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Comment It is code; the clue is in the name. (Score 2) 133

I program by writing in text files too, but that's just important for interoperability with other tools, it's not the definition of coding. Everyone knows that our CPUs don't execute ASCII, right? If it's Turing-complete, then it can be interpreted or compiled (i.e. "decoded") to do anything you want to execute.

Comment R E C I P R O C I T Y ??? (Score 1) 136

The norm in diplomatic relations is a tit-for-tat reciprocity: When one nation allows another the do something, almost always the first nation allows the second to do the same back.

So my question is whether US negotiators have secured the right for US police to serve warrants on UK ISPs? If not, why not? Why give it away? Just because the EU might have a cow?

Comment Re:Experimental audio support (Score 4, Funny) 312

Does that include Sound Blaster for IBM's MicroChannel Architecture?

No, currently it only supports setting the bit that puts a positive pulse on the PC speaker. Work is in progress on support for resetting that bit, so in the meantime it's a maximum of one click sound per session.

The cool part, though, is that with the microkernel architecture, this is all managed via userspace code!

Comment Re:It was the first standard for video? (Score 1) 406

It sure as hell is obscure. I would bet good money that 99% of US households do not have a stupid ribbon cable MB header to D-shell adapter on hand. For the vast majority of the population, if they want to plug an old-school serial peripheral into a modern computer, they're going to wait a few days for mail-order shipment before they get to use their device. (Or else get a USB-to-serial converter, which is much more mainstream and might be available locally.) Either way, the serial port is still dead.

And for your information, if you don't have a DVI-to-VGA physical adapter, you simply aren't going to be plugging your VGA monitor into a DVI-only video card. To actually use a port, you need BOTH electrical and physical compatibility. This isn't rocket science.

Comment Re:It was the first standard for video? (Score 2) 406

serial ports were around back when the power cable was still attached

hell serial ports predate computers

9-pin serial ports were a nonstandard "optimization" introduced with the PC/AT, which was in the early 1980s. These ports have arguably have been more dead than the VGA connector for some time. A couple of motherboards I bought this year still happen to have VGA connectors, but no external 9-pin serial port.

Comment Re:Remember the NASA Wind Turbines? (Score 1) 178

Current blades are trucked in one piece (per blade) which is impressive to see. Three of them were parked on I-5 outside of Patterson, California a few months ago. There are a lot of net videos and photos which convey the scale.

Even at the current size they can't get through many highway interchanges and local intersections. The larger ones won't be able to ship in one piece at all.

Comment Remember the NASA Wind Turbines? (Score 4, Interesting) 178

NASA Wind Turbines approached this scale in the '80's. Unfortunately, this was a previously-unexplored area of aerodynamics for NASA, and they had mechanical stress and noise problems (including subsonics) and were all demolished. I think there was one near Vallejo, CA being taken down when I got to Pixar in '87, and one in Boone, NC, which famously rattled windows and doors.

The art has since improved. I took a ride to the top of the turbine at Grouse Mountain, that was fun! That's the only one I have heard of where you can actually get to see it from the top.

Comment Starting out with the wrong assumptions (Score 2) 165

This is starting out with the wrong assumptions.

Design a brick system that can be produced with 3-D printers, and will hold together when fabricated within the tolerances of an SLA printer. Forget FDM, it's too low precision and SLA is already achieving an equal or lower cost of manufacture compared with FDM.

LEGO is manufactured to astonishingly high precision, but I am not convinced that this is the only way to make a brick system.

Comment Re:Physical media is king (Score 1) 105

Physical media doesn't have an unlimited shelf life due to decay of the physical media. Do your cassettes still work?

When I was a kid in the I bought a box of old cassette albums at a garage sale. Most of them were made in the 1960s, including gems such as "In-A-Gadda Da-Vida" and Wilson Pickett's cover of "Hey Jude". They still work just fine, and I ripped them to mp3s a couple of years ago.

(Those cassettes do feel much heavier than modern ones, and IIRC, they say "Made in Elk Grove Village, IL by Ampex". I suspect that they were quite a bit pricier than the vinyl versions when they were new.)

I've also ripped all my vinyl records, some made in the 1950s, and hundreds of CDs, many going back to the 1980s, without any significant errors. The only format that's had a lot of problems were my handful of 8-track tapes, about half of which had the loop break at the splice or the foam pressure pad disintegrate.

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