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Comment: Computer Engineering (Score 1) 296

by SLOviper (#37297970) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Second Major For a Mechanical Engineer?
If you're liking the idea of some code and some controls, you can get a good foundation in both with a Computer Engineering degree. That would give you the flexibility to focus on different aspects of computing/controls systems (or one, if you find you really like a particular area) and is a perfect companion to ME. If you go all software (Computer Science), you miss out on the understanding of how the electrics/electronics work and if you go all hardware (Electrical Engineering), you miss out on the higher level integration aspects of what modern software environments can really do. Also, just being able to speak the language of MEs, EEs, and CSCs is invaluable when working in multi/inter-disciplinary scenarios.

Full disclosure: I am a Computer Engineer specializing in (semi)autonomous robotics systems (and /love/ it).

Comment: Programming Mode Idea (Score 1) 172

by SLOviper (#36364016) Attached to: Man Creates Open Source Flashlight
The best idea I've heard so far for programming is to use the first click to turn the LED on to ~100 lumens then to use the button as a momentary switch to crank it all the way to 500. Let off and it returns to 100. Makes sense in a lot of situations where you might need a lot of light quickly and don't want to be flipping through brightness modes to get there - with the plus that it would also help runtime.
GUI

Making Closed Software Act Like It's Open 157

Posted by kdawson
from the latter-day-screen-scrape dept.
The Installer writes "Researchers from the University of Washington have managed to add customization and accessibility options to proprietary software without ever touching the source code. Rather than alter program code, Prefab looks for the pixels associated with the blocks of code used to paint applications to a screen, grabs hold of them, and alters them according to whatever enhancements the user has chosen to apply. Any user input is then fed back to the original software, still running behind the enhanced interface."
Power

Vermont May Revoke Nuclear Plant License 163

Posted by kdawson
from the green-glowing-mountain-state dept.
mdsolar writes "Following the Vermont Senate's 26-to-4 vote not to approve a 20-year license extension for the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, the Vermont Public Service Board will consider revoking its operating license as well. Meanwhile, the plant continues to operate without its Director of Nuclear Safety Assurance, who has been placed on administrative leave; the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has merely issued a Demand for Information rather than shutting down a plant that is lacking a full complement of safety personnel. It may be that the NRC is not capable of doing what is needed with regard to Entergy, the plant owner, which is also facing prosecution by the Mississippi Attorney General."
Education

Pen Still Mightier Than the Laptop For Notetaking? 569

Posted by kdawson
from the highly-evolved-metaphor dept.
theodp writes "While waiting to see if the iPad is a game-changer, this CS student continues to take class notes with pen and paper while her fellow students embrace netbooks and notebooks. Why? In addition to finding the act of writing helps cement the lecture material in her mind, there's also the problem of keeping up with the professor: '[While taking notes on a laptop] every five minutes I found myself cursing at not being able to copy the diagram on the board.' So, when it comes to education or business, do you take notes on a notepad/netbook, or stick with good old-fashioned handwriting? Got any tips for making the transition, or arguments for staying the course?"
Image

Stoned Wallabies Make Crop Circles 104 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the trippity-hop dept.
It's the tripnaut! writes "The BBC reports that Australian wallabies are eating opium poppies and creating crop circles as they hop around 'as high as a kite', a government official has said. 'The one interesting bit that I found recently in one of my briefs on the poppy industry was that we have a problem with wallabies entering poppy fields, getting as high as a kite and going around in circles,' says Lara Giddings, the attorney general for the island state of Tasmania. 'Then they crash,' she added."
NASA

NASA Running Low On Fuel For Space Exploration 282

Posted by timothy
from the let's-explore-earth-for-more dept.
smooth wombat writes "With the end of the Cold War came warmer relations with old adversaries, increased trade and a world less worried about nuclear war. It also brought with it an unexpected downside: lack of nuclear fuel to power deep space probes. Without this fuel, probes beyond Jupiter won't work because there isn't enough sunlight to use solar panels, which probes closer to the sun use. The fuel NASA relies on to power deep space probes is plutonium-238. This isotope is the result of nuclear weaponry, and since the United States has not made a nuclear device in 20 years, the supply has run out. For now, NASA is using Soviet supplies, but they too are almost exhausted. It is estimated it will cost at least $150 million to resume making the 11 pounds per year that is needed for space probes."

Look Out, Firefox 3 — IE8 Is Back On Top For Now 662

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-it-can dept.
CWmike writes "Internet Explorer 8 has shipped in its final version and is ready to take on its rivals. Preston Gralla reviewed it and says the latest version of Microsoft's browser leapfrogs its closest competition, Firefox 3, for basic browsing and productivity features — it has better tab handling, a niftier search bar, a more useful address bar, and new tools that deliver information directly from other Web pages and services. IE8 has also been tweaked for security and includes a so-called 'porn mode,' new anti-malware protection, and better ways to protect your privacy. The most noticeable new features? Accelerators and Web Slices. Think of an Accelerator as a mini-mashup that delivers information from another Web site directly to your current browser page. Web Slices deliver changing information from a Web page you're not actively visiting directly to IE8. There's one big problem for many, though. No add-ins, and there doesn't appear to be such an ecosystem on the horizon. So if you're a fan of add-ins and customizing the browser itself, writes Gralla, Firefox is superior. But for the actual browsing experience, IE8 has the upper hand — for now."
Portables

Dell's Adamo Goes After MacBook Air 337

Posted by kdawson
from the what-would-michael-do dept.
MojoKid writes "Adamo, pronounced 'A-dahm-o,' means 'to fall in love with' in Latin. Dell is certainly hoping you'll fall in love with this notebook's looks as well as its functionality. The Adamo's chassis is milled from a single piece of aluminum and features precision detailing with a scalloped backlit keyboard. Even the fan holes, which are punched out squares, have an attractive modern design. The Adamo features a thin 0.65-inch profile and weighs four pounds. The new ultra-portable will also offer Intel Core 2 Duo processors and DDR3 memory (up to 4GB), a 13.4-inch 16:9 HD display and a 128GB SSD hard drive. Pricing starts at $1,999 with Vista Ultimate 64." The Dell infomercial spokesmodel (video at the bottom of the link) concludes, "Adamo resulted from the union of technology with pleasure for the style-conscious individualist." OK, so he's no Steve Jobs.
Sci-Fi

Robert Heinlein's Pre-Internet Fan Mail FAQ 181

Posted by Soulskill
from the tanstaafl dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Kevin Kelly has an interesting post about a letter he found amongst correspondence from his days editing the Whole Earth Catalog. The letter is Robert Heinlein's own nerdy solution to a problem common to famous authors: to deal with fan mail. In the days before the internet, Heinlein's solution was to create a list of frequently asked questions, answer them, and remove the questions. Then he, or rather his wife Ginny, checked off the appropriate answer(s) and mailed it back. Some of the entries in Heinlein's answer sheet are quite illuminating and amusing. Our personal favorite: 'You say that you have enjoyed my stories for years. Why did you wait until you disliked one story before writing to me?'"

The biggest difference between time and space is that you can't reuse time. -- Merrick Furst

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