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Comment Insert Subject Here (Score 1) 42

I too was attracted by the allure of "approachable" radio communication system design....

I've been working on my Masters thesis involving GNU Radio. I have an RTL-SDR (a Terratec Elonics E4000) and more importantly 2 bladeRF x40 SDRs. Observing/listening/decoding certain transmissions with pre-existing standards is fairly easy. Building a complete digital data transmitter and receiver in GNURadio Companion has a bit of a learning curve. And by "learning curve" I mean "like free climbing the Dawn Wall".

Comment Restart Isn't the Right Choice Either.... (Score 4, Insightful) 313

I'm pro-nuclear (generally speaking). I live in Japan.

I don't think turning on a bunch of outdated reactors that sit on one of the most earthquake and tsunami-prone areas of the world is a good idea.

How about replacing the existing reactors with a smaller number of very modern Westinghouse AP1000s? A far better way to spend billions of dollars than the stupid 2020 Tokyo Olympics. I think this is an acceptable medium-range solution until someone demonstrates a commercial 1GW thorium plant.

Comment RPi2 (Score 1) 236

I primarily use my desktop PC (running Lubuntu) to *ahem* "acquire" media content via torrents or blogs(which link to file storage sites), over my fiber optic connection (Japan, used to Speedtest at 100up/100down, now more like 80/80 on a good day). It's then copied to my USB3 3TB external hard drive (either directly, or over my network if I have the drive plugged into my RPi2). I really need to shuffle my storage around so videos and music are on my 2x4TB drives instead of the 1x3TB.

The RPi2 runs OpenElec/Kodi and pumps HDMI to a 42" AVOL plasma TV with a basic sub + 2 speakers sound system.. I hate this TV, really energy-inefficient but I bought it used, so...whatever...

Books are either read the old-school way or, if electronic, on an iPad Mini. I have a Kindle but it's often loaned out to friends.

Comment Re:What is the dependence on geography? (Score 1) 242

LOL, no. Been here 4 years now. Island fever + wanderlust + a general disdain for the indolent "island culture" lifestyle = extreme desire to relocate....preferably to Osaka. A place where you can use public transit if you desire, but can still somewhat-affordably own a performance car. Not to mention more easily mingle with open-minded entrepreneurs, tech types, business people, and other outgoing individuals with actual ambitions.

Comment Re:What is the dependence on geography? (Score 1) 242

Your comments mirror my own thoughts. I suspect the bulk of the respondents are in areas with highly effective public transport systems. I live in an area of Japan with both an almost-non-existent public transportation system and a significantly-below-average GDP/capita. You'll meet a surprising number of people who drive kei cars but own flip phones.

Right now I'm visiting Hanoi, where practically the whole city owns and rides scooters. The traffic and road manners here are maddening but I'd still rather have a car than not. At the very least it's an escape from the road noise, humidity, air pollution, weather, etc....

I'm not even that old (32) and also vastly prefer a PC to a smartphone, but I've been using desktops since I was about 7. My 23 year old Japanese girl seems totally comfortable scrolling through blogs on her iPhone, even though I've repeatedly offered my 10" Android tablet for use. "Isn't that uncomfortable? Doesn't it hurt your eyes?" "Daijioubu (it's ok)". Boggles my mind.

Comment Re:Duh. (Score 1) 242

but sex isn't everything y'know...

If you have a better, and equally cost-effective source of dopamine/serotonin/endorphins and good emotions that doesn't involve addictive narcotics/psychotropic drugs/alcohol/etc.....I'd LOVE to hear it.

Until then, I think I'll stick with piping down females as often as possible. Oh....and eating chocolate.

Comment Re:The freedom of not having a car (Score 2) 242

Driving is not only wasting time, but squandering money.

*Commuting* is a waste of time....driving, for many people, is a passionate hobby.

When I get tired of surfing the 'Net late at night, I go driving. The roads are fairly open since there's no dull worker-drones commuting, allowing you to go for a relaxing cruise, hit some twisties on the hills, or shred your tires drifting (although the noise from the latter tends to attract police attention).

I suspect the bulk of the respondents simply have no idea and no experience with how to actually enjoy an automobile.

Comment Re:This was not a screw-up (Score 5, Interesting) 410

I have some connections with amplifying information. I sent a photographer friend to Afghanistan, and he networked with some Afghani grad students I met here in Japan, especially one friend who's family is from Kunduz. Some childhood friends of my Afghani associate were doctors killed in the strike. Word is that Afghani and US Spec Ops troops are retaking Kunduz. EVERYONE knew the hospital was a hospital, it was treating a mix of Afghani security forces, Taliban, and civilians.

As someone who used to work in close air support, I just can't wrap my mind around how such a target could get approved. Places like hospitals are the main reason we have Fire Support Control Measures such as Restrictive Fire Areas and No Fire Areas. Intel pushes sensitive areas to the aviation planners and they get included in the Airspace Control Order or SPINS (Special Instructions). Then they get plotted on all the maps so the air controllers know where to deny requests for Air Support (no you can't drop a bomb there, that's inside grid xxxx). What a cluster-F.....

Comment Re:watch the test conditions carefully (Score 1) 502

^Air Support Control Officer, USMC

features some contrived anti-air defense that is somehow not good enough to defeat the F-35s rudimentary stealth but is good enough to be a credible thread to the A-10

Pretty much any late-Cold War SARH (Semi-Active Radar Homing) SAM fits this category. A prolific example would be the 2K12/ SA-6 'Kub'. If the experience bombing Yugoslavia is any indication, some of them will survive SEAD missions. Not a contrived scenario at all. Also applies to any Third-Generation or even early Fourth-Generation fighters doing CAP missions. Sometimes there are Leakers (enemy aircraft that get past friendly air defenses/CAP).

doesn't require the aircraft providing CAS to loiter, expend large amounts of ordinance, use the main gun extensively, fly low/slow or do anything the F-35 sucks at

Loiter time: If you have a permissive air environment with almost-no air threat, which is the sort of scenario where you'll want to use the A-10, then the CAS platforms with the best loiter times are an MQ-9 Reaper and an AC-130 anyway. If you really want a fast jet with loiter time....the F-15E beats both the A-10 and the F-35...and is a better dogfighter too.

Expending large amounts of ordinance: the F-35A and C both have 18,000lbs max payload. The A-10 is 16,000lbs. The F-35B is 15,000lbs. So even if trucking a full bombload was required, this is a wash.

Use the main gun extensively: Of course the A-10's best feature is strafing tank columns with gun rounds, so not much argument there, but that itself is a somewhat contrived scenario. Here's two really good posts on about A-10 CAS employment and modernization trends:

requires the CAS aircraft to sprint around at higher speeds than the A-10 is capable of

Sometimes time-sensitive immediate air support requests (say, for engaging High Value Targets on the move) are required. Blasting the target with a HIMARs fire mission would be even faster, but not a good guarantee of target destruction, especially for something mobile and armored...

reconstitutes the CAS mission to consist of dropping a small amount of ordinance from high altitude with no loiter

This is not a "reconstitution" of the CAS mission. CAS is not restricted to low altitude bombing/strafing runs. It has more to do with battlespace/command & control relationships. While flight behavior of the aircraft can be a limitation, that's very much dependent on aviation platform, the ordnance, and the tactical situation and is not specific to the CAS mission itself. Reference MCWP 3-23 Offensive Air Support Page 2-2: "CAS is air action by fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft against hostile targets that are in close proximity to friendly forces and which require detailed integration of each air mission with the fire and movement of those forces"

Comment How are the configured? (Score 3, Insightful) 394

As TFS states, all that stuff should be readily available in Linux/Ubuntu. If users complain about the lack of a text editor in all likelihood the training program for transitioning Windows users is mediocre (and the users themselves are stuck in their ways and won't adapt easily). If the systems are being issued to users with no day-to-day office functionality, that's a problem with their IT department dropping the ball setup-wise. That's not a failure of the operating system itself.

Comment Re:maybe robots can fly the drones (Score 1) 298

I was in Bravo Company in 2008, the largest OCS summer (up to that time). We were in the container barracks out past the PT field, not in the permanent buildings where Charlie company was. The containers had off-white floors. Two platoons to a building, with the squad bays running parallel to each other.

Comment Re:maybe robots can fly the drones (Score 1) 298

Newsflash: the Army and Marine Corps in particular rarely place people in career fields that match their educational backgrounds/civilian skillsets.

Newly-commissioned Junior Officer: "I have a CS degree! You should put me in a research lab!"
Monitor: "Whatever. I have a quota to meet for Logistics Officers. Go drive convoys in Afghanistan."

^That's closer to the reality of it.

I'm former Army enlisted --> Marine Corps officer, so I've seen this first-hand.

Comment I'm not a "coder", so.... (Score 2) 443

In the past few years I've largely use Eclipse. I tend to write small programs in C, C++, or CUDA C. I like Eclipse because it's free, has easy support for all these languages and others that I expect to use (Python, Java), runs on Debian/Ubuntu/etc., and there's tons of support online.

Comment Re:Won't someone think of the birds. (Score 1) 256

This get's me thinking........what about having high-altitude turbines, suspended under giant balloons that are anchored to the surface? Instead of harnessing wind power on the ground, harness it at 30,000 ft and run a giant power cable down to a base station. Just make sure you pick an area away from civilian airline routes.

Any major cost/feasibility issues I'm overlooking?

Comment Neglected the Rule of Cool (Score 2) 90

Didn't read TFA but I can assume he neglected one key point:

Most authors pick their class names because they sound cool, not because they feel it accurately describes the tactical/operational role of the ship design in question. Which they probably wouldn't get correct anyway. It's not like these authors commonly employ professional military consultants to harden up the details of their in-universe militaries. And in most cases scrutinizing how a ship should be employed would also lead to scrutinizing the weapons complement/layout/fire arcs/etc.....leading to most "sexy" space warships needing a complete redesign to make any sense. And the creative types don't want fictional space engineering (naval architecture?) intruding on their storytelling.

"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a silly proverb. "Necessity is the mother of futile dodges" is much nearer the truth. -- Alfred North Whitehead