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Comment: Parts to finish a 3D printed design (Score 1) 69

by NixieBunny (#46716531) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Bre Pettis About Making Things
Many useful items that one could build require some metal bits in addition to 3D printed parts. I've recently encountered this situation when trying to make a little gizmo with motor drive. Small gears, shafts and so forth are very hard to come by. Have you considered starting an ancillary industry that provides the sorts of things that the company Small Parts used to offer, before Amazon killed them?

Comment: Re:Stuxnet (Score 3, Informative) 245

by NixieBunny (#46513473) Attached to: Is Analog the Fix For Cyber Terrorism?
Yes, it was a USB flash drive with a firmware update.

I work on a telescope whose Siemens PLC is so old that it has a PROM in a 40 pin DIP package for firmware updates. Not that we've touched the firmware in 20 years. After all, it works. And it ought to work for another 20 years, as long as we replace the dried-out aluminum electrolytic capacitors regularly.

Comment: Re:They don't know you. Two resumes, one degree (Score 1) 281

by NixieBunny (#46502485) Attached to: Eric Schmidt On Why College Is Still Worth It
I have no degree, but in 35 years I've never had to be selected from a pool of candidates. What's it like to have to compete for a job?

I worked my way through college at the school, building exotic computer systems for grad student research projects. I noticed one day that I was learning a lot more in the job than in the classes.

Now, 30 year later, and after 20 years in industry, I work at the same university, building electronics for telescopes. I suppose I could have gotten further with a degree, but not much further. At my performance reviews, I ask my boss to please not promote me to management.

Comment: They don't care about real dangerous things (Score 4, Interesting) 289

Story: I walked into the Detroit airport a couple years ago while wearing the Video Coat. The nice TSA people marked my entire family's boarding passes SSSS. They inspected us thoroughly, including the eight 5 AH Chinese LiPo battery packs used to power the coat. These are the no-protection-board version with the factory connectors that let you plug two batteries together like BIG 9V batteries. They will happily put out 100 amps.

Had we been 'the type', we could have started four fires in the cabin that day.

Comment: Re:Year 15 here (Score 1) 177

by NixieBunny (#46159701) Attached to: At my current workplace, I've outlasted ...
I am in a similar situation, but only 12 years. The people above me are getting near retirement age, but lots of folks stick around until their seventies around here. I have a side business and work part-time, to keep the interest level up and reduce unreasonable demands on my time. And do volunteer work with high school kids, doing robotics. That's fun.

Comment: Hits the nail on the head (Score 2, Informative) 360

by NixieBunny (#46150815) Attached to: Why Games Should Be In the Public Domain
This article is so right! He has found a way to express something that's been bugging me for a long time. I love his comparison of a policeman to a song writer.

The other thing about copyright is that it's not the creative people who make money forever off of their own work, it's the corporations that manufacture the plastic discs who make the money forever off of the songwriters' work.

Comment: Re:They know your name anyway (Score 2) 140

by NixieBunny (#46147353) Attached to: Facebook Estimates Around 10% of Accounts Are Fake
I have a real account, and I manage a couple groups. One (a local bike ride) receives a steady stream of requests for new members to join the group. Half of these are fake Chinese or Indian accounts - it's obvious from their profiles. The rest are real local folks. I have no idea how that maps into the total number of fake IDs.

Comment: Re:Radio telescope - not exactly "skywatching" (Score 1) 201

by NixieBunny (#46045981) Attached to: Best skywatching equipment at my disposal:
We only use one receiver at a time, so it's not a problem. A poster written by one of our grad students that gives an idea of the telescope's capabilities is here.

The temperature scale on the graphs (temperature = signal strength) gives you an idea of the absurdly high sensitivity of the system. Some of those graphs are in milliKelvin!

Comment: Re:Radio telescope - not exactly "skywatching" (Score 1) 201

by NixieBunny (#46036155) Attached to: Best skywatching equipment at my disposal:
The beam size (it's a Gaussian beam, so it's fuzzy) is about 20-50 arc seconds, narrower at higher frequency. Basic pointing accuracy is about 5 arc seconds, but we improve that with pointing observations that measure the Gaussian beam dropoff on the sides of a bright object, so we can optimize pointing to within an arc second or two. More black magic.

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun