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Ask Slashdot: How To Begin Simple Robotics As a Hobby?

auntieNeo VEX Robotics Kit (166 comments)

The VEX robotics kits are much more versatile (think Erector Set) than the Lego kits. VEX robots use industry standard PIC microcontrollers, so for a programmer the C programming interface might actually be less of a hassle. They do the same line following or grasping type problems, but I've done things like attaching omnidirectional wheels, porting the code to other non-VEX PIC controllers, and sending instructions to the controller over a serial port from a laptop. VEX kits are still fairly pricy, but compared to the Mindstorm kits you can do a lot more with them. They don't fall apart as easily as Lego robots. I would highly recommend them.

about a year ago

Call for Questions: Rasterman, Founder of the Enlightenment Project

auntieNeo Plan to move away from X11? (124 comments)

Does the enlightenment project have any plans for moving away from X11 and towards Wayland in the future? While X11 will certainly stick around for quite a while, the popularity of portable touchscreen devices and the development of KMS makes it look X11 is on its way out.

about 2 years ago

Pirate Bay Founder Released From Solitary Confinement

auntieNeo Re:Recursive link? (150 comments)

Recursive link?

It's what Slashdot is using now to drum up ad revenue. It's like printing money!

about 2 years ago

Nanoparticles Heated By Radio Waves Switch On Genes In Mice

auntieNeo Re:tumours grown under the skin? (42 comments)

Sounds like a quote from Portal 2...

"For this next test, we put nanoparticles in the gel. In layman's terms, that's a billion little gizmos that are gonna travel into your bloodstream and pump experimental genes and RNA molecules and so forth into your tumors. Now, maybe you don't have any tumors. Well, don't worry. If you sat on a folding chair in the lobby and weren't wearing lead underpants, we took care of that too." --Cave Johnson

more than 2 years ago

Power-Saving Web Pages: Real Or Myth?

auntieNeo No one ever said it did (424 comments)

Even when Google first did this, they had a disclaimer that said that black web pages don't really save power. It's just an awareness campaign. This is not news.

more than 2 years ago

Antenna Arrays Could Replace Satellite TV Dishes

auntieNeo Re:non-problem solved! (183 comments)

The article says that the antennas would not need to be physically aimed like dishes.

more than 3 years ago

Hacker Teaches iPhone Forensics To Police

auntieNeo Re:iPhone secret screenshots? (193 comments)

"For example, every time an iPhone user closes out of the built-in mapping application, the phone snaps a screenshot and stores it." - TFS What?

I'm guessing it does that because when it opens it wants to look just as spiffy as it looked when the user closed it, and it can't do that if it has to re-render the map from scratch.

about 4 years ago

Blender 2.49 Scripting

auntieNeo finally a book review (51 comments)

Is this review going to make it onto the "Book Reviews" sidebar? That Excel one has been there forever. Nothing against the author, but I'm sure I'm not the only slashdotter that shudders at every thought of having to code something in Excel macros.

more than 3 years ago

How many processes are running on your desktop box?

auntieNeo Re:ps auxw|wc -l (382 comments)

NoWhere:~$ ps auxw|wc -l

Don't forget to subtract the header line that ps puts on the top, or use the --no-headers flag; it might be significant. When I ran ps, I had 201 processes. So close...

more than 4 years ago

Smart Underwear Designed For Military

auntieNeo HEV suit/underwear? (169 comments)

Beep beep. Major fracture detected. Morphine administered. Warning: user death iminent. Seek medical attention.

Heh, I will forever associate the HEV suit with the rope elevator on the Lost Coast level.

more than 4 years ago

Caffeine Addicts Get No Additional Perk, Only a Return To Baseline

auntieNeo Re:*GASP* (506 comments)

Next you'll be telling me that smoking a cigarette doesn't actually calm me down, it just reverses the effects of nicotine withdraw!

Well, I will tell you that you won't have to *GASP* quite as often if you don't smoke.

more than 4 years ago

New iConji Language For the Symbol-Minded Texter

auntieNeo Re:3000BC called... (195 comments)

I'm not a linguist, as I'm probably about to demonstrate, but the development of written language went (very) roughly like: pictograms -> consonants -> vowels -> punctuation

What?! Practically every language in existence, new or old, uses vowels. You can hardly make grunts without using vowels. Unless there are some highly advanced languages that I'm not aware of that write things like "aaaaaaoo ooaaaa iiieeey eeeuuueoo" and somehow understand what that means.

It seems the dumber things one says, the more likely one is to get +5 interesting on slashdot. If that's the case...


I for one am against the current trend of using more vowels and punctuation. I enjoy eating consonants for breakfast; they aid in my digestion. With less demand for consonants, the only breakfast cereals I can find on the shelves are O's shaped. I suspect this recent language paradigm shift was brought about by recent popular phrases such as "SPARTAAAAAAA" and "LOOOOOOOOL", but I don't know why the kids enjoy punctuation so much. I guess I'm out of the loop. :(

more than 4 years ago

Robot With Knives Used In Robotics Injury Study

auntieNeo Re:Priorities! (132 comments)

Could we first work on robots that DON'T stab people, before we put a lot of effort into developing robots that DO stab people?

Once again, the /. summary is misleading. TFA says that the researchers are developing a system that's used to detect and prevent such robot stabings. Whether or not this postpones the inevitable robot uprising is yet to be seen.

more than 4 years ago

xkcd, Devotion To Duty

auntieNeo Re:Excellent timing (167 comments)

Having just spent 17 hours bringing a server back online after a third party team blew up a data center move I am greatly amused.

Did you crawl through ventilation ducts or kill anyone in the process? CmdrTaco must have, unless I misunderstood the phrase "hit the nail on the head."

more than 4 years ago

xkcd, Devotion To Duty

auntieNeo Seriously... (167 comments)

Who reads Slashdot without checking xkcd? Anyone? I just happened to check Slashdot first today.

more than 4 years ago

How To Play HD Video On a Netbook

auntieNeo Re:Linux... (205 comments)

There's a project that lets you use CoreAVC on Linux using mplayer and wine. I've used it to play 1080p on my slightly underpowered Opteron box. I'm not sure if it works for the latest versions of CoreAVC though.

more than 4 years ago

Microsoft Phasing Out FAST Search For Linux, Unix

auntieNeo Poor design? (146 comments)

It amuses me how he says:

we've designed the next wave of FAST products (scheduled for release in the first half of calendar year 2010) to include a cross-platform search core

but immediately after that he says:

in order to deliver more innovation per release in the future, the 2010 products will be the last to include a search core that runs on Linux and UNIX

It sounds to me like one of two things happened. Either they decided to stop designing their product, or management decided that they didn't like *nix. And to think, you'd be hard pressed to find a mainstream open source app not ported to three or more platforms. Proprietary software is silly. :(

more than 4 years ago

FOSS CAD and 3D Modeling Software?

auntieNeo Re:You've raised $130 out of $7500 (413 comments)

Or is the a scheme to get money out of stupid geeks by driving traffic to your website?

Drive geeks to their website? Everyone knows /. readers don't RTFA.

more than 4 years ago

HandBrake Abandons DivX As an Output Format

auntieNeo Re:xvid is less demanding (619 comments)

I use CoreAVC (through wine) when I want to play 1080p video without having to buy a slightly newer video card.

xvid is decoded in software on the systems you mention, and that means it uses a lot of battery or mains power for this.

Well of course, I bought these systems before hardware h264 decoders were common. That doesn't make them useless. :(

I totally agree with you on AVI. MKV is a much better container format, especially if you want nice ASS subtitles or multiple soundtracks. Now, whether or not it was a good decision to remove it from HandBrake is their problem, as I don't use it anyway. :P

more than 4 years ago

HandBrake Abandons DivX As an Output Format

auntieNeo Re:Uh, DivX is switching to MKV (619 comments)

Well, TFA says:

So there you go, DivX/XviD is gone from HandBrake and it's not coming back.

So I think the confusion is justified. Does anyone know for sure exactly what is being removed from HandBrake?

more than 4 years ago


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