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Google Offers a Million Bucks For a Better Inverter

geoskd Re:I've heard this one... (228 comments)

Given that this would be upwards of 2000x higher density than a lithium battery, does that mean a 60Wh laptop battery has the explosive capacity of half a stick of TNT?

Yes, its just very difficult to get a very fast or efficient energy conversion from the laptop battery to an explosion. In order to produce efficient explosive force, chemical energy needs to be converted into heat extremely fast (milliseconds at least, nanoseconds would be better). Those laptop batteries are designed with exactly the opposite goal, so as to reduce overheating and fire risk.

5 hours ago
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US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

geoskd Re:I agree; you are making a silly argument... (525 comments)

The remaining 5,500 people are redundancies of the kind you get when you smash a 127,000 employee company together with a 90,000 employee company to get a 217,000 employee company, and then decide that 2.5% of them are duplicate effort which is not necessary.

And I believe it is incumbent upon Microsoft to demonstrate that not one of those existing employees is suitable to replace and H1B visa holder. Should any of those people be capable of doing the job held by the H1B visa holder, Microsoft should be required to ship the H1B holder back instead of laying off the American worker. The fact that the law doesn't address this is in itself a miscarriage of the law.

3 days ago
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US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

geoskd Re:Free market economy (525 comments)

You have one party that has completely gone off the rails, who puts its own orthodoxy over the law of the land and the country

That would be both parties. The actions of the Justice department fall directly under the purview of the President, and yet those actions are as inscrutable as any of his predecessors. It should also be noted that in spite of the good that has come of the affordable care act, it is a far cry from what it should have been, and that many of the problems could have been avoided with a little bit of compromise, and some bipartisan work instead of trying to ram through what we have now. Single payer was probably a bit too much to ask, but limited liability wouldn't have been such a terrible thing either. Point is, neither side gives a shit about the people who elected them. All they care about is getting re-elected...

3 days ago
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US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

geoskd Re:Free market economy (525 comments)

The only thing limiting you to two choices is you. Many ballots have third parties. You are free to run in those that don't. By stating to yourself and others that there are only two choices, you are part of the problem.

It is only a problem for you. I am perfectly capable of dealing with whatever government shows up to run things. My only concern is that the transition from what we have now to what we have after the open revolt will be somewhat taxing, and what concern I have for my fellow citizens leads me to want to help out where I can, but the fact remains that regardless of how you vote, the problem remians the system itself, and no amount of fiddling with the dials is going to fix a broken system. The fundamental problem of government isn't that people cannot govern themselves, its that they are fundamentally incapable of refraining from governing others. Once you reach this conclusion, *any* form of government is eventually going to be corrupted to the point of open revolt. It is inevitable. We might or might not be nearing that point in the USA. I tend to believe that we will live to see it in the relatively near future (next 30 years or so). It will be precipitated by a large resource shortage like oil embargo, food crisis, or something else, but our government has been getting less and less stable, and more and more extreme. It wont take nearly as much as most people think to push us into civil war. After the war, we'll get yet another government that might be better, or might be worse, but will eventually fall because all governments eventually fall to greed and corruption.

4 days ago
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US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

geoskd Re:Free market economy (525 comments)

I think you've taken a valid point and stretched it a little far here. If we'd had eight years of Gore starting in 2000, do you think Iraq would have played out exactly the same? If we were on our way to eight years of McCain starting in 2008, do you think the trends in health insurance would be what they are?

I heard the same basic sentiment in 2008 about another politician. That doesnt seem to have turned out how anyone expected.

Funny thing about politicians: They will say absolutely anything to get elected...

4 days ago
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US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

geoskd Re:it's about immigration, stupid (525 comments)

Y'all are missing the point -- Jeff Sessions is a dumb-ass teabagger from AL. His big issue is immigration; he wants to keep any and all immigrants out of the US (excepting his own white self and his family, in the finest "I got mine, screw the rest of ya" republican tradition). He doesn't give a damn about jobs. He doesn't give a damn about engineers. All he wants is to send immigrant children back to the Mexican and Central American drugs-and-guns war zone he and his fellow congress critters created so he can get them dark skinned Spanish speaking people as far from himself as he can get them.

That doesn't make him wrong...

4 days ago
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US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

geoskd Re:Maybe Apples and Oranges? (525 comments)

Go read, because you sound like an ignorant ass.

seconded

4 days ago
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US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

geoskd Re:Silly argument (525 comments)

There's a false comparison being made here... who says the Nokia engineer or the Xbox content maker being laid off has the same skills as the programmer they are wanting to hire?

That right there is the problem. The two groups of people have the same basic skills that are necessary to do the jobs, and the only thing either party was lacking is some limited training related to the specifics of the job. Until the late '70s, it was well understood that a company had to plan for and pay for training to bring every new employee up to speed. colleges and trade schools gave them the basic skill set, but the company had to pay for the rest. Since then, companies are trying to cut costs, and one of the easiest cost buckets is the training budget. Simply wipe it and only hire people who already have the exact skill set you need. The problem is that when every company does this, no one gets trained, and there slowly develops a perception of a labor shortage... The reality is that companies expectations from new employees and employment candidates has become unreasonable and untenable The labor pool hasn't really changed, but the corporate attitude towards hiring has changed. This is truly compounded by the trend towards globalization, where you get tens of thousands of applicants for every position, so instead of having an engineering manager go through the few tens of applications and picking the closest fit, you now have an unqualified HR hack going through 150k applications and reporting back that there is nobody who exactly fits the requirements given by the engineering manager. Never mind that at least 10% of those applicants could learn the skills they need in a very short time, and be productive to meet the needs of the position. Congress needs to shut off the supply of H1B, and tell these companies to fix their hiring practices if they want to fix the "labor shortage".

When it comes to engineering, the difference between an XBox application programmer and Nokia OS programmer is many orders of magnitude smaller than the difference between an HR manager and an engineering manager... The guy being laid off could pick up and do any number of jobs currently being occupied by H1B holders without much fuss at all. Its about time, that these companies had their feet held to the fire.

4 days ago
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US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

geoskd Re:Free market economy (525 comments)

You as Americans have a choice and a vote, each 2-4 years. You can either do something or you don't want to. The spiral and time is working against you.

Every so often we get to vote, but we are limited to two choices, both of which have been given large sums of money by various PACs, which are essentially just fronts for various corporate officers. Often, the same PAC will back both candidates in any given race, just so that they get the benefit of backing the winner every time. There is no democratically elected leadership in this country anymore, there is only a selection between two candidates presented to the masses by the 1%. In all the ways that really matter (fiscal policy, economic policy, regulation, law enforcement, etc...), the candidates are identical. They will debate and argue over the issues that the public has been trained to believe really matter, but in reality the issues that are hotly contested don't really matter, and the ones that do, are quietly agreed upon behind closed doors. How many politicians that truly have power have done anything to end Guantanamo, or the rights abuses happening there? How many have done anything to end the systematic dissolution of our constitutional rights? How many have actually taken steps to fix the systemic problems that led to the recession? How many have taken any action to help eliminate the vastly disproportional power the 1% wield in our political system? How many have taken steps to address the extraordinary and growing wealth and earnings inequalities in our society?

The answer to these questions is now, and has been: none that matter. The only way we will be able to undo the damage the 1% have done to our country will be through an extraordinary action outside the accepted political system, because everything inside the political system has been thoroughly corrupted by those with the real power: the 1%.

4 days ago
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Microsoft CEO To Slash 18,000 Jobs, 12,500 From Nokia To Go

geoskd Re:The cycle begins again (381 comments)

Just remember that companies like Valve were founded by ex-Microsoft software engineers.

I'll bet you anything they were never any of the ones on the chopping block for a layoff...

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Dedicated Low Power Embedded Dev System Choice?

geoskd Re:BBB (183 comments)

The comoditization of embedded hardware designed happened over a decade ago. Have you heard of Kontron? PC104? Com Express? You seem to have missed the 2000's.... this is nothing new. These days it is amazing what is put on a DIMM module - far more than the Beagle Bone and Pi toys provide and at far lower unit prices.

The commoditization of these designs depended on several factors happening all at once.

First, processor power had to pass a threshold. Having a processor that is fast enough to handle an embedded system running a custom operating system (or more likely just a simple set of interrupt handlers and startup code) is a lot slower than the processor needed to run a full fledged kernel like modern Linux. The custom Software saves huge amounts of unit-cost, at the cost of time-to-market.

The second item that was needed was price point. Even $45 per unit is still high for the BBB black, but the RPi at $35 is pretty close. Even the BBB is close enough to work with.

Third, mainstream OS support. This is critical, because it turned a legion of higher-level programmers into embedded programmers. This, again, helps to reduce TTM

Last, the availability and maturity of simple to wire peripherals, and the availability of software libraries for using these peripherals. This is probably the most key part because you now have the ability to buy a modular set of components, and wire them all together with very little, if any, electronics knowledge and get a working system. Again, it all drives TTM, and in todays world TTM is everything. Just ask Microsoft how their tablet and phone business' are doing to find out how important TTM really is.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Dedicated Low Power Embedded Dev System Choice?

geoskd Re:Solaris not well supported by OSS toolchain (183 comments)

An MSP430 has idle currents measured in uA, and a chip costs in the region of $1.50, with no external components required. BBB isn't useful in applications that require running off of a watch battery for a year, and isn't cheap enough to consider adding as an additional component in consumer electronics.

and the MSP430 doesn't have enough horsepower for most things I want to do, and even if it did, the additional resources needed to design with it, and the additional time-to-market that these would introduce make it non-viable in todays world. As I said, time-to-market is everything. MS didn't get where they are because they made a superior product, they got there because they had a working product when the market opportunity arrived. Short TTM doesn't guarantee success, but TTM that is too long guarantees failure...

about two weeks ago
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The Least They Could Do: Amazon Charges 1 Cent To Meet French Free Shipping Ban

geoskd Re: Not France vs US (308 comments)

Maybe not. The law says they need to charge shipping costs, so unless their couriers are charging them Ã0.01 they are probably not complying. They are just hoping that it takes the authorities a long time to get around to forcing them to charge the real price, which will be obfuscated as much as possible, by which time the will have forced even more of the competition out of business.

This actually presents an interesting problem. Many carriers contractually require that shippers not disclose the discounts they are being given. That means that if Amazon discloses the discounted shipping rates they are paying, then they loose their discounts, and everyone pays retail. This basically royally screws the shippers, and the consumers. As usual, the French have completely failed to think through the consequences of their actions. It continues a fine decades long tradition of fucking up in the name of protectionism. Its the reason, they have double and triple the rate of unemployment of the rest of the world.

Protectionism only works if your society is close to export parity. If you can afford to close your borders completely without collapsing your economy, then protectionism will work (and you actually don't need it under those circumstances). Whenever there is an imbalance, protectionism screws up the local economy. If there is a trade deficit, then your economy hemorrhages money until everyone is broke and in debt. If there is a trade surplus, then protectionism shuts it down, as no one wants to buy from the over-priced asshat who actively blocks foreign competition. With parity, you can afford to significantly reduce trade in both direction (and you will), but any other time its a bad idea.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Dedicated Low Power Embedded Dev System Choice?

geoskd Re:Solaris not well supported by OSS toolchain (183 comments)

Try developing for an MSP430 on the MSP430...

Why would I bother when I can just use the BBB platform and run with it. Unless you're going to be selling millions of units, The time-to-market of the BBB platform trumps all.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Dedicated Low Power Embedded Dev System Choice?

geoskd Re:BBB (183 comments)

I'm sure that TI will be making 335x until people stop buying them. TI generally doesn't EOL parts like that. But putting whole BBBs in products seems a bit risky for a lot of other reasons.

As opposed to undertaking to spin your own processor board? The BBB is a complete functional platform that is cost competitive for all but the largest quantities, and shows all the signs of being at the beginning of its life-cycle. Its undergone 2 minor revisions in 12 months, and there are several active design communities. The list of peripherals is growing by leaps and bounds. Lastly, by Beagleboard.orgs own accounting, the demand far exceeds the supply, and people are clearly using them as more than just a prototyping platform.

It all goes back to time to market. These things allow even relatively inexperienced users to build off a powerful platform and create good-enough-to-market products that can be ready to ship in a fraction of the time. Dev houses using the BBB and RPi as base systems are going to eat everyones lunch. It is the comoditization of embedded hardware design. It was bound to happen sooner or later. the RPi started it, but the BBB brought enough IO channels to really get the ball rolling..

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Dedicated Low Power Embedded Dev System Choice?

geoskd Re:Save yourself some pain ... (183 comments)

Citation please.

The vast majority of cell phone makers use ARM based processors, and with Smartphones, battery life is a gigantic deal breaker. This would suggest to me that large numbers of design engineers concluded that ARM was at the very least "good enough" in power efficiency to allow its use.

This leads me to conclude that either ARM is better in this department, or that the difference is trivial enough that other trade offs make it worth it.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Dedicated Low Power Embedded Dev System Choice?

geoskd Re:That makes no sense. (183 comments)

How much does it really matter when a small project will only take 15 seconds to compile on the BBB. So what that a cross-compiler can do it in 2 seconds. it'll still take close to 15 seconds total when you include the time to type the commands to download the executable. Even if it was only 7 seconds, it is still only a negligible gain.

now if you were compiling a kernel, or god-forbid something really big like open-office, or some such then I could understand, but for the vast majority of embedded work, it just doesn't matter. The embedded devices are fast enough.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Dedicated Low Power Embedded Dev System Choice?

geoskd Re:Save yourself some pain ... (183 comments)

If you are building a project which requires some special hardware then you don't have to waste time porting a driver from x86 to ARM, MIPS, Sparc, etc.

In my experience, most embedded machines these days are ARM, and finding x86 ports is more of a challenge. Between the explosion of ARM based cell phones, and the Rpi/BBB, x86 is becoming less and less relevant (and with it MS/Intel)

Active android development is almost all ARM, and x86 is ported as an afterthought.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Dedicated Low Power Embedded Dev System Choice?

geoskd Re:With Ubuntu. BBB (183 comments)

The new BBB version is popular and hard to find but the extra flash is nice.

https://specialcomp.com/beaglebone/index.htm

How many do you want? These are not from Beagleboard, and are not Beagleboard certified, but they can be had in almost unlimited quantities and work as advertised. They are manufactured to the open specs. They are being manufactured by a third party in China in vast quantities for commercial use. They cost more than the official versions mostly because you can actually get your hands on them from these guys in nearly limitless quantities (up to 100+ they have in stock to ship right now, more than that might take a day or two, and order for a couple thousand might actually take them a week, but i doubt it) Rumor has it they are moving more than 100k units/month

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Dedicated Low Power Embedded Dev System Choice?

geoskd Re:BBB (183 comments)

Because of the poor reliability of MMC, I prefer to use SSD these days

MMC reliability is fine. I thought I was going to have problems using the MMC on the BBB as well, so I set about beating several of them severely. I setup accelerated read-write-read testing, and started pounding on the BBB internal MMC. with 3 boards at over 5M writes to a single 512Byte block each, none of the devices failed. I read some literature which suggests that the MMC rotates sector usage to even out wear, which, if true, means that you would have to do the equivalent of recording 100,000 hours of HD video before you will burn out the MMC.

The other issue with the Beagle Bone is that the processor is kind of on a dead end in terms of development cycle. That is, TI is not actively developing new OMAPs, but they have been authoring most of the Linux drivers for these chips. TI will continue to produce the OMAPs that are on the Beagle Bone, but I wonder how much they will continue to support driver development for future Linux.

Embedded devices are install and forget machines. It doesn't matter much who supports them or doesn't once they are in the field. As far as unit availability, Special Computing is ramping up production and already surpassed all the other BBB manufacturers combined. Last I heard, they were over 120k per month production, the vast majority of which is going into mass-production doo-hickeys from various manufacturers. Our own embedded system uses 1 or more of them in every unit we sell.

The biggest advantage to the BBB (and to a lesser degree the Rpi) is time-to-market. An embedded system used to take 3 to 4 years to develop from conception mass-pro. With the BBB, we were able to do an entire embedded system, From absolute zero to mass-pro in 18 months. The case took longer to design than the embedded hardware!

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Has anyone seen my rabbit?

geoskd geoskd writes  |  about a year ago

geoskd (321194) writes "Scientists at the university of Hawaii have created glow in the dark rabbits. Where can I get my hands on one of these critters? It would drive the cats nuts! These guys are missing a bet, they could sell these things for big bucks and use the money to further fund their research. This is the perfect gift for the geek who has "everything"."
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Olympic committee blocking all video of Luge death

geoskd geoskd writes  |  more than 4 years ago

geoskd (321194) writes "The International Olympic committee has issued take-down notices for all videos of the accident on the luge track yesterday, but it begs the question, why are all these sites accepting the take-down requests? The incident certainly qualifies as news, and unless I missed my guess, news is one of the accepted fair use exemptions."
Link to Original Source
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TinmeWarner looses New york state

geoskd geoskd writes  |  more than 5 years ago

geoskd writes "Time Warner lost service for all of upstate new york for five hours today. No one yet knows what caused the outage, but automated messages at the companies technical support service indicated that the problem included the entirety of upstate new york. What little information is available here. It begs the question: What single point of failure could take out such a large geographical area without taking down the whole service provider? It was a peculiar failure, as I still had network service, but no name service during the outage. I also could not get a DHCP renewal from Time Warner, so when I renewed my lease, I lost connectivity altogether."
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geoskd geoskd writes  |  more than 7 years ago

geoskd writes "I was in a Staples store for unrelated buying yesterday, and noticed that although the iPOD displays were still posted, and all the iPOD accessories were still for sale, the iPOD's were nowhere to be found. After asking one of the sales people where they went, they told me that the iPOD is not offered for sale by Staples. I checked http://staples.com/, and sure enough, under the mp3 players category, there was a heading for Apple, but no products were listed. I have noticed in a number of other stores that I have been in recently, including Best Buy, and Circuit City that the iPOD displays that used to take a fair amount of room, have been removed and replaced with Microsoft displays, featuring the Zune, and the other playsforsure devices, but the iPODs have been relegated to tiny/hidden shelf space. Is this just normal practice for a new product entering the marketplace, or is there something larger (read: more sinister) going on?"

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