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Creator of Relay On BITNET, Predecessor of IRC, Dies ( 31

tmjva writes: Jeff Kell passed away on November 25 as reported here in the 3000newswire. He was inventor of BITNET Relay, a predecessor of Internet Relay Chat using the REXX programming language.

In 1987 he wrote the following preserved article about RELAY and here is his obituary.. May this early inventor rest in peace.

Submission + - Air Force hires civilian drone pilots for combat patrols - legality questioned (

schwit1 writes: For the first time, civilian pilots and crews now operate what the Air Force calls "combat air patrols," daily round-the-clock flights above areas of military operations to provide video and collect other sensitive intelligence.

Civilians are not allowed to pinpoint targets with lasers or fire missiles. They operate only Reapers that provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, known as ISR, said Air Force Gen. Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle, head of Air Combat Command.

Comment Re:Hydro = from the sun (Score 1) 178

Direct solar may sound nice and work fine in small scale, but collectors would have to cover great areas to be effective

The total world energy consumption is somewhere around 100PWh/year. That's around 274TWh/day. The sunlight hitting the Earth is around 1kW/m^2, so 8kWh/m^2 assuming 8 hours of sunlight. If you assume 100% efficiency in conversion (totally impossible, but we'll start there and refine later), then that means that you need about 3.45E10 m^2 of land devoted to solar power. That's a square about 185km on each side. If you assume 10% efficiency (mass produced photovoltaics are 12-25% these days), then you need an area about 342000km^2, or about the area of Germany, to power the entire world. Now, given the efficiency of power distribution, you probably wouldn't want to put it all in one place, but you could easily fit solar panels enough that, even with transmission losses, you could power all of North America in Utah or Texas without anyone noticing. The difficulty is not the generation, it's the storage.

Comment Re:Let them lease, but not screw with sales (Score 2) 243

I've torn down my S4 completely to replace a shattered screen. For an early large-screen smartphone it is remarkably slim. The new glued-together-to-render-unrepairable model hasn't really saved any space; it is only contributing to the e-waste problem. I hate that we have become such an irresponsible society where everything is becoming disposable.

Comment Just another example of useless insurance (Score 1) 100

How much do you think Cox has been paying their insurer? How long has Cox been paying their insurer?

Now when they need it, the insurer gives them the big middle finger.

Just goes to show what a scam insurance is. You pay, and pay, and pay, and pay, all for nothing.

Cox would have been better off keeping the money they paid for insurance. At lest then they would have gotten some use from it.

Comment Re:Fair warning (Score 4, Funny) 491

Hey look buddy, I'm an Engineer. That means I solve problems.
Not problems like 'what is beauty?' Because that would fall
within the purview of your conundrums of philosophy. I solve
practical problems. For instance, how am I gonna stop some
big mean motherhubbard from tearin' me a structurally
superfluous new behind? The answer? Use a gun. And if that
don' work, use MORE gun. Like this heavy caliber tripod-
mounted little ol' number designed by me... Built by me...
And you best hope...not pointed at YOU.

Comment Re:Let them lease, but not screw with sales (Score 5, Insightful) 243

> The most the manufacturers should be able to do is cancel the warranty on modification.

Wrong. Only failures as a direct result of any modification should be denied. See: Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Installation of a third-party part should not void the warranty. If Apple could get their way they would probably void the warranty if you use third-party headphones/earbuds with the iPhone.

Some PC manufacturers tried to pull this crap when users added RAM or peripheral cards with a sticker on the chassis sealing it shut, reading "warranty void if removed." Um yeah... people always chose PCs with 8 slots to not expand them.

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982