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Comment: This *IS* Star Trek! (Score 2) 109

by Announcer (#48854045) Attached to: <em>Star Trek Continues</em> Kickstarter 2.0

The first fan-fiction Star Trek I watched was "New Voyages" a number of years ago. As a fan of Trek since TOS was in syndication in the early 70's (I was only 4 in 1966!) I have to admit, I was quite pleasantly surprised! Then, along came Star Trek Continues, running in pretty much the same vein, and with similar quality to "New Voyages".

As others here have said, this really *IS* like watching "lost episodes" from TOS! Both my wife and I really enjoy this! It is like getting brand new Star Trek stories, again... just a LONG wait between each one.

It is also quite telling, when you see that both of these high-quality fan-fiction productions are actually getting the ORIGINAL actors and actresses to reprise their TOS roles in various ways... this is where "time-travel" stories are actually being used in an enjoyable and meaningful way. For example, "World Enough and Time" (By New Voyages) was only the 2'nd Star Trek story to bring tears to my eyes! (The first was "Inner Light" on TNG.) Yeah, it was THAT good!

I look forward to watching what BOTH of these top-notch fan-fiction production groups do in the days ahead! If the Powers That Be would REALLY PAY ATTENTION, they would see what the majority of the Star Trek fan base REALLY WANTS.

Those "new" movies don't even deserve more than this one-line mention. I only saw the 1'st one. That did it for me. No more.

Live Long and Prosper, New Voyages and Star Trek Continues!!

Comment: Re:The "crybaby" tone (Score 1) 790

by Announcer (#48798401) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

Yes, that tone sounds very much generated. In fact, on my 150-in-one kit that I had as a kid, I could recreate this very same tone with a 3-transistor circuit. One transistor works with the audio transformer and makes the raspy tone. (Just a narrow-width pulse.) The other two are a free-running flip-flop, at approx. a 1Hz rate to modulate the frequency of the other. A capacitor will "integrate" the squarewaves feeding the base of the audio/pulse oscillator, and this tone is born.

No, the one I am talking about sounded VERY MUCH like a recorded human voice. That is what made it so fascinating.

Perhaps it was unique to the Southern New England Telephone (SNET) system.

Comment: Non-existant phone number sound (Score 1) 790

by Announcer (#48790751) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

Going back to the old rotary-dial phone days... How about that "awahhhawwwahhhawwwahhhaww" weird sound that you got when you dialed a nonsensical number? It sounded like an old lady's voice... probably recorded onto a tape loop, because if you listened to it for a few seconds, it abruptly started again, and kept repeating for a while. If my memory serves, if you stayed on the line listening to the weird thing for too long, it cut off, and was replaced by a very LOUD "busy-signal" type sound.

Comment: Re:For that matter... phones. (Score 1) 790

by Announcer (#48790695) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

I did something very similar, only I used the Radio Shack "Telephone Amplifier" kit, with some modifications. ;) One of those mods was to install a NC pushbutton to use for dialing. When I held a "D" cell battery in my hand as a weight, it helped my timing. I used the bottom of the battery to press the button, and it's internal spring would push the battery back up. With just a little bit of practice, I was dialing actual phone numbers, and getting through. :) I amazed my friends by doing this several times as they watched.

+ - X-Class CME on its way? 1

Submitted by Announcer
Announcer writes: According to, a significant solar flare has erupted on the Earth-facing side of the Sun, and should be here within less than 2 days.

Since spaceweather was a smolering pile of silicon by the time i heard about it, here is the Google cache of the site:

Comment: He's busting 'em up! (Mr Data) (Score 2) 412

by Announcer (#46156281) Attached to: Audience Jeers Contestant Who Uses Game Theory To Win At 'Jeopardy'

I couldn't pass this one up... Remember when Mr Data played Kolrami, the galaxy's greatest Stratgema player... and how instead of seeking to win, sought to keep the game going indefinitely? :) (The game scene is at the halfway mark.)

"He busted him up!" ;)

Comment: Re:Footshooting... (Score 1) 579

by Announcer (#45791171) Attached to: Utilities Fight Back Against Solar Energy

I could see lawsuits (class-action) if they try to outright ban homeowners from installing DC power systems in their homes. I doubt they could ever do that.

Making a direct back-feed connection to the Grid illegal? They can most likely pull that off... for a time. An act of Congress could be forthcoming to change that, too. (Remember the old Ma Bell, where you couldn't connect ANYTHING user-owned to their network?)

+ - Laptop destroyed by excessive airport x-rays?

Submitted by Announcer
Announcer writes: I have traveled many times with my old workhorse Thinkpad, and never had any problems until Saturday, 11/30/13 in Charlotte, NC. They scanned my computer repeatedly, holding it in the x-ray machine for more than a minute, changing views, etc. When I got home and tried to use it, the CMOS memory was scrambled and now has a lockout password, where none existed before. (Cannot clear it. Already tried.) Has anyone else had their computer hardware damaged by excessive x-ray scans? They also destroyed not one, but TWO PCMCIA WiFi cards. (They no longer detect any signals.) It was all packed securely, and I carried it on, so it was not mishandled. I sent an e-mail to the airport. I await a response. What does the Collective of Slashdot suggest? (Besides replacing the computer. I already know that.)

Comment: Cloud-based OCR? Really? (Score 3, Insightful) 61

by Announcer (#44783717) Attached to: Austrian Professor Creates Kindle E-Book Copier With Lego Mindstorms

OK, how long will it take until the DRM running on the "cloud" OCR provider recognizes what's going on, and puts a stop to this? The Mac should be capable of running a local OCR. What happens at home stays at home... what happens "in the cloud" is everyone's business.

Overall, this would be a cool thing to set up... start it, go to work, then come home and have the whole book on your laptop. Just get rid of the "cloud middleman".

Comment: Re:WEB hosting isn't expensive (Score 1) 301

by Announcer (#44674161) Attached to: EFF Slams Google Fiber For Banning Servers On Its Network

This post was voted "troll"? Good grief, all I did was ask an honest question! I did NOT intend this as a troll.

My definition of "server" in the context of this post was a WWW server that would be hosting multiple page sites, possibly even leasing space to others. Obviously, that definition is different than some people's.

The idea of it being a completely PRIVATE "server" where one logs in to control devices in their homes didn't occur to me.

So, if that was worth wasting Mod points to vote "troll" so be it. They're YOUR Mod points. Waste them if you wish.

Comment: WEB hosting isn't expensive (Score 0, Troll) 301

by Announcer (#44559409) Attached to: EFF Slams Google Fiber For Banning Servers On Its Network

Why run a WWW server at home, when you can use a hosting service for as little as $4 per month? Why not let someone else worry about installing patches to the OS, and keeping the hackers/bots at bay 24/7? I have several sites on several domains, and it's only $100 a year. IMHO, that's far more worthwhile than having to keep constant vigilance over my own hardware.

"Buy land. They've stopped making it." -- Mark Twain