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Antares Rocket Explodes On Launch

digitect best video of the incident (443 comments)

For the record, I was just stumbled across the best video of the launch I've seen thus far (from about 1.5 miles away). At 0:18 you can see fire pretty far up the rocket from the nozzles on the left side, which seems to be the direction of the explosion, too.

about 3 months ago

Soccer Superstar Plays With Very Low Brain Activity

digitect Re:Turned Off Brain (160 comments)

Which explains Suarez.

about 6 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Handle Unfixed Linux Accessibility Bugs?

digitect Re:Contact the Linux Foundation (266 comments)

"How to ask a question the smart way" is 23 pages long and starts with the presumption that the questioner do most of the work in solving the question prior to asking.

As long as we spend more effort on Slashdot explaining to a disabled, non-developer that he is wrong than it would take to fix the bug, it is will NOT be the year of Linux.

about 10 months ago

UCLA Architectural Program Teaches Design for Robot Homes

digitect Werner Sobek's r129 (35 comments)

IAAA. Forget robots, Warner Sobek's R129 house is genius.

Check it out in the PBS e^2 series, part 6/6, at 20:07.

Back up to 18:55 to see the beginning of Sobek's ideas.

Watch the whole series if you have the time.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Development Requirements Change But Deadlines Do Not?

digitect Architects use "additional services" for creep (221 comments)

In our architectural practice, we use the term "additional services" to quantify scope creep, basically anything beyond the scope defined in our proposal/contract.

This reinforces the need for making that initial statement of expectations clear AND the implications for any deviation thereafter.

about a year and a half ago

Fedora Adds MATE and Cinnamon Desktops to Main Repository, Releases Beta

digitect Why bother, XFCE is all you need (56 comments)

After struggling to use Gnome 3 since Fedora officially released it, I recently tried XFCE again and was blown away with how fast and suitable it is. The defaults are good and there are tons of options to customize it back to the similar paradigm Gnome 2 was. I couldn't believe how much faster my machine felt after switching. Even moving Firefox tabs was better!

I gave G3 PLENTY of time and never could feel comfortable with it even after slowly adding extension after extension to get something workable. The visual component of a desktop is important, and the G3 simply hides too much that is necessary to use it. It's like having a car with no dashboard. The so-called "easy"methods to reveal open windows and find applications are hard to discover, require too much input and memory, and are too slow.

After this weekend's pleasurable re-discovery of the improved XFCE, I'm never going back. Gnome doesn't matter any more to me.

more than 2 years ago

Huge Diamond Deposits Revealed In Russia

digitect Re:Diamonds, like paper (243 comments)

Gold is not any more intrinsically valuable than diamonds (or fiat currency!)

Not true. Gold is a fabulous conductor and does not corrode. That makes it extremely valuable in electrical components, particularly connectors. If we could assemble all electronics with gold plated connectors the world would have a lot less shorts, fires, computer failures, etc.

Two intrinsically interesting characteristics of diamonds are hardness and thermal conductivity.

Can't say the same for fiat currency.

more than 2 years ago

Nvidia Engineer Asks How the Company Can Improve Linux Support

digitect nvidia same as adobe flash (581 comments)

Nvidia has the same problem Adobe has with Flash: Closed source equals instability.

Between Fedora 14 and 17, I have never experienced so much system instability in Linux, and I've been a user since RH 5.1. My X is now guaranteed to lock in 5 minutes either by watching a Flash video or doing a yum install kmod-nvidia.

The year of the desktop, yeah, right.

more than 2 years ago

Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance, GM Suspends Sales

digitect Re:Japan and Europe is where the industry is (599 comments)

Any car from the "big three" built within the past 20 years that is worth buying these days can go 300,000 miles with basic maintenance. Cars were garbage in the 80's and I think a lot of the mentality around longevity in the US these days is still based on experiences with those cars.

Exactly why my father bought a 1979 Accord and never looked back. If you think American cars last a long time, try a Honda/Toyota and read what Consumer Reports has to say. (BTW, I'm betting on Korean being the next decade's value carmakers.)

more than 2 years ago

Interview With GNOME 3 Designer Jon McCann

digitect Re:Sadly OSX is not an option (294 comments)

Not even close. I used it for two weeks prior to the nvidia driver fix (for GL, now required by Gnome 3) and it was worse than G3.

more than 3 years ago

Linux Receives 20th Birthday Video From Microsoft

digitect Re:Everybody aboard the tinfoilhat-train! (368 comments)

+1 Insightful, mod parent up.

This is EXACTLY why Microsoft might befriend Linux and Free Software. The cloud represents a new, closed frontier, and they need a partner.

more than 3 years ago

Why Does the US Cling To Imperial Measurements?

digitect Building Industry (2288 comments)

I'm an architect, and I'll tell you that the building industry is so entrenched in imperial measurements I haven't used my metric scale in five years. Every single product is based on imperial dimensions, meaning design, coordination, and calculation require the same.

Some examples: joist spacing tables display span lengths for 16" and 24" on center spacings. These tables are everywhere and they've been around unchanged forever. All the plywood sub-flooring is in 48" x 96" sheets. Works great for either joist spacing and in either horizontal or vertical orientation. If you buy a house in the US, standard is an 8' ceiling, "up scale" is 9', exclusive is 10'. (Who would know the status of a 2600mm ceiling?!) Studs are already available and pre-cut to accomplish these heights. Drywall is sold in these lengths. Concrete and soil are measured in cubic yards, roofing by square, carpeting by yard, ceiling tiles in 24" squares, etc. The International Building Code (what most of us use) gives dimensions in Imperial dimensions, including sprinkler head spacing, floor loading requirements, floor-to-floor, allowable areas, etc. Think about it, every plumbing, gas, and sanitary drain system connecting your building to infrastructure is calculated in imperial from engineering tables more than fifty years old. Tape measures are all imperial as is surveying equipment. The entire commercial real estate market is in imperial, changing to metric would crush every agent and developer trying to calculate pro-forma for all real estate in the country. Lumber mills and woodworking equipment that has been around for years and that produce moldings, doors, boards, handrails, furniture, etc., are all imperial. Existing surveys, architectural drawings, engineering calculations, and every other kind of specification, calibration, documentation, regulation, etc. in the building industry is imperial, doing a simple renovation or addition (actually >50% of the building industry) would require the overhead of converting all existing information prior to proceeding.

I've worked on several metric buildings. It takes about two days to get into the swing of it. From an architect's view, scaling and plotting drawings is much simpler than imperial. Not having to deal with foot-inches is easier, too. (Although everybody seems to disagree about whether to use m, cm, or mm. We have native metric users that can't even agree on that.) But it doesn't take long before somebody starts discussing "hard" vs. "soft" metric and wondering if buying 900 mm doors will cost 50% more than 36" doors, if a wheelchair can still fit through it, and where they might come from in the local market if they can even be found. About a day later the whole endeavor goes down the tube when one party in the process gets nervous. We usually switch to "soft" metric for a few weeks (designing in imperial but also stating metric on the drawings) and then abandon the entire metric effort in favor of imperial. The only way a project will stay in true hard metric is if it is being built overseas.

We're going to have to go metric one system at a time. First was soda bottles. Then automobiles. Science is there, and a lot of SI units are becoming comfortable on food packaging. The building industry is going to have to do the same, I predict in places where highly manufactured components interface with imperial ones in a relatively unimportant way. (Think windows cut into a wall.) Commercially, roof membranes are specified in mm and many other components are manufactured in hard metric dimensions with proximal imperial values (like thicknesses of drywall and plywood). But things like bricks, lumber, and plumbing pipe may take a while.

more than 3 years ago

Stallman Worried About Chrome OS

digitect Re:So don't. (393 comments)

Easy does not always mean better. The goal of a capitalistic endeavor is to provide a product/service at a price point more convenient than doing it yourself. In exchange for the cost and convenience, we may sacrifice certain qualitative considerations that we would have built in had we done it ourselves. This applies to many things... architecture, automobiles, food, fashion, consumer electronics, TV signals, and software.

In the case of cloud computing, most customers appear willing to sacrifice their privacy in exchange for some software convenience or feature. We simply don't know how this will turn out in the long run. It is conceivable that a few high profile privacy or security violations by a cloud provider will change everyone's perspective in the future. Perhaps next year, or perhaps in 20. But it isn't quite accurate to relate customer behavior with what will ultimately be the best model. I prefer to think of consumerism as herd testing, and sometimes prefer to stand on the sideline watching to see if the herd goes over the cliff or not. Remember how blood letting turned out?

So I agree with RMS, cloud computing without ironclad legal protections do not currently safeguard individual's interests for personal privacy.

more than 4 years ago

Google Wants To Take Away Your Capslock Key

digitect Architectural drawings (968 comments)

Good luck creating architectural drawings. (IMAA)

It has been convention since the beginning of time to write everything in CAPs. Not that conventions can't change, but there is a whole system of communication in the construction industry related to the assumption that instructions and notations are always capitalized. Similar reason to why US construction is still Imperial, there is too much embodied energy in the current method to risk confusing it with a change to another system.

more than 4 years ago

Firefighters Let House Burn Because Owner Didn't Pay Fee

digitect Re:What is next a cop fee and if you don't pay rap (2058 comments)

The case you point to has nothing with the police "standing by" and watching a crime occur. It absolves negligence as responsibility. Big difference between that and willfully watching a house burn to the ground. I feel certain that the Cranicks have a tort case that we'll learn more about in the following months and years.

more than 4 years ago

Ars Technica Inveighs Against Ad Blocking

digitect Ads are not integrated (1051 comments)

The reason we have ads is because they are easy for advertisers to generate sales/revenue with them. They are a shortcut instead of actually providing a product we really need.

Face it, do we need much that is advertised? No. We also don't need much of the content we read. Advertising is this dance that occurs within non-critical content because we really don't have to watch TV or read entertainment news.

If products were so important, name dropping within actual content would be sufficient to generate sales commensurate with demand. Advertising is a way of increasing demand that wouldn't ordinarily exist (since we don't need it in the first place.

more than 4 years ago

The Music Industry's Crisis Writ Large

digitect Re:Let it die. (554 comments)

No Russians? Or at least an early Modernist, that's a pretty big gap between Chopin and Sinatra. :)

more than 5 years ago

US House Democrats Unveil a Health Care Plan

digitect Re:Great quote... (925 comments)

Great comments! I'm sure will not be moded up however--your insights are too conservative, supported with facts, and oppose the general liberal mentality here in the US these days where everyone is desperate to rid themselves of personal responsibility in favor of the government living our lives for us.

more than 5 years ago


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