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Comment: Re:One of the few games with incredible imaginatio (Score 1) 186

by SIGBUS (#48565049) Attached to: NetHack: Still One of the Greatest Games Ever Written

Pity it hasn't been updated meaningfully for over a decade - perhaps it just hit perfection?

Though I've ascended a few characters, I haven't tried to do so in a while, mainly because of that long, slow slog through the mazes. I'd consider changing things around so that there's maybe a 1/10 chance of getting a maze on any standard Gehennom level - or better yet, only the special levels get mazes.

Funny how the wizard is one of the weakest characters at the beginning of the game, but becomes almost unstoppable at experience level 30. Reverse-genociding purple worms, taming them, and teleporting them away can really be helpful on the Astral Plane - a bunch of pet purple worms can really wreak havoc. Even one pet purple worm can be handy in Minetown (though I take care to lock Izchak in his shop when I clean out Minetown).

Comment: MPEG-2 on RPi (Score 3, Interesting) 139

by SIGBUS (#48564897) Attached to: $35 Quad-core Hacker SBC Offers Raspberry Pi-like Size and I/O

Note that you have to buy a codec license to activate the Raspberry Pi's MPEG-2 support. Once you've added the license key to your config.txt, XBMC will handle MPEG-2 just fine; I can stream shows from my MythTV backend without any problem. But, the sluggish interface is a bit of a problem, especially when using an IR remote.

Comment: Trees vs. powerlines (Score 1) 516

by SIGBUS (#48466337) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

In my neighborhood (Chicago area), they most certainly trim the trees, to the point that many of them look downright weird. That doesn't completely prevent storm-related power outages, but it at least makes them pretty rare for me.

Still, if the crown of one of those trees snaps off, like it did in a severe storm late this June, it can result in an extended outage. That's when I discovered that my UPS outlasted the batteries in Comcast's local infrastructure by a wide margin.

Comment: Re:Lots of reasons (Score 1) 236

by SIGBUS (#48450215) Attached to: What is your computer most often plugged into?

I've never had voltage sag to the point that the battery was needed, but there have been a few times, during summer heat waves, when my UPS would go into boost mode (about 108V or so at the wall socket). Lately, though, I've been getting higher-than-normal voltage, consistently 124-127V, and when it gets above 126 the UPS will knock 16V off. At least it can use an autotransformer to deal with minor over- and under-voltage conditions, instead of killing the battery. If it were switching to battery I'd be calling my power company.

Comment: Re:UPS (Score 1) 236

by SIGBUS (#48450041) Attached to: What is your computer most often plugged into?

Back on June 30, a severe storm knocked out power to my neighborhood for about 20 hours. I had my systems on a 1500VA APC Smart-UPS, and after a couple of minutes, when it was obvious the power wasn't coming on soon, I turned off the big machines and stayed online with an Atom box.

Unfortunately, it appears that Comcast hadn't planned for long power outages. Twenty minutes after the power went out, the internet went down and stayed down. That kind of performance doesn't give me much confidence in their home phone service, needless to say. Of course, the AT&T landline kept on trucking, but it's looking like that won't be an option for too much longer.


Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices 334

Posted by timothy
from the another-shoe-will-aways-drop dept. writes Drivers across America are rejoicing at falling gasoline prices as pumps across the country dip below $3 a gallon. According to Sharon E. Burke while it's nice to get the break at the gas pump and the economic benefits of an energy boom at home, the national security price of oil remains high and the United States should be doing everything it can to diversify global energy suppliers. Ultimately, the only way to solve our long term energy problem is to make a sustained, long-term investment in the alternatives to petroleum. But October saw a 52 percent jump in Jeep SUV sales and a 36 percent rise in Ram trucks while some hybrid and electric vehicle sales fell at the same time. "This is like putting a Big Mac in front of people who need to diet or watch their cholesterol," says Anthony Perl. "Some people might have the willpower to stick with their program, and some people will wait until their first heart attack before committing to a diet—but if we do that at a planetary scale it will be pretty traumatic."

Nicholas St. Fleur writes at The Atlantic that low oil prices may also undermine the message from the UN's climate panel. The price drop comes after the UN declared earlier this week that fossil fuel emissions must drop to zero by the end of the century in order to keep global temperatures in check. "I don't think people will see the urgency of dealing with fossil fuels today," says Perl. Falling oil prices may also deter businesses from switching to energy-saving technology, as a 2006 study in the Energy Journal suggested. Saving several pennies at the pump, Perl says, may tempt Americans away from actions that can lead to a sustainable, post-carbon future.

Russia Takes Down Steve Jobs Memorial After Apple's Tim Cook Comes Out 430

Posted by samzenpus
from the honestly-not-the-onion dept.
An anonymous reader writes Citing the need to abide by a law combating "gay propaganda," a memorial dedicated to the late Apple founder Steve Jobs has been torn down. This comes on the heels of new CEO Tim Cook coming out as gay. "In Russia, gay propaganda and other sexual perversions among minors are prohibited by law," ZEFS (a Russian group of companies that originally erected the statue) said, noting that the memorial had been "in an area of direct access for young students and scholars". "After Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly called for sodomy, the monument was taken down to abide to the Russian federal law protecting children from information promoting denial of traditional family values."

Z Machine Makes Progress Toward Nuclear Fusion 151

Posted by timothy
from the soon-free-energy-and-cheap-electric-cars dept.
sciencehabit writes Scientists are reporting a significant advance in the quest to develop an alternative approach to nuclear fusion. Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, using the lab's Z machine, a colossal electric pulse generator capable of producing currents of tens of millions of amperes, say they have detected significant numbers of neutrons — byproducts of fusion reactions — coming from the experiment. This, they say, demonstrates the viability of their approach and marks progress toward the ultimate goal of producing more energy than the fusion device takes in.

Comment: No subsitute for hardwired Ethernet (Score 4, Informative) 279

I've tried both wireless client bridges (300Mbps N) and powerline Ethernet adapters for an HDHomerun tuner, and my results were: a) only one tuner could stream over the wireless and b) the powerline adapters were an epic fail. The punch line is that the HDHomerun works fine and dandy over 100BaseT. Between the crowded 2.4 GHz spectrum and the poor penetration of 5 GHz, wireless just doesn't cut it for anything that needs throughput.

String some Cat5e or Cat6, and leave the wireless for laptops and tablets.

Cat5e will work fine for gigabit. Cat6 will support 10G, but 10G costs a fortune.

Comment: MPG estimates based on driving like an idiot? (Score 1) 403

by SIGBUS (#48092075) Attached to: Fuel Efficiency Numbers Overstate MPG More For Cars With Small Engines

I have a 2010 Honda Fit with the manual transmission and a 1.5l four-banger. In my real-world driving, I get about 32-36 MPG in city driving, and 38-42 MPG on the highway. As it turns out, that's quite a bit better than the EPA numbers: 27 city/33 highway. I try to drive efficiently at least, but I wouldn't consider myself to be a hypermiler, either. I can't help but think that the EPA numbers assume idiotic driving with jackrabbit starts and racing to red lights. And now they're claiming that the estimates overstate things?

Comment: Re:I quit using Belkin years ago, (Score 1) 191

by SIGBUS (#48086961) Attached to: Belkin Router Owners Suffering Massive Outages

I guess I can't be too surprised that they'd pull a cunning stunt like this, just because they got caught with their hands in the cookie jar already, with the "spam router" fiasco. It's hard to believe it's been over a decade since that, and they're still baking stupidity into their routers.

It's sad to see they snapped up Linksys, but Linksys was already on a downward spiral anyway. In any case, I'm not buying a router unless I can install DD-WRT or OpenWRT on it. Of course, with Comcast now pushing integrated router/cable modem setups, I might just have to run a firewall distro inside a VM on a system with two NICs. I trust Comcast even less than I'd trust Belkin.


Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio 528

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the thinking-leads-to-questioning dept.
frdmfghtr (603968) writes Over at Ars Technica, there's a story about a bill in the Ohio legislature that wants to downplay the teaching of the scientific process. From the article: "Specifically prohibiting a discussion of the scientific process is a recipe for educational chaos. To begin with, it leaves the knowledge the kids will still receive—the things we have learned through science—completely unmoored from any indication of how that knowledge was generated or whether it's likely to be reliable. The scientific process is also useful in that it can help people understand the world around them and the information they're bombarded with; it can also help people assess the reliability of various sources of information." The science standards would have "...focus on academic and scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes; and prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another." Political interpretation of scientific facts include humans contributing to climate change according to the bill's sponsor, who also thinks intelligent design would be OK under the law.

Comment: Re:Hardly new (Score 1) 281

I've noticed this problem (not the CPU so much as RAM and storage space) with my LG F3. Recent updates to Google services have bloated things enough that I have trouble applying app updates in its limited storage space, and multiple apps that used to work well together now no longer fit in available RAM. Sometimes I have to uninstall and reinstall an app to update it now. Things get cramped with less than 1.3 GB of internal storage, even with an SD card installed.

I'd love to see an up-spec F3 with double the RAM and gobs of storage (but keeping the SD slot and removable battery). I don't really need a hyper-expensive flagship phone, tempting as it may be. For all of the F3's faults, it has LTE, good RF performance in general, and outstanding battery life. It also puts the lie to the claim that you can't have a slim phone with a replaceable battery and an SD slot.

The use of anthropomorphic terminology when dealing with computing systems is a symptom of professional immaturity. -- Edsger Dijkstra