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Comment Re:RS-232 Serial (Score 1) 618 618

I'm working with brand new prototype boards and all of the embedded boards I work on have RS232. The reason for this is that it's dirt simple to implement and only needs 3 wires. I only need a few lines of assembly code to initialize it and send or receive a character. It also doesn't care about things like DHCP servers and whatnot, only that you get the pinout and baudrate right. On multiple occasions it was the only way to transfer new images to a board to fix the flash. Of course on some of these boards we use a USB to serial chip on the board and I can crank the baudrate reliably to 10Mbps.

I've also had occasion where I needed to use RS232 to get into my router due to screwing up the network interfaces.

Comment Re:Holy Jebus (Score 2) 220 220

I have a friend who helped design the Tesla drive train. He said they do so much in house since they have a lot of problems with components from 3rd parties, especially China. Look at all the transmission failures the Roadster had until they did their own in-house design.

It also allows for them to make changes quickly. Apparently they make tweaks to the design of the car almost every week which would be impossible to do with a heavy reliance on 3rd parties for manufacturing.

Submission + - Failed Strut May Have Caused Space X Rocket Accident->

AaronW writes: According to CEO Elon Musk the failure of the Falcon 9 last June was caused by a failed strut that held a helium bottle inside the liquid oxygen tank. Elon said "One of those struts broke free during flight, so the helium bottle would have shot to the top of the tank at high speed." The strut, about two feet long and an inch thick was supplied by a 3rd party. Musk also said, "We are not going to use these particular struts in the future." He also said that they will test each strut in the future and will resume flights of the Falcon 9 "no sooner than September."
Link to Original Source

Comment Re:w/AWD and inteligent speed/traction control (Score 1) 171 171

I've accelerated hard in my P85 from a red light in front of cops before (realizing it after the fact) and never had an issue. I know to let up on the accelerator by the other side of the intersection since I'm already at the speed limit.

Comment Re:w/AWD and inteligent speed/traction control (Score 1) 171 171

The nice thing about the Tesla is you don't have to do anything special to get insane acceleration without just spinning the wheels and smoking the tires. Just mash down on the accelerator and let the traction control do the rest. I have a P85 and it's a lot of fun.

Comment Re:This legislation brought to you by.. (Score 1) 446 446

This splicing of foreign genes into plants is actually fairly common. There are some common soil bacteria that tend to do this naturally with plants.
In fact, some GM plants are created using Agrobacterium, a bacteria that injects a little chunk of DNA into plant cells naturally.

See http://www.npr.org/sections/go...

Comment Re:This legislation brought to you by.. (Score 2) 446 446

This mixing of genes between completely different plants or plants and bacteria is actually quite common in nature. For example, take the sweet potato, which contains bacterial genes naturally.

See http://www.nature.com/nature/j...
http://www.npr.org/sections/go...

Comment Re:This legislation brought to you by.. (Score 1) 446 446

They have done a lot more than that. For example, look up golden rice. Wheat has been genetically modified to grow shorter for higher yields that use less fertilizer. A lot of work is also being done to reduce water requirements, make crops more salt and heat tolerant, adding nitrogen fixation support and more. The one people talk about the most is the roundup ready crops which have typically resulted in less herbicide being used, and as far as herbicides go, glyphosphate is one of the most benign ones available. Making plants more resistant to pests and disease is also being performed to try and prevent things like the potato blight and many other diseases.

Comment Re:Mikrotik (Score 1) 173 173

I agree that the MicroTik routers are powerful. I have been using one for several years. My biggest complaint with it is the confusing documentation or documentation that's out of date. I had a hard time figuring out things like traffic management (QoS and shaping) though now that it's working it's quite powerful. I also have had a lot of confusion on how to set up the firewall so I can VPN in with various operating systems. The only one I've gotten to work from Android is PPTP, though I would love to use IPSec instead due to all the weaknesses in PPTP. Windows is even worse, following all the suggestions I have yet to be able to connect via Windows.

Comment Added a second floppy drive to an IBM PCjr (Score 2) 210 210

My first computer was an IBM PCjr. I created a board that fit in the modem slot that allowed me to support a second floppy drive. I also hacked up the DOS boot sector to get rid of the hacks normally needed to support more than 128K. This was back in high school.

One of my favorite hacks was to turn a styrofoam ice chest into a peltier refrigerator for work since they charged a fortune for sodas (at a time when most silicon valley companies offered those for free). It had a temperature sensor and controller and worked quite well.

Comment Re:here's a prototype without the camo paint (Score 1) 249 249

I rented a gasoline powered Chevy Spark a year ago. It's one of the worst cars I've ever driven. The seats felt damned uncomfortable (even though there was plenty of room for me), the dashboard was a clusterfuck to put it mildly and I knew when I was going 65 on the freeway because I knew damned sure I didn't want to go any faster in the thing. It just felt unstable. It was worse than the car I had in college, and it was an under-powered piece of crap from the early 1980s. I hear the Spark EV is a lot better. Then again my last three cars were a '91 Ford Probe, '06 Toyota Prius, and currently a Tesla model S. The only car that I've driven that was worse was the one I learned to drive on, a 1970 Toyota Corona with shitty brakes that barely worked.

Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

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