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The Personal Computer Revolution Behind the Iron Curtain

hackertourist Re:'it is out of stock now; try to ask next year.' (109 comments)

Uh, no. West Germany largely recovered on its own. They didn't have access to Marshall Plan funds until after their economic recovery had started. In fact the US and its allies started the postwar period by removing lots of valuables (coal and steel industry, patents, scientists) from Germany.

2 days ago
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Jaguar and Land Rover Just Created Transparent Pillars For Cars

hackertourist Re:Or just make the A-pillar narrower. (190 comments)

Small A-pillars were SOP when behavior in a crash wasn't subject to legislation. As a result, you'd have A-pillars that buckled into the passenger compartment at the slightest provocation.
These days, the goal is a door frame strong enough that you can still open the door after a crash.

2 days ago
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3D Printer?

hackertourist Re:Meh. (167 comments)

Same with 3D printers. Have you seen the list of materials Shapeways can print in?

I'm not arguing a machine shop isn't useful. Just saying there are greater barriers to entry than with 3D printing.

3 days ago
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3D Printer?

hackertourist Re:Meh. (167 comments)

Then you haven't been paying much attention wrt creativity. 3D printing is transforming my hobby (building scale models).
The drawback of the traditional machine shop is the long learning curve. I've had a lathe for about 2 years now, and I still feel I've barely scratched the surface of what it can do. This is caused by fear: getting it wrong means potentially wrecking the machine. And lack of time (to go on a metalworking course, for instance).
The same thing has held me back from buying a CNC mill: it'd take years before I could do much with it.
I've had a much easier time getting into 3D printing. Now part of that is the fact I can outsource the actual printing (Shapeways) so all I have to do is learn how to draw in a 3D CAD program. I haven't found places that offer one-off CNC jobs in the same vein.

3 days ago
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Is Enterprise IT More Difficult To Manage Now Than Ever?

hackertourist Re:bring back the green IBM 3270 (238 comments)

This drivel is scored +5, Insightful?
A text-only terminal is barely adequate for basic data entry, and useless at anything else. Guess what, basic data entry's about 1% of what office workers need to do these days. On an average day I write documents, create and edit drawings, and I create programs and scripts. All of which benefit from having 24" pixel-addressable screens and a decent GUI. Force me to work on a fucking terminal and my productivity goes through the floor.

Your job is to SUPPORT the users, not hinder them at every turn.

4 days ago
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Samsung SSD 850 EVO 32-Layer 3D V-NAND-Based SSD Tested

hackertourist Why is 3D NAND better? (127 comments)

TFA says:

The move to 32-layer 3D VNAND 3-bit MLC flash brings pricing down to the .50 to .60 per GiB range, but doesn't adversely affect endurance because the cell structure doesn't suffer from the same inherent limitations of planar NAND, since the cells are stacked vertically with the 3D VNAND.

which didn't make sense to me. Luckily Anandtech has a non-gibberish explanation:

Rather than increasing density by shrinking cell size, Samsung's V-NAND takes a few steps back in process technology and instead stacks multiple layers of NAND cells on top of one another. ...In the floating gate MOSFET, electrons are stored on the gate itself - a conductor. Defects in the transistor (e.g. from repeated writes) can cause a short between the gate and channel, depleting any stored charge in the gate. If the gate is no longer able to reliably store a charge, then the cell is bad and can no longer be written to. Ultimately this is what happens when you wear out an SSD.

With V-NAND, Samsung abandons the floating gate MOSFET and instead turns to its own Charge Trap Flash (CTF) design. An individual cell looks quite similar, but charge is stored on an insulating layer instead of a conductor. This seemingly small change comes with a bunch of benefits, including higher endurance and a reduction in overall cell size. That's just part of the story though.

V-NAND takes this CTF architecture, and reorganizes it into a non-planar design. The insulator surrounds the channel, and the control gate surrounds it. The 3D/non-planar design increases the physical area that can hold a charge, which in turn improves performance and endurance.

The final piece of the V-NAND puzzle is to stack multiple layers of these 3D CTF NAND cells. Since Samsung is building density vertically, there's not as much pressure to shrink transistor sizes. With relaxed planar space constraints, Samsung turned to an older manufacturing process (30nm class, so somewhere between 30 and 39nm) as the basis of V-NAND.

By going with an older process, Samsung inherently benefits from higher endurance and interference between cells is less of an issue. Combine those benefits with the inherent endurance advantages of CTF and you end up with a very reliable solution. Whereas present day 19/20nm 2-bit-per-cell MLC NAND is good for around 3000 program/erase cycles, Samsung's 30nm-class V-NAND could withstand over 10x that (35K p/e cycles).

about two weeks ago
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Heathrow Plane In Near Miss With Drone

hackertourist Re:This is _not_ an plane-vs-plane collision risk. (325 comments)

Birds are notoriously squishy. A drone carries one or more electric motors and a battery pack, both of which are rather denser and less breakable than bird bones.

about two weeks ago
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Consumer-Grade SSDs Survive Two Petabytes of Writes

hackertourist Re:HDD endurance? (125 comments)

Doesn't anyone hibernate their computer at the end of the day? 8 GBx365 days = 3 TB in one year for my main machine.

about two weeks ago
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Finland Dumps Handwriting In Favor of Typing

hackertourist Re:Dumps, you say? From the anus? (523 comments)

As if the US isn't knee-deep in accurate printed versions of all of those documents.

about two weeks ago
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First Star War Episode 7 Trailer Released

hackertourist oh yes (390 comments)

50 seconds worth of film in the trailer and it includes a bloody lens flare.

about three weeks ago
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Edsac Goes Live, At UK's National Museum of Computing

hackertourist These guys rule (37 comments)

The Colossus and Bombe replicas were amazing achievements, and they just keep going. Building complex machines with nothing but some photographs to go on.
Where's my 'we're not worthy' emoticon? _o_

about three weeks ago
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I prefer my turkey ...

hackertourist Missing option (189 comments)

Frozen, then dunked in a vat of boiling oil.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

hackertourist Re:8X cost increase up front (516 comments)

but you lose some reliability if your undergrounds flood/overheat/catch fire.

That's why over here usually, only the cables are underground. Equipment ends up in an above-ground cabinet. Power cables usually aren't in conduits so they're cooled by the surrounding soil and not prone to overheating.

about three weeks ago
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Lessons Learned From Google's Green Energy Bust

hackertourist Re:Citation needed (222 comments)

He's referring to a graph that was recently discussed on /., where various levels of funding are graphed against the probable time to develop a working fusion reactor. That graph shows the current level of funding as never achieving its goal.

about a month ago
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Martin Jetpack Closer To Takeoff In First Responder Applications

hackertourist Re:Not a jet pack (55 comments)

You can get various fun cars powered by motorbike engines these days. Several based on the old Lotus 7 (e.g. Westfield, Tiger) are in your 200 bhp/1000 lbs ballpark. Tiger do or did 2-engine versions (2WD, with one driving each rear wheel or 4WD, one per axle). You can even get a 2.8 litre V8 which is 2 Hayabusa blocks on a common crankshaft; with a supercharger if you wish. Hartley builds the engine, used by Radical and Ariel.

about a month ago
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YouTube Opens Up 60fps To Everyone

hackertourist More importantly (152 comments)

they seem to have fixed the site. For the last few months, opening the home page or doing a search locked up my browser for a minute or more. Today both stay responsive throughout the loading process. It's finally usable again!

about a month and a half ago
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Space Tourism Isn't Worth Dying For

hackertourist So, by his reasoning (594 comments)

no death is acceptable pursuing leasure activities. We should ban mountain climbing, parachute jumping, diving, all non-commercial travel including driving, and need I go on?

(tagged: drivel)

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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Power grid demand matching using flywheels

hackertourist hackertourist writes  |  more than 3 years ago

hackertourist writes "A novel type of electricity storage was recently added to the New York power grid. The unit, supplied by Beacon Power uses flywheels to store energy. The unit is intended to replace gas turbines in supplying short-term peaks in power demand (also known as frequency regulation). It can supply up to 20 MW, using 200 flywheels."
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