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Laptop Design For Disassembly

foog Dell and Lenovo already more or less do this (188 comments)

It's not up to the level of geek fantasy what-a-white-box-laptop-could-be. However, for practical purposes, if you get one of the big-chassis Thinkpads or Dell Latitudes (in the case of Dell, this would be a Latitude E-series today) then a ton of parts are interchangeable and upgradeable between models in the same chassis series. And it's been that way since the Latitude C-series at least. They're a lot easier to work on than the consumer-model laptops, too.

These days I just buy disposable junk like everybody else, though.

more than 3 years ago

Super Principia Mathematica

foog just awful (325 comments)

I don't know what's worse, dryly making fun of this kind of thing or even more dryly implicitly making fun the sheer number of folks that won't get the joke.

The review is by these guys: http://www.pacificbookreview.com/About-Us.php

It's a self-published crank book with a hilarious title. The guy might be mentally ill. It's just sad. I know times are tough but still, this Gary Sorkin guy should be ashamed of taking Kemp's money to promote the book.

more than 4 years ago

New Ancient Human Identified

foog it's just not that hard (148 comments)

As the child of a Maori man with a Chinese woman! Do you start arguing that pepperoni pizza is a social construct every time someone comes up with a new topping combination?

more than 4 years ago

Math Skills For Programmers — Necessary Or Not?

foog oh yes, not absolutely essential (609 comments)

At least, for much of what passes for professional programming. But in my very humble experience, the guys that brag the loudest that they've never needed any math to do any real-world programming are the ones who end up getting assigned stuff that involves very simple calculations---often just the correct use of libraries---and still manage to bung it up.

more than 4 years ago

OpenOffice 3.2 Released

foog Re:Is it worth it? (260 comments)

Short answer: no. If you need to open a document in a older file format, and Office is mangling it, openoffice.org is worth a try, but that's the luck of the draw. Office will generally do a better job of that, but not always.

If you have a version of Office without Powerpoint or Visio, the openoffice.org Impress and Draw programs are serviceable.

On the flip side, I'd be scared to do anything significant in the database thingy, because it has that "95% complete" quality that the contemporary free software world takes as an indication they're at a good point to do a total rewrite.

more than 4 years ago

Why a High IQ Doesn't Mean You're Smart

foog the old common sense routine (808 comments)

When a smart person does something stupid, it's because he lacks common sense. When a stupid person does something stupid, it's because he's stupid.

more than 5 years ago

User Interface of Major Oscilliscope Brands?

foog short answer: probably Tektronix (281 comments)

I have a physics degree, have worked in basic research, and currently work as a EE.

I own a Tektronix TDS1012 (low end) which I chose to spend my own money on over the Agilent equivalent, haven't used a high-end scope since the nineties, and have rented midrange Agilent and Tektronix scopes for jobs that needed them in the last five years or so, but not in the last two.

From a UI standpoint I've found the Tektronix scopes to "feel" more like an analog scope than the Agilent models. The controls are where you'd expect, and the menus correlate to traditional analog scope settings. I.e. the button for "ch 1 menu" brings up, surprise, the settings that would be grouped together with the channel 1 position and volts/div dials on an analog scope. I don't recall how the Agilents were different, only that they were just awkward enough to be annoying.

Both Agilent and Tektronix scopes have been sort of a pain in the butt to hook up to a PC. There's always at least one little thing that keeps the process from being perfectly smooth. Having used the 30-day demos, I liked Agilent's PC interface software whose name I forget better than Tektronix's "Wavestar". I wouldn't pay money for either one, though: I'd pay the extra for LabView instead.

The nicest thing though about the mid-range Agilent scope I rented was that it had an SVGA port as standard on the back. This is or was only available as an option on the mid-range Tek scopes. Hooking it up to a 20" monitor made it real easy for four people, including one with bad eyesight, to examine and discuss measurements without having to fuss with a PC interface.

The hardcore analog guys I know tend to like LeCroy a hair better than Tektronix these days and to disregard Agilent's offerings. I've never used a LeCroy myself.

more than 6 years ago


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