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Comment: Re:There are reasons for that (Score 3, Informative) 73

by AlecC (#47783877) Attached to: For $1.5M, DeepFlight Dragon Is an "Aircraft for the Water"

It is designed aircraft-style with positive buoyancy. So you don't flood tanks or anything like that, you "fly" down using control planes to keep you down just as an aircraft uses wings to keep you up. So, just as an aircraft will descend to the ground if the whirly bits stop turning, so will this return to the surface.

Comment: Government doesn't understand IT (Score 1) 74

by AlecC (#47763881) Attached to: UK Prisons Ministry Fined For Lack of Encryption At Prisons

This is just another example of the way the UK government and Civil Service, as institutions, do not understand IT. Down at the bitface, there may well be some very competent IT people - but their voices do not reach up to the levels that have control. The people who actually make the decisions, both politicians and civil servants, have no gut fel for IT. The assume that if you had over enough money to a plausible contractor, you will get something that works. The contractors, of course, are building something that meets the spec. The idea that "something that works" and "something that meets the spec" are not the same thing completely escapes them. On a large scale, the NHS IT fiasco.

  In this case, they bought drives specified as encrypted, and assumed the job done. Anybody who thought through the problem would have realised that there is a second, administrative phase: who sets they keys, who holds them, what happens if they are ill or leave, should we change the keys if people who know them leave... A side effect of this thinking would have been to decide when to turn on encryption, who to do it etc. But because they had bought a box with "encrypted" on the side, they assumed that the technology fairies would do the rest.

Comment: Re:Looks like a rock drawing to me... (Score 3, Informative) 45

by AlecC (#47473483) Attached to: Fossils of Cambrian Predator Preserved With Brain Impressions

I think the colour has been put on by the discoverers to highlight the high points and make the fossil easier to interpret. In the real world, the whole fossil is just rock coloured, as seem at the edges of the picture. I.e. you are tautologically right: the colour is mapping height.

Comment: Re:Sometimes I wonder... (Score 1) 247

by AlecC (#47383839) Attached to: Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

I would say he is in it as much for the fun as for the money. Of course, he wants to make profits, because that is the proof that your idea is good rather than a billionaire's toy. But I think his main motivation is to be the worlds coolest engineer. So I don't see him taking an exit any time soon. I think he will only exit when there is no more novelty to be wrung out. Which is probably when all the other manufacturers are treating electric cars as mainstream, not niche.

Comment: Re:What about range on this smaller car? (Score 1) 247

by AlecC (#47383811) Attached to: Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

If you are on a long trip, you are usually passing filling stations: very few people do 200 miles entirely on back roads. And good safety means that you should take a break about every 150 miles or so. So, as soon as filling stations do electrical recharge, the problem goes away for drivers not trying to keep going avery minute of the day. The problem is always chicken-and-egg: until people have the cars, the charging station will not exist.

Comment: Re:What about range on this smaller car? (Score 1) 247

by AlecC (#47383789) Attached to: Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

Your last paragraph is definitely not the case in the UK. All moving vehicle offences go to the driver. The owner has a legal obligation to tell the police who was driving when an offence was committed, but after that the person who was driving takes all the penalties.

And the insurance is the other way round. The named drivers get fully covered to drive the insured car, and they also get bare legal minimum insurance driving another car if they don't own it. But if somebody else drives the insured car, it is up to them to get insurance.

Comment: Misses the point of the Justice System. (Score 1) 240

by AlecC (#47170817) Attached to: UK Seeks To Hold Terrorism Trial In Secret

To me, this misses the point of the Justice System. The function of the Justice System is to allow people to live together by administering, fairly, a set of rules that all know and have, by remaining in the country when they know the laws, agreed to abide by. Prosecution and punishment are a means to that end, not an end in themselves. If we have rules, we need to punish rule breakers. But if we have punishments, we need to reassure people that the law abiding will not be punished: and the mechanism for doing that open trial with guild established beyond reasonable doubt.

So it is more important that justice is seen to be done than it is done. The "beyond reasonable doubt" rule establishes this. Of course, the easiest way for justice to be seen do be done is for it to be done, where it can be seen. And secret trials break this paradigm. It will not deter other plotters from future plots, because they don't know about it. It might take two dangerous men off the streets - but can that not be done other ways, with a simpler and mor publishable level of proof?

Comment: Don't forget the safety point (Score 1) 286

by AlecC (#47164667) Attached to: How Open Government Data Saved New Yorkers Thousands On Parking Tickets

The law against parking in front of hydrants is, presumably, to allow easy access for the fire service in case of fire. The fine is only a means to enforcing this, and making the city safer. Not, for example, raising revenue not an act of hydrant-worship by city officials. So by getting the city to make it clearer where the hydrants are, and thus keep them open for use, he has made the city a safer place. That is actually more important than saving fines. Maybe, one day, someone will not be burned to death because the fire service ran out of water as a result of this,

Comment: Re:Saved New Yorkers Thousands On Parking Tickets (Score 1) 286

by AlecC (#47164625) Attached to: How Open Government Data Saved New Yorkers Thousands On Parking Tickets

But the purpose of the law is to keep the hydrant clear for use by the fire services. The fine is only a means to this end. If you think it is a money earner, either the hydrant is unnecessary, or you think the city is happy to make money by burning buildings (and possibly people).

Comment: Re:How will they recoup costs? (Score 1) 170

by AlecC (#47147369) Attached to: Google To Spend $1 Billion On Fleet of Satellites

As well as the market information given by others, which can effectively double income, Africa has developed mobile and small scale banking. So it could bring them financial services: money transfers from family working in the city, the ability to save safely or to borrow to fund new businesses.The relatively small amount of energy used by communications technology can pay off very fast. And they have a lot of sun there for solar power rather than a genny,

Comment: Re:I have a really hard time caring... (Score 1) 355

by AlecC (#46997677) Attached to: Can Thunderbolt Survive USB SuperSpeed+?

It is more a question of having a home/office base where you plug in exactly 1 cable to your portable device to get power, desktop quality keyboard mouse and display, faster then WiFi network connectivity. Portable devices are, of course, ubiquitous, and we all have them - and we are always worried about the battery. Desktop installations have their advantages, and plenty of people make their portable devices into temporary desktop devices by plugging in enough cables. It seems a good idea to reduce that number of cables to the lowest possible number if possible. The USB Power Delivery standard does this. It can actually be delivered over current connectors, but it looks as if manufacturers are waiting for the new USB connector to implement it.

Comment: Re:No Threat To Thunderbolt (Score 1) 355

by AlecC (#46997655) Attached to: Can Thunderbolt Survive USB SuperSpeed+?

The OS has many discontinous buffers for many different overlapped commands. If you allow peripherals to buffer many commands and execute in their preferred order, performance can greatly increase - more than double for disks IME. Bu that would mean the controller having many different base/limit registers. Which, of course, it does (even if via software) in USB. Allowing the peripheral to switch buffers as needed cuts a lot of duplicated effort - by handing trust over to the peripheral completely.

Comment: Blinkered (Score 4, Informative) 187

by AlecC (#46997593) Attached to: Do Embedded Systems Need a Time To Die?

This guy has an incredible blinkered view of "embedded devices". Most embedded devises are not connected to the Interned. Should my wristwatch, washing machine, car ignition controller, garage door opener, swimming pool pump, dumb TV, bank vault, disk drive, mouse, keyboard, etc all die prematurely because somebody else makes a router that can be prejudiced. There are literally billions of embedded devices in the world,. of which probably less than one a thousand is connected to the internet. Yet this seems to be suggesting that we should kill a thousand devices because one /might/ be prejudiced.

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. -- Niels Bohr