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Comment: Re:Seiko 5 (Score 1) 399

by drewm1980 (#46866951) Attached to: Japanese and Swiss Watchmakers Scoff At Smartwatches

There are a lot of those floating around the USA because GI's bought them during the vietnam war and brought them back home. Many of them are still functional even without being serviced. I wore a modern one daily for three years before it died; ymmv. Seiko has a neat mechanism for the automatic winder that is way simpler than the designs that luxury brands are still using due to patent issues/inertia/pride. Note that you'll probably have to import it on the gray market; it seems seiko makes these things mainly for the middle eastern market, and mainly offers more expensive (or digital) watches in America and Europe.

Comment: Re:Same as lost luggage... (Score 2) 894

I have family in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It's not cheap, but buying a seat (not to mention insurance) for your valuable instrument has been standard practice for decades. You have to be pretty bad at traveling to not know that anything you don't keep on your person will quite likely be thrown around, smashed, re-packed badly, lost or straight-up stolen.

Comment: Re:Nice marketing coup, too (Score 2) 254

by drewm1980 (#45359607) Attached to: A Playstation 4 Teardown

Well, I was only reading the english subtitles, not the japanese, but it seemed like a very matter-of-fact teardown by their cheif engineer, not a marketing shill. If anything, they're showing off how unexotic and unremarkable the hardware is. Compared to this the first generation PS3 was a beast, with a radically new CPU architecture that burned so much power they had to make the top of the case transparent to infrared.

Comment: Probability of a given app running? (Score 1) 419

by drewm1980 (#44077103) Attached to: Android Fragmentation Isn't Hurting Its Adoption

But what is the probability of a randomly selected app running on a randomly selected phone or device? I have an old ipod touch that sure is shiny, but the most advanced app I can find that will install on it is an egg timer. Is the fragmentation of android forcing devs to develop for the common denominator, improving compatibility for the users, or hurting it?

Comment: Re:The engineering problem with ALL of these kites (Score 1) 125

by drewm1980 (#43831191) Attached to: Google Acquires Kite-Power Generator

We're not exactly talking space elevators here. Makani's system will be feasible even with current materials (i.e. dyneema), although they will indeed probably be using carbon fiber tethers by the time they commercialize. They do conversion to HVDC onboard the kite, so the electrical conductors embedded in the tether can be very thin and still carry a lot of power.

Comment: Re:Good idea but you need to go higher! (Score 1) 125

by drewm1980 (#43831169) Attached to: Google Acquires Kite-Power Generator

Makan's system will not fly anywhere near jetstream altitude. They will be low enough that the current plan is to regulate them like a structure. To reinforce the "we are like a radio tower" argument, they will even blink at light on the plane at the top and bottom of their power generating loop, so they will even look like a radio tower at night. Another company has a concept for harnessing even higher altitude winds using a huge quadcopter, but they are nowhere near as close to commercialization as Makani.

Comment: Piracy Legal and Rampant in Belgium (Score 1) 162

by drewm1980 (#43607009) Attached to: Belgian Media Group Demanding Copyright Levy for Internet Access

As an American living in Belgium, I can provide some context. Here in Belgium, while it is illegal to distribute copyrighted material without consent of the author, it is ALREADY legal for people to ~download pirated content. IANAL, but my impression is that the laws just happened to be worded that way since before the internet boom. It is a similar to the situation in may states where some drugs are legal to possess and use, but not to sell. Because of this, and also because movies often take over a year to get subtitled and released legally here, piracy is rampant. EVERYONE here feels a bit guilty about pirating, but does it anyway.

I have no clue if this organization has any moral authority to seek royalties on behalf of artists, but I can assure you that the legal balance between the rights of artists and the rights of consumers is way out of wack here in Belgium. Part of this may have to do with the fact that Belgium recently set a record for years without a federal government.

Comment: A huge loss (Score 2) 198

by drewm1980 (#43363589) Attached to: Film Critic Roger Ebert Dead at 70 Of Cancer

It seems that http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/ is melting under the pressure of people trying to read one last Roger Ebert review. I spent over a decade at university in Urbana-Champaign, and the Roger Ebert film festival was a yearly pleasure. I have especially fond memories of Ebert interviewing Werner Herzog on stage after a showing of Invincible.

Comment: Re:Interesting. Not clear if it's good yet. (Score 1) 41

Amen, brother. But it's a shame that there are basically no mainstream languages that are memory and type safe, but are still suitable for hard real-time use. Ada comes closest. Garbage collection kills most really nice modern languages (like haskell and go) for some applications. C isn't going even have a chance of going away until there is a language that can cover (or at least provide a good low level foundation for) programming for all application domains.

+ - US to spend 500 Million dollars destroying our stock of U233-> 1

Submitted by drewm1980
drewm1980 (902779) writes "U233 is an isotope of Uranium that can be used for starting molten salt breeder reactors, among other things. The US Dept. of Energy is in the process of spending half a million dollars to destroy the US's stockpile of this resource, since it is not currently used by the united states. A whitehouse.gov petition to stop this destruction ends Feb. 12."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Get a new layout, but not dvorak (Score 1) 307

by drewm1980 (#42386385) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Typing Advice For a Guinness World Record Attempt?

+1 to this. Dvorak was laid out by a guy using only single character occurrence frequencies, and a hunch that alternating hands is a good idea. In modern times, we have computers to rapidly search through key layouts to maximize much better designed objective functions. If you're really serious about this you can probably design an objective function that optimizes your key layout for speed, and computationally determine a layout that is fastest on the data set they use for records testing.

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe

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