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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment Re:Morse Code (Score 1) 617 617

Oh, wait, you didn't need to pass a test for that.

I'm just trying to think how that would have been possible. I think back then there was a medical exception you could plead for. I didn't. I passed the 20 WPM test fair and square and got K6BP as a vanity call, long before there was any way to get that call without passing a 20 WPM test.

Unfortunately, ARRL did fight to keep those code speeds in place, and to keep code requirements, for the last several decades that I know of and probably continuously since 1936. Of course there was all of the regulation around incentive licensing, where code speeds were given a primary role. Just a few years ago, they sent Rod Stafford to the final IARU meeting on the code issue with one mission: preventing an international vote for removal of S25.5 . They lost.

I am not blaming this on ARRL staff and officers. Many of them have privately told me of their support, including some directors and their First VP, now SK. It's the membership that has been the problem.

I am having a lot of trouble believing the government agency and NGO thing, as well. I talked with some corporate emergency managers as part of my opposition to the encryption proceeding (we won that too, by the way, and I dragged an unwilling ARRL, who had said they would not comment, into the fight). Big hospitals, etc.

What I got from the corporate folks was that their management was resistant to using Radio Amateurs regardless of what the law was. Not that they were chomping at the bit waiting to be able to carry HIPAA-protected emergency information via encrypted Amateur radio. Indeed, if you read the encryption proceeding, public agencies and corporations hardly commented at all. That point was made very clearly in FCC's statement - the agencies that were theorized by Amateurs to want encryption didn't show any interest in the proceeding.

So, I am having trouble believing that the federal agency and NGO thing is real because of that.

Comment Re:Morse Code (Score 1) 617 617

The Technican Element 3 test wasn't more difficult than the Novice Element 1 and 2 together, so Technican became the lowest license class when they stopped having to take Element 1.

The change to 13 WPM was in 1936, and was specifically to reduce the number of Amateur applicants. It was 10 WPM before that. ARRL asked for 12.5 WPM in their filing, FCC rounded the number because they felt it would be difficult to set 12.5 on the Instructograph and other equipment available for code practice at the time.

It was meant to keep otherwise-worthy hams out of the hobby. And then we let that requirement keep going for 60 years.

The Indianapolis cop episode was back in 2009. It wasn't the first time we've had intruders, and won't be the last, and if you have to reach back that long for an example, the situation can't be that bad. It had nothing to do with code rules or NGOs getting their operators licenses.

A satphone is less expensive than a trained HF operator. Iridium costs $30 per month and $0.89 per minute to call another Iridium phone. That's the over-the-counter rate. Government agencies get a better rate than that. And the phone costs $1100, again that's retail not the government rate, less than an HF rig with antenna and tower will cost any public agency to install.

You think it's a big deal to lobby against paid operators because there will be objections? How difficult do you think it was to reform the code regulations? Don't you think there were lots of opposing comments?

And you don't care about young people getting into Amateur Radio. That's non-survival thinking.

Fortunately, when the real hams go to get something done, folks like you aren't hard to fight, because you don't really do much other than whine and send in the occassional FCC comment. Do you know I even spoke in Iceland when I was lobbying against the code rules? Their IARU vote had the same power as that of the U.S., and half of the hams in the country came to see me. That's how you make real change.

Comment Re:Redirecting 127.0.0.1 (Score 5, Funny) 188 188

127.0.0.1 is clearly unresponsible to DMCA takedown efforts; legal approaches simply won't suffice. I recommend that Universal Pictures launch a coordinated effort hack into it using as many computers as possible, gain root access, and write over its hard drive.

Comment Re:Interesting; likely more limited than advertise (Score 2) 82 82

That actually doesn't sound that bad:

"For example both alcohol (ethanol) and water produce large peaks on an IR spectrum and from the video it would seem that the user provides some background data on what the sample is via the app, so that saves a lot of work. It would be easy for the algorithm to say, 'the user says this is drink and I can see that about 40 per cent of the total spectrum is ethanol so I should give a reading of alcoholic beverage with 40 per cent alcohol content'. Or 'this is a plant and 70 per cent of the spectrum is water so it must be 70 per cent hydrated'. This could also be done with total sugar content for common sugars such as sucrose and fructose," he said.

"Similarly, it would be possible to get a spectrum good enough to recognise something like fruit or Tylenol and then send back generic data (easily found via Google)

That would hardly be useless. I presume that the person knows whether what they're looking at is a fruit or an alcoholic beverage. It's not a big deal to ask the user to do whatever degree of categorization that they can to help it out. And being able to pick out common drugs? Definitely not useless.

Comment Re:Interesting; likely more limited than advertise (Score 1) 82 82

Thanks for your insights. Still trying to decide whether something like this should go on my wish list ;) (see above for my potential uses).

How accurate, exactly, do you think such a device could be? Obviously it's not going to be pulling out the sort of precision of a professional spectrometer. But you mention, for example, being able to identify the signatures of herbicides and pesticides. Do you mean, for example, "This contains imidacloprid", or more like, "This contains a nicotinoid of some variety"?

How useful do you think it could be on identifying mineral species - say, distinguishing between different zeolites? Or, back to food, if given, say, a mango, to get readings of, say, water, sugar (in general, or specific sugars), fat (in general, or specific categories of fats, or specific fats), protein (in general, or specific categories of proteins, or specific common protiens... obviously it's not going to be able to pull out 5 ppb of Some-Complex-Unique-Protein), common vitamins (generally found in dozens of ppm quantity - some more, some less), minerals (likewise), etc?

Comment Re:Smartphone as powerful as 80's supercomputer (Score 2) 82 82

Smartphones are still drastically slower than individual PCs, let alone cloud services.

I know they're overstating the case, and that it's a near-IR spectrometer, not a mass spectrometer. That said, I still like the general concept. Does anyone know whether near-IR spectroscopy can be used for identifying mineral species (for example, between different types of zeolites and the like)? I love rock hunting but many species have similar visual appearances.

And even on the food standpoint I find it interesting... I'm a tropical plant nut, and lots of people I know over on the forum breed unusual varieties of common fruits as well as rare fruits (some of which don't even have scientific names). It's be neat to be able to get a basic compositional profile - no, not "this fruit contains X ppb of this gigantic-complex-unique-protein", but just the major constituents. It'd help, for example, the mango breeders to know if their fruits are compositionally different from the fruit of the parent cultivar.

Comment Re:GnuTLS (Score 1) 250 250

OpenSSL has first-to-market advantage, and anyone who hasn't evaluated the quality differences will choose the simpler license. Plus there are other alternatives, like Amazon's new SSL-in-5000-lines which is also gift-licensed.

The time for OpenSSL to dual-license was when it was the only available alternative to entirely proprietary implementations. That might indeed have funded a quality improvement.

I don't know a thing about the quality of GnuTLS or the Amazon thing. I've seen enough of the insides of OpenSSL to know it's not pretty, but am not a crypto guy and this don't work on it.

Line Printer paper is strongest at the perforations.

Working...