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Comment Re:Sun Type 5c Keyboard (Score 2) 166

The innards are regular Fujitsu rubber dome. Nothing special. Quite mushy and horrible to type on.

But it is sure one of the most beautiful keyboards in the world. I love the colour scheme and font choices. It sure has style.
The attention to detail, the size of it and the layout feels professional - this is a workstation keyboard indeed.
I bought one just to have to look at.

Comment Re:Hacking = Curiosity (Score 1) 153

Actually, the etymological origin of the word "hacker" is from "hacksaw".
To use a hacksaw is called to "hack". Sometimes the use of a hacksaw is to do a quick fix that is not necessarily particularly elegant, for instance to cut a table leg shorter to make it more level.
Therefore to "hack" something is to tinker with something.
A computer hacker is someone who tinkers with computer/systems, and not necessarily in the intended way.

A student prank at MIT is also traditionally called a "hack". It could involve hacking something off with a hacksaw, but these days is often something more constructive, not computer-related at all.


Trillions of Plastic Pieces May Be Trapped In Arctic Ice 136

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Humans produced nearly 300 million tons of plastic in 2012, but where does it end up? A new study has found plastic debris in a surprising location: trapped in Arctic sea ice. As the ice melts, it could release a flood of floating plastic onto the world. From the article: 'Scientists already knew that microplastics—polymer beads, fibers, or fragments less than 5 millimeters long—can wind up in the ocean, near coastlines, or in swirling eddies such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. But Rachel Obbard, a materials scientist at Dartmouth College, was shocked to find that currents had carried the stuff to the Arctic.'"
Star Wars Prequels

Ask Slashdot: Can Star Wars Episode VII Be Saved? 403

An anonymous reader writes "10 years ago today, in the wake of two disappointing Star Wars prequels, we discussed whether Episode III could salvage itself or the series. Now, as production is underway on Episode VII under the care of Disney, I was wondering the same thing: can it return Star Wars to its former glory? On one hand, many critics of the prequels have gotten what they wanted — George Lucas has a reduced role in the production of Episode VII. Critically, he didn't write the screenplay, which goes a long way toward avoiding the incredibly awkward dialogue of the prequels. On the other hand, they're actively breaking with the expanded universe canon, and the series is now under the stewardship of J.J. Abrams. His treatment of the Star Trek reboot garnered lots of praise and lots of criticism — but his directorial style is arguably more suited to Star Wars anyway. What do you think? What can they do with Episode VII to put the series back on track?"

Rising Sea Level Could Put East Coast Nuclear Plants At Risk 323

mdsolar (1045926) writes with news that global warming may make it more difficult to use modern power sources that rely upon being near large bodies of water for cooling. From the article: "During the 1970s and 1980s, when many nuclear reactors were first built, most operators estimated that seas would rise at a slow, constant rate. ... But the seas are now rising much faster than they did in the past ... Sea levels rose an average of 8 inches between 1880 and 2009, or about 0.06 inches per year. But in the last 20 years, sea levels have risen an average of 0.13 inches per year... NOAA) has laid out four different projections for estimated sea level rise by 2100. Even the agency's best-case scenario assumes that sea levels will rise at least 8.4 inches by the end of this century. NOAA's worst-case scenario, meanwhile, predicts that the oceans will rise nearly 7 feet in the next 86 years. But most nuclear power facilities were built well before scientists understood just how high sea levels might rise in the future. And for power plants, the most serious threat is likely to come from surges during storms. Higher sea levels mean that flooding will travel farther inland, creating potential hazards in areas that may have previously been considered safe." The article has charts comparing the current elevation of various plants with their estimated elevations under the various NOAA sea level rise estimates.

IBM Discovers New Class of Polymers 90

Charliemopps (1157495) writes "IBM Research has published a new paper to the journal Science which describes a newly discovered class of Industrial Polymers that promise to revolutionize the fields of transportation, aerospace, and microelectronics. These materials resist cracking, have strength higher than that of bone, the ability to self-heal, and are completely recyclable. 'Codenamed Titan and Hydro, both of which came from the same reaction. One is rigid; it could become part of the next generation of computers. The other is a gel, so it it could be included in water-soluble nail polish.'"

Comment Re:Missing option (Score 1) 224

Indeed US-centric ... but the poll was not about if you got it or not, but how much bandwidth you would use if you weren't limited. Apparently 1Gb/s is an astronomic figure to an American ...

I recently got upgraded from 100Mbit/s to 1Gb/s, and I did not even ask for it - Internet is included in the rent in the apartment block where I live and there was no price increase. The portion is around $15/month or so.
Indeed I was surprised recently when I heard how much US:ians pay for their low-speed Internet. Apparently, it is because networks were deregulated in 1995 in a way that allowed the largest providers to consolidate into an oligopoly, quashing the competitors by buying them instead of competing with better prices and/or services. The Tek Explains it.

Comment The smartest smartwatch is dumb (Score 1) 93

I think that Samsung and Google are doing it all wrong.
They are still making smartwatches be "companion devices" to smartphones, yet you still have to write custom code to run on the device.

I think that the best type of smartwatch would be one that would act as a dumb terminal to the phone. Let it act as a second screen to the phone with a few button/touch actions plus a few sensors that feed data in the other direction. That would satisfy the most common use cases where a smartwatch would be useful. The others could be hard-coded not as apps but as system features.
This would be best for the developer, as you would only have to develop one app - not two.
This would be best for the user, as the program code on the "watch" could be simple you would need only a microcontroller that runs at tens of megahertz, and you get long battery life approaching what you are used to get in a watch.
But of course, such a device would be too cheap to make and Samsung would not be able to sell it at a premium...

Comment Re:Kinesis Advantage Keyboard (Score 1) 702

I would say that the Kinesis is in a class above any Microsoft keyboard in terms of ergonomics.

Not only are the hands slanted, but there is more separation between the hands.
It has low-force mechanical Cherry MX Brown key switches that are relatively smooth, where as the Microsoft keyboard's keys bind horribly on off-centre key presses. (Cherry MX key switches are all the rage among PC gamers right now... ;) )
The lack of numeric keypad is actually ergonomically better in that it allows you to keep your mouse closer to your centre.
The keyboard layout can be fully remapped (without drivers, stored in the keyboard) and it can record macros.

Drawbacks is that 1) you must touch-type properly using all fingers and that 2) the keyboard is quite high because of its curved key wells.
#1 isn't really a drawback in the long term though, as learning proper touch typing will make you a better typist overall. It is easier to learn touch-typing on a Kinesis than on a flat keyboard.

Comment Re:Model M Keyboard FTW (Score 1) 702

Nah. The plastic nubs holding the barrel plate to the steel backplane tend to break one by one, and then the barrel plate cracks at the hinges. (it was moulded flat)
Enthusiasts often "bolt mod" their Model M keyboards with missing nubs: cut off the remaining nubs, drill up through the barrel plate and install proper nuts and bolts of steel instead. (not necessarily all in that order)

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