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Comment I got laser printer (Score 1) 268

I don't have much need for color, and not much need for printing at all. Typically I print about 10 pages a month. With an inkjet printer I would have a cartridge last one or two months, so 10-20 pages, then the cartridge would be dry. Dried out dry. This was on two different printers, an HP (horrid) and a Cannon.

I bought a Brother laser printer and have been on the same toner cartridge for over a year. OK, the refills are expensive, nearly $100. The ink cartridges were almost $60, because it would not let one just replace the BLACK... I still see it as having saved the cost of the printer over buying ink every month!

When I need color, which is for presentations, I have them professionally printed. I have yet to spend $60 on a stack of color printouts for a single presentation.

Naturally your mileage may vary much more than mine has.

Comment Smartphone + keyboard (Score 2) 508

A smartphone and a blue tooth keyboard is fully capable of what you ask, as long as the videos and websites are capable. The headache will be on your end with supporting several different word processors, as the better ones are not free, and there are several respectable free choices including Google Docs.

So what does this offer? The middle class American child already has a smartphone, or their parents do. Pretty high power devices are also available as the "low end" option, and older devices are capable so a castoff or hand-me-down phone that is in good shape will do the job quite well (yes, batteries need replaced about every 2 years). All smart phones have wifi access without having phone service turned on. This means that they can use wifi at the coffee shop or use data on their parents' devices for the actual submission.

Bluetooth keyboards start at about $25.
A prepaid smartphone is about $50 for the device.
Yes, this operates on the assumption that the student has access to a good smartphone (with or without service), and can get wifi access via local businesses.

Try this before you expect your students to use it, they will expect you to support them technically.

Comment how rustic? (Score 1) 146

Car camping? Sure! RV? No problem! Live-aboard size boat? Why not?

Engine+battery means near unlimited power. If you are within range of cellular then a cellular booster on the roof (not cheap) will get you pretty good range. Basically makes 1 unreliable bar into a usable signal.

Not cheap at $600 for a Shakespeare cellular booster, but not any more than any other nice piece of technology. Less expensive than a nice laptop or tablet. Check

Going a little farther with the RV or boat? HAM it up with your radio license. Packet radio is real, and useful. I have only information handed to me from others who use it, there is a lot of information available.

Hiking? Well Ham Radio sets are now quite portable. There are portable handsets that weigh less than a pound capable of packet radio.

Hiking in an area with cell signal? There are a lot of these kind of areas around. Pack some lightweight Lipo batteries, such as from model aircraft, and a power converter to USB, available for about $10. (check Hobby King USB charging adapter)

With old cell phones external high gain antennas were a real thing. Aiming a nice directional antenna at a tower on the horizon (5-10 mile away) would make a phone go from no signal to full signal as long as the aim was held. I am unsure if this type of thing exists for modern phones.

Don't discount modem over satellite phone. Yea, I wouldn't want to go there either.

So having to walk with equipment for making these calls and having internet access? I wouldn't want to though it can be done. Camping with a car, boat or RV, not a problem


Comment Re:Waste of time (Score 1) 417

So true. My phone has a better speakerphone than my new Silverado. The mapping is better than the built in nav system, AND I can set up my route from the comfort of my armchair or dining room table where I have all the written information NOT in my lap. Onstar is less than stellar, although having the added safety of dispatch service is rather nice to think about (never have needed it, hope it stays that way).

Heck a nice chassis, reliable drive line, and adequate suspension are all I *NEED* in a vehicle. Radio optional. OK, I like a radio, but I don't need 5 billion features, just make it sound good and give me a half a dozen preset equalizer settings *on one button* so I don't have to spend 20 minutes fiddling when I change stations.

This is the first time I have my own brand new vehicle that I got to choose. Huge step up from the used cars and beaters I have driven the rest of my life.


Comment Re:Track stability (Score 3, Informative) 149

True modular design is not necessary. Simply making it come apart in small enough pieces for two people to take through a door is all that is needed. Some bracing on the underside of mating panels that can be bolted together rigidly with probably 4 or 5 more bolts than necessary.

Some thoughts as to layout around the breaks - a lot can be done to make the breaks come apart cleanly without having to redo the entire section of landscaping
use stiff plastic to make sure the "fault lines" are going to divide nicely.
use flocking - redoing a small area of flocking is pretty easy... messy but easy.
use fabric over the base material then decorate the fabric. Make sure the fabric has a seam that can peel near the mating edges
have the town roads split. The split will be near invisible if a "naturally straight" feature is part of the edge, such as a car road, track bed, or building.

Plan for grade plan for access with hands. Use tunnels, building and other features to make "trap doors" so there are reaching holes that allow access to the center of the board.

Pre-plan the whole diorama. If you have access to CAD use it. Have poster printouts made to become templates that can transfer information quickly and easily

Make sure there is wiring paths, plan these to be accessible from underneath so use conduit, loom, or other means to organize the many, many wires that inevitably happen.

I do a small Christmas layout most years using O27 Lionel. The track all comes up, and the boards get put away in the basement. Even though this is super simple and dead flat the failures are mind boggling at times.


Comment molded silicone earpieces? (Score 1) 179

I am surprised that the git appears to only offer molds for making silicone ear pieces. I am not going to deny that the silicone earpiece is likely superior both for comfort and for ambient noise elimination. It seems like having additions options available would be important.

If these are being printed in a resource poor area a set of ear tubes that have ball ends built directly onto them so added material resources of liquid silicone is not necessary would seem to be an essential! Of course several diameters would be required since not all ears are the same size. Yes, this will prove to be a duplication of parts, but the cost of having an alternate design available is minimal, especially if it means that the device is more readily useable.

Availability of the diaphragm plastic is happily not essential as a stethoscope without a diaphragm will still perform better than an ear pressed to the patient.

A noble project. Stethoscopes are used for listening to the heart and lungs, the abdomen for digestion/gas sounds, taking blood pressure, and likely more.


Comment Re: COMAPRISON REQUIRED (Score 1) 64

Gonna take a lot longer than 50 years to get robotics to replace straight/bent stick laprascopy. Payers (Medicare, Medicaid) have a strong preference for the older technology - to the point of dropping robotic certified physicians!

It also turns out that the advances in ROBOTIC surgery have lead to advances in Laprascopic surgery! Laprascopic surgery has more trained surgeons (effectively ALL of them), is part of regular surgeon training, has typically shorter anesthesia time (although this gap is closing), and is not going away anytime soon. Open surgery is also going nowhere because robotic cases, like laprascopic cases, must have a fail-safe option of open procedures.

Laprascopic procedures are faster, use cheaper instrumentation, and the surgeon population is much better trained that in robotic surgery.

Effective robotic surgeons ONLY do robotic surgery. They also do not do procedures that are already optimized for existing procedures, such as gall bladder and appendicitis.

Robotic surgery is just another tool in the kit. The old tools will not be thrown out because of a shiny new tool. Robotic surgery will likely remain in the realm of specialists and sub-specialists for a long time

Comment Re:I am surprised it took this long (Score 1) 216

Well, yes that is an option. Problem with reducing the mass of semi-automatic handguns is many of the parts that are held are doing double duty for the user interface (grip, magazine holder). By the time you strip it down much of it needs to be custom fabricated. Suddenly it is no longer an off-the-shelf build. Sights are very little weight. Maybe stripping a rifle would get the results you are indicating.

The point is have you looked at quadcopter control boards recently? Every control board has active stabilization, and can be set to a mode that is very stable. This will hold level fairly well. Add GPS and it will hold position in all axis. Add a FPV camera and use a bore laser to aim, simply put a mark on the monitor on the pilot/shooter's end and it will be good for 25 feet range without second thought, probably much longer range but that would require test firing. Add a tilt servo if desired otherwise the firing line is locked in, and 5 or 10 degrees of up/down adjustment would make aiming potentially easier.

All the electronics are off the shelf to do this There is nothing special needed, no special programming skills. No electronic wizardry other than using a soldering iron, and that can be avoided even by choosing components with connectors already installed. _ALL_ the fabrication can be done with a saw and drill, even the gun rest and (optional) tilt mechanism. More robust material than hardware store square dowel would be needed, so aluminum, fiberglass, or carbon fiber square tubing with PCB, fiberglass, or CF sheet, and a couple boxes of nuts and bolts. These are all easy to get materials.

The hardest thing with I see with this build is keeping the machine close to balanced AND having the thrust line of recoil pass through the center of gravity. Both are trivial design problems.

I would not try this myself, well, maybe for paintball but that seems silly.

As a proof of concept, someone building this kind of machine, I am still surprised this was not seen a few years ago.

Comment Get a second ethernet adapter. (Score 1) 384

This might half the time required. You say you have a VM already on the laptop. Get a handful of external ethernet adapters. I think the best number will be in the neighborhood of 4, but learn with 2.

Run the VM and have one adapter present in each VM. Connect to device inside the pump. Start the next VM. etc. This is still a 2-node network, each instance will have a "fail safe" in an error will stop the one instance. With a typical gas station having 2 double pumps per island having 4 connections means one island at a time. 2 connections means 1 double pump at a time.

Best part is the headache is all in the VM working properly, and should be transparent to the software and to the pump. I am sure you have a training system to practice on before taking this live to the field.

Comment For the love of a middle button! (Score 4, Insightful) 199

I just want a middle button! My new M525 functions, and has a wheel button, but pushing the button so it doesn't register rotation is a pain since the rotation sensor has very fine graduations. It also has left and right push on the wheel.

Even if the software would create an increased, adjustable "dead spot" of N clicks prior to action on the wheel might be what is needed to make it work to my needs.


Neutrinos have bad breadth.