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Comment Re:Vocabulary Tar-pit (Score 1) 395

You didn't quite go far enough. "Taking your TV while you are on vacation" now seems to be referred to as a "home invasion robbery" as often as not. Before that it was "taking your TV while you slept". Which was diluted from the original "they broke in, threatened you with guns, duct-taped you to a chair, and stole the TV while you watched".

Just like having your credit card number copied by a waitress who uses it to purchase stuff on ebay is now called "identity theft".

Comment best gift this year (Score 2) 197

Tomorrow (valentine's day) I should be able to bring the wife home from the hospital after her back re-fusion* surgery on Tuesday. That's not too bad of a gift for a silly, consumer holiday. It's a pretty good gift for our almost-twelve-year-old kid too. Even better is that workers comp gets the bill.

"re-fusion" because her previous L5-S1 fusion failed after 7 years and broke. Fun stuff!

Submission + - If we Buck Feta and leave, where should we go? 17

Covalent writes: I am a long-time slashdot reader (don't let the UID fool you), and I agree with most of you that the Beta is a disaster. Dice has promised a fix, but what if this garbage is the new reality? Is there a suitable alternative to slashdot that members would find equally (or more) fulfilling? Is someone going to fork slashdot and start it anew (Taco can you hear me?) Or is this just the end of an era?

Comment Both 4 and 5 (Score 1) 318

I have multiple commercial (as in toy) robots, as well as multiple robots I built myself (a couple from kits). Add my son's commercial toy robots, and his own homemade robots, and we have around 20 robots in our house at any given time.

Most of the homemade ones are simply variations of the differential-drive, IR or ultrasonic object detector, arduino-driven basic robot. My current project is a tank tread chassis with a BeagleBone Black and a camera. No more relying on IR and ultrasound to avoid obstacles, I can now put a full computer vision system in a mobile toy-like robot for about fifty bucks.

To me the difference between a robot and, for example, the dishwasher is that the robot can actively do something to attempt to change its environment. Most of the time it's really basic, like "move to a brighter area" (because it was programmed to "like" brightness) or "locate and move to a less cluttered environment". Other times, like with the Roomba or my old Rovio, it is able to seek out its charging station and "feed".

As far as the "three laws" thing goes, forget Asimov's laws. That doesn't turn out so well. Check out Tilden's three laws: 1) Protect thine ass. 2) Feed thine ass. 3) Move thine ass to better real estate. The aforementioned beagleboneblack project will be my first that adheres to all three of Tilden's laws.

Comment Define "quality" (Score 1) 182

If "quality" means "good enough for facebook" or "your mom will love it" then yeah, $200 is a fair number.

I, like many I'm sure, have taken a few amazing photos with crap gear (like a plastic 35mm thrift store find). I've also had my share of lousy photos with expensive gear (like a month's salary DSLR). But I've never had a better-than-mediocre photo come out of mediocre gear.

Comment No (Score 1) 333

At least, I hope not. Tablets and e-readers provide two wildly different reading experiences. I can't stand reading for very long on a tablet, but I'll read for hours on my e-ink device. The wife feels the same, she also has both (a kindle and a fire, she's an amazon fangirl) and uses them for very separate purposes.

If they'd come out with a less artifact-ey e-ink screen with even 8 bit color I wouldn't even want a tablet. I could totally live without video on a handheld device, but color magazines/comics would be nice.

Comment What will they do? (Score 1) 354

The only thing to do is change their prices. TFA even says "If Amazon and Barnes & Noble are smart, they will cut their respective tablets by $50, pricing the Kindle Fire at $149 and the Nook Tablet at $199."

Did anyone else notice that BN has, wait for it, dropped the price of the Nook Color and the tablets? I (and probably countless others) got a bulk mail last night. Nook tablets now start at $179 and the 16GB is $199. Hell, the BN website still says "get 16GB for only $50 more" and "get 8GB and save $50", even though it's now only a $20 difference.

Amazon will almost certainly do something similar shortly.

Comment Significantly more than years past. (Score 1) 252

About 15 pages and three photos last month for my son's school science fair project. I had to buy a printer to do it. Don't think I owned a working printer for the 5 years before that. Of course nobody has printed anything since. Guess this one will end up in the pilfer-for-robot-parts collection too.

Stupid 3rd grade not letting him turn in reports on a usb stick...

Going the speed of light is bad for your age.