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Comment: Re:ThinkPads (Score 1) 708

by phooky (#37827808) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: GNU/Linux Laptops?

I don't have much experience with the post-IBM models, though, so I can't claim things haven't changed.

Things have changed.

I got a shiny new high-end W520 recently. It's a letdown. The build quality is terrible-- the all-plastic frame creaks if it gets slightly torqued. The speakers are inaudible. The wifi is unstable under any OS. I've had it for three months and the silkscreen is already wearing off the keys.

Screen's nice, though.

Comment: Re:So people skills win again... (Score 1) 298

by phooky (#35474190) Attached to: Tech Expertise Not Important In Google Managers

What do you mean by "win"?

Managing programmers is a difficult job. There's not a lot of glory in it, it's not well understood, and it can often be very stressful. It's not anyone's dream job.

If you're worried about compensation, you'll be happy to know that managers in tech companies often make about the same or less than the engineers the manage.

Comment: Re:I would think... (Score 5, Informative) 117

by phooky (#34963060) Attached to: Makerbot Thing-o-Matic 3D Printer Review

We initially inverted the head/model relationship because (at least when we were getting started) the extruder was a heavy, delicate bit of equipment, and the models being printed were very small and light. Moving the model means moving less mass. If you're printing in ABS, the material is viscous and sticky enough right out of the nozzle that it isn't perturbed by the platform motion. The disadvantage of this scheme is that it reduces your build area significantly, you need good model/platform adhesion, and tall models have a bit of an inverted pendulum effect. However, you don't have to worry about the head getting jammed or shaking apart as it slams back and forth at high speed.

Hardware Hacking

Makerbot Thing-o-Matic 3D Printer Review 117

Posted by timothy
from the not-for-the-faint-of-heart dept.
rsk points out this "review of the $1200 Makerbot Thing-o-Matic 3D printer. After a 16-hour self-assembly and a few weeks of use, a blown PSU was replaced with a higher powered PSU via a mod to the Thing-o-Matic. Video of the Thing-o-Matic printing out little solar panel mounts from Google Sketch-up included in the review. Final thoughts suggest that the Thing-o-Matic is not a great gift for non-engineers: 'You need a decent understanding of robotics, hardware, software, electronics and mechanics, need a little hand dexterity and a ton of patience.'"

Comment: Re:Corporate culture (Score 1) 883

by phooky (#27258447) Attached to: Shell Ditches Wind, Solar, and Hydro

There is such a car. It's totally electric, has heat and AC, and I ride it to work every day. It's called, fancifully enough, a "subway car". The best part is, I don't even need to drive it! I get chauffeured!

(I'm being a bit snarky here, but "moving away from cars" does not have to mean "moving into a different car". Public transit scales very well, even in places without insane population densities.)

Comment: Re:no soup! (Score 1) 658

by phooky (#26779925) Attached to: $2 Billion For Broadband Cut From Stimulus Bill

Repetition does not make this true. Tax cuts primarily aid those who are making a significant amount of money-- precisely the people who are most likely to drive the extra money directly into savings. Tax cuts do nothing to aid the unemployed or underemployed. They also do not impose any structure on the shape of the recovery. Even if you're lucky, you end up with the exact same mess you started with.

It makes far more sense to focus on spending on infrastructure and education than to cut taxes. I'm not interested in repeating the hollow boom six months from now. I'm interested in having a stable economy, and country, five years from now.


+ - Open-source early literacy materials pick up steam

Submitted by phooky
phooky writes: Although open teaching materials have been available at the university level for a while now, there have been very few materials for younger learners. That's beginning to change now with the advent of Free-Reading, a free, wiki-based resource for early literacy instruction. The availability of free materials could free up millions of dollars from school budgets for more teachers and training.

You don't have to know how the computer works, just how to work the computer.