Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:DIY (Score 1) 123

The cost of an ESC(kind of)/dimmer device that can be safely controlled without burning themselves to ashes. If the oven already has some kind of timer (chances are good if it is an electric oven, especially if it has microwave) then probably it hasmind-bending proprietary crap running in it you would have to cut in half to interface to it.

But yes, a simple electric oven could be controlled with a few relays and a dimmer. I would be scared to automate my gas oven/burners though. It is OK that sometimes my lights turn on/off (crap X10 and some custom arduino code), but if my oven starts leaking gas .. well .. that is just creepy and bad :)

Comment Re:An excess of computers, wasting energy (Score 1) 123

Actually, an atmega368 can comfortably run a serial 20x4 character lcd, a keypad, a serial (xbee) or ethernet, cost lest than $100 ... and you can put it on a motion sensor, so if the oven is off it turns on only when you are nearby.

But being an electric oven it is a watt-hog anyway. I prefer an electric oven, but the top has to be gas. I would be a little worried to have my gas appliance on the net. Maybe even without the net it can silently kill you with a leak.

But I agree with you and I don't get why they cannot put a microcontroller breakout. Then you could buy an ethernet, a USB or a serial module, or connect your own to the optoisolated ttl serial. Would make the devices maybe a few bucks more expensive...


Comment Re:The premise - are you kidding me? (Score 1) 610

Forgot this: some people try to not touch your screen after you ask, but they might have a poor judgement on distances, or they do not regularly use their hands/fingers, or dunno what. So even the ones who know your "rule" sometimes touch when trying to touch... How in the hell this works in their heads is a mystery for me. ...

At my last place I ended up taking everyone in our mini-conference rooms as I was sick of this behaviour. I worked there as a lead developer, so many people came to me with their ideas and issues and they were constantly poking at my 27 iMac. And that made me extremely pissed after some time :). I also removed every sitting opportunity/device (chairs, boxes, desks) from around my desk, so the only option was to go to a meeting room (effectively removing access noise from the developer room too)...

Comment Re:The premise - are you kidding me? (Score 1) 610

Yep, they get all defensive and upset and they just don't get it.

Surprisingly some technical people do it too. I worked with a guy for a few days once who was constantly chewing his nails (yuck). He would KNOCK on your laptop screen so hard the laptop moved, you could see the screen discolour, then you had this saliva-fingerprint magnifying various pixels. After I saw him doing this I NEVER showed anything to him on my laptop (even though it was a company laptop) and if I had to I connected an old CRT and kept my screen away from him.

If it is a workplace computer, that sometimes you need to tolerate this, but when people touch my laptop (even the keys or my trackpad) I tend to clean the whole thing with an alcohol wipe in front of them. That sends the message and puts you on their shitlist :) but hey !!!! Go to a men's room and see how many guys don't bother to wash their hands :O after holding their junk ...

Comment Re:wrong premise (Score 1) 610

When you have an iPad (especially a black one) and a macbook (especially the pro that has an edge like an ipad) you end up doing this after using the ipad for an extended period of time. Never happens on my macbook air (silver metallic edge and my white iPad) though :)

My son (almost 4) tends to come at my macbook trying to tap on things. He is used to my old, black iPad and expects the screen to be touch :)

Comment Re:I don't want crap smeared on my screen (Score 1) 610

But I don't eat crap and if I have it on my hand I take it off before eating!

But yes... I completely agree, I HATE HATE HATE when people touch my screen. But then again, I clean my glasses every hour (yellow gunnars rule, no prescription here) and go nuts when my screens have smudges.

It is the rainbow distorted group of pixels that's left after a sweaty finger. YUCK

Comment Re:The premise - are you kidding me? (Score 2) 610

The disgusting ones with the fingerprints, food, boogers and what not.... Took me some time to accept that laptop screens (if you really carry them) get dirty, dusty, sometimes scratched and what not. Then it was even harder to digest that unless I am constantly cleaning my iPad screen it will have smudges that have all kinds of funky colours in sunlight....

I have zero tolerance for dirty screens. In fact when working at an office I often end up with a sign on the top of my monitors : "Look! Please don't touch!" - where needed. Probably cultural, but some people just feel the need to touch your screen, knock-knock of your screen, and I just find it extremely disrespectful and disturbing. I don't want to be looking at the letter that has the rainbow distortion of your fingerprint smudge over it :( yuck....

Comment Re:Pain (Score 4, Insightful) 610

"Why do we consider the monitor vertical to be the only way to position a monitor?"

Because while sitting at a desk it is extremely not ergonomic to be staring down to your keyboard or anything flat on your desk. That is why your monitors (should be) eye level, vertical and facing you.

Also that is why laptops are commonly complemented with external screens (also screen real estate), stands (so they cool better and they get into your eye-level zone) and external devices ( because a lot of laptops come with a crappy keyboard and a tiny touch pad - well, not MacBooks, but still I am typing on one with an external keyboard, 1080p screen and a touchpad )..

Tablets are great when you are on your sofa, lying down on the grass in the garden or in the hammock. Hey, even the toilet or the bus. As soon as you have to type long mail or document or write code: you are screwed with a virtual keyboard.

Comment Re:This is a rare breed of human. (Score 1) 758

Fortunately: there are still a lot of people who bring home-made food to work on most days, lots of produce bought at local markets. Farmers are not stupid (not even "simple people). Many of them are college educated guys who can find out about the damage these crops cause (if not health, environment - google "green deserts"). They are (at least at the organic fair) a new breed of farmers who sell you books and would give you their business cards that show they are agricultural engineers.

Unfortunately the markets are not all organic and not all farmers understand or care. Large companies do not care. It also became a trend to go out to eat for every lunch and Mc, BK, KFC are packed at lunch hour on weekends while many typical restaurants are empty (some are greasy, heavy, sugary, but still "real food"... and supporting local...

Also just like the school of medicine denying natural cures and promote "cut or medicate" practices, most schools treat organic growing as woodoo that only cuts it on a small scale (if at all). There is a group of hip looking quiet group of young people selling a bunch of different organic veggies. Turns out they started growing organic on university property and now they got a lot of space. If their experiment succeeds, the university is going to add organic growing to the curriculum. I don't know too much details, but as far as I understand they income helps the school and I think they keep some of the profit (or reduces tuition) - not sure about this.

I think farmers really understand, that as far as they sell healthy stuff to their clients they will come back longer. Corporations do not care because the share holders are the same guys who make $$ on the shitty food, booze, cigarettes, then healthcare and prison for profit when things go south. Farmers also know, that if they sell directly (and in Costa Rica they do not have to give an invoice like in e.g. Hungary) to clients they make a nice profit and they sell nice, fresh stuff. As soon as it is on store shelves or import, it is early harvest, then possibly some "harmless" chemical wash that keeps the stuff fresh for days on the shelves.... plus larger quantities are required, profits go, then you have to produce large quantities. Fertilisation, land overuse ... etc. etc :)

Anyway, if people tried to buy local, eat fresh and at least reduce animal based, we could feed the planet just fine. Hell, vertical hydroponic gardens are not science fiction, if land is an issue, you can go many stories up.

Comment Re:hardware vs software (Score 1) 233

I think you mis the point. With this breakout board (yes it is just a pcb with labels) you can easily pop this into a proto-board. That's it.

If you wanted it in production, yes, you would probably use your method, or use an actual shield (shield as in "arduino shield" - an extension board that pops on (mates with the) top of the Raspberry PI with whatever components on.

Keep in mind, that I use these as a hobby. E.g. I would prototype something on a protoboard with jumper wires and components, then grab the whole thing and put it on an empty board (what's the name, it is like a protoboard (white thing with 2 sides and +- rails), but a PCB with holes and you make traces with your soldering iron). I do not (want to ) etch my own PCBs. I rather throw more hardware at a problem and then concentrate on writing the arduino/java/whatever code.

So e.g. I would grab this PCB, and permanently solder it into a project (maybe with just 4-5 connectors connected to something). Wasteful? Yes. Time saving? Yes. I just simply feel, that on the hobby level my time is better used writing code rather than making professional electronics projects.

Hope this makes sense :)

You know, it is the same: you can get an AVR 368 for 2 dollars (or so) then build a project. Or you can spend 20-25 for an arduino, get a shield, and focus on coding. Maybe you then do the AVR + components, or just pop the arduino + shield in a box and use it like that (that way you can also easily re-purpose a shield, arduino, or anything because it is modular (some things are connected by headers that mate other shields easily)...

Just my opinion. When I have too much time on my hand I promise I start to etch my own boards :)

Comment Re:This is a rare breed of human. (Score 1) 758

Well to start with, the ex-president (also recipient of the nobel peace price) has serious interest (share/ownership) in a company called Pipasa.
They keep chicken in the typical windowless, lightless tubes. I am not aware of the conditions of the animals there, but I know how it generally goes in one of those from various documentaries.

I am not actually sure if there is a subsidy though. I think people simply want to eat a lot of meat and they are brainwashed to think that they need a lot of dairy. Also AFAIK it is relatively easy to chop down all the trees on large properties and just have cows there rather than do something useful with the land.

What I know is Monsanto is trying to get back here with their "frankencorn" and that growers are really freaking out. Apparently someone is paid well @ the government.

I go weekly to the organic market and talk to people who are really into these topics. You can hear outrageous things sometime :(

Comment Re:hardware vs software (Score 1) 233

well, add the breakout board and the time to etch it and if you only want a few (3 in my case) it is a better use of my time to work for the 24 bucks, and spend the hours on coding the project. Of course your mileage might vary. If you just need the cable, then yes, it is a lot cheaper. BTW if you have a case with a slot (hole for the cable) you might want the cable, connector be just the perfect height/width .... I am happy with them :)

Comment Re:This is a rare breed of human. (Score 1) 758

I moved to Costa Rica a while ago and the size of farms with nothing but grass and cows (or other animals - I hate the term livestock) is completely frightening. Fertile volcanic soil could grow a lot of things with or without a greenhouse. Using old land use rotation techniques you could use this land without damaging fertilisation. With tropical greenhouses (just a net, no glass, mostly against strong rain, strong sun and insects/birds) you could grow organic or minimal pesticides.

Still, vegetables are expensive, meat and dairy is cheap. They cause most of the health damage (OK, sugar/corn is there too) and they take up a LOT of resources. The environmental impact is horrendous.

OK .. just agreeing with your comment here :)

Comment Re:This is a rare breed of human. (Score 1) 758

It is like when you mention you are a vegan, suddenly everyone is a nutritionist and asks where your proteins are coming from.

The proteins come from plants. Where do the cow's proteins come from? Hunting?

Even if meat (in moderation) might have been ideal for us 30 years ago, with current levels of antibiotics and other crap fed to animals you should be staying away from dairy, eggs and meat altogether. People eat too much dairy, too much meat and eggs and whatever they call vegetables is mostly storage ripened crap carefully ruined by cooking.

Vegan for 4+ years, vegetarian for 20+. My weight while on meat: 100kg, my weight without meat but a lot of diary: 90kg. Currently : 75kg ... ideal blood pressure, no sign of heart disease. On 0 medication at 41 years (for the last 23 years, since I stopped eating meat).....

Now on the GMOs : there is a trend among people who care about their diet a bit more (organic food, high % raw) to not buy food from the US. At lest not corn or soy products. Many even avoid organic because of fear of cross pollination. Then there is a problem : everything has soy and corn in it. Even coke and candy (corn syrup, soy lecithin), so from Snickers to M&M a lot of surprising things will have to be labelled as GMO. MANY companies will not like that, so they can either make a non-GMO version, start losing customers, or completely buy organic.

I know people who started a seed bank. And not the crazy kind you see on "end of the world preparing" shows, completely normal educated, thinking people who see, that soon you will have to grow your own if you don't want GMO. They are talking about fine-filtered air green houses....

Anyway ... all I wanted to say: vegetable based diet will keep you healthy, give you proteins and everything, but you have to be careful to get all your nutrients, possibly take some supplements (B12 is the most common recommendation)......

Isn't the problem simply, that people are so addicted to good tasting deep-fried-sugar-grease-carb dishes that they rather die a horrible death than change their diet?

Slashdot Top Deals

"It may be that our role on this planet is not to worship God but to create him." -Arthur C. Clarke