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Comments

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Gigantic Air Gun To Blast Cargo Into Orbit

karstux Re:G-forces ???? (384 comments)

The really expensive part of space travel, in terms of fuel and energy, is building up the velocity for orbit. I.e., "climbing the gravity well". That part at least is solved with the gun/cannon.

The next most expensive maneuver is changing orbital planes, that is, change the "tilt" of the orbit in respect to earth's axis. It would make sense to build the gun so that the payload ends up in an orbital plane very close to the ISS's. (Or whatever is the intended destination.)

Then, a space tug would only have to adjust height, eccentricity and phase, which are very cheap maneuvers. It might just be economical.

about 5 years ago
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Gigantic Air Gun To Blast Cargo Into Orbit

karstux Re:G-forces ???? (384 comments)

If all you want to do is have the payload achieve orbit, the thrust and guidance control is actually very simple. All you need is some sort of passive aerodynamic stabilization, to ensure that the craft maintains a constant prograde attitude. Then there would have to be a (solid-fuel) rocket motor, which is triggered by a timer as the craft reaches apoapsis (the highest point after launch, before it starts to drop again). If the thrust and burn duration of the rocket motor are correctly pre-determined (easy to do), you'll end up in a circular orbit.

about 5 years ago
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HD Video From The Edge of Space, On the Cheap

karstux Re:This seems to be getting pretty routine (205 comments)

Achieving orbit would be impossible for such a project. Most of the energy in spacefaring rockets is spent on gaining velocity, not altitude. This balloon would give a lot of altitude "for free", but virtually no velocity. Gravity is pretty much as strong at 30 km as it is here on the ground, so it's not like the rockets would have an easier time lifting the payload than they do at ground level.

more than 5 years ago
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New Chrome Beta Adds Themes, Speed, & HTML 5 Video

karstux Re:Still not a Chrome user (207 comments)

Well, first off Chrome is famous for its sandboxing concept. Each tab is a process in its own sandbox, so in theory, any compromisation of the browser stays contained. If it's pop up windows you worry about, these are confined to the tab that (attempts to) open them. So if a page opens a billion pop ups - just close that tab and it's all gone. Chrome even has its own task manager where you can kill processes on a per-page or plugin basis.

It's quite neat, really.

more than 5 years ago
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Windows 7 RTM Reviewed & Benchmarked

karstux Re:Fast way to shut down! (792 comments)

I like to conserve energy, so I don't leave my PC running when I'm not using it. I also don't use "standby", it's a useless power draw. When the PC is off, I physically separate it (and all the periphery) from the grid - so I do have to wait until shutdown is complete.

Hence, like booting up, shutting down is something I do once or twice a day, and it's comfortable to have it out of the way as quickly as possible so I don't have to sit around twiddling my thumbs.

more than 5 years ago
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Windows 7 RTM Reviewed & Benchmarked

karstux Re:Start-bar aka Dock! (792 comments)

True, the new task bar and start menu are pretty awesome. There's a good bit of OS X "inspiration" about it, but I don't mind - the usability is great. Now if only they had cloned Exposé and Spaces (or any good virtual desktop manager, really) while they were at it, it'd be the perfect windows.

Ah well, they need to sell Windows 8, at some point...

more than 5 years ago
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Student Sues University Because She's Unemployable

karstux Re:Depressing, but not uncommon (1251 comments)

Hell yeah. Very well put. Thank you. While personal responsibility should be reflected in wages as well, jobs should be paid reciprocal to their shittiness.

more than 5 years ago
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Panel Recommends Space Science, Not Stunts

karstux Re:Nonsense. Yeah... I think that is the word. (304 comments)

It is? Why would any human want to permanently go to another planet/moon/whatever? It's not like there are many places in our current solarsystem that most humans would consider a nice place to live. I'll agree that having people on another planet is cool (in much the same way that being able to juggle flaming chainsaws is cool), I fail to see what makes it useful to us, especially the 'permanently' part.

It's a culture thing. Living in conditions and environments that we haven't inhabited before broadens our cultural perspective on an existential level. Colonizing the world did it, as did landing on the moon, and now we need to take the next steps or stagnate. Everyone who has gone to orbit and seen the world from far above has returned a different man (or woman), and I feel it would be beneficial to mankind to culturally ingrain that experience by making space accessible for everyone.

After all, if we don't develop our culture, there's not much point in existing at all.

more than 5 years ago
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Even More Restriction For German Internet

karstux Re:Minister for Family Affairs (330 comments)

Well, to be fair, it's more a matter of Minister von der Leyen grossly overstepping her competencies. She simply shouldn't dabble in matters of communication and infrastructure. Of course, that's a benevolent interpretation... and it's shocking and unsettling that she was able to install the law.

more than 5 years ago
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Even More Restriction For German Internet

karstux Re:4chan (330 comments)

Not all is lost in Germany. Political activism against the ongoing restriction of our civil rights is strongly on the rise. The petition against the censorship law has been mentioned in the article, and our Pirate Party has gained thousands of new members in the past few months. It has done pretty well in the European elections this year, and I think that public awareness to civil rights matters has improved since then. I strongly hope the Pirates will enter the Bundestag (parliament) in September.

Our government has used pretty underhanded techniques to push these laws, effectively grouping all opposition to the censorship law with child molesters. So if you ask someone on the street if "they're against a law which will combat child pornography on the internet", of course they will decline. On the other hand, if you asked them if "government and police should be able to censor the internet at will", the result would surely be different.

By the way, this phenomenon is not unique to Germany. In America, civil rights have been whittled away with terrorists as a scarecrow.

more than 5 years ago
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Prototype Vehicle For the Blind

karstux Re:Even the blind... (238 comments)

A laser range-finder could probably detect a rapidly decelerating car faster than good ol' Eyeball Mk.1. We only see the braking lights and have to guess the rate of deceleration, which may be not immediately obvious, leading to a delay in reaction. The laser range-finder immediately sees the closing distance, and doesn't even need braking lights as a clue.

Same thing about surprise obstacles. The laser range-finder has 360Â vision, all the time. We usually don't check the mirrors constantly...

But it has been said before - if you can make a car for the blind, you can make a self-driving car. I'd rather have that. It would drive a lot more rationally, possibly reducing or eliminating traffic jams (if everyone had one).

more than 5 years ago
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Panel Advises Longer Life For Space Station

karstux Re:option 4: the US quits participating (237 comments)

Why deorbit it at all? They could attach an ion drive to the station and slowly raise the orbit until it won't decay for another 500 years or so. The station can withstand that much acceleration. There's certainly space enough up there, it's not like it takes up valuable room... also, lifting all that mass into orbit has been so stupidly expensive, they should at least reserve the option to use it at some point in the future. Anything else is irresponsible.

At the very least, it would be an interesting machinery longevity experiment. Re-visit the station in 50 years or so, just to see how it has stood up to the environment up there. Also, at some point in the future it will be an archaeological artifact, and valuable to future historians.

more than 5 years ago
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Researchers Debut Barcode Replacement

karstux Re:A solution with no problem. (185 comments)

Considering that motion-capturing game controllers are quite the rage in the industry these days, and given that it's a possible application for these Bokodes (they expressly state so in the article), there's obvious potential there.

more than 5 years ago
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Researchers Debut Barcode Replacement

karstux Re:Not sure the library is the best example for us (185 comments)

Even better, you can use a probabilistic sensor model and incrementally refine your position estimate of the RFID tag based on tag detection rates. If you're genuinely interested, look at this paper.

more than 5 years ago
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Researchers Debut Barcode Replacement

karstux Re:Not sure the library is the best example for us (185 comments)

Besides, in a properly organized library finding a particular book is very, very easy, as long as you know the signature and the book is at its proper place. Might be quite handy for spotting those misplaced books, though.

more than 5 years ago
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Researchers Debut Barcode Replacement

karstux Re:As a barcode replacement it sucks (185 comments)

The Bokode pose estimate seems quite stable indeed, but then the comparison pose estimate (the "G" in the black square) seems to be willfully bad. I've seen better than that, if maybe not quite as stable as the Bokode example, with traditional 2D code matrices.

Unfortunately, the 2-camera rig that they use (one focused at the scene, one at infinity) isn't exactly standard. And it probably won't work with cell phone cameras at all, since these are fixed-focus. Finally, if the camera has to move around a whole lot before it has seen the whole code, it probably isn't going to take off as a barcode replacement. Information at a glance is important in that area.

Besides, I don't really see the need to visually encode a whole lot of information on an object. A small reference ID or an URL is enough, then anything can be looked up online without size restraints.

more than 5 years ago
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Solar-Powered Moon Rover To Explore Apollo Landing

karstux Re:One word: regolith (151 comments)

I'm not sure about this. Kicked up lunar dust particles move in parabolic trajectories. Since there's no atmosphere, they won't stay afloat and disperse. So, if you know which way the wheels will kick up dust, you can strategically place the solar panels where they won't get dusty. They'll stay clean forever...

That bit about the batteries is really ridiculous. A thin aluminum foil will protect the batteries from thermal radiation just fine. Apart from that, there's no "temperature" on the moon...

more than 5 years ago
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Windows 7 Clean Install Only In Europe

karstux Re:OOh (803 comments)

Of course, I've also never bought into the idea that the only way to clean up an infected windows box is to reinstall everything from scratch. It takes me about 30 minutes of work to clean up the worst infected windows computer I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot). That's 30 minutes of work for me and about a day or so of work for the computer. Saves the end user a ton of work reinstalling everything, though.

Have you ever heard of rootkits? There's no way you can guarantee that a previously infected computer is "clean" again. Why not simply back up user data, format and reinstall? You end up with a guaranteed clean system, and doesn't take much longer.

Concerning OS updates, here's what I do: I buy a new HDD, install the new OS on that, then put my old HDD in an external enclosure and copy my data over from there. By the time I update my OS, the old HDD is most likely obsolete as well, so why not upgrade that at the same time... and it's impossible to lose data.

more than 5 years ago
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Integrating Wikipedia With a Local Intranet Wiki

karstux Re:Doinitwrong (121 comments)

That's what I'd have suggested as well. Least amount of work, efficient, usable, no questionable hacks. It's common sense.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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A Linux desktop for non-techies?

karstux karstux writes  |  more than 5 years ago

karstux (681641) writes "I'm sure this is a problem that many of the slashdot crowd have run into, and I'd like to hear your solutions. I'm tasked with providing a notebook to a completely non-technical friend, for exclusively mundane activities such as web browsing, e-mail correspondence and composing the odd letter. The recipient is of course indoctrinated to Windows ways.

I'd like the solution to be as maintenance-free, secure and easy to use as possible. I don't want to have to "teach" the usage of the system, and I won't be around to fix things if anything breaks. Under these circumstances, is Linux a good idea? If so, which flavor? Are there alternatives? (OS X won't run on the hardware.)"

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