Comments

Re: Great article (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Man versus lava; Hawaii versus hurricane on 2014-10-19 01:05 (#2TF7)

Not too squarely on the main topic of technology & electronics, but it's sciency and I found it interesting enough. Plus I figured the weekend was going to be pretty dead (no Friday Distro?) and wanted to come up with something...

Supporting projects needed (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Debian to vote on init system... again on 2014-10-18 00:46 (#2TEW)

It isn't just software depending on systemd, it's also projects that have been encompassed by it. Services few people even think about, like udev, dbus, and others, are being swallowed by systemd, and no longer developed as a result. A vote won't change reality, somebody is going to have to put in the time and money to pick up development of those and similar inglorious "glue" projects, to keep SystemV init working.

I could do without another systemd shouting-match...

Re: Electric bikes? (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in A new approach to assisted biking: the Copenhagen wheel on 2014-10-17 15:24 (#2TEQ)

Gas? Seriously? Sure to be noisy as hell and draw all kinds of attention you don't want, emit gas fumes wherever you store it, and not be allowed on trains/buses as a result.

Re: Line of Sight & Rain/Snow? (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Google possibly investigating high-speed wireless alternatives to fiber on 2014-10-17 12:16 (#2TEF)

That is certainly a good point, but dealing with rain/snow fade is just a matter of increasing the signal strength several percent more to compensate. At such short distances as discussed here, it should be quite easy to manage very high signal levels to the destination.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rain_fade

Re: Electric bikes? (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in A new approach to assisted biking: the Copenhagen wheel on 2014-10-17 09:22 (#2TEC)

I'd go for the E300S, and just detach the seat immediately. Much smoother ride that way (standing), safer, easier to stow, etc. That "ecosmart" would have bars sticking up in your way to trip you even after removing the seat.

Re: That's no moon (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in New Tablets Announced on 2014-10-16 08:17 (#2TDG)

I think you're right... A phone with a 6" screen, simply ceases to be a phone. It's a tablet that can also make phone calls, which isn't really new.

I really don't understand why people like phones with huge screens. Particularly when they then buy the model that's advertised as "thin and lightweight" while a smaller phone would be far better... It's so strange to think that Dell's failed attempt to break-in to the market was just too far AHEAD of it's time to find the market:

http://en.community.dell.com/dell-blogs/direct2dell/b/direct2dell/archive/2010/05/25/dell-streak-the-versatile-5-inch-android-tablet

Ha ha (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in New Tablets Announced on 2014-10-16 07:35 (#2TDE)

It's hilarious reading through the Android Nexus device specs. Ultra high-end across the board... ~2.5GHz processor, 2 or 3GB DDR3, AMOLED or IPS screens, 802.11ac, etc.

AND THEN!!!

...

wait for it

...

USB2.0

.

Well, USB 3.0 has only been out for 6 years or so. I suppose you have to be careful not to rush these things. Hooray for 1990's technology!

And I'd like to reiterate my call for tablet manufacturers to include HDMI inputs on their devices: http://pipedot.org/comment/2SHD

Re: I don't see the change... (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in CUPS 2 has been released on 2014-10-15 17:37 (#2TCX)

They had a great device, but really let everything fall apart right when they had the perfect chance. They didn't offer ethernet, nor WiFi when it came along, so it quickly felt like a relic. It seems they pinned all their hopes for years on the Nokia 9210 Communicator, which had plenty of limitations the Psion 5 didn't (short battery life, no touch-screen, etc), and still didn't offer ethernet and WiFi, being an even more specialized device that always depended on cellular connectivity, when that was primitive (early 2G with poor coverage), painfully slow, and ridiculous expensive. A great device for its one specific use case of business travelers with plenty of money to burn, but that's about it... Most people (including the key demo) were perfectly happy tethering their PDAs to their phones via RS-232 or IrDA at the time, so it wasn't a big hit, unlike later smartphones when 3G came around. It wasn't until years later with the 9500 that WiFi (and a camera) was added.

But I'm just ranting at this point. They had a great device, but they failed miserably to really capitalize on it, so somehow Apple managed to re-create the market that had practically died-off, with an inferior device (no keyboard, crippled productivity apps, etc).

Also, I would have kept the Psion 5MX around and working to this day, as as dumb terminal (via RS-232), but the screen resolution was too low to show 80x24 characters on-screen comfortably without scrolling all the time to view everything, and the CPU (or perhaps the terminal software) was so slow that it wasn't nice and responsive and comfortable to use.

I don't see the change... (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in CUPS 2 has been released on 2014-10-15 16:49 (#2TCS)

Wireless networking and mobile computing are everywhere.
Wireless networking wasn't pervasive (and back then we only had line-of-sight IrDA, not WiFi), but PDAs were everywhere... A huge number of people had Palm Pilots, many had Windows CE devices or Psions. Windows CE was first released in November 1996... They didn't make the OS for a class of devices that didn't exist.

In the late 90s, I was printing full documents, with charts and graphs in them, composed on my Psion 5MX PDA that fit in my pocket (with slide-out touch-type keyboard), wirelessly via IrDA. It was an impressive road-warrior thing at the time... People carrying around bulky laptops were always tethered to the nearest outlet, took forever to start-up/shut-down so they still had pencil and paper for quicker note-taking. And with no WiFi, organizations being extremely careful and refusing to allow 3rd devices to connect to their network, and almost no laptops having IrDA, they had to drive back home (or to their own office) to print. The option was those ridiculously expensive tiny portable inkjet printers, but I practically never saw anybody with one.
We no longer want printer drivers, but expect printers that support standard protocols and formats
Printers have long "support[ed] standard protocols and formats". My first (home) laser printer was made in 1992 (by Epson), and supported (HP's) PCL language in addition to its own. Long before that, business class printers ALWAYS supported Postscript. And plenty of NEW printers, today, intended for home users only support their own proprietary languages.

Samsung's popular CLP printers only include PCL on the few in the series with WiFi, while even their other networked models require proprietary drivers for their proprietary printer language. But you are still able to print to them via your smartphone/tablet with their own mobile printing app. Canon's printers require UFRII unless you've opted to purchase PCL/PS compatibility at extra cost. Konica, Ricoh, etc. Their low-end printers continue to require their proprietary languages. It's taken a lot longer to get to standard printer languages than I would ever have imagined, end users are still ignorant of such technical issues, and manufacturers and retailers are still hiding that info, better than ever before.
with fantastic output quality that we could only dream of 15 years ago.
Fantastic output quality? Laser printers are still too dark. Inkjet printers still saturate the paper. There are pretty good printers today, if you want to spend the obscene amounts of money, but that was true of printers 15 years ago, too. The first Tektronix solid ink (wax) printers were sold in the late 1980s. If anything, modern printers crank-up the theoretical resolution, without actually improving picture quality. And some new models are being sold at the same low resolutions we were using in the early '90s.
Today our focus on printing is much different than in 1999.
I'm really not seeing how the world of printing has changed (much).

What's changed? Many printers today have WiFi, and accept SD/Flash cards directly. And laser printers are relatively cheaper. Per-page costs seem to actually have gone-up, significantly. And yes, the uptick of smartphones, more than anything else, (and projectors to a lesser extent) has meant far less printouts, so the printer has become less mission-critical across the business world. I don't know what "more focused and personal" even means....

Re: Electric bikes? (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in A new approach to assisted biking: the Copenhagen wheel on 2014-10-15 15:43 (#2TCQ)

Electric bikes? (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in A new approach to assisted biking: the Copenhagen wheel on 2014-10-15 04:20 (#2TCC)

Strikes me as a bit overpriced when an all-electric "bike" that you never need to pedal can be had for under $250. They work great for moving around all day long, such as huge warehouses, apartment complexes, campuses, or other sprawling job sites. Replacement batteries (every year) run as little as $30 on amazon.

Re: Distance is a disincentive (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in A new approach to assisted biking: the Copenhagen wheel on 2014-10-15 04:11 (#2TCB)

On a completely unrelated topic, this is gross: http://dailyhealthpost.com/the-only-video-that-coca-cola-never-wants-you-to-see/
As a kid I used-to drink coke mixed with milk plenty of times. Tastes just fine, though unlike anything else. Theirs only turned into a mess after 6 hours of sitting around (I wouldn't let a cup of milk sit on the counter for 6 hours, to begin with), and then it merely looks like the heavier fluid separated from the lighter, and stirring it up might still fix it.

All the health information they include was pulled from someone's backside, with no basis in reality. You really should listen to the FDA rather than tin-foil hatters.

Re: As a non coder (Score: 3, Insightful)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Methodology I use: on 2014-10-14 09:28 (#2T8E)

They're far more than minor details of project management. Compare and contrast "Waterfall" with "Agile". The first says you develop an exhaustive specification of what you want, then pass it through channels, and only at the end do you work on coding the whole project to spec. The later says you start developing, and it's a back-and-forth process defining the end project spec along the way, based on what is found to be practical in writing the code.

In fact, just visit the "Criticisms" section on each method for a quick breakdown.

Re: Under The Radar? (Score: 2, Interesting)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Marriott fined $600,000 by FCC for interfering with customer WiFi hotspots on 2014-10-11 02:41 (#2T7G)

how far one would have to go to fly under the radar of most of these WiFi attacks and countermeasures and just use your own damn equipment and services without interference.
I'd use the FCC's contact page... It's super effective!

Turning-off SSID broadcasting won't do the tiniest thing.

The AC mentioned 802.11w before me. But there are other potential options in the interim...

* WiFi firmware (on ALL your clients) could be modified to ignore deauth packets if sent too frequently, and pay attention to data connectivity, instead.

* You could put your AP and all your clients in a metal (Farady) cage, but you need your cellular antenna to be outside the cage to get a signal.

* You could use network monitoring tools to look for deauth packets, then walk around checking signal strength to find the physical location of the AP interfering with you. From there, a crowbar will solve the problem quite nicely... Alternatively, unplugging or putting a metal cage around the interfering device will work, if you're opposed to vandalism for some strange reason.

* You could PLUG-IN to your AP instead of using WiFi. Of course if you're tethering to your cell phone (as opposed to a "MiFi" device that has an RJ45 port) then the deauth attack could make internet access unavailable indirectly.

Re: Old Skool (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in I'm a gamer and I enjoy (click all that apply) on 2014-10-10 09:12 (#2T72)

You have a point... The Atari 400/800 version was far less horrific than the 2600 version.

And apparently, you can play it with Java online:

http://www.xlatari.com/game.php?id=1361

Re: Old Skool (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in I'm a gamer and I enjoy (click all that apply) on 2014-10-10 01:33 (#2T6X)

Re: Forbid personal hotspots in Marriott hotels? (Score: 3, Informative)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Marriott fined $600,000 by FCC for interfering with customer WiFi hotspots on 2014-10-10 01:28 (#2T6W)

is it possible for Marriott hotels to forbid the use of personal hotspots? Part of the ToS guests have to sign?
You'd have to check through ALL FCC rules. They can preempt and nullify any such agreements or rules that affect wireless device use. They've really put their foot down for OTA TV, DBS (satellite), and WPS (formerly: wireless cable TV), and could do so for WiFi:

http://www.fcc.gov/guides/over-air-reception-devices-rule

You'd need a lawyer specializing in this stuff to determine if they've made any rules that might apply to restrictions on the use of WiFi.
Ok, being able to send “de-authorization” packets does not mean to be able to identify or localize the hotspot.
It's extremely easy to locate a WiFi hotspot. Android devices have WiFi Analyzer which will beep like a signal meter as you approach a given AP. Then just walking around the location, you'll be able to use that info to narrow it down to a 20ft area, or so. You can do the same with any WiFi device that displays the signal strength of individual APs, just needing to watch the numbers, or otherwise write your own program to beep and show a relative gauge.

It would be much faster, easier and more accurate still, if coupled with a directional WiFi antenna connected to your device, to narrow it down to exactly which person at a table has the AP in their pocket.

Re: Not tech or science related (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in 'Aunt Jemima' relatives suing pancake company for $2B on 2014-10-09 02:18 (#2T6B)

I would think the legal section is meant to be for issues that are at least tangentially related to science and technology. I just submitted one as a matter of fact... Not seeing the relevance in syrup and likeness licensing.

Re: Balderdash (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Offspring can resemble a mother’s previous mate on 2014-10-08 05:07 (#2T60)

It's 100% plausible that this effect is fully applicable to humans. Plenty of environmental factors have epigenetic effects on us. Your denials, saying it can't possibly apply to us, is utterly baseless, wishful thinking.

Re: Balderdash (Score: 2, Insightful)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Offspring can resemble a mother’s previous mate on 2014-10-07 20:34 (#2T5X)

What? You don't think fruit fly adults can be called "parents" and offspring can't be called their "children"?

I think your paranoia is running amok. And for some reason you desperately want to believe humans are immune, despite that being undetermined.

Re: Hard to answer when two stories are mixed. (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Offspring can resemble a mother’s previous mate on 2014-10-07 03:00 (#2T5N)

You're seeing these two stories mixed together? Nothing like that here. No clue what you're talking about. You should follow that "Bugs" link at the bottom of the page.

Re: Balderdash (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Offspring can resemble a mother’s previous mate on 2014-10-07 02:46 (#2T5K)

The lead author sounds like a terrible person, purposely conflating insect reproduction with a implied human connection
Was there a specific quote you're referring to? She did specifically say: "But we don't know yet whether this applies to other species."

Don't confuse the study authors for the journalist taking the story whichever direction they prefer. For an extreme example, the Guardian article on the same subject was one big estrogen-fueled rant about the journalist's previous boyfriends...

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/02/baby-looks-like-ex-research
human connection that completely doesn't exist.
Just because a human connection hasn't yet been proven, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. This is just the first study establishing that the effect exists... Humans absolutely are known to be greatly affected by other epigenetic effects, as TFA and tanuki both mention. It may take decades to determine how significantly affected, if at all, humans are.

Re: It is bad style to say: Not surprising (Score: 2, Interesting)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Large storms may be strong enough to prompt tremors on 2014-10-07 02:29 (#2T5H)

The age-old problem is: Many things which "make perfect sense" happen to be completely wrong. It's only after-the-fact that we can sit back and say how obvious something is, and ignore the other stuff that seemed obvious, but was found to be incorrect.

"Earthquake weather" has been dismissed by scientists repeatedly. And the story right above this one is that telegony, roundly denounced by prevailing scientific wisdom for over a century, may actually be true. I certainly wasn't trying for a theme by submitting these two stories close together, but that's how it worked out...

Re: Debian is a dying project. (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in FFmpeg back in Debian on 2014-10-06 05:33 (#2T4K)

Firefox's market share has gone from the mid-30% to somewhere around 10%.
Nope. Numerous sources put it at 15% to 21%:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers#Summary_table
So where exactly did that 20% go? You claim it isn't to Chrome, but it mostly is.
I didn't claim that at all.
But IE is clearly making a comeback.
Also completely wrong. Through August 2014, IE has continued falling, with absolutely no indication of a rebound. W3Counter, Clicky, and StatCounter stats all say exactly the same thing. A straight fall for IE.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers#Historical_usage_share

Here's a graph:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Usage_share_of_web_browsers_%28Source_StatCounter%29.svg

Firefox has fallen off it's highs, but not substantially.
Debian is heading in a very bad direction with the adoption of systemd. That's why it's a dying project.
You call it a bad direction. I call it a good direction. You are only predicting Debian will become a dying project in some distant future, with zero evidence to back-up that claim, just like your complete nonsense about browser share, clearly based on how you personally FEEL about them, rather than... reality.

Besides all else, if systemd is going to hurt Debian, it will necessarily hurt every other Linux distro out there, so Debian is no worse off. Only Slackware/Gentoo is abstaining from systemd (for the moment), and they don't have a snowball's chance in hell of being adopted by corporations, in lieu of, say RHEL. FreeBSD similarly isn't going replaced the installed base of Linux distros. It's utterly and totally ridiculous to claim Debian is hurting, or going to hurt, because of systemd, when there is no alternative.

Re: not exactly earthlink... (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in My first email address was on 2014-10-05 07:47 (#2T3T)

It would be karmic to vote for "Netcom" then... They got swallowed by Mindspring, before they were in-turn swallowed by Earthlink.

Re: 30 MB is pretty impressive... (Score: 5, Insightful)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Friday Distro: SliTaz Linux on 2014-10-04 04:09 (#2T31)

Why EXACTLY is that impressive?
It's impressive because it is a challenging feat.

Riding a unicycle across a tightrope isn't exactly a viable mode of transportation... But it's still impressive.
stripping an OS down that small to brag about seems not only stupid but a serious waste of time
I don't see anything stupid about it, off-hand. Maybe it's lacking some features, but that remains to be seen.

Basically anybody making their own Linux distro should similarly be accused of wasting their time. It's just so much quicker to use whatever else is already out there. Most of those open source developers over the years have wasted profound amounts of their time. Your comment, similarly, a waste of time.

USING (rather than building) a tiny distro, meanwhile, doesn't require wasting any of your time. In fact it's guaranteed to save you at least a little bit of time. And on an ongoing basis, the smaller it is, the faster it'll load and run, saving small amounts of time, multiplied by however many users the system has, and multiplied by however many times they launch each application or reboot.

The Penultimate Poll (Score: 2, Funny)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in My first email address was on 2014-10-04 02:35 (#2T2Z)

I think we could save some time with all these recent "My First _______" polls, and just have one that directly asks readers "How Old Are You?" and be done with it...

Then you'd be able to do a pretty good job estimating what their first email address, first gaming system, first computer system, etc., was very likely to have been.

Re: Do not link to the Daily Mail. Ever. (Score: 0)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Mystery of Titan's disappearing 'island' on 2014-10-03 19:18 (#2T2Q)

You appear to be implying that my opinion is irrelevant because it is subjective
No, actually I was implying your opinion is irrelevant because you've never contributed anything of value...
Linking to bullshit sources like the Daily Mail really is something to avoid.
You've declined to demonstrate that it is "bullshit," so no. The next time I happen to find something of interest at the daily mail, I will submit it like usual. Of course you are free to continue complaining about it.

Re: Measurements! (Score: 2, Funny)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Mystery of Titan's disappearing 'island' on 2014-10-03 11:15 (#2T2J)

Not only do we get miles and kilometers, we also get football fields!
Wait... How big is it in kibimeters?

Re: Do not link to the Daily Mail. Ever. (Score: 1, Insightful)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Mystery of Titan's disappearing 'island' on 2014-10-02 22:50 (#2T2E)

Is there something inaccurate in the linked story at all?

Assuming not, why should I or anyone else be concerned with your particular preference of news souce?

Re: Watching the sausage getting made, doesn't really help (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in What Linux users should know about open hardware on 2014-10-02 00:43 (#2T1V)

Re: Watching the sausage getting made, doesn't really help (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in What Linux users should know about open hardware on 2014-10-02 00:32 (#2T1T)

AMD is opening the hardware as fast as humanly possible, supports the coreboot project, even put some extra men on the FOSS APU drivers to get them up to snuff...
AMD is only very slowly playing catch-up on opening their previously closed GPU documentation and getting drivers out there. Meanwhile, Intel's GPUs all have supported and fully-functional GPL'd drivers... Sounds like buying Intel is supporting "REAL change", rather than vague promises and half-assed support.

Re: Debian is a dying project. (Score: 2, Interesting)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in FFmpeg back in Debian on 2014-10-01 05:12 (#2T1C)

The numbers tell a different story. Chrome's market-share can only minimally be at the expense of Firefox... i.e. Chrome is more popular now than Firefox EVER was, and Firefox hasn't fallen dramatically off of it's brief highs... Instead Chrome's incredible popularity is almost entirely at the expense of Internet Explorer. So, if something is "dying" it's Internet Explorer. And yet, none of them are for-profit works, so 100% or 1% market share is all the same, and it's unlikely that any of them will "die." Getting caught-up in the market-share horse-race is a fool's errand that does no good for anyone.

With Debian, the claim it is dying is even more ridiculous. There's really no distro out there, free of systemd, that has a snowball's chance in hell of getting corporate adoption. Companies are never going to build their own Gentoo systems, and hardware/software markers would never support it. Whatever complaints you may have against Debian does not translate into it dying, or even losing the slightest bit of market share. If someone has some numbers, showing Gentoo or FreeBSD overtaking Debian/Ubuntu/Redhat/Suse, I'd love to see it. Otherwise, the claim is just an utterly and totally ridiculous and laughable bit of trolling.

A bit ironic, I know, as it's FreeBSD that's supposed to be "dying"...

Re: Without a warrant... (Score: 3, Insightful)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in U.S. law enforcement officials urge Apple and Google not to encrypt smartphone data on 2014-09-30 23:45 (#2T18)

Getting a warrant isn't a huge hurdle, but it's a slow, manual step, which prevents the kind of indiscriminate large-scale slurping of all the data on the phones of anyone they stop for any reason... Cops aren't going to wake-up a judge to get a warrant for every traffic stop, so the ruling substantially raises the bar compared to the completely unrestricted status quo.

Re: Not a pickup (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Nissan has built an Electric Pickup, and you can't have one on 2014-09-30 03:43 (#2T0V)

But seriously, he aggi freshmen that show up every year, driving new F150/250's look a whole lot like my nearly 20 year old pickup.
I suppose some of them do... Most of them, though, have extended/crew cabs, shorter beds to compensate for the cab extension, tiny 4-cyl engines, more and more of them are compact pickups, exteriors are rounded, and interiors are plush, with power-everything and feather-weight accelerator, brakes, etc.

An electric vehicle is necessarily going to look a bit different. No more need for the big prominent front grill for the radiator, and the engine compartment in general will be far smaller in comparison. But compare the two, and there are more similarities than differences:

* http://www.moibibiki.com/images/nissan-truck-red-1.jpg

* http://www.guysgab.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/2013-Nissan-Frontier-Pro4X-1.jpg

* http://www.wired.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Leaf-Truck-6.jpg

Re: $3,000 (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Nissan has built an Electric Pickup, and you can't have one on 2014-09-30 03:17 (#2T0T)

Looks like the cheap one is available much cheaper, still...

Harbor Freight sells it for $190, currently, which combined with the 20% off coupons they litter the country with, is only $152+tax. Their less common 25% off coupons make it just $143+tax.

* http://www.harborfreight.com/870-lb-capacity-40-inch-x-49-inch-heavy-duty-utility-trailer-with-8-inch-wheels-and-tires-42708.html

Some plywood for a base, cut-out to accommodate the 2x4s for the sides, shouldn't add too much more cost or weight to it.

Pretty narrow audience (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in FFmpeg back in Debian on 2014-09-30 01:54 (#2T0P)

I'm not sure you'll find anyone that will care, other than developers of the respective projects. One fork being replaced by another nearly-identical fork in one distro... both work fine, and the trivial differences are unlikely noticeable to end users.

Not voting it down, because it's mildly interesting to me, but only because I happen to know several of the people involved. The discussion could turn into an interesting flame-war. While the libav guys had a couple legitimate complaints, I must agree with and confirm most everything gabu (angrily) said: http://lwn.net/Articles/424050/

Re: Power (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Packing for two years, off the grid in the Himalayas... on 2014-09-30 01:35 (#2T0M)

it might be worth considering other forms of natural energy, specifically wind and water, as a power source.
Looking at Google Maps, Laya, Bhutan definitely doesn't have a river nearby. There seems to be a wash some distance away, but it must not flow very regularly. Being up in the freezing mountains might have something to do with that. Even if it did flow regularly, it would be a huge project for one person to undertake, building their own power house to get usable amounts of power out of it, and running power lines for miles to where they need it... In a more general sense, you can't depend on having flowing water wherever you end up.

Wind, similarly, isn't consistently available. Even if you're in a windy area, you may have to unpredictably deal with many weeks with no appreciable wind, with no notice. Plus I checked prices on small wind turbines, and they're little or no cheaper than PV panels per the capacity, very bulky in their own right, and similarly will require taking large and heavy segments of steel poles with you for mounting. And like water power, designing and constructing one locally would be a big project for an individual, would not allow you to hit the ground running and have power right away like PV solar panels, etc.

And that's the BEST CASE. Worst case, you'll find yourself in an area where there is zero wind, except for the occasional storms, year-round, no available location to install it, complaints from neighbors about the noise, and lots of dead birds around it.

That said, it can be a vastly cheaper way to go. You can pickup a refurbished alternator for $43:

* http://www.amazon.com/Quality-Built-7127103-Premium-Domestic-Alternator/dp/B000EZW5QS/

Given enough input energy in whatever form, that should output 50 amps steady, while 700 watts of solar panels would cost $1,000, would be far too large to pack, and would honestly only provide maybe 1/4 the rated power due to low light levels, and low duty cycle due to no power at night. That's the way I'd go if I wanted to build electrical infrastructure for an entire village, but certainly not for my own modest energy needs while traveling. And given a lack of flowing water sources, and insufficient wind, you might need to hand-crank the thing for all your energy needs, which would be quite a feat. At that point, you'd be better off with something designed for such use:

* http://www.amazon.com/Generator-Emergency-Portable-Lightweight-Polycarbonate/dp/B00EZS8VQS

Re: Been there (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Packing for two years, off the grid in the Himalayas... on 2014-09-30 01:09 (#2T0K)

I wonder if all those remote people really want modern technology or irrelevant news impinging on their presumably happy (or why else would this person want to move there) existence?
He's going there for 2 years to teach... not because he wants to live there. Someone said it sounds like a Peace Corps mission.

I don't think you can find any peoples except the Amish who shun modern technology when they have access to it... and even they buy generators, power tools, and pay for modern medical treatment. The rest of the world lacks technology because they are impoverished. The incredible uptake of cellphones across Africa is a great model for getting the best of modern technology to the poorest corners of the world where it can dramatically improve lives.

Re: $3,000 (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Nissan has built an Electric Pickup, and you can't have one on 2014-09-30 00:55 (#2T0J)

Well, I took a quick look and found some different lightweight trailers much cheaper. They might be suitable alternatives, depending on your needs:

$240: http://www.amazon.com/Haul-Master-42708-Capacity-Utility-Trailer/dp/B00EZLP3MK/

$400: http://www.amazon.com/Yukon-Tracks-Trail-Warrior-Trailer/dp/B001RPD130/

Re: Not a pickup (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Nissan has built an Electric Pickup, and you can't have one on 2014-09-29 08:17 (#2T08)

I believe the 3rd sentence of the summary already says just that...

Never-the-less, a pickup today is practically unrecognizable from a pickup from 20 years ago. Today they're part small luxury car, part minivan, and only part pickup.

You might well just be looking at what pickups will morph into, in another 20 years, as astronomical oil price cause people to demand fuel efficiency combined with more cargo hauling capabilities than a hatchback can possibly offer. Perhaps fuel efficiency and crash worthiness rules will tighten up so much that compact pickups get to be just that small and aerodynamic, too.

Re: Why no TV tuners and HDMI-input? (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in What's next for tablets running Linux? on 2014-09-28 11:19 (#2SZW)

I'll have a go with straight rabbit ears and see if I can get anything out
Did you try it? I'd be interested to know how it worked out.

I recall trying the same thing with a VCR probably 20 years ago. Back then, I needed to run it through an amp to get a useful distance out of it, and it was still awfully staticy at that. Of course amps have gotten a lot better, and better ones much cheaper, since then. I still suggest adding an inexpensive RCA Preamp like I mentioned. Pretty sure that'll give you enough gain for decent reception 5m away.

A nice feature... (Score: 2, Interesting)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Editable Comments on 2014-09-28 06:32 (#2SZS)

I actually like it... I always notice something wrong RIGHT AFTER submitting, even if I was trying to be careful, previewed my comment 20 times, and even if I'm not trying to check it after submitting. Still, I always manage to see something wrong 2 seconds later. So it's quite nice to be able to fix that. But it was a little frustrating learning how it worked the hard way... "Wasn't my comment +3 before? What happened? Did somebody do something? Why did it say 2 New comments when I already read everything here?" etc.

On the down-side, I can see people trying to be clever and continuing to update their original comment in response to every reply, instead of replying in-kind. Or even messing up discussions by completely changing their comments, making the thread below theirs completely change in meaning, and possibly becoming impossible to understand.

Example thread:

|- I hate black people. (-1 Troll)
|-- You're a racist! (+5 Insightful)
|-- Why would you say that? (+5 Informative)

Edited thread becomes:

|- I believe in equal rights. (-1 Troll)
|-- You're a racist! (+5 Insightful)
|-- Why would you say that? (+5 Informative)

I guess liberal use of blockquotes will help with that, but it might become a problem.

Re: Been there (Score: 2)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Packing for two years, off the grid in the Himalayas... on 2014-09-28 04:51 (#2SZR)

a solar charger for double A batteries
The devil is in the details... Most solar battery chargers have 0.5W panels which, up north, will take a week to charge 4 AAs. For hiking, there are nice big folding panels you strap to your pack, but they're vastly more expensive than bulk rooftop PV panels... eg. $70 for 14W panel, battery charger. Where as you can just as easily get a bare 30W panel for the same price.
With the remaining money I'd purchase a two year supply of scotch, a couple cases of cigars, and enough weed to live well.
If you're following your own advice of living zen, you'd instead bring seeds for all of the above, and grow and process them yourself....
I kind of feel when you're headed out to rural Bhutan, the question isn't how to maintain your current tech needs, it's how to adapt to a tech-free lifestyle.
Don't underestimate the value of BRINGING technology, showing it around, and leaving it to the locals when you go. Something trivial to us, like an eReader just loaded up with several gigabytes of eBooks, would be like a lifetime supply of content in a self-contained library, to a remote community. A few eBooks on modern farming methods could greatly improve their lives. Throw in plenty of tech, like solar water/home heating, electrical motor and propeller design, and they might be able to build their own infrastructure over time.

Just a staticy feed of a few minutes of news every week can be a tremendous tool for them, keeping them up on events in the world around them, and perhaps being a life-saver in the event of natural or man-made disaster.

It's a shame that data broadcasting on shortwave isn't a big thing... Just imagine being in the middle of nowhere, and every day the SD card in your $50 shortwave radio just accumulates several more articles from Wikipedia, and even a few pictures, with no effort on your part. Maybe a Project Gutenberg book every week or so. And more. And that's just the "free" stuff I can quickly think of. I'm sure the many NGOs would be happy to come up with tons of original educational content for broadcasters send out to to entire continents full of isolated people, along side whatever audio programs.

You can kinda-sorta do that with ham packet radio, but that's far more time consuming and involved, and doesn't scale at all, where broadcasting data would work incredibly well.
Read some Peter Matthiessen to get into the spirit of zen-living.
I think I'd rather have several back-issues of Mother Earth News mag, the original "off-the-grid" publication, telling me how to raise livestock, how to build well-insulated houses with hay bails, how to dig a well, etc., etc. Might be very useful to a remote village.

Watching the sausage getting made, doesn't really help (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in What Linux users should know about open hardware on 2014-09-27 09:15 (#2SZ9)

I don't think it's going to help potential customers to know "what's happening behind the news." They're not in it for the joy of experiencing the journey with you... They would simply like to buy the product you promised them. In other industries, an 18-month delay isn't a complete deal-breaker. But in computer hardware, that puts your product a complete generation behind what you promised. It is not remotely the same product it was, 2-year earlier. It has a short shelf-life. You promised grapes and instead delivered raisins...

It's a good cautionary tale to would-be small hardware designers... Getting it to market is a far harder task than you'd imagine. But the key is simple, either get in bed with a big company to push things along, or start with something very small and simple. At the very least, don't start out by making speculative promises, when so many parts of the process are beyond your control.

Sounds like systrace... (Score: 2, Interesting)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Bash vulnerabilities got you down? Harvard researchers propose: "Shill" on 2014-09-26 14:58 (#2SZ0)

From the description, I can't see how this is different from the old Systrace program:

http://www.informit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=363731

And if you will recall, that ended suddenly, in tears:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/07/08/09/138224/cambridge-researcher-breaks-openbsd-systrace

Re: Quick, Dirty (Score: 2, Informative)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in PostgreSQL goes after MongoDB; benchmarks show PostgreSQL in the lead on 2014-09-26 01:24 (#2SYC)

Well yeah, except their primary use case (literally, it's the first use case listed) is BIG DATA. It's fair to say that if you're routinely pushing and parsing terabytes of structured data, you probably can and should take a day or two to get the database optimized, no?
No. You're simply stuck in a mindset of high-value databases. Try low-value data, on a large scale, instead... Turn up your syslog logging to the maximum amount of debug, then expand that out to hundreds and hundreds of heavily loaded servers, then log it all to a central system, desperately trying to write that to a database for eventual aggregation and reporting... Consider something like an IDS or other monitoring on high-speed data networks, trying to keep track of data usage, in detail, on those gigabit speed lines all-around the clock.

Or just consider the cost of an extra server (with SSDs) versus the cost of hours of a DBA's time... For non-critical data in general, you're going to expand the cluster, rather than spend time and effort to tune things.

MongoDB's response (Score: 2, Funny)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in PostgreSQL goes after MongoDB; benchmarks show PostgreSQL in the lead on 2014-09-26 00:22 (#2SYA)

Re: Growing skepticism (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in Nanotechnology could lead to better, cheaper LEDs on 2014-09-26 00:00 (#2SY7)

Interesting... Never seen that myself, but then I'm a big user of NoScript. I disable scripts on a site immediately if it does anything annoying at all, like auto-play videos, a floating bar, periodic page refresh, etc.

Re: Quick, Dirty (Score: 2, Interesting)

by evilviper@pipedot.org in PostgreSQL goes after MongoDB; benchmarks show PostgreSQL in the lead on 2014-09-25 22:31 (#2SY4)

Performance out-of-the-box shouldn't be underestimated. Not every database is a huge and mission-critical task deserving hours of your DBA's time to tune. In fact the overwhelming majority of database uses are quite the opposite, just some mundane back-end tasks for storing and collecting data.

If tuned performance was important to people, MySQL would never have caught-on as the M in LAMP... Instead, MySQL got popular because any idiot could install it and it would seem to work at decent speeds right away. You only got a rude awakening much later...
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