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Comment A relic of spinning rust (Score 2) 521

Back in the day, I/O was dreadfully slow. Think about 5 1/4" and 3 1/2" floppy disks and slow hard disks, and how long it could take to save a document. I can still hear the clunking and whirring in my head as the little activity LED blinks and the operating system grinds to a halt.

Now, with faster HDDs and even better SSDs, making "save" a separate, user-triggered operation doesn't make much sense. And with a jillion cores, you can easily offload the CPU work to do the saving to another thread so the UI isn't interrupted. Look at iOS - how many apps have a "save" button at all? It's expressly discouraged from the Human Interface Guidelines, and iOS users have been happily plugging along without it for years.

I think the real shocker is why applications still have a 3 1/2" floppy disk as the save icon. It's just an anachronism now.

Comment Re:and how do they track users across muilt units? (Score 2) 43

On a university network, every networked device is usually registered by its MAC address, which is tied to that student's school-wide login for tracking purposes. The university already knows everything you do. I assume the same would be true over this public WiFi architecture.

I tried to get around this one time by spoofing my MAC with one from a library computer. THAT didn't go over so well. Since I was using the personal WiFi in my dorm room (stupid, I know), they knew exactly which network spigot it was coming from. Alarms went off all over their monitoring tools. Luckily I had a friend in IT who saw it, laughed, and told me to not do it again.

Comment First astronauts to land in 2025 (Score 5, Informative) 216

From TFIndiegogo: "This 2018 mission will be the first in preparation for human landing. The first Mars One crew is scheduled to land in 2025, with additional crew landing every two years. Before that, Mars One will have established a habitable, sustainable outpost via multiple missions scheduled between 2018 and 2022."

Comment 7.3V? Psh! (Score 3, Insightful) 216

I can build up a couple kilovolts by scuffing my shoes on the carpet.

Also, sure it might be 37% efficient, but do you realize how SMALL the density of RF energy is? The Friis transmission equation gives you some idea: it decreases by the square of the distance away from the source, due to that power spreading out in a sphere. When you start off with only a couple mW of power and an omnidirectional antenna, there isn't much power left to harvest when these tiny receiving "metamaterial" antennas are even just a few feet from an access point.

Comment Dymaxion Mini (Score 1) 93

The design for this car appears to be inspired by R. Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion car. It features a similar aerodynamic "teardrop" shape and the same three-wheel design, although his was much bigger (and more fuel-efficient than most of today's cars). I'm surprised this wasn't mentioned anywhere in the article. There is a great video of the car doing laps around a traffic guard. Bucky was in the Navy and was fond of sailing, and he said that having the single wheel in the back made it feel more like you were turning a rudder on a ship than steering a car.

Comment A problem for satellites, too (Score 2) 224

This is also a huge problem for spaceborne radiometers that observe the Earth's surface (example paper). A radiometer is essentially a very sensitive receiver, and there are portions of the UHF and microwave spectrum reserved specifically for scientific research so that terrestrial stations don't interfere with the measurements. Unfortunately, interference may occur from transmitters directly in the band, from adjacent channels, or inadvertent harmonics from poorly-filtered transmitters. Pinpointing and correcting these sources is a logistical nightmare, especially when you have to deal with every individual country's RF regulators.

Comment I don't like the sound of this... (Score 2, Informative) 116

The rise of wind farms has already led to complications with current NEXRAD weather radars, and these radars don't even scan that close to the surface â" 0.5 degrees is the lowest tilt. I can only begin to imagine the complications of wind farms interfering with military radars which scan much closer to the Earth's surface.

Now they want to point some sort of radar at a complicated source of ground clutter that's already difficult to detect and remove? I don't see how that's going to fly (no pun intended).

For more information: http://www.roc.noaa.gov/windfarm/how_turbines_impact_nexrad_user.asp

Submission + - Dropbox Launches Linux Client (getdropbox.com)

frenetic3 writes: "Dropbox came out of private beta today and finally made its Linux client available for download. It's kind of like rsync and svn but totally seamless and integrated into nautilus, and also lets you sync/share folders with other people (including on Windows or Mac.) Perfect if you're sick of hacking cron scripts to push files around or carrying USB drives."
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - The best way to sort cables and peripherals?

Schrockwell writes: You've been in this situation before. You need a certain cable or AC adapter, but it's at the bottom of a random box that is a veritable bowl of spaghetti. You tug at cables and fend off snags and giant power bricks, making the knots worse and worse. You finally emerge with a fistful of cable, victorious, only to find that you actually needed a different one.

I have no less than four boxes overflowing with cables, adapters, hubs, game controllers, etc. These items are not yet ready for the trash and still need to be used on an infrequent basis. What organization systems do the gadget junkies of Slashdot have in place to easily store and access their peripheral paraphernalia?

Take your work seriously but never take yourself seriously; and do not take what happens either to yourself or your work seriously. -- Booth Tarkington