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Comment Re:What's wrong with GCC? (Score 1) 711

You know how BSD advocacy folks like to tell you they "don't like politics"? It's kind of like the story in the Onion about that guy who keeps telling people he doesn't own a television and how much more fulfilling his life is, even when no one asked. BSD advocacy folks are _just as political_ as the GPL crowd. The reason to use GCC isn't performance, it's the only free compiler that supports a multitude of target architectures. And that's very very useful. Dropping utility over licensing kind of smacks of the thing GNU is accused of when BSD advocacy folks get all snooty about technical superiority.

Comment Re:Drive By Wire not really the problem (Score 1) 913

"Just need to solve hills where the driver may need throttle and brake simultaneously to start moving, and it should work."

That problem has already been solved, too. Some manual transmission cars have a "hill start assist" that hold the brakes for a couple seconds to allow easy starts up hills, without rolling backwards. The brakes are released the instant any forward force is detected. It makes starting uphill virtually identical to starting on a level surface. Seems like that should be applicable to auto transmissions as well, which can also roll back a bit before the torque converter locks up.

I like the idea of having a purely mechanical way of removing power to the wheels, which can be done instantaneously in a panic; and that is why I don't trust cars with fewer than 3 pedals!

Comment Not actually brake fade (Score 3, Insightful) 913

Brake fade is what happens when the brakes get overheated, they become less effective.

However, what happens when the engine is at wide open throttle is the same thing that happens when the engine is off: you lose vacuum assist. You'll have enough for maybe 2 pumps of the pedal and that's it. Once your vacuum assist is gone, you're relying 100% on the pressure of your foot on the brake via the hydraulic system to stop the car. If you've ever tried to use the brake pedal when coasting with the engine off, you know how hard that is.

So if you are ever in a "unintended acceleration" situation, push the brake down as hard as you can and do NOT let it back up. You will probably destroy your brakes in the process but that's better than the alternative.

The whole move to electronics is somewhat disconcerting. Computer software will always have bugs, and modern cars have computer software that controls the throttle, and the transmission shifter. Always make sure you know how to shift into neutral in a panic. On my car, it's easy: just push down the clutch pedal.

Comment Re:Listen to the suits (Score 3, Insightful) 844

If you listen to people who don't do tech work talk about techies, you'll quickly realize that a lot of them do in fact put techies on roughly the same level as mechanics or bricklayers.

Except they have no problems asking tech people to do free work.

"Oh, you're a bricklayer? Hey, can you stop by sometime and replace the bricks on my front sidewalk? I'll give you a beer...."


Review Scores the "Least Important Factor" When Buying Games 169

A recent report from a games industry analyst suggests that among a number of factors leading to the purchase of a video game — such as price, graphics and word of mouth — the game's aggregated review score is the least important measure. Analyst Doug Creutz said, "We believe that while Metacritic scores may be correlated to game quality and word of mouth, and thus somewhat predictive of title performance, they are unlikely in and of themselves to drive or undermine the success of a game. We note this, in part, because of persistent rumors that some game developers have been jawboning game reviewers into giving their games higher critical review scores. We believe the publishers are better served by spending their time on the development process than by 'grade-grubbing' after the fact."

Comment Re:what about increased reliability? (Score 1) 287

on the other hand, i've seen cases where an old 12 Volt fan or a crappy harddisk either shorts out or worse induces a lot of noise into the line.

With a power supply per server, this usually affects only that one machine. Now, if you have a power supply per rack, this might affect all servers in that rack. Especially with the noise-on-the-line problem, this might not actually shut down or crash the servers, it might make them unreliable -> much harder to find the bad component!

I'*d say, rather than changing the power supply, we should focus on the power consumption. From what i've seen, most servers in a company are completly over-sized in terms of capabilities because "at some point in the next 5 years (well after the next upgrade...) we'll need that resources". In many of these cases, the companies could save a lot of energy and money by buying slower and "greener" servers without really reducing service.

In one case, i've seen a top-notch AMD Quad-Core Dual-Processor Machine with 8 Gig RAM used as an Email-Server for about 10 people. And yes, it also had a top-notch graphics card, too. Hooked up to a DSL-Line. In this case, a 5 Watt Soekris would have been enough and it probably even would not have slowed email transfer...

Comment Re:HAM Radio / Blogging (Score 1) 504

That's why you probably wont need a big antenna. One of this mobile ones with the magnet on the bottom should be really enough.

May also take a few meters of cable, some solder and a soldering iron with you... if need be, you can put together a simple handheld yagi and call you beloved ones via HAM satellite. And that's what your internet connection comes into play: Spend a few minutes looking up the up-to-date comm passes. Even just listening in could be a very exiting experience for you and your shipmates.. with any luck, you might even make contact with the International Space Station (Callsign: NA1SS)

Check this http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/reference/radio/ and this http://www.issfanclub.com/taxonomy/term/6 out.

Comment Re:HAM Radio / Blogging (Score 1) 504

A paper journal also gives (at least) me more time to think about what i'm actually writing, because it's a much slower, more intense process than typing on a keyboard.

When you come home. you can always take the text you have written, put it into a text editor and expand on it before putting it on the web... (but: add the scans too!)

Comment HAM Radio / Blogging (Score 3, Interesting) 504

Get a HAM radio license and a portable radio (like the VX-7R or whatever works for you).

While you likely wont be able to make worldwide contacts (unless you bring a 30+ meter long antenna with you as well), you should be able to contact many people while you are near the shore.

Believe me, it's much more interesting than surfing the web. And in case of an emergency, you have some means of backup communication.

About blogging: Don't blog. At least not "online". If you really want to blog (a some sort of diary), do it offline but spend as little time as possible on it; just take quick notes. When the semester is over, take that notes, refine them into articles and release them part-by-part over some time. This way, you don't waste precious time of your semester AND you have much more leisure time to really release refined articles.

Comment If you're interested in writing games... (Score 1) 997

...i hereby invite you to join our Jump'n'Run game project "BlinkenSisters". I think, participating in an already working project makes quite a lot of sense, because there's already a team that can help you out when you're stuck.

We do the core engine in C/C++ with the SDL library, use CMake as our *nix build system and also have (a few) Perl scripts around.

As for writing portable code: The game is supposed to run everywhere, my team and i can show you many pittfalls of non-portable programming (yeah, we done them all). We have a wide range of sub-projects: From enhancing the engine to scripting to writing new, small tools.

If you're interested, email us at:
team AT blinkensisters DOT org

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