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Comment: Why can't I buy an aftermarket chassis? (Score 2) 227

by dcooper_db9 (#48858813) Attached to: Librem: a Laptop Custom-Made For Free/Libre Software
Just yesterday I was reading about the Novena and a couple of similar and related projects. It struck me that all of these projects are tackiling this from the ground up. It seems to me that more people could contribute if different projects could focus on separate modules. That way I could maybe buy an open hardware video adapter to fix a laptop screen. Or an open hardware disk controller to restore a burnt HDD controller. Having open hardware components available would make it cheaper to repair computers. I'd love to be able to stock a single drive controller card and flash the firmware to match the drive it's controlling. Right now I have a complete laptop with a broken hinge and damaged power port. I'd love to be able to take all the parts out and put them into an aftermarket case. I don't mean a replacement case from the original model. I mean a standardized case that would allow me to swap out parts. Why does no such case exist? Why do I have to order an exact match when the case is just molded plastic and each component is pretty much the same size and shape?

Comment: Re:RAND totally misses it (Score 2) 97

I think it's totally worth ignoring the one or two good autodidacts out there if it also means missing out on the thousands who are absolute crap.

Of course. Here's a list of some of the other autodidacts whose contributions we can dismiss: Leonardo da Vinci, Frederick Douglass, Thomas Edison, Michael Faraday, Benjamin Franklin, Buckminster Fuller, Jimi Hendrix, Abraham Lincoln, Booker T. Washington, Frank Lloyd Wright and Wilbur Wright.

Comment: Not necessarily (Score 2) 190

by dcooper_db9 (#47257701) Attached to: U.S. Democrats Propose Legislation To Ban Internet Fast Lanes
It might. I remember when the first bill was produced a bill to regulate telemarketing. The idea was a classic political maneuver. They'd introduce the bill to give the impression they gave a shit. Then they'd quietly kill the bill or gut it before it got too far. But it turned out that people were really tired of having their phone lines abused. So many people called or wrote their congressmen that they couldn't kill the bill. They did water it down over the years but it had a lot more teeth than they intended. So yes, getting involved matters. When a congressman knows that a lot of people are paying attention it affects how they vote.

Comment: Might have a place (Score 1) 69

by dcooper_db9 (#47243141) Attached to: Transforming the Web Into a Transparent 'HTTPA' Database

Years ago I was working as a subcontractor to a major defense contractor. I had a conversation with IT that went something like this:

IT to all personnel: Anyone with a computer must review each file on their drive and label any that might contain confidential information. Please insert our company logo and the following text into any confidential files.
Me to IT: To clarify, I have approximately X files on my hard drive. Do I really need to review ALL of my files?
IT to me: Yes
Me to IT: Do you have any tools I can use to automate this?
IT to me: No. You need to open each file, review it and determine if it contains confidential information. Then insert the logo and message into any files that do.
Me to IT: I just want to make sure I'm understanding your instruction. The vast majority of my files are operating system files. Some files, like the Outlook PST file might contain confidential information. They're not documents, spreadsheets or anything like that. Modifying those files might affect the performance of my computer. Also, I have several Microsoft Access databases containing thousands of records of sensitive information. I can insert the confidentiality message into the database but it might be more useful to add the message to the reports.
IT to me: No, you must insert the confidentiality message into any files containing confidential information.
Forward to my supervisor: Can you take a look at this? This is going to take a lot of work.
Supervisor to me: I looked into it. You're going to have to do this.
Me to IT: Which department do we bill this to?
IT to me: Your department.
Me to IT: Procurement?
IT to me: Yes.
Forward to procurement: I ran the numbers. It's going to take me a year of working full time to get this done. Can you authorize this?
IT to me: You don't need to review your files.
Me to IT: Okay, thanks.

Comment: Re:Where do I send the electricity bill? (Score 1) 474

I was thinking of POE over coax, which does exist. Cable companies do run low voltage power through their lines and it can be used to run low voltage electronics. I don't know if there's a standard for POE over coax but here's an example of a device:

Comment: Alternative corporate structure (Score 1) 114

by dcooper_db9 (#47120533) Attached to: Comcast-Time Warner Deal May Hinge On Low-Cost Internet Plan

I've been thinking about an alternative structure that might allow a viable alternative to the hegemonic networks we have today. Every time I try to write this out I struggle to explain it, and never submit. I'm going to do my best to write this and hope that some of the folks on slashdot could help flesh this out. I'm trying to do something along the lines of writing a GPL license. Using a contract to turn the business of networking upside down, making people owners of the network they use.

As I see it, the major obstacle to competition in this market is the massive red tape involved in connecting a network to the internet. Pretty much anyone could wire up their neighborhood with ethernet, but they can't cross the public right-of-way without paying the troll under the bridge. Local governments have tried to build publicly owned networks only to have their growth blocked by state legislation. The organization I'm thinking about attempts to bypass these obstructions.

I'm thinking of a non-profit cooperative whose members agree to a contract that requires them to cooperate. For instance, the contract would require members to allow other members to connect to their network. Members would also be required to support some level of throughput. The organization would have an elected board and elected officers, The contract would be updated by vote of the members.

This way, I could wire up my neighborhood with ethernet. If the next neighborhood over does the same we could connect to each other. We can share the cost of connecting to the larger internet, and leverage our network to get reasonable terms. If businesses in the downtown want to build a Wifi network they can cooperate to do so. The city can help organize the effort but wouldn't own the network.

Comment: Re:It doesn't look that different (Score 1) 94

by dcooper_db9 (#47003559) Attached to: KDE Ships First Beta of Next Generation Plasma Workspace
No, this isn't about beta status. The components are being rewritten and some will not be ready for the release in July. Other components will not have feature parity with the current versions. Again, from the press release:

Plasma Next builds on top of Qt 5. With this transition, all QML-based UIs—which Plasma is built exclusively with—will make use of a new scenegraph and scripting engine, resulting in huge performance wins as well as architectural benefits, such as being able to render using available graphics hardware. Plasma Next is the first complex codebase to transition to KDE Frameworks 5, which is a modular evolution of the KDE development platform into leaner, less interdependent libraries.

Comment: Re:It doesn't look that different (Score 2) 94

by dcooper_db9 (#47002145) Attached to: KDE Ships First Beta of Next Generation Plasma Workspace
From the press release:

Plasma Next is intended for end users, but will not provide feature parity with the latest 4.x release, which will come in follow-up releases.

Stability is not yet up to the level where the developers want Plasma Next. With a substantial new toolkit stack below come exciting new crashes and problems that need time to be shaken out.

Performance...will be hampered by various shortcomings. These can and will be addressed, however, much is dependent on components like Qt, Mesa and hardware drivers lower in the stack.

Comment: How many of those are broadcast? (Score 1) 340

by dcooper_db9 (#46946193) Attached to: Average American Cable Subscriber Gets 189 Channels and Views 17
I'd be willing to bet that at least half of what people watch is available over the air. It used to be that content from Discover's channels was worth paying for but now they have nothing but crappy reality shows. I cut the cord a long time ago. I'd rather spend the money on trips to the beach.

Comment: Re:I love numbers but.... (Score 1) 253

by dcooper_db9 (#46162983) Attached to: India To Build World's Largest Solar Plant

The total construction and decommission costs of wind farms and the problems associated with them have not been realised yet. They may well be lower, but until we actually start taking them down and getting rid of the tonnes of concrete and other infrastructure for each turbine, we don't really know.

I think we have a pretty good idea of what it would cost to decommission a wind farm. It would be much like decommissioning a small ship. The main components are a big electric motor, a fiberglass propellor, a lot of wires, a steel framed building and a concrete foundation.

Much of the material and equipment have residual value. They can be recycled or even reused. Costs of demolishing the steel and concrete structure are no different than any other building. The fiberglass might have some environmental hazard components but not more than, say, the shell of a boat. The wires include plastics that may require special handling, but that would be the case for any power generation facility.

10 to the 12th power microphones = 1 Megaphone