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Switching From Sitting To Standing At Your Desk

aaarrrgggh Re:victorian clerks.. (310 comments)

I'm 42 and I have been using a balance ball at my desk for 5 years. Love it; by its nature you are always doing small movements, posture is better, and my back problems have pretty much gone away. The pièce de résistance is that I can bounce on it to stay awake during boring conference calls.

The only times I have problems with it is when I am doing high-intensity focused work on the computer and start to lean and cheat support by leaning over desk and resting more of my arms on the desk.

3 days ago
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New French Law Prohibits After-Hours Work Emails

aaarrrgggh Re:get rid of salary pay / make it have a high lev (477 comments)

Are you kidding?! Salary offers much better protection than hourly work. Hourly wages are for non-thinking/production positions, and salary is for professional/management. A salary (exempt status) provides flexibility for how and when you do your work as should be done for a professional.

Now, if you are help desk or spend your life doing TPS reports in a small cube, you really should be non-exempt... But nobody should aspire to non-exempt status career in the tech world.

There are abuses on both sides, but it really comes down to find a different job if you don't like the balance of hours, responsibility, and pay.

about two weeks ago
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Navy Debuts New Railgun That Launches Shells at Mach 7

aaarrrgggh Re:Glitterboyz on the way (630 comments)

30MJ is about 2,000kW electrical for one round per second. Not that much power at these energy levels.

about two weeks ago
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Why There Are So Few ISP Start-Ups In the U.S.

aaarrrgggh Re:Why? (223 comments)

To become an ISP in an area that requires underground utilities you need a good stash of money, as it will take at least two years from start of negotiations with the city to providing service to your first customer. Call this about $2,000/customer passed for bridge funding. You also need to be able to spread your investment out over ~10 years to make good use of resources.

That comes to about $2MM cash in order to serve your first 500 customers with 50% penetration, plus access to about $4-6MM in financing after your network is operational.

Above ground utilities are much easier, as there is only about a 6-month lead time for stringing a new cable. $2MM should be able to get you a build-out that can serve 2,000 customers with much lower risks, and no need for financing unless you really want to grow from there.

But in the end, you really need something that gives you an edge in the market, especially something that the incumbents cannot replicate quickly.

about two weeks ago
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Why There Are So Few ISP Start-Ups In the U.S.

aaarrrgggh Re:For God's Sake, Internet is a LUXURY not a UTIL (223 comments)

Not sure why I am feeding a troll here, but your arguments are akin to "let them eat cake." Things that consume time for no real value are a tax; Internet service helps you avoid that tax so you can spend your time doing things that are economically, socially, or emotionally productive.

about two weeks ago
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Why There Are So Few ISP Start-Ups In the U.S.

aaarrrgggh Re:Ah, Crony-Capitalism! (223 comments)

The energy solution is fairly straightforward: focus on diverse sources of energy at the local scale. Electricity, natural gas, solar, wind, and in a pinch diesel can all be used for the same purpose, and you can "load balance" between them.

Unfortunately, at the residential ISP level it is much more cost conscious. You can easily have a land-line solution and mobile, or even multiple mobile solutions, but it is much like using the diesel as a backup for home electricity-- good in a pinch, but expensive. Having multiple land-line services just adds cost since they are not billed on a usage basis. Maybe if two networks each offered only 99.5% availability it would make sense, if costs were sufficiently low.

Google's investment is actually fairly small , especially if their network is transformative. At $600 for the wiring per house passed, 50% penetration, $500/subscriber in NRC, and a $50/month service charge you get a 14-15% 5-year rate of return. Add an extra $10/month to cover legal fees and it is a pretty solid investment. If you drop penetration to 25% though it is hard to make it work for less than $80/month, which is really why there is limited competition.

about two weeks ago
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The Connected Home's Battle of the Bulbs

aaarrrgggh Re:If only.. (176 comments)

They are a product before their time, but there are other good reasons to go with this type of setup. Most of them come down to the complexity of dimming control.
-Daylight Harvesting: dim lights by the window while allowing lights further away to be brighter.
-Night lighting scenarios: ever want to just have the light by the toilet be dimly lit so you don't wake the wife when you pee in the middle of the night?
-Coordinated Scenes: while a Lutron Grafik Eye (or similar products) can provide scene control for a room, they were never designed for scenes across rooms.
-Demand Response control.
-Color moods. Harder sell for most, but colder color temperatures at night with the TV on, and warmer in the morning. More reds on a cloudy day or for dark adaptation, blues for less detail.

Personally, I prefer Insteon over Hue, but when you want individual lamp control Insteon gets very clunky. Hard wiring controls is tricky as well, especially when lights may only be 2-5W, and the controls don't work as reliably at low power.

My big problem with everything on the market now is that there is a good chance it will be obsolete within 5 years, and hard wiring things gets impossible.

about three weeks ago
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How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370

aaarrrgggh Re:Why? (491 comments)

Regarding privacy... I was downmodded on another thread for stating the obvious, but it is the Pilot's union that does not want longer cockpit voice recordings. The logic is reasonable enough; two hours before an accident should be sufficient to give adequate information for crash investigators. The issue here is that it isn't an accident, it really should be a criminal investigation into the activity in the cockpit.

An airline pilot is a professional, and they don't want to work in an environment where every conversation can be analyzed later, independent of the outcomes.

Efficacy... "it's just metadata." The same reasons we dislike the NSA dragnet is the reason why it is a bad idea for every detail to be recorded and stored indefinitely.

Air transportation is traditionally extremely safe. A very substantial amount of money is put into it to get this outcome. The issue with trying to make marginal improvements is that the return on investment is extremely low.

And back to cost, at $2/message, a message broadcast every 60 seconds on a 6-hour flight with 300 passengers is a premium of $24 per passenger. That would roughly cover position, heading, altitude, and any alarms only. If you wanted to add voice data you are likely looking at something in the range of $60 more per passenger for the flight.

What was needed here was a detachable ELT that activates on impact/submersion and floats on the surface. The logistics of making this sufficiently robust are non trivial, but it would be substantially cheaper than 10 flights with real-time voice streaming from the cockpit, and provide substantially more useful information.

about a month ago
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How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370

aaarrrgggh Re:Why? (491 comments)

Money, privacy, and efficacy. An Inmarsat message apparently costs $2-3 for the equivalent of a tweet. Recording every word said will likely prevent much from being said, which could reduce CRM. Sending all this data to the cloud for what purpose exactly? So that one CVR every 10-20 years that isn't recovered can be addressed?

More can be done, but it isn't as easy as just "putting it in the cloud."

about a month ago
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How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370

aaarrrgggh Re:Mystery? (491 comments)

You still have to flair on touchdown; gliding level into the ocean (slight nose-down attitude) is messy. The tail needs to touch first.

about a month ago
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How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370

aaarrrgggh Re:ACARS (491 comments)

SATCOM is not ACARS. SATCOM is used for more than ACARS, and ACARS doesn't just use SATCOM for uplink.

about a month ago
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How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370

aaarrrgggh Re:Flight recorder (491 comments)

Unions and privacy concerns.

about a month ago
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How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370

aaarrrgggh Re:Flight recorder (491 comments)

The CVR only records for an hour or two of audio. In all probability, nobody in the cockpit was making noise the last two hours. The FDR would have the whole flight, and will likely show the cause of the crash being fuel exhaustion.

As best I can tell, there is nearly zero chance that there was a fire that turned off ACARS message transmission, then caused corruption in the flight management computer to add several waypoints off the programmed course, then slowly proceeded to short out the transponder 5 minutes later, then caused the VHF radio to stop working immediately after handoff from Malaysian ATC, all the while not impacting the ability for controlled flight of the plane.

Unfortunately, the bat-shit scary truth of the matter appears to be that the pilot decided to kill himself and everybody else on the plane, and there really isn't much that passengers or other flight crew can do to prevent the outcome.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Will Older Programmers Always Have a Harder Time Getting a Job?

aaarrrgggh Re:Experience Matters But So Does Price (379 comments)

Quite honestly, in the current market the pay gap (in my industry) between a 45 year old and a 28 year old is as small as it ever has been. Similar small gap between a 23 year old and a 28 year old. The challenge in a few years is that there really isn't much in the cards except cost of living adjustments because the value provided doesn't improve as much over time.

about 1 month ago
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$30K Worth of Multimeters Must Be Destroyed Because They're Yellow

aaarrrgggh Re:Hoding a grey and yellow multimeter in my hand (653 comments)

Digital or analog? I doubt analog is protected, but looking at Walmart's website the only one under offer that looks like a Fluke... is a Fluke. The SparkFun unit looks like a Fluke.

about 1 month ago
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$30K Worth of Multimeters Must Be Destroyed Because They're Yellow

aaarrrgggh Re:Did Fluke request this? (653 comments)

Actually they are a grey faceplate with an orange or red border. Fluke equipment is easily identifiable with the yellow/grey. I always wondered why some of the other color schemes were out there.

My only issue with things like this is small production runs. Is 2k units small? Seems borderline to me. For $30k should they have thought about it? I would think at least on a cursory basis, which should have made someone say "nice, it looks like a Fluke."

NOW, if they made it red with white lettering like their retail boxes and got in trouble I would be completely sympathetic. Or, if they infringed on a less dominant player's trademark in any form it could be easily excused.

about 1 month ago
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Engine Data Reveals That Flight 370 Flew On For Hours After It "Disappeared"

aaarrrgggh Re:It wasn't the engines sending data (382 comments)

The link is not (just) for engine monitoring. The ACAMS module can be controlled from the cockpit, and was supposedly shut off ~10 minutes before the transponder.

Presumably the satellite transmitter is powered from a DC bus somewhere that has battery backup. If the only thing running is a few strobes and the transmitter pinging periodically then the battery should last a long time...

The problem with my theory is that a high-g (crash) landing should activate the ELT. Not sure if there is a way to disable that, but I would think it is impossible based on the Ethiopian 787 fire last year.

about a month ago
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Engine Data Reveals That Flight 370 Flew On For Hours After It "Disappeared"

aaarrrgggh Re:It wasn't the engines sending data (382 comments)

Great explanation.

It sounds more like like the fuselage floating with battery power available for 4 hours, but time will tell on that one.

about a month ago
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How Do You Backup 20TB of Data?

aaarrrgggh Re:Backup only the best one (983 comments)

The easiest approach for 20TB is to properly partition it into static and dynamic groups of data that easily fit on one drive. Get two drives for each static group of data, and three for dynamic data, and rotate a current copy.

Most people have a lot of bulk archival data that they need a backup of, not a business solution that allows for every file to change constantly. Simplify the problem and the solution becomes pretty simple as well.

Now, if you really have 20TB of dynamic data that cycles on less than a 30-120 day basis, buy a frigging tape system.

about a month ago
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Apple Demands $40 Per Samsung Phone For 5 Software Patents

aaarrrgggh Re: How are those kind of things patentable? (406 comments)

Ok... Karma to burn.
The design overall was sufficiently unique to the market; it may not have been *patent worthy*, but is it deserving of some level of protection? I have very narrow ideas on what types of intellectual property should be protected; generally that is limited to what could reasonably be considered wholesale copying of a product.

My question is quite simply what type of protection should a company be provided to prevent effectively wholesale copying of their product. Denying that this is what Samsung did is disingenuous, especially in the first rounds of Galaxy products.

The patent suits and the patents themselves are absurd, but that is largely a function of the broader situation-- thousands of patents for trivial inventions, plus a court that limits how many patents can be litigated in a suit.

about a month ago

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