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Best 1990s Sci-fi show?

oneiros27 Homeboys from Outer Space (476 comments)

I know that a few people claimed that it was a racist, but if you look at as a sci-fi Black Dynamite (parody of blaxploitation films), it was great.

And besides, all of the cameos that they managed to get ... George Takaaa, James Doohan, Natasha Henstridge, Burt Ward, Gary Coleman, Erik Estrada, etc.

I viewed as being more like the early seasons of Red Dwarf -- a sitcom set in space, rather than being your typical serious sci-fi.

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?

oneiros27 There are at least 2 types (210 comments)

You have the 'knows how to work efficiently to get the project done as quickly as possible'.

And then you have the 'knows that they'll have to maintain it, and will work to make sure to minimize shortcuts, or document every od trick they used, so that two years later they'll be able to modify it when some new requirement comes along'.

I actually enjoyed doing the first type of programming. These days I see paralized and might be over-designing things because of times that I've gotten stung by not being type #2. (both my own code and other people's)

4 days ago
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Radio Shack Reported To Be Ready for Bankruptcy Filing

oneiros27 real geeks solder? (314 comments)

No they don't. Masochists who like trying to figure out how to clip in the heat sink into some crapped board so that they don't blow out their ICs, solder. Or people who have lots of extra time to figure out what they burned out, desolder it, then go back to the store to get a new one solder.

Real geeks wire wrap.

Crimping meant that I could do it without digging out my soldering iron, waiting for it to heat up, etc. It also reduced the risk of a bad solder joint, or a burn. (quite possible, as I had gotten very little sleep over the past few days ... so much so that on the day of the event, I was looking so haggard that I passed out, and then was sent home).

And besides ... you can often solder *after* crimping, if you do a clean job (and use a heat sink). You can't crimp onto a solder-only connection.

I guess what it comes down to is that real geeks know when to solder, and when not to.

about two weeks ago
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Radio Shack Reported To Be Ready for Bankruptcy Filing

oneiros27 I'm not a wedding DJ, but ... (314 comments)

I needed some odd audio cables last year, so that I could patch an mp3 player into a PA system. I was thinking that I'd find crimp-on 1/8" ends, and make the cable myself.

I got to the store, and was having trouble finding what I wanted (I found solder-on, but the crimp-on slot was empty), so I thought I'd look at what cables that they had that I could cut up ... and they just happened to have a cable that was 1/8" to bare wires.

The year before, I got a bunch of various cables so that I could patch into a mixing board to record audio from a conference that I was at. I've had other times when I was outfitting a chase vehicle for a solar car race, and they had the parts that I needed to get all of our various antennas on the roof of the van.

So yes, it helps for those 'I really do need it now' situations. In some cases, Guitar Center might have it, but the closest one is more than an hour away, and they wouldn't have had the components to make the specific cable that I needed, and they sure wouldn't have had N-connectors and magnetic antenna mounts.

I hope they can turn it around ... I'd be willing to pay a membership fee just to have them around for when I really need a part.

about two weeks ago
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Canada's Copyright Notice Fiasco: Why the Government Bears Responsibility

oneiros27 Can ISPs send their own notices? (73 comments)

I apologize for reading the article, but it says that ISPs complained that they didn't like the $5000 fine for not forwarding the messag ... but can they forward it and add their own message?

Something to the effect of 'you should know your rights', with the maximum penalty they could face, how they can fight against it, etc.

If they come up with a boilerplate message, and not something that needs to be customized for each letter being sent, then you're minimized the incremental costs. And I'm guessing that they had plenty of lawyers involved with reviewing the bills as proposed and the law that was finally passed.

I would think the 'we comply with the letter of the law, but not the intent' approach would cheaper & more effective than trying to deal with lobbying politicians who already have their minds made up. (provided you don't do something that might get you sued ... but getting sued and going to court might be better to establish the limits of the law than leaving it to politicians)

If the law's written in such a way as to prevent them from sending a message triggered by the requirement to forward the message, then you send it to *all* of your subscribers.

about three weeks ago
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LAPD Orders Body Cams That Will Start Recording When Police Use Tasers

oneiros27 or a hand on the weapon. (219 comments)

That was my first thought, too ... but then I realized that there's another sign that's even earlier -- a hand on the weapon.

My understanding is that officers are trained to put their hand on their weapon when they feel uneasy about a situation and they might need to use it.

It'd be nice if you could start the recording even earlier (possibly having a buffer that gets written to storage when the weapon is grabbed), but this would *also* give you the times when the officer put his hand on the weapon but *didn't* draw it.

It'd likely have some false positives (officers checking all of their gear), but you'd also be able to tell if you have officers who make it a habit of clutching their weapns all the time ... if you have some that seem to be a little more jumpy, you can turn their cameras to run all the time, and see if they're jumpy for every encounter, or only a subset of the population. (ie, if it looks to be racist).

about three weeks ago
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What Isn't There an App For?

oneiros27 IDEs with a concept of 'projects'. (421 comments)

I'd like one that can easily pick up program states from one PC â" like an IDE session â" and carry them to another PC

If the issue is just location, and not resources (needing to move to a machine w/ more memory, better CPUs for compiling), then you can just use remote desktop technology.

Of course, some IDEs also let you save the state of your project (what files are opened, how the windows are organized, etc), and if they save it to a file, you might be able to move that between systems, but you'd need the files laid out the same on disk so that it'd find everything again. If all of the files are in some version control system, it shouldn't be too difficult.

(I'm a Mac user, so can't comment on PC IDEs ... and I don't really use an 'IDE' per se. I use BBEdit, which is more a text editor with some IDE-like functionality)

about a month ago
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Box Office 2014: Moviegoing Hits Two-Decade Low

oneiros27 Not quite live theatre ... (400 comments)

Some movie theatres have been experimenting with streaming.

I went to see the Monty Python reunion live broadcast ... and in a packed theatre, it's a much different experience than watching it from home, even if you have a group of friends over. The company doing it was also advertising that they had operas.

The tickets were more expensive than regular movie tickets, but they were nothing compared to when I saw The Book of Mormon (as it sold out so fast we had to get more expensive tickets). They were more on-par with when I saw Avenue Q at The Red Branch Theatre. (and they're going to be doing it again this summer)

I admit, it's not as cheap as the improv group when I was in college (which many of us went to see every Friday at midnight), but you get some really funny stuff that'd never get made by a big movie studio. I remember seeing signs in DC for a place doing a Harry Potter spoof/synopsis a couple years back. I saw a play in the mid 1990s about lesbian vegetarian cattle rustlers. (I want to say it was named "Steak")

about a month ago
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Problem Solver Beer Tells How Much To Drink To Boost Your Creativity

oneiros27 This isn't new. (73 comments)

The engineering fraternity where I did my undergrad had been doing research on this topic since at least the early 1990s, and I suspect since well before that.

My understanding of their procedure was they had a couple of beers the night before ... not so much to have a hang over, and then another beer a couple of hours before the test. ... but I suspect that it's different for each person, as I've seen some amazing code come out of Swedish programmers who were completely wasted. (although, I wouldn't want to be the one to maintain it).

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Professionally Packaged Tools For Teaching Kids To Program?

oneiros27 Turtle Logo! wait, I mean Lua. (107 comments)

As you specifically mentioned that your kid's interested in minecraft, see if they'd be interested in ComputerCraft which that lets you build 'turtles' that can be programmed to do things using lua.

You can then give her challenges of increasing difficulty to teach her to break things down into steps, and to build on what she's already learned:

  • Tunneling (note, they come with a pre-defined 'tunnel', but it's really slow)
  • Tunneling through gravel areas
  • Tunneling and refueling as needed.
  • Tunneling and setting torches every 10 blocks
  • Leveling out an area
  • Planting a garden
  • Harvesting the garden
  • De-limbing a tree
  • ...etc

I've done the various tunneling stuff ... I assume the other stuff is possible, but I haven't actually tried them. Note that you need diamond tools to make the various types of turtles, so mining turtles should be first ... but then you have a diamond pick that doesn't wear down.

about 2 months ago
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Boeing Readies For First Ever Conjoined Satellite Launch

oneiros27 "First Ever Conjoined Satellite Launch" ? (67 comments)

Um ... so then what was STEREO? (launched in 2006)

There are pictures of them stacked together

It was even launched from a Boeing Delta II, so they can't claim it was their first conjoined launch. (which caused major launch delays ... due to the Boeing strike, then the batteries in the second stage being de-certified ... then once the strike was over, the Air Force kept cutting in line for launch pads)

Disclaimer : I work for the Solar Data Analysis Center. which operates the STEREO Science Center.

about 3 months ago
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Shift Work Dulls Brain Performance

oneiros27 Until who realizes? (131 comments)

We've got groups fighting the idea that maybe airborne polution is affecting our environment ... most likely because it affects their corporate profits.

If you say that shift work is hazardous to worker's health, no matter what you do (easiest might be to consider it hazardous, and therefore suitable for hazard pay and/or require some monitoring of the employees), it's going to affect corporate profits and therefore, people are going to fight against it.

I'm guessing that the group likely to study this further will be the military ... you can't have people making bad decisions because they're keeping abnormal shifts when it might affect starting World War 3. For all we know, this might've been a factor in the nuclear cheating scandal ... either the need to cheat on the test (because the folks had gotten stupid after working shifts), or the stupid decision to cheat on the test.

about 3 months ago
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In this year's US mid-term elections ...

oneiros27 to get third parties matching funds (551 comments)

If enough people vote third party, then they have a chance to get matching funds. It's also a reminder to the two in charge that maybe they should actually do something for the country, not just to prop up their party.

If you're not sure who the third-party candidates are in yourarea, or what their platforms are, go to I Side With, fill out their little survey (how you feel about various issues + how important you think those issues are), and they'll tell you the candidates whos positions closest match your responses.

(they have state election info, but they don't have county and local stuff ... you can also try Project Vote Smart, but they're better for deeper research into an existing politician ... they send their survey to a wider set (I Side With catalogs public statements, I don't think they directly contact the politicians) , but not all respond back and you spend a lot of time jumping around)

about 3 months ago
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The Most Highly Cited Scientific Papers of All Time

oneiros27 Re:True for IEEE (81 comments)

Nope, it had been approved, went through peer review (and was accepted) without a single mention of that. I was going through some system to check to see if my paper was formatted correctly when I gave up. I was told that wasn't even the system to submit the paper to.

And I've never published in EE before ... the workshop was 'Solar Astronomy Big Data', and I've only dealt with journals from solar physics, science informatics / data science, and library & information science. There's always been an exemption for work that was done on government funded time.

Their form allowed you *some* rights as it was government funded (eg, to publish it to any required repositories) but they still wanted the copyright. Even my boss (one of the workshop organizers) thought it was over-reaching.

AGU had some assinine rules that kept me from publishing in their journals (they counted posters and talks posted online as 'published', so wouldn't accept any papers from me.) ... but I also cut my ties to them this year (after having been very active with the Earth and Space Science Informatics focus group; was nominated to be secretary last year) when I realized that in their response to an RFI on public access to federally funded research, they called themselves a 'publisher' and never a 'scientific society' ... that was the last straw, as I already knew that I disagreed with just about everything in their statement.

about 3 months ago
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Suspected Ebola carriers in the U.S. ...

oneiros27 The financial perspective (349 comments)

You're telling people that they're not allowed to go to work and earn a living. Depending on their job, they might get fired if they have to take 3 weeks off without notice.

... so let's put a price tag on the whole thing. If keeping people away from the public is so important, the government should be willing to :

  1. Pay them at least twice the salary that they'd have missed out on. (remember, it's not a vacation ... they're stuck at home or wherever, so straight pay is not necessarily a fair compensation)
  2. Pay their employer at least their base salary for their lost productivity, and cover any other benefits that they would otherwise cover if working (retirement, health & life insurance, etc.)
  3. Have government staff manage delivery of any items that the people might want (eg, it's 10pm at night, and you're in the mood for a pizza ... can't have that pizza guy coming into contact with them, right? What if they run out of toilet paper or other hygeine products ... can't have them running down to the local grocery store or drugstore, and coughing on somene.

If it's in the best interest of the government to quarantine them, then there's an acceptable price that the government should be willing to spend to do it ... and some of that money should go directly to the people being inconvenienced by the quarantine.

I don't know how you'd fairly compensate children or people who are unemployeed ... I really wouldn't want to be locked up for 3 weeks in an apartment and have to tell a 4 year old that they're not allowed to go outside and play.

about 3 months ago
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The Most Highly Cited Scientific Papers of All Time

oneiros27 Data & Software Citation. (81 comments)

The top 100 most cited papers are actually a motley crew of methods, data resources and software tools that through usability, practicality and a little bit of luck have propelled them to the top of an enormous corpus of scientific literature.

The article itself never mention 'data resources' that I saw, but there's a problem in many fields that the standards are to cite the 'first results' paper for that data ... for which the results portion may have already been disproved or otherwise be crap. There are a number of efforts working on being able to cite 'data' separately from 'results of the data', and in a manner that's consistent across all disciplines (as we don't know in advance who might make use of our data). You also run into problems, as the paper being cited may describe the initial release of the data, and not be useful to determine which edition was used (as that may be significant to recreate their results). See the Joint Declaration of Data Ctation Principlies, DataCite (metadata schema + DOI registry system), and the 2012 CODATA-ICSTI report, "Out of Cite, Out of Mind: The Current State of Practice, Policy, and Technology for the Citation of Data".

There are similar issues with software citation -- everyone's citing the announcement of the existing of the software, but how can you track who might've relied on a buggy version to let them know that they may need to re-run their analysis? I'm not as active in this field, but the arguments remain the same (giving proper attribution, documenting everything to make it reproducible, etc.). See the 2013 Knepley et.al paper, "Accurately Citing Software and Algorithms used in Publications" and the work of the Software Sustainability Institute (which also covers topics on writing better research software, as was alluded to in the article)

It's probably also work mentioning that our current ways of tracking 'importance' of papers are flawed. See the Altmetrics Manifesto for a collection of links to efforts to come up with other metrics and CiTO, the Citation Typing Ontology to enable a way to classify why something was cited (it might be for criticism; in most of the cases in the article, it would be "uses method in", which not all disciples feel needs to be cited).

about 3 months ago
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The Most Highly Cited Scientific Papers of All Time

oneiros27 True for IEEE (81 comments)

After getting the final submission rejected 6 times. (The first failure was because it was PDF4, and they wanted PDF5 ... as if the couldn't up convert ... so I tried giving them the original source for them to use, but giving them ODF and DOC files resulted in font screwups ... so I tried generating the PDF through other mechanisms ... but they complained I had bookmarks (none of which showed up in Abobe Acrobat Professional) ... then their website said I had sent them too many PDFs (3), so I had to use their other methods ...

After spending hours on trying to get their damned website to accept my paper, I then got told by my boss that IEEE *also* makes you sign over copyright of your paper to them ... why, because you use their damned MS Word template that they can't even generate a clean paper from?

So I said fuck it, and withdrew the paper, and withdrew from the workshop (which is today) entirely. Never again will I even consider submitting a paper to IEEE.

about 3 months ago
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Why CurrentC Will Beat Out Apple Pay

oneiros27 Re:ACH = Automated Clearing House (631 comments)

"Direct Deposit" of your paycheck would be an example of ACH. Your company's bank doesn't want to make individual deals with every last bank that their employees might use ... so they go through a clearing house that makes all of the connections for them.

Credit cards go through a clearing house, too, and it's not actually run by Visa or MasterCard.

The thing is ... the clearing houses make only a small fraction of the tranaction ... nowhere near the transaction fees that the credit card companies collect (which is based in part on how likely someone's going to request a chargeback, but can also be a 'we don't like your type of business' penalty). I want to say that there's a third significant factor that might affect the fees, but I don't work in the industry ... a few of my former co-workers do, and I got the quick brain dump over drinks a couple months back. (and I paid the tab in cash ... *grin*)

about 3 months ago
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FCC Postpones Spectrum Auction Until 2016

oneiros27 Why is it a 'sale' ? (31 comments)

As spectrum so important, why are they sold at all? Shouldn't they be leased out, so it can be revoked if it's not being used for a given number of years, to put it in the hands of companies that aren't just going to sit on them to keep it out of the hands of their competitors, or other actions not in the public interest?

And as they mention IRS tax issues (I assume for capital gains), why aren't they at least subject to property taxes? (although, that probably just gives companies more incentive to set up shell corporations in tax havens)

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Search for Evi Nemeth Continues

oneiros27 oneiros27 writes  |  about a year and a half ago

oneiros27 (46144) writes "Although the initial search for Evi Nemeth (and some other people who didn't write Unix books) ended, family and friends of the missing crew are funding a private search effort for the crew. They've managed to get more images from DigitalGlobe of the drift area, but now need help looking through the pictures. If you've got some free time, you might be able to help save some lives."
Link to Original Source
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SpaceVenture : a new "Sierra" style game from the makers of Space Quest

oneiros27 oneiros27 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

oneiros27 (46144) writes "As previously covered a few years ago, sarien.net created a javascript interpreter for old Sierra games. Now, the original creators of Space Quest and the folks responsible for sarien.net are planning a new game, and have already put out some teasers to test browsers and show off the artwork, and show they haven't lost their sense of humor."
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