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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 (816755) 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.

Comment: Increased speed with solenoids & FFT (Score 1) 83

by Announcer (#39986443) Attached to: Researcher Runs IP Network Over Xylophones

With today's DSP technology, FFT algorithms, and a bank of solenoids, two computers could, in theory, transmit data via xylophones a LOT faster than one baud!

FFT analysis on the receiving ends determines which notes are being played and when, even simultaneously. By using notes unique to each machine, both can be playing and receiving simultaneously. It would be quite noisy, but would definitely work.

It would also be a good idea to "damp" the chimes, to dramatically reduce the audio decay rate. This would allow notes to be played in rapid succession, without losing the distinction between individual strikes of a given chime. Yes, the data throughput could become surprisingly fast without the PEBKAC! (Or in this case, PEBXAC)

Sounds like a cool project for someone with a bit of time on their hands, and a good pair of ear protectors.

Comment: Re:User friendliness? (Score 1) 188

by Announcer (#39902733) Attached to: Raspberry Pi Reviewed, With an Initial Setup Guide

Very well said, Bert64. You've perfectly delineated what I was trying to say, but with much better detail. Thank you!

Hopefully, someone involved with the Pi will read your comments, and "make it so!"

Ideally, a pre-programmed SD card should also be available, so one need only buy it, connect it, and power it up to see a window on the desktop with:


(Or some other such prompt!)

As someone else pointed out, make a default, hard-coded, "ROM"-based OS for the Pi, which cannot be "broken" by inexperienced users "PEEK"-ing and "POKE"-ing around the system... like the computers we both grew up with!

For me, it was a VIC 20, then a C64. I was not just into "hacking" the software, I was also into building and modifying the hardware! I had built a speech synthesizer board around the SPO256 chip for my Commie64, and had a blast making that thing say all kinds of crazy stuff. ;) I also built a relay box to control lights! (A 4-channel "Light-o-Rama".) Imagine if there were similar things for the Pi?

Comment: User friendliness? (Score 5, Insightful) 188

by Announcer (#39898869) Attached to: Raspberry Pi Reviewed, With an Initial Setup Guide

My 2c worth:

How about making it so that when it powers-up, it's ready to go, without having to set up a user account, etc... just create the image on the SD card, then have the Pi come up to a desktop environment with a few helpful links. One of them should be a user-friendly programming environment that's just a mouse-click away, containing a few useful and easily modified example programs. Make the language something better than BASIC, but just as easy-to-use/learn... "Think of the children".

Comment: Re:Excellent idea in the article (Score 1) 80

by Announcer (#38488806) Attached to: The Large Hadron Collider Has Been Recreated In Lego

I referred to "sets" simply because this is the way Lego has been selling for years, now.

When I was a kid, all we had were blocks. Even plain ol' wheels were RARE! We made everything from the basic bricks, building, smashing, rebuilding... exactly as you described.

Now, having helped my nephew build a few Lego "models" (a reasonable description, IMHO) over the years, I also understand the appeal of these custom sets. They have taken the place of the plastic models we had to glue together when we were kids. Now, they just snap... and if you have enough OTHER Lego sets, your imagination can still go wild! Take parts from each, and come up with something unique... as kids will do!

The idea is for the PARENTS to GET INVOLVED with their kids. I can't help but picture geeky parents having geeky kids... it would just kinda rub off, but also, the children would be NURTURED in their pursuits of all things "geeky"! How do non-geeky parents end up with geeky kids? I don't know, but they do! Yours Truly is a geek, born to non-geeky parents. :)

Comment: Excellent idea in the article (Score 4, Interesting) 80

by Announcer (#38476350) Attached to: The Large Hadron Collider Has Been Recreated In Lego

The author suggests that the Lego company should produce models of real-world scientific devices of all levels of complexity, from simple machines, to Tesla coils, etc, all the way up to this. (No, not WORKING Tesla coils!)

I think this is an idea that is well worth pursuing. Granted, it probably won't outsell "Star Wars" toys any time soon, but for one thing, the GEEK FACTOR is off the scale! I think there are plenty of kids (and parents too) who would definitely buy such Lego sets! I'd even be interested, myself... and I'm pushing 50!

Comment: Re:about freakin time (Score 5, Informative) 289

by Announcer (#38379644) Attached to: US Bans Loud Commercials

Correct, it's not "Normalize". That algorithm seeks the highest peak in the audio, then raises or lowers the TOTAL GAIN to bring THAT PEAK to the preset level. Here is the caveat. You can have an audio file that is -50 db (barely audible) with a single "clunk" (like the mic got bumped) at 0 db. If your "normalizing" to -6db, then it's going to reduce the gain of the ENTIRE FILE by 6db, leaving your desired audio at -56, with the single peak at -6.

What you want to do, is technically known as DYNAMICS COMPRESSION. This is a variable gain adjustment, on-the-fly. Radio stations use "audio processors" to do this in realtime. With digital audio, the process can be MUCH more precisely controlled, since it is NOT in realtime. With proper dynamics processing, you'd have that -50db audio raised to at least -20, and that 0db peak dropped to -6. Yes, you can "crank it to 11" by having it raise the -50 db audio to -6, and bring the 0db down to -6 also... but with too much gain increase, noise is raised, as well.

Dynamics compression is what those LOUD commercials are using. If you open the audio in an editor program like Audacity, it looks almost flat, with minimal hills and valleys. You will also see this on MOST modern music. The compress the daylights out of it, to make it all sound LOUDER. It works, too... having 0 db of dynamic range in audio sounds quite loud, and becomes fatiguing to listen to for any length of time.

What would REALLY be needed, is a "smart" detector that not only examines peak amplitude, but also the AVERAGE. If the average is always high, then the gain will be dropped proportionally. It would take some doing to make a system that could do this reliably. I have a TV with what they call "Equisound", and it is absolutely DREADFUL! I have thought of using an outboard audio processor, like my Alesis "Nanocompressor".

"Pascal is Pascal is Pascal is dog meat." -- M. Devine and P. Larson, Computer Science 340