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Comment Re:Muck Fozilla (Score 1) 311

Right now, I have 40 open tabs in this Firefox session, opened from different points in time and which I've never closed b'cos they contain interesting tidbits which would be tricky to search for again.

If I knew that there was something that would help me w/ this, I'd use it.

Ever heard of bookmarks?

Yeah, that place where web pages go to die, never to be seen again until their URLs become invalid? I've long stopped maintaining those graveyards, since my searchable browser history tends to do a great job remembering which sites I I actively leave open for long periods of time.

Comment Re:This is the only answer that matters (Score 1) 370

yeah, that's what I thought too, but the wife and kids actually love it. Now instead of taking his computer time away from him when he doesn't finish his shit, he's always running around trying to find more things to do to earn more minutes... an extra piano practice here, a round of dishes there... Everyone's much happier compared to the oppressive old days.

Comment Re:This is the only answer that matters (Score 2) 370

Well, here's my obligatory plug for the 2-headed dual-GPU nVidia box I built for my kids' Minecraft PC a few years ago:

Bought all the parts used from Craigslist ($400 for the system, $150 for each video card, and $5 each for a 21" CRT), and it's still better than my gaming PC. There's enough Minecraft mods on it to keep them busy, but they also each have their Steam account on it that they can use for Altitude, Alien Swarm, Portal 2, DOTA, etc. And sometimes World of Tanks, but it's annoying that the updater doesn't seem to work and we usually have to do a full reinstall using PlaysOnLinux each time there's an update.

In my dreamland, they'll eventually get around to using it for productivity apps, but someday....

The best part is I have their accounts controlled by kidtimer ( to control their access time, and made a Rundeck webui to let my wife grant them login time after they've done all the other stuff they're supposed to do.

Comment Re:In other words... (Score 1) 387

Yep, I appreciate all of that. One of my favorite challenges from GT4 was actually the NASCAR-like thing, where you're put at the back of a pack of 6 identical cars, and you essentially have to draft the cars ahead of you in order to gain any speed advantage that you can use to gradually overtake them one-by-one. And of course, the one time I got past the first car too early, and then he proceeded to draft and overtake me again right before we crossed the finish line. :-P

But that's exactly what Nye is arguing for... NASCAR can preserve all of that and still add some relevant competitive advantage to the element of driver hypermiling skill simply by tweaking the rules a bit, as practically every other racing category has already done.

Comment Re:In other words... (Score 5, Informative) 387

Or just abandon the thread here and go read the Arstechnica bit on this from last year:

Excerpts from the NASCAR section at the very end:

This section, like the [indycar section] that precedes it, is going to be short. That's because NASCAR, while immensely popular in the US, is about the least technology-driven form of motorsport around.

It might be easier to talk about the technology that NASCAR doesn't allow; the series is stubbornly resistant to the onward march of technology, only switching to unleaded gas in 2007 (12 years after leaded gas was banned in the US) and finally moving to electronic fuel injection in 2012, decades after carburetors vanished from our showrooms. There are no driver aids like traction control or semi-automatic paddle-shift gearboxes, and even car-to-pit telemetry is highly restricted.

And yet, you shouldn't get the impression that there aren't a lot of clever people doing a lot of clever things with those machines. To start, they've been designed to protect their drivers from the kinds of crashes that happen when dozens of cars race in packs two-, three-, or even four-wide at up to 200 mph. (That is no small feat.) It's also a highly aerodynamics-dependent racing series, which means plenty of computational fluid dynamics and wind tunnel research.

Submission + - The Next Gold Rush Will Be 5,000 Feet Under the Sea, With Robot Drones

merbs writes: In Papua New Guinea, one well-financed, first-mover company is about to pioneer deep sea mining. And that will mean dispatching a fleet of giant remote-operated robotic miners 5,000 feet below the surface to harvest the riches scattered across ocean floor. These mammoth underwater vehicles look like they’ve been hauled off the set of a sci-fi film—think Avatar meets The Abyss. And they'll be dredging up copper, gold, and other valuable minerals, far beneath the gaze of human eyes.

Comment Re:Speechless (Score 5, Interesting) 291

Eh, as a male dev who ran 3000 miles away from the defense-industrial complex surrounding the Washington DC partly because of the terminology (though the actual "warfighters" I worked with were the most remarkable people with awesome life stories), I have to admit that just about all of our security officers I've reported to over the decades were women. To the point where I believed the ISSO was the new pigeonhole to stash any and (and almost every) female employee.

My soviet-raised wife always laughs at all these equality efforts and doublespeak here. Both her grandparents were naval engineers (they met in University where degree programs were assigned to students by lottery to fill military quotas for WWII). Her great-grandmother had a doctorate back when women in the West were still being eclipsed and ignored by their male counterparts. Maybe someday the pendulum in the US will swing far enough that we'll be where the Russians were in the 80s with regards to gender balance in the workplace.

Comment Re:First robot (Score 1) 239

Well, it's like that old adage "Early bird gets the worm, but second mouse gets the cheese"

The last (and presumably most advanced) robot to arrive is going to claim the processed haul plus whatever scrap metal it scavenges from the earlier robots.

No corporation or country is going to go to war over a robot "accidentally" mining away another robot.

I see an emerging market for "space squatters"... humans (in varying degrees of suspended animation or liveliness) being sent out to plant flags and hold on to stakes. The rationale being that a robot attacking a human is a criminal / act of war and could more successfully be litigated as such back on Earths and stuffs.

Submission + - Edward Snowden for president (

Seriously_T writes: So far 53,112 people have signed a petition asking for clemency for Edward Snowden.
So, what would it look like, if the community of people that believes Edward Snowden is more hero than traitor banded together and somehow got enough people to care about their privacy to get Edward Snowden elected as the 45th president of the united states. what barriers would exist? I mean of course he would almost certainly be impeached within minutes (if not arrested upon entering the country to accept). more importantly though would it send a clear and unambiguous message to the powers that be, that Americans do care about privacy and that we need laws to protect us not from Muslim invaders but the over reach of our own government.

Comment Video Wall Controller (Score 2) 197

Yeah, back in my defense-contractor days we built several video walls for connected C&C rooms.

The high-end systems could put multi-display graphics at 1080p60 from any console to the theater and were based around the 64x64 Thinklogical DCS KVM over fiber modems and fed into a VistaSystems Spyder 12x8 video wall controller (of course they have larger units to drive your 3x3 wall, and you'd also be able to have a "preview" scaled down display of the entire wall which is also good for recording or broadcast). This pretty much lets you juggle sources around your video wall like in Minority Report. Good for theater events and presentations, maybe overkill for a 24x7 control room. The advantage was that you could plug literally anything anywhere and compose it on to the video wall somewhere.

Lower-cost systems were built around RGB Spectrum Quadview - type video wall controllers. These weren't as smooth and glitzy, but could get the bits displayed. The main benefit over software systems is you could zoom in and fill the entire wall with one important display, and you wouldn't have silly screen synchronization issues, which are quite noticeable and distracting (particularly when you put on a movie or sports event)

The point is to use the video wall as a cohesive display and not a matrix of disconnected monitors. It sounds like you're trying to build the latter, though. Personally I haven't found any of those types of displays to be very useful to the actual operators in the NOC, they have their own workstations showing everything they need, so I would say the main purpose of such a wall should be the ability to grab a few displays of any of the NOC operators and post them on the wall to allow them to communicate what they see to observers. But since the NOC operators are busy fighting fires, you'd want a separate AV controller station who can pick out the displays that are useful and freeze and post them to the video wall, be able to screenshot and rewind the video feeds to show notable events, reconstruct a timeline of events, etc.

It's possible to cobble something like this on the cheap using VNC (as long as audio and full motion 3D / video are critical) using vncproxy, vncrecorder, xosd (labeling sources is pretty important), and a few other things. This sounds the most like what you're trying to do, but seems like kind of a waste for the central 3x3 matrix wall. Be sure to use one of the "tight encoding" variants of VNC, such as tightvnc, tigervnc, or ultravnc on Win32, since the screenscraping performance really improves latency and frame rate (not enough for FMV, but close). With your thin client solution, you might be able to hack something together using VLC to each display a different part of a movie, but synchronization will be a big issue.

In short, you probably want a video wall solution + matrix switcher to get the full frame rate and all the bits from any source, and plug any half-assed software compositing solution into that. That's the better approach If you want to get any bit of your money's worth out of the big expensive LCD wall.

Comment Yes (Score 1) 568

If they're already trained engineers developing code for engineering projects.

Yes, there's some sort of corporate exemption loophole where a company's "engineering laborers" don't have to be licensed, since the company accepts the responsibility for being sued for defects. On public projects there's still a licensed engineer who reviews and signs off on the final plans.

Next question.

Submission + - Where are the scholarships for young women studying STEM?

An anonymous reader writes: Long time slashdot reader with a question. My Daughter is college age and enrolled in Computer Science 4yr degree in the US. I am surprised her and the school are unable to find scholarships considering all the chatter I see encouraging this path. Maybe readers have been through this recently and have some advise to share.

You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements. -- Norman Douglas