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Comment Dumbass effect + solar roadway alt. uses (Score 2) 163

After Malda left, I think the smart "industry / geek" commenters left for Reddit where there's more forum specialization, and the "contrary for contrariness' sake" crowd of commenters drifted in as /. got more mainstream (more traffic, ads, etc.) It's not all dumbasses, just less posting from the old-thymers as they still *read* /., but *post* on specialized forums these days. I mean, shit, we both have 6-digit UIDs in the 2xxxxx range, so we've been reading Slashdot for... ~18 years by now.

I suspect these "Debbie Downers" cribbed the "I'm contrary, I hate everything" schtick off some late-aughties comedian, because I started seeing the same "style" pop up all over the 'nets around the same time.

Look at their posts: they just sit around and bitch. They are most definitely not building the future - they're off on the sidelines moaning about How Difficult Everything Is (waah). I've actually known a few in real life: they are generally excuse-making, low ambition, lazy, have little to offer the world, and will be forgotten within their own generation. They are followers, and distant ones at that... tellingly, "sheep" is one of their top pejorative words.

So after the ranting, I gotta put my mouth smack dab where the money is - you know, generate good commentary for the /. community. Because I'll be damned if whipslash bought this sumbitch from Dice only to have it populated by a handful of do-nothing trogs. So back to the topic at hand:

I've seen flexible solar panels, and foldable ones, but not fancy tempered ones with integrated LEDs. These inventors may have something if they "pivot" (whoops- another coin in the swear jar!) away from the "solar roadways" moniker and focus on the rugged, integrated aspect. That's gotta be useful for something a bit higher-profit than replacement road surfaces. Like so:
* Pedestrian crossings.
* Fancy solar-LED-mosaic tiles for outdoor spaces.
* Markers for marathons, etc. Shit, you could put long range RF tag scanners in them and deploy as needed around the course. (Non-runners: In races, runners pin these single-use RFID type labels to their shirts so their times are easily - and cheaply - logged by sensors around the course.)
* Make some pentagonal ones too and cover a dome house in a high-risk hurricane area with them, like a soccer ball. Regular panels would fly away.
* Master what I can only assume is a "laminate the solar panel to the tempered glass" technique and start doing it with curved surfaces; have vandal-resistant solar facings.
* Pop a couple high-powered LEDs (omnidirectional) in there and have solar flares (not that kind) for construction sites, highway maintenance crews, truckx0rs, etc.
* Make high-end ruggedized panels for seagoing boats (that have a higher chance of capsizing, etc.)

I like where they're going by over-engineering the things so you can drive over them - just look for more uses for that kind of ruggedization instead of solaring the roadways. The roadways don't need solaring quite yet - as the others have mentioned, putting it *over* the road is a better place to start.

Comment Missing the forest for the trees (Score 1) 173

Because "technology" with its associated carbon footprint is going to lower atmospheric CO2 concentration and increase O2 concentration to get the atmosphere back in balance, Sure, wake me up when that happens.
If only there was a machine that could convert CO2 to O2, sequester the carbon *and* require no electricity to use.
Oh wait, they're called trees. But those won't earn consulting fees for pundits and are decidedly "unsexy" to report about.
My prediction? People will screw it up with these thinly-disguised cash-grabs, RT, "solutions," until the 11th hour when we're all dependent on wearing oxygen backpacks, then FINALLY the dopes will start engineering high-yield trees which are efficient at sequestering CO2. But first they'll exhaust all the stupid solutions.
"Technology," indeed. How about some common sense?

Comment Re:Slashdot has died (Score 2) 303

>> Slashdot is dead, and this is its rotting corpse.
> Where shall we all go, then?

'Tis truth. But... who shall bell the cat?

Ever since Taco left, I find that I've been patching together select RSS feeds from other sites for my nerd news fix. But RSS lacks one thing: Slashdot commenters, for better or for worse.

Sometimes the discussion on /. degenerates into a bunch of shit-flinging monkeys, but dammit, they're our shit-flinging monkeys. Don't forget, editors: Slashdot is user-driven and the readers are the ones who submit the articles. How many submissions were rejected so that this article from Mr. I-can-barely-use-SSH could appear on the front page?

I feel like, somehow, the editors lost a lot of technical savvy in the last year and are now incapable of properly judging submissions. Or have we hemorrhaged so many good submitters that this is the best they've got to pick from?

Comment Repurposed Allwinner tablets (Score 5, Interesting) 133

I started working on an embedded project (hobby, not work) that needed something beefier than an Arduino. Took my time looking at what's out there: various ARM dev boards, the Raspi (with its proprietary Broadcom chip) and one or two other "embeddable" platforms.

Last week, I was working out how to interface to a display (and the grinding that would entail). The same day, Slashdot ran the "hardware is dead" article. So, I took a chance and ordered a generic 7" tablet. They aren't kidding - these things are under $60 shipped. That's like 2 days' parking in downtown SF.

It uses the Allwinner A13 SoC (ARM core, integrated 10/100 ethernet, GPL'd kernel sources). Runs Android 4 out of the box, but Debian will also run. I can just hang an Arduino off the USB bus for my custom I/O, and code up a touch-based interface. Shoot, looks like it'll be easier to develop for than the Raspi.

I'm all for hackery for hackery's sake, but now that it's "the future," I'm glad we don't have to lift ourselves up by the bootstraps in order to do every little thing. It lets me concentrate on hackery at the macro level.

Comment If it was my arm, first, the steampunk. (Score 2) 171

Doesn't this sound a bit drastic? Damn, if it were me I'd be hax0ring it.

There's groups on places like the Open Prosthetic Project, who could design something for a use case like this. Probably for less than the cost of a "replacement."

Why remove her hand, when you could support it with a rigid exoskeleton? Minimalist carbon fiber spars and rings (a ring around each knuckle), very light but strong, and little external actuators that sit in the wrist / forearm. Nylon worm gear and a little 12V DC motor for each digit. Run back to an Arduino or similar and pull input from the last-known-good nerves around the base of the arm. Basically support the (numb) arm in position and have the exoskeleton move it around. Lock the wrist in the first iteration as you refine the design. Lots of little vacuum actuated suckers that keep the whole shebang stuck to the skin (creepy, but secure!)

A hundred bucks of carbon fiber, maybe a couple thousand bucks of really good fasteners and electronics, tubing, motors, pump, rubber and CNC work. $10,000 a month (for 3-6 months, depending) to a hacker who knows what he's doing.

Just sayin'.

Comment Yes, it would indeed be terrifying (Score 1) 258

After watching this simulation of a computerized intersection, I would say that the situation at the street level would mean the end of airbags in cars, and the introduction of anti-pants-shitting technology for the passengers.

The group's videos page with their approach and statistics is quite good as well.

Comment Re:PPC vs Intel suspend/resume (Score 1) 453

I suspect the non-standard, weirdly-driver'ed power controller is the only reason you're getting good sleep performance out of Windows. It's good to know Toshiba's putting in the effort to make that aspect of Windows nice. I've always had rotten luck with Windows sleep, so I'm one of those people that walks around with their laptop lid open. ;-)

Even with my latest Core i7 unibody, it's slow to sleep/wake. A little faster, but a PowerBook it ain't. Was just working on an old 1.66GHz PowerBook, and marveled at how fast that old beast did this.

Comment PPC vs Intel suspend/resume (Score 1) 453

Clevenger, is it just me, or did the PPC Macs have better sleep/wake capability than the Intel Macs?

Used to be that when you closed the lid on an (aluminum) PowerBook, it'd go to sleep within one second flat. Same when opening the lid. On every Intel MBP I've used, including the 5 or 6 I've owned, when I close the lid, they whir and beep and bloop for almost 10 seconds - sometimes more - before going to sleep. On wake, it's usually faster than that, but typically is around 3 seconds to get a proper image. I've also seen waaaaay more "phantom sleep/wake" issues with the Intels, where a machine refuses to come out of sleep, etc. My hunch is it's something to do with re-purposed Intel hardware as opposed to purpose-built PPC hardware, EFI notwithstanding. Or, could be the "shadow hibernation" function saving to disk, which the GP was talking about.

Eh. Still smokes any PC I've used, though!

Comment Re:Pandora (Score 1) 194

Happened to me, too. You can change your Pandora password 'til the cows come home, and the old phone will still be able to login!

Best part is, Pandora keeps their UDID databases inaccessible from your account, so you can't just login to Pandora and see the device(s) associated with that account. You have to email Customer Service and ask them to delete all your devices, whatever those may be. Happens on their (paid) desktop client, too. I put in a feature request to make our devices available in our account settings, but I'm not holding my breath.

For what it's worth, Pandora Support told me that if I chose "log out" on the Pandora iPhone client before getting rid of my old phone, it would have removed the UDID from their database. I half-believe this: more likely it's just marked it as "logged off."

Comment Re:Look at people who do it well (Score 1) 421

Personally, I would not give them "snacks," as that will make them fat. The handsome room's aesthetics will be spoiled by a bunch of fatasses at the desks. Providing exercise equipment will not help, as they won't use it and instead will eat the snacks. Think dogs: 3 meals a day is recommended; any more (by way of snacks) leads to fatassery, especially as snacks require no preparation.

Fatness rant over. I'd also think about the following:

- acoustics, so as to provide for a less-tiresome work environment. Should be pretty quiet all the time, no humming from machines, etc.
- lighting, assuming reflective displays and 2-3 generations of displays being swapped out over the lifetime of the NOC.
- height of "pods." Do you want their heads to be visible to each other? Just eyes? Nothing (traditional cubicles)? I'd recommend their heads or eyes be visible to each other, as traditional cubicles tend to lead to less interaction and more fucking around.
- level of built-in-idness. That's not a word but let me clarify. Do you want über-fancy, mission-control stuff with flush-mounted displays and consoles, or something a little like a more traditional office? For upgrades and such, the latter is a better choice, but isn't as "sexy." If you need teh sexy, go with dark desks and partitions (black) with either black or aluminum hardware on the desk (Apple Cinema Display type stuff).
- cable management, and whether you'll allow personal gadgets and such on desks. Where will they plug them in?
- furniture company. You're on your own on this one, but likely you'll need to choose an office system. We use a HON open plan at work, but it's all white and very 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Personally I'd use smoked glass everywhere and completely overdo the 80s mission-control room thing. Why the hell not? The only thing that would "date" it is if you got all tacky. Speaking of 2001, check out those set designs. Still timeless. May want to hire an architect with a portfolio of stuff that you like and have them do some concepts.

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