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Comment: You'll just end up in the Purple Squirrel bind. (Score 1) 149

by Mal-2 (#49325505) Attached to: Obama To Announce $240M In New Pledges For STEM Education

There's no point trying to guess what employers will want by the time you get done spending anywhere from four to ten years chasing down the education they think you need for that job.

You'll never be the Purple Squirrel,
You'll never even see one.
'Cause I can tell you anyhow,
They'd rather H1B one.

Comment: 2x PCIe 2 vs. 4x PCIe 3 (Score 4, Informative) 204

by Mal-2 (#49325225) Attached to: Apple Doubles MacBook Pro R/W Performance

The raw bandwidth available for transfers isn't doubled, it's quadrupled. PCIe 3.0 is twice as fast as PCIe 2.0, channel for channel, so the bandwidth would have doubled even if they had not added two more channels. They doubled it in two different ways at the same time.

That said, the old flash was probably not being that badly constricted by the older standard, and the current generation is only capable of twice the throughput. However, adding even more bandwidth than that is a nice bit of future-proofing and quite welcome.

Comment: Geekhack and Deskthority. (Score 1) 451

by Mal-2 (#49277279) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good Keyboard?

You should be aiming this question at forums where people do nothing but ponder keyboards all day, such as the above mentioned Geekhack and Deskthority.

I personally use a Cherry G86 series keyboard. It's pretty nice as rubber domes go, has a width equal to or less than that of any tenkeyless (without actually having to be tenkeyless), and has loads of programmable keys.

If you want something with a nice tactile feel that isn't loud, turn your eye toward something with Topre switches, such as Realforce. They don't come cheap, but they have garnered praise from many keyboard snobs. Basically they're about as good as rubber domes get, which is why you'll pay a mechanical keyboard price for them. I believe Cooler Master even offers a version with Cherry MX compatible stems, if you're into customizing your keys.

Comment: Re:Do it like the homestead act (Score 2) 115

by Mal-2 (#49221851) Attached to: SpaceX Worried Fake Competitors Could Disrupt Its Space Internet Plan

First, under 30 MHz, waves can propagate out of an area somewhat erratically, so it's never just a regional thing. I'm inclined to agree with you re: UHF and beyond, though.

Second, once you got spectrum, how long do you have to deploy or lose it? You might not be in a position to jump into use of spectrum you weren't assured of getting, and may need time to alter equipment (and put up matching antennas) if you end up with a second-choice allocation, even if you did buy in advance.

Third, bandplans are regulated internationally, not just nationally, and this places restrictions on what the FCC can afford to do. For example, the 70 cm ham band is 420-450 MHz in the U.S., but only 430-450 in Canada, so use of 420-430 is not allowed in regions close to the border.

Comment: Is that really a lot? (Score 5, Insightful) 280

by Mal-2 (#49136475) Attached to: Drones Cost $28,000 Per Arrest, On Average

Let's assume for a moment that they're serious about deporting people.

What's the cost if they get through, and have to be tracked down by traditional methods? What's the cost of putting more people there to achieve the same level of effectiveness? What's the cost of flying conventional aircraft to do the job?

When pitted against those methods by comparison, $28,000 might actually not be all that bad.

Comment: Re:Technology can NOT eliminate work. (Score 1) 389

by Mal-2 (#49077093) Attached to: What To Do After Robots Take Your Job

But barring brain trauma or breaking their necks or something, that time element means these athletes have time to transition into other careers. Some do, and not all of them go into sports media or coaching (although many do). Some buy car dealerships or other ordinary businesses, with greater or lesser degrees of success. Others may found ill-fated video game companies with large government loans, and crater after a couple years. The point is that the smart ones will use the money gained during their athletic careers to bootstrap something even bigger afterward -- or something just big enough to keep them happy without having to go back to crab fishing or herding sheep or whatever it is their family did before they got lucky.

Comment: Re: Potential problem (Score 2) 106

by Mal-2 (#49072717) Attached to: Nanotech Makes Steel 10x Stronger

Maybe TFA is bad at conveying what they're doing then, because the impression I got from it was "we have a way to electroplate multiple metals selectively by adjusting the voltage. Doing this enough times can make the bulk material much stronger." If laying down a plating layer nanometers thick is now "manipulating materials on a molecular level", then I can do that in my kitchen with less than $100 in equipment. I believe the thickness of the plating I typically lay down in a single pass is on the scale of four or five atoms, but I make hundreds of small passes, stop, clean, and make hundreds more. If I tank plate rather than brush plate, I don't have as much control, but it could still be done if I had an assistant (robot) to move the parts around for me.

Even if I grant both possibilities in full, how does this make them integral to each other? They could electroplate thousands of thin layers before, it just required moving parts between vats. This is obviously impractical from a human labor perspective, but it may not be substantial at all with machine labor, so it seems they have reduced a cost. They haven't solved a fundamental problem. Would you care to explain, with citations from TFA, how exactly I am clueless?

I know perfectly well how the metal ions deplete from the solution, changing the voltage and time required to get an effective coat. Once they drop below a certain level, it just stops working and throwing more power at it doesn't help. The mixture of solutes would have to be carefully monitored and controlled to prevent this from becoming an issue, at which point it seems simpler to me to use one bath per metal. You can recharge the solutions on a pretty regular basis that way, and not have to do much monitoring at all. You can step up voltage (to a point) to accommodate a weaker solution, without fearing that you're going to attract a different metal. Possibly most important for economy of scale, you can more easily recover the residuals of the spent solution for reprocessing if they haven't all been mixed together.

You can be replaced by this computer.