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Comment: Re:Not new (Score 2) 157

by tkohler (#39879657) Attached to: 1Gbps Wireless Network Made With Red and Green Laser Pointers
30 Mbps in ~1970

from the very entertaining: Birth of the Laser Printer

"The problem is, the bits are all coming out a kilometer away, and the printer’s down here at the other end, so how do we get the data to this thing?

So, we sat down one time and said, "So why don’t we make an optical link?" Because we looked at doing microwave, but those were only three megahertz, and you’ve got to get enough FCC permission to do that, even then. So the interesting thing is there are no communications regulations on through-the-air optical communications. As long as the beam power doesn’t destroy things. [Laughter] We built something called a SLOT POLOS , which is the PARC On-Line Office System, Jeanie certainly would probably remember that, so SLOT POLOS On-Line Optical Link. And how do you do this?

Well, I went to my friends Edmund again -- I’ll get free catalogs for the rest of my life [laughter] -- and basically bought four astronomical telescopes. These are just simple Newtonian reflectors. And put two in a box at the 3180 building, on the roof, and two on the roof of Building 34. I put a photomultiplier at the focus of one, and a laser at the focus of the other, and we had a full-duplex optical link running at 30 megabits a second. We used helium-neon for two reasons. First of all, relatively inexpensive -- accousto-optic modulators to turn it on and off. And by using visible light, there was only one risk: fog was a bad thing, because you couldn’t see through fog. On the other hand, if you used infrared, you couldn’t go through rain but you could go through fog. So, made a back-of-the-envelope judgment that rain was probably going to be more prevalent than fog, and went with the visible. It was a good choice, because I think we were only down one day due to fog, in the one year that this system was up."

Comment: Re:Oh, really (Score 1) 135

by tkohler (#33288456) Attached to: "Choose Your Own Adventure" On Your iPhone
It would be more interesting if the (i)Phone gave you options in real life. E.g., "You had a fight with your girlfriend. Do you 1.)Post a rant on Facebook (click here) or 2.) Order her flowers (click here). Each click would perform the request (post a rant or buy flowers) and lead you to the next step in your adventure. Your entire life could be driven by phone-led decisions about what to do (and buy)! Do you: 1.) Mod up (click here) 2.) Wish you had a girlfriend instead (click here)

Comment: Re:...and outright fraud (Score 3, Interesting) 135

by tkohler (#32851510) Attached to: Hotels Lead the Industry In Credit Card Theft
One time I was staying at a not-so-cheap hotel in upstate UK. The hotel offered a choice of breakfasts: Continental or Full, with about a US$10 price difference. Each day I chose a breakfast, changing based on mood and hunger, about splitting the choices evenly through my 5 day stay. (I was attending a conference at the same hotel) The waiter took my selection and room number each day. Upon checkout, I found they had charged me (and everyone else) for the Full breakfast everyday. I asked them why and they said they assumed that everyone would chose the "much better breakfast" and made that section for them "as a convenience". I then asked why the waiter bothered to ask the choice if they were going to only charge one price. The desk clerk had corrected the charge and finished my bill and now was just concerned with getting rid of me so he finally said, "Sometimes, sir, hotels just try to rip you off". I had no response.

Comment: Re:It's not just a bad patent system (Score 2, Informative) 265

by tkohler (#32597072) Attached to: USPTO Lets Amazon Patent the "Social Networking System"
It appears that you have failed law school or at least the part of the patent bar that recognizes that the first effective filing date of this patent is 2 Nov 1997. "RELATED APPLICATIONS This application is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/022,089, filed Dec. 22, 2004, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,386,464 which is a division of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/780,486, filed Feb. 17, 2004, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,194,419 which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/348,355, filed Jul. 7, 1999 (now U.S. Pat. No. 6,714,916), which is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 08/962,997, filed Nov. 2, 1997 (now U.S. Pat. No. 6,269,369). "

Comment: Re:What are you doing here? (Score 4, Insightful) 153

by tkohler (#31012776) Attached to: Univ. Help Desk Staffer Extorts Over Copyright Violations
TFA says the position was to monitor "University Computers". The university DOES have a right and obligation to keep their own computers (I assume this means office workers, staff, labs and etc.) free of "illegal" downloads, especially since the RIAA would likely see the university as a deep pocket, not to mention viruses, malware and other costly IT problems. I agree with your point for student-owned computers, even using the university network.

Comment: Re:Telescope ++ (Score 2, Informative) 368

by tkohler (#30407286) Attached to: Science Gifts For Kids?
Galileoscopes are $15 and have the added benefit that they are kits. Buy a couple. They are better and cheaper than toy-store variety. The best scope is one that gets used. (https://www.galileoscope.org/) I did a lot of research and a great, low cost, entry level microscope is something called a "My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope". It sounds fishy but is sturdy, well made and not horrible optically - it runs about $60. Give "The World of the Microscope" book to go along with it. The Eyeclops(http://www.eyeclops.com/) is good for some things too if you have a TV to plug it in to. We buy a lot of equipment from Homesciencetools.com (http://www.hometrainingtools.com/) and American Science Surplus(http://www.sciplus.com/). Then best chemistry sets are the Thames and Kosmos sets. They are the least watered-down sets available now.

Comment: Re:And this works with .. (Score 1) 273

by tkohler (#28858145) Attached to: The Rise of the Digital Nomad
Well, this can certainly go too far in the other direction. As in the company makes you a PERMENANT "Work from home" employee. Not as in fired, but as in "no cubicle"-be a remote worker. I have colleagues who are full-time "remote workers" and they are often starved for human connection and are certainly out of the loop as far as office gossip, mood, and even work-related hallway conversations. That said, working at home is my most productive time.

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