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Comment Re:RF harvesting can work for power. (Score 4, Informative) 110

Most rechargeable batteries have a substantial self discharge rate and will go to zero in a few months with charging.

This used to be the case, but for a decade or so now there are rechargeable 'ready to use'/'low self-discharge' (LSD) NiMH batteries on the market that can hold a significant amount of their charge for several years (for good ones, 75% after 3 years). LSD NiMH's do have a bit smaller capacity per volume but that is maybe a 10-20% difference, at the most.

But maybe these sensors have a rechargeable Li-Ion battery? I don't know about LSD types of those but Li-Ion have very bad charging characteristics when almost empty (high internal resistance - so it's harder to charge the emptier it is) so I don't think they are useful when recharging in these extremely low power conditions. And then there are supercapacitors, but they have a way too high self-discharge rate to be able to claim 5 years of operation on the 'battery' alone.

Submission + - New Whistleblower Points To Lawful Disclosure Method Edward Snowden Didn't Try 1

blottsie writes: John Crane, a former head of whistleblower protections has become a whistleblower himself, laying bare how official channels designed for government workers to safely expose wrongdoing are ensnaring them instead. Though some are calling the revelations “vindication for Edward Snowden,” the Crane refuses to condone Snowden’s decision, telling the Daily Dot that the former National Security Agency contractor left a key, legal avenue unexplored.

Submission + - Google Plans to Replace Passwords on Android With Trust Score

Trailrunner7 writes: Within the next six months, all Android developers likely will have access to a Google API stemming from its Project Abacus that aims to replace the password with a multi-modal system as the primary authenticator for mobile users.

The idea behind the system is two-fold: passwords are rapidly approaching uselessness; and biometric identifiers are now advanced enough to be used for high-value applications. Google unveiled the idea for Project Abacus last year, saying that it hoped to replace passwords with a system that constantly observes users’ interactions with their devices, such as their patterns of typing, facial recognition, voice recognition, and then builds them into a comprehensive trust score. That score then is used to grant or deny access to apps.

Google officials plan to give a group of financial institutions access to the Project Abacus API in June, and hopes to expand that to all Android developers by the end of the year.

Submission + - Utah Lawmaker Wants Porn Filters on Phones and The Internet

JustAnotherOldGuy writes: Here we go again...Republican Sen. Todd Weiler continues his anti-porn crusade by introducing a bill that would require porn filters to be placed on the Internet and phones. His previous resolution declaring pornography a public health crisis, which sailed through the 2016 session, was only the first step. Weiler said that two other bills he's drafting would help to restrict kids' access to pornography by adding filters on IPhones and tablets, and in libraries. The idea would be that these devices would come pre-installed so that they filter out porn sites, he said. In order to remove the filter, the user would have to prove that they're at least 18 years old. First Amendment lawyer Andrew McCullough says such a requirement would restrict free speech, as it would involve blocking certain postings. "I really don't expect that the state of Utah is going to be able to exercise that kind of control over an interstate item such as the Internet," he said. "I don't think they have the jurisdiction to." Sen. Todd Weiler doesn't seem to understand that blocking porn is about as feasible as blocking cat pictures- impossible to do technologically as well as legally.

Submission + - SPAM: SoftBank's Pepper Robot Lands Job At Pizza Hut

An anonymous reader writes: SoftBank’s humanoid robot Pepper is to be introduced in Pizza Hut restaurants in Singapore by the end of the year. Pepper will be responsible for placing customer orders and processing payments via MasterCard digital service MasterPass. According to the U.S. payments network, Pepper will take orders either verbally from the customer or digitally through the tablet attached to its chest. Diners can ask for recommendations and special offers, and also request nutritional information and further details about the food and drink.

Submission + - Successful Flight Test For India's Experimental Reusable Spaceplane (gizmag.com)

Zothecula writes: India has entered the ranks of spacefaring nations with reusable spacecraft, as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) conducted the first flight of its locally-built spaceplane demonstrator. The unmanned, scale hypersonic Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) spaceplane took off yesterday at 7:00 am IST on a suborbital flight of 770 seconds from First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota and was safely recovered after a successful reentry and splashdown.

Submission + - Google France Being Raided for €1.6B Unpaid Taxes

jones_supa writes: Investigators in France have raided Google's Paris headquarters amid a probe over the company's tax payments, Reuters reported. The French Finance Ministry is investigating €1.6 billion in back taxes. According to a report in French daily Le Parisien, at least 100 investigators are part of the raid at Google's offices. A source close to the finance ministry said that the raid at Google's offices has been ongoing in Tuesday since 03:00 GMT. In February, a source at the French Finance Ministry told Reuters that the government was seeking the €1.6B from Google. At the time, official spokespeople for Google France and the Finance Ministry refused to comment on the situation.

Comment Re:Not new (Score 4, Informative) 33

What you describe is not full duplex. Two radios working together, taking turns (one transmitting, then one receiving, etc.) is the very definition of half duplex. And one radio in constant operation is simplex of course. Full duplex is always a situation where two radios are used in constant operation. One sending, one transmitting.

Full duplex using two radios on different frequencies is old school. Just a matter of a good combination of filters and enough frequency separation.

Full duplex using two radios on the SAME frequency, using directional signals is difficult but not undo-able. As long as you can prevent your receiver being blown up by your own transmission signal (and hope an unexpected reflective object in your signal path doesn't undo all your careful physical transmitter-receiver antenna separation).

Full duplex using two radios (both in continuous operation, one transmitting, one receiving, as defined at the top of my post) on exactly the SAME frequency while using a SINGLE (omni-directional) antenna is a true nightmare. And apparently these guys did just that with technology that promises it to be available in hand-held appliances.

RTFA, they used a combination of a circulator on silicon (which is the most innovative part. The circulator used in the project described by the article should kill most of the transmitted signal otherwise picked up directly by the receiver) and echo cancellation (which they developed earlier and is used to subtract any transmitter signal left which should mostly be echoes from objects that reflect the transmitted signal at distance and possibly internal echo from a sub-optimal antenna) on the received signal at the receiver end, so they can then try amplifying what's left. Which should be the (weak) signals that are transmitted towards the antenna by another transceiver.

Exciting stuff :)
73, PG8W

Comment Missing option: No, I like the desktop site as is (Score 1) 166

Make the desktop site elements responsive

If that is exactly what they would be doing... hmmmmokay. I'd feel bad for the NoScript guys but c'mon, it's no longer 1994. Why can't you use whitelists? And there are other (more advanced) technologies out there that could help with selective blocking.

Back to the main subject. If they actually take the desktop site as basis and add scaling and shifting of the page elements to make readability better on small screen devices, I'm all for it. Not so much if they 'blow up' the mobile site and call it 'fully responsive'. (I feel there's a joke option in my previous line there, somewhere...)

Comment Re:So what? (Score 4, Interesting) 354

I'm not saying Python is just right... but its development was started because the, then current, mature programming languages (C and shellscript) didn't support the mix of features Guido van Rossum needed... and a language that had many features he did like (ABC), he 'had a number of gripes about' (mainly it was a PITA to extend) so he started making Python.
It was a typical case of 'developer not happy with current tools, starts making his own almost from scratch'. I see a lot of parallels with this Redux case, and yes I know Python had 27 years to come where it is today. It's already been very usable for most of that time... version 1.0 was released in 'just' 5 years. Same with Linux, by the way, that was made by Torvalds because he wanted a quick and dirty Unix like OS on his 386 and the Hurd didn't cut it. Neither did Minix, which was 16 bit. It took 4 years there to get to 1.0.

So... let's see in 5 years, shall we? Maybe Redux will be something interesting. But, as I said, they need to do a lot of work first, and then, maybe, there will be others willing to help out. Making a lot of noise first is probably not going to help them get more 'eyeballs'.

Comment Re:So what? (Score 2) 354

Well, most of the time you are right. And then there was Python.

Sometimes it works. But there never is an 'easy fix'. If you believe you're doing it better, it still needs a lot of work and convincing to be perceived as being better, let alone actually be better than what there was previously. A quick '0.1' and some documentation is not enough to convince the majority of users to join your band wagon. If you think all the work to get to '1.0' is preferable over fixing what's wrong in the established stuff that you view as inferior, go ahead. But be prepared to do a lot of loveless work before you get your results.

Comment Re:Let's all start running now! (Score 3, Interesting) 421

,quote>Where would Florida pump the water to? The ocean?

Well we (Dutch) do... if it's high tide and internal water levels are too high. But usually we let it go at low tide. That's the wonderful thing about the sea... it's dynamic. You 'just' have to have some internal basins to temporarily store fresh-water surplus and adjustable storm surge barriers in your major estuaries.

the Dutch are surrounded by mountains

Not .. quite. At the North and West we have the North Sea, of course. Our Northern flank has a shallow marshy-sea-land type of area and a string of sandy islands stretching a 100 miles or so in a west-east direction and a few dozen miles wide. The Western flank is sand dunes. And the South-west are major estuaries with river-separated islands... and those storm surge barriers, of which one major one (Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier) is adjustable so it only closes when a storm hits. Oh, and the North-western area of our country contains a (very large, used to be even a lot larger) lake, which used to be a sea in its own right. But we dammed that off and now it's a fresh-water lake with about half the area poldered in, so that's a new provice (we do not have states, but provinces) now.

At the South we have Belgium, which is an independent nation. They have less costs for their water-works because they don't have the major estuaries we Dutch have... but Belgium is still part of the 'Low countries', as is a piece of Northern France and the whole area is not much above sea-level. Then, at the South-east we have a couple of hills of which -maybe- the south-eastern tip might qualify as a mountain (its highest peak is 322 meters (1056 feet) above sea-level). East we have the German low lands, of which the Northern part looks very similar to our North-east,including the shallow marshy sea-land and more sandy islands, all the way up-to and including parts of Denmark, another nation yet again. East-south-east we have the Rhine flowing and the Rhine-Ruhr gebied, which is still quite low and one of the major population areas of Germany. It's only beyond that, there are proper mountains.

Comment Re:Let's all start running now! (Score 5, Informative) 421

We do get a couple of violent storms each year (in the 10 beaufort region), Hurricanes (12 beaufort), probably not... For the Netherlands such violent storms are more like a once in couple of decades event. In the '90's there was a severe storm travelling through North-West Europe with an hourly average wind force of 11 beaufort in the Netherlands and dozens of fatalities in at least 5 different countries.

Although our storms may not be as violent as the hurricanes of the American South-east, there is a trough-shape in the North Sea due to the British isles at our West, which ads extra height to the local sea-level when wind is blowing from the North. That effect is one you won't have at the Florida coast. Sea water can be diverted in enough directions there, but force of the waves may be larger with more violent storms... so you maybe need tougher (thick-skinned, so to speak... more use of rocks to break the waves instead of sand dunes and earthen dikes?) dikes instead of higher ones. However, I think the hurricanes you have should not be a hindrance to implement proper water works in your country if you really want to defend the coastal lands from future flooding. There, however, is a totally different price to pay. A dyke between beach property and the proper beach makes the property a lot less ... beachy.

In combination with spring-tide, the elevated sea level due to the trough shape of the North Sea, caused the 1953 sea-side flood which flooded major parts of the Netherlands and killed over 1800 people in the Netherlands alone. The sea level rose 4,5 meters (15 feet) above normal. That last major flood in Dutch history was the reason we implemented our major water works, the Delta works, which have kept us safe since then. The 2006 'flood', which caused a rise in sea level of 4,8 meter (16 feet) didn't cause any flooding in the Netherlands. And all water works functioned within proper specifications.

A once in a couple of decades event, like the 2006, 1990 and 1953 storms is something which is fully calculate into the structural specifications of our water works. The Delta works, reduced the risk from large-scale sea-side flooding from once in 80 years to once in 4 millennia. We also recently (a decade ago) strengthened the river dykes to prevent flooding by higher river water levels. Global warming means more water ice from glaciers is melting and more evaporation above land and sea -> more rain inland, adding to the usual run-off, causing higher peak-water levels. This caused some inconviniences in the '00's... Previous predictions were too conservative and we acted accordingly. The largest river of North-West Europe, the Rhine flows right through our country... If a storm crosses Germany, we see the result in rising water levels a couple of days later. But also the Meuse, which also flows through the Netherlands and which is a rain-fed river, mostly, can put up quite an act.

And temperatures have been rising, storms are become more violent on average. In 2013 we had a weather pattern which could, for the first time in history, be described as a super-cell, with two accompanying tornadoes.

Comment Bees are collecting honey here... (Score 4, Informative) 446

Well, here in the Netherlands, the number of days there was frost at day-time this winter could be counted on a single hand. I may have had central heating on for maybe two weeks in days in total ('80s concrete apartment, 60 sq.m, bottom corner, reasonably isolated, double glass on one side, no indirect heat from neighbours because that apartment is empty) the past half year. It certainly has been the mildest winter in human recollection here. Positive: I'll probably get returned a shit-load of money on my energy bill advances this year. There has been no snow to mention this year. In the northern part there has been one frosty period of a week or so and some nice snow... but not in the center and bottom 2/3ds of our country.

Spring flowers are in full bloom, bees are collecting honey, trees are budding... at the end of February/start of March... it's all quite strange...

A few decades ago we would have been able to ice-skate on natural ice for several weeks or even months each year... Marathons and '11 cities' full day races on frozen canals and rivers. One year even the Rhine (the largest river in the northwestern part of the European continent) froze over. In the last couple of years the number of days of skate-able ice may have been a few weeks, at the most. And this year it was only a few hours. So there were national championships ice skating on natural ice this year... the one day it was possible to skate on a thoroughly nurtured 'natural' ice track somewhere in the north-eastern part of our country...

Comment Re: Do you need better performance for a teaching (Score 0) 287

Ah, you never understood the attraction of geekiness and I'm afraid you never will for our minds probably are too alien for each other to reach some form of mutual understanding.

In the '80's you were playing street soccer while I was coding my first lines on a ZX spectrum.
In the '90's you started dating girls while I explored the realms of procedural programming, fractals and electronic music.
At the turn of the millennium I bought a Creative Nomad Jukebox already knowing for 4 years, MP3 was here to stay (using XMMS on Linux, being able to stably decode high quality stereo VBR on a Pentium 200MHz CPU and have enough CPU cycles left for a usable, responsive GUI, to boot). You bought your iPod a year later and thought you were super hip.
Ten years later you probably have a wife, some kids, work for sales or in government... or maybe you're one of those banker guys? I'm probably working in IT, doing work I thoroughly enjoy doing for reasonable hours and reasonable pay. Or I work like crazy on stuff I'm really good at... It's a bit stressfull, but I'm making a shit-load of money in the process. Either that or I've just IPO'd a tech start-up.

I may or may not have a wife and kids 'though. If I do have them, my son of 7 is getting a RPi for his birthday to tinker with. I'll watch him carefully while he's soldering for his first extension project.... like my dad did 33 years ago when he offered me a safe interface on the ZX Spectrum's edge connector... in case my first try would result in smoke otherwise.

 

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