Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:communications (Score 1) 141

by Dr. Zim (#49579027) Attached to: Ham Radio Fills Communication Gaps In Nepal Rescue Effort

There are indeed satellite phones in Nepal, but they are extremely rare given the number of people that have them vs. the number that don't.

Also, if you think the cell network can get overloaded in a hurry, you should look at the bandwidth budgets for those type of satellites. In disaster areas, sat phones have the same issue of 'network unavailable' when the birds are trying to pass more calls when they have bandwidth for. All commercial systems are allotted frequencies in one particular band or another and when they're full, they're full. Amateurs have at least a dozen bands, all with different propagation profiles. Not to mention, we have our own both voice and digital satellites that are exclusively for amateur communications.

Finally, in a supplement from Inmarsat's own 2013 shareholder report... 'The capacity of our satellites is limited and our network can be subject to congestion due to concentrated usage in a specific geography. Continuing congestion could damage our reputation for service availability and harm our results of operations.'


Comment: Re:what happend to packet radio? (Score 1) 141

by Dr. Zim (#49578733) Attached to: Ham Radio Fills Communication Gaps In Nepal Rescue Effort

Packet is still alive and well, but everyone I know has switched to APRS (a protocol that sits on top of AX.25). HF packet is slow, but it's there. 300 Baud doesn't pass a lot of data. I'd rather rely on packet via satellite than packet over HF. The successful HF modes (AMTOR, SITOR, etc) have forward error correction to cut down on bad data... the packet network just has to repeat everything until it's understood.


Comment: Re:Once again (Score 2) 141

by Dr. Zim (#49578633) Attached to: Ham Radio Fills Communication Gaps In Nepal Rescue Effort

Actually, the FCC is now proposing that amateurs share those LF spectrums that BPL uses as experiments BY HAMS have determined they can co-exist just fine. In fact, Hams are getting more frequencies now than they have ever lost. is just one of several similar articles the ARRL has reported on recently. Please don't keep up the BS argument that we're losing our bands and privileges when the opposite is true. Aside from a portion of the 220MHz band that we might actually be getting back, where else have we lost spectrum and rights? There are more licensed hams than ever now and the reduced license restrictions offer more privileges for less work.


Comment: Re:The cat's out of the bag (Score 2) 299

by Dr. Zim (#49300533) Attached to: Scientists: It's Time To Resolve the Ethics of Editing Human Genome

Before you can perfect editing the genome without side effects you are going to mess things up. That is the ethical dilemma that needs to be answered who do you practice on.

Certainly! But our* corporations have a pretty crappy record of balancing ethics and profits.

* Humankind's. No country or race has any claim to superior ethical behavior.

+ - Tag Heuer partners with Google and Intel to create luxury Apple Watch rival->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Luxury Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer has announced that it will be designing a smartwatch in partnership with U.S. tech giants Google and Intel. The watch is to rival similar devices in the consumer wearables market, specifically the much-anticipated Apple Watch. Tag is the first watchmaker to join with Google, however it is thought that the deal will also welcome collaborations with other high-quality LVMH brands such as, Hublot and Zenith. The watch will be available towards the end of the year, with price structures and functionality details announced shortly before its release.
Link to Original Source

+ - Some Biodegradable Plastics Don't Live Up To Their Claims-> 1

Submitted by ckwu
ckwu writes: From bread bags to beverage bottles, many plastics now contain additives designed to make the materials biodegradable. But a new study shows that plastics made with such additives do not biodegrade in the environment significantly faster than those without the compounds. Researchers prepared films of commercial plastics with three different types of additives supplied by their manufacturers. The researchers then treated the film samples to mimic disposal of such plastics in a compost pile, a landfill, and soil. After about six months of composting, a year and a half of landfill-like conditions, and three years of soil burial, the plastics with additives did not show any more evidence of biodegradation than plastics without them.
Link to Original Source

+ - Open source robots help sick kids visit the zoo->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Robots for Good is a spinoff of two projects on Wevolver, the Inmoov Robot and OpenWheels. The Inmoov project was already quite big when we heard about it, and we got in contact with creator Gael Langevin to see if we could help him with the documentation.

We decided it would be great to connect the robot to hospitalized children so they could use the robot as their personal avatar and visit the London Zoo.

The main problem is Inmoov's legs—they aren't finished yet. To solve that, we connected with the OpenWheels project, another project on Wevolver created by Boris Landoni. It's basically an open source Segway that will allow the robot to move around.

Link to Original Source

+ - Why the USA is stuck at the gates of a telecommuting revolution->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: "For the vast majority of potential remote workers, the daily commute is the only way to get to the job and keep the job" says Michael Shear of the Broadband Planning Initiative in Washington DC., in this in-depth look at the governmental and infrastructural bottlenecks that keep the vast economic and societal advantages of remote working at bay in the United States- despite the ongoing and predicted crises implicated in retaining a 19thC model of a working and productive society.
Link to Original Source

It's currently a problem of access to gigabits through punybaud. -- J. C. R. Licklider