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Comments

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The Best Way To Watch the "Blood Moon" Tonight

spaceyhackerlady "Blood Moon" (146 comments)

Please drop this idiotic phrase.

Besides, total lunar eclipses aren't red at all, at least, none I've ever seen. They're a neat copper colour.

...laura

4 days ago
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Born To RUN: Dartmouth Throwing BASIC a 50th B-Day Party

spaceyhackerlady I see...NERDS (146 comments)

...and the world is all the better for it!

...laura

about two weeks ago
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Continued Rise In Autism Diagnoses Puzzles Researchers, Galvanizes Advocates

spaceyhackerlady Re:Medicalizing Normality (558 comments)

Yup. Declare normal human variation pathological, make money by "treating" it, laugh all the way to the bank.

I would also add that many of the "autistic" children I see aren't autistic at all, not by any standard I understand. They are children desperate for attention, and have found a way to get that attention.

Some may even be jumping on the autism bandwagon to be trendy. I've seen this with allergies, where kids want inhalers and shit so they fit in with their over-medicated peers.

...laura

about three weeks ago
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Why Darmok Is a Good Star Trek: TNG Episode

spaceyhackerlady TNG good and bad (512 comments)

For the most part, TNG was competent. At its best it was brilliant. I'm with people on episodes like The Inner Light and The Measure of a Man. Add in, for me, Cause and Effect, The Emissary, a few others. The human condition, in space. Good stuff.

Unlike many, I actually liked The Dauphin.

I thought Darmok was an interesting idea. How do you make aliens who are, well, alien, but not so alien that you can't interact with them? This was an issue with the Borg, badass aliens who could kick the shit out of Klingons and not work up a sweat, but who were so alien that no meaningful interaction was possible.

Bad episodes? Yeah, there were a few. I prefer to remember the good ones.

...laura

about three weeks ago
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Google Fighting Distracted Driver Laws

spaceyhackerlady What information do you need when you're driving? (226 comments)

Do you need to know how fast you're going? Yes.

Do you need to know how your car is performing? Yes.

Do you need to know where you are and where you're going? Yes.

We already have head-up displays that show car parameters, as well as navigation systems that help you get where you're going. This could be incorporated in to an HUD ("turn here ->").

Anything more would be information overload. I do not need ads to tell me how cool the store I'm driving by is (i.e. how much they paid for the ad), nor do I need neat pictures other people have taken in the vicinity.

Look at how they do it in airplanes: the pilots have the essential information in front of them, but can access other information as needed.

...laura

about 2 months ago
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The Ever So Unlikely Tale of How ARM Came To Rule the World

spaceyhackerlady The Little Chip That Could (111 comments)

I've always thought ARM was a cool design. Simple, minimalist, sort of a latter-day PDP-11, one of those canonical architectures that just works. Simple chip, not many transistors, low power, good chip for mobile devices. It seems so obvious in retrospect. Especially since that's not what the designers had in mind. They were designing a simple chip because they only had a couple of people and that was all they could afford.

In one of the later scenes in Micro Men there is a whiteboard in the background with the original ARM requirements, right down to the barrel shifter.

...laura

about 2 months ago
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Google Tells Glass Users Not To Be 'Creepy Or Rude'

spaceyhackerlady CueCat Mark 2? (341 comments)

I sometimes wonder if Google Glass is going to be another CueCat. Somebody thought it was a really neat idea and pushed it hard, but nobody else thought it was a neat idea and it died.

People view Google Glass as creepy and weird. That's hard sell, even for Google.

...laura

about a month ago
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Ugly Trends Threaten Aviation Industry

spaceyhackerlady PPL reality check (473 comments)

Is current GA activity intrinsically low, or is it low compared to the Good Old Days of the 1950s and 1960s general aviation boom?

Our GA airports are somewhat less than inviting to visitors. There was an editorial/blog in Flying magazine on this subject recently.

Airplanes really are expensive to buy and to operate.

Does anybody learn to fly for fun or for private transportation anymore? Everybody nowadays gets their PPL because it's the prerequisite for everything else. After the novelty wore off I too came to the realization that a PPL was sterile, a dead end, and am now working on my commercial license.

...laura

about 2 months ago
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An OS You'll Love? AI Experts Weigh In On Her

spaceyhackerlady HAL9000 (175 comments)

Right, and this is why the viewer was supposed to make the assumption that the AI had emotions programmed in. No stupidity here.

Remember the discussion in 2001. HAL was programmed to sound emotional, since it made it easier to talk to him. Whether he actually felt emotions was much harder to say.

...laura

about 3 months ago
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Nissan Unveils 88 Pound 400-HP Race Car Engine

spaceyhackerlady Re:Sure, but what about (239 comments)

the horsepower per hour of engine life? That thing looks like it'll last 20 hours before it needs rebuilding.

A point the story ignores. Any idiot can get buttloads of power out of an engine if it doesn't have to do so for very long. Two-stroke engines are particularly good for this if fuel consumption and exhaust emissions are minor considerations.

...laura

about 3 months ago
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Best skywatching equipment at my disposal:

spaceyhackerlady Define "convenient" (201 comments)

My biggest scope is an 18" dob, made by the now-defunct Starsplitter. It looks a lot like an Obsession 18", and uses Obsession accessories.

While large, with the wheelbarrow handles it's easy to move around and set up. When I bought it I refurbished it, including redoing the teflon bearings in the mount. A local industrial plastics shop sold me an offcut of real virgin GE sheet teflon. The result is pure dobsonian: rock steady, stays where it's pointed. And perfectly balanced: it moves with one finger.

Jupiter's moons are different colours and are non-stellar. Titan is an interesting colour. M13 has a friend, NGC 6207.

...laura

about 3 months ago
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U.S. Teenagers Are Driving Much Less: 4 Theories About Why

spaceyhackerlady Never drove that much to begin with (635 comments)

As a city dweller public transport and the occasional rental car were all I needed for a long time.

A few years ago I got a nice bonus from my employers and bought a little car to see what I might do with it. I can't say it's changed my driving habits all that much: I still take the bus to work, but drive on weekends. The price of gasoline is certainly a factor, but will have to be quite a bit more before I cut back further on driving. I'd love to drive an electric car, but the infrastructure isn't there. I live in an apartment and have nowhere to plug one in, despite numerous discussions with the building management.

There are a few destinations around here (like downtown Vancouver) where I still prefer to take the bus, because the traffic and parking are impossible.

...laura

about 2 months ago
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Previously-Unseen Photos of Challenger Disaster Appear Online

spaceyhackerlady I remember it well (207 comments)

I remember that morning. I was watching the launch on TV as I was getting ready to go to work, and had to head out during a launch hold. Later that morning one of our part-time folks came in and asked if we had heard about Challenger? I felt myself go grey and took the rest of the day off.

Every generation has events where everybody remembers exactly where they were. I wasn't born when Sputnik 1 was launched, and I was a bit young to remember Kennedy. But I do remember Apollo 8, Apollo 11, Apollo 13, Challenger, Lady Di and 9/11. Funny that four of those events are related to space...

Side note: a shame the pictures only show the left SRB, not the right one that caused all the trouble.

...laura

about 3 months ago
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Programmer Debunks Source Code Shown In Movies and TV Shows

spaceyhackerlady You never know! (301 comments)

A few years ago I was doing some development that involved AES encryption, and needed to create some test tools.

One evening I was watching some program about the misdeeds of some computer hacker, and the screen background was perl. It mentioned Crypt::Rijndael.

I had my test tool the next morning... :-)

...laura

about 3 months ago
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No. of vehicle license types I hold:

spaceyhackerlady One ground, one air (312 comments)

None of the above, in other words...

I have a license for driving cars (British Columbia class 5) and a license for flying airplanes (PPL). I'm working on my commercial license.

In Canada a pilots license is a little booklet that looks like a passport. Your license, ratings and medical, all in one document.

...laura

about 4 months ago
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I'd rather pay for my space latte with ...

spaceyhackerlady Best exchange rate (265 comments)

If you exchange your Foundation credits for kalganids you get a lot of kalganids. Sounds like a good deal to me!

What good are quatloos? All you can do is place bets with them. I'm confused.

...laura, probably showing her age

about 4 months ago
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What computing device do you use most while on vacation?

spaceyhackerlady Off the grid (140 comments)

I make sure that my vacations are out of cell coverage, so my cellphone is irrelevant. I turn it off for the duration. All the better to hear the wind rustling through the leaves, the birds calling, and so on. One favourite getaway includes howler monkeys whooping it up at dawn. So be it.

I take my iPad with me. I can read stuff on it if I want to. At the airport yesterday I checked the weather via the airport's WiFi, did my own forecast of the flight conditions and compared that with the airline's briefing on turbulence and stuff. Nailed it. :-)

My employers have emergency contact information, but they understand that if they call me it had better be an emergency. The one time they called me (in 14 years) it really was. My boss is of the same mindset on this stuff, so it's cool.

...laura

about 4 months ago
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First Hard Evidence for the Process of Cat Domestication

spaceyhackerlady Re:Sensation! (144 comments)

A few years ago I moved to a new place and needed to line up a new home for a very sweet stray cat who had turned up on my doorstep. So he went to live with my Mom in the country.

At first he was puzzled by his new surroundings, but eventually he figured things out. It took him about six weeks to go from playing with mice the other cat brought in, to catching his own and playing with them, to discovering they were edible. And much tastier than cat food. Crunch crunch crunch.

...laura

about 4 months ago
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How long do your computer mice last?

spaceyhackerlady Mac + trackpad = kool-aid (361 comments)

I bought a trackpad for my Mac earlier this year on a whim, and I love it. I know, drinking the kool-aid and all that. So sue me... :-)

...laura

about 4 months ago
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YouTube Expands Live Streaming To All Channels

spaceyhackerlady YouTube playback issues (71 comments)

Indeed. That will, eventually, kill YouTube far more effectively than intrusive ads or changes in terms of service.

I first noticed playback issues earlier this year. Everybody is complaining about it. The support forums are full of platitudes about updating plugins and flushing one's cache. None of which makes any difference: YouTube is broken. And if it doesn't actually work, i.e. deliver content, the advertising is going to be irrelevant.

My preferred browser is Chrome, BTW. If YouTube doesn't work properly with Google's own browser, we're in big trouble.

...laura

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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Little boxes around the edge of the data centre?

spaceyhackerlady spaceyhackerlady writes  |  about a year and a half ago

spaceyhackerlady (462530) writes "We're looking at some new development, and a big question mark is the little boxes around the edge of the data centre — the NTP servers, the monitoring boxes, the stuff that supports and interfaces with the Big Iron that does the real work.

The last time I visited a hosting farm I saw shelves of Mac Minis, but that was 5 years ago. What do people like now for their little support boxes?"
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Cool embedded computers?

spaceyhackerlady spaceyhackerlady writes  |  more than 5 years ago

spaceyhackerlady writes "I had a long talk with my boss yesterday about some possible new projects, and several involved deploying little embedded computers to do interesting things.

I've played with several tiny embedded Linux-based SBCs. My fave so far is Gumstix, but what other cool ones should I know about? The main requirements are ethernet and RS-232 serial I/O. Audio plus enough MIPS for some DSP is nice to have. Linux, naturally. This is Slashdot, after all. :-)

What tiny embedded Linux computers have you messed with lately?"
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spaceyhackerlady spaceyhackerlady writes  |  about 7 years ago

spaceyhackerlady writes "Our Marketing manager has had the brainwave that we should be more aggressive with our competition, so he decided that we should adopt Klingon culture around the office, effective April 1. This includes porting our systems to Var'aq, the official Klingon programming language. Something to do with killing (or at least maiming) the competition, he says.

Has anybody ever done this with a mainly Java-based system? Any good migration tools out there?

Qapla'!

...laura"
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spaceyhackerlady spaceyhackerlady writes  |  more than 7 years ago

spaceyhackerlady writes "I have several spam honeypot email addresses, and one of them recently started receiving spam from a Canadian discount warehouse store, Costco.

The emails have most of the usual hallmarks of spam, right down to the note at the bottom that says they're sending it because I requested it. Yeah, right.

I've asked when and how a non-existent person could sign up for spam, and have only gotten a form letter saying they don't have that information. Again, yeah, right.

So, Slashdotters, how would you tell a legit company that they have either been had by spammers, or that they've pulled a really idiotic stunt.

...laura, in no danger of being a Costco customer"

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