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Political Pressure Pushes NASA Technical Reports Offline

hardie Re:lol (140 comments)

This is usually referred to as closing the barn door after the horse gets out.

Maybe some other country will post the reports so we can have access to them.

about 2 years ago

Seniors Search For Virtual Immortality

hardie Re:Revelation space (209 comments)

Also try Dark as Day by Charles Sheffield. He has a somewhat different take on personality simulations. Excellent book.

about 2 years ago

Tesla Motors To Pay Off Government Loan 5 Years Early

hardie Re:Bad news for Elon haters (243 comments)

Wait--if they pay off a loan, it increases their debt?
At worst the debt transfers from one place to the other.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Software To Help Stay On Task?

hardie Re:Confess your lack of productivity (301 comments)

What does enjoying life and family have to do with reading email and watching cat videos? Life is that stuff outside the computer.

about 2 years ago

The Book of GIMP

hardie Re:My experience with the GIMP (197 comments)

Clap, clap, clap, clap.
I have struggled with Gimp for several years (only intermittent use). I tried to avoid it, because it always took a bunch of work just to figure out how to do something that should be simple.

Just recently I switched to Photoshop. What a breath of fresh air. I'm having very few problems.
Stuff that I commonly did in Gimp through several menus and drill down choices; in PS there are three control key presses that do the same thing. I'm sure you could force Gimp to do something similar, but what's the point? PS is by far easier to work with.

about 2 years ago

LibreOffice 4 Released

hardie Re:Why this dilution? (249 comments)

I think this is incorrect. I use OO at work remote at my home office. Work is in another state, they all use MS.

I started with LO but ran into a couple of significant issues. This was in the October-December 2012 timeframe, with the then current release.
1. My tech sent me an Excel file of data and plots. The plots were on the same sheet as the data, four columns of data, four plots. In LO one of the plots has the wrong data--it is plotting a different column than specified in the Excel file. I consider this a major error/problem. This alone would keep me from using LO.
2. If I put pictures into a text document and send it to the folks using Word, there are lots of format problems. Pictures are off center, so much as being half off the page. They are the wrong size, which screws up formatting from then until the next manual page break.

OO has neither of these problems. For that reason, I think it is far more compatible/reliable with MS Word and Excel.

about 2 years ago

Startup Offers Pay-Per-Page E-Books

hardie ILL (81 comments)

Haven't these people heard of inter library loan?

about 2 years ago

UK Researchers Build Micron LED Light Based Wireless Network

hardie Re:Wavelength (70 comments)

i kan reed is correct. The issue is not some theoretical one involving the frequency of light. The question is "how fast can you modulate an LED"?

about 2 years ago

Asteroid Apophis Just Got Bigger

hardie Re:2029 approach (182 comments)

How reassuring that they have such accurate estimates of things like orbit and mass.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Ideas For a Geek Remodel?

hardie Re:This is the in-law's house right? (372 comments)

One more--if you're doing the work yourself, it will take anywhere from 2 to 10 times as long as a real contractor would take. This is why their pay grade is higher than yours (in contracting...). The quick estimate is to take the contractor's wage (say $60/hour) versus your "skilled" labor at $10: it will take you six times as long.

Next, add in the effects of only working on weekends (if so), and not being in shape for a full day of serious hustle contractor labor...it takes even longer.

I am a dedicated do-it-myselfer. I don't mean to discourage, but go into this with eyes open.


about 2 years ago

Zimmermann's Silent Circle Now Live

hardie Phil Zimmerman is ok in my book (127 comments)

I worked with Phil for awhile at StorageTek--6 months or a year I think. He's a very smart guy. He was also one of the most evangelistic people I have ever met. I do NOT mean this in a religious sense, any way shape or form. At the time (this was the 1980's) he spoke a lot (incessantly?) about the danger of nuclear war and all these bombs we've got. I expect that this same incredible focus and sense of purpose has now been applied to security, which could be a really good thing. I also expect that he has mellowed a bit, but that's just a guess.


more than 2 years ago

Mozilla Details How Old Plugins Will Be Blocked In Firefox 17

hardie Re:Yet another reason to dump FF (152 comments)

Don't those folks have anything better to do?

more than 2 years ago

Intelligence Agencies Turn To Crowdsourcing

hardie Sans serif (41 comments)

My first thought, not having RFA: Does IARPA start with a capital i or a lower case L?

LARPA might make more sense.


more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What Equipment and Furniture For an Electronics Hardware Lab?

hardie Mostly an analog related list (208 comments)

I've scanned through the comments and I'm trying to offer stuff I haven't seen. I also emphasize things that were said but I feel strongly about.

A metal wastebasket, used with a bin liner. When you have a possible pickup problem, remove the contents with the bin liner and invert the wastebasket over your circuit. Plastic won't do it. If you're at a larger company, get a "Calibration not required" sticker from QA. Then when facilities runs off with your wastebasket because it helps keep down the static at the shredder, you can prove it isn't their wastebasket (guess how I know this).
Sink. Someone said to put your bench in a concrete floored room like a garage because then you could put in a drain. I think a concrete floor has to be the worst place to install a drain after the fact. You can put a drain anywhere. My new metalworking shop has a sink, and just being able to wash brushes and hands is a huge plus.
Second story shelf on bench for equipment--should be obvious to one skilled in the art.
Goggles if you do power electronics.
Quality soldering iron. I like Hexacon for a straight iron, but they have their problems too.
Computer for instrument control and data capture. Think about where the keyboard is actually going to be useful; do you want it on a tray under the bench, or under the second story shelf so you can use it standing up?

The tiny little scopes made now are great if you need portable or are desperate for space. If you've ever used a fine lined analog scope and switch to an inexpensive one like my TDS2014, you'll hate the display (I think it's only 8 bits and shows a lot of quantization). Mine is borrowed, so I put up with it.
DO NOT buy a digital scope without having used it for a few hours. Some of the early ones had horrifying user interfaces, and they worked about that well too.
Regardless of whether you have a digital scope, get a Tek 2465. One of the best analog scopes ever made.
Instruments now come with LARGER screens, what a great idea.
High accuracy dvm; Keithley 2000, various HP's.
Stereo dissection microscope with zoom and light--pick this up surplus.
Other fine instruments to fit your specialty. HP is almost always a good bet.

Remember, unless you're 90 years old, you don't have to get it all at once. Putting together a lab should be spread out over time, especially as you learn that you should do things a different way, or encounter deals at auctions or other used.


more than 2 years ago

Why Worms In the Toilet Might Be a Good Idea

hardie A toilet with pedals? (124 comments)

Do the kids get training wheels?

more than 2 years ago

All Over But the Funding: Open Hardware Spectrometer Kit

hardie Re:Pretty cool ... (62 comments)

Actually, it IS workable. Check out the link.

more than 2 years ago



Remote whiteboard with digital pen?

hardie hardie writes  |  more than 7 years ago

hardie writes "I work from home. I and co-workers need to be able to send fairly simple drawings back and forth. Shared whiteboard software is available to do this, but drawing with a mouse is terrible. I think that pen drawing without a line appearing on the surface you are drawing on is likely almost as bad. Is there a way to marry a digital pen (which leaves behind either a trail of ink or an equivalent, like marks on a graphics pad) to shared whiteboard software? It could work in Windows or Linux. We do analog circuit design, and describing schematics verbally or with minutes delay to draw and send just isn't as effective. Thanks, Steve"


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