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Comment Re:Fix them (Score 3, Informative) 221

This is fine for small, truly personal projects, but once you have a product with other users (as I do), you end up having to prioritize bug fixes. You simply can't fix every single bug right when it's reported. Bug trackers are also good for keeping track of new features to be added in the future, refactoring you'd like to do, etc.

Comment Re:Fog Bugz (Score 1) 221

I use the free FogBugz plan along with Tickets, which is a native Mac client for accessing FogBugz. It has a nice Mail.app-like interface with smart folders, easy sorting, attachment handling, multiple accounts, etc. It has a few bugs, but overall it works very well for me.

Comment Re:What's the attraction? (Score 1) 358

I agree the analogy isn't perfect, after all they never are. But, I must say getting up at 4AM to get some fish isn't even close to worth it to me. It wouldn't be worth it even if fish cost three times as much as it does. Then again I don't care for fish at all...

The point was really simply that most hams don't so much do it for utilitarian reasons. Rather, it's like all hobbies in that there's fun and satisfaction to be had in accomplishing things that take learning, practice and skill.

With that said, there are still times and situations where ham radio as a communications technology has its place. In emergencies and remote areas, ham radio will work for communication when cell phones, etc. don't.

Comment Re:What's the attraction? (Score 5, Informative) 358

With the internet, and cell phones, and all; what is the HAM radio attraction?

People ask me this all the time. Ham radio is a big hobby with lots of areas to be explored, it's not simply about communicating. Some people are interested in building their own gear, some in preparing for emergencies, some in public service (communications for marathons, parades, etc). Some people are paper chasers, working to earn awards for contacting stations in as many different countries as possible, others like to operate in ham radio contests (like this one: http://www.cqww.com/). Some hams even bounce signals off the moon, using it as a giant reflector satellite.

When people ask me why I like ham radio when I could just call someone on my cell phone, I like to compare it to fishing or hunting or any number of other hobbies. After all I can just buy fish to eat at the store. Fishing strictly as a means to obtain fish probably doesn't make a lot of sense, but that's not why people do it. Likewise, strictly communicating with other people isn't really why people do ham radio. There's a lot to learn in ham radio, and it can be a really fun, satisfying hobby.


Huge iPhone Cut-and-Paste Tool Security Flaw 85

Harry writes "I'm using Pastebud, the new third-party copy-and-paste solution for the iPhone. It's extremely clever, using a Web-based clipboard to get around the fact that Apple doesn't provide one on the phone. Unfortunately, it seems to be giving users access to e-mails that other Pastebud users send to their clipboards. This has happened to me repeatedly and is being reported by other users in Pastebud's Get Satisfaction support forum. Pastebud is operational and still doing this as I write, even though a message at Get Satisfaction says they're working on the problem."

The World's Biggest Undersea Robot 81

Roland Piquepaille writes "According to redOrbit.com, companies installing subsea cables for telecommunications companies and pipelines for the oil industry now have a new tool, the UT-1 Ultra Trencher which is the world's biggest subsea robot. This beauty weighs 60 tons (out of the water) and has a length of 7.8 meters, a width of 7.8 meters and a height of 5.6 meters. In fact, it has the dimensions of a small house but is more expensive, carrying a price tag of about £10 million. It can move at a speed of 2 to 3 knots under the sea. And it can trench pipelines with a 1-meter diameter in deep waters of up to 1,500 meters."

Suppresed Video of Japanese Reactor Sodium Leak 341

James Hardine writes "Following an announcement this week that the infamous Japanese Monju fast-breeder nuclear reactor would be re-opened with a new plutonium core, Wikileaks has released suppressed video footage of the disaster that led to its closure in 1995. The video shows men in silver 'space suits' exploring the reactor in which sodium compounds hang from the air ducts like icicles. Unlike conventional reactors, fast-breeder reactors, which 'breed' plutonium, use sodium rather than water as a coolant. This type of coolant creates a potentially hazardous situation as sodium is highly corrosive and reacts violently with both water and air. Government officials at first played down the extent of damage at the reactor and denied the existence of a videotape showing the sodium spill. The deputy general manager, Shigeo Nishimura, 49, jumped to his death the day after a news conference at which he and other officials revealed the extent of the cover-up. His family is currently suing the government at Japan's High Court."

Alex the African Grey Parrot Dies 242

grrlscientist writes "Yesterday, I received the devastating news that Alex the African Grey parrot, who was both a study subject and colleague to Irene Pepperberg, died unexpectedly at 31 years of age. 'Even though Alex was a research animal, he was much more than that. This species of parrot generally lives to be 50-60 years old, so Alex was only middle-aged when he died. According to some reports I have read, it is possible that Alex might have succumbed to Aspergillosis, a fungal infection of the lungs that he has battled in the past. However, the cause of death will not be known until after a necropsy has been completed... Alex's veterinarian is returning from vacation to personally conduct this necrospy.'"

RMS Protest Song On Gitmo 500

An anonymous reader tipped us to a protest song RMS has written and recorded (while visiting Cuba) and is hosting on stallman.org. It's a sort of parody, although it's too serious really to be called that, in Spanish of the song "Guantanamera," in which a Gitmo prisoner talks about his experiences and mourns his fate. RMS wrote the lyrics in 2006 after learning what "Guantanamera" actually means. The lyrics are moving, and the recording, in Ogg, is competent — RMS sings well and he's got some amateur musicians from Cuba backing him up. Here are the lyrics and an English translation.

Orbital Express Launches Tonight 137

airshowfan writes "When a geosynchronous satellite is launched into space, no human ever gets to touch it again. This means that, other than for minor software issues, there is no way to fix it if it breaks, so it has to work perfectly, almost autonomously, for 20 years non-stop. There is also no way to refuel it once it's out of thruster fuel, the reason why it can't last more than 20 years even if it gets to that mark working very well, with batteries and solar cells still going, which is often the case. If only there were a robotic spacecraft in geostationary orbit that could change broken satellite components and refuel those older satellites, then satellites would be a lot less risky and would last a lot longer. Does this robotic spacecraft mechanic sound like science fiction? It launches tonight."

Submission Sex-ed the Tex-ed way

zoltamatron writes: The SF Chronicle is running a story about the Bush administration's abstinence only sex-ed program and how there is no evidence to show that it works any better than the comprehensive education it replaces. Still, California is one of only three states that does not participate in the program that pushes the Texas born curriculum. From the article:

"California took a very progressive approach," [Douglas Kirby] said. "Texas pushed abstinence and made it a little more difficult for teens to receive contraceptives. Pregnancy did go down between 1991 and 2004, but Texas had the second-lowest decline of all states, 19 percent. California had the second-greatest decrease, 46 percent."
The article says there is more than $1 billion in federal money going to these programs.

Nothing recedes like success. -- Walter Winchell