to the grid will be able to beat off attacks. That may already be the case.

about a year and a half ago

For Obama, Jobs, and Zuckerberg, Boring Is Productive

Tristfardd Hillary Clinton must be an uber-genius (398 comments)

As are women who work hard, do a disproportionate share of the housework, and still manage to look a lot nicer than the guy. This article sounds like a male teenager pontificating.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What's Your Take On Stand-Up Desks?

Tristfardd Re:Just tried it (347 comments)

You are welcome. Thanks are better than karma. John

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What's Your Take On Stand-Up Desks?

Tristfardd cheap & healthy altermative (347 comments)

Kneeling has good advantages, especially if you wear shorts. It straightens out the core and you can switch back and forth between sitting and kneeling. With any luck the desktop will be just fine for your height when kneeling, otherwise you might need a low kneeler.

about 2 years ago

Why Patent Reform Won't Happen Anytime Soon

Tristfardd possible way to stop software patents (110 comments)

The only way to get rid of software patents is to make the system too expensive for companies to support the current system. One way to do this is to create a large growing patent pool that is not available to commercial companies. The organization holding the pool would have to vigorously defend the patents. Some issues would exist, none insurmountable. One is the money needed to pay for the new patents and to litigate against those violating the patents. (Not wanting to write a manifesto, I will touch on this.) Say the EFF chose to do it. The issue branches into minimizing the cost and optimizing the money invested in patents. The application cost is fixed, the cost of preparing the application can be reduced a little, especially if EFF were handling writing the patent applications and writing all of them with a common goal. Consider a company that wanted to help the cause. Paying for some patents used in this way is a solid long-term investment if it helps break the patent system. It may even be possible to include commercial companies. Allow them to join possibly by transferring all patents to the organization. If a company has no patents, maybe they could join by paying for a patent or two. The solution is not a big deal. It is only a case of setting up an organization that constantly gets more patents and completely blocks any company that won't join. Such a system, once going, accelerates quickly. Oh yes. It should be set up that when a company joins, it joins irrevocably. This prevents large companies with patents forcing it to withdraw. Patent trolls are not an issue. Forcing the large companies into patent gridlock is all that is necessary. They will get the law changed.

more than 2 years ago

IBM Creates Multi-Bit Phase Change Memory

Tristfardd Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (82 comments)

Also raises hand. On one project I loaded the software, powered down, pulled the memory card with its core memory, walked though a food processing plant, plugged it back in, and started debugging. It was quicker. The customer insisted on receiving a paper tape copy and only had the printer on the tty. 40+k used almost an entire roll. I don't think anyone ever tried to read it back in.

about 3 years ago

Could You Pass Harvard's Entrance Exam From 1869?

Tristfardd if you don't ask much from students... (741 comments)

I took both Latin and classical Greek in high school. Those languages provide great long term intellectual benefit. Learning those languages also teaches the student about English. You learn a dead language differently because you don't waste any time on the speaking part. The written language contains its truth worth as a language since it gets defined by its best writers. You deal with the words of really intelligent people, how they formulate their thoughts and how they use their language to express their thoughts. Really good stuff.

more than 3 years ago

Sarah Palin 'Target WikiLeaks Like Taliban'

Tristfardd Palin is ok, much smarter than the mob thinks (1425 comments)

I side with Palin most of the time and find the anti-Palin diatribe in the majority of the comments depressing. The mob on Slashdot is just like mobs everywhere. Now, while I don't side with Palin on this issue, because I have a small fondness for anarchy, she has a very legitimate position. When two people talk, they talk with a level of trust. Wikileaks shattered a lot of the mutual trust. People seem to think that everything government does should be out in the open. What foolishness. There is no perfect form of government. Assuming that having everything out in the open would work better is a long long shot. You just change one system of corruption for another.

more than 3 years ago

Developing StarCraft 2 Build Orders With Genetic Algorithms

Tristfardd disconnecting from the moment (200 comments)

It's not a matter of intimidation or fear of losing. Memorizing sequences requires memorization skills and the desire to use them, nothing more. If I choose not to memorize, for whatever reason, playing against one who does becomes unsatisfying. If I out-think their canned routine, what satisfaction do I get? If I slip and their canned routine runs over me, what have I learned? The other player wasn't really responding to my moves. I would learn as much from studying a book. Why am I playing this person if they are going to act like a machine? They are not personally engaged in what we are doing. It's like going for a walk on a fine sunny day and meeting people who are plugged into their music systems. We are in two different worlds; they don't hear the birds I hear nor can they adequately respond to a greeting.

more than 3 years ago

Ideas For a Great Control Room?

Tristfardd pros and pros (421 comments)

There is a lot good advice posted. Much depends on the operations that will take place in the room. Most control rooms have daily cycles consisting of the day shift with maintenance working on things and interacting with the operators, a swing shift where things quiet down, and a graveyard shift that consists of long hours of quiet and talk among the operators to pass the time. When a process upset or emergency occurs the operators must respond quickly, but with a well-run process upsets don't happen very often.

I have spent too much of my life in control rooms, paper industry and power plant. Control rooms existed before computers, consisting of expanses panels of controllers and switches. Since there were so many controls, at least half of them could only be reached by standing. The operators were trim and in good shape. They frequently spent their time sitting down because there was nothing to do, then immediately came to their feet when action was required. Humans function much better standing up. They think better and it is best for them physically, the two go hand in hand. Many control displays work by touch. Proper display design is an elite craft. Arrange the displays so that normal operator input occurs standing and dealing with the display at eye level. People will object that keyboard input is required and keyboards have to be horizontal. I don't know your processes, but the vast majority of keyboard interactions involve display selection, alarm interaction, and numerical entry (setpoints, etc.). Sometimes tags get typed, it isn't frequent or common and almost always results from bad display design. Anyway, numerical entry can easily be handled by a vertical keypad. It certainly doesn't need to be horizontal. Display selection should primarily be handled through the displays, using proper design. Alarm interaction needs its own small keypad beneath the numerical one. In the future, voice recognition will be used with the displays, but right now it would be a gimmick.

By the way, my company provides simulations for operator training. Contact me if you are interested. Start-ups, shutdowns, upsets, alarms, tags, etc. All the usual suspects.

more than 3 years ago

A Composer's-Eye View of the Copyright Wars

Tristfardd Re:It's not "trade" (973 comments)

You wrote a nice response, thank you. I am an American, and you are right in that I could do more to get rid of copyright. I shall try to remember to do so.

History does not show that the human race needs intellectual property such as patents and copyright. I say this in spite of having a small software company with its key asset being a software package. However it would be a long discussion with us starting so far apart.

Thank you for responding,


about 4 years ago

A Composer's-Eye View of the Copyright Wars

Tristfardd Re:It's not "trade" (973 comments)

If a person buys into the current scheme of intellectual property and finds a niche there, then they find themselves defending their niche and the scheme. The human race got along quite well for a very long time without the idea. The scheme works well for the lawyers and corporations and the individuals who rely on it. It doesn't work well for the normal person who has to act in an unnatural way because of it. The fact that a person pays for an education and feels committed to the scheme does not make it right. Repeating the behavior of others is a natural human instinct; lawyers saying you can't sing this song because it belongs to someone else is a great foolishness and harmful to society.

about 4 years ago

A Composer's-Eye View of the Copyright Wars

Tristfardd Re:It's not "trade" (973 comments)

"right to copy" is a weird legal hack, of relatively recent vintage, that may or may not prove beneficial in the long run. People copy things all the time. They see somebody do something clever and they start doing it themselves. Others see them and copy their behavior. Does the first person who did it get any credit? Only a little, at best. A person creates a new dance step at a party and it spreads like crazy. The spread clearly involves copyright violations. How is it any different than singing a new song that others start to sing? Do people have a right to copy the behavior of others? "right" is not the correct term for it. Sparrows do it, dogs do it, people do it. It's part of what we are. When it comes to copying sheet music, are you saying that the expert, who can look at the music and instantly memorize it, is free and clear while the novice, who has not yet attained that level of skill and makes a physical copy, is a criminal? Current law says that Girl Scouts can't sing Happy Birthday without legal permission. What incredible nonsense. The current theory of what can be owned and the concept of intellectual property work to the advantage of corporations far more than they do for individuals.

about 4 years ago



what to do with internally developed software

Tristfardd Tristfardd writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Tristfardd writes "I've had a small company for 20 years and it's just not working. The question is can our internally developed software be cleaned up and marketed in its own right? Where does one find people qualified to look at software and answer this question? We create process simulations for operator training so the software handles displays, control, and programming. It doesn't strike me that there would be much of a market for software like that, few organizations ever need more than one simulation. Maybe if we toned it down there would be an application for schools or engineers or science majors. Talking to professors hasn't helped so far, the ones teaching the classes aren't software or gui experts. So I'm looking for suggestions. Being in Michigan there are few places to go for advice."

Is a better mousetrap worth the risk?

Tristfardd Tristfardd writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Tristfardd (626597) writes "My company creates real-time simulations, like flight-simulations. Over time, 15 years or so, we've developed a neat platform with possibly wide application and not only for simulation. The problem is how should I proceed? I can't simply go around showing it to people. It's how the company makes its money and that can't be risked lightly. Other companies must have faced this dilemma. If it were a straight-forward application, it would be easier to find advice. Those are easy to explain. Platforms are different, they are a step removed from immediate usefulness. You can show a person a vise-grip, and they may think it's some odd tool, nothing they are ever likely to need and yet a vise-grip is quite a useful tool. Any suggestions? I can answer some questions about the platform, this wasn't supposed to be an ad."


Tristfardd has no journal entries.

Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account