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Comment Re:overclockers, gear heads.... (Score 1) 5

Remember: I have the license. I know the party line! :)

The types of things you're describing are the things that got me interested in it in the first place. But it's not enough to carry my interest.

For example, QRP interests me. How far can I go on 5W? Sounds cool. But once I build a radio, what do I do with it? Who do I talk to? Now I'm back to the old guys who only want to talk about their signal strength and what gear they're using.

On top of which, AR seems mired in old technology: CW and SSB. Where is the developments? I see *zero* digital--not even 20-year-old packet. I see almost *nothing* outside of HF (CW and SSB) and 2m repeaters. What is exciting about that?

So I still don't get it. I need something to *do* with the radios and antennas I build during the very long stretches of time in between the disasters! And I haven't found *anything* worth actually doing during those times.

I guess that's my question: what do you actually *do* with AR that makes it a worthwhile activity? If the answer is "build radios because I can", then I guess it's just not for me. I would like to actually *use* it for something productive. Every single thing that I could do with AR I can do 50 times easier and cheaper with something else.

I know what the next statement is: "But what will you do when there's no cellular coverage? No phone lines? No power?" I appreciate the value of such skills and resources. And I would like have such skills and resources. But I cannot afford to invest time into a hobby that I *might* use once in my life purposefully, if during the *rest* of the time there is almost nothing to do of even creative value. And that's what I'm looking for: some creative value that can be gotten from AR. After all, you can't spend *all* of your time building radios, right? You do want to actually *use* them, right? :)

Comment Why Amateur Radio? (Score 1) 5

I got my license back in December of 2000. I have done virtually *nothing* with it. All I've found is 60-something men sitting around talking about their signal strength... :( I even went to a few meetings of a couple of different local clubs, looking for something interesting to do. It seems that AR stopped innovating in the early 80's. Before the days of cell phones, maybe that was enough to keep interest in the product. But between cell phones (for convenient wireless communications) and the Internet (for instant worldwide communications), what is the appeal of Amateur Radio? What do you (and others) actually do with it?

The Air Car Nears Completion 750

torok writes "According to an article on Gizmag, Tata, India's largest automotive manufacturer, has developed a car that runs on compressed air. It costs less than $3 USD to fill a tank on which it can run for 200 to 300km. The car will cost about USD $7,300 and has a top speed of 68mph. About once every 50,000 km you have to change the oil (1 liter of vegetable oil). Initial plans are to produce 3,000 cars per year."

Submission + - Inside the kernel of a Windows Alternative

holden writes: "NewsForge is talking about a recent talk ReactOS lead kernel developer, Alex Ionescu, gave about the internals of ReactOS. In his talk, Ionescu explains the similarities between ReactOS and Windows. and how ReactOS is close to being API compatible with Windows Server 2003. The talk looks at a lot of the technical details of how the ReactOS team implements the Windows NT kernel functionality, along with some of the problems they've faced from graphics drivers which use hard-coded values and work-arounds they are considering."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Houses Cheaper than Cars in Detroit

lopie writes: It's a strange real estate world we live in when all of a sudden you can choose from hundreds of homes than are cheaper than the average automobile in Detroit. This blurb over at homebust gives a quick commentary on the state of the real estate market and examples of 218 homes that are cheaper than cars.

Submission + - The Sun, not Man, is Causing Global Warming

Sterling D. Allan writes: "There are plenty good reasons to go green. Global warming isn't one of them. A 76-minute documentary produced in England and published on YouTube destroys the arguments put forward by Al Gore and other activists who lay the primary blame for Global Warming at the feet of mankind. According to the documentary, CO2 historically lags earth mean temperatures by several hundred years. The lock-step relationship is between solar activity and earth temperatures. Man's contribution is puny in comparison. The earth has seen temperatures much warmer than today in previous cyclical periods."

Submission + - Burning Man IP contested

tinkerghost writes: The Burning Man Festival is evidently a hot issue right now. CNN has a small article about one of the original promoters suing the other 2. He's trying to get the 'Burning Man' IP (Trademark & Logo) released to the public domain — I would thing that CC-Non-commercial might be a better way to go.

Submission + - Lost Moon landing tapes discovered

de_smudger writes: For years 'lost' tapes recording data from the Apollo 11 Moon landing have been stored underneath the seats of Australian physics students. A recent search has uncovered them.

Recorded on telemetry tapes, they are said to be the best quality images of the landing (unconverted slow scan TV) yet to be seen by a public still fascinated by the early space race. These tapes were mislaid in the early 1980s on their way to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Submission + - NASA May have inadvertently killed Martian life

Nezer writes: "CNN is reporting that NASA may have killed, Martian microbes. From the article, "The Viking space probes of 1976-77 were looking for the wrong kind of life, so they didn't recognize it, a geology professor at Washington State University said." Could this be the beginnings of War of the Worlds?"

Submission + - IEEE's Winners & Losers of 2006

eldavojohn writes: "As far as technologies go, there are clear winners and clear losers. This month's IEEE Spectrum issue contains (in my opinion) an interesting list of winners and losers from 2006. Among the winners are a new radio technology, IP phone networks & memory technologies along with ethanol from sugarcane. Among the losers are tongue vision, LEDs in clothes, a flying car and (interestingly enough) ethanol from corn. I've seen some (if not all) of these technologies covered on Slashdot with some pretty heated debate on the amount of energy used versus the amount of energy consumed in biofuel production. Well, there's always 2007."

Submission + - Music Downloads in UK Charts

An anonymous reader writes: The BBC are carrying a story about how the rules governing the Official Music Sales Charts have been changed to allow the downloads of singles to influence the top 75 songs on the chart. Previously, the downloads were only counted for the week prior to the CD release.

Submission + - Open Project to Develop Renewable Energy System

rohar writes: "We have been working on a system that combines some existing indirect solar technologies to build a location independant, renewable, reliable and economically feasible indirect solar electrical power generation system. The idea is to "roll-your-own" geothermal source by capturing heat from the ambient air with a solar powered absorption heat pump, store it underground and generate electricity from the air cooling convection. When the air is cooler the stored heat is then used in a reverse process to generate electricity by transferring the heat back to the air when it is cooler (at night or seasonal). There are many additional benefits including clean water capture from the "dehumidifier" effect of the air cooling, construction from common materials and thermal storage that may be incorporated into dwelling heat systems."

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