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Nokia Buys a Chunk of Panasonic

erikscott Re:Nokia still has products? (54 comments)

Nokia has completely shifted gears before - they used to make forestry equipment at one point (early 70s?), which indirectly led to their making VHF radios with telephone interfaces for use out in the boondocks, which led to cellphones for them.

The VHF "portable phones" from the late 80s, by the way, can be hacked into becoming 2 meter (144 MHz) ham radios. Have fun...

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Preparing an Android Tablet For Resale?

erikscott Re:To answer the question directly (113 comments)

On an ASUS Transformer, the keyboard is where most of the value is, along with the oh-so-strange fifteen (15) volt charger. Sell the keyboard and charger, grind the tablet to powder. It's the only way to be sure.

about 2 months ago
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X Window System Turns 30 Years Old

erikscott Ultrix (was: Re:DECwindows ;) ) (204 comments)

Mine would be as a first-year EE student, NC State U. 1987. OSF wouldn't ship Motif for another year and half, so it was Athena Widgets and TWM all the way.

God, I miss the screaming. :-)

about 2 months ago
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Fixing the Humanities Ph.D.

erikscott Re:Are they taking advice from law schools? (325 comments)

The MLA's principal source of revenue is... wait for it... humanities PhD.s and their annual dues. So hell no they aren't going to call for a reduction in output.

Historically, the sink for all those graduates was Law School. University education basically was Law School until individual "majors" started being created in the mid nineteenth century and the J.D. became a degree in its own right. Lawyers are in something of a unbalanced predator/prey relationship now, and it'll take a while to swing around. Meanwhile, your humanities PhD plus two semesters of organic chem will get you into any Medical School in the country. They like people with the demonstrated perseverance of a PhD in basically anything. The Great Doctor Famine is a good 25-30 years away (the GenX bunch, well, there just aren't enough of us to fill all those beds, and it'll be a while before the millenials get there to fill 'em back up).

about 3 months ago
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Apple Fixes Major SSL Bug In OS X, iOS

erikscott VAX/VMS supported into late 1990s (96 comments)

Sadly, VMS support for VAX ended around 7.1 or 7.3 or something - it was in the late nineties. But every alpha ever made (at least "that ever ran VMS in the first place") can run the latest version.

All UltraSPARCS can run solaris 10.X. Hardware from this millenium is required for Solaris 11.X (more or less). Pre-Ultra machines are kind of limited - A microsparc machine (sparcStation 5 and similar) is supported on 2.9, but unless you max out the RAM you're better off at 2.8. Sparcs with VME busses (4/110, 4/280, etc) are stuck further back - maybe Solaris 2.4, but I'm not sure. These are better off running OpenBSD anyway. :-)

Yeah, I get a laugh out of what constitutes "support" these days. :-)

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Fastest, Cheapest Path To a Bachelor's Degree?

erikscott Re:A printer and a template (370 comments)

Not really true. It's illegal to offer engineering services to the public for projects not suitable for instate commerce unless you're a PE. If a hypothetical project could possibly be built in one state and sold in another, you don't have to be a PE. Professional Engineers usually do roads, bridges, footings, big earthworks, stuff like that. Most Civil Engineers find that they have to be PEs to even hold a job, while almost no aerospace engineers are PEs. Turns out that airplanes can cross state lines pretty easily. Electrical Engineers who are PEs are mostly found in electrical utility design and construction.

Different rules apply in Canada and probably every other country. "Engineer" is a trademark in Canada, and the Canadian PEs protect their turf through trademark law. :-)

about 6 months ago
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Pine Tree Has Largest Genome Ever Sequenced

erikscott Re:I'm Inferior To A Tree (71 comments)

Plants also have the advantage of being able to survive errors (or maybe "excursions"?) of miosis more often - polyploid mammals typically will spontaneously abort, but polyploid plants often become important to humans. Bread wheat and spelt are hexaploid because humans bred them that way millenia ago. The current record holder for largest genome, Paris Japonica, is huge only because it's octaploid. The loblolly gets props for having a big genome while being merely diploid.

about 6 months ago
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RadioShack To Close 1,100 Stores

erikscott Re:No place for 'almost', 'not quite' and 'nearly' (423 comments)

That statement might be a little too categorical. The line between digital and analog is getting very blurry - SATA interfaces are, practically speaking, a bit of both analog and digital design. Ethernet has always been about stuffing bits through a noisy, imperfect transmission line, and 1G and 10G (and 40G) Ethernet just make it that much worse.

The good news is that even cheap 'scopes can also serve as a frequency counters, voltmeters, and some cheaper models can also serve as spectrum analyzers (and practically all of the expensive ones can). Take a look at how good the $200 USB-connected 'scopes are now.

If you're making robots or UAVs, you may not need a 'scope, but if you're making ham radios then you're going to want one. Get a cheap USB one so you can also use it as a spectrum analyzer.

(and if you get a chance, play with a Tektronix 4100 series - it's basically a logic analyzer that happens to have a 4-channel analog 'scope built in. Analog events can serve as the trigger for the digital side (and vice versa), and it comes with two decoder ROMs priced in - it can snoop CANBUS, for instance, and trigger the analog side on particular CANBUS messages. Not something everyone needs, but if you need it, you need it in a big way.)

about 6 months ago
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Can GM Challenge Tesla With a Long-Range Electric Car?

erikscott Better marketting would kill them. :-) (466 comments)

They lose money on every Volt they sell - better marketting means they just lose more money. Like the 'Vette, a chronic money loser, it's a "halo" product that makes the rest of the product line look better. Come in to see a 'Vette, leave with a Camaro. Volt shoppers probably end up buying... a Prius?

1 year,1 day
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Project Anonymizes Your Writing Style To Hide Your Identity

erikscott Re:AI doesn't do shit to detect plagiarism (103 comments)

Long long ago, in a computer teaching lab 30 miles away, I had 20 assignments turned in to me for grading. Of them, I had seventeen identical, bizarre wrong answers. Seriously, people... if you're going to cheat, at least copy from someone who isn't high/psycho/retarded.

about a year ago
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Keyless Remote Entry For Cars May Have Been Cracked

erikscott Done two years ago and published. (398 comments)

Keyless entry that uses proximity to a wireless fob, and that explicitly does not require a button press to activate, has been well and thoroughly cracked and the exploit published. The basic idea to use two bent-pipe analog repeaters to fool the car into thinking your fob is right beside the car and not currently inside Wal-Mart (or in this case, Tessco perhaps?) where the accomplice is standing somewhat close to you and the fob in your pocket.

Oh lookie... here's the popular-press article right here.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Do You Move Legal Data With Torrents?

erikscott mimics my experiences (302 comments)

I agree: torrent can't really saturate a 10GE... for that you should see something like bbcp, which will quite handily flood a 10gig ethernet and then some. :-)

NC State University uses torrent to let students download some commercial software so they don't have to hand out DVDs... they distribute SAS that way for certain, probably a few others.

ibiblio had someone who developed sort of a "perma-seed" to use torrent for some sort of archive-like thingie. I know Paul Jones is probably reading this, perhaps he would like to comment? :-)

about a year ago
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Higgs Data Could Spell Trouble For Leading Big Bang Theory

erikscott Option C: TV Ratings are Going Down (259 comments)

You forgot option C: Neilsen ratings for the CBS comedy are going down the tubes.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Enterprise Bitcoin Mining For Go-Green Initiatives?

erikscott probably irresponsible at best (312 comments)

If then entire value of this thing is predicated on finding SHA256 collisions, then we need ask "what is the practical value of an SHA256 collision?" Looks like some one or some group has found a way to fraudulently-sign-digital-certificates@home. Is that something you want to participate in, especially in a way that can be traced back to you? :-)

about a year and a half ago
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FCC Guidance On Radio For Commercial Space Operations Falls Short

erikscott There's already a mechanism: the MOU (48 comments)

Civilians can use govt/military spectrum under a Memorandum of Understanding between them and the agency, and a copy of that MOU is supposed to get sent on to the National Telecommunications Infrastructure Agency - the FCC for Federal Agencies, in effect. This is how privately owned stream gauges get operated on NOAA frequencies around 169 MHz and how privately-owned nuclear power plants use the SHARES shortwave network on federal frequencies. And have for decades. This is totally a non-problem.

about a year and a half ago
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FCC Guidance On Radio For Commercial Space Operations Falls Short

erikscott You're right - and they do use lasers (48 comments)

Actually, extremely-high bandwidth laser comms for communication at further-than-the-moon distances is a hot research topic, precisely because optical telescopes can do things that radio telescopes can't. Specifically, optical telescopes can offer 150dB of gain even from a modest-sized 'scope. For more, see the tech report series at JPL's TMO Tech Report Series.

Of course, lasers require precision aiming, but that's just an engineering problem. :-)

about a year and a half ago
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Cherry's New Keyboard Switches Emulate IBM Model M Feel

erikscott Re:Never Mind the Model M.... (298 comments)

I used some genuine 3278/79 terminals and I always thought they felt a bit mushy. Between that an VM/CMS, it wasn't terribly fun. I also felt like the genuine VT100/102 was too mushy, and anything with an LK201 was a non-starter (VT220/240 through VT420). But the keyboard that ruled was the Data General Dasher D410. That was a keyboard I could absolutely jam with. Never have found one that good since - crisply clickly, yet actually very low force. You could turn on ANSI emulation and it was good enough to work with VMS, which is pretty much the acid test for good VT emulation.

about a year and a half ago

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