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Comment Zork? (Score 1) 161

I read through all these comments naysaying technology. This is /. after all so _something_ should be possible so it occurred to me you could do something like the following: First setup a collection of Bluetooth beacons, one in the center of each room. Next make a room map of these with appropriate connections in the style of say, the Zork game. The lounge connects to hallway connects to dining room. Next hack together a small computer which talks. The _only_ thing that has any hope of helping is a voice guided system which requires zero user input. At dinner time the system would determine a route, beacon by beacon, to get to the dining room, etc, and would keep hassling the user until in they arrive. Its hard to say how well it would work and like everyone else said you probably need that 24/7 support but the development would be a heap of fun! I intentionally did not Google around too much; perhaps something(s) already exist which implement pieces of this.

Comment More details please (Score 1) 365

The answer, as you might imagine, is complicated and depends on how these gates are implemented. Think for instance you could design a chip to do this, you could write RTL to do this in an FPGA, or you could even write the algorithm into more software on an embedded processor of some kind. Is this electronics manufacturer one that makes chips or one that makes systems (boards, cases, etc). If it is the former they should have people who can work with your people to figure this out. If it is the latter then why do they care? Are they really asking you to provide a chip which implements your algorithm? Ask some more questions...

Submission + - NIST puts nail in the Mercury thermometer (

coondoggie writes: The venerable Mercury thermometer has been on its way out for a number of years and the National Institute of Standards and Technology next month may give it a final push.

On March 1, NIST said it will no longer provide calibration services for mercury thermometers. The cessation of the mercury thermometer calibration program marks the end of an era at NIST, which has provided the service since the doors opened in 1901. In fact NIST itself at one point had a stockpile of more than 8,000 industrial-use mercury thermometers hidden away in drawers.


Low Quality Alloy Cause of Shuttle Main Tank Issue 118

BJ_Covert_Action writes "NASA engineers have finally discovered the root cause of the cracks that have been found on space shuttle Discovery's main external tank. The main tank, one of the 'Super Lightweight Tank' models developed by Lockheed-Martin, employs an aluminum-lithium alloy developed by Lockheed-Martin specifically for this application. The new alloy is used in various structural stringers throughout the SLWT design. Unfortunately, the batch of this alloy used in the tank that is currently mated with the Discovery shuttle appears to be of low quality. The alloy used in the stringers has a 'mottled' appearance, compared to the nominal appearance typically used in the main tank stringers (see picture in article). This appearance is indicative of a fracture threshold that is significantly lower than typical. NASA has determined, through testing, that this low grade alloy has only 65% of the fracture strength of the nominal alloy typically used. NASA engineers have devised a potential fix to the problem that they are currently testing to ensure the repair will cause no unintended consequences. NASA plans to have the Discovery shuttle ready to launch again by February 24th, 2011."

4chan Declares War On Snow 201

With all the recent hacktivism in the news, Anonymous has decided to take on a new and powerful enemy: snow. On Sunday the group announced that it will "do everything in its power to shut snow down by attacking the Weather Channel and North Face websites, boycotting outerwear, and voting for the sun as Time’s 2010 Person Of The Year." I'm sure there are a lot of people in Minneapolis right now that would wish them luck.

Comment Aviation ANR headsets? (Score 1) 110

How serious about this are you? My jawbone headset works pretty well in noisy environments on one ear but you just can't beat an aviation bluetooth headset for active noise cancellation and two ear sound. See the ones from Lightspeed. I have not tried them but have used other ANR aviation headsets in small airplanes which are so noisy you can't hear yourself shout and they are amazing. I looked around at their website and the Zulu seems to be the bomb for the low low low price of $850. See it at They have others. Who knows the others might be cheaper. There are also other brands of aviation ANR headsets which support bluetooth. It seems the latest generation of bluetooth chips are quite a bit better for this kind of thing than even a year or so ago. I ride a motorcycle and just tried the Sena SMH10 which integrates into a helmet and it's also impressive how clear and noise free it is + the interface design is very natural and the controls just work.

All power corrupts, but we need electricity.