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Goodbye, Ctrl-S

eastjesus But where does it go? (521 comments)

Ctrl-S was always for pausing the display, I didn't know it was also saving anything - must have been some social engineering on the part of the NSA to make it save my work also. In any case, I prefer saving things at the points of my choosing on my own media. The real issue today is where does it save it? It's one thing to have a temp copy on hardware and media in your possession but something entirely more ominous if all the steps in your works-in-progress are being journaled forever in some corporate or government database entirely outside of your control or knowledge with only the appearance of "it's just a copy for your own good."

about 3 months ago
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Goodbye, Ctrl-S

eastjesus Re:CTRL+S (521 comments)

Jesus saves, Moses invests, Budha lives on the interest. - the rest of the story.

about 3 months ago
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One-a-Day-Compiles: Good Enough For Government Work In 1983

eastjesus Re:Anecdote from the recent past. (230 comments)

In the very earliest days of the Mac I remember having to buy a by then obsolete Lisa to write and compile because the Mac couldn't be used for that yet, then reboot it with a special OS to write a Mac disk so you could then try to run it on a nearby Mac because you couldn't run it on the Lisa. I was porting a package from the PC at the time and not too long before that the compile on the PC took most of a day sitting around swapping floppies for hours hoping there wouldn't be some dumb typo 5 hours in - not much better than the punched cards (except you could edit on a screen).

about 4 months ago
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One-a-Day-Compiles: Good Enough For Government Work In 1983

eastjesus Better than patch panels! (230 comments)

At least with the forms one could see the code and make changes, but it was up to you to see any errors. Punch cards gave you one line per card and disaster if if the wind got you while you were carrying your box(es) full of cards on the way to drop them off at the computer center so you could come back the next day to pick up your syntax errors. Still, both were a big step up from patch panels. Around 1981 I was working for a large medical instrumentation company (at that point I had an Apple II on my desk and z80 and 6800 machines nearby) and one day saw the dumpster full of wired up patch panels. Curious, I asked about it and found out that those were backups of old "code" that had been stored "just in case." My department head told me that they were keeping them around for when all the fuss over microcomputers would blow over and everything would get back to normal.

about 4 months ago
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Paper Microscope Magnifies Objects 2100 Times and Costs Less Than $1

eastjesus Re:I know (89 comments)

The bowl was plastic with the inside forming a hemisphere. Fill it with water, take it outside to freeze, have a couple of beers while waiting, then take out a 6" f/1.0 lens made of ice. Focus the sun on a piece of paper or something flammable. It's not the greatest lens for imaging but it will start paper on fire. Water can make interesting optics, both liquid and solid.

about 4 months ago
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Paper Microscope Magnifies Objects 2100 Times and Costs Less Than $1

eastjesus Re:I know (89 comments)

Agreed, unless you don't have one handy. The point was for the kids (they were 2nd grade) to think about stuff around them in new ways. I used to win bar bets when I lived in Wisconsin by claiming to be able to start a fire using the bowl that the peanuts were in and some water. Only worked when it was sunny and freezing outside, though, but it was a good excuse to have another couple of beers.

about 4 months ago
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Paper Microscope Magnifies Objects 2100 Times and Costs Less Than $1

eastjesus Making a Difference (89 comments)

Back around 1985 I worked with a teacher in a grade school with a lot of low income students creating a microscope that the kids could build and use out of trash quickly. We used a cardboard box that used to hold wooden matches and cut a flap in the wide sides so light could illuminate the inside and covered one end with aluminum foil. Other boxes could also be used but the slide made it easy to focus. A small hole was punched in the center of the foil. The object to be examined was placed inside on top of the part of the box that slid in and out (which was now exposed to light) and a drop of water put in the hole in the foil. It worked remarkably well and the kids had a great time with it looking at all sorts of things inside and outdoors but maybe the greatest thing was that the kids started thinking about how things worked and coming up with novel solutions rather than just buying something to do the job.

about 4 months ago
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Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

eastjesus Time to Rethink the Whole Process (423 comments)

Of course they don't want to make it simple, it would destroy their business. A friend who was a CFO at the time use to refer to Intuit as "The Devil" in the way they were always putting themselves into your business and then holding you hostage later. The tax industry produces nothing of value and should be replaced and the billions of dollars and millions of people put to better use. It wouldn't be hard. The government makes the money, puts it into circulation, and then at the point of greatest dispersion the huge tax industry works to get some of it back based on rules so lengthy, complex, and open to interpretation that no one person can understand them all anymore let alone apply them fairly. If you can afford the guns you can shoot your way out but for everyone else you just keep paying out. It's a formula for strife, conflict, anger, and fraud. If I ran a business that way I would have to make all my customers keep track of everything - every transaction, every special and refund all year long and then all have all their documentation on one special day for a grand reckoning. I'd probably need a bunch of armed guards that day, too. Everyone would have to keep all these records for years just in case. I would need an army of accountants and more of my resources would be tied up in that system than the whole rest of the business! Of course, that is exactly what we have with the tax system today and the industry that thrives off of it. The entire tax system and the huge industry supporting it could be replaced by a few people and a small truck (or maybe just a small computer). At the point where the money is created and goes into circulation a portion is sent to the IRS. Done. Billions saved, resources freed, and all the pain gone, just the memory of how ridiculous it used to be.

about 4 months ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

eastjesus Wasteful Anachronism (386 comments)

It's all a monumental waste consuming time and resources that could be better used. The government makes the money, puts it into circulation, and then at the point of greatest dispersion makes everyone work hard to get some of it back. It's a formula for strife, conflict, anger, and fraud. If I ran a store that way I would have to make all my customers keep track of everything - every transaction, every special, and any refunds all year long and then all show up with all their documentation on one special day for a grand reckoning. I'd probably need a bunch of armed guards that day, too. I would need an army of accountants and more of my resources would be tied up in that system than the whole rest of the business! Of course, that is exactly what we have with the tax system today. The entire tax system and the huge industry supporting it could be replaced by a few people and a small truck (or maybe just a small computer). At the point where the money is created and goes into circulation a portion is sent to the IRS. Done. Billions saved, resources freed, and all the pain gone - just a bad memory like emptying chamber pots out the window and hoping that somehow the street will get cleaned up soon.

about 4 months ago
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Minecraft Creator Halts Plans For Oculus Version Following Facebook Acquisition

eastjesus Time to move on (300 comments)

The Oculus Rift was an amazing design and the first practical and affordable VR tool to come out of the woodwork in a long time. Sad it has come to this. Especially sad for the Kickstarter supporters. That being said, I'm sure that much has been learned along the way. I suspect the creative people will soon drift away and, hopefully now flush with cash, can take the next step and do something even more amazing and build on what they now know. How about a 180 degree horizontal/90 degree vertical field of view in something much smaller and lighter? I remember putting on a LEEPsystems headset back in the late 1980's and the immersion was stunning because of that - anything less is like wearing blinders. I don't remember the actual specs but the field of view was around that, I'll have to dig it out - I'm sure I still have some of their old tech papers. I remember it stated that if you can see the frame around the display then it's not really virtual reality. They even had a demo film camera and viewer to show off the optics (they had to use CRT's back then and only film could show off the possible detail). It wasn't so lightweight but their lens design did the trick and seems to have disappeared into the past. The other thing they did was put most of the resolution in the center with less detail out toward the edges so that the apparent resolution was much greater than the actual. A redesign of that concept with modern displays and trackers, maybe tracking eye movements to move the resolution to where it would matter would be a huge next step.

about 5 months ago
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Scientists Develop Solar Cell That Can Also Emit Light

eastjesus Not so new (79 comments)

I remember the Heinlein story - it's been many years, I'll have to dust off that old book and read it again - but I also recall that regular LED's have always done this too, but just very poorly on the light to electricity conversion part. Seems I remember a project long ago taking advantage of this - something from Forrest Mims maybe?

about 5 months ago
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Google Fiber In Austin Hits a Snag: Incumbent AT&T

eastjesus same old same old (291 comments)

It's a sad old story I remember living through myself back in the late 1990's and apparently nothing has changed. Back then I was one of the founders of long-gone Nobell Communications which was then in the middle of rolling out the first wireless broadband IP network in Austin. The extent and energy that certain organizations, one of which was SBC (who later bought AT&T, but they were not alone) put into obstructing and doing whatever they could to shut down the effort was something that would make works of fiction pale. Finding locations for infrastructure was one of the most difficult jobs and one solution was to use existing poles in certain areas. SBC pulled the same crap back then when we insisted that we were not a telco or cable company and had no intention of becoming one (we did connect and handle IP broadcasts of live music at a number of clubs during SXSW back then, though). It turned out, however, that many pole easements were owned by Austin Energy, not SBC, and, working with them and the City Council, we ultimately got rights to use those utility poles as well as city owned buildings and rooftops. I also remember that at the time there was a huge amount of city-owned dark fiber available. I no longer live there and don't know what the situation is anymore but I know that there are creative people at Google as well as in Austin with a lot of resources at their disposal and I trust that together they will find a way to jump over that thrashing dinosaur.

about 9 months ago

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