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Despite Global Release, Breaking Bad Heavily Pirated

wrmrxxx Season 5 has not aired yet in Australia (443 comments)

In Australia, season 4 finished airing on ABC only a few weeks ago. I don't even know when season 5 will be shown, let alone the latest season. Showing on Foxtel really doesn't count - free to air TV is still dominant here.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: What Equipment and Furniture For an Electronics Hardware Lab?

wrmrxxx The basics (208 comments)

Without knowing much about your application, I can only reasonably make suggestions about the basics.

1) Bench space, with good lighting and plenty of power points.
2) Flooring that won't build up static.
3) Good ventilation, because soldering fumes are not good for you.
4) A sink. You will probably need to be able to clean PCBs, and you will need to use wet chemicals if you make your own boards.
5) Component storage. Unless you want to spend hours digging through piles of parts, a good way of organizing components is very useful. Raaco make some nice steel cabinets for drawers, but they're not cheap.
6) A stereoscopic assembly microscope. I would be lost without mine - it is amazing how much easier it is to position small parts (e.g. 0201 size passives) when you can see what you are doing.
7) Multiple decent lab power supplies.
8) A good bench multimeter: one with a computer interface for logging would be good.
9) Digital storage oscilloscope, again with a computer interface of some sort (many have USB now) so you can store captured waveforms for later analysis and comparison.

These are the first things that come to mind, but undoubtably I have forgotten some essentials.

There's a wide range of things that may also be important, but it depends what you're doing so I can only speculate. For digital work you'll want a logic analyser / protocol analyser. If there are modern CPUs involved you will probably want a JTAG interface. If you are doing RF work there is a whole set of specialised equipment. If you are doing loads of SMD you might want a pick and place machine and a reflow oven. If you are making your own PCBs you might want a UV exposing unit and chemical trays, or alternatively a PCB milling machine (it takes a high end machine to do the very fine pitch work).

more than 2 years ago

London Tube Stations Finally Get Wi-Fi

wrmrxxx Re:Oystercard: transfer of costs to the passenger (140 comments)

It could be worse - you could be in Melbourne. The new ticket system here (Myki) does this too, but any money you have stored on your card 'expires' if it is not used for six months. To top that off, the card is non-refundable.

more than 2 years ago

Iranian TV Shows Downed US Drone

wrmrxxx Re:It sounds feasible (612 comments)

My recollection is that it was only the video feed returned from the drone that was unencrypted. The control signals sent to the aircraft were still encrypted. Even signal jamming is apparently a difficult way to disable the drone because it has a degree of autonomy.

If Iran's claims are true (that it gained control of the plane) then that is either quite an achievement on their part, or quite a failure on the part of the US engineers.

more than 3 years ago

The Value of BASIC As a First Programming Language

wrmrxxx Easily gotten over (548 comments)

easy language first your get-over is

FORTH started I at-all me affected not and

more than 4 years ago

Sci-Fi Author Peter Watts Beaten, Charged During Border Crossing

wrmrxxx Re:Let's not leap to conclusions. (1079 comments)

would you accept at face value, ..., the account of a guy who is known for being particularly vocal about the evils of Homeland Security?

Probably more so than I would accept Homeland Security's account of events. After all, they're known for being particularly vocal about the evils of everyone, including the people they purport to be protecting.

more than 5 years ago

18 Foot Multitouch Wall and New Multitouch Tech Hit the Streets

wrmrxxx Don't expect chips in a hurry (50 comments)

Atmel makes some great microcontrollers, but their recent record of delivery is very poor and it has hurt their reputation. In particular, Atmel announced the XMEGA range of AVR micros years ago, but they repeatedly failed to become available: see AvrFreaks for just one of many discussions on the topic. A limit subset of the range is just becoming readily purchaseable now.

There are various theories about why Atmel has had such delays in producing the XMEGAs: upper management turmoil, the distraction of a takeover attempt by Microchip, the change to being fab-less, and serious bugs in the early XMEGA production efforts.

I hope I'm wrong, but I wouldn't be too surprised if these new chips aren't physically available for a long time.

more than 5 years ago

RIAA Spokesman Says DRM Is Dead

wrmrxxx Can't trust them (154 comments)

Aren't these the people who told us that the law suits were over? Call me paranoid, but I can't trust them.

I suspect the only reason the RIAA are presenting a softer image on things like the lawsuit threats and DRM is because they believe (or know) that they're going to get their way with the ACTA treaty and we'll all end up being subject to outrageous three-strikes laws.

more than 5 years ago

My Advanced Personal Robot Will Mainly Be Used For...

wrmrxxx Re:Robot humping nerds rejoice? (394 comments)

I'm not sure that's such a great idea, Mr Gearse.

more than 4 years ago

When it comes to the Swine Flu, I am ...

wrmrxxx Re:Waiting to see when the spam starts (604 comments)

Hmm... just thought of another way of putting that:

I'm waiting for the spam
Pack of face masks in my hand
Down to Mexico, via I5
Feel sick and dirty, more dead than alive
I'm waiting for the spam

Hey, white boy, what you doin' uptown?
Hey, white boy, you chasin' our women around?
Oh pardon me sir, it's the furthest from my mind
I'm just lookin' for a deal, a cure for flu of swine
I'm waiting for the spam

more than 5 years ago

When it comes to the Swine Flu, I am ...

wrmrxxx Waiting to see when the spam starts (604 comments)

Given how much mileage the media is getting out of this, I'm expecting others to jump on the bandwagon. In particular, spammers. Look forward to years of spam trying to take advantage of people's interest in the disease or trying to sell flu remedies and face masks.

more than 5 years ago

Music Copyright In EU Extended To 70 Years

wrmrxxx Who gets the money? (395 comments)

So performers will collect for 20 more years from the date of performance

Really? Or do the record companies collect more money? There was an attempt to ensure that extra profits went only to artists, but it was defeated. From the Open Rights Group article:

A key amendment to ensure benefits accrued only to performers was also rejected.

more than 5 years ago

What Did You Do First With Linux?

wrmrxxx Slackware then Redhat; Minix before that (739 comments)

My first Linux encounter was with Slackware. A friend had it on 5 1/4 inch floppies, and showed me an installation. I was interested, but didn't see it as practical for me compared to DOS and Windows. I didn't switch my own computer over until quite a few years later when I got Redhat on CD from a computer swap meet - I have no idea what version it was, but it was a few years before Fedora Core. Over the years I've gradually changed from being interested in every technical detail and willing to configure endlessly to just wanting something that works - now I'm annoyed if a distro doesn't just automatically detect and work with all my hardware. I use Ubuntu at home and at work, and I'm still impressed by how smooth it all is.

My first experience with a Unix like OS running on a PC was a then new OS called Minix. The lecturer for our Operating Systems subject at uni showed it to the class and encouraged us to try it out. I looked at it and it thought it was cool, but that was about all.

more than 4 years ago

To What Age Do You Expect To Live?

wrmrxxx Is long life affordable? (575 comments)

At some point in the foreseeable future, I can imagine that very long life is only available to the wealthy. When first world countries decide they can no longer support the aged at all (no health care, no pension, etc.) only the very lucky or very rich will have the extended lifespans that seem common now.

For me personally I can already see that a very long life is unlikely, so 60-80 is probably the best I'll be able to manage assuming I don't go earlier due to misadventure. I'm forty now, but financially I started again from zero a few years back - no house, no superannuation, and savings wiped out. I work in software so unless the IT industry grows out of its current ageism or I learn a valuable new skill I won't have massive amounts of money saved by the time I'm no longer considered employable. By that time I certainly won't be able to rely on the state to keep me going, and I don't have anyone else I can expect to support me.

I really don't fancy dying from cold and starvation (due to lack of money) in my sixties after having slaved my life away so at present the best options seem to be:

  1. Just hope that I'll be lucky somehow - maybe one of my skills or talents will keep me afloat;
  2. Live very large and unhealthily now, and feel satisfied enough with life that i won't mind an early death due to heart attack, stroke, or if I can manage it death by snu-snu;
  3. Retire to a third world country where my meager savings will last me a lot longer and afford me a more comfortable lifespan. That might require illegal immigration and would risk a shortened life due to less developed medical care, but it does seem like an attractive option.

more than 4 years ago

Australia To Build Fiber-To-the-Premises Network

wrmrxxx Escape from the Telstra monopoly (300 comments)

This seems to me to be not just about getting better internet connections, but about ending Telstra's monopoly on wired communications.

At the moment, Telstra has a monopoly on the phone network due to their control over the copper lines, but as a company that's about the only thing it's got going for it. They sell access to the network both as a wholesaler and retailer. This new broadband network proposal won't be controlled by Telstra, so once users have an attractive high bandwidth alternative Telstra's business model might be in trouble.

more than 5 years ago

Local Police Want To Jam Wireless Signals

wrmrxxx Re:Can you blame them? (317 comments)

Micro SD cards are nice and small. I imagine that with the right kind of protection around one you could swallow it and let it pass through your digestive system. If you're brave enough to hang around and film the police, you're probably dedicated enough to try this.

more than 5 years ago

Of childhood "building" toys, my favorite is ...

wrmrxxx fischertechnik (785 comments)

For me it was fischertechnik. Even at a very young age I was very interested in the more technical side of building - I wanted to build machines, not houses like my brother did with his Lego. At the time (mid seventies) there was no such thing as Lego Technic but somehow I learned about the existence of fischertechnik even though it was not easy to find, and got obsessed by it.

I remember sometime around '77 saving all my pocket money for many months to try to buy a fischertechnik minimot electric motor. I had saved less than half as much as I needed when one day I came home from school to find my father playing with the motor in the lounge room. He had been so impressed with my determined savings (unlike my siblings who spent their pocket money immediately on sweets) that he had just taken the money from the box in my drawer and paid the difference to buy it for me.

more than 6 years ago


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