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Comments

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A 16-Year-Old Builds a Device To Convert Breath Into Speech

wcrowe Re:So.... (67 comments)

I don't know. How many words can the average person speak before they pass out? It seems like a similar type of breath control. I just sat here and tried some "Morse code" breathing through my nose and it seems like a perfectly legitimate solution to the problem. With practice, I bet a person could communicate pretty quickly this way.

5 days ago
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A 16-Year-Old Builds a Device To Convert Breath Into Speech

wcrowe Kudos! (67 comments)

I congratulate this kid for thinking outside the box. I wonder where he will go from here with his invention?

I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with ALS, and the disease is progressing agressively with him. I hope there is something affordable like this when and if he gets to the point he needs it.

5 days ago
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Microsoft Paid NFL $400 Million To Use Surface, But Announcers Call Them iPads

wcrowe Re:OMG! (405 comments)

Well, I am a nerd, and if you will look at my 5-digit id, you will realize that I've probably been one for much longer than you have. But I am not such a nerd that I am so out of touch with current vernacular that I don't realize that iPad is becoming the standard generic term for any brand of tablet, just as band-aid, kleenex, frisbee, etc. have. It's not hilariously funny.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft Paid NFL $400 Million To Use Surface, But Announcers Call Them iPads

wcrowe OMG! (405 comments)

Someone called something that wasn't an iPad, an iPad! In other news, one announcer was overheard to say that the trainer was placing a Band-aid on an injured player, when in fact the bandage was a Curad! Shocking!

 

about two weeks ago
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Why Phone Stores Should Stockpile Replacements

wcrowe First world problems (253 comments)

Geez. What a pussy.

about two weeks ago
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California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

wcrowe Re:How does it handle the unexpected? (506 comments)

Not a helpful answer. If you think that all there is to parking a car is the mechanics of getting it into a parking space, you haven't been driving long enough.

about three weeks ago
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California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

wcrowe Re:How does it handle the unexpected? (506 comments)

Several people have responded to my query, but every answer is a knee-jerk, "how-can-you-be-so-stupid?" type of douchbag answer. Every answer describes a system where:
1. There is a huge infrastructure that the car depends on for information, which is apparently still fully functional after a tornado, hurricane, or earthquake.
2. All other cars are self-driving and connected to some sort of secure and completely trustworthy network.
3. All cars are able to know which parking spaces are restricted and which are not, and how they are restricted ("only customers of Bob's Tacos can park here"), etc.

Conclusion: we have only scratched the surface when it comes to solving the problems with self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are not just around the corner, but are, in fact, decades away. Therefore, it is reasonable to require some sort of steering mechanism on so-called "self-driving" cars.

about three weeks ago
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California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

wcrowe How does it handle the unexpected? (506 comments)

I like the idea of a self-driving car, but I still don't understand how the self-driving car finds a parking space, or gets eased into place in the garage for maintenance. How does it find it's way around an unexpected hazard, like a downed limb, or washed-out area of the road? How does the self-driving car know that the road is flooded or otherwise undriveable? How does it know that the power is out at an intersection that normally has traffic lights?

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

wcrowe "Detective" work (548 comments)

For the most part I have no regrets over my career choice. I liked it 30 years ago, and I still like it now. I sometimes imagine what it would have been like to be an archaeologist, or a writer (other career choices that appealed to me), but that's just daydreaming. What school did not prepare me for was all the "detective" work involved. A lot of my career has been studying data flows, and re-engineering old processes with no documentation. When I was in school, the emphasis was on writing new applications, not bolting stuff onto old ones.

about a month ago
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Ballmer Leaves Microsoft Board

wcrowe Exhibit 153B (142 comments)

Exhibit 153B. Sociopaths in natural habitat.

about a month ago
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What Do You Do When Your Mind-Numbing IT Job Should Be Automated?

wcrowe Re:Asperger syndrome (228 comments)

Well, I don't think it's time to pass out the pistols yet. There may still be plenty of work available to those with Asperger's. I can sympathize with your situation, but the problem is that you're using the BA as a sort of "seeing eye dog" for your condition, and a lot of companies are finding that they don't want to pay six-digit salaries for "seeing eye dogs".

about a month ago
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What Do You Do When Your Mind-Numbing IT Job Should Be Automated?

wcrowe Learn business (228 comments)

I've been in IT for over 30 years and I've seen a lot of changes. My first program was coded onto punch cards and read into the system that way. Nowadays I'm doing some traditional programming and SQL, but also working with some new tools like SAP's Data Services and Dell's Boomi. These newer platforms are very visual in how you hook up your components, yet still offer the flexibility to write special modules in languages like Java or ABAP. This, I think, is the future of programming, where a lot of the repetitive drudgery is taken out of the coding. This will mean changes in how application developers work.

When I first started out, there was less spcialization. The coder was expected to understand the business and to meet with the users to discuss design, and solve problems. In time, so-called "Business Analyst" and "Project Manager" positions were created because not all coders were good at working with users, and many of them have only a vague understanding of how business functions. However, companies are learning that all this specialization overhead is expensive (and perhaps even redundant). Specialized "code-monkeys" will be less in demand. So will "business analysts" who cannot design solutions. The future will belong to those coders who can be good analysts, who understand business, who can deal with users, and still understand how to configure modules and link them together in order to produce applications.

about a month and a half ago
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Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

wcrowe Re:Yawn (442 comments)

I don't think it's fair to think of the characters as being mentally handicapped. I've known people like the Sheldon character, including my own nephew, and I even wonder if I hadn't been born in the 60's if even I might have been diagnosed as autistic as a child. At any rate, none of the people I've known who are autistic are any where near as full of themselves as Sheldon Cooper. He is continually reminding everyone around him how much smarter he is and how great he is at everything. His ego is boundless, and in most situations he shows no regard for anyone but himself. That's not mentally handicapped, that's just being an ass.

about a month and a half ago
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Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

wcrowe Yawn (442 comments)

I don't get the controversy. I like the show. It makes me laugh. I don't care what the actors get paid. It's none of my business. I think the comparisons to "black face" are in error. Poking fun at people because of their behavior is not the same as poking fun at people because of their skin color. It's just a sitcom. They come and go. It hasn't jumped the shark yet (not for me, anyway). When it does I'll probably stop watching. And if CBS should cancel it tomorrow, I won't care. My life does not revolve around characters on a tv show, nor does it revolve around the actors and writers. They're getting $1million per show... yawn.

about a month and a half ago
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Animal Behaviour Specialists Map Out the Social Networks of Cows

wcrowe Re:As an old farmboy, all I can say is... (66 comments)

I agree. Almost any farmer or rancher can attest to this behavior. My uncle was a farmer who raised cattle, and I spent a great deal of time at the farm with my cousin who was the same age. My uncle would typically have about 60-70 head at any given time and he pretty well know each one as an individual. Their behavior, such as who they "hung out" with, and so on, would give him clues to how they were faring; such as if an individual was sick, pregnant, or in some kind of distress.

Nevertheless, I understand the need for scientists to want to get real numbers on this sort of thing for the sake of understanding behavior better. It's just that articles read like this is new and surprising information.

about a month and a half ago
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Earth In the Midst of Sixth Mass Extinction: the 'Anthropocene Defaunation'

wcrowe Re:One small way I try to help. (342 comments)

I don't get why more people don't do this.

The answer to that question is simple: gardening can be a chore. The benefits have to outweigh the effort, and I think for a lot of people the effort is too much. I used to keep a garden, but I found that I did not get that much enjoyment out of tending one. It was great to have the fresh tomatoes, eggplant and chiles, but not THAT great. Even though it wasn't for me, I think you will see more people starting to do this as the effort/benefits ratio begins to tilt. If I ever do it again, I think I'll try just putting out a few plants in pots, rather than lots of plants in beds.

about 2 months ago
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Earth In the Midst of Sixth Mass Extinction: the 'Anthropocene Defaunation'

wcrowe One small way I try to help. (342 comments)

Personally, I take a very darwinian approach to my lawn. That is, so long as it grows, and can put up with the lawn mower, it can stay. I don't water. I don't spread chemicals. The result is that I have all kinds of fauna in my yard, some of which I am not sure are even native to this solar system.

about 2 months ago
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How a Solar Storm Two Years Ago Nearly Caused a Catastrophe On Earth

wcrowe Re:FUD filled.... (212 comments)

You make a good point. However, just playing devil's advocate here, your generators will only run so long as you can keep them supplied with diesel fuel. If the transportation and distribution system that the pipelines and trucks rely on to get the fuel from point a to point b is disrupted, you may have trouble keeping those generators running.

Most disaster preparedness is built on the assumption that help will arrive from the outside. But when EVERYWHERE is affected, help may not be available.

Nevertheless, the article is indeed a bit FUDdy.

about 2 months ago
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For Half, Degrees In Computing, Math, Or Stats Lead To Other Jobs

wcrowe Even higher for other degree fields. (174 comments)

That has always been true. The share is even higher for other degrees. Probably 70 percent with degrees in Liberal Arts lead to other jobs -- waiting on tables, for instance.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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What Tech Journalists Were Writing About in 1876

wcrowe wcrowe writes  |  more than 2 years ago

wcrowe writes ""On this day in 1876, the U.S. Patent Office awarded Alexander Graham Bell a patent for his "improvement in telegraphy," or, as we now know it, the telephone (above). This anniversary seems like as good a day as any — well, perhaps even a bit better than the other 365 days this year (leap year!) — to dip into the media frenzy that surrounded its arrival, a 19th century tech event evocative of today's Apple circus. Just kidding. It was nothing like that at all — the telephone, and the reaction to it, rolled out over the course of years, not minutes.""
Link to Original Source
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USGS Updates Magnitude of Japan Earthquake to 9.0

wcrowe wcrowe writes  |  more than 3 years ago

wcrowe writes "The USGS has updated the magnitude of the March 11, 2011, Tohoku earthquake in northern Honshu, Japan, to 9.0 from the previous estimate of 8.9. Independently, Japanese seismologists have also updated their estimate of the earthquake’s magnitude to 9.0. This magnitude places the earthquake as the fourth largest in the world since 1900 and the largest in Japan since modern instrumental recordings began 130 years ago."
Link to Original Source
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Stanford Solar Breakthrough

wcrowe wcrowe writes  |  more than 3 years ago

wcrowe (94389) writes "Quantum dot solar cells are cheaper to produce than traditional silicon cells, but they haven't caught on due to their relative inefficiency. For Stacey Bent, a chemical engineering professor at Stanford, this represented something of a challenge. She knew that solar cells made of a single material have a maximum efficiency of about 31 percent, a limitation of the fixed energy level they can absorb, and that quantum dot solar cells didn't share this limitation. "Quantum dots can be tuned to absorb a certain wavelength of light just by changing their size," the Stanford report on her research says. "And they can be used to build more complex solar cells that have more than one size of quantum dot, allowing them to absorb multiple wavelengths of light.""
Link to Original Source
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Dell to power OKC campus with 100% wind energy

wcrowe wcrowe writes  |  more than 5 years ago

wcrowe (94389) writes "Dell announced plans today to power its 240,000 square-foot Oklahoma City campus with 100 percent wind energy. The move is expected to significantly reduce the facility's CO2 emissions. Dell is among the first large businesses in the area to be powered entirely with renewable energy."
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Iran in possession of new weapon: Photoshop

wcrowe wcrowe writes  |  more than 6 years ago

wcrowe (94389) writes "Iran now has the ability to wipe out Israel — with Photoshop. The Guardian reports:

'A photograph of four missiles being fired by Iran ratcheted up the tensions between the Islamic state and the US and Israel. But now it appears that Tehran may have enhanced the pictures.'

Here's a link to the story."

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"Uncontacted" Amazon Tribe story a hoax

wcrowe wcrowe writes  |  more than 6 years ago

wcrowe (94389) writes "The story about an "uncontacted" Amazon Tribe discuss last month appears to be a hoax. The Guardian reports, "They are the amazing pictures that were beamed around the globe: a handful of warriors from an 'undiscovered tribe' in the rainforest on the Brazilian-Peruvian border brandishing bows and arrows at the aircraft that photographed them. Or so the story was told and sold. But it has now emerged that, far from being unknown, the tribe's existence has been noted since 1910 and the mission to photograph them was undertaken in order to prove that 'uncontacted' tribes still existed in an area endangered by the menace of the logging industry.""

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