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Comment: Remember his personal video reviews? (Score 5, Interesting) 134

by kolbe (#47794175) Attached to: Anand Lal Shimpi Retires From AnandTech

Back in the 90's when places like,, and were "it", Anand Lai made a name for himself for his more than truthful video reviews. It was a new take on things with this guy Anand, sometimes sitting on a rock outside, chatting about computers.

I still trust much of the content on his site, but worry it'll go the way of sharkyextreme now. Perhaps legitreviews or some other can fill that void without Anand around.

Thank you for helping millions of us make good choices over the years Anand, I wish you the best!

+ - Reformatting a Machine 125 Million Miles Away->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "NASA's Opportunity rover has been rolling around the surface of Mars for over 10 years. It's still performing scientific observations, but the mission team has been dealing with a problem: the rover keeps rebooting. It's happened a dozen times this month, and the process it a bit more involved than rebooting a typical computer, taking a day or two to get back into operation every time. To try and fix this, the Opportunity team is planning a tricky operation: reformatting the flash memory from 125 million miles away. "Preparations include downloading to Earth all useful data remaining in the flash memory and switching the rover to an operating mode that does not use flash memory. Also, the team is restructuring the rover's communication sessions to use a slower data rate, which may add resilience in case of a reset during these preparations." The team suspects some of the flash memory cells are simply wearing out. The reformat is scheduled for some time in September."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Desalination is the only viable answer (Score 1) 259

In San Diego, California, USA where I live we have an initiative to build the worlds largest Desalination plant of its kind, yet are plagued by the state constantly forcing setbacks. Partially EPA related, partially playing card material for the Governor Jerry Brown.

China has a similar design going into effect right now and achieving an effective and profitable desalination design. Still, it comes down to two things:

1) Economy of scale in desalination (how much) There is currently a break point in efficiency/pollution whereby anything under 100 gallons/hr. can easily be cost efficient. Anything beyond that has to this point, cost more than importing it. San Diego's DeSal is attempting to create a new break point @ the high-end of production however (2 million gallons per hour) and it remains to be seen if it will work. Source

2) Supply & Demand When it rains, why spend money on desalination when you get it from the sky? As California's Jerry Brown once stated: "When it rains here in California, it might as well be raining money." Jerry Brown, 1982.

The biggest concerns from the EPA about Desalination technologies come down to what happens to the brine sludge byproducts and the cost to run. Well, San Diego's option is actually rather efficient and its cost only slightly higher than importing water. A cost we can live with, but the fight continues on another front! The sludge has become the new controversy that the EPA and PETA girls are all upset about.

Right now, most desal plants average about ~1 metric ton of sludge per ~12 million litres of fresh drinking water. So what happens to it?
- Australia, Africa, Saudi Arabia and the UK bury it.
- Ghana, Egypt, Nigeria and a few other African nations with Oil reserves are using it as part of their Oil extraction method
- USA, Japan and Greece currently use it for industrial use as soda ash and sodium bicarbinate
- Japan and Australia are currently looking to use it for cement compound, bricks and building materials

In summary, it certainly is NOT pumped back into the Ocean as much as it was even 5 years ago, but the EPA is still "concerned". We just cannot seem to win. Another technology being deployed RIGHT NOW will actually make use of it... ALL of it. WaterFX, a new company on the scene (relatively) has a solution to the amount of sludge that results in 93% of the water becoming palatable. With only 7% byproduct being "sludge salt", it is converted directly into Soda ash and Sodium Bicarbonate and used for: Fire extinguishers, Cooking, Neutralization of acids and bases, Medical uses, Personal hygiene, Cleaning agents, Biopesticides, Cattle feed supplements, Glass making, Pool chemicals, Water softeners, Laundry detergents and a ton of other uses.

None the less, we have to drudge through the political process to get anything done here in California, which unfortunately will take years.

Comment: Re:Most are ill-prepared (Score 1) 191

by kolbe (#47745067) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

VERY nice radio! I have a YAESU FT-60 144/430MHz w/ 2meter/440MHz magnetic dualband antenna that I take out with me for emergencies and chatting with nearby hammers, but something like a Uni Radio might actually be a good idea (plus it sounds like it could be tweaked for higher frequencies). Thanks for that!

My issue with getting ammo boxes is that they are heavy. Let's assume your situation where, heaven forbid my room comes down and smashes down on top of my closet. The likelihood of being able to even gain access to that area, let alone pull out metal boxes is pretty low imo. I lived through Northridge in 1994 and saw some pretty $%!$ed up homes, but 2 things always seemed to be accessible from my recollections: Garage contents and understair closets. Rubbermaids are not the best, I'll agree with that, but they are airtight and cost efficient.

As for the batteries, I'm just a cheapskate in that arena. I invested heavily into Energizer rechargeables and not all of them are LiOn, but the fact that I can put them into a Solar Charging station and let it sit all day until nightfall when I need them most is invaluable in the event of an emergency. As they charge less however, I replace them with LiOn's however.

Comment: Re:Most are ill-prepared (Score 1) 191

by kolbe (#47744319) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

Believe it or not, civilians can walk right into any Military Surplus store (most are actual Army or Navy surplus here in California) and buy them for ~$50-$80 a case of 12 or roughly ~$7 each.

I will concur though that a lot of those seen on the Internet (Amazon for example) are simply civilian knock-offs.

Comment: Re:Most are ill-prepared (Score 2) 191

by kolbe (#47744163) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

Anything beyond a week is excessive imo.

Suggesting dried fruit, pasta sauce and oatmeal is outright shortsighted. How often are you going to replace those to keep them fresh?
Dried Fruit is 6 months:
Pasta Sauce (depending on preservatives) is 1-2 years
Oatmeal is 2-3 years:

MRE's are 20-25 years! Seems like a better ROI to me...

If you include the pre-existing foods in freezers (which will stay for 48-hours), foods in the fridge (which will stay for 24-hours) and foods in the cupboard (which will stay for months) one can easily survive comfortably for two weeks or more.

Comment: Re:Most are ill-prepared (Score 1) 191

by kolbe (#47743537) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?


I refuse to use Alcohol based products... they are horrible at heating food and Alcohol in the USA is completely unregulated, which means it may have a toxicity level that one would rather not want to worry about.


And my flashlights are not... I actually have two others with the hand-crank on them, but their candlepower sucks!

While I have invested some time and money into a preparedness kit, I do not feel adding Li-On batteries for flashlights and radio are as beneficial as just having something with solar or generation capable abilities.

Comment: Most are ill-prepared (Score 4, Informative) 191

by kolbe (#47743325) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

I'll be honest, as a resident of a very earthquake prone area of California I have at times forgotten about being prepared. However, there is no excuse for it. For me, I have set aside a small area in a closet with a rubbermaid container with the following set up for my family of 4:

1 Case of 36 water bottles (changed out annually)
1 Box of water purification tablets
16 Freeze Dried "MRE" foods (20yr shelf life)
1 Coleman propane stove
2M HAM Radio + spare Li-Ion Battery & Solar Charger for talking with family
AM/FM 2xAA Battery radio + Solar AA Charger
2 Flashlights w/ AA Rechargeable Batteries

Comment: Re:Only 17 months to go... (Score 5, Insightful) 138

by kolbe (#47628143) Attached to: Microsoft To Drop Support For Older Versions of Internet Explorer

The problem I have is that IE11+ is such a PITA and it is difficult to get working with various Enterprise Java applications without disabling Protected Mode and completely unsecuring it or setting custom registry keys/policies. EMC Unisphere, various Cisco apps like UCSM and Fabric Manager... Even several recent Oracle tools just gag on IE11+ without spending hours configuring it to work every time you launch it.

Well, all the more reason to dump it altogether.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.