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Comment: Re:I prefer eBay myself. They have the most select (Score 2) 131

by caseih (#47734725) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Find Good Replacement Batteries?

Interesting. Usually when I buy from Ebay the results are mediocre at best and the seller demands that I give him a full star review. I don't have the ebay foo or the patience that you have. I've bought cell batteries from a ebay seller that looked very much like what you recommend, and they were junk. I also bought from a random, supposedly reputable dealer on Amazon, and they were junk (brand name, two year old batteries). Went to a local store specializing in batteries and they were junk too (also two year old, brand name, batteries). The problem with a lot of vendors is that batteries have a shelf life. If the new batter is more than a year old, it's not going to perform.

I'm trying Anker now and will see what happens.

Comment: Re:The real crime here (Score 1) 459

by caseih (#47730705) Attached to: 33 Months In Prison For Recording a Movie In a Theater

Until the DMCA, copyright was always a civil offence, as it should be, with the penalties to be monetary in nature, not prison. Remember all the FBI warnings on old VHS tapes about going to prison for copying the video (or heaven forbid public performance)? They were all bold-faced lies. At least until the DMCA criminalized copyright violation. Now you can get more jail time for copyright violation than for violent crime such as rape.

Comment: Re:Nice Summary (Score 1) 133

by caseih (#47709405) Attached to: FarmBot: an Open Source Automated Farming Machine

Close... there are still things that require human intervention currently, though in the future combines will be completely autonomous. Right now humans have to watch for interruptions in crop flow, obstacles, etc. Just got in from harvesting wheat all day. GPS did all the steering, the computer took care of cutting height across uneven ground. Though my combine does not have it, many combines can moderate their ground speed as well, changing speed as crop conditions change to make sure the machine is running at 100% capacity.

John Deere, and soon Case, have technology for linking the grain cart with the combine so the combine operator (or the computer in the future) can control the position of the cart to load it evenly while unloading the combine's on-board grain, all while moving through the field.

Pretty much all our machines have GPS steering now. With machines that are too wide to drive accurately without overlap. Everything from planters to cultivators, sprayers, harvesters, etc.

Given the expensive obstacles in my field (oil wells, pivot irrigation systems, other machines, trucks, etc), I do prefer to oversee things currently but I wouldn't say farmers are not wanting this sort of automation.

Comment: The real problem is hooking back to grid also (Score 1) 306

I'm sure if she wanted to she could go off grid and run everything on solar power and no one could say anything. The trouble starts when she wants to connect her house to the utility power grid, and use it essentially as a big battery, and then have the utility company pay her when the meter runs backwards. It's that process that the power companies and government regulations make difficult, and you can understand a little bit why. From their point of view she wants to have her cake and eat it too.

And where I live, it's the corrupt monopoly transmission line company that charge more for the connection itself than the actual power delivered. It make so much money (guaranteed 9.5% ROI a year by tax payers!) in fact that Warren Buffet is set to buy them out.

Between the regulation and the line charges, it's not economical to invest in solar or wind on a small scale around where I live either.

Comment: Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (Score 1) 385

You're being pedantic of course, but for all intents and purposes, batteries aren't the real source of the power we use every day. Gas, coal, or nuclear generating stations are. Batteries get charged up with that power, then take it to where it's needed and release it. You said it yourself, energy cannot be created nor destroyed. All the batteries in the world aren't going to stop global warming if electricity is coming from Coal. Some battery chemistries form batteries that have a full charge when manufactured, and some of these are not rechargeable. Therefore we'd have to class these in the same category as other non-renewable energy sources. Which doesn't help the problem of finding renewable, clean energy production sources.

Comment: Re:Just think of what you can do with this! (Score 2) 122

by caseih (#47392721) Attached to: New Single Board Computer Lets You Swap Out the CPU and Memory

Very much this. While a few people are doing cool things with robotics, remote sensing, or UAVs with these small SBCs, most sit and gather dust.

Those actually putting their SBCs to use are by far in the minority. I have plans for my Pi to do some remote sensing work, but so far they are stalled. So it's in a drawer until I find time.

My drawer is full of these devices including Pis, GuruPlugs, and SheevaPlugs. Theoretically useful, but never quite panned out. Could make nice file servers, but honestly a hackable NAS box that also runs linux is probably a better buy. If I need a web server facing the internet, I'm better off hosting it somewhere. If I need a local web development server, a virtual machine or my existing desktop machine fits the bill much better. Tried to use a Pi for XBMC, but it would crash during video playback every 20 minutes or so. Not very encouraging.

I'm also tired of messing with the various and sundry ARM boot loaders, since ARM is such an non-standardized platform.

Comment: So they don't have to ask the NSA (Score 5, Insightful) 206

I wonder how such a thing is going to be enforced. Seems to me this is more about burdening Russian companies who use western services than it is about securing the privacy of Russian citizens. Besides if Putin forces all Russian companies to keep their data local then his cronies can more easily do their own spying on it, rather than have to beg the NSA to give them access, which given Russia's frosty relationship with the US, is probably pretty much cut off these days.

Comment: Re:Not surprised, mixed feelings (Score 1) 268

by caseih (#47342369) Attached to: That Toy Is Now a Drone

Wow, that was unbelievably irresponsible of Ars Technica. I think you're correct in your assessment. It is pretty much all of us.

Even laying aside the FAA, I believe that it wouldn't be too hard to get widespread public support for pretty strict regulations of these devices. And I wouldn't be too opposed to some regulations either.

Comment: Not surprised, mixed feelings (Score 5, Interesting) 268

by caseih (#47340447) Attached to: That Toy Is Now a Drone

As an RC airplane enthusiast, who likes to dabble in FPV and UAVs, I must say that I'm not surprised. However my feelings are a mix of outrage at the FAA as well as understanding. When a few irresponsible people use their toys in ways that are, well irresponsible, I'm not at all surprised to see the FAA come down hard on everyone. I think in many ways this is a tragedy of the commons. A few idiots have actually ruined it for everyone. When a toy has the power to kill people, or to hurt them, and people do stupid things with them, then it ceases to be a toy. We are now seeing stories in the news almost weekly of stupid people flying their toys in reckless and dangerous ways.

That said, I don't see how the FAA's rules are enforceable, nor do I see how the FAA can actually claim to have the authority to make rules in an an area that, as far as I can tell, congress has never granted them the power to do.

If FAA truly has the power to regulate a hobby, then they need to have a framework in place to allow this activity to continue safely. It's happening everywhere in the world. Banning it in the US will only put companies behind the curve who want to develop and use the technology.

Comment: Re:SpaceX Will Beat NASA at this Game (Score 1) 75

by caseih (#47330299) Attached to: NASA's Orion Spaceship Passes Parachute Test

Yes I agree. I'm also happy that NASA is making progress on this. I think it's a worthwhile endeavor, even if it is tied to earmarks and corporate welfare, much moreso than SpaceX's lucrative NASA contracts.

I also am excited at what SpaceX is doing. They are certainly the farthest along, and most likely to succeed in the near term. Who knows. Maybe in the future if SpaceX is the only American company visiting the space station and hauling astronauts, they could just take over space station operations and open it up to civilian scientists. That'd be cool. If dangerous and impractical.

Comment: Re:East - Sleep, West - Awake (Score 1) 163

by caseih (#47320707) Attached to: I suffer from jet lag ...

For me what matters is rest, period. IE sleep. At any time during the flight in any direction, and as much of it as I can get. Traveling is very tiring anyway. If I get exhausted, say by staying awake coming west as you suggest, I just start feeling crappy and my sleep schedule will take far longer to adjust. Instead I just take a benadryl and sleep while I can. That means I wear a mask and earplugs and try to get 6 hours sleep or so coming west in the daylight. I'll be tired regardless, but less tired this way. That night (in whatever timezone I'm in), I try to sleep as close to my normal bedtime as possible, but earlier is okay. I'll take another benadryl if necessary. But then if I wake up in the night, it's important to not get up and do things. I just lay in bed, and I will fall asleep again. I'll soon be on a fairly normal schedule. The only lingering aspect of jet lag for me is that I do tire more earlier in the day, often going to bed by 8 or 9. But mornings and afternoons don't feel much different for me. That lasts about 5 days or so. If I can work things out so that my first night in country I can sleep for 10 hours or so, I have zero jet lag. One time I managed to stay awake until 7:30 pm, then crashed and slept until 9 am the next morning (did wake up at 3, but didn't get up). Felt wonderful and my schedule was fully adjusted.

Flying lie-flat business class also helps greatly!

How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else. -- R. Buckminster Fuller