Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

×
Government

Come and Take It, Texas Gun Enthusiasts (Video) 43

Posted by timothy
from the a-lower-receiver-can-be-an-entire-gun-under-the-law dept.
In Texas, guns are a common sight:gun-racks are visible in the back of many pick-ups, and pistols, cannons, and rifles are part of the state's iconography. Out-of-sight guns are common, too: The state has had legal (though highly regulated) concealed carry for handguns since 1995, though -- contrary to some people's guess, and with some exceptions -- open carry of handguns is not generally legal. One thing that's definitely not a common sight, though, is a group of people manufacturing guns just outside the south gates of the Texas capitol building. But that's just what you would have encountered a few weeks ago, when an organization called CATI (Come and Take It) Texas set up a tent that served as a tech demo as much as an act of social provocation. CATI had on hand one of the same Ghost Gunner CNC mills that FedEx now balks at shipping, and spent hours showing all comers how a "gun" (in the eyes of regulators, at least) can be quickly shaped from a piece of aluminum the ATF classifies as just a piece of aluminum. They came prepared to operate off-grid, and CATI Texas president Murdoch Pizgatti showed for my camera that the Ghost Gunner works just fine operating from a few big batteries -- no mains power required. (They ran the mill at a slower speed, though, to conserve juice.)
Robotics

Drones Underwater, Drones on Wheels (Video) 18

Posted by Roblimo
from the drones-above-and-drones-below dept.
Rocky Mountain Unmanned Systems seems to be primarily in the business of selling aerial 'copter drones ranging in price from sub-$100 up into $1000s. But there they were at the 2015 CES (Consumer Electronics Show), showing off a submarine drone and a wheeled drone. These products don't seem to be on the company's website or even on their Facebook page quite yet. Jon McBride, the person manning their CES booth, told Timothy these products would be around soon, as in February. But it looks like a bit of extra patience is in order, although you can contact Jon through the company's Facebook page (his suggestion) if you have an urgent need for an underwater or wheeled drone for your business or government agency -- or even just for fun.
Music

A Versatile and Rugged MIDI Mini-Keyboard (Video) 55

Posted by Roblimo
from the Willy-and-the-poor-boys-playing-that-MIDI-can't-be-beat dept.
The K-Board won a "Best in Show" award at CES 2015. Plus, as Timothy said, "I always like pour and stomp demos." And it's totally cross-platform. If your computer, tablet or smartphone has a USB port and (almost) any kind of music software, it works. In theory, you could hook a K-Board to your Android or iOS device and use it to accompany yourself while you sing for spare change on a downtown corner. Or noodle around to get a handle on a theme you'll use in your next major symphony. Or...?

Comment: Re:Better definition of planet (Score 1) 190

by waveclaw (#49160219) Attached to: One Astronomer's Quest To Reinstate Pluto As a Planet

Is the Sun a planet?

Yes, the Sun is a planet by the older definition. But the new definition isn't much better*.

The classification of what is and is not a planet changed over time. Now it is tied to some metrics involving orbits and gravity that doesn't even apply well in the Solar System let alone a different Star System.

By the original meaning the Sun and Moon (of Earth) are also planets.

There are 7 objects that visible to the naked eye (say 5.5 magnitude or less at best) which move with respect to the fixed stars (everything above 5.5 magnitude.) Sol, Mercury, Venus, Luna, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

The real problem is when you start using telescopes to see things moving in the "firmament" that you cannot see with the naked eye. Then you start seeing things like Vesta, Ceres, Neptune. With a powerful enough scope we can even see Uranus. All of these got called a planets at one time. Some of them are not called planets anymore. Uranus may be full of gas but still gets this top billing.

Planet was once the word for wanderer of the night sky. A nice, simple definition. Now it means something else. Somehow everyone decided once we found out there's a lot of stuff wandering out there, planet became a special status and not just a simple label. In Science and Fiction people travel to or hail from Planet X, not Oblate Spheroid Mass X in orbit around Mass Y where Mass X is much larger than anything else in a similar orbit. The most recent definitions for astronomers appears to just be trying to encode that bias giving a bad definition - complex and counter intuitive.

It's like the term spaceship. If you put a big enough engine on anything and it will fly wherever you want it. So the difference between a space station and a space ship is a question of temporary fitting.

But astronomy is full of definitions that are not well founded (asteroid belt?) Astronomy as a field needs to learn from biology. Cladistics is a big part of biological science. You're going to getting it wrong, even for 100s of years. Naming controversies come with the territory. The International Astronomer's Union is charged with naming things in space so we can all agree on what to call that thing over there. Some of names are going to be arbitrary. Turns out planet is one of those arbitrary names**.

Time is long past to just put up a list of 'these are planets' and everything else is not. Then get used to everyone else, particularly the amateurs, using different lists.

* Over long time scales even rocks are fluids. There is no such thing as a solid on the timescale of atomic stability. There are just temporary crystalline or amorphous structures seeking lower energy states. Humans (or stars) just don't live long enough (yet) to see perfect gravitational stratification of a cold bulk object by quantum tunneling.

** For fun, go look up Asimov's description of the Earth and compare with IAU's definition of a planet. Does Earth qualify?

Comment: NO AUTOPLAY! (Score 2) 32

by Roblimo (#49150089) Attached to: Simple IT Security Tactics for Small Businesses (Video)

Be still my heart.... I was getting ready to quit over autoplay. Those of us who actually work on the site have been begging management to get rid of it since the moment it raised it's ugly head. Success at last! Now all we need is a volume control in the player and we'll be golden. Yay.

And yeah, beta. I think it's gone, too. Haven't seen it lately, anyway. Another Yay.

Security

Simple IT Security Tactics for Small Businesses (Video) 32

Posted by Roblimo
from the worry-more-about-criminal-attacks-than-government-intrusions dept.
Adam Kujawa is the lead person on the Malwarebytes Malware Intelligence Team, but he's not here to sell software. In fact, he says that buying this or that software package is not a magic bullet that will stop all attacks on your systems. Instead, he stresses coworker education. Repeatedly. Adam says phishing and other social engineering schemes are now the main way attackers get access to your company's information goodies. Hacking your firewall? Far less likely than it used to be, not only because firewalls are more sophisticated than ever, but also because even the least computer-hip managers know they should have one.
Education

Using Microfinance to Develop Coding Talent (Video) 23

Posted by Roblimo
from the by-their-bootstraps dept.
Here's a quote from the CodersTrust website: 'CodersTrust is the brainchild of Ferdinand Kjærulff. As a Captain of the Danish army he served as recovery officer in Iraq after the fall of Saddam. He pioneered a recovery project with the allied forces, bringing internet and e-learning to the citizens of the region in which he was stationed. The project was a massive success and inspired him to eventually create CodersTrust – supported by Danida – with a vision to democratize access to education via the internet on a global scale.' A lofty vision, indeed. But with help from the original microfinance company, Grameen Bank, and the Danish International Development Agency (Danida), it seems to be coming true. Note: If you click the "Read" button below this paragraph, the video interview will play automatically.

Comment: I ride a recumbent trike (Score 1) 304

by Roblimo (#49119963) Attached to: I ride a bike ...

My balance is gone due to several illnesses, so a two-wheeler is no longer safe for me. Instead of a bike, I now ride a recumbent trike. I go for at least a short ride around the neighborhood most days when it's not raining. Since I live in Florida (near Tampa), I ride year round except on exceptionally cold days, i.e. below 60F (or so).

Comment: Re: IMHO, I doubt it. (Score 2) 71

by Roblimo (#49085083) Attached to: Watch Videos in Synch with Fellow iOS Users (Video)

I have explained more than once to more than one Slashdotmedia management person that autoplay videos were the work of the devil. The leader of the autoplay cabal (obviously) disagrees.

Ever single person who works directly on Slashdot has an opinion about autoplay videos that is somewhere between dislike and raw hatred. One editor sent a 1665 word plea to kill autoplay videos up the chain of command, and yesterday I growled like an angry dog at the boss person who oversees Slashdot. The guy has always seemed pretty smart to me, but for some reason he is determined to inflict autoplay videos on us despite our ongoing, deepening displeasure.

Media

Watch Videos in Synch with Fellow iOS Users (Video) 71

Posted by Roblimo
from the let's-all-sing-together-now dept.
This video is about Dr. Saeed Darvish-Kazem and Dr. Michael Pazaratz, two MDs from Canada, who came up with a free iOS app called WeMesh that lets you share video content with iOS-owning friends in real time. You see the video and so does your friend. more or less simultaneously. Cat videos and 90s music are two categories the doctors say are especially popular on WeMesh, which only works with YouTube at the moment, a shortcoming they hope to change in the near future. NOTE: If you're on the Slashdot main page and click the 'Read' link below this paragraph, the video will autoplay.
Businesses

Advice on How to Start an IT Business (Video) 91

Posted by Roblimo
from the if-you're-the-boss-and-you-don't-like-the-boss-you-have-a-big-problem dept.
Lee Drake owns a small IT service and sales company in Rochester, New York, called OS Cubed. He was a cubicle denizen many years ago, and didn't like it. So he started his own business, first with a partner and later as the sole owner. Rochester may be part of the infamous "rust belt," but Lee seems to be doing well, to the point where he's happy to pass on some tips about how to start and grow your own IT business. While Lee's company specializes in "Microsoft solutions," his advice applies to almost any IT business -- and almost any other kind of business, too.

Mommy, what happens to your files when you die?

Working...