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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

thogard They forgot a few other issues (323 comments)

German and English won in the engineering world because of compound words. You can invent a new device and create a name that works in letter describing it.

English wins over German because of the relative lack of gendered words. Genders can get very messed up when using compound words. As an example, if a boat is female and a trailer is male, what gender should a boat-trailer be?

5 days ago
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David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

thogard Re:FP? (942 comments)

I haven't flow in the US in the last year. I've been on commercial aircraft in Australia where the pilot got the wrong frequency when the controller was using "dec-ee-mal". A friend had his class do an experiment where students wrote down numbers that were being read in different styles. There were substantially more errors with the ICAO way of reading numbers than the older FAA style with the Aussie students.

about three weeks ago
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David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

thogard Re:FP? (942 comments)

In the US they use "point" which is one syllable. There is no place in aviation radio where the decimal point isn't implied which makes using "decimal" a bigger waste of radio time.

about three weeks ago
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Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

thogard Re:Fine. Legislate for externalities. (488 comments)

You may not have a choice. My last power bill had a connection charge that was higher than the energy consumption charge an I pay $.22 a kwh. That will be the trend in the future. In places where the grid is still locally owned, I see it being added to property taxes as the cost of batteries come down where people can go off grid.

We just put in 6 250W panels. They cost less then $190 each but installing the frame and the wiring cost more. The mPPT module happens to plug into our existing telco grade -48V DC power supply and it was only $800 but plugged into a nice $5k system. The batteries that will run one of our racks of gear for 8 hours cost $250 each for 8 of them. The silicon bits aren't a major part of the cost of going off grid now.

about three weeks ago
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Forest Service Wants To Require Permits For Photography

thogard Re:Yeah sorry, no (299 comments)

The USDA's budget is 100x that of the BLM. Sure one is dept of Ag and the other is Dept of Interior but I'm not sure it matters much since I think the USDA has claim to all BLM land as well.

about three weeks ago
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The UPS Store Will 3-D Print Stuff For You

thogard Re:$60 for an iPhone case sounds high, but it isn' (144 comments)

Work recently spent about $5k for cube and it isn't printing any better than the 4 other 3d printers I've used 3 of them costs less than $1000.

about a month ago
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Fork of Systemd Leads To Lightweight Uselessd

thogard Re:kill -1 (469 comments)

You can't do this with systemd. A kill to a process group is an atomic operation in Posix so that if you do a kill -9 -1 (i.e. send a SIGKILL to init and all of its children), the kernel will not return from the "kill" syscall until it has sent the signal to all of the processes. That syscall will also prevent any other task switches until it is done so the result is no process (other than init) ever runs again even if they are in the middle of a forkbomb. A kill -1 -1 (send SIGHUP to everything via init's process group) has traditionally told all user level programs that the user logged out and all daemons that they should reload their config files.

Killing a process group (the negative process id, which is what the original commentator was talking about, not a SIGHUP) is used all the time on systems. That is how apachectl (and most other forking deamons and their control programs) tell its children to reload the config file or end in a controlled way. It is used every time a user logs out to make sure all their processes do go away. Signals are the oldest and more reliable of the IPC mechanisms and are great when the number of messages you need to send is a tiny number of options.

about a month ago
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Fork of Systemd Leads To Lightweight Uselessd

thogard There are still better ways (469 comments)

Over the past 3 decades, versions of the inittab syntax allowed for things in the 2nd and 3rd fields to say things could be run in the background or depend on other named states which is why the 1st field is a name.

It is amazing how many properly run systems can cope with a "kill -1 -1" to reset everything without a reboot.

about a month ago
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Sapphire Glass Didn't Pass iPhone Drop Test According to Reports

thogard Re:Reminds me of cars until the 1950s (207 comments)

Yet a 1 mm tick plastic bezel around the glass would be nearly invisible and protect the glass too. If done right, it might even make manufacturing cheaper.

about a month ago
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Chrome For Mac Drops 32-bit Build

thogard Re:It did? (129 comments)

The problem is the new xcode will soon drop support for the 32 bit versions of the OS and for some reason, mac developers can't figure out how to make a fat binary that runs on everything from about 10.0.0 to 10.11.00 even thought it requires having 3 versions of X code running on two or 3 different (virtual?) machines and then copying a few files. It is amazing how many open source packages just compile with older version of Xcode if you add in a few #DEFINES for things that aren't used anyway.

about a month ago
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Early iPhone 6 Benchmark Results Show Only Modest Gains For A8

thogard Re:reading the results wrong (208 comments)

Oddly enough, pushing pixels is the only sane reasons for doing 64 bit operations on a hand held device. If your not using more than 4 gig address space, going from 32 bits to 64 tends to mean you spend far more time moving pointers that have all zeros in the top half. Old stats showed the best a 64 bit PCU tends to do is about 6% worse based on average loads but operations with lots of indirect operations (like Java) it can be far worse.

about a month ago
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UCLA, CIsco & More Launch Consortium To Replace TCP/IP

thogard Re:Oh joy, stateful routers... (254 comments)

And who controls the names and how much does it cost to be a data producer?

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

thogard Re:Simple (635 comments)

Unless you were using vi Berkley, your vi had a :x

This matters because :wq! parses as "write, then forced quit", not "force write, quit". x! does the correct thing on failures.

about a month and a half ago
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African States Aim To Improve Internet Interconnections

thogard Wrong accusations are so easy (27 comments)

I had a situation that appeared that a hacker had taken control of a VOIP system and ran up a full E1 worth of calls to Africa 24x7 for a weekend resulting in a $1.4 million dollar phone bill. The initial evidence showed that Sierra Leone was involved with toll sharing fraud but I looked deeper. I called a few of their embassies and found out they couldn't call home if they tried and the London embassy had some who had the job of trying to calling home all day. It turns out that someone else was playing the scam and taking the money. Sierra Leone was given millions every month for the scam but then it was taken way with fines leaving them with problems. Everyone I talked to was hesitant to talk to me until I explained that I didn't think they were the scammers. I ended up talking to Alpha (what a cool name) who was the head of their phone company and he provided just the extra details. I had a friend from The old school US telco get some of the guys who used to work in the dark room listen to the calls and they said the wobble in the busy wasn't right for modern automatic gear so calls there would be considered connected even if most people heard a busy signal. The end result was a US phone company shipped them a nice bit of kit to terminate some of their calls in a deterministic way.

about 2 months ago
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TechCentral Scams Call Center Scammers

thogard Counter scripts? (251 comments)

Years ago I had a counter scripts for the common scam script. Does anyone have a site with some that fit the current scams?

about 2 months ago
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How the Ancient Egyptians (Should Have) Built the Pyramids

thogard There are so many questions (202 comments)

The stones I saw in the Great Pyramids that looked like they came from the same area, were in the same orientation and I expect rolling them would leave about half of them upside down from their neighbours.

I think most archeologist have incorrectly lumped Engineers in with Scribes.

I think the great Pyramids were built on their North and West sides and I think the different chambers were in the center at different stages of construction. If also solves the problems that you don't know how long you have to build a pyramid if it needs to be that shape for your ritual and there needs to be a chamber in the middle and bigger is better.

Herodotus said they used wood devices to lift the stones. I've seen pressure points from logs under the edges of the casing stones on the Red Pyramid but the internal and casing stones were done differently than the core stones. Wood has been rare in that area for very long so anything that wasn't needed anymore was firewood.

The boat they found buried has deep cuts on the deck as if someone had loaded up many several ton stone blocks on its deck. The sizes of the stones seems to decrease at height and I'm not sure how the 2.5 ton average came from and while it is everywhere, I question it. I don't think the casing stones were ever finished because if they were, there would be plenty of buildings in Cairo that had angled cuts in their stone work and I don't think any have been found.

I still don't think they later ones were ever intended for burial but just part of the process resurrection so if they Pharaoh didn't walk out, he wasn't God they were looking for and they tried again with the next one

The other key aspect that I wonder about is the fact that the Coptic religion managed to spread through out Egypt with minimal major political problems or wars which means the new religion was so close to the old one that it didn't matter or is was so radically different it blind sided an entire population.

about 2 months ago
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2 Galileo Satellites Launched To Wrong Orbit

thogard Re:Is it too late? (140 comments)

Radio astronomers are look at pulsars a different way than a Galaxy Position System needs to.

The pulsar interference issues came up shortly after the industry found out that Trimble was making use of the short bit at the end of the message to figure out when a frame started on the military signal which gave them much better accuracy. The pulsar noise messes up the way that was found so it had to be filtered out and those filters helped clean up other noise issues. That was over 15 years ago and I haven't worked on this in over a decade.

I agree you need a large antenna if you want to see some of the finer detail of pulsars radio transmissions since they tend to have something in the range of 400 to 450 db signal loss. For a GPS system, you don't need that fine of detail, you just have to be able to compare the time between two pulsars which is a much simpler problem.

about 2 months ago
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2 Galileo Satellites Launched To Wrong Orbit

thogard Is it too late? (140 comments)

Most major GPS chip sets now actively filter pulsar noise. The thing about pulsars is they are better clocks than what is being launched and they transmit on all frequencies. The ephemeris calculations are much harder but it has be used to 2 meter accuracy and it isn't even limited to working just around earth. I wonder why they spent so much money to duplicate two existing systems that weren't even state of the art when they started. Maybe it was because you can't license pulsar transmissions.

about 2 months ago
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ICANN Offers Fix For Domain Name Collisions

thogard My solution (101 comments)

I've been telling people that going to those odd top level domains are like calling 1-900 numbers, you will get a large bill from your ISP so just don't ever use them.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

thogard Re:Whitelisting and whitelisters (331 comments)

Microware OS9 running on a radio shack color computer in 1984 had module white listing. It used CRC but it was a step in the right direction. Too bad it took Microsoft decades to catch up.

about 2 months ago

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