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Scientists Have Developed a Material So Dark That You Can't See It

cliffjumper222 Black box in the Gents (238 comments)

If you did high-school physics you may have heard about black body radiation and a thing called a black box - a box that absorbs all light that enters it. This could be a box with a hole in it lined with light-absorbing material, such that any light entering the hole never goes out again. That hole is essentially "black" and can be very, very black indeed. It can be so black, that your mind can play tricks on you as to what it is. This experience occurred to me at work in the, ahem, Gent's, with a toilet roll dispenser. For months, this dispenser (one of those that is stainless steel and holds two rolls, one above the other) had a matt black plastic cover on the front about where a lock was supposed to be, (you can see where this is going). It was absolutely a solid black plastic cover. Quite boring, but clearly covering a hole for some reason. One day, while waiting for nature to, err, take its course I poked the cover and in a flash, found it was a hole! It was a stunning realization that this plastic thing I'd been staring at for months, every day, was actually, nothing. I've subsequently checked this many times and it's an extremely good black box because even when I knew what it was, it still looked like a solid cover. Sadly, last week the facilities folks filled it up with a new lock and ruined a great physical phenomenon. It will be sadly missed.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

cliffjumper222 Re:To make it worth it. (427 comments)

Sounds like the Pebble or the Toq. Toq has the inductive charging and they both have reflective displays.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

cliffjumper222 Re:Mandatory features: (427 comments)

Agree with you on lots of these. Interesting about the battery life - why 36 hours? You mention e-ink - but mirasol looks better. Color, high res, high frame rate, great outdoors. With you on the touch screen - I prefer buttons. Could be okay though, but you still have the glove issue when it's cold.

about 1 month ago

Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

cliffjumper222 Re:Cool solution looking for a problem (427 comments)

> But I would have a hard time investing a few grand in a watch

Wow, a few grand? These watches will be a couple of ton, maybe a monkey max.

about 1 month ago

The Next Keurig Will Make Your Coffee With a Dash of "DRM"

cliffjumper222 Should be banned (769 comments)

All plastic pod coffee systems should be banned or at least CRV charged on every single pod or equivalent. The only "pods" I've seen that come close to being eco-friendly are the commercial Flavia ones that are just foil in a UFO shape. Plastic creamer pods should be banned too! Those stupid bits of plastic stick around for thousands of years. If you want a quick cuppa, boil a kettle and drink tea or a decent instant coffee.

about 5 months ago

The Moderately Enthusiastic Programmer

cliffjumper222 Re:I feel you. (533 comments)

This is so true, but I do the inverse! I work as a product manager and generate PowerPoint, Word and emails all day. Then I go home and code Java Plugins for Minecraft. It's fun hobby and a great way to de-stress from business ambiguities and customer interactions.

about 6 months ago

How Role-Playing Games Arrived In Japan With Black Onyx

cliffjumper222 Re:Reminds me of Voyager, "Virtuoso" (50 comments)

Yes, I remember that episode and it's a good analogy. Off topic, but that episode (baring the odd acting) was one of the better ones from a xeno-culture-clash perspective.

about 6 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Can You Trust Online Tax Software?

cliffjumper222 Online is more secure now (237 comments)

I don't keep any tax data on my PC for security reasons. Had an iMac a while ago that blew up and it was a pain to get the drive out before trashing the thing. Easier just to keep the data in the tax cloud.

about 8 months ago

Affordable Blood Work In Four Hours Coming To Pharmacies

cliffjumper222 Re:hemoglobin test (282 comments)

Based on my recent experience with an illness, this is exactly what you will have to do if you ever fall out of the normal bounds of straightforward illnesses. You will be managing your own treatment and trying to piece together what's wrong with you. You will burn through doctors and specialists one by one as they say they cannot help and refuse to let you make appointments. You will end up being the only person on the whole planet who cares and all the time you will be doing this when you are sick and/or drugged up. You will also realize that the whole health care system does not work like JIRA and that there is no follow up and your issue will be dropped if you don't continue to be the squeaky wheel. Health care is not engineering. It's scary how few engineering best practices are used in it and how full of holes the "system" has. Healthcare is probably about 40 years behind engineering in terms of problems solving and issue resolution and about a million years behind understanding how our bodies work vs "complex" systems we diddle around with all day on computers.
Moral of the story is - don't get sick with anything weird otherwise you're basically toast.

about 8 months ago

Samsung Creates Phone With Curved Display

cliffjumper222 A more interesting demo shown... (219 comments)

...had the display flowing over the edge of the phone's sides so you could place a phone on a table and have only the edge display info.

about 10 months ago

Interview: Ask President Anant Agarwal About edX and the Future of Education

cliffjumper222 Online vs offline (73 comments)

As a hiring manager, I would not care if a candidate had completed their degree online or offline so long as it was a real degree (we can test some things, but the whole point of a qualification is that it's supposed to mean something). However, there seems to be a big reluctance by established universities to give degrees based on these online courses so far. What needs to change for that to happen and will it ever?

about 10 months ago

The Big Hangup At Burning Man Is Cell Phones

cliffjumper222 FCC License? (167 comments)

Do these guys have a license to transmit in the cellular bands?

about 10 months ago

Illuminating Window-Less Houses With a Plastic Bottle

cliffjumper222 Re:Glass bottles (240 comments)

I have a Solar Tube in my house in California and it works excellently. Better looking but more expensive than this DIY version.

about a year ago

Next-Gen Gorilla Glass: Smartphones Could Have Antibacterial, Anti-Glare Displays

cliffjumper222 Re:Antbacterial? (175 comments)

Yeah, like bleach.

1 year,17 days

Next-Gen Gorilla Glass: Smartphones Could Have Antibacterial, Anti-Glare Displays

cliffjumper222 Re:Seeing the sreen in the sun (175 comments)

No, they stopped selling them because transflective displays are limited by resolution. You can still get cheapy phones with them in Asia, but smartphones with HVGA or greater screen resolution don't have the space for the extra reflective part of the pixel that is required. One compromise is to use monochrome for the reflective part, which is what you see on the MotoACTV and WIMM smartwatches.

1 year,17 days

Next-Gen Gorilla Glass: Smartphones Could Have Antibacterial, Anti-Glare Displays

cliffjumper222 Sapphire - Corning's Nemesis (175 comments)

Corning's on a marketing offensive against sapphire, which is up and coming as a cover glass material. It's massively stronger than Gorilla (TM) Glass and so can offer better protection for the same thickness from impacts (although Corning will argue the opposite). The main problem has been that it's been expensive, but for some applications it's perfect (I'm looking at you smart watches) and the price is coming down, down, down.

1 year,17 days

In a Security Test, 3-D Printed Gun Smuggled Into Israeli Parliament

cliffjumper222 1988 called, they want their hysteria back (280 comments)

Plastic guns? Been there, banned those...

1 year,22 days

Ask Slashdot: Getting Hired As a Self-Taught Old Guy?

cliffjumper222 No objections from me (472 comments)

I've hired gray hairs, long hairs, dyed hair and no hairs as programming contractors. Age and experience are not so important to me for these mid-level programming gigs.I care about a few things though - are you up to date on not just coding, but contemporary development methodologies? Have you worked in an Agile team before? Do you have a niche skill that fits with my project (in my case often embedded programming, or Linux device drivers). I'm far more interested in what you've done in that last year before you came to me, so work experience is important. We *will* check if you can program and what approach you take to solving the type of problems we have via multiple interviews on the same day, so if you really can't program, then you will be found out. Also, we place a lot of weight on recommendations, so if you have worked with others on a team and they vouch for you, that will help a lot. Finally, if you are a jerk personality-wise, then we won't want you. Having been burnt more that once by hiring people with serious personality issues it's one of my top things I try to weed out at interview. Finally, a good agency might help you - they take a nasty cut, but push their employees.

about a year ago

Wireless Carriers Put On Notice About Providing Regular Android Security Updates

cliffjumper222 Re:Stop screwing with it so much (171 comments)

Android is a gift, not a product. Android needs fixing to work properly because it doesn't work out of the box. Why? Because hardware changes from OEM to OEM, the government require mandatory support for features that aren't included, the customer (AT&T etc) require support for their apps or services, some very important ones, and last, but not least, it's buggy.

It takes about 6 months for a dedicated SCRUM team to knock a version of Android out that meets a major US carrier's requirements after Google releases their code to the community. I know because I've done it. Verizon has about 6000 requirements for their devices, Sprint and AT&T are not far behind. On top of the carrier requirements, which could be anything from implementing a custom address book sync adapter, to ensuring AGPS works accurately, you need to meet US Government requirements. CMAS is a great example. Further, there may be a stack of accessibility items that need to be done, although, Google dramatically increased their support there from ICS. So, once you've done the carrier requirements and the regulatory ones, you also then need to fix the bugs. These could be part of the open source - just look at the issues at to see the outstanding ones, or they could be the result of the changes your chip set supplier made to have the code work with their hardware, or their proprietary codecs, etc.. Google may not have gotten around to fixing their bugs yet, but that doesn't mean you'll be able to ship a product today with without fixing them. Should those fixes be pushed back to the open source tree, absolutely, but are they? Why let a competitor benefit from our hard work? Also, you need to weed out any bugs that are unique to your hardware configuration - that could be caused by touch screen firmware, or the modem, bluetooth, or some other piece. Then, finally, you can decide if you want to reskin the UI or add your twiddly improvement. Sometimes that's an enhancement that customer's expect, like hyphenating dial strings, or sometimes it's a totally sexy homescreen widget. That part gets all the press, but all the other stuff must get done even if you decide to ship "pure android".

about a year and a half ago


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