Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Well, (Score 2) 206

by DCFusor (#45460269) Attached to: Canonical Developer Warns About Banking With Linux Mint
It might not solve all issues, after all, it's not like Ubuntu itself is never hacked. But my solution is to run the Mate desktop over Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and get the best of both. It works great, and avoids the crap that is unity, gnome3, you name it - it's like having a stable version of gnome2 that actually works right. I agree with the commentors on many of the other issues. Unity is crap on a multi monitor desktop. It has built-in surveilance on you for crying out loud, huge icons if you've got 4 24" monitors, that you can't move. I like to be able to put the tic-tac-toe buttons where I wish, I like menu and task bars I can autohide, and put on the monitor I want. I paid for every single pixel on them - don't tell me what I can have on my screen or where I can put it. It's not like I don't have other options. Cannonical really stuck its head up its butt in a number of ways of late - and when told so, they said it was our fault for not liking their stupid ideas, which were and are genuinely stupid. Too bad, otherwise they were the good stuff. But they are not alone. Somone figured out that most computers hit the dumpster with the same opsys they shipped with. Since PC sales are falling (the ones out there are all good enough by now anyway, why buy a new one is a good question for most users) - they decided on a "one size fits all" for PCs and mobes. Stupid idea - I have both and use them for different stuff and at different levels of security for that different stuff. It seems the current crop of programmers is too stupid to put in a single boolean - true if PC, false if mobe, or vice versa, and do the rest of the install based on that. Even if my quad monitor setup was reachable by anything but my extended legs and was touch enabled, I'd think this current bunch of Ubuntu stuff was crap for it, what I have is far better, and a lot more usable. It might work out on my nexus, only it's better the way it is already, than unity would make it. They really jumped the shark on this - in company, but still....

Comment: Re:No meh here (Score 1) 95

If you've got tons of room and don't care about complexity, then look into vanadium redox batteries, for things where those don't matter much - those exists and are already in use in Japan and other places, sadly burdened with IP rules and patents.

If you look at energy in a capacitor - Joules = 1/2 ce^2, most of the energy is at the top of charge, and you'd have to be a real swithing supply guru (which I happen to be) to get most of it out, even, at some usable range of output voltage - those parts would be costly, and you might need more than one set to cover the range of inputs.

Li batteries are eminently recyclable, probably easier than lead-acids which are already recycled in large %. I know this as I use them in my off-grid solar system, and frankly, would kill to get the Volt system for my home (or several of them, as that's what it would take to replace the truckloads of submarine batteries I now use).

Sorry I didn't quote numbers above - someone else (Xiph) thankfully did that for me - they are so far off, no matter who's been spinning them - we can assume that's the case like with most numbers (noticed what you actually pay for groceries vs the official inflation rate for example?) - that's my point - even worst case and post-spin we're not in the same order of magnitude, much less "near" or "better" and won't be soon, if ever. With only a bit of physics knowledge, you'll understand why. It's true that we are also not that far from limits on battery energy density, this is one thing that definitely does not follow "Moore's law" as the periodic table is already full. But that doesn't mean that even with single atomic layer high D dielectrics and very expensive single layer epitaxy, we're going to beat that with caps. In fact, the chances are, we have a higher failure rate in practice than with batteries unless no cosmic ray ever hits your single layer insulator...and so on.

And oh, if you hit the webpage in my sig and pass the turing test by finding it - my number IS on there.

Comment: Meh (Score 4, Insightful) 95

Call me when a supercap has anything like the energy density - by any measure of cubic or weight - as a battery. Till then, they have only niche uses. I've seen various supercap articles that were about tech that was "About to change the world" for how many decades now? OK, sooner or later, they might...I'm still waiting, and I ain't gonna live for as many more decades as I've already been waiting. Till then, I'll drive my Volt.

Comment: Re:Is Hydrogen more dangerous than other gasses? (Score 3, Insightful) 479

by DCFusor (#45216845) Attached to: Tesla CEO Elon Musk: Fuel Cells Are 'So Bull@%!#'
I use an isotope of hydrogen in my lab, in this case deuterium, which is about the same chemically speaking, if anything, a little less reactive (see how they separate the two normally). At any rate, a hose with a few psi supply of it popped off my gear once and was *instantly* on fire - flames invisible at first, but I could hear it, and then see it when the hose material (silicone) itself began to burn. There was no proximate ignition source - maybe some static electricity in the lab.

No other gas even comes close...the guy who provides my welding gasses, for example, even acetylyene which has to be dissolved in acetone to be "safe" at any pressure over 15-20 psi - it self-explodes otherwise (those unsatisfied carbon bonds) - can't even get the license to sell hydrogen, it's far too much a hazmat.

Now you want to let joe sixpack work with the stuff in quanity, all over the world? Yeah, it'll solve the population problem anyway. Along with the other stuff mentioned, like embrittlement, no way to liquify it at normal temperatures, a continuous explosive range with any air mixture...inefficient production, energy-wise...long list.

Comment: Re:It's that damn "idle" process! (Score 1) 558

by DCFusor (#45216263) Attached to: Why Does Windows Have Terrible Battery Life?
Well, someone else here who actually knows from anything. Yay! Yes, the stock MFC loop called GetMessage(). Then windows called all the other "idle loops" in any "running" app, and a few of its own, so in practice, both of what we've said is truth. And if you, errm, did anything by overriding mfc's idle loop - which we did frequently to get a cheap "thread" - well, we might have ended in GetMessage(); but the point was, windows still regains control and then does "stuff" - some of which was half-smart, but nothing like what say, Maverick's does to keep idle time maxed out (and no, I'm no apple fan, don't have any of their products, and am a linux guy now that I don't fix windows for a living). Go see the ars article, the 24 page review - it's really decent as explanations of how to cut power go (and the rest, meh, since I don't "do" apple). I think various versions of windows I've been into the internals of were basically afraid to really shut down, depending on an interrupt to wake them again. My real access to the deep internals though, was back in the 9x series...when a customer had the NDA for the source so we could step into things. And that was actually a pretty slick scheduler - about the best there was for hard real-time stuff (I was doing DSP, audio mainly) on the then-current Intel stuff - like pentium II. So, my own knowledge is a bit outdated, but I did learn that corporate culture can change very sloooowwwwllly, and it's usually a safe assumption.

Comment: Re:It's that damn "idle" process! (Score 1) 558

by DCFusor (#45194145) Attached to: Why Does Windows Have Terrible Battery Life?
Actually, it's probably still not a joke. I used to write ring-0 code in windows, and it never sleeps in power idle waiting for an interrupt to wake up (at least as far as I could tell, up to xp or so). It just spins in a while(1) {LookForSomethingToDo()}; forever, eating cycles for nothing till something happens - a huge polling loop. Which in turn, called the idle loop in all MFC apps, and so on and so forth. Eats lots of power doing that.

Comment: Re:Same old story. (Score 1) 292

by DCFusor (#45176573) Attached to: OCZ May Be On Its Last Legs
Self-fulfilling and more complex than that, actually. At your personal end-of-life, investing for the long term is, shall we say, stupid unless you're in it to have a large inheritance to leave someone else, and already have enough. Unless that's the case, you go for max gain/year, which is often, but not always, in stocks that have cap gains growth - and you become one of those evil stock (trader) holders - if it dips, you're gone and on to the next thing, no matter what you believe philosophically about the advantages of long stable growth and dividends. Most don't have anywhere enough money to live on divvies in this interest rate enviornment (thanks, Fed). We have to kill what we're going to eat next month or next quarter or year. With the prevalance of disruptive technologies - the internet is itself the most deflationary invention of all time - cuts out the middlemen - you'd better be on your toes out there. How did long term holdings of stable buggy whip makers work out for you? There is no set and forget sucess to investing, trading, or whatever you want to call it - never was, really, except a few who got lucky, and luck and hope are not viable invesment strategies. And letting someone else make all these "hard" decisions for you is a decision to be fleeced or your welfare simply ignored, as NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR MONEY AS MUCH AS YOU DO. Period. I'm 60 and trade for a living, if I don't do well, I run out of money before I die or SS kicks in (which won't feed me, even on a farm). Yes, I'm one of those evil traders, though I make most of my money out-trading a bunch of robots who are programmed by the young hooker+coke idiots, so I'm stealing my tax dollars back from those who stole from us all, or that's how I see it.

Comment: Re:Two sides of the coin (Score 1) 473

by DCFusor (#45168805) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Are the Hardest Things Programmers Have To Do?
Agree, there's a lot of power in a (correct) name, especially in code. swim hammers it here. I ran a uP embedded dev firm, the hardest part was getting customers to understand feature 1 doesn't happen on day one, two on two and so on. If we had a month, 3 weeks of it were design, a couple days coding, a couple testing. Once they learned that was best, we were turning down work because we couldn't keep up with demand.

Comment: Re:Liquidity (Score 4, Interesting) 321

by DCFusor (#45168735) Attached to: Barbarians At the Gateways
Trader myself. Mod parents up - they are correct. Check the Knight trading debacle: http://www.coultersmithing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=51&t=328&p=3924&hilit=knight#p3924
The deployed their test harness instead of their HFT bots for 44 min and lost half a billion in that time - now out of business. I made good money during that time using human judgement. You can often catch an accidental high bid or low ask from an HFT, when they screw up, which is fairly often, as well.

Comment: These are the actions of a government (Score 1) 610

by DCFusor (#45138731) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Isn't There More Public Outrage About NSA Revelations?
afraid of it's own people - not being voted out, but who'll bring on the guilotines. The surveilance is to nip any attempt to organize against it in the bud before it can catch on. If it's just crazy joe down the street who disapears, no one lifts a finger or raises an eyebrow. But...give me 6 lines written by the purest of men, and I'll find something in there to hang him - most of us have many more than 6 lines for them to work with.

Comment: Re:As a Volt owner... (Score 1) 196

by DCFusor (#45117031) Attached to: Cadillac Unveils Pricier Alternative To Tesla Model S
The Volt design messes with all purists - especially by just working well. It can be either serial OR parallel hybrid - or pure electric. Pretty amazing design, and I'm saying that as a career engineer (and if you look on gm-volt.com, not a GM site, you'll find most other owners are engineers too at this point).

Comment: Re:As a Volt owner... (Score 1) 196

by DCFusor (#45115635) Attached to: Cadillac Unveils Pricier Alternative To Tesla Model S
Another Volt owner here. The caddy isn't for me - but I love my Volt, even living in the mountains of SW VA. I regularly get nearly 50 miles/charge, which is nice since the nearest general store is a 27 mi round trip. I burn gasoline only very rarely, but like the option (largely imaginary after a certain age person) of being able to call "road trip", hop in and no worries about range at all. I also use the Volt to back up my home solar system - the power can flow either way due to my hacking an inverter into the Volt that will run a battery charger for my house batteries. Rarely used, but nice to have it there - and it's by far more efficient than any backup generator you can buy, even the inverter type (have one, did the tests, Volt wins).

. The Volt excells on twisty mountain roads, at least with the right driver. It's even more fun to smoke ricky rice racer with the Volt than it was with the 2010 Camaro SS I traded in for it. That low CG rocks on hairpins, this car leans less than just about any other I've driven. Maybe it's ricky who needs to learn how to get around a course faster, but this does just fine on the roads where I live.

I'd love a Tesla too - if I could afford all that, but that's not reality. I don't go on road trips anymore, but I sometimes do need the range extender when going two major cities over, and it's nice to have. Putting this drivetrain into a caddy seems like an excercise in the ridiculous, though. I'm guessing GM did it to finally put it into a car they could charge more for (and actually make money), and because a huge fraction of Volt owners traded in a Caddilac, a beemer, or an audi for it - hint, they are run by bean counter marketing types.

Comment: Re:Traders are stupid? (Score 1) 91

by DCFusor (#45109829) Attached to: Oil Traders Misread Tweet, Oil Prices Spike
I'm a pro trader - but only with my own dough. It was the machines reading headlines. The guys who program the algos are ignorant, and wouldn't have passed my college DSP course. In fact, they mostly have physics degrees, but couldn't get a "real job", and semantics and stuff like that would be way past them anyway. Real debacles like Knight trading accidently deploying their market trading test horse rather than their real algos - now there's a huge chance for humans with a lick of sense to make real money - they bought high and sold low for 45 or so minutes, losing about half a billion, and I got about $3k of that myself. The NYSE didn't bust the trades as Knight had just pissed all over them about the mangled FB IPO.... Nanex documented this trade by trade, as did a few others, and I copied some to my site under "trading markets" back when it happened. Nice day for humans...not so nice for Knight, out of business now. Had it been Goldman Sachs (and it has been, recently) - the exchanges would have "busted" the trades so Goldman didn't lose a dime (and that's what happened just the other day over a similar amount of money). It's not only crooks out there - it's politics too(!).

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn