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Comment Re:I'm not British (Score 1) 160

Teletext services could be transmitted with digital television signals, both satellite and terrestrial, and are a standard MPEG feature. A set top box will automatically decode the data and send them over the analogue outputs, or superimposes the decoded page on the video output. Satellite broadcasting for Italy, Germany and France are still sending Teletext pages. I've experience with the MHP services on terrestrial television in Italy. Simply put MHP services are totally and utterly slow, even if MHP decoders are more costrly due the bigger CPU they have to run Java ME, instead of use only the computer power equivalent to a Z80. Worst of all the user interface between various broadcaster is different, even if they're sending teletext-like news and it's too easy to put animated adverts everywhere.

Comment Re:Unfortunately for Arduino (Score 1) 130

The Pi is not a microcontroller. It's a general purpose personal computer aimed to teach programming to schoolchildren. It has a GPIO connection, but doesn't have all the shields and software libraries that Arduino has. It has a full fledged operating system as default, you could also try to program the bare hardware but it's not the standard programming way. The Arduino has a simple control program and some libraries and most important the usage of the i/o is fully and clearly documented. By the way the official Gertboard I/O for the raspberry han an atmega 328 installed "arduino style".

Comment Freedom to install a terrestrial antenna array (Score 1) 376

I suppose that after this move, everybody is now entitled to put an aerial system to receive TV, even on condos or homeowner association controlled zones. Something like this: http://www.associazionemarconi.com/public/images/castel_debole_13_8_2012d.jpg I suppose that due the first amentement you've the right to receive OTA free channels, even in the USA.

Comment FIAT Totem (Score 1) 141

If instead of diesel fuel one wants to use natural gas or LPG there was a solution developed in the '70. Take an engine from a Fiat 127 (or first model Fiat Panda or Uno), bolt it to a three phase geneator, modify the engine to run on methane, LPG, or biogas, put a governor to make the engine to run at constant speed. You get a nice system that makes electricity and heat. Unfortunately newer petrol engines with electonic fuel emission control are a lot more difficult to adapt to be used as engines for generators, and are a lot more complex to service.

Comment Re:It will have a certain cool factor at first (Score 1) 284

Older phones had more rugged connectors. I've a DECT cordless phone that has two metallic plates that make contact with two spring-mounted electrode, put in the cradle, the weight of the handset is sufficent to slide the phone in the contacts. The same method is used on two way radios, where it's a necessity due the higher charge current used. Unfortunately with current smartphones, the space required for a rugged connector is too big to blend in thei sllek design, so weak connectors are used, that could fail easily.

Comment Re:like other engineering fields (Score 1) 550

Another key difference is that only some projects in other engineering fields have to be signed by a PE, and are project that only one person could follow reasonably, and that have a set of rules by science or by law that have to be followed. A project for a car or an airplane doesn't require to be signed by a PE, even if requires a lot of engineers, simply because is too big to be followed by a single person and the regulations applicable are only on the whole product and nothing is said for the design phase.

Comment System requirements (Score 1) 362

Seems to me that Microsoft is trying to follow Apple moves because are quite successful. But Apple is mainly an hardware company and the operating system in an accessory revenue. More importantly the hardware ecosystem is reduced. Now I've tried to look at the new windows 8 beta image in a virtual machine, but even after playing with bios options and virtualbox configuration the operating system failed to install. If the final version remains so picky with the hardware refusing to run in a virtual machine or on a beige box PC, when 7 and Xp could run happily on the same hardware or virtual machine, it could me a graveyard stone in the adoption of the new operating system. If Windows 8 installation in older hardware or generic hardware is difficult, people will stay with older operating systems, or even try to downgrade the operating system on new machines, and this is naturally bad if not for sales, for the adoption.

Comment Re:Slashdot has gone batsh*t crazy (Score 1) 190

Security theatre. When was the last time you saw a piece of boot time malware? I remember viruses that would sometimes find their way onto floppy disks, so if you left the floppy in when switching on, your machine could be infected that way.... my, was a long time ago.

Its trying to solve a problem that doesn't really exist. There are much more valuable and interesting attack vectors for malware writers these days.

Actually the problem of boot time malware was solved in the DOS day with a BIOS setting that prevented to write the first sectors of the hard disc An MD5 checksum of the MBR and the boot sectors saved in a read only memory shoud suffice. I think a jumper to enable flashing the BIOS and this checksum area kill easily the unwanted tampering of the boot sectors.

Comment I prefer autonomous car racing thank you. (Score 1) 245

Having to choose a sport based on a '70 sci-fi drama I like one not based on the six million dollar man and bionic woman, but one based on Knight Rider. It should be like DTM tournament but the circut must have a ramp and it's mandatory at least one ramp jumping during the race and a moving red light on the bonnet is mandatory. Winning cars should also be able to answer to interviews with witty comments.

Comment Do it HAM style (Score 4, Interesting) 212

You should look how amateur radio operators and/or people with RV are setting up thei systems. I think you should stay with a 12V power supply system, an inverter is a more complex system rather than a lead acid battery, and yu'll need a DC/DC inverter for the sound system amplifiers. A mini ITX pc with a 12 power supply it's not a big deal, so a satellite receiver. If you want to be sure to not fry your electronics, use a dual battery setup with a contactor that disconnects the secondary battery from the main circuit when the engine is not running, like RV pepole sometimes are doing, and remenber to flip on the switch when needed, or use an automatic system. If a dual battery system is too much take the supply from the electronics directly from the battery poles, with a suitable fuse on both poles. Put some L-C filters and a big diode in antiparallel to the supply.

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