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Submission + - OpenTX: Open Source RC Transmitter Firmware

WizardX writes: I just got in to RC flying (helicopter) and came across a new transmitter. The FrSky Taranis. More info here. Unlike every other transmitter out there, high end or otherwise, this one uses the a fully open source firmware, OpenTX. The price of the hardware is very reasonable and, unlike the "big names" you are not paying for the firmware, marketing and "name" on it. I am sure that there are plent of RC geeks in slashdot land. I just find this very interesting and have started to look at the code. Once I get my hands on one, I hope to be able to contribute in a meaningful way to the project, as well.

Submission + - Bad Math Skills Lead to Bad Mortgages ( 2

James Cho writes: "Not all subprime borrowers are alike. While all having poor credit histories, the Economist reports that those who failed a simple arithmetic test defaulted at rate much higher than that of test-passing borrowers. The results come from a working paper by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta: 'Foreclosure starts are approximately two-thirds lower in the group with the highest measured level of numerical ability compared with the group with the lowest measured level,' quantifying the problem of public innumeracy."

Comment What terrible advice (Score 1) 842

At a hiring event at a hotel, I overheard a hiring manager of a large defense contractor in the restroom ranting about the college kids he was interviewing. Paraphrased, "They're all technically competent as engineers! But there are no social skills, no fit!" He was yelling. He went on to rave about a female engineering interviewee, who was "confident without being arrogant, funny, and personable" and how she would be a perfect hire, because she was sociable. I can guarantee the "work, not talk" line wouldn't have worked on this guy, at least.

Also, have you ever read The Art of War? It's not about avoidance and being a lone wolf. It is about facing conflict head-on, adapting to the environment, while stressing unconventional approaches (attacks). Eating lunch alone, cold shouldering coworkers, being an oblivious worker drone - this is exactly what Art of War warns against.


Privacy Groups Want Feds To Investigate Targeted Ads 71

ciscoguy01 tips news that three privacy groups are asking the US Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether ad networks are "unfairly tracking Americans and profiting from their data." According to Wired, "Companies named in the complaint (PDF) include Google, Yahoo, PubMatic, TARGUSinfo, MediaMath, eXelate, Rubicon Project, AppNexus, and Rocket Fuel. At issue is a growing market of targeted, real-time ads, where advertisers can choose to show ads to people based on their age, gender, income and location — as well as their recent online behavior — often on unrelated sites that let third parties track users.... Third-party cookie tracking isn't new, but as the complaint points out, marketers are increasingly trying to augment that data with other data sets, such as the social network data that Rapleaf harvests and resells.... Tying ad cookies to personally identifiable data would let marketers successfully combine online and offline data on website visitors to build a complete digital dossier on a user."

Every British Citizen To Have a Personal Webpage 313

Hugh Pickens writes "The Telegraph reports that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is about to announce that within a year everyone in Great Britain will be given a personalized webpage for accessing Government services as part of a plan to save billions of pounds by putting all public services online. The move could see the closure of job centers and physical offices dealing with tax, vehicle licensing, passports and housing benefits within 10 years as services are offered through a single digital gateway. [This] 'saves time for people and it saves money for the Government — the processing of a piece of paper and mailing it back costs many times more than it costs to process something electronically,' says Tim Berners-Lee, an advisor to the Prime Minister. However, the proposals are coming under fire from union leaders who complain that thousands of public sector workers would be made jobless and pointed to the Government's poor record of handling personal data. 'Cutting public services is not only bad for the public who use services but also the economy as we are pushing people who provide valuable services on the dole,' says one union leader."

Comment It's an encyclopedia (Score 0) 256

Wikipedia isn't an indiscriminate repository of information. It is finite, not only because of finite resources (note how often they ask for donations? storage and bandwidth aren't free.) but also because each additional article requires more editor attention for copyediting and preventing abuse. Every article about something no one cares about draws editor attention away from articles that matter. I eventually stopped contributing to Wikipedia (beyond minor fixes) because of qualms with the editing process, but the greater discretion in deleting articles is something I welcome. It was absurd how many Slashdot-related articles there were when 99% of the first world's adult population has never heard of it. Granted, we still have garbage like Dalek, and by most measures, it's still the encyclopedia Slashdot built.

Comment Uh, no (Score 1) 425

Learning french doesn't mean you forget english. I've been a full time Dvorak user for six years, except for public terminals at university and public library computers. They all use qwerty, and I type on them nearly as well as in Dvorak (maybe 70 wpm versus 80-90 wpm on Dvorak). I have lost some speed in qwerty, but the comfort and lower chance of RSI is well worth using a non-standard layout. Reaching 70 wpm in qwerty is hardly crippled typing.

Data Storage

Long-Term Storage of Moderately Large Datasets? 411

hawkeyeMI writes "I have a small scientific services company, and we end up generating fairly large datasets (2-3 TB) for each customer. We don't have to ship all of that, but we do need to keep some compressed archives. The best I can come up with right now is to buy some large hard drives, use software RAID in linux to make a RAID5 set out of them, and store them in a safe deposit box. I feel like there must be a better way for a small business, but despite some research into Blu-ray, I've not been able to find a good, cost-effective alternative. A tape library would be impractical at the present time. What do you recommend?"

Comment Re:non-operating temperature range... (Score 5, Interesting) 484

The specs say differently:

Environmental requirements

Operating temperature: 32 to 95 F
(0 to 35 C)
Nonoperating temperature: -4 to 113 F
(-20 to 45 C)
Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing
Maximum operating altitude: 10,000 feet (3000 m)

You have got to be kidding me!!!

*Minimum* operating temp of 32 F?!?!?!

How the F can they sell this phone in northern climates? I live in WI and in Feb I will frequently go outside on a nice day to take a conf call and get some fresh air. A nice day being, at least, in the upper 20's.

Seriously dude, WTF?

/First /. post in like 5 years
//Apple makes some very nice products, but their arrogance is huge.
///Jobs was born is SW WI.

Comment Or before even that... (Score 5, Insightful) 413

They're worrying about CAD when they should be worrying about calculations and broad, system-level design. Remember, the first moon missions took place without the use of CAD. Detail designing the parts is a relatively small part of aerospace engineering. A better approach would be to prove their engineering legitimacy by analysis, then impress IBM/Dassault enough to donate a CATIA license to them. Give the rough launch vehicle design, the mission orbit design, the reentry vehicle type, and detailed quantified justifications and tradeoff studies for everything. It should be heavy with physics, and the calculations should be airtight. Expect a 500+ page technical report for this scale of project at this preliminary stage. Any explanatory sketches can be done by hand or any illustration program. You only need CAD when you're (1) ready to machine parts or (2) ready for detailed computational analysis. These guys are jumping the gun.

CAD isn't just about coming up with the part geometry by the way. Modern CAD/PLM involves massive amounts of metadata about materials, dimensions/tolerances (all locked in proprietary file formats), and keeping track of the relationships between parts, sub-assemblies and assemblies. You don't want to manually copy & paste 300 fasteners each time you recalculate stresses on a rocket nozzle, do you? It also automates many tedious design efforts. Want to figure out how to snake twenty miles of wiring, hydraulics and other tubing through a rocket with a hundred thousand parts? Oh also, each type of cable/tubing has a different minimum bend radius because of material stresses. Arc it too tightly and it cracks open during the launch vibrations, after having fatigued due to ambient thermal variations. And these are just a couple mechanical aspects of such a sprawling project that CAD must handle. You could "draw" the parts of just about any modern machine (fighter jet, car, bicycle) with an old copy of Maya used for the CGI in Jurassic Park. It'd be useless for analysis though because of the low numerical precision, and impossible for engineering because they have the most primitive handling of parametric modeling, and crude ability to work with multi-component (thousands) geometry.

Any teenager can come up with some gee-whiz 3d animation (that Mars lander animation from years ago was done by one). Could any teenager get funding for a mission to the moon? Work on your numbers first, then worry about software, you IT geeks you.

Comment lol (Score 5, Insightful) 413

Is this a joke? Your team page shows you have at most four engineers, who are mostly IT geeks, not experts in propulsion, aerospace structures or astrodynamics, with the possible exception of Dr Snyder. You have a fricken artist before having a real engineering team, or anything solid to promote. You guys make Armadillo Aerospace look like Lockheed Martin. At least SpaceX etc. while lacking other things, started with something (usually money), you guys don't have anything. Quit wasting your time.


FOSS CAD and 3D Modeling Software? 413

Paul server guy writes "I work at a privately funded, open source, manned, return to the moon mission — Yes really, and Yes, we really are going to put man (and woman) back on the moon. Since we are open source, we want all of our tools to be, too. What we are looking for is CAD software that we can feed into Blender (or the like) to do 3D modeling with. Many of the engineers have tried working with Blender and Art of Illusion, but have not been pleased. They want to just draw the parts, then feed them to the art people who will run them through the 3D modelers for videos, illustrations and such. What is your preference?"

US Dir. of Citizen Participation Patents the News 66

theodp writes "Ex-Googler and now White House Director of Citizen Participation Katie Stanton is charged with promoting open public dialogues. Last Thursday, Stanton and Google snagged a patent on displaying financial news. Google explains that Stanton's invention — Interactive Financial Charting and Related News Correlation — will 'facilitate and encourage the user's use and understanding of financial information,' which does jibe nicely with Stanton's appointment to Obama's New Media Team. Too bad it'll be encumbered by a Google patent until 2027."

The Secret Lives of Amazon's Elves 202

theodp writes "If Amazon is Santa, says Gizmodo's Joel Johnson, then the 400 folks living in RVs outside the Coffeyville, KS fulfillment center at Christmas time are the elves. Amazon didn't always lure in 'workcampers' from the RV community with the promise of free campgrounds and $10.50-$11 an hour seasonal jobs. 'Amazon had a bad experience busing in people from Tulsa,' explained tech nomad Chris Dunphy. 'There was a lot of theft and a lot of people who weren't really serious.' Workers from Tulsa were adding a 4-hour round-trip commute to a grueling 10-to-12 hour shift, Cherie Ve Ard added. 'They'd get there exhausted.' The work wasn't exactly what Cherie had envisioned."

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