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Comment Photometer on Apple ][ (Score 2) 145

This was a long time ago, but I wired up a photometer (counts photons) to an Apple 2 joystick port, then wrote a tight 6502 assembler timed loop that would count pulses on the joystick button input. It would accurately read over 50,000 button presses per second, which was good enough to do variable star photometry. I also wrote an applesoft basic program that assisted in the process of variable star photometry and used the assembler routine to read values from the photometer. By connecting the photometer to a telescope and following directions of where to aim the telescope given by the software, it could be used to observe and graph brightness of variable stars over time. Also could be used to calculate the angular velocity of asteroids. This was is the days before extrasolar planets were found, but similar in principle to how that is done. Though the objects we were looking at were orders of magnitude brighter than the brightness fluctuations observed to find planets.

Comment Re:Fuck You, Experian (Score 1) 161

Each of the major credit reporting agencies must supply you a complete credit report annually upon request. Come on, this is not new.

Technically, that is true. I've got mine in the past this way. But is there a penalty if they do not comply?

The Credit Agenccies make it a total pain to get the free report, and try to up-sell you crap left and right. I've had them give me "high traffic; try again later" a few times, too.

I ordered mine, on paper, two months ago. None have yet arrived.

Comment I enjoy it. (Score 1) 278

I enjoy, after paying $15, sitting through 20 minutes of advertisements, having people put their feet on my head-rest. . . to be treated like a thief.

I've been to a cinema once, perhaps twice, in the past 20 years for these reasons alone.

Maybe they could sell buggy whips in the lobby?

Comment It's like Calculus (Score 1) 196

If you aren't learning it, 'hands-on', then you're not really soaking the concepts into your brain.

Calculus– Use pencil and paper. Lots of paper.

Circuits –Yes, bread-boarding is fine, but when you want to prototype, tightly integrating the components, w/soldered connections, then you should go through the process and do it for yourself. At least once.

Comment It's not often (Score 1) 229

It's not often that a company with a business model of charging BOTH ends lives very long.

Think RealAudio, and so on.

One industry that has managed to do this, for several decades, is academic publishing. In that case, you pay three times. Refereeing and writing articles for publication are "unpaid" activities.

Fortunately, this is slowly changing

Comment Re:Shameful acts by the FBI against my Friend (Score 2) 113

I see that the FBI has a team out modding-down Slashdot posts that take a fact-based view.

How was the above flame-bait?

I myself have had false ITAR-level allegations leveled at me before.

Such shenanigans destroy lives. . . the lives of the very people that are working to educate future American scientists and engineers, and who work to aid the USA in maintaining technological dominance.

Way to go FBI & DOJ. Fuck your own citizens out of their enjoyment of life. Provide them ample motivation to keep any "valuable" discovery a secret from their own government. Provide us ample motivation to 'hold back' when teaching our students.

Ah, but with that said, I have 12 grad students and post-docs. Not a single one of them was born in the USA. Therefore, I do my best to teach them to be great scientists and excellent writers.

Comment STOP THE REPETITION (Score 1) 229

Why does this stupid poll, which I stupidly voted on, continue to turn up in the Slashdot CHRONOLOGICAL chain of "newsworthy' items?

This is the third or fourth day of the EXACT SAME ITEM appearing in the main-page.

Please, someone, tell me where I can get tech/society news aggregation other than at Slashdot!

Slashdot has been decaying for a long time. I, as an early-subscriber and A++++ Karma Commenter, give up. Yes, that's right: That button that says, "See /. with no ads thanks to your contributions!" does not matter. It is not ego — I just like to set the record straight, or alternatively to play devils' advocate.

The chaff and filler here have become overwhelming. I give up. I am moving on.

But to where? HINT: The answer can be, "nowhere."

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"