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Comment: Re:Useful Idiot (Score 1) 395

The economics of gas and oil are changing. On average, a new house in the U.S. uses only 25% the energy that it would have used in 1990. In western Europe, the trends are even more extreme where carbon-neutral homes are starting to gain mainstream market share. I plan on putting in a solar heating system in my house, for example. Three years ago, I wouldn't have even thought about it. But the tripling of oil and gas prices in the last five years, combined with continuous price reductions in solar modules as suddenly made solar heating cheaper than oil or gas. I'm not even mentioning global warming, because eventually we'll all need to get away from using oil and gas for energy sources. That is what I mean by innovation. Maybe if Putin turns off the gas pipe to Europe, he'll speed energy efficiency along in the same way the Arab oil embargo in the 1970's led to the first ever fuel-efficiency standards for cars in America. In the long run, that could be a good thing even if it causes problems in the short term.

Comment: Re:Useful Idiot (Score 2) 395

Problem is, ... economy is mostly natural resourced exporting ...

Extracting natural resources, transporting and selling them is very far from a trivial task.

Maybe not trivial, but it doesn't drive innovation. It's like the 16th century Spaniards extracting gold from S. America and transporting it to Europe. Not trivial, but they still went bankrupt. The English innovated in shipbuilding and navigation. The rest is history.

Comment: Re:American Expat - still on the hook (Score 1) 386

by bkmoore (#46759637) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?
That's the sticking point. I qualify for citizenship in the country where I live, but do not want to renounce my U.S. citizenship. So I stay American. The IRS needs to understand that people live in foreign countries for a lot of reasons besides to not pay taxes. When people hide their money from the IRS, the money is what leaves the country, not the person. When the person leaves, it's usually for other reasons such as a job, marriage, etc.

Comment: American Expat - still on the hook (Score 1) 386

by bkmoore (#46757273) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

I'm an American expat. The USA requires me to file a tax return annually, even though I live, work and pay taxes in a foreign country. Because of my expat status, I have to do a paper return, at least as far as I know. I get to do the whole paperwork drill twice, once for my adopted northern-Europen country, with a 50% tax rate. And then again for the IRS, where I list everything out, deduct local taxes (50%), convert it all to US dollars (no official exchange rate given), then at to the bottom of the form cross off that nothing is owed and sign it and mail it. I should probably hire a professional tax accountant to do the IRS return, but cannot afford to do so. It costs around 600€ for a simple run-of-the mill return. It's getting more and more complicated each year.

Honestly, I am considering not filing with the IRS any more, because there's no positive benefit. If I do everything right, I don't get into trouble. If I do it wrong, I get into trouble and might have to pay. If I don't do it at all, no one notices. At least as long as I don't go back to working in the U.S. But that's not really much of an incentive, considering that my home, my job and my family are all here. The IRS should at least offer a raffle to win a prize, like an expenses paid trip for my family to Disneyland or something like that. I guess I would be a candidate for changing my citizenship, as I speak the language perfectly and am very well integrated in the local culture. I was born an American, served in the Marines twice in Iraq, etc., and I don't want to give that up, even if I'l probably never live in the U.S. again. I still enjoy flying the American flag on the 4th of July and grilling hamburgers for my friends. I'm not bitter at the IRS or the U.S. government. I just wish they would make it easier for a working stiff such as myself to stay compliant and "do his duty."

Comment: Re:Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe Apri (Score 1) 322

by bkmoore (#46738853) Attached to: IRS Misses XP Deadline, Pays Microsoft Millions For Patches

What can you do on a nice shiny new i5core Dell box that your XP system can not?

Access more than 4 GB of RAM which is necessary for most modern science and engineering applications. Same goes for video editing, graphics, etc. applications.

Where are the productivity enhancements to pay for this investment?? ... I am waiting. That's right there is none.

If all people did all day was word processing and spread sheets, a vintage 68040 Mac II running System 7 with WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 would still be adequate. But try supporting vintage Macs in a productivity environment, I would hope your supply of SCSI hard drives doesn't run out. Same goes for XP, spare parts are getting more and more scarce with time.

Look you like technology like many of us and that is great. But at some point it is trivial eye candy. If security wasn't an issue no one would bother upgrading except enthusiasts.

I think you're just a troll. Most people on /. would know that Win 7 or a modern 64-bit LINUX compared to XP is more than just eye candy.

Comment: Re:The sheer volume! (Score 1) 139

by bkmoore (#46715657) Attached to: Cuba: US Using New Weapon Against Us -- Spam

This is pretty serious business. At a potential maximum of 140 octects/message, that's (just)Over 40 Megabytes delivered in the course of 5 hours. Just think. To deliver an attack like that, the US government must have had some sort of time machine, with Ronald Reagan shouting "Now witness the destructive power of this fully armed and operational ARPANET!" before turning on, um, maybe a couple dozen modems at once.

Cuba's lucky. A lot of the modems got a busy signal. Otherwise it could have been worse.

Comment: Re:San Fran = the new Detroit (Score 2) 371

by bkmoore (#46697231) Attached to: Smart Car Tipping Trending In San Francisco
What caused the decline of the big three was bad management, not necessarily GREED. First they were too slow to take foreign competition in the U.S. market seriously. Then later on, they were too focused on the American market to make the cars they needed to compete in foreign markets. Especially the ones where the cost of gas is higher, and the roads are smaller... which is most countries.

Comment: Re:..and we need this technology why exactly? (Score 4, Insightful) 176

by bkmoore (#46632051) Attached to: The Connected Home's Battle of the Bulbs
I also want lighting that fits in the fixtures that I have and doesn't protrude beyond the shade. Almost all of these "better lightbulbs" are just too large. Also why make intelligent light bulbs? Wouldn't it be better to put the connectivity into the light fixture, especially if it has more than one bulb?

Comment: Re:Watch "how it's made" first (Score 1) 400

As I mentioned earlier, 3-D is awsome for when you want ONE part for some old car, machine, airplane, etc. that no longer is supported. For making thousands of parts, not so much.....

Agreed, as long as the mechanical properties of the printed material are suitable for the part being replaced. For most metal parts, traditional machining is more economical. Trying to replicate traditional manufacturing processes is a dead end IMHO. These processes were optimized over the last 4000 years, at least since the bronze age.

OTOH, 3D printing is really interesting because it allows the creation of new types of structures such as hollow parts with complicated internal geometries. Such structures cannot be made (easily) by any traditional forming processes. - That's actually the direction where I think 3D printing could become the next big thing; ulltra-reliable machines that cannot be assembled or disassembled. Printing a 3D gun and assembling it out of discrete parts is dumb. To get this old crank really excited, somebody would have to print a working mechanical watch, right out of the printer.

Comment: Re:Watch "how it's made" first (Score 5, Interesting) 400

....Or maybe structural plastic manufacturing....

Structural plastic developer here, three years of professional experience in this area. The problem from a purely structural standpoint is that 3d printing cannot print fibre-reinforced plastics. There has been some preliminary work on this at the Frauenhofer Institut in Stuttgart, Germany. Their solution is running a nylon thread through the printer nozzle. For this, they have a spool of thread and a mechanism similar to a sewing machine on the printer head. This creates a part with a continuous thread that is oriented in the raster pattern traveled by the printer head. But the part does not have the characteristics of an injection-molded fibre-reinforced part, which would have many small fibers with many various orientations. I visited the site personally and saw their research first hand. They still have some technological problems to work out. For example, I don't think they understand shrinkage fully and would have a hard time complying with engineering tolerances. But for a quick prototype, more than adequate. Prototypes can be made to fit. ;-)

I won't go into material cost. Any industrial 3D printing outfit, that's halfway serious about what they do, would use raw granulate and not buy cartridges. But the main short coming of 3D printing as opposed to injection molding in a production environment is the cycle time. A complex part with tight tolerances (TG 3 after DIN 16742) of around 100-200 Gramms in an fibre-reinforced PA6 or PA12 can be injection molded in about two to three minutes, depending on injection temperature and cooling time in the mold, etc. The actual injection time is around one second for a reference. Otherwise material hardens during the injection process. The time required to print the same part would be many hours or even a day or more, depending on the printer used. I was at a 3D outfit and showed them a simple part of less than 10 Gramms. It would have taken in their estimation 30 minutes to print. Not good for mass production.

Where 3D printing is actually useful is generating rapid 3D prototypes or for doing custom parts in non-reinforced plastics. But custom parts, if they do wind up in the hands of a customer, aren't of good enough quality for my company to sell without hand-finishing to at least simulate the surface finish and texture of an injection-molded part. Acetone can be used here to make a smooth surface finish. Costs are high, but less than the cost of making a mold for a one-of-a-kind part. Alternatively custom parts can be made the old-fashioned way, that is by hand.

Usually the marketing people want the 3D parts more than the developers. Sometimes we use printed parts in development prototypes for parts where we haven't gotten around to making a prototype mold for. But these parts have limits, they usually cost a lot and if I need a high two digit or a three-digit-quantity, it's usually much cheaper to make a prototype mold. But sometimes it's difficult to convince management of that, which is probably a common problem. But after a couple of projects, the management's starting to come around to my point of view on this.

If bankers can count, how come they have eight windows and only four tellers?