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Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

rasmusbr Re:Yay.. This is easy to imagine (318 comments)

7. Ha ha ha did you think you could launch a long-running task and not babysit it to prevent Windows from restarting edition...

Oh wait, I have that one on my laptop.

2 days ago

Why My LG Optimus Cellphone Is Worse Than It's Supposed To Be

rasmusbr Re:Don't buy cheap android (289 comments)

It is probably just corporate stupidity. It would be cheap and easy to work out a deal to bundle a leading keyboard app with the phone, but some bright executive somewhere probably had a different idea.

4 days ago

Dealing With 'Advertising Pollution'

rasmusbr Re:Ads are good for the internet. (391 comments)

An ad like that has an expected return of about $10 per 1000 views, so it ought to cost you about $0.01 to skip it. Are you sure you would rather watch the ad than pay $0.01 and save 10 seconds? If you watch 10 videos a day that adds up to a mere $37 a year to never have to wait for the ad to end.

There is of course no payment system that would let you pay $0.01, but theoretically speaking, if such a system existed I think a lot of people would press the $0.01 skip button.

about a week ago

Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

rasmusbr Re:04.10.2010 (503 comments)

Yeah, by "rednecks and other idiots" I was precisely referring to the Russia-aligned separatists in Eastern Ukraine.

These weapons are designed to be part of a complex system with military radar, civilian radar / ATC and central command in addition to the missile launcher itself. Airliners do get shot down by mistake even with such a system in place. Now imagine that a launcher has fallen into the hands of a bunch of enthusiastic guys who aren't the sharpest tools in the shed and who at best maybe have some training on the launchers from back when they were conscripts, who don't understand the complexity and intricacies of telling hostile aircraft apart from civilian aircraft and who don't have the resources to do that anyway since they don't have access to civilian radar and ATC. If these weapons fall into the hands of poorly organized rebels it's only a matter of time before a civilian aircraft gets shot down.

about a week ago

Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

rasmusbr Re:04.10.2010 (503 comments)

Russia already has a history of, at the very least, being a prime suspect for taking down a plane. The only difference now is that the world is actually watching this show more carefully.

So does the US:
And Ukraine:

The only real lesson is that surface to air missiles are way to dangerous to be put into the hands of the military. Now think about putting them into the hands of rednecks and other idiots who fancy themselves rebels. In retrospect it is pretty obvious that this had to happen sooner or later.

about a week ago

Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

rasmusbr Re:Not new, and not shocking. (242 comments)

Singapore experimented with it in the 1970's, but the news is that it is now possible to do it at competitive price point. This means that cities like Phoenix and Los Angeles will not have to be abandoned when their natural water supplies run out.

I imagine that if the technology can be miniaturized and made to work in lower than Earth gravity it could also be hugely important for human space flight and colonization of other bodies in the solar system.

about two weeks ago

Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth the Investment?

rasmusbr Re: Yes (502 comments)

That hiss you get is probably noise from the amplifier in the Logitech system before it detects that there's no input signal and turns itself off. Try playing an extremely quiet audio track (make one in audacity) and see if that triggers the same hiss.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Dedicated Low Power Embedded Dev System Choice?

rasmusbr Re:Solaris not well supported by OSS toolchain (183 comments)

They want a low wattage test system for doing embedded dev. Period. Don't skirt around it, don't try to poke and make fun of anything he says in the comment, either you can't help him or you can. MOVE ON.

The person doesn't really provide a power budget. Low power compared to what?

Are we talking a device that's going to need to run off of battery power for hours or days? Are we talking about a device that's going to be silent (no cooling fan)? Are we talking about a device that can have a cooling fan as long as it delivers good performance per watt? Who knows, the question doesn't specify.

about two weeks ago

Study: Global Warming Solvable If Fossil Fuel Subsidies Given To Clean Energy

rasmusbr Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (385 comments)

That if you REALLY want to eliminate fossil fuel usage, the big spending is going to have to be on dams and nuclear reactors.

Hydro power won't do. The world technical potential for hydro power is about 16 PWh, while the world demand for energy is something like 500 PWh, so there is no way that those 16 PWh could ever make a significant contribution.

Nuclear power's technical potential is only limited by the effectiveness of the technology, so nuclear could be a viable replacement given the right advances in nuclear technology. It is unfortunately possible to rule out current nuclear technology because it simply takes too long and costs too much to build a power plant using that technology. If the US government or state governments began funneling money into current state of the art nuclear power now then the first new nuclear energy due to that investment would come online in the 2030's and it would probably take centuries to replace fossil fuel that way.

For nuclear to be a viable replacement for fossil fuels I think we would need to imagine a nuclear reactor the size of a shipping container that could be made in a factory, or at least a reactor that could be assembled on site from a small number of components all of which are small enough to fit inside shipping containers. This could probably lead to dramatic reductions in the time it takes to build a reactor, which I think would allow nuclear power to come online rapidly enough to match the depletion rates of dwindling fossil fuel reserves.

about three weeks ago

The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

rasmusbr Re:kind of like a small town fireworks show? (200 comments)

The main reason why many governments have regulations for how much fireworks you can fire off in one night is that fireworks produce toxic smoke. Reykjavik is a relatively small city situated in what I believe is a windy area far away from any other major urban centers, so I would think that the potential for humans to be exposed being exposed to smoke from fireworks is unusually low there.

Or perhaps the city just wants to live up to its name...

about three weeks ago

A Physicist Says He Can Tornado-Proof the Midwest With 1,000-Foot Walls

rasmusbr Re:How many Panama canals? (501 comments)

Expensive and dumb.

If you're going to do something like this, why not build a system that harvests and concentrates the energy? Modern wind turbines are already not far from 1000 feet from the ground to the tip of the turbine blade. A little bit of R&D on stronger lightweight materials could probably lead to turbines taller than 1000 feet.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Way to Learn C# For Game Programming?

rasmusbr Re:just try it, it's fun (254 comments)

Start simple - very simple. Try breakout, tetris, a board game, etc, then start adding features to learn about those features. Then make the game you really want to do in the same approach - minimum viable product, then flesh it out like stone soup. When the soup's done, ship it!


Except, start with what you know. If you're good at audio, start by writing a program that can receive and handle requests to play sounds. Now, in a complex game like an RTS the sound effects will need to overlap. So for instance in a space-based RTS the roar of a rocket launch may need to overlap with multiple bangs och zaps of plasma rifles and lasers. Once you have a sound program that works well enough you can call that your sound engine.

about a month ago

Cable Boxes Are the 2nd Biggest Energy Users In Many Homes

rasmusbr Re:F*cking odd units of measurement... (394 comments)

Right, the medium sized town. The SI unit for power production is the one family home and the conversion factor is defined in homes per football field times the average number of football fields that a medium-sized town occupies.

It's all very clearly defined.

about a month ago

Cable Boxes Are the 2nd Biggest Energy Users In Many Homes

rasmusbr Re:I bet DVR boxes are even worse (394 comments)

The funny thing is that ever since Reagan and Thatcher launched a new form of right wing politics we live in an era where the "conservatives" are radicals who want to replace a working system with their utopian dream society, while the "socialists" or "liberals" are people who want to keep the tried and tested system with all or most of its government involvement in the economy.

Anyway, this particular problem could be solved in two ways:
1. Have the government determine standards and force companies to certify their products.
2. Have a private non-profit organization determine standards, encourage companies to certify their products, and name and shame the companies that don't do it. Consumer don't want to buy from brands that have a reputation for not caring about the environment.

So it's not completely impossible for the market to solve the problem. It's just unlikely to happen soon.

about a month ago

HP Unveils 'The Machine,' a New Computer Architecture

rasmusbr Re:Is unix the last operating system? (257 comments)

Previous attempts to do away with directory-based filesystems and go with a sea of tagged documents and a metadata database have crashed on the rocks of low disk performance. But those ideas are good in principle, they just weren't appropriate for actual hardware.

They were always a terrible idea because they don't scale in the human mind. For a music collection you can just about deal with artist name, album name, song name... But even when it comes to things like "genera" how many people can remember if a particular song they want to hear counts a pop, or rock, or soft rock, or maybe it was prog-rock, or is that "prog rock" or "progrock"?

It gets worse for documents. With a folder system you can drill down. It serves as a memory aid. With tags you need to search and sift through search results unless you can remember the name of that particular thing you needed, or some other fairly unique identifier. I'd contend that tagging is more effort than organizing in folders too, especially if you want to change tags in bulk without separating collections of related documents accidentally.

There are ways to reduce these problems with fuzzy search terms, hierarchical tags and the like, but they are all just lame attempts to polish a turd.

The problem of navigating a music collection is already solved at the application level by various apps. Any file system will do fine. You're not going to have more than 10-100 million music files on a system since that's about what humanity has created so far, so it's a fairly well bounded problem.

Innovation at the OS level should probably focus on problems where there is no upper limit to how many files you could realistically want to store and search.

about a month and a half ago

Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic In London, Madrid, Berlin

rasmusbr Re:scabs suck. next you'll skip paying bribes. (507 comments)

In Europe that isn't even usually the case. In Sweden, one of the countries where Uber is whining about "regulation", the taxi market is deregulated. Anyone can offer taxi services, at any price, providing they meet four basic consumer-protection requirements:

1. They have a commercial driver's license

2. They have commercial vehicle insurance

3. They post their rates openly and visibly

4. They have a functioning meter, which is inspected occasionally to ensure that it is billing the same amount as the posted rates

And since the Swedish authorities have not cracked down on Uber we can probably surmise that rules 3 and 4 will get rewritten or reinterpreted to allow what Uber is doing. Uber is in compliance in spirit (if not in practice) since they do advertise their prices to anyone who has the ability to buy a ride and the driver does have a meter app on his or her phone.

The real wrongdoing here by the Swedish authorities is that they're not (not yet) giving other companies the same pass that they're giving Uber.

about a month and a half ago

Wikipedia Mining Algorithm Reveals the Most Influential People In History

rasmusbr Re:Linnaeus cheated (231 comments)

Not a bad list, honestly. Still not sure why Linnaeus is *that* high, but most of the rest is quite reasonable, methinks.

I would have to agree. I think that Linnaeus has gamed the system a bit. Every (or at least most) Wikipedia articles about a plant or animal species would have a link to back to Linnaeus or his nomenclature system. While he was certainly a notable scientist, he was in no way as influential as most of the others on the list. Perhaps I should change my name to "Citation Needed" so I would be the most influential person in history (according to this methodology).

He gamed the system more than that... Every Wikipedia article about a species contains a link to whoever named that species. And Linnaeus named a lot of species, something close to 10,000! He had a good head start on everyone else seeing as he came up with the naming system. He especially named pretty much all of the species that have the most "mindshare", the same ones that now have long and highly ranked Wikipedia articles.

about a month and a half ago

Apple Acquires Social Search Engine Spotsetter

rasmusbr Re:Never heard of it (21 comments)

Is this "Spotsetter" something I'm supposed to have heard of? I feel like I got dumped into a story halfway with a bunch of characters I have no reason to care about.

Nope, thy had an app that peaked at number 50 or so in their category ranking on iTunes.

Their blog talks about them working on wearable software, so I suppose Apple was behind on some software feature for their iWatch (probably a feature that lets you know when you are near good restaurants, cafes, shops, etc) and decided to source it from the outside.

about a month and a half ago

Canada Poised To Buy 65 Lockheed Martin F-35 JSFs

rasmusbr Re:Russia (417 comments)

Sweden and Finland have the means to produce nuclear weapons.
Same goes for most other countries with nuclear research facilities. It's not as if it's difficult.

It is apparently fairly difficult and expensive to make small, lightweight nuclear weapons. France was still doing nuclear tests in the 1990's, presumably because they still had kinks to iron out in their design.

about a month and a half ago

ISS-Above Tells You When the International Space Station is Overhead (Video)

rasmusbr Re:Inventing the wheel next? (59 comments)

Yes, but a program on a computer is a pretty boring way to reinvent the ISS tracker. A fun way would be to invent a mechanical device that predicts when the ISS will be overhead.

about 1 month ago



SpaceX Posts Damaged Video Of Falcon 9 First Stage Splashdown

rasmusbr rasmusbr writes  |  about 3 months ago

rasmusbr (2186518) writes "SpaceX has posted video from a camera mounted on the Falcon 9 rocket's first stage as the rocket stage attempted a soft splashdown on the ocean surface on April 18, after launching a resupply mission to the International Space Station. The powered splashdown was a test of the Falcon 9 first stage's ability to decelerate and land after launch, a crucial step toward a reusable first stage.

The video bitstream is damaged and SpaceX has spent a week trying to repair it. They now turn to the public for help."

Link to Original Source


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