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A Bike Taillight that Goes Beyond Mere Taillighting (Video)

xmas2003 Great job David! (86 comments)

As a fan of lights myself, that's pretty darn awesome - great job David.

Bummer the video didn't have any product demonstrations in low light while on a bike ...

about 4 months ago

Inside the Massive 2014 Winter Olympics WiFi Network

xmas2003 Complete article on one ad-free page (107 comments)

Here's the 3 page article on one ad-free page.

They are claiming it will handle 54 Tbps of network traffic ... up from the Vancouver games four years ago that was only 4 Tbps. One interesting tidbit is the ratio of wired to wireless traffic was 4-to-1 back then ... they expect that ratio to be reversed this time ... with 2,000 802.11n access points!

That a bit more bandwidth than this Christmas website has ... HO-HO-HO! ;-)

about 9 months ago

Largest and Most Intense Tropical Cyclone On Record Hits the Philippines

xmas2003 Typhoons are ranked my pressure, not winds (160 comments)

From the article:

It's estimated central pressure is 899 mb but it could be lower. The lower the pressure the stronger the storm. Since 1987, there have been only four storms in the western Pacific with a central pressure below 899 mb (Megi in 2010, 885 mb; Flo in 1990 890 mb; Ruth in 1991 895 mb; and Yuri in 1991 895 mb)

about a year ago

Top US Lobbyist Wants Broadband Data Caps

xmas2003 One video camera will blow through 5GB/month (568 comments)

Doesn't say anything about things being different for uploading, but if you are running an Internet facing video camera (or three as seen here) you will easily blow through that 5GByte/month bandwidth cap.

NCTA calls is "Fair Broadband Pricing" ... for the industry perhaps?!? ;-)

about a year ago

Cisco To Acquire Sourcefire For $2.7 Billion

xmas2003 Re:so lemme get this straight... (38 comments)

I used Snort quite a few years ago when Marty was just starting to commercialize it. Great product back then (I'm sure now) and Marty put a TON of time into it ... so I say he deserves every penny for all the hard work that he has done.

about a year ago

Patching Software on Another Planet

xmas2003 Sounds like this was noticed earlier ... (96 comments)

From TFA: "Engineers later confessed that system resets had occurred during pre-flight tests. They put these down to a hardware glitch and returned to focusing on the mission-critical landing software"

Very surprised by this ... even if a hardware glitch, wouldn't you want to track that down before launch? Especially since in the harsh space environment (bit flops even with hardened RAM/CPU), you want your hardware to be as reliable as possible.

about a year ago

Mark Cuban Blames Himself For Losing Money On Facebook IPO

xmas2003 Re:Refreshing comment... (186 comments)

Contrast Mark Cuban's "personal responsibility" position with that of the New York Times which "blamed" the Facebook CFO.

Let me guess which one is a Republican and which one is a Democrat?!? ;-)

about 2 years ago

Rare 'Annular Solar Eclipse' Tonight

xmas2003 Video: Eclipsed Sun setting over Colorado Rockies (116 comments)

Tough viewing conditions in the Republic of Boulder, Colorado as lots of clouds - check out this image showing a lotta crud between me and the sun.

I was hoping to catch a time-lapse of the partially eclipsed sun setting over Longs Peak and it re-appeared literally at the last minute ... if I had been just a little bit farther South, I probably would have been totally skunked. Plus we weren't in totality, so never got the ring-o-fire. But still very cool to watch and here's my time-lapse video.

BTW, since I didn't have an ND filter, mine was total makeshift ... cut out one of the "eyepieces" from my Son's Eclipse Glasses and wedged that into the 2xTC teleconvertor! ;-)

more than 2 years ago

Automated Dorm Room Causes a School Inquiry

xmas2003 Re:X10 - is this a dorm room in 1975? (170 comments)

Yea, but X10 is cheap & simple plus works "most" of the time ... which presumably is adequate for this application. The bigger issue Derek will have is other people deciding to take control of his room since there aren't that many house/unit codes.

But hats off to him for a most excellent job!

more than 2 years ago

Nokia Puts 41MPixel Camera In a (Symbian) Phone

xmas2003 Re:Question is.. (204 comments)

Ditto that - salient point here is a much larger sensor which has a big effect on reducing noise. It's still not anywhere near the size of a DSLR, and at least in the pics I saw (all taken in daylight), there was a lot of "smearing" at 100% ... so diffraction is coming into play here.

Note also that the samples were all "wide-angle" - the "telephoto" is not optical - basically just using a subset of the sensor to do it electronically. So makes the device much simpler (no moving parts), but in essence is digital zoom, so image quality is going to suffer as you zoom in.

Nifty idea though.

more than 2 years ago

Aging Eyes Blamed For Seniors' Health Woes

xmas2003 Re:Cataract Surgery (149 comments)

As the person who has Ultraviolet vision after Cataract Surgery, a reminder that many IOL's (Intra-Ocular-Lens) actually do filter UV light - this is also mentioned in TFA. I've read quite a bit of Mainster & Turner's work and while I'm a wanna-be-eye-doctor at best, believe they are "right" in that you should not filter UV with an IOL.

more than 2 years ago

Followup: Ultraviolet Vision After Cataract Surgery

xmas2003 Re:Cool (311 comments)

LOL on the "engineering masterpiece and marketing nightmare" - shame this type of stuff happens. I actually spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to find flashlights that don't bleed into the visible spectrum - it's really hard to find spectral power distribution ... plus if you have flaws in the glass/plastic covering (or "wrong" material), it will fluoresce into the visible.

So give me a holler if you have an extra one of those lights around - "Captain UV" would love to take it for a spin! ;-)

P.S. Your description of how other people would see it as black and I see it as violet is exactly correct - I tried to show that on the first picture of my webpage - note the poly carbonate glasses and UV filter, both of which dramatically change the look for me ... but not for others.

more than 2 years ago

Kodak Files For Bankruptcy Protection

xmas2003 Kodak's Moment (190 comments)

Sad to see ... but they've been living off patents and selling assets the last couple of years ... so not surprising they ran outa $$$

more than 2 years ago



CNN auto-play violates their own advertising standards

xmas2003 xmas2003 writes  |  about 4 months ago

xmas2003 (739875) writes "I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that I have CNN on my news' bookmarks, since while they offer a quick look at the current news, their increasingly sensationalistic reporting leaves a bit to be desired. I almost exclusively would just look at print stories as their videos reporting is long-winded fluff ... a very low bandwidth way of consuming news. Plus hosts such as Piers Morgan and Jeanne Moos are just grating to listen to.

A few months ago, I noticed that CNN's videos (and audio!) were auto-playing at the top of their print stories. ironically, this violates their own advertising guidelines which says "Must be user initiated by click ...No host-initiated audio is permitted ...... Audio must be user initiated by click ... Audio must be user-initiated by clicking within the banner"

The power of the mighty (advertising) buck accelerates their downhill slide! ;-)"

Webcam-Equipped Remote-Controllable Halloween Haunt

xmas2003 xmas2003 writes  |  about a year ago

xmas2003 (739875) writes "Timothy asked yesterday what /.'ers are doing for Halloween and said "Maybe one year Alek Komarnitsky will switch to Hallowe'en instead of Christmas, and offer a webcam-equipped remote-controllable haunt." Turns out he actually has been doing that since 2005 ... and his Controllable Halloween Decorations allow you to turn 10,000 lights ON & OFF plus inflate/deflate the giant Frankenstein, Pumpkins, Grim Reaper, Skull, Headless Horseman, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Homer Simpson — D'OH! ;-)"

Before/After Javascript depicts Colorado Flooding

xmas2003 xmas2003 writes  |  1 year,5 days

xmas2003 (739875) writes "Everyone has seen pictures/video of the Flooding in Colorado which was caused by 17" of rain in less than a week — a 1,000-year precipitation event. Using the JQuery Before/After Plugin, a simple overlay of post-deluge Digital Globe Satellite Imagery shows the massive flooding compared to Google Satellite Maps.

Google put together a Memories of the Future webpage showing Japan before/after the Earthquake/Tsunami — something like this for the Colorado Flooding would be of great benefit to hydrologists in understanding how the water flowed and minimize future flooding."

Link to Original Source

HULK for President - X10'd Halloween Display

xmas2003 xmas2003 writes  |  about 2 years ago

xmas2003 writes "Alek's Controllable Halloween Decorations Webcams for Celiac Disease is back again with three live webcams and X10 power technology that not only allow you you to view the 10,000 Halloween lights, but also (in real-time) turn them on & off, plus inflate/deflate the giant Pumpkins, Skull, Frankenstein, and Homer Simpson — D'OH!

And since it is an election year, Internet surfers can "cast" a vote for Obama, Romey, or THE INCREDIBLE HULK. Right now, the Green Party candidate has a slight lead over Romney and then Obama ... although there has been quite a bit of ballot stuffing going on. Surf on by Halloween Night to see all the trick-or-treaters (online starting at 5:00PM MDT) and help put a Big Green Monster in the White House."

Link to Original Source

U.S. Population Passes Pi Times 100 Million

xmas2003 xmas2003 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

xmas2003 (739875) writes "The US Census Bureau reports that the U.S. Population is now more than PI times 100 Million. The monthly rate of deaths is 185,000 is offset by the gain from births of 324,000 and net immigration of 56,000. At that rate, it will be over a 1,000 years before there is another digit of precision for Pi. World population is currently 22x the US's at over 7 Billion."

Just how big are porn websites?

xmas2003 xmas2003 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

xmas2003 (739875) writes "ExtremeTech has an interesting piece about how big are porn websites. They get some actual traffic/bandwidth data from YouPorn.Com (only NSFW link here) which I'm sure has plenty of naked chicks and Boobies in their 100 Terabyte archive of porn. Every day, they handle over 100 million page views and almost a Petabyte of data transfer — one metric says this is about 10x of Slashdot.

While Sebastian Anthony has some fun with the subject matter — "While it's difficult domain to penetrate ... hard numbers are few and far between" — he plays it straight and provides some interesting facts about some of the most trafficked parts of the internet which present some real scalability challenges (PPT preso) using software such as Redis & Nginx. It's certainly a complicated industry as outlined in the Geek-Kings of Smut."

Followup: Ultraviolet Vision after Cataract Surgery

xmas2003 xmas2003 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

xmas2003 writes "Several months ago, I posted to /. about being able to see ultraviolet light after cataract surgery. While a lot of the discussion whimsically discussed the best way for "Captain UV" or "UltraMan" to use this "super-power", there were some people who were skeptical or (incorrectly) said this is Tetrachromatic vision. I've subsequently done more testing using an Oriel Instruments MS257 Monochromator and was able to see color down to 350nm — below the usual ~400nm limit of the visual spectrum. It's also easily demonstrable with a pair of 400nm and 365nm UV flashlights.

Some /.'ers who also have UV vision commented this can be quite annoying at black-lit Disney Rides, Halloween Haunted Houses, etc. Fortunately for me, it's just an interesting oddity so far. Along those lines, some interesting related stories about using UV vision during World War II and Star Gazing. Finally, many/most people end up getting vision debilitating cataracts, so my experience having a Crystalens implanted after cataract surgery may be informative."

Link to Original Source

Linux-Powered Christmas Display Puts Rudolph to Sh

xmas2003 xmas2003 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

xmas2003 writes "Over at, Zonker writes about Alek's Controllable Christmas Lights for Celiac Disease. This annual Internet tradition uses a hi/low-tech combo of LAMP'ed Redhat Web Servers, a 7+ year old Thinkpad running Unbuntu for the X10 control, and an old-school webpage design that could be politely described as Web 0.0 — wait until you see the animated cursor — D'OH! The site is free (and totally fun) as it also raises awareness and donations for Celiac Disease — over $70,000 to the University of Maryland.

Nifty pictures of the crazy christmas display can be seen on the Christmas Blog (notice Clifford Stoll's "The Cuckoo's Egg" in post #220) plus watch videos of it in action with comedic history. Nothing quite says Christmas like a giant HULK inflatable wearing a Santa Hat ... along with three wise men of Elmo, SpongeBob, and Homer Simpson — D'OH! The Slashdot Effect of turning 21,000 Christmas lights ON & OFF this evening should provide quite a Christmas Eve show to Alek's neighbors ... and also the International Space Station."

Link to Original Source

Able to see Ultraviolet Light after Cataract Surge

xmas2003 xmas2003 writes  |  about 3 years ago

xmas2003 writes "I recently had Cataract Surgery with a Crystalens implant. With my cloudy yellowing (UV-filtering) natural lens removed, I see the world in a new light (more on that in a moment) as everything is brighter and colors are more vivid ... plus in focus. As a typical /. reader, I've been myopic since childhood, so it's wonderful not to have to wear glasses/contacts for distance.

One interesting oddity is that I can now see Ultraviolet light — it seems that there are a few people who have photoreceptors sensitive below 400nm into the UV spectrum. I've done some testing with a Black Light and UV filter to confirm this but would love to do more conclusive testing such as using a Monochromator — anyone in the Boulder, Colorado area have access to one? And any suggestions from /. readers on how I can further explore this phenomena?

So while "I can't see dead people", I guess I have a "superpower" ... although I'm not sure a middle-aged suburbanite Dad should don purple tights and cape to become a crime-fighter! ;-)"

Link to Original Source

Cataract Surgery: Research & Firsthand Experie

xmas2003 xmas2003 writes  |  about 3 years ago

xmas2003 (739875) writes "As a long-time reader of News for Nerds, I fit the "profile" in a number of ways — including being myopic since childhood ... but fortunately for me, this was correctable with glasses or contacts. Around age 40, it started becoming more difficult to do close-up tasks (such as using vi to edit Perl code ;-) as Presbyopia showed up right "on time" — I'm sure many older /. readers can relate.

But at age 46, a cataract started to obscure my vision which was no longer correctable — bummer to have this happen a few decades early. After extensive research on the various options (mono focal, multi-focal, accommodating, etc.), I opted for Cataract Surgery with a Crystalens implant.

Millions of Cataract Surgeries are done annually, so I figured my (overly analytical) writeup plus visual examples might be of interest to some /. readers who may (or will) be dealing with the same issue. Plus I'm sure many have gone through this process and can chime in with their experience/recommendations.

I had the first eye done last Monday and have been updating the web page — so far, so good. The eye doctor will "poke a hole" in my second eye this Monday — wish me luck! ;-)"

Link to Original Source

Nobody pushing the Google +1 Button?

xmas2003 xmas2003 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

xmas2003 (739875) writes "A few months ago, Google announced their +1 button which was their response to the Facebook Like button, Twitter Tweet button, Stumble Badge and other misc. social networking tools.

I have some nifty pictures of baby hummingbirds that seem popular since several hundred people look at it every day. So a little while ago, I added the Google +1 button in-line with the buttons from Facebook (2,452 likes), Stumble (35,000 views), and Twitter (147 tweets) ... and so far, the big "G's" button has been pushed ZERO times.

Are web surfers just not used to seeing the latest web button, or is this a sign that Google is a little late to the social networking craze?"

Consumer webcams with high quality sensors

xmas2003 xmas2003 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

xmas2003 (739875) writes "Since 2005, I've had a live webcam watching my grass grow — another is currently watching a bird nest on my front door — five babies! While I appreciate the 802.11g wireless and Pan/Tilt/Zoom (10x optical) of the 5 year old D-Link DCS-6620g, it has issues, especially image quality. I've investigated getting a new webcam, but except for high-end/security-related gear from companies such as Axis, there doesn't seem to be much improvement in the consumer space as most offerings are just cheaper and USB connected for tethered video conferencing, etc.

I have an 18 Megapixel Canon 7D DSLR that shoots gorgeous 1920x1080x30p hi-def video. While I don't expect that in a consumer webcam, their recently released T2i uses the same chip and sells for $800. And heck, point-n-shoots are a couple of hundred bucks and now many cell phones have cameras built in, so there's plenty of low power speedy CPU's in small packages these days to handle the signal processing.

So why hasn't someone taken a sensor with good image quality sensor, downsized to around 1024x768, and put it in a PTZ webcam package with 802.11n wireless for around $500?"

Microsoft offers browser options to EU surfeers

xmas2003 xmas2003 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Mr. Grass writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft will add rival browsers to settle EU probe. But rather than bundling this on new PC's, they will send a notification over the Internet that will ask all Windows users in Europe who currently have Microsoft's Internet Explorer as their default browser whether they'd like to install a different one and optionally turn Internet Explorer off. The ballot-screen mechanism would be in place for five years from the date of the settlement and feature the top five browsers by market share — currently Internet Explorer, Firefox, Apple Inc.'s Safari, Opera and Google's Chrome. More coverage on Google News."

Christmas Lights, Webcams, X10, Celiac, and KFC?!?

xmas2003 xmas2003 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Clark Griswold writes "'Tis the season, and once again, wanna-be Griswolds have deployed extravagant Christmas decorations. One candidate for biggest Nerd Display is the Controllable Christmas Lights for Celiac Disease that features three webcams for a live view of 20,000+ lights and uses X10 powerline technology so web surfers can control it — even inflate/deflate the Three Wise Men — Elmo, SpongeBob, and Homer Simpson — D'OH!

The site raises awareness and solicits optional donations for Celiac Disease — over $30,000 so far for the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research. And it is a semi-finalist in the Nationwide Nationwide KFC Holiday Traditions contest and is trying to win a $1,000 for charity plus free KFC for a Year — does Pepto Bismol come with that?"

Watching ... Grass ... Grow

xmas2003 xmas2003 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

A Grass Fan (739875) writes "Slashdot's new Idle Section has gotten mixed reviews from readers, but as Cmdr Taco wrote "We hope you will enjoy wasting a slice of your day with us" and what better way to do that than Watching Grass Grow. Yes, a webcam providing live coverage of a grassy lawn that has been running since 2005 that has over 4,000 comments on a grass blog from web surfers worldwide — certainly a candidate for "We intend to fill our idle section with ... the very best the net has to offer."

Some of the picture and video highlights are actually somewhat interesting such as the Baby House Finch Bird saga (sad ending) and even a full year time-lapse that shows how truly exciting life in suburbia is. And for those /. readers who are bored this Friday, tune in for live coverage at Noon to see the lawn get mowed. For the nay-sayers out there, remember that Taco's closing words were "Now go about your day — it's mid August, so I'm sure everything you do is urgent, exciting, and oh-so-interesting.""

Can't Email Yourself with Gmail/POP

xmas2003 xmas2003 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

alek (739875) writes "A few weeks ago, there was a good discussion about Gmail, SPF, and Broken Email Forwarding. So I took the "easy" way out and setup Google Apps for Domains to handle my Email, and have Thunderbird and Outlook (my wife) POP'ing for Email. It works great ... except for one very annoying problem — you can't send an Email to yourself. Turns out a lot of people are affected and rightfully miffed by this violation of the "Principle of Least Astonishment"

Specifically, if you send yourself a message (and forward via Google's SMTP servers), your POP client will never get it. This is because Google is "smart" enough to realize that it already has a copy in the Sent Folder, so it doesn't making it available in the "POP'able" area (for lack of better words) for download. You can see it in the Inbox if you login to the gmail interface ... but it won't auto-download to your TBird, Outlook, etc. POP client.

Since this affects anyone using POP, there are LOTS of people that have complained and this thread pretty much nails it. Note that some folks from Google chimed in to say they "passed the suggestion along to the team" ... but that was over two months ago. Yes, there are some solutions, but (except for switching to use IMAP) they are all kludgy and require the end-user to "do" something rather than just have it "work" as they would expect.

A very nice solution would be a simple checkbox in the gmail interface that would basically say something like "if you want your POP client to retrieve messages you sent to yourself, click here" ... or heck, make that the default behavior if you enable POP as arguably this is the expected behavior. Maybe all /.'ers can suggest that!

Doesn't seem like that complex of request (although it may requiring some fiddling of the innards of gmail) ... but it would be darn nice (and benefit a LOT of people IMHO) if some Googler could do this as part of their "20% free time" project — hint, hint ... ;-)"


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