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Comment: Re:Curiously familiar (Score 5, Insightful) 248

by ColaMan (#48834865) Attached to: SpaceX Landing Attempt Video Released

Firstly, it was considerably easier to do it on the moon. Low orbital speed, 1/6 the gravity, no air resistance on descent, very light lander (as it wasn't pushing 40+tons of second stage to orbit).

Secondly, this stage was doing Mach 8 to 10 at about 80km altitude when it separated from the second stage. They did an extra burn that briefly popped it out of the atmosphere, reversed its course, then did a hypersonic re-entry tail first and (nearly) landed on a 50x60m barge.

Nobody has done that before. Not the guys with the shuttle SRB's, they just fell back to earth (and were strong enough to withstand the tumbling in the atmosphere, being SRBs). Not Boeing with it's dinky little hops of 10,000 feet in a continuously-stable attitude at subsonic speeds. Nobody has gotten this far before with the return of the first stage of a liquid-fuelled booster. Seeing as those things are enormously complex and very expensive, it'd be great to get one back in one piece to use again.

Comment: Re:Pebble? (Score 3, Informative) 232

by ColaMan (#48628801) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Can I Really Do With a Smart Watch?

There's a fair bit of 'easy' customisability in a Pebble.

And the battery life of 'aroundabouta week' is great compared to the 'charge overnight' crowd. I like to have a watch on at night, and I can silence my phone and have calls vibrate the pebble to wake me up if needed, but I sleep pretty lightly.

Notifications are good (with an add-on app), Phone control is easy (with an add-on app), there's a bunch of little apps for just about anything. Download the Pebble app for your phone (no need to get the hardware to install the app) and have a poke about in the app store section to see what's about.

There are programs that allow you to make your own faces with a builder app on your phone. You can get apps for it that can pull any JSON data you want from a server, and the actual dev environment used to make 'real' apps isn't too bad to work with.

And the original plastic pebble is pretty cheap and waterproof to 5 atm. (um, swimming and showering and stuff), so I rarely take it off.

Comment: Re:Who wants a watch that you have to recharge dai (Score 4, Informative) 232

by ColaMan (#48628719) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Can I Really Do With a Smart Watch?

I can deal with my Pebble watch and it's 7-8 day time between recharges. When it gets down to 20% (day 7) I think, "Hmmm, better charge that up". When it gets down to 10% (day 8) I think, "OK, charge that up tonight".

Then I wake up in the morning with a dead watch and charge it fully in the time that I have a shower and breakfast. Or I plug it's USB cable in at work for 45 minutes when I'm at my desk.

Point is , I can deal with weekly charges.

Comment: Re:Real Competition (Score 1) 114

by ColaMan (#48521387) Attached to: Comcast Forgets To Delete Revealing Note From Blog Post

That's kind of what I was implying. A 'local utility' owns all the hardware. ISP's become virtual providers.

At least, that's how it is with the NBN here in Australia. I live in one of the first towns that had the full rollout - they disconnected my copper line in May and internet / phone now comes via my Network Termination Device. Currently it's 100Mbps, but the NTD has 1Gbps capabilities. There are about a dozen major ISPs in Australia who can supply internet via the NTD, and now it's not about who has the most ADSL ports in the local exchange, it's genuine competition about the services they provide and their value for money.

Comment: Re:Real Competition (Score 2) 114

by ColaMan (#48520105) Attached to: Comcast Forgets To Delete Revealing Note From Blog Post

Likewise, there should be a single, publicly owned cable conduit. A six inch conduit can hold hundreds of cables. Then let any bonded company pull cable through the public conduit.

There should be a single, publicly owned fiber cable. A single fiber cable can carry the traffic of hundreds of different providers. Then let any bonded company connect to the exchange. Saves a lot of time laying cables.....

Comment: Re: Why (Score 1, Informative) 395

by ColaMan (#48483843) Attached to: France Wants To Get Rid of Diesel Fuel

I bought a 2007 Peugeot with a 2 litre turbo diesel when they first came out. For the first month I often stalled it when pulling away from a standstill because I couldn't hear the engine inside the car.

It got 4.4L / 100km on the highway and I could drive 1100 km on a tank of fuel.

Three months and about 8000km after I bought it I stuck my finger in the exhaust pipe and wiped the inside. It was clean. You could still see the streaks from the forming process inside the pipe.

Modern diesels are NOTHING like the old mechanically injected rattlers.

Comment: Paper for these guys. (Score 2) 127

by ColaMan (#48470941) Attached to: Voting Machines Malfunction: 5,000 Votes Not Counted In Kansas County

So there's about 15000 to 18000 votes to count?

Paper ballots. Electronic sounds awesome, but it's a lot of hassle for a small amount of votes.

Say you've got 5 polling stations with 4 people at each one, so 20 people. 350 or so ballots per station, each person has to tally up 100 votes at the end of polling.

You could count the entire lot twice in an hour at 4 ballots a minute per person.

So your 5 voting machines cost, what, $5K each? So $25K all up?

You can pay those 20 people $500 for that one day and spend $10K on wages.
You print 30,000 voting forms (at 5 cents each that's $1500) and getting some nice locked boxes ($2000) and storage of ballots for 12 months ($1000) in case of recount.

Oh look, you've got $10.5K left over. Use that to make a park nice and pretty somewhere.

Comment: Re: Not a chance (Score 1) 631

by ColaMan (#48255753) Attached to: Why CurrentC Will Beat Out Apple Pay

Guys, guys, you're using technology as a crutch for cheques.

Ditch the cheques and get with the rest of the world over here in the 21st century with cards and NFC and Paywave and shit.

My bank processes transactions on my debit/credit card in chronological order. If a transaction is delayed - which is pretty rare these days - it's slotted back in at it's correct time when it arrives. They let things slide up to -$500 in my account, after which I get a text message saying "Hey, what's the deal?"

Last time I had a chequebook was in the late 90's , and perhaps it was around then that I last saw someone paying for their groceries with one. It's a needless complication these days and I can't understand why people still cling to them.

Comment: Re:are the debian support forums down? (Score 3) 286

by ColaMan (#48177437) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Stop PulseAudio From Changing Sound Settings?

Hi there, Tox pusher. Did you not even read the very first few sentences he posted? The one that said :
I use Skype because for $15/m I can have unlimitted calling to local numbers in Thailand, from the US. And can make unlimitted US calls, too. Outbound only, inbound costs extra. I have it for my wife.

So you like Tox. That's great. It doesn't have all the features of Skype. Some of that is good (one-click government eavesdropping) some of that is bad (POTS integration). And yes, one of the 'features' of Skype is the fact that it's got a very large user base. So you're not just convincing Grandma to swap over, you need to convince Grandma's friends that she also talks to, and so on and so forth. And they just don't see the need for 'secure encrypted communication that only they have the keys to'. They're just (mostly) talking shit and waving to each other.

Open your eyes a bit and admit those problems, and people will start taking your opinion more seriously. Tox may be a solution for you (and maybe me, it looks interesting), but it's not a solution for the masses, because they already have an adequate solution.

A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems. -- P. Erdos