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Comment: Important Question: WHICH DC? (Score 3) 582

by Diss Champ (#49790959) Attached to: How Tesla Batteries Will Force Home Wiring To Go Low Voltage

It's not like there is one single standard DC voltage that everything runs off of. Switching between different DC voltages incurs a loss just like switching between the current AC standard and a given DC voltage incurs a loss.

If one were deploying everything from scratch, one could pick a standard. Right now, everyone is going to want to run the stuff they have, and the AC to DC converters on that stuff, even when they are exposed (i.e. wall-warts) instead of embedded in the device, are converting to a variety of different DC values.

Comment: Re:grandmother reference (Score 2) 468

Normally a pirated item does not equate to a lost sale.

But when a company shits on their paying customers, those customers may either avoid the company's games entirely in the future, or decide that that company is an exception to their usual practice of paying money & pirate the game.

You are right that some people seem to enjoy abuse. Those people probably bought the game on the first day out at full retail and will continue to do so. Most of them probably paid enough that their keys didn't get canceled and from them the whole thing is moot.

Comment: Graduate School (Score 4, Insightful) 280

by Diss Champ (#48612037) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

If you find a professor that you like and likes you, you can get a graduate degree without new debt, and folks won't care what your undergraduate degree is in once you have an appropriate graduate degree.

The choice of professor is critical for you for several reasons:
1. You need someone in the department to help get you accepted despite your out of area undergrad degree
2. You will be doing what your professor wants with most of your time- so choose wisely
3. You are going to need good advice on which classes are critical to actually take to fill in your knowledge gaps vs which ones you can pick up relevant material quickly on your own.
4. A good professor will have research or teaching funding to pay you while you're spending your time doing what they tell you to.
5. A good professor has connections that will help you find a job after your degree.

Comment: Re:Patents? (Score 2) 315

by Diss Champ (#48094531) Attached to: Fusion Reactor Concept Could Be Cheaper Than Coal

US patents only last 20 years. If they actually get an economically viable reactor up & working within 20 years (and even the bit more it takes the patent to work its way through to issuance), I'm OK with them having a patent for the rest of the 20, despite the fact they got govt help at this stage. The improved externalities are sufficient public good in my opinion.

Comment: Re:10Mbps is still slow (Score 1) 353

by Diss Champ (#47935425) Attached to: FCC Chairman: Americans Shouldn't Subsidize Internet Service Under 10Mbps

Actually, given that the Fed's main purpose these days seems to be to inflate bubbles, I'd be happier if they chose a fiber rollout to everyone as their target bubble instead of current targets of banks & house values. At least at the end of the day my quality of life might improve in a small way, and our infrastructure would get a boost.

Similarly, I would have been happier if the Fed has decided to funnel all that money into our physical transport infrastructure.

The devil is in the details though. The big players have proven that they are perfectly willing to pocket money to build out infrastructure and then not do it. The money should have appropriate strings attached.

Comment: Re:Something worth reading in CACM? (Score 1) 213

by Diss Champ (#47574641) Attached to: Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM

The "research highlights" section contains selections from the journals that are sometimes pretty good. I also like the pieces they pulled from Queue like Kode Vicious with is usually entertaining (granted, that's free through Queue). Armour's column is often excellent and occasionally when passed to a manager will lead to an improvement in scheduling sanity. The column Legally Speaking does a good job of digesting things to my non-expert level of comprehension on what's going with how the law affects computing, IP, etc.

I'll grant however that the signal to noise ratio for the headliner articles is often not so great. That's why I say one or two things an article rather than reading the whole thing through:). Then again, that's better than Spectrum, which I sometimes flip through without reading anything all the way through.

The trick with mags like Spectrum and CACM is that the deep stuff does tend to go to the more specific journals. That's probably why most of the things I noted as often useful to me aren't actually deep technical but more how technical intersects with other areas.

Comment: Member of IEEE & ACM (Score 1) 213

by Diss Champ (#47573293) Attached to: Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM

I'm a member of IEEE (Computer Society) & ACM. My employer pays for the first, I pay for the second (although being in each gives a small discount to being in the other). I'm not an academic, but I usually find an article or two worth reading each month in both Computer & in Communications of the ACM.

Of course, since I primarily design hardware rather than software, this might not count as a programmer joining the ACM:).

The prices for each don't seem out of range for the quality of the publications, and for a working professional they are certainly not hard to afford even if your employer doesn't cover them. IIRC those not working can get student or hardship discounts as appropriate.

Of course, I'm not buying a bunch of Journals in each. In the past knowing people who get each of the Journals I might need worked OK. Now the corporate library serves that need with subscriptions to the digital libraries.

If you want to put yourself on the map, publish your own map.