top Ask Slashdot: What To Do After Digitizing VHS Tapes?
That's exactly what I do too. As an extra safety measure, I keep a checksums.md5 file containing the MD5 checksums of all of my videos. That way there's never any guessing as to whether or not anything has gone corrupt. Also, if one of the two drives shows even the slightest signs of becoming unreliable, I swap it out for a new one right away.
top Underground Experiment Confirms Fusion Powers the Sun
The Arthur C. Clarke sci-fi novel "The Songs Of Distant Earth" (1986) used the Case Of The Missing Neutrinos as the opening premise of the story. I quote: "The experiment worked; solar neutrinos were detected. But - there were far too few of them. [...] By the end of the twentieth century, the astrophysicists had been forced to accept a disturbing conclusion - though as yet no one realized its full implications. There was nothing wrong with the theory, or with the equipment. The trouble lay inside the Sun." Humanity then had a few hundred years to develop interstellar-travel technology before the Sun went nova. 'Twas a good story.
top SpaceX Launching Dragon Capsule to ISS Today
Yeah, what's with that? Did they run out of paint or something?
about a year and a half ago
top Stanford, UCD Researchers Say 100% Renewable Energy Possible By 2050
I stopped reading when I got to the statement "And then there's the benefit of halting climate change". I have no doubt that this will curb (perhaps significantly) human impact on climate change (and therefore I'm generally all for this type of research), but to say that it will HALT climate change illustrates a complete lack of recognition that human activity is only one contributing factor in the current trend of climate change. Climate change is for the most part a natural, inevitable, and ongoing process. Trying or expecting to "halt" it is akin to trying or expecting to halt the rotation of the earth, and the statement of such claims or goals undermines the objectivity of the article.
top How Should Poll Numerical Increments Be Set?
How about creating a new poll mechanism where the person can actually type in a number when answering a numeric poll question? That way the poll results that get reported can be automatically adjusted to a logarithmic scale that best matches the distribution of the actual numbers. It fact, it could report the results in a few different ways, including a few charts and graphs to explore different interpretations of the results.
top 'Old School' Arcade Still Popular In NYC
Why is it that Ms. Pac Man always makes it into retro games arcades, but hardly ever the original Pac Man? Back in their respective heydays, wasn't Pac Man way more popular than Ms. Pac Man? Is it a licensing issue? What gives?
top Last Roll of Kodachrome Processed
All my Kodachrome slides, dating back to the 70s, look as good now as the day they came back from the lab.
... or your eyes and the slides are degrading at the same rate.
top Apple To Hold iPhone 4 Press Conference
Research any new product before purchasing it and you'll discover a long list of problems that it has. No product is without issues. If you refuse to buy a product because you're aware that it has a few issues, then you're either going to go your entire life without buying anything, or you're going to have to start buying things without doing any research. At least knowing what the issues are beforehand gives you the ability to judge whether or not the issues are insurmountable for you so that you can avoid the purchase rather than saying "WTF?" after buying it. Are the iPhone 4 issues insurmountable? Are they worse overall than the list of issues you'll find on most other cell phones currently on the market? Well, the answer to that is very subjective, but from where I stand the iPhone 4 looks like a pretty solid product overall.
top Millennium Prize Awarded For Perelman's Poincaré Proof
I think the question is easier to understand if you knock everything down a dimension, because then it can actually be visualized. Take the surface of any three-dimensional object that doesn't contain any holes (e.g., a cup, but NOT a coffee mug with a handle). Can the surface be stretched/distorted to be shaped into a sphere? The answer is fairly obviously yes. But is this also true for four-dimensional objects? Stop trying to visualize it; you can't. You have to rely on the math instead. But that, I believe, is the question.
top THX Caught With Pants Down Over Lexicon Blu-ray Player
A $90 bluray player is going to output THE EXACT SAME audio and video bits as a $5000 bluray player.
That's not quite true, though. A lot goes on in a Blu-Ray player between decoding the raw H.264 stream an pumping an HDMI video signal to the TV. There's the matter of handling all of the many nuances of turning an interlaced signal into a progressive signal, for example. Some players do this sort of thing way better than others, and the resulting difference in video quality is definitely noticeable. Then there's the matter of converting between different framerates. It may sound like a trivial task, but a lot of the low-end players do a quick-and-dirty job of it, resulting in lower-quality video.
I'm not sure about audio. I suspect similar differentiating factors are at work there, too.
That being said, paying $5000 for a Blu-Ray player is a bit ridiculous. Avoid the $90 Walmart specials, sure, but the average $400 Blu-Ray player or a PS3 will give you audio and video that you'd be pretty hard-pressed to distinguish from the best.
top "Doomsday Clock" Moves Away From Midnight
I suspect that their formulas and/or intuitions (whatever the source of their declarations) are nowhere close to being more precise than what a minute hand can represent.
top Bullet-Proof Sheets of Carbon Nanotubes
A fifth of an inch thick? When I initially read "sheets of carbon nanotubes" I was envisioning something on the order of micrometers thick. I'm sure this is still progress, but the story isn't as exciting as I was initially expecting it to be.
top Vacuum Leaks Lead To Another LHC Delay
One thing I've never understood about this explanation is that it doesn't explain why it's always the anti-particle that falls into the black hole. Wouldn't chance dictate that half the time it will be the particle, causing the black hole to take on the extra mass?
(I'm sure the answer to this question is somehow related to a similar question that I've always had... and that is: why is the universe composed almost entirely out of matter rather than being a mix? and why aren't there any anti-matter black holes?)
top Logitech Makes 1 Billionth Mouse
[Logitech's] early mice used balls and so needed replacing after a few years.
That's funny. I've purchased exactly one mouse in my lifetime, a three-button Logitech ball mouse in the mid 1990s, and it hasn't given me a single problem at all over the 15 years of extensive use. I take the ball out and wipe off the contacts every few years, and that's enough to keep it going. My keyboard is in a similar situation. Both my mouse and my keyboard have outlived four host computers, and are still going strong. (I need an adaptor to plug the mouse in now, though, because computers don't seem to come with serial ports any more.) I really don't understand how there can be such a large market for mice and keyboards (as evidenced by the shelves of them in places like Best Buy). I guess the gaming market is somewhat of a driving force; people want the latest hot keys (or whatever) to give them that extra edge in their game du jour.
top Computer For a Child?
I'll have to dig it all out of my closet before putting it up on e-Bay, which I plan on doing sometime soon. I can give you first dibs if you supply me with your e-mail address though. (I don't want to make any deals or promises yet until I dig it out and VERIFY that it actually still works.)
top Computer For a Child?
I've got a working Commodore 64 system that I'm willing to sell you for cheap (complete with oodles of software). That taught me everything I needed to know about computers, and in a way that captivated me. Perhaps that'd be considered an ultra-archaic learning tool in this day and age, but then again maybe it's the perfect level of entry because it's a system that's simple enough to be (mostly) understood as a whole while being powerful enough (BASIC 2.0 gripes aside) to give one a feeling of accomplishment and control.
top Scripting In Commodore BASIC For Windows & Linux
IIRC, using integer variables actually slowed things down somewhat, because the underlying math was actually performed in floating point anyways. To achieve integer semantics, the BASIC interpreter had to perform integer-to-floating-point-to-integer conversions for every calculation.
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