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Building an Open Source Nest

north.coaster Re:The hard part (195 comments)

All of this sounds good on paper, but what I would like to see is some detailed information on how to translate "comfort" into an algorithm that can be used to control a furnace and/or air conditioner. Then get the folks who developed the "open source 'nest' " to implement the algorithm.

about 7 months ago

FAA To Allow Use of Most Electronic Devices Throughout Flights

north.coaster Re:Noise Cancelling Headphones ? (221 comments)

Yeah, it probably depends on the flight attendant and/or the airline. Last week, for example, the flight attendants on multiple United and Lufthansa flights never said a word.

It's strange that none of the articles about this topic in the tech press have mentioned this.

about 10 months ago

FAA To Allow Use of Most Electronic Devices Throughout Flights

north.coaster Noise Cancelling Headphones ? (221 comments)

Although there is a lot of talk about e-readers, tablets, phones, etc., I have not seen any mention of noise cancelling headphones. In my experience, passengers (such as me) tend to turn them on right before take off, and not turn them off until after the aircraft lands. Although they are clearly electronic devices, rarely does a flight attendant ask a passenger to turn one of these units off.

about a year ago

FAA Pushed To Review Ban On Electronics

north.coaster Re:Well (369 comments)

Yeah, but if the pilot suspects that their tablet was causing interference they can quickly turn it off. It would take a lot longer to locate an interfering device that's stored away in a random passenger's brief case.

about a year and a half ago

FAA Pushed To Review Ban On Electronics

north.coaster Re:Headphones (369 comments)

I agree, and in fact I have been on several long haul overseas flights in business class where the flight attendants did not ask passengers to turn off noise cancelling headphones during take off and landing. These flights were on a US domestic airline, too. I suspect that this was not an official airline policy, but rather individual flight attendants who were cutting business and first class passengers some slack, since these passengers are usually business professionals who paid a lot more for their tickets.

about a year and a half ago

New York Passes Landmark Gun Law

north.coaster Re:Some good parts, but some rather absurd parts (1591 comments)

The intent of the new law is to make it more difficult for someone who intends to commit mass murder to be successful. The "two-feature" test never accomplished this. I'm not saying that the "one-feature" test is better, but let's stop pretending that the old law was effective.

about a year and a half ago

Nate Silver's Numbers Indicate Probable Obama Win, World Agrees

north.coaster Re:I flunked out of electoral college (881 comments)

Do I have data? No. But since Nate (and Sam Wang) both have a good track record, my guess is that the Republican big shots are very worried about their base becoming discouraged and staying home. That's why Rove and company are say so many bad things about Nate.

In other words, if the far right stays home, that jeopardizes the Republican party's hold on the House of Representatives, as well as many other races.

about 2 years ago

FCC Boss Backs Metering the Internet

north.coaster Re:Innovate or become obsolete. That's where it's (515 comments)

Many cable companies already implement Switched Digital Video where only the channels that are actually being watched are sent down the wire. This may actually explain the couple second delay that you have experienced when changing channels. This allows the cable companies to offer more channels than their system has the capacity to support.

more than 2 years ago

NASA and Astrobotic Investigating Ice Hunting Mission to the Moon

north.coaster In case you were wondering... (46 comments)

650 million tons of water is about 150 billion gallons. Not that much, really.

more than 2 years ago

1st Video of Moon's Far Side

north.coaster Re:Dark Side of the Moon (118 comments)

Looks like you never listened to Pink Floyd.

more than 2 years ago

Kodak Sues HTC and Apple

north.coaster Re:Kodak's Future... (177 comments)

Kodak is currently trying to sell a large number of it's imaging patents. Maybe they see this lawsuit as a way to motivate one of the defendants to buy these patents. Or maybe they see this as a way to increase the worth of those patents.

more than 2 years ago

Why Google Is Disabling Kids' Gmail Accounts

north.coaster Re:Kids don't need email.. (228 comments)

"Nuff said?" Er, you've said absolutely nothing beyond giving us some stupid pat assertion under the delusion it's not worth backing it up. Cool opinion, bro!

I never said that kids don't need email. Not even close. I commented on the parents' behavior. Thanks for misquoting me.

I'm a parent. All of my school age children have email accounts. I made a conscience decision not to create Gmail accounts for them, because due to their ages it would have violated Google's terms of service. In other words, I read Google's rules and then decided to go elsewhere. It took me less than fifteen minutes to find an alternative email service that allowed my children to have accounts.

I do feel sympathy for the kids who lost their accounts, but I feel zero sympathy for the parents who created those accounts and are now whining instead of admitting their mistake.

Five years ago? Really? Try about a month ago. But why did you even mention this? Does it add to the discussion? Is a comment in some way less worthy if it comes from someone who does not submit comments at a specific frequency?

If you want to disagree with me, that's fine. But if you are going to do so in public, you should at least try to respond to what I actually said.

more than 2 years ago

Why Google Is Disabling Kids' Gmail Accounts

north.coaster Sorry, but I'm not buying it (228 comments)

Let me get this straight... here we have some parents who created Gmail accounts for their young children, fully aware that this was in violation of Google's teams of service. Then they became upset when Google deleted the accounts. How is this Google's fault? Clearly these so-called adults are missing the whole point. They lied about their kids' ages, and got caught. And instead of accepting responsibility for breaking the rules, which would be the mature thing to do, they got mad at Google. It's disappointing that these parents set such a bad example for their children.

more than 2 years ago

iOS App Acoustically Measures Distances Up To 25 Meters

north.coaster Re:Stand-alone (154 comments)

Polaroid was selling ultrasonic sensors and an experimenters kit that could be used for this purpose thirty years ago. While there are definitely applications where this type of technology is useful, I agree that a tape measure works great for most purposes.

more than 2 years ago

What's Keeping You On Windows?

north.coaster That's Easy (1880 comments)

1. Applications. A lot of the specialty freeware applications that I use for are only available for Windows.

2. Family. My wife and kids know how to use Windows. They use Windows every day at work and at school. If we were to switch to a different OS, then I would spend a lot more of my time helping them with problems and answering their questions. I don't want to add IT Support to my list of hobbies.


more than 2 years ago

Ask The Bad Astronomer

north.coaster Threats fro Space (412 comments)

We're always hearing about threats to our planet from outer space. Asteroid impacts Gamma Ray bursts. Invaders from Mars. The list goes on. What do you think is our biggest threat from space, and why?

more than 2 years ago

Famous British Autism Study an 'Elaborate Fraud'

north.coaster Re:It doesn't matter. (813 comments)

Writing as a parent of an autistic child, I am quite sure that you are correct. It's human nature for parents to try to find something to blame for their child's situation. This is compounded by society's general lack of knowledge about things related to science, biology, genetics, etc. The idea that something external, such as a vaccine, was the cause is very appealing. These parents and other folks will be very reluctant to let go of their beliefs about vaccines without something else to latch onto.

more than 3 years ago

Judge Declares Federal Healthcare Plan (Partly) Unconstitutional

north.coaster Not Quite (1505 comments)

Actually, the judge only declared the provision of the new law that requires everyone to buy health insurance unconstitutional, not the entire law (link). The provision that prevents an insurance company from canceling your insurance because you got sick is not affected by this, for example.

This is just one round of a fight that will certainly end up being decided by the US Supreme Court. There's no reason to panic or celebrate (depending on your point of view) yet.

more than 3 years ago



Foreign Hackers Attacked Obama & McCain Campai

north.coaster north.coaster writes  |  more than 5 years ago

north.coaster (136450) writes "Newsweek reports that both the Obama and McCain campaigns were victims of a sophisticated cyberattack in midsummer by an unknown "foreign entity," prompting a federal investigation. Officials at the FBI and the White House told the Obama campaign that they believed a foreign entity or organization sought to gather information on the evolution of both camps' policy positions--information that might be useful in negotiations with a future administration. The Feds assured the Obama team that it had not been hacked by its political opponents.

It's interesting that this news was not leaked before the election, and that the White House was involved in briefing the campaign staffs."

Pentagon backs plan to beam solar power from space

north.coaster north.coaster writes  |  more than 6 years ago

north.coaster (136450) writes "New Scientist reports that a National Security Space Office led study group has released a proposal calling for the use of earth orbiting satellites to produce power that would be beamed down to earth using microwaves or a laser, which would be collected in antennas on the ground and then converted to electricity. While solar power satellites have been discussed for many years, what is different this time is the idea that this could replace the need to transport fuel into war zones and other dangerous places, saving both lives and money. This latest proposal may jump start efforts to make this concept a reality."


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