mikerr
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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Mon May 11, 2015 7:43 am

There is a psychological issue with speed of computers

On a slow computer you're happy waiting 30+ seconds for an operation to complete - that time is enough for the mind to wander...

Then moving to a faster computer you get more impatient when things approach "nearly instantaneous" but not quite.

I.e. delays of <2 seconds ok , but delays of
5-10 seconds are worse for "flow" than 30 seconds...
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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Mon May 11, 2015 9:27 am

scruss wrote:Hmm, there could be a deal more kindness in this thread.
I know. For the record I'm sorry that my initial response was sarcasm.

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Burngate
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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Mon May 11, 2015 10:32 am

Ditto.

Just for the record, having said
... the scientific evidence (or lack thereof) ...
I find the following rather strange.
It's well known that exposure to non-ionizing radiation has been increasing over the past few decades.
Despite many research projects, the scientific community has yet to find any evidence of deleterious effects.
The use of MRI scanners in the medical field has been increasing over recent years, and is considered safe - indeed, their use is limited by their cost rather than anything else. And they subject the patient to far higher magnetic fields etc. than they are likely to encounter anywhere else.
Anecdotally, some colleagues who worked at radio/TV transmitting masts at night didn't bother carrying torches - simply carrying a flourescent tube provided enough light to work by. I know of no bad effects (they were more in danger from falling icicles in the winter, at Emley Moor)

And yet ...
Transcranial magnetic stimulation, ditto direct current, ... Both produce observable effects under laboratory conditions.
If it's so safe, how come there's any effect at all?

Placebo / Nocebo
Someone, somewhere, did an experiment (I can't now find a reference) - divided the subjects into several groups.
To one group (the control) they gave nothing. To a second, they gave an analgesic opiod. To a third, a placebo, telling them it was an analgesic.
Then each group was subjected to pain, and asked to rate its level.
As expected, the placebo had about 1/3 the effect of the real analgesic

Then they were each given an injection containing an opiod antagonist, though told it was just saline.
Not surprisingly, the genuine analgesic had no effect. What is surprising is that the placebo effect also disappeared.

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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Mon May 11, 2015 2:27 pm

drgeoff wrote:
bobstro wrote:I just wish I'd quit waking up 20 minutes before my alarm goes off.
Just set the alarm for 20 minutes later than the time you want to be awake. :)
Tell my bladder. It's the one with the powers.

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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Mon May 11, 2015 2:29 pm

Hello to all:

After posting “In search of a quiet mini-computer” for General Discussion, I realized that the discussions went off topic and the post went to Off-topic Discussion here before I had time to check in. There are some very useful comments there, but I find the most important is a reference to an ariticle in The Telegraph of this Saturday (May 9):

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/we ... d-ill.html

which mirrors what I find as a very important use of Raspberry Pi:

“What I saw in Raspberry Pi (model B and later B+) is a little silent-running (to quote E. Upton) computer fast enough for all that browsing (and e_mail) at home as well as for office work, using only a wire-feed for internet, not getting stuck with Wi-Fi (EMF) emissions like with many other computing devices (better yet, Wi-Fi dongles are available for Raspberry Pi when needed but you would know it is there since one has to plug them in first). The use of Raspberry Pi for daily work brought me back to the grad school days (late eighties) in the ability to think and to write, when at that time one had to visit a special computer center for dedicated tasks such data analysis and graphics visualization. For many years with desktop computing, there has not been a single day of work without muscle strains, eye problem, exhaustion and finally burn-out.....”

As to my uneasiness with using Raspberry Pi 2, many suggested that the unit be placed in some kind of (Faraday) shield to see if it helps reduce the tensions I feel. Indeed, it does and I think a more practical solution will be to use a metallic case for the Pi such as:

http://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Pi-Alum ... ry+Pi+B%2B

which I certainly will try next.

Thanks to all for your interests and help!

Sincerely yours

Nick at stillness2health

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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Mon May 11, 2015 3:14 pm

There is definitely something to be said for simplicity and reducing distraction. I was amused to read that gadget-laden hipsters feel the need to spend $400 for a "distraction free" writing device. Looking at the pictures, it sure seems they're trying hard to be seen writing in uncomfortable positions. There are a number of distraction-free programs, including simplified word processors and apps for iPads and Macs to turn your Internet access off for you. I find it absurd to pay for software to turn something off for me, especially when I can over-ride that same software if I'm so weak willed.

That said, there is something to being in focus mode. Apparently George R.R. Martin does his writing on an old DOS PC using WordStar 4.0 because he hates the modern "improvements" such as spellcheck. I decided to have some fun, and during one of the big winter storms, put together the Hemorwrite, a simple RPi-based dedicated word processor. The result reminds me a lot of the old Wang and CPT word processors that filled offices early in my career. It was a joke more than anything when I first started, but I was surprised that writing on the silly thing is actually a nice experience. It's away from my fully-loaded desktop, and it does help focus for writing. It's simple to modify this to only run LibreOffice or any other basic program.

I built the prototype on a RPi 2B, running FocusWriter on Openbox, and added some fun audio gadgets, but I'm working on a CLI-only version using a simple editor and customized console fonts via fbterm that works on a RPi B. I couldn't resist using a VT220 font in a green monochrome color scheme for the first iteration, but it actually looks good using the OCRA font. The diakonos editor seems like a good fit.

Even if you don't feel affected by electronics and RF in a negative way, just turning to a simpler device can be a good way to clear ones mind sometimes.
Last edited by bobstro on Mon May 11, 2015 3:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Mon May 11, 2015 3:24 pm

bobstro wrote:There is definitely something to be said for simplicity and reducing distraction. I was amused to read that gadget-laden hipsters feel the need to spend $400 for a "distraction free" writing device. Looking at the pictures, it sure seems they're trying hard to be seen writing in uncomfortable positions. There are a number of distraction-free programs, including simplified word processors and apps for iPads and Macs to turn your Internet access off for you. I find it absurd to pay for software to turn something off for me, especially when I can over-ride that same software if I'm so weak willed.

That said, there is something to being in focus mode. Apparently George R.R. Martin does his writing on an old DOS PC using WordStar 4.0 because he hates the modern "improvements" such as spellcheck. I decided to have some fun, and during one of the big winter storms, put together the Hemorwrite, a simple RPi-based dedicated word processor. The result reminds me a lot of the old Wang and CPT word processors that filled offices early in my career. It was a joke more than anything when I first started, but I was surprised that writing on the silly thing is actually a nice experience. It's away from my fully-loaded desktop, and it does help focus for writing. I built it on a RPi 2B, running FocusWriter on Openbox, and added some fun audio gadgets, but I'm working on a CLI-only version using a simple editor and customized console fonts via fbterm that works on a RPi B.

Even if you don't feel affected by electronics and RF in a negative way, just turning to a simpler device can be a good way to clear ones mind sometimes.
Easy way to make your simple word processor unusable? Put a ribbon tool bar on it. Worked for MS.
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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Tue May 12, 2015 3:36 am

stillness2health wrote: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/we ... d-ill.html
I think something is breaking your links; I think you meant to link to Is Wi-Fi making your child ill?
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ame
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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Tue May 12, 2015 4:04 am

scruss wrote:
stillness2health wrote: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/we ... d-ill.html
I think something is breaking your links; I think you meant to link to Is Wi-Fi making your child ill?
Using Betteridge's Law of Headlines, the answer is obviously "No".

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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Tue May 12, 2015 6:08 am

Regards WiFi making us ill, was not the same argument used against 3G Mobile Signals.

I expect the same was said for Radio and TV many moons ago.

So basically any one concerned about frying our brains should give up living ;)
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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Tue May 12, 2015 7:44 am

fruitoftheloom wrote:So basically any one concerned about frying our brains should give up living ;)
Yup. We amateur radio operators (W0MHH) have known this for many years... the government of the U.S. publishes guidelines for safe emissions standards for ham shacks, radio towers, distances, power ratings in unit times, and so forth. Electromagnetic radiation is not a good thing for carbon based life forms; but having said that, it has to be a "lot" and it has to long exposure and of course the inverse square law holds (the effects become much less by an inverse factor of a square of the distance away). So, running a KW amateur radio station may be harmful if you do it hours and hours every day... but, probably your wifi is not going to hurt you much.

Somebody in the U.K. (can't remember) was researching cell phone usage on lab rats (or mice) and found them harmful (again, in very HIGH doses); can't find it just now...
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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Tue May 12, 2015 8:08 am

MarkHaysHarris777 wrote:
fruitoftheloom wrote:So basically any one concerned about frying our brains should give up living ;)
Yup. We amateur radio operators (W0MHH) have known this for many years... the government of the U.S. publishes guidelines for safe emissions standards for ham shacks, radio towers, distances, power ratings in unit times, and so forth. Electromagnetic radiation is not a good thing for carbon based life forms; but having said that, it has to be a "lot" and it has to long exposure and of course the inverse square law holds (the effects become much less by an inverse factor of a square of the distance away). So, running a KW amateur radio station may be harmful if you do it hours and hours every day... but, probably your wifi is not going to hurt you much.

Somebody in the U.K. (can't remember) was researching cell phone usage on lab rats (or mice) and found them harmful (again, in very HIGH doses); can't find it just now...
We are all going to die one day, so why not enjoy life rather than worrying :?:
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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Tue May 12, 2015 8:12 am

Well as a Computer Science teacher (who worked as a shipbuilder before the chalk face) there are a number of health and safety issues involved.

Working in a room with 30 old fashioned PC each with a fan on top of the CPU, a fan in the PSU, case fan and on the GPU could make a hell of a noise. Not to mention the bad old days when there would be several Epson LQ100 dot metric printers hammering away to produce hard copy of students work each lesson, I can sympathizes with the OP.

It is good sometimes just to switch everything off in the computer room and just listen to the silence.

One of the systems I am building here in China at the moment is one of these little baby PCs.

http://item.jd.com/1477503230.html
My other computer is a VIC20.

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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Tue May 12, 2015 8:17 am

chinaguy wrote:It is good sometimes just to switch everything off in the computer room and just listen to the silence.

One of the systems I am building here in China at the moment is one of these little baby PCs. [gigabyte Brix]
I've been down the silent PC route and the problem is that as you reduce the major (fan) noise you become increasingly aware of other noises
e.g. coil whine that were masked by the fan noise

Best just stick background music on :)
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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Tue May 12, 2015 8:43 am

chinaguy wrote:Working in a room with 30 old fashioned PC each with a fan on top of the CPU, a fan in the PSU, case fan and on the GPU could make a hell of a noise. Not to mention the bad old days when there would be several Epson LQ100 dot metric printers hammering away to produce hard copy of students work each lesson, I can sympathizes with the OP.

It is good sometimes just to switch everything off in the computer room and just listen to the silence.
Oh yes :)

I used to have an old Unix box at home. It doubled as a side table. That had nine 240Vac fans in the base, plus three 5.25" full height hard disks. It made a lot of noise in a small house.

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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Tue May 12, 2015 9:36 am

Pop quiz: How far away from a classroom should you place a mobile phone (cellular) tower to minimise the total incident RF field on the children in the classroom, assuming half of them have mobiles?
Rockets are loud.
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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Tue May 12, 2015 10:21 am

jdb wrote:Pop quiz: How far away from a classroom should you place a mobile phone (cellular) tower to minimise the total incident RF field on the children in the classroom, assuming half of them have mobiles?
Heh, the right answer is that they see less RF ("RADIATION" ) if the mast is closer (on school roof) than if it's further away.
They always forget mobile phones are variable power, and will be pumping out max power themselves in a poor reception area.

You won't get far explaining this to parents though, as the "EVIL MASTS" argument is easier and quicker...
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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Tue May 12, 2015 10:23 am

jdb wrote:Pop quiz: How far away from a classroom should you place a mobile phone (cellular) tower to minimise the total incident RF field on the children in the classroom, assuming half of them have mobiles?
miles... miles and miles... <just kidding>

Our high school up the street has the cell tower standing at one end of the foot-ball field. There are approx 2200 students in the school, each of them with a cell phone. There is a maximum number of 'slots' available for all of those phones, and its not many. Do you suppose it plays havoc with the adults in the neighborhood?

I have no idea whether the cell tower hurts any of the children... probably.
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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Tue May 12, 2015 10:51 am

MarkHaysHarris777 wrote:
jdb wrote:Pop quiz: How far away from a classroom should you place a mobile phone (cellular) tower to minimise the total incident RF field on the children in the classroom, assuming half of them have mobiles?
miles... miles and miles... <just kidding>

Our high school up the street has the cell tower standing at one end of the foot-ball field. There are approx 2200 students in the school, each of them with a cell phone. There is a maximum number of 'slots' available for all of those phones, and its not many. Do you suppose it plays havoc with the adults in the neighborhood?

I have no idea whether the cell tower hurts any of the children... probably.
Only if it falls over on them.
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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Tue May 12, 2015 11:14 am

jamesh wrote:
MarkHaysHarris777 wrote:
jdb wrote:Pop quiz: How far away from a classroom should you place a mobile phone (cellular) tower to minimise the total incident RF field on the children in the classroom, assuming half of them have mobiles?
miles... miles and miles... <just kidding>

Our high school up the street has the cell tower standing at one end of the foot-ball field. There are approx 2200 students in the school, each of them with a cell phone. There is a maximum number of 'slots' available for all of those phones, and its not many. Do you suppose it plays havoc with the adults in the neighborhood?

I have no idea whether the cell tower hurts any of the children... probably.
Only if it falls over on them.
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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Tue May 12, 2015 12:15 pm

jdb wrote:Pop quiz: How far away from a classroom should you place a mobile phone (cellular) tower to minimise the total incident RF field on the children in the classroom, assuming half of them have mobiles?
Do woodchucks feature in the answer?

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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Tue May 12, 2015 12:26 pm

jdb wrote:Pop quiz: How far away from a classroom should you place a mobile phone (cellular) tower to minimise the total incident RF field on the children in the classroom, assuming half of them have mobiles?
Are these spherical children, on a frictionless plane?

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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Tue May 12, 2015 12:38 pm

jdb wrote:Pop quiz: How far away from a classroom should you place a mobile phone (cellular) tower to minimise the total incident RF field on the children in the classroom, assuming half of them have mobiles?
One thing which definitely (I think) is a real negative impact of proximity to transmitters of all sorts is that they are so bloody ugly that they push down house prices. (Would you really want to buy a house directly under a big mains pylon?) This has tangible effects (I reckon) on socio-economic factors in an area and I'm 99.9% certain that this has a real, very negative effect on health in general.

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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Tue May 12, 2015 1:16 pm

morphy_richards wrote:
jdb wrote:Pop quiz: How far away from a classroom should you place a mobile phone (cellular) tower to minimise the total incident RF field on the children in the classroom, assuming half of them have mobiles?
One thing which definitely (I think) is a real negative impact of proximity to transmitters of all sorts is that they are so bloody ugly that they push down house prices. (Would you really want to buy a house directly under a big mains pylon?) This has tangible effects (I reckon) on socio-economic factors in an area and I'm 99.9% certain that this has a real, very negative effect on health in general.
I think I will go and live in the middle of the "GOBIE Desert", It won't " HERTZ" me there
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Re: In search of a quiet mini-computer

Tue May 12, 2015 1:23 pm

fruitoftheloom wrote:[...] We are all going to die one day, so why not enjoy life rather than worrying :?:
That's what the smokers used to say. Don't miss them on airplanes.

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