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Ask Slashdot: What Can I Really Do With a Smart Watch?

occasional_dabbler Re:One year too early (226 comments)

Very true. Pebble looks the best solution for now but with the Apple watch and the equally interesting looking Microsoft Band thingy the market is hardly mature.

2 days ago
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Councilmen Introduce Bills Strongly Regulating UAV Use in NYC

occasional_dabbler Re:hooray for the government (68 comments)

My reply appeared above your comment, for some reason... Bird strike inside of the FAA rules should be acceptable as an everyday occurence (laundry bills aside). 1549 was outside of these rules (many more birds hitting both engines) and it was a lucky escape; a very experienced pilot and a suitable place for a ditching (The first well-observed and survivable ditching in maybe 50 years? - it was by no means certain that ditching was a safe manoevre; all the substantiation was from scale model tests and simulation - no full-size tests).

To be quite blunt: if a bird of 8lb goes into your engine you're ok, if a bird of 9lb goes into your engine there's no guarantee. If the bird's bigger brother goes down the other engine then you're in the realms of statistical probabilities and prayer.

2 days ago
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Councilmen Introduce Bills Strongly Regulating UAV Use in NYC

occasional_dabbler Re:hooray for the government (68 comments)

One of the institutions of which our colonial cousins should be very proud is the FAA, who make all the aerospace regulations freely available. These may seem like archaic and restrictive laws to prevent you from building your own aeroplane/rocket/drone but in fact they are extremely well researched and analysed specifications for anyone who wants to make a safe aeroplane/rocket/drone. They are also copied pretty much verbatim by everyone except the Russians (who have a similar system but with significantly worse weather!) and us Europeans, who go to great lengths to harmonise with the FAA so that the rules are more or less equivalent

So let's get to details and look at 33.76 regarding bird strike. The rules regarding what an aircraft engine should be able to ingest are enlightening: even the largest engines are only certified safe to fly after ingesting a bird of 8lb. This is a lot less than a person (that was a ridiculous example from the GP; ingesting a person would destroy an engine). Birds are obviously a lot more easily ingested than a carbon-fibre and steel drone.

Any reasonably large drone would have enough mass to endanger a civil airliner and you're just playing the numbers until one is brought down with three to four hundred deaths.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

occasional_dabbler Re:Space has its own problems (279 comments)

I think the problem is similar in both cases; the actual technical part, that people on /. are likely to enjoy, becomes a smaller part of the job the longer and/or more successful you are at it. If you work for a commercial enterprise then you are a businessman, and the people who enjoy that environment and get on are not generally the techies. If you want to stay in pure technical work then think about academia.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

occasional_dabbler Re:Space has its own problems (279 comments)

Very well put. I took an engineering degree at one of the World's best schools (Cambridge University) I ended up as an aerospace engineer and it has not been a bad life, all told; I could take you around most civil airliners and show you the parts that were 'mine' with some pride.

What I know now is that I would have been happier and/or richer being either:

(a) a banker, or

(b) a programmer.

Most of engineering is very, very dull indeed.

4 days ago
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Aliens Are Probably Everywhere, Just Not Anywhere Nearby

occasional_dabbler Re:Just like in my personal life... (334 comments)

Thank you. Homo Habilis was the point to which I was referring. When I was a kid my Dad had a book from Reader's Digest all about the development of homo sapiens. It was called The Last Two Million Years

about two weeks ago
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Aliens Are Probably Everywhere, Just Not Anywhere Nearby

occasional_dabbler Re:Just like in my personal life... (334 comments)

Where did I say we need to do it now? I'm not an idiot, I'm an engineer. I just said we need to do it in the next billion years or so.

about two weeks ago
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Aliens Are Probably Everywhere, Just Not Anywhere Nearby

occasional_dabbler Just like in my personal life... (334 comments)

...there is no fairy godmother gonna make it all alright.

The situation is very simple: The probability of all life being extinguished on Earth in the next 2 ish billion years is 100%. If we want to survive beyond that we need to get off planet. Earh is 4.5 billion year old. Talk of cost is ridiculous: I can fly from UK to US for less than one day's wages (on a good day) and I'm just a regular guy. 500 years ago it took the lifetime's savings of a wealthy man to make the same journey. It is ALL about energy. Once we have a reliable means of providing it on a sun-scale then we can do anything we want. We evolved to an understanding of relativity and quantum mechanics in a few million years, why the hell shouldn't we make a few more steps, given the same time again?

about two weeks ago
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Apple Accused of Deleting Songs From iPods Without Users' Knowledge

occasional_dabbler Re:Not surprising at all. (250 comments)

Not a single song has ever been deleted from either my Winphone or my Nexus tab from either my Windows or Linux Boxen (either to either) ever, that I didn't request myself to be deleted, ever. The Kindle is still a good enough product that I will put up with Google's shitty behaviour for now but the iPod is so passe that I don't need to put up with Apple's douchebaggery any more.

about two weeks ago
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Toyota Names Upcoming Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car

occasional_dabbler Re:How many gas stations were there... (194 comments)

conventional electric

Now that we're discussing hydrogen, electric is conventional I think that shows where this is heading.

about a month ago
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Major Performance Improvement Discovered For Intel's GPU Linux Driver

occasional_dabbler Re:Will it work with my distro? (96 comments)

Oh, for mod points today! Well played, sir, you made my evening :-)

about a month and a half ago
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Google's Nexus 6 sold out within a few minutes - sounds like shenanigans

occasional_dabbler Not a Story: Logistics (2 comments)

The first batch of product to market is sent by airfreight, which is expensive so you only send enough to satisfy a reasonable portion of the initial demand. Later, the product is sent by surface (ship) in larger quantities so there are more available and the supply/demand economics can start to kick in.

about 2 months ago
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'Microsoft Lumia' Will Replace the Nokia Brand

occasional_dabbler Re:Not a very exciting name (150 comments)

In Spanish most words in femenine form can mean prostitute. This isn't considered sexist by Spanish girls, because they all have bigger cojones than the men anyway.

about a month ago
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Despite Patent Settlement, Apple Pulls Bose Merchandise From Its Stores

occasional_dabbler Re:Bose is overpriced crap and always has been (328 comments)

They have some nice niche products not related to the noise-cancelling tech. I used to travel a lot for work and a pair of these made life a little more comfortable; you can't wear headphones all the time. They are expensive and the sound is quite coloured, but the bass and the volume you get from such a tiny thing is impressive. I had an equaliser setting saved in iTunes to flatten them out a bit.

about 2 months ago
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Apple's Next Hit Could Be a Microsoft Surface Pro Clone

occasional_dabbler Re:ipoo (252 comments)

Strange. Apple makes the best products

Best?

For whom? By what standards?

They make some very good products and have a consistent and effective design language but they are as much a fashion company now as a technology one.

about 2 months ago
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Fusion and Fission/LFTR: Let's Do Both, Smartly

occasional_dabbler Re:Fission is Dead (218 comments)

Damn, Posting as me to delete the accidental downmod when I was trying to upmod. Fat fingers, sorry...

about 2 months ago
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Lead Mir Developer: 'Mir More Relevant Than Wayland In Two Years'

occasional_dabbler Re:Not Invented Here (226 comments)

From what Ive seen in the press recently it looks like the phones might come out of vapourware. I'm still quite a fan of Ubuntu, even with Unity, I think it would make a nice UI for a phone.

about 2 months ago
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What Will It Take To Run a 2-Hour Marathon?

occasional_dabbler Re:Some physiologists (254 comments)

To be eligible for the record the start and finish have to be within a certain distance of each other. Times set at Boston, for example, are not permitted

about 2 months ago
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What Will It Take To Run a 2-Hour Marathon?

occasional_dabbler Re:Some physiologists (254 comments)

This.

Also, whoever does finally break two hours is going to be an outlier on all of the charts, so looking at averages of statistical samples isn't going to help.

For example in my own case: I'm 49 and I ran 2:57 this year, which puts me in the top 2.5% overall and 1% for my age. For me to run my best I need a day temperature of around 60F so I'm way off that particular chart.

I also disagree with the idea that a flat course is necessarily the fastest. Of course you don't want mountains, but some small changes of gradient can allow changes in muscle usage leading to reduction of fatigue. I've run both Hamburg and Berlin several times; I find the slightly more undulating Hamburg to be noticably easier than Berlin.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Windows Phone Outselling iPhone!

occasional_dabbler occasional_dabbler writes  |  about a year ago

occasional_dabbler (1735162) writes " Kantar Worldpanel reports generally improved sales of Windows Phone worldwide in Q3 2013 with double-digit sales in Britain France, and Italy and claiming over 10% in the European 'big five' (Germany and Spain being the other two).

In Italy, the iPhone sales slowdown before the 5s launch let Microsoft gain over 3% more of total sales than Apple, if only in terms of units and not price. Sales in the USA have almost doubled (2.7% to 4.6%) in China however they dropped by a similar ratio (4.5% down to 2.5%)

With Nokia already re-established in Russia and other emerging markets, is it time to start taking Redmond's offering seriously?"
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Technical Gadgets for a Blind child

occasional_dabbler occasional_dabbler writes  |  about a year ago

occasional_dabbler (1735162) writes "A young couple I know have a two year old child, a boy, who is blind. When they discovered his condition, I rather naïvely thought that there would already be "an app for that" so to say; lots of well developed gadgets and programs that would improve life for the child.

Well, there are some ideas around, but it seems very little of immediate, practical use, especially for a toddler.

What experience have Slashdotters of working with (or even, as) blind children or tech specifically for them?"

Link to Original Source
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Microsoft TouchDevelop Now Runs in a Browser

occasional_dabbler occasional_dabbler writes  |  more than 2 years ago

occasional_dabbler (1735162) writes "The TouchDevelop programming environment, which has been available on Windows Phone for some time, lets you create apps in a simple and easy way. It has just been released as a web app (preview)

Your scripts can remain on your own device or account, or you can publish them for others to download, run and modify. You can even write full apps for publishing in the Windows store.

The list of supported browsers makes interesting reading: Obviously IE10 is there so you can code on your shiny new Surface, but iOS, Android and Chrome browsers? Write code on your iPad or Chromebook but for Microsoft products!

Not all APIs are yet implemented in the web app, it is only a preview at the moment, but it's free to use and has examples and tutorials that make it easy to get started with"

Link to Original Source
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What's the Best Way to Protect My Software?

occasional_dabbler occasional_dabbler writes  |  more than 2 years ago

occasional_dabbler (1735162) writes "I am a hobby coder. In my day job I've been able to convince clients to pay for some small applications related to my main work as an engineer. All written in Python with wx GUIs. Everything else I've done has been OSS so copy protection was irrelevant

For several years I've been working on a project, firstly in Excel, now in a mix of Python and Fortran, that will be the first thing that I can sell as a stand-alone product. It is very niche; I might sell anything between zero and five copies, but the nearest comparable products sell for tens of thousands of dollars.

My question is this: What is the best way to protect such a product? Key it to a specific machine? Run it on a server via ssh -X and charge for a login? Rewrite as a web app (Can I use Numpy/Scipy?) or should I use a commercial licensing product like FlexLM?

As an added complication — it could conceivably be used for military purposes and be subject to ITAR or the EU equivalent. I think I would have to show some kind of effort to prevent it being used by unfriendly countries.

What have other Slashdotters done in similar situations?"
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Microsoft Surface Tablets to be Given Away (almost)

occasional_dabbler occasional_dabbler writes  |  more than 2 years ago

occasional_dabbler writes "Big gamble by Microsoft. Will selling the ARM tablet at such a low price be enough to establish the Windows 8 platform? Hardware like a 10 inch iPad for the same price as a seven inch Android and it comes with Office? Is the MS cash mountain big enough?"
Link to Original Source
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Why is Window Phone getting such a beating?

occasional_dabbler occasional_dabbler writes  |  more than 2 years ago

occasional_dabbler (1735162) writes "Reviews by 'commentators' such as the link predict certain doom for both Nokia and Microsoft on the basis of the OS being a failure, yet whenever the Lumia handsets are reviewed in the mainstream press they are often highly praised. Windows phone is an immature OS, certainly, but it does pretty much everything you need in a smartphone, is getting better with each update and it is beautiful. I have a Lumia 800 and now I'm used to how it and the WP OS works I find it a painful process to go back to an Android or iPhone for some obscure app not yet supported on WP.
WP gave me the same feeling I got when I bought my first iBook, fired up OSX 10.1 and realised I had just been shifted up a decade.
So why so serious? What do slashdotters who have really tried WP think of it?"

Link to Original Source

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