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Comment Left behind. (Score 1) 530 530

Business as usual until we find a buyer (and hopefully after).

Slashdot opened for business in 1997 --- and it remains, despite cosmetic changes good and bad, very much a reflection of the us vs them geek mind-set of the nineties.

It's been awhile since a new idea has made it past the gates.

Compared to the Internet population as a whole, far, far, more people who stop by here are still in school --- and they aren't hanging around as long as they used to.

"The cow goes moo."

The Slashdot gender gap is real, though much narrower than the Great Divide you see at Ars Technica. "Who visits Slashdot?", "Who Visits Ars Technica?"

You can't hope to talk sensibly about tech unless you can place it in a larger social context --- and if at least 40% of your audience is female, you can't put gender issues in tech on the back burner and expect to survive.

Comment This is why it costs so much. (Score 2) 106 106

Why it is it so expensive?

No one knows what Columbus was wearing when he set foot in the New World, but on July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong took his ''one giant leap'' onto the Moon, he was clad in this custom-made spacesuit, model A7L, serial number 056. Its cost, estimated at the time as $100,000 (more than $670,000 today), sounds high only if you think of it as couture. In reality, once helmet, gloves and an oxygen-supplying backpack were added, it was a wearable spacecraft. Cocooned within 21 layers of synthetics, neoprene rubber and metalized polyester films, Armstrong was protected from the airless Moon's extremes of heat and cold (plus 240 Fahrenheit degrees in sunlight to minus 280 in shadow), deadly solar ultraviolet radiation and even the potential hazard of micrometeorites hurtling through the void at 10 miles per second.

The Apollo suits were blends of cutting-edge technology and Old World craftsmanship. Each suit was hand-built by seamstresses who had to be extraordinarily precise; a stitching error as small as 1/32 inch could mean the difference between a space-worthy suit and a reject. While most of the suit's materials existed long before the Moon program, one was invented specifically for the job. After a spacecraft fire killed three Apollo astronauts during a ground test in 1967, NASA dictated the suits had to withstand temperatures of over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The solution was a state-of-the-art fabric called Beta cloth, made of Teflon-coated glass microfibers, used for the suit's outermost layer.

For the suit's creator, the International Latex Corporation in Dover, Delaware, the toughest challenge was to contain the pressure necessary to support life (about 3.75 pounds per square inch of pure oxygen), while maintaining enough flexibility to afford freedom of motion. A division of the company that manufactured Playtex bras and girdles, ILC had engineers who understood a thing or two about rubber garments. They invented a bellowslike joint called a convolute out of neoprene reinforced with nylon tricot that allowed an astronaut to bend at the shoulders, elbows, knees, hips and ankles with relatively little effort. Steel aircraft cables were used throughout the suit to absorb tension forces and help maintain its shape under pressure.

Neil Armstrong's Spacesuit Was Made by a Bra Manufacturer [Nov 2013]

Comment 138 Million Artifacts (Score 3, Insightful) 106 106

The Smithsonian budget for 2015 is $851 million. Surely they can afford this?

To repeat what I said the other day:

The Smithsonian preserves about 138 million artifacts.

$851 million divided by 138 million artifacts yields $6.17 per artifact for conservation, restoration, display, research, physical security, insurance, educational outreach, administration, and so on.

Comment Re:How about this... (Score 1) 184 184

I'll just leave this here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

There is just one small problem.

Industrial giants like Mitsubishi dominate the production of video hardware in all market segments from studio production to home video.

If their UHDTV sets and other gear do not support your codec, you are dead in the water. Which is precisely what happened to the alternatives to H.264.

Comment Update Clashes (Score 4, Informative) 316 316

Irate owners of NVidia graphics cards have taken to support forums to complain that automatically-installed drivers installed have broken their computers.

That would be 17 posters on the NVIDA GeForce drivers forum. Windows 10 Display Driver Feedback Thread

Interestingly the problem has also been experienced by Forbes contributor Paul Monckton who has done some digging and explained to me that the fault lies in a conflict between Windows Update and Nvidia's own driver and software management tool the 'Nvidia GeForce Experience'.

Many PC components and peripherals come with bundled software that automatically manages driver updates already. PC makers also often bolt on driver update management software onto their PCs (Lenovo is a notable example) which then has the potential to conflict with driver updates delivered by Windows Update.

''It looks like driver version 353.54 [the latest at time of writing] is available only via Window Update,'' Monckton told me. ''The problem is the Nvidia GeForce Experience then tried to downgrade that to the previous version while claiming the previous version was actually newer.''

The problem is compounded by the fact that Windows Update doesn't actually reveal driver version numbers prior to install or warn the user in advance so pinpointing something that has suddenly caused problems can be hard to identify.

Given Windows 10 updates cannot be stopped the most obvious solution is to uninstall third party driver management and hand it all over to Windows Update to avoid clashes. This potentially simplifies matters by providing an all-in-one update service, but it does mean taking away control from specialist companies over their own products.

Windows 10 Automatic Updates Start Causing Problems

Comment The Artisan Dairy (Score 2) 633 633

someone with her education who goes to make cheese...

I wonder if the geek would have the same sarcastic reaction if she had designed and opened a craft brewery instead of an artisan dairy --- she milks sheep not cows.

Sheep have been raised for milk for thousands of years and were milked before cows. The world's commercial dairy sheep industry is concentrated in Europe and the countries on or near the Mediterranean Sea.

The dairy sheep industry is in its infancy in the United States. There are approximately 100 dairy sheep farms in the U.S. They are found mostly in New England and the Upper Midwest. There are several large commercial sheep dairies in New York and California.

While sheep usually produce less milk than goats and much less than cows, sheep milk sells for a significantly higher price per pound, almost four times the price of cow milk.

Most of the sheep milk produced in the world is made into cheese. Some of the most famous cheeses are made from sheep milk: Feta (Greece, Italy, and France), Ricotta and Pecorino Romano (Italy) and Roquefort (France). The U.S. is a large importer of sheep milk cheeses. Sheep milk is also made into yogurt and ice cream.

Modern sheep dairies use sophisticated machinery for milking: milking parlors, pipelines, bulk tanks, etc. Ewes are milked once or twice per day.

Cheese from the ewe, milk from the goat, butter from the cow . . . Spanish proverb.

Sheep 101: Dairy Sheep

Comment The geek on the lecture circuit. (Score -1) 250 250

I have always thought as a home user that one of the greatest pleasures of owning a Windows PC is that it is a purely commercial product with no pretensions of ideological purity or political correctness.

Computers are being locked down because Internet access has grown exponentially. In no vision of the future will the geek find 3 to 6 billion technically sophisticated users.

"The chain is only as strong as its weakest link."

Neither should the geek be surprised that in a population this size more users are taking shelter in walled gardens of more manageable size.

Around 40% of the world population has an internet connection today.
In 1995, it was less than 1%.
The number of internet users has increased tenfold from 1999 to 2013.
The first billion was reached in 2005.
The second billion in 2010. The third billion in 2014.

Internet users in the world

Comment Re:Is this any different than the US government? (Score 1) 100 100

Is this any different that our government forcing printer manufacturers to put secret watermarks on pages printed?

1 It is not "our" government alone, but "all" governments whose currency can be plausibly counterfeited by a color laser printer that demand watermarks.

The geek living "off the books" needs a $20 bill which is generally trusted.

2 The laser printer is not an operating system that can tag all files sent and received.

Comment 137 Million Objects (Score 2) 229 229

The Smithsonian has a $805,000,000 budget.... surely they could scrounge up 0.06% of their annual budget to pay for it themselves since preserving significant artifacts of USA history is pretty much exactly what taxpayers are paying them for.

The Smithsonian owns 137 million artifacts.

That translates to a budget of $5.88/yr per artifact for research. conservation, storage and display, security, outreach and all other purposes and expenses.

Comment Time to polish up that old C.V. (Score 1) 627 627

When the business guys start making the technological decisions, it's time to look for another job.

The business guys get to decide which projects will get funding, talent and resources for development, marketing and technical support.

AOL was my first encounter with automatic updates in the home software market.

I liked the idea then. I like it now.

AOL integrated the functionality of a half-dozen or so stand-alone clients.

To say I understood them all on a technical level would be ridiculous. To say I understood the full implications of every system-level update I've installed in the last twenty years would be even more ridiculous ---- what matters is that in all those years I have only seen a trivial number of niche apps break under the strain.

Earth is a beta site.