Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment "Knock them down"? (Score 2) 369

How will this knock them down if the bare bullet won't knock them down? Same kinetic energy, and it's been proven more than a few times that a bullet hitting a human does NOT have enough energy to knock them down, all gun-related movie and TV tropes notwithstanding.

Comment Re:Obvious solution (Score 1) 172

Okay, so you can't shut down a SourceForge project page. How about simply uploading a final "release" that is essentially completely blank, and editing all the project information to make sure people know this? Can SF really reach out and pull back in external versions to replace the owner's edits?

There's more than one way to "shut down" an account, even if the website won't really delete it.

Comment Pick the right roof angle for solar (Score 1) 557

One thing that's impossible to change later: roof angle. I REALLY want solar, but I'll never get it, because my roof angle is exactly wrong for good solar coverage.

My ridgeline runs at a very bad angle for solar panels; although back of the house is more or less pointed south, it's just far enough off that getting good panel orientation requires large angled brackets, which decreases panel coverage by about half. I could probably double the energy fraction if I could turn the house by 30 deg.

Similarly, cutting some large trees down would help. But that screws with passive cooling. Tradeoffs...

The next house I build will definitely have orientation as a leading consideration for energy independence. It will absolutely affect my choice of location/lot, partly because decent curb appeal is important for resale value, and big solar panels on the street-facing roof are a turnoff for many buyers.

Comment Re:Future proofing (Score 4, Insightful) 557

I built my current house in 1998. Having built a house in 1994 and in just a few years been geek-frustrated with it, I did some things right the second time, and they've stood the test of time, mostly.

One, I set the entire house up as a star-configured system. No daisy-chained networks or wires. There's a central patch panel to which EVERYTHING runs. This makes debugging and tweaking far, far easier. I would absolutely do this again.

Two, I ran far more of everything than I needed at the time. That hasn't eliminated issues, but it decreased them significantly. Two Cat 5 cables, two three-conductor speaker cables, and two RG-6QS cables to every room, period. I'd do this again, but with the latest (and anticipated coming) technology.

Three, I built in an attic-to-crawlspace cable pipe. It turned out barely big enough for the four RG-6QS cables for two satellite dishes. Now with DirecTV's new combined LNBs, I'm back down to one cable and have plenty of spare room. Next time I'd put in a couple of 2" pipes instead of one 1" pipe; it would be no significant cost delta but add significant margin.

Thinking ahead, even though I have been okay for 17 years, I am still somewhat limited on expansion. I have since built on two extra rooms, and it's nearly impossible to add them to the star-configured patch panel. I am not sure I would try to do comprehensive room-to-room cable piping, because it takes a TON of piping and a very large network room to pull it off properly. Space is money when you're building a house.

What did I do WRONG?

For one, not enough photos of infrastructure before putting up the insulation and drywall. I took a ton of photos, but nearly every time I've looked at them for answering a question, I found I had somehow missed the precise shot I needed.

For another, too many places where messy infrastructure limited my options. Like cables and piping exactly where I found I wanted to add recessed lighting. I would be a lot more picky about directing the plumber and electrician where to run their stuff.

Also, I would pay more attention during design to the HVAC setup. It takes up a lot of volume, and tends to interfere with flexibility later. So I would do a better job of pre-thinking where it would go, and leave more built-in space for it.

Finally, I didn't give enough thought to house-to-street connectivity. It changes faster than my in-house systems. Every few years I have needed to have my yard dug up by the cable or telephone or electric or plumbing company. I wish there were a fairly large pipe running underneath my 150 foot driveway, through which all the necessary services could be routed and rearranged as necessary. Sort of a personal manhole thing.

Comment Re:misquote (Score 1) 117

Why not land in the desert?

Two very good reasons.

1) They have to use a lot more fuel to get back to said deserts (in the US, at least) than returning to somewhere on the Atlantic.

2) To get to any suitable desert, you have to overfly populated areas with a very, very large, very very explosive drone with very limited fuel reserves and control margins.

Comment When it's useful info, people listen and heed (Score 2) 406

Some years back I had the pleasure of flying Qantas, the Australian airline. Since we left from LAX, we were subjected to the American routine anyhow. Despite already being a seasoned traveler, I clearly remember elements of the brief - because it was entertaining, not formulaic, and loaded with real useful information. For example, even though I am an aerospace engineer with Aviation Physiology training in a high altitude chamber for government test flights, this tidbit was news to me:

If you see those silly yellow masks fall down in front of your face, you may be tempted to help little Johnny put on his mask first. Here's the problem: we're cruising at 35,000 feet today. If the plane loses cabin pressure, you'll have about 12 seconds of useful consciousness left. Now how useful do you think you'll be to little Johnny if he's sitting there with his mask on and mom and dad are both unconscious? So do us all a favor. Be selfish. Put your own mask on first. Then you'll have plenty of oxygen to help the people around you wake up again from their little unexpected nap, just in time to enjoy the rest of the emergency.

Wow. I never knew that. I've NEVER forgotten it. Oh, and thanks, I don't need to hear it five or six times a year again to remember it either... so that's why I'm not paying strict attention...

Comment Asymmetric eye prescriptions (Score 1) 550

I naturally have one 20-20 eye and one 20-200 eye (corrected with a single contact to 20-15), and I'm now 45 years old. When I asked about laser eye surgery maybe 10 years ago, my eye doctor said "NO. Don't do it. In a few years you'll appreciate that eye that's currently near-sighted." And I do. As I am slowly creeping up on the "arms too short" syndrome, I can still see closer with my nearsighted eye.

Comment Re:hacks against contactless? (Score 2) 146

My American family spent about a week in Canada and never once had our card merely swiped - every single terminal was a push-click chip-n-pin setup. They looked at us funny when we said nobody in America uses them yet. But it still worked with our non-chip cards. So apparently while all the terminals are chip-n-pin, they don'all have to ACT like it all the time.

Comment Won't they hit the ISS on a future orbit? (Score 4, Insightful) 52

Won't they circle back around and hit the ISS on a future orbit? I'm no rocket scientist, but I recall the idea that anything that departs from a given point in orbit will cross it again, and two objects leaving the same orbital point will both cross it again.

Maybe solar or atmospheric drag is enough to alter the cubesat orbits, and I know the ISS orbit is raised periodically, but since they were launched FROM the ISS by expelling them, instead of having a propulsive system, both the ISS and the cubesats left a single point in space and ought to converge there again.

I'd welcome an explantion from a real rocket scientist.

Comment Re:TinytinyRSS! (Score 1) 335

I tried TinyTinyRSS, honestly tried hard. But since my websites all run on shared hosting, I couldn't get it to run, despite the various sites that post hacks for making it work. It's just seriously designed for dedicated hosting. Shame, because it would otherwise do exactly what I wanted.

Comment Re:Cant stop the Robocaller (Score 2) 281

Never ever EVER give them a yes answer. That puts your phone number on a list they sell of valid targets. Made that mistake with "Rachel", trying to get real info from them for the FTC. I am still paying for it, even after they shut her down.

See, the mere fact that you answered the phone and pressed 1 makes your phone number itself valuable, at least in bulk with all the others. You can bet that "Rachel" has probably made more money selling lists of answered numbers than on the services being marketed.

Submission New 2D material for next generation high-speed electronics->

jeno writes: Scientists at CSIRO and RMIT University have produced a new two-dimensional material that could revolutionise the electronics market.The CSIRO's Dr Serge Zhuiykov said the new nano-material was made up of layered sheets – similar to graphite layers that make up a pencil's core.
"Within these layers, electrons are able to zip through at high speeds with minimal scattering," Dr Zhuiykov said. "The importance of our breakthrough is how quickly and fluently electrons – which conduct electricity – are able to flow through the new material." RMIT's Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh said the researchers were able to remove "road blocks" that could obstruct the electrons, an essential step for the development of high-speed electronics. "Instead of scattering when they hit road blocks, as they would in conventional materials, they can simply pass through this new material and get through the structure faster"

Link to Original Source

Submission Ask Slashdot: Using the iPad as sole computing device 4

cashman73 writes: Bad news. My mother's six year old desktop computer finally bit the dust due to and electrical surge. It's out-of-warranty, and not really worth fixing. Plus, I'm 2,500 miles and two time zones away, so I can't exactly troubleshoot things from here. I recently got an iPad (fourth generation with Retina), and even 80% of the things I do are done easier with the iPad! Plus, she really likes the size, convenience, portability, and the screen. Virtually everything she does is simple web browsing, email, light photo sharing but no heavy editing, and other simple tasks. We're thinking that using the iPad as her sole "computer" might be the best solution here. What are other Slashdotter's experiences with using the iPad or other tablets without a separate desktop computer connected to it?

Comment His emails simplify the blacklister's job (Score 1) 345

Ironic. Almost all blacklist providers keep proxy sites on their default "bad sites" list. Were I running URLBlacklist or similar, I would simply sign up for his email service and make a point of adding every web domain spotted in his emails. Almost an instant kill for the blacklist provider; by the time email recipients can act on the information, it's already been blacklisted.

The life of a repo man is always intense.