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ISS's 3-D Printer Creates Its First Object In Space

mykepredko Next step - Semiconductors (69 comments)

Things will start to get interesting when astronauts can create semiconductors in in space. I believe there are some demonstration technologies using ink-jet printers.

I would imagine it will be a long time before we can see the amazingly tiny devices that can be built on Earth, but I would expect that replacement electronics for communications and actuator drivers should be achievable in fairly short order. I would guess that replacement solar panel segments and power supply components (including batteries) would be on the menu as well.

myke

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

mykepredko This a question that Microsoft should answer (272 comments)

This week, I got a real WTF when dealing with Microsoft products and the amazing amount of redundancy that is possible in the company.

We have a robot product that we can communicate to using Bluetooth SPP and we are creating an application that can control it remotely. We originally went with a serial interface (after pairing, recording the "com#" of the device and then passing it to our application), this is somewhat cumbersome so we wanted to pair from our app and connect directly (saving the user from doing those operations manually).

Logically, this would be one set of APIs, but it seems there are five depending on the OS - the only ones that are common are for Vista/Win7. I would think that right here there are four teams that are redundant - pick a single, consistent API, add it in Service Packs for all supported OSes and assign one team to the job.

I would expect there are many more examples out there of similar inefficiencies that somebody within Microsoft should be able to answer with the ability to make things easier for developers and make developers available for squishing bugs.

Sorry about the rant, but standard IO interface APIs should be just that, standard.

myke

about 5 months ago
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Sulfur Polymers Could Enable Long-Lasting, High-Capacity Batteries

mykepredko Still a ways to go (131 comments)

I saw an interesting graph in Aviation Week some time ago about the energy density of batteries versus the same mass of hydrocarbon fuel. The article was in relation to the idea of creating (plug-in) hybrid airliners.

The batteries used in the 787 store four orders of magnitude less energy than the equivalent mass of jet fuel.

I'm mentioning this because it looks like these batteries would bring the difference up to three orders of magnitude.

Still a ways to go before batteries can compete against hydrocarbon/fossil fuels.

myke

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Supporting "Antique" Software?

mykepredko You're not alone (212 comments)

Hi Timothy,

Unfortunately, you didn't provide a lot of information in your post as to what the problems are.

As people have pointed out, there are a ton of USB to Serial solutions out there so having the modern hardware with the ability to communicate over RS-232 is generally not a problem (although, depending on the connections used, you might want to invest in a RS-232 breakout box and read up on RS-232 handshaking as many of the older devices do use hardware handshaking). I have a few hand wired 9 pin to 25 pin connectors with the CTS-RTS and DSR-DTR pins shorted together as they can simplify your life immeasurably.

In my experience, the biggest problem is retaining floppies & CDs with the original software on them (assuming that the developers are no longer supporting the product/are out of business). If the company is still in business, usually they're pretty good at providing updated software for their products. If they're not in business, then look to see if they were bought out by anybody. Chances are you'll find that the purchaser is still supporting the product, although it may be under another name.

Personally, the biggest issue that I see when I have encountered this type of situation is that the original programs are on floppies. If this is the case, you will need to find somebody with a Windows/95 machine that they're keeping together with spit, bailing wire, gaffer's tape and good intentions - you should be able to copy the program onto a USB key and then burn it on a CD/DVD for more permanent storage.

Once you have the program in a media that you can work with, you may have problems with the installation. You will probably have to create a virtual machine on your PC AND there may be 16 bit programs that you have to convert to 32 bit - here's a great resource that's saved me a couple of times: http://www.reactos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=10988

Finally, Google is your friend. Chances are the answers are out there for your particular equipment.

Good luck!

myke

about a year and a half ago
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Armstrong EKG Readings During Moon Landing Up For Auction

mykepredko Something for the man who has everything (52 comments)

Other than that?

I imagine it has some scientific value for showing how well a highly trained and experienced individual goes through a stressful situation, but other than that?

myke

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Will Cars Eventually Need a Do-Not-Track Option?

mykepredko The correct answer is ... maybe (170 comments)

Wouldn't the best answer for an individual be based on their driving habits and history?

If you tended to stay at the speed limit (or reasonably above according to traffic), were a defensive driver and were reasonably confident that you wouldn't cause an accident, wouldn't you want tracking on to show that it's the other guys fault?

Depending on your hubris level, the next step is a dashboard camera because clearly you are never going to cause an accident - right?

myke

about 2 years ago
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Why a Linux User Is Using Windows 3.1

mykepredko Sounds Great - Where can *we* get Win 3.1? (415 comments)

That sounds *really* interesting - anybody know where the rest of the population can get Windows 3.1 licenses?

I doubt that Microsoft would be willing to release it into the wild - so where can we find them?

myke

about 2 years ago
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Ask Jörg Sprave About Building Dangerous Projectiles

mykepredko Is multi-shot more dangerous than single shot? (45 comments)

Jörg,

With the recent controversy regarding assault weapons in the US and the plans to reduce clip sizes, I'm wondering if you would think your, um, devices would be more dangerous if they could shoot multiple objects rather than just one at a time?

myke

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To React To Coworker Who Says My Code Is Bad?

mykepredko Bring in your team lead (507 comments)

Interesting question and one I've thought about for a bit since the original question, from the other side came out.

I would say, bring in the team lead as an arbitrator. It's their job to direct the work and (hopefully) develop team members - this guy sounds like he needs a bit of development and level setting.

myke

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Timed Coding Tests Valuable?

mykepredko Re:Of course (776 comments)

Very insightful.

Somebody with points please mod the parent up.

myke

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Timed Coding Tests Valuable?

mykepredko We found that broken code was a better test (776 comments)

When I was at RIM, we used a broken quick sort method that the candidate was asked to fix. We didn't time how long it took the candidate to implement the fix, but it generally required the candidate to do some research as to what was wrong. One of the team leads created a simple app that tested the performance (ie speed) of the fix.

What was really interesting to me was the number of candidates who refused to do the test (50-60%) because they said it was "beneath them". The big problem was, RIM's HR (OD) that insisted we interview the candidatest that refused to do the test because we were losing potentially half the candidates that were responding to the job applications (this was when RIM was The Place To Be).

The best candidates were the ones that did the test and asked if we had any more. These candidates also tended to produce code that ran sort the fastest.

myke

about 2 years ago
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Fireflies Bring Us Brighter LEDs

mykepredko Anybody have more details? (111 comments)

If I understand what was discovered in TFA (and press release noted by Trepidity), the etched scales reduce the internal reflections of the produced light which result in some of the produced light being lost in the structure of the LED and lens.

Does anybody know how much light is actually lost within the LED and lens? The article mentions that the extrated light is increased by 55% which implies that at least a third of the light produced by an LED is lost within the structure - would this be correct?

I would presume that this loss would be influenced by the shape of the LED lens - correct? I seem to remember that pin through hole LEDs are designed with the emitter at the focus of the curved lens to minimize reflected losses BUT this could be a huge advantage for SMT chip LEDs which tyically just have a flat surface for the lens.

Are there other applications in which this can be used as I would think that this could be useful in other applications? I would guess that adding the triangular "roof" structure would make it difficult to focus/direct the light produced by the LED. This would mean that the typical power dispersion patter of a typical LED would be evened out and the light output would be difficult to focus - correct?

myke

about 2 years ago
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Change the ThinkPad and It Will Die

mykepredko Great Products - Stay with the tried and trusted (347 comments)

I think I can honestly say that I have had Thinkpads for 20 years and I have never had a bad experience on them (other than having a six year old system at one point that could run Cygwin but basically nothing else - the story about how I got the replacement made me a legend at work) - they have travelled literally around the world at least twice and have almost as many frequent flyer miles as I do.

They're great road warrior machines, well built, well thought out (their docking ports are worth every penny) and, amazingly enough, they're probably the only brand that didn't loose their quality when they were bought out/sold (I'm still pissed at what happened to Alienware).

Hopefully they'll keep a few of the old ones around so I can stock up before they try to emulate Apple.

myke

about 2 years ago
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2013 Will Be a Big Year For Private Spaceflight

mykepredko No comments on the spacecraft? (62 comments)

Disappointing because Elon Musk is doing more to make spaceflight exciting than probably anybody since the 1960s by being up front and centre about what he is doing. The Dragon 2 sounds quite interesting and I'm looking forward to seeing the evolving concept (especially in light of the experiments that SpaceX have been publicizing).

The Boeing entry, even though it is similar to SpaceX's just seems to be "corporate".

XCOR seems to be an (interesting) contender for sub-orbital while Scaled Composites & SS2 have kind of dropped off the radar and has been eclipsed by SpaceX showing that individuals can actually make it into space for real.

Nice to see progress and some renewed promise for space!

myke

about 2 years ago
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Origin of Neil Armstrong's 'One Small Step' Line Revealed

mykepredko Some of these were also considered... (149 comments)

"In your Face, Aldrin!"
"A quarter million miles, billions of dollars, and you won't believe what I just stepped in."
"What's that monolith doing here?"
"Man, you can't believe what a fart smells like in here."
"Houston, has Aldrin told you about his crotch rot yet?"
"Honey, I think I left the stove on."
"Houston, you're not going to believe this, but there's a flag with the Hammer and Sickle standing here."
"Man, I could use the fresh, relaxing taste of Coca-Cola."
"Suck it, Aldrin!"

myke

about 2 years ago
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Child Gets Nintendo 3DS Full of Porn For Christmas

mykepredko Re:My daughter STILL remembers the PC... (370 comments)

I would normally do that as well BUT that wasn't an option because the theraputic software only worked on Windows 95 and I could not find a set of CDs and a license I could use for that.

myke

about 2 years ago
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Child Gets Nintendo 3DS Full of Porn For Christmas

mykepredko Re:My daughter STILL remembers the PC... (370 comments)

Fair comment and I did learn from it.

Back to isorox, drinkypoo and Opportunist - what kind of process do you go through when you get reconditioned computer equipment?

myke

about 2 years ago

Submissions

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Sierra Nevada Protest Halts Production Of SpaceX And Boeing Space Taxis

mykepredko mykepredko writes  |  about 2 months ago

mykepredko (40154) writes "Popular Science reports that Sierra Nevada is protesting it's exclusion from NASA's CCtCap program – and it looks like they’re taking their competitors down with them. Both SpaceX and Boeing have been told to halt production of their NASA-funded space taxis until the space agency resolves a legal protest issued by SNC. Last month, NASA finally announced the winners of its Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) program, an initiative aimed at fostering the development of private spaceflight. The two winning companies, SpaceX and Boeing, received contracts with NASA and a combined sum of $6.8 billion to build and operate their own space taxis, which would ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station starting in 2017."
Link to Original Source
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Elon Musk Lays Out His Evidence That New York Times Tesla Model S Test Drive Was

mykepredko mykepredko writes  |  about 2 years ago

mykepredko writes "Tesla Motors CEO and founder Elon Musk definitely isn’t the best guy to try to pull a fast one on. The visionary entrepreneur set Twitter a titter when he claimed earlier this week that New York Times writer John Broder had fudged details about the Tesla Models S car’s range in cold weather, resulting in what he termed a “fake” article. Musk promised evidence, and now he has delivered, via the official Tesla blog."
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The space jump -- in Lego!

mykepredko mykepredko writes  |  more than 2 years ago

mykepredko writes "All this chatter about Felix Baumgartner and his remarkable space jump, but where's the love for this brave little Lego man. Just because he's physically incapable of suffering from ebullism, going into a flat spin, or bleeding out through his eyes doesn't make this guy's faithful recreation of the space jump any less remarkable. Two fearless pioneers — one, a person; the other, plastic — plummeting from amazing heights. In the case of the Lego Man, that means about 365 feet, according to the video's "Scale 1:350" note."
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The quite death of the Internet Survellance Bill

mykepredko mykepredko writes  |  more than 2 years ago

mykepredko writes "C-30, Canada's version of SOPA, would grant the federal government and law enforcement agencies the power to obtain information about individuals who are online without having to apply for a warrant is dead in committee. “I don’t know whether it was because the Minister so screwed up the messaging, or whether they’ve had some other input saying they went too far or it just can’t be salvaged,” Nathan Cullen, House Leader for the NDP, speculates. Read more here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/john-ibbitson-the-quiet-death-of-the-internet-surveillance-bill/article4602164/"
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25 most hacked passwords revealed

mykepredko mykepredko writes  |  about 3 years ago

mykepredko (40154) writes "Internet security firm SplashData trolled through millions of stolen passwords posted in online hacker forums, according to CEO Morgan Slain, and compiled a list of the 25 most-stolen ciphers. As noted in the Globe and Mail article a reader's informal survey revealed that the most common password seems to be "********""
Link to Original Source
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Should Apple Kill the iPod?

mykepredko mykepredko writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mykepredko (40154) writes "Back in 2006, Apple was riding high on the success of its iPod. The gadget accounted for more than 50% of Apple's first-quarter revenue that year as a digital music revolution was in full swing. Now the iconic iPod is an afterthought, bringing in a mere 8% of Apple revenue – and falling fast as other gadgets take over the digital jukebox role on top of many other functions.

The article implies that the iPod is a dying part of the business — I would have liked to see revenues for the iPod from 2006 to today to see if it really is a "dying" line but the question is valid — should Apple drop the iPod and concentrate on the Mac, iPad and iPhone lines?"

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Transplanted windpipe renews Belgian woman's life

mykepredko mykepredko writes  |  more than 4 years ago

mykepredko (40154) writes "While an organ transplant might now sound important, the CBC is reporting on Linda De Croock who has a working windpipe after surgeons implanted the trachea from a dead man into her arm, where it grew new blood vessels before being transplanted into her throat. For about eight months, she took drugs to stop her immune system from rejecting the new organ. Though some of the tissue from the windpipe's male donor remains, enough of De Croock's own tissue now lines the organ that she no longer needs anti-rejection medicines."
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Vatican Pans Avatar

mykepredko mykepredko writes  |  more than 4 years ago

mykepredko (40154) writes "According to the The Globe & Mail, James Cameron's big-grossing, 3-D spectacle has earned lukewarm reviews by both the Vatican newspaper and its radio station, which say the movie is simplistic in its plot is superficial in its eco-message, despite groundbreaking visual effects. â½Â½Â½Â½Â½ÂsÂï½â½ÃïoeSo much stupefying, enchanting technology, but few genuine emotions,â½Â½Â½Â½Â½ÂsÂï½â½Â said Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, which devoted three articles to Avatar in its Sunday editions."
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The boy who heard too much

mykepredko mykepredko writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mykepredko (40154) writes "Rolling Stone has the story of Matthew Weigman — a fat, lonely blind kid that could play telephone networks like John Brunner's "Shockwave Rider". Weigman discovered at an early age that his acute hearing gave him superpowers on the telephone. He could impersonate any voice, memorize phone numbers by the sound of the buttons and decipher the inner workings of a phone system by the frequencies and clicks on a call, which he refers to as "songs." The knowledge enabled him to hack into cellphones, order phone lines disconnected and even tap home phones. In the end, these gifts became his downfall with Weigman now serving an 11 year term for two felony counts of conspiracy to commit fraud and intimidate a federal witness. I never would have imagined it was possible to do on the phone what Weigman was able to do — very scary."
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Blue M&Ms linked to reducing spine injury

mykepredko mykepredko writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mykepredko (40154) writes "Acccording to CNN, the same blue food dye found in M&Ms and Gatorade could be used to reduce damage caused by spine injuries. Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that when they injected the compound Brilliant Blue G (BBG) into rats suffering spinal cord injuries, the rodents were able to walk again, albeit with a limp. The only side effect was that the treated mice temporarily turned blue."
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Bad news, everybody!

mykepredko mykepredko writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mykepredko writes "Future episodes of Futurama will not use the vocal talents of Billy West (Fry, Professor, and Ziodberg), Katey Sagal (Leela), John DiMaggio (Bender), Maurice LaMarche (Kif Kroker, among others), or Tress MacNeil (Mom, and several others). Fox released a statement saying "We love the Futurama voice performers and absolutely wanted to use them, but unfortunately, we could not meet their salary demands. While replacing these talented actors will be difficult, the show must go on. We are confident that we will find terrific new performers to give voice to Matt and David's brilliantly subversive characters." Sigh. Read about it here."
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Can hacking your iPod send you to Jail?

mykepredko mykepredko writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mykepredko writes "Jailbreaking is a process that opens up the iPhone's or iPod Touch's OS to installing applications not purchased or downloaded from Apple's official application store. Apple says iPhone Jailbreaking is illegal and have written a 31 page brief. The root question being asked here is whether or not you can hack a device you have bought."
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Canadians refuse to divulge personal information

mykepredko mykepredko writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mykepredko writes "The CBC reports that 45% of Canadians rebuff retailers' requests for personal info: suvey". The results indicate consumers are showing a considerable amount of savvy, Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart said Thursday. Consumers said they were reluctant to provide names, addresses and postal codes to retailers, citing fears of fraud and identity theft. About a quarter of the respondents also said they could see no reason for the retailer to collect the data. As somebody who regularly replies with "Herman Munster of 1313 Mockingbird Lane in Mockingbird Heights", I'm pleased to see that the survey reported that 13% of respondents provided false information."
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How do the great unwashed do it?

mykepredko mykepredko writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mykepredko writes "Recently, I've taken on a new job which involved me setting up a laptop (network access, printer set up, email, Messenger, Office Tools, VPN, etc.) as well as a BlackBerry to go with it. Last night, I set up a BlueRay player (which was relatively simple to wire — just power, HDMI and digital audio) but when I put in my first disk nothing but dots, but there was a card saying that the DVD was probably manufactured after the player and I would have to upgrade the player's firmware. This operation required a high speed internet connection directly into the player and took over an hour with virtually no feedback (until it shut itself off to indicate that the update was complete). So, how does somebody perform tasks like these without being very knowledgeable about technology?"
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Human Spaceflight is 50 Years Old Today

mykepredko mykepredko writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mykepredko writes "Originally schduled for September 17th, the first man-made object to orbit the Earth was launched. Most people attribute Sputnik as the work of Sergei Korolev, but it actually was the brainchild of Mikhail Tikhonravov, as recounted in this EDN article."
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mykepredko mykepredko writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mykepredko writes "Entertainment Week has a list of what they consider the best 25 Sci-Fi movies and shows. The list is surprisingly thoughtful and honest — it acknowledges the bad with the good and explains why the different pieces were chosen. You probably won't agree with all their choices (there are a few movies/TV shows that weren't selected that I'm sure would be on most people's list) but the list will probably not be dissed as badly as most "best of" sci-fi lists deserve to be."

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