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Quiet Cooling With a Copper Foam Heatsink

gman003 Not a high-end machine (164 comments)

It's using a Core i7-4785T, an "ultra-low power" processor (shown by the T suffix - S indicates a "low-power" part, and K indicating an overclockable part). This particular one is a 35W part running at only 2.2GHz, while the regular i7-4790 runs at 3.6GHz (and 84W)[citation]. Turbo boost can bring that up to 3.2GHz on a single core (on the regular chip, 4.0GHz). So the CPU is not a regular desktop chip at all, let alone a "high-end" one.

The Nvidia GeForce 760 is a bit of an interesting choice. It's not powerful enough to be called "high-end" (I would apply that label only to the 780 and 780 Ti of that series), but it doesn't fit with the ultra-low power CPU. If they were thermally constrained (as their CPU choice indicates), I would have expected to see the 750 Ti - not too much weaker (~30% [citation]), but with a far lower power draw (it's the most powerful card to be powered only by PCIe, no extra power connections needed). Seriously, the 760 is a 170W card, and the 750 Ti is a 60W card. Seeing how they handicapped the CPU to shave off 50W, I don't see their logic for not shaving 110W for a similar performance penalty.

Because of their choice of CPU, I can't really support their claim of being a high-end desktop with passive cooling. They are much more powerful than most fanless PCs, but most fanless PCs are also designed for industrial use, not for regular office/home environment. So it's an improvement, but not a revolutionary one.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Preparing an Android Tablet For Resale?

gman003 Re:To answer the question directly (112 comments)

I don't know, but I'll take it. It did get one Funny, that was just outweighed by the two Insightfuls.

I'm also kicking myself for not ending it with "Who will bear this burden? Who will take the tablet into Mordor?", so we could get a nice group-quoting going on.

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Preparing an Android Tablet For Resale?

gman003 Re:To answer the question directly (112 comments)

If I was feeling especially paranoid, I would probably hurl the thing into a cauldron of molten lava

The device cannot be truly destroyed by any means we currently possess. The flames of an ancient wyrm could perhaps unmake it, but such dragons are not to be found in these parts. I suggest gathering a fellowship to carry the tablet to the mountain Amon Amarth, in the dark pits of the land of Mordor, and cast it into the fires of Mt. Doom in which it was forged. Only then can we be sure that it is unmade, completely and utterly, and will trouble us no longer.

3 days ago
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SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short

gman003 Re:putting OP's bullshit into context (132 comments)

You are factually wrong on several counts.

SpaceX is not working on any version of the CST-100, and their only relation is that the CST-100 is supposedly designed to be compatible with the Falcon 9 launcher (I have reasonable doubt that will happen). They delivered the Dragon cargo capsule, and are working on the manned Dragon V2.

Boeing's CST-100 is orbital, not suborbital. Suborbital means it will not complete a single orbit, like a missile.

Sierra's Dream Chaser is also not suborbital. It also uses many non-NASA technologies, such as the hybrid rocket engines.

You further have many logical errors, the most persistent being the conflation of the launch vehicle with the crew vehicle. SLS, Falcon 9 and Atlas V are launch vehicles. Orion, Dragon, CST-100 and Dream Chaser are crew vehicles.

Orion is NASA's crew vehicle (actually, Lockheed Martin's, but I'll get to that in a bit). It is not suitable for missions beyond the Moon - it has a designed mission length of only three weeks (21 days), which is unsuitable for anything beyond Earth orbit. You are correct that manned deep-space missions will need a super-heavy launch vehicle such as SLS, but Orion itself will not be the crew vehicle.

You also make a mistake in your history. NASA did not produce the Apollo landers or the Saturn V (what I assume you refer to as "what nasa did 30 years ago" or "other NASA firsts"). They set the requirements, and solicited bids from private companies. Just as they're doing now - Orion is being made by Lockheed Martin, the SLS boosters are being made by ATK, Rocketdyne is making the core engines, Boeing is making the upper stage. Really, all NASA is doing is assembling the entire thing, and of course setting the specs and requirements.

Let's look at the Apollo command module, the closest equivalent to Orion/CST-100/Dragon. It was developed by North American Aviation. They merged with Rockwell-Standard during the 1967 to form North American Rockwell, later renamed to Rockwell International, under which name they produced the Space Shuttle orbiter. The Rockwell International space division was sold in 1996 to... Boeing.

Boeing isn't "ripping off from NASA firsts". They're building off work that they did for NASA in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. If anything "NASA" is ripping of them, but I remind you that Lockheed Martin is the one actually building the thing you want to attribute to NASA.

Sierra Nevada is building off SpaceShipOne technology, not any NASA programs. Just because it looks vaguely like the Space Shuttle, that does not mean it actually works the same way. The engines are completely and fundamentally different, as is the aerodynamic design.

And SpaceX is developing everything on their own. The only thing they used from another company is some software/control design from Tesla Motors, a company not coincidentally also owned by Elon Musk. I personally doubt much was even borrowed there except for the basic idea of a single big touchscreen, but I guess it makes for good brand advertising.

tl;dr you're wrong in your terminology, you're wrong in your facts, you're wrong in your logic, and you're wrong in your conclusions.

about a week ago
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SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short

gman003 Re:SLS and comparing to spacex (132 comments)

The phrase "deep space vehicle" is misleading - it's the payload, not the launcher, that has to be deep-space. However, the SLS is a heavy lift vehicle (70Mg to LEO for the Block I configuration, 130Mg in Block II), while Falcon 9 is a medium lift vehicle (10Mg to LEO). However, the planned Falcon 9 Heavy is also a heavy lift vehicle (53Mg to LEO), and seems much more likely to actually fly.

For comparison on those numbers, the Saturn V was 120Mg, the Space Shuttle was 25Mg, Proton is 20Mg, and Delta IV-H (the most powerful currently-flying launcher) is 23Mg. For a better perspective, to launch the entire ISS, you would need either seven SLS Block Is, four SLS Block IIs, nine Falcon 9 Heavies, or forty-five Falcon 9s.

about a week ago
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Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

gman003 Problem fixing itself (547 comments)

I'm moderately nearsighted, enough that I legally need glasses to drive. I blame books - I read constantly as a child, so my eyes never needed to focus far away.

Nowadays, I've traded the books in for computers, which I use upward of 10 hours a day. At first, that made my eyesight worse. But once I started taking off my glasses for extended computer use, my eyes actually started improving. I've actually gone back to an old, weaker prescription for my glasses.

about a week ago
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No RIF'd Employees Need Apply For Microsoft External Staff Jobs For 6 Months

gman003 Re:NTFS, exFAT, UDF (282 comments)

Look at Windows CE stuff some time - I've seen two different systems, made by two different companies, running on CE 6 and WP7, where the media player doesn't work quite right playing from SD cards or USB flash drives (they cannot read files where a file with the same name had been written and then deleted, and they sort by file creation order, completely ignoring directories).

Perhaps it was just the same mistake made twice, but the simpler explanation is that Windows CE has shoddy FAT support, since both systems run CE kernels.

about two weeks ago
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Researchers Test Developer Biometrics To Predict Buggy Code

gman003 Here's a better idea (89 comments)

How about instead of spending a small fortune solving the handful of bugs caused by programmer typos, you spend that money on better requirements gathering, keeping specifications from changing constantly, and giving programmers time to actually unit-test and document their code?

If you want some fancy tech so you can write a paper on it, make an "electro-stimulus behavior moderation band", strap it onto clients/managers, and give them fifty thousand volts whenever they say or do something stupid.

about two weeks ago
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No RIF'd Employees Need Apply For Microsoft External Staff Jobs For 6 Months

gman003 Re:NTFS, exFAT, UDF (282 comments)

Considering I still encounter Microsoft products that have problems with FAT32, yeah, there probably are some that have problems with UDF.

about two weeks ago
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A Look At NASA's Orion Project

gman003 The one good feature of ARM (108 comments)

NASA's vaunted "Asteroid Redirect Mission" is now widely regarded as crap. It doesn't give us any new knowledge, it's not a good intermediate step for human colonization of space, and it's been mismanaged so badly that you could tell me it had been infiltrated by Russians intent on destroying America, and I wouldn't much doubt it.

But it does have one saving grace: it's our best shot if we ever find an asteroid headed for Earth impact.

I found this out sort of by accident - I was playing Kerbal Space Program, which has a NASA-sponsored module for doing asteroid redirects. I had a ship designed for that in orbit, and was looking for a good target.

I found one. On a direct intercept course. About a week out.

To make things worse, it was at like 80 degrees inclination. To cut a very long story short, I managed to redirect it to aerobrake, then stabilized the orbit so it wouldn't eventually deorbit.

Now, I fully realize that was a game, and that rocket science is actually a lot more complex than strapping a shitload of boosters to everything (my standard design). But the basic principle remains - something that can redirect an asteroid to enter lunar orbit is also something that can redirect an asteroid off of an impact course.

I don't know if that fully justifies the program - it's an absurd expense for what we get. On the other hand, what price can we put on avoiding extinction?

about two weeks ago
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Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

gman003 Re:In Verizon's defense (390 comments)

I prefer the old maxim "nuke it from orbit - it's the only way to be sure".

about two weeks ago
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Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

gman003 Re:In Verizon's defense (390 comments)

Trebuchet? Why so low-tech?

They should call up Elon Musk, see if they can launch 15 tons worth of pennies onto a nice trajectory ending at Verizon HQ.

about two weeks ago
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Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say

gman003 Re:This makes sense. (280 comments)

We are, regrettably, impeded by whacked out sysadmins who insist we must use THEIR idea of a strong password -- which always seems to be different from anyone else's idea of a strong password, and/or that we need to change passwords periodically, and/or that we can't reuse passwords.

I sometimes seems that there is an inverse relationship between the actual need for security and the system administrator's perception of the need for security.

This.

I tried to do something basically like this - I have three password strengths, one for low-security throwaway stuff, another for regular stuff (with suffixing so one compromised site won't affect others unless I am specifically targeted), and a max-security one.

Guess which one I use for banking. It's the mid-tier one, MINUS the special characters and suffix. They have an upper length limit that keeps my max-security password from being used for the one thing it really should have been used for.

The only thing that max-security password secures now is root access to my BSD box (and I have sudo set up with nopw, so I never even use that). Everything else is secured by something that really isn't secure enough.

about two weeks ago
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Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer

gman003 Re:Same business model, different business (401 comments)

That's part of the joke. If they're able to catch it, you get even more fun - accuse them of switching to IPv5, on the logic that IPv6 uses hexadecimal but 666 won't fit into IPv4, so it has to be whatever's in between.

about two weeks ago
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Marvel's New Thor Will Be a Woman

gman003 Feminism is trendy now - good! (590 comments)

The comic book industry has started to realize that sexism is bad for business. There's still plenty of remnants left (especially at DC - see the New 52 Starfire kerfluffle), but it's changing. The comics press has been talking about it for years, indie comics have been doing it for longer, and now Marvel is riding the trend. If you can even call it a trend - I really doubt "treating both genders as equals" is something that will go out of style, barring another dark age or something.

Yes, it's a bit gimmicky, taking an established character and replacing him with a her. But comic plots in general are pretty gimmicky. And they took care to keep the "old" character around, he's just depowered (something that happens to superheroes pretty much constantly). So it's not as big a change as it might outwardly seem (especially since Marvel has two continuities, and they haven't said if this is Ultimate universe or the original universe Thor being replaced - so either way, a male Thor will still be around in at least one universe).

Marvel's business side is probably doing it only because it's trendy and makes them look good, but I don't feel like the writers are doing it purely for that reason. Hard to tell at this point, though. The armor is potentially problematic - boob plate is better than most female characters used to get, but it's still not good design (both from a realist perspective (good way to break your own ribs and guide blows straight to your heart), and a feminist perspective (you're only doing it because boobs)). But other than that, they're at least talking like they're making her a proper female character. Marvel's been doing well with that of late (see Ms Marvel for a widely-praised example).

Modern feminism gets a bad rap because of the extremists, because they're the loudest and easiest to argue with. But they aren't the majority - the bulk are just people who think gender equality is a good thing, which is much harder to argue with.

about two weeks ago
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Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer

gman003 Re:Same business model, different business (401 comments)

But that's boring. There's so many more fun responses you could give. CSRs don't argue as much with "crazy" customers so it even makes things easier for you (plus, it messes with their statistics).
"That information is classified."
"The stars are in alignment. The prophecy must be fulfilled."
"I'm moving to Elbonia."
"The NASCAR team you sponsored keeps losing, so I'm switching to a winner like AOL."
"I got assigned an IP ending in .666. I refuse to support any company with such obvious anti-christian leanings."
"I finished reading the whole internet, I really don't see any point in keeping it once I've read it all."

about two weeks ago
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Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer

gman003 Re:Had to stop after a minute... (401 comments)

And there is no good reason to make it public, either. If I want to stop doing business with anybody, I do not have to give them a reason.

They aren't really interested in the reason - at least, the CSR doesn't give a single fuck about it. I'm sure management is interested in the numbers, but even then I doubt they care too much. The CSR was just using it as a ploy to make it harder to cancel.

Had it been me, I would have said this:
"If you continue to refuse to cancel my service, I will be forced to take legal action. This call is being recorded and may be used as evidence. I don't know how bad your employers penalties are for letting a customer leave, but I imagine the penalties for giving a customer grounds for a lawsuit are far worse. So I will say this one last time: cancel my service immediately."

about two weeks ago
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SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Blasts Off From Florida

gman003 So was the landing successful? (112 comments)

The article is pretty vague about potentially the most important part of this launch - the reusable landing system. The article says they were going to "test" this. First, they're unclear as to whether that's a full return-to-launch test, or another "soft landing in water" test. Then they don't say whether that test was successful - they switch weirdly from past tense when describing the launch to future tense when describing the test, despite them being pretty much the same event.

about two weeks ago
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The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

gman003 Re:Hi speed chase, hum? (443 comments)

Minor collision? The BusinessInsider source claims the pursuing officers had to be hospitalized. That doesn't sound "minor" to me.

And they only broke off pursuit when it became impossible for them to continue, not when it became unsafe. Many police departments now have a policy of not performing chases for non-violent crimes because, statistically, you're more likely to kill bystanders by chasing than by letting the criminal drive off.

about three weeks ago

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