Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Sinclair ZX81 kit (Score 1) 855

I had just been told by my collage adviser that I would not be able to graduate as planned because of one mandatory course which had not been taken. The reason was because it had a prerequisite that I as unable to get into. Five semesters in a row I had tried to get into the course but had been consistently bumped for other Engineering or Math majors. That prerequisite was "Introduction to Computers". So, I had already been screwed by this thing called a 'computer', and yet I didn't even know what they were or what they were for.

I happened to be teaching myself electronics in my spare time so I thought to look for a kit I could build on a limited budget. Just at that same point Sinclair put a kit on the market for a mere $200 (1980's money) which I was able scrape together. After receiving and building my kit I went knocking on doors down my dorm hall until I found one of the students that managed to get into that course (i.e. they bumped me from that course), and I dragged them down to my dorm room pointed at it and asked "what does it do?". He then showed me how to make it print out my name three times in a loop, and then left. I then wired my own keyboard by reverse engineering the membrane keyboard wiring, and built a 48k memory and expansion I/O expansion modules for it, and never looked back.

I did graduate, after forcing the University to accept alternate courses as credit, because it was their own policy that caused the problem, not by my choice. After graduation I still had the computer bug and pursued further education to better understand microprocessors. Now I have a MS in computer science and work in a Physics Laboratory as an analyst.

Comment Re:Logical thinkers vs Emotional thinkers (Score 1) 339

I believe you are spot on with that assessment. I had watched in dismay as my wife, an otherwise intelligent and well educated woman, fell lock stock and barrel for all the emotional rhetoric having no logical foundation during this past 2016 election. She had been reading all the rogue fake-news/alternate-fact websites and did absolutely no fact checking of anything they said, because that fact-checked answer would be contrary to what she wanted to believe. She listened to all the emotions and then closed her mind to any other possibility, and even stopped watching the nightly news that was more or less balanced reporting. Admittedly several stations were not very balanced, but then any publicity tended to be good publicity if you could prove you really didn't care what others thought about you and instead stuck to the emotions rather than facts or actual proposal of plans. The more indeterminate you were, with your expression of your intent, to put a plan together, the more the public at large liked the plan.

The bottom line is emotion won over any level or fact and reason. Nearly all the emotionally delivered [non-]promises were either impossible to implement (financially, politically, or even based on actual physics) or were not even founded upon documented facts, but rather just ill conceived partial thoughts, pulled from an 'A', far away in some alternate universe. No amount of logic or reason can prevail when someone becomes so emotionally entwined as to deny the simple fact that reality, as a thing, might possibly exist somewhere on this planet.

Step right up. Get your "super big" "completely impregnable" wall here, and we will solve all your problems! Never mind that man behind the curtain! [e.g. If you do get the wall as promised by the opulent snake-oil salesman, you also get the shaft. You are definitely paying for it, every penny, in the form of higher prices, not the Mexicans. One would think a Billionaire would understand simple economics. As an extra "free-be" we can throw in a little something to make that deal even sweeter, "all the US wildlife on this side of the river get to die of thirst, without the ability to get to the river". Ding, Ding, Ding! Give that little girl a dolly! Under this current "plan" we also stand to save lots of money on wildlife restoration programs, because there might not be anything left to save in the arid desert regions. Meanwhile the Mexicans just continue to climb over the existing wall, digging tunnels under it, or possibly shift to spending their normal smuggler handling fee instead on a standby airplane ticket for a "fun-packed-vacation" to the US, and just burn the passport/evidence and forget to go home. One positive benefit of the wall building project will likely be lots of on the job training for the Mexicans, who will likely be hired at minimum wage (or below) to actually build it.]

Comment This months reading list? (Score 1) 259

Well, If anyone has problems sleeping at night I have a one month supply of something that can help.

For expanding knowledge at Work:
Compiler Design and Construction
Compilers: Principles, Techniques, and Tools
Knowledge and Representation
Introduction to Quantum Computers
Expert Systems: Principles and Programming, Fourth Edition
Situated Cognition: On Human Knowledge and Computer Representations (Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives)
Principles of Semantic Networks: Explorations in the Representation of Knowledge
Representations of Commonsense Knowledge (Morgan Kaufmann Series in Representation and Reasoning)
Parallel and Constraint Logic Programming: An Introduction to Logic, Parallelism and Constraints
Expert Systems: Principles and Programming
The Engineering of Knowledge-Based Systems
Introduction to Expert Systems (International Computer Science Series)
Expert Systems: Principles and Programming, 2nd (The Pws Series in Computer Science)

For personal Interest:
Hands-On Start to Wolfram Mathematica: And Programming with the Wolfram Language
Mathematical Methods Using Mathematica®: For Students of Physics and Related Fields (Undergraduate Texts in Contemporary Physics)
Mathematica for Theoretical Physics: Electrodynamics, Quantum Mechanics, General Relativity, and Fractals
An Introduction to Mathematical Cosmology
Gravitation And Cosmology: Principles And Applications Of The General Theory Of Relativity
A Most Incomprehensible Thing: Notes Towards a Very Gentle Introduction to the Mathematics of Relativity
Applications of Tensor Analysis (Dover Books on Mathematics)
Mathematica Navigator: Mathematics, Statistics and Graphics, Third Edition
Mathematica for Physics (2nd Edition)

Just because I'm curious about why there is so much that needs to be known these days.
The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan
Journey through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics

For some reason I can never quite find enough time to get to that last set.

Comment Re:Oh, my sides (Score 1) 132

Apparently not changing an existing "policy", that costs zero dollars to maintain, is just too "expensive", considering that the said policy does not provide any cash revenue stream to the current establishment. At least in throwing that policy out the window the establishment will soon see the money start moving again, first out of our pockets, into the paid-for services owners pockets, before a small portion of it is diverted into the politicians own pockets. This is how they "balance" deficit in DC these days, as we now understand things. Too bad its not the US deficit that is being balanced.

The problem this "solution" seems to solve is only Sqrt[-1]

Comment Re:LG EULA (Score 1) 76

What if a household member or a random friend "accepts" the EULA, are you hosed forever? Can you take the consent back? (What if the TV was pre-owned?)

There is no telling if they even pay attention to whether you clicked through the EULA or not. The thing is, in order for their surveillance "feature" to work the TV needs access to the Internet. They need to stream the video and audio back to the mother ship for any voice-to-text or image recognition to figure out what you are doing during those commercials, etc. So the traffic would be quite evident on your network. Checking for software updates only takes a split second so the difference is many orders of magnitude.

Economically the processing of this data can not be inside the TV proper because the set would cost more than the competitors, and they would win, so off-loading the processing would be necessary. This might be low fidelity audio and slow page frame video snapshots for simply detecting motion. In the case of the LG an adversary would only have to get you to install an App (aka Android type app) for someone else to divert that traffic flow to their own processors.

Good luck with that. I have three routers, firewalls, and network monitoring to make sure nothing gets in/out I don't know about. I even have a DMZ for my voip. My TV is fed a single HDMI connector from a recording DVR which has full service to the network, but constrained to where even it can connect.

Could even happen in a business or other setting where any random person who gets to hold the remote might click on it, be it an employee, contractor, customer, passers by. A conference room might have a cheap 65" TV or smaller they're using to cast documents to.

Again, this depends on the internet access you provide to the device. Having onboard WiFi could be a very bad thing for a company, but most conference room monitors I know don't get direct access, but instead are controlled by a computer to display media/presentations. Its only as safe as the IT department is smart, so this gives a whole new meaning to having a Smart-TV?

Comment LG EULA (Score 1) 76

I bought a LG TV a number of years ago and during a firmware upgrade I was presented with a EULA. Being curious as to why I needed to click-yes for anything I read through the "agreement" which was quickly rejected hands down. The wanted me to agree that they could watch and listen to us in the room and provide aggregated information back to companies collecting/compiling the ratings for shows. The TV has the ability to load programs for games and additional internet content which can not be used unless you buy into the anti-privacy police state utopia where anyone can tap into your life and find out what you are saying about the politics of the day.

Honestly, if Trump wants to know what I am saying about his performance he doesn't need to go talk to the Koreans (LG), he can just call me direct. I'm sure he has my number by now, due to the TV still sitting in my living room. I suspect the Government doesn't care about any EULA with the Koreans, and since my TV contacts LG periodically (over seas network connection) for updates, theoretically I'm already on the Government radar despite saying "no" to that EULA. Black tape over the lens, and epoxy in the microphone is all they will see and hear now days. If they want me to turn their "entertainment channel" again they will just need to ask nicely. Maybe I'll trade for one of those Russian channels they've got.

Comment Good luck with that. (Score 1) 107

Good luck with that.

I work with the experts that go to bat both with/for the FAA on many key technologies. I wrote to the FAA about this exact solution over two years ago, before the problem was even that prominent in the news.


No reply.
No thanks for the idea, but...
What, not even a demeaning rejection form letter?

I take it that some random Chinese manufacturer has more clout than a UARC research scientist?

Ok, this is the New Government we are talking about here. Maybe I should have just tweeted the idea to get noticed.

Comment Already doing that for years (Score 1) 108

I have been using a Tivo with a free Comcast cablecard for many years without renting their "cable box". Comcast was required by law to give me two free cable cards, and each card went into a dual channel Tivo receiver to record two simultaneous standard "broadcast" stations on each, for a total of four recording channels for zero cost beyond the dirt cheap package that Comcast doesn't want you to know exists. Between that and Amazon Prime video I have way more than I can keep up with. I was not about to upgrade the Comcast service with all the wiz-bang-HD-you-pay-for-it channels. When they finally think to unbundle the expensive channels packages and give me what few channels I do want, then we'll see. In the mean time I have _way_ more than enough to watch without all the expensive upgrades.

Comment The billionaires (Score 1) 334

The billionaires running the country just want to know when they can buy golf clubs made out of this stuff Their brilliant reasoning, that Hydrogen is so light weight, so these clubs ought to sent those balls just flying in Scotland! Never mind the 495 GigaPascals of compression, or the gigawats needed to create just micrograms, they say this stuff is shiny!

Next 2:00AM Tweet: "We got something you don't got #Putin" "I'm going golfing tomorrow #Putin Ha ha"

This is exactly the type of thing they want their future US research dollars going into. None of that wasted warm-whatever research, its millions of new manufacturing jobs on the line! Those Chinese and Mexicans still have a long way to to go to catch up before making that cheap stuff. We will just tax it at the border, raising our own prices, to pay for the wall that they will just swim around, dig under, or buy a plane ticket to fly over legally. We'll show them who's really paying for that wall!

Comment My ex-supervisor, many years ago tried this... (Score 1) 433

Then one day, he made the mistake of asking me to fudge a time card on a Government contract. He is now history, canned quickly, and unemployable on anything Government at this point.

You can irritate your underlings, you can abuse your power in a small company, but in a slightly larger one with Government contracts don't even get caught breaking the law. Not sure if this helps, but there are some things you just can't talk your way out of with upper management. Being a superstar just won't save you when you royally screw up.

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. I wonder how that happened?

Comment It already has. (Score 1) 504

Solar is already cheaper once you factor in the cost to our Ecology, health, etc. The only thing holding back wind and solar is a good mechanism for load leveling the differences between day and night, wind and no wind. While some regions are capable of pumping water uphill to level out the power availability, what is missing is a more general mechanism such as huge banks of "flow batteries" that charge an electrolyte that can be stored in mass quantity and used to put power on the grid when needed. This temporary energy storage problem should be where the real research grant money should be invested, but don't hold your breath for Trump to do anything like that. For the next four years its up to private investors to choose and invest wisely in technology that has the potential to fix things.

Comment Re:In Short (Score 1) 101

How would a Class Action suit stack up against the 'overly broad' request? Should they not be required to show justification for each request? How is this any different than a bulk search and seizure of personal banking statements without a warrant stating what specific activity is even being searched for?

Slashdot Top Deals

panic: kernel trap (ignored)