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Comment I'm in Silicon Valley (Score 1) 395

I'm in Silicon Valley. I want to live in Nevada, far enough from the neighbors that I can't hear their HIFIs in the daytime or see their lights at night.

I want to live in Nevada so much that I built a house there - a few miles over the state line near Lake Topaz. Fully paid for. Marvelous view. Good neighbors. Also rabbits (jack and cottontail), quail, coyotes, deer, antelope, bobcats, cougars, and black bears. Gun laws are a lot different there, and I have a Nevada CCW that's also valid in many other states due to reciprocity (though not in CA).

For the Town House near work I also moved across the bay from Palo Alto. Just off the other end of the bridge, for less than I was paying in rent in Palo, I was able to BUY a two-story four-bedroom with 7,000+square feet of yard and remodel it. 200A electric service (two 20A circuits to each room for starters). Satellite TV and Cat 5E everywhere. (Only running 100M at the moment but I hear that with house-sized runs you can get away with 5e for gigabit Ethernet.) The yard is now a garden and orchard. We get most of our veggies from it - and our eggs. We were also on the Bay Friendly Garden Tour last year.

They tell me the city here on the Back Bay has a gang problem. But for several blocks around our house it doesn't. It's much like in Palo Alto (where the burglars worked their way down Loma Verde street and skipped only two houses - ours and the retired cop two doors down). It seems the crooks don't like to bother NRA instructors, and the wife's "Ducks Unlimited" sticker tells them she can hit a spot the size of a duck (or a human heart) with a shotgun, from 50 yards, even if it is flying at the time. B-)

Of course NV has no such crime issues. Even machine guns are legal there. B-)

Move to a SF or Oakland? By preference? You've GOT to be kidding.

Comment Re:worst description of polarization ever (Score 1) 82

I think of it as being analogous to injecting separate beams of light at different angles, having them bounce back-and-forth between the walls at different distances between bounces, and emerge at angles corresponding to the angles at which they entered.

Of course it's not angle of flight that's in question, but another property of the light propagation that can be varied to allow different beams to propagate down the fiber and be separable at the far end. But they're still separate because each beam's cross section at a given plane cutting the fiber has a different distribution of phase and intensity, resulting in different propagation mechanisms that conserve a property which can be used to separate the beams when they emerge.

Comment Re:No Worries (Score 1) 274

Normally I side more with the D's than the R's (not that I have much faith in either), but this time I'm damn glad there's an R majority in the House.

Why the HELL do you usually side with the Ds? They consistently do the opposite of what they promise. It's the Ds that bring you war, censorship, racisim, and a whole host of other junk that they promise to be fixing: Like government in general they're a problem masquerading as its own solution.

The Rs have their own pathologies. But compared to the Ds they're pikers.

Comment Re:CONTACTS! I second that. (Score 1) 472

I'm using Charter Oak State College. This is because they are an accredited and respected school, specializing in in distance learning, which accepts a high enough score on a recent Computer Science GRE exam for credit-by-exam on many of the course requirements, and (if certain requirements are met, such as being active in an industry using them) accepts older credits (i.e. math, distribution requirements) that many other institutions would consider "stale" and timed-out. They do not currently offer a BSCS, however, so I'm going for a BSGS with a CS concentration. I've taken three classes from them so far, and am currently taking a math class (needed but not offered there) from the University of North Dakota for transfer credit. Several of my few remaining requirements I expect to complete by exam (and a couple - public speaking, English - by waiver due to documented work experience).

Another excellent school (with a more technical orientation) that also specializes in distance learning is Thomas Edison. They do offer a BSCS, but stopped accepting the CS subject GRE for credit (because too few students used it for them to continue the effort of keeping it qualified against their own requirements). In my case this made a big difference in how much work would be required to reach the diploma. For some others, especially those who need many of the classes (or test-out equivalents), are tech focused, and would find the more directly applicable degree a benefit, Thomas Edison would be a good choice.

These schools are oriented toward people who wish to complete their degrees but are employed or located where going to a classic college is impractical. Examples: Deployed military personnel, low-level medical employees seeking higher certifications for career advancement, workers located far from a good subject-appropriate school or working schedules that interfere with school scheduling.

Two credit-by-examination programs are also related to this. DANTES is one - driven by the military's need to provide education for their soldiers without interfering with their duties (but open to all). Another is CLEP (College Level Examination Program), a product of the College Board which provides 33 subject tests which are accepted as proof of accomplishment by most universities. Each program lets you receive college credits without actually taking a class, by testing whether you've successfully taught yourself the subject.

Comment When did HP change? (Score 1) 247

PC manufacturers like HP used to void warranties when clients installed GNU/LInux, not anymore.

Just a year or so ago I bought my wife an HP laptop specifically for a sysadmin class where she'd be installing Linux on it. Got it home, had a question for HP about it, and discovered in the process (from the phone support) that installing Linux would void their warranty. Checked the paperwork: Yep! So we returned it to Staples for a full refund and went with something else.

When did HP change this policy?

Comment CONTACTS! I second that. (Score 4, Insightful) 472

I am in much the same boat. My branch of the industry went from garage shops to IPOs to conglomerates. The hiring process went from people-in-the-know to armies-of-PHBs-working by the book. The number of potential employers went from hundreds to a handful. The workforce went from top-notch locals to armies of adequate, semi-adequate, or inadequate H1Bs.

I had been a pioneer and well recognized by other actual techies - even those that had gone on into management or entrepreneurship. But after catching a layoff when the conglomerate deemphasized its new acquisition's function, I went from highly-paid pan-expert to 17 months unemployed due to the same HR-is-a-brick-wall for non-commodity heads effect.

I finally ended up contracting at a long-running garage shop in a niche market, a position found through a contact who had just watched them have a project almost fail for lack of a person with my particular skill set.

Meanwhile I'm finishing the degree via "distance learning" through an accredited institution. By the time the contract runs out I hope to have that checkbox checked. (College is a LOT easier when you don't have the draft board trying to send you to Vietnam and you can do the classes online when you're free and alert, rather than at 8 AM when you're a night person.)

Comment Re:BS right in the first sentence (Score 1) 276

Strictly speaking "transistors" are any circuit element that involves a "transfer resistance", i.e. a parameter that is resistance-like and dynamically controlled by another parameter.

Junction transistors do this one way. Field effect transistors do it a completely different way (or perhaps more than one different ways). Both of those happen to be implemented with semiconductors.

This voltage-variable tunneling along gold decorations on a non-conducting nanotube is a transfer resistance and the mechanism of transfer is very akin to a field effect transistor: The tunneling path is modulated by a control signal.

(Or at least it should be. In the example given in TFA, the control signal is actually the end-to-end voltage, so we really don't have a transistor yet. More like an avalanche/tunnel diode built without semiconductors. But it seems virtually certain that a control electrode throwing an E-field into the tunneling path will modulate the amount of tunneling, so an actual transistor should fall out very shortly.)

Comment Re:Faster than Light? (Score 5, Informative) 276

But what if you have a mile long pole and correlate it's movements into a form of communication. As soon as you move the pole on one end it would instantaneously move on the other for instantaneous communication.

Nope. The motion propagates to the far end at the speed of sound in the pole - much faster than sound in air, but glacial compared to light in vacuum.

Don't bother looking for an unobtanium with near-infinite stiffness and an internal speed of sound faster than light-in-vacuum. The motion at one end encodes information about what is happening at that end and that information is propagated down the pole by interactions between the pole's component particles, interactions that all are no faster than the speed of light.

Comment Re:What are they up to? (Score 1) 73

... this seems like a glorified turboprop engine.

Which it is.

But without the fancy gearbox of a turboprop or the transmission of an engine-driven rotor. It should be WAY simpler mechanically, much lighter, and need far fewer moving parts. Eliminating the gearbox losses should gain them far more efficiency than plumbing the fast, hot, gas around costs.

Comment Re:Sounds iffy (Score 1) 73

The fluid coupling between the compressor and the rotor can't be efficient.

SURE it can.

What makes you think it can't? It's just a rotating joint with a seal on a hollow shaft. Nothing new here, move along.

In fact there is nothing new here anyhow, unless there's some aspect of it they're not telling us. "Water sprinkler rotor"-style helicopters have been played with for half a century or so.

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