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Comment: Re:Good use for a 5-6 yr old x86 box (Score 1) 697

by n17ikh (#35905986) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Streaming-Only For Home Entertainment?

I did this same thing. Repurposed an old crappy P4 box and bought a PCI 8400GS for less than $40 because I wanted it to work in Linux. It works beautifully and is near-silent, booting off a cheap SSD with all the fans removed except one quiet 200mm I cut a hole for in the side of the case.

Comment: Re:Help me out here (Score 1) 507

by n17ikh (#34484324) Attached to: Annual power consumption at your residence?

Mine is $.115/kWh, plus a little under $15/mo for various other charges. I'm in South Carolina though, where our electricity is either nuclear or hydro, and as such is bound to be cheap either way. It used to be cheaper - I remember not so many years ago seeing a bill where it was $.07/kWh, perhaps in the timeframe of the Clinton administration. My bill is an average of $118/month, but I use a lot of power, mostly for air conditioning.

Comment: Too much, really. (Score 1) 507

by n17ikh (#34483422) Attached to: Annual power consumption at your residence?

I looked at the bills for the past 5 months I've been living in this poorly-insulated, ~1000 square foot 2-story townhouse, in the deep south, where air conditioning is essential. Four of those 5 months have been very hot, it's only recently got cold this last month (I used 680 kWh in November, peak was in September at 1380 kWh. I used an average of 1026 kWh/month, for a (projected) yearly total of about 12300 kWh/year. This is a monthly cost of $118, yearly $1416 at my rate of $0.115/kWh, not including base fees of about $15. The majority of this use is air conditioning, even set at high temperatures it runs almost constantly in the hot months, made more so by my computers, which make up the other bulk of the cost (about 400W constantly for the computers.) Also to be considered is hot water, which is probably a tenth, and refrigeration.
Executive summary: I could and should probably cut back some on my usage, but at the current rates, it's not really pressing enough for me to care, and the apartment is rented, so it's not like I can do anything about the inefficient air conditioning, poor insulation, or lack of afternoon shade in the summer.

Comment: Re:Yes, yes I do. (Score 1) 520

by n17ikh (#34315096) Attached to: Do You Really Need a Discrete Sound Card?

The COD4 thing isn't really a driver problem, it's a problem with COD4's shitty coding. It expects a microphone to be connected, and some sound card drivers provide a "stereo mix" input which is always active that it attaches to. Others do not and so you need a microphone plugged in to make the game not crash on startup. Thanks, Activision!

Comment: Re:Mindstorm is cool and all (Score 2, Interesting) 63

by n17ikh (#32026100) Attached to: Lego Robot Solves Bigger and Harder Rubik's Cubes

The same guy has built a cube solver powered by an NXT and a nokia phone doing the processing, and could easily do the same with just an NXT (two, maybe?) since there is plenty of processing power there and it can even do the image recognition. People have already done this, in fact.

Comment: Re:Verizon = US, right? (Score 1) 555

by n17ikh (#30040998) Attached to: Verizon Droid Tethering Comes At a Hefty Price

The problem isn't triband UMTS radios - if they did do exist, it doesn't matter, because NONE of the four major US mobile providers have 3G roaming agreements - not Verizon and Sprint with EVDO, and not ATT and TMo with UMTS. And, as you say, the Balkanization of frequencies doesn't help a bit.

Sprint and Verizon DO use the same EVDO bands, but of course there's no roaming agreement, so you're stuck with 1xRTT if you're roaming. A truly sad state of affairs.

Comment: Re:Er... OK? (Score 2, Informative) 435

by n17ikh (#29806423) Attached to: Xbox 360 Update Will Lock Out Unauthorized Storage

How does this do anything at all to prevent a determined cheater? If you have the genuine Microsoft-branded XBox 360 hard drive, you can open it up and it's just a plain old SATA drive inside - which you can then proceed to plug into any computer. Or if you have the Official Microsoft memory stick, there exists a way to add a USB connector - at which point it's just mass storage.

It's a money grab, plain and simple. $99 for a 60GB 2.5" hard drive with some plastic around it? Piss off, Microsoft - in the computer world, $99 will get you 500 GB in a 2.5" drive without trying. The prices on their brand of flash memory are even more atrocious. $30 for 512 megs? Again, in the computer world that's 16GB in a USB key, which is what the XBox memory stick is, with added plastic.

Comment: Re:Make a brittle flywheel (Score 2, Interesting) 419

by n17ikh (#29806037) Attached to: Ultracapacitor Bus Recharges At Each Stop

This is how modern flywheel energy storage works. The rotor is typically made out of carbon fiber or a composite thread wound around a shaft - if the rotor's integrity is lost, it turns into red-hot slag instead of leveling half a city block. Even so, most large flywheels are in a bunker underground encased in several feet of concrete. For it to be safe in a vehicle the containment vessel has to be very strong and also lightweight - which means it'll be expensive, unfortunately.

Comment: Re:That might not be safe enough (Score 1) 329

by n17ikh (#29240197) Attached to: FBI Investigating Mystery Laptops Sent to US Governors

Just so you know, the MBR is only 512 bytes. If you write more than that (in your case, 1024 bytes), some of the first partition on the drive will get written to. If your goal is to wipe the drive, write the whole drive with zeroes, as erasing the partition table (and even the first 512 bytes of the first partition) doesn't get rid of anything. The reason I say this is because if you ever want to back a partition table up, copying the first 1024 bytes and then writing it again to a different drive or after making changes to the first partition stands a chance of breaking the first partition on the drive - which you may not want.
As for the GP's S3 drives, the (mostly windows-only) tools available do nothing to the part of the drive that presents itself as a mass-storage USB device. They twiddle some of the firmware bits in the drive (usually through a custom ATA command). The drive then no longer emulates a CD-ROM drive's USB device ID. This, by the way, is lower-level than what anything you can do to the mass-storage part of the drive with dd can affect. The ATA commands only do it through what is presumably an ugly hack on the part of the drive manufacturers.

An Ada exception is when a routine gets in trouble and says 'Beam me up, Scotty'.

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