Forgot your password?

Comment: It's a training program, not production (Score 1) 79

by Animats (#46758769) Attached to: Humans Are Taking Jobs From Robots In Japan

This is a training program, not a production process. They have a few people doing forging by hand, but not to make production parts. See the original article in the Japan Times. Toyota's process of continuous improvement of production requires that people working on assembly lines understand the process well enough to suggest improvements. They recognize that they've dumbed down the workforce too much.

Ford Motor funded the building of the Detroit TechShop for similar reasons. They need more people who have a good sense of how stuff is made. Who in the US gets a degree in production engineering any more?

Comment: Re:Not getting funded. (Score 1) 154

by Animats (#46751137) Attached to: Will This Flying Car Get Crowdfunded?

Why does a small jet engine have to cost too much? A quick search of jet turbines for model aircraft shows that the 52lbs max thrust P200-SX from JetCat costs $5,495. Sure you would need 6 or 7 of these to get an average sized adult off the ground vertically with some minimal airframe, but we aren't talking about millions of dollars we are talking about something under $100k to put together some sort of ultralight VTOL.

The JetCat isn't man-rated. It's for model aircraft.

A JetCat needs an overhaul every 50 hours of operation. Mean time to failure is maybe a few hundred hours. A commercial jetliner turbine needs an overhaul every 3500 to 5000 hours of operation. Mean time to failure is around 100,000 hours.

A Williams FJ44 is suitable for light aircraft, and could be used for a VTOL, but a pair of them costs over $1M.

Comment: Not getting funded. (Score 1) 154

by Animats (#46750243) Attached to: Will This Flying Car Get Crowdfunded?

Current status: "€140 raised of €2,250,000 goal".

The thing is, it's quite possible to build a flying car. The prototypes of the 1950s make that clear. The world needs some good small VTOL craft. But none of the people doing it seem to be able to bring it off.

Small jet engines cost too much but can make VTOL work. Wankel engines (the Moller embarassment) or electric motors and batteries (this thing) don'tt have the power/weight ratio needed to do it well. It's probably quite possible to build a battery powered VTOL today, but the flight time will be a few minutes, like quadcopters.

Comment: Re:Does the "fix" include scrubbing? (Score 1) 149

by Animats (#46749857) Attached to: NSA Allegedly Exploited Heartbleed

Ignoring the performance hit with this (that many application won't take)

Clearing recently used memory is cheap, because it's in the cache. Clearing memory in general is cheap on modern CPUs, because the superscalar features do it really well. MOV is 35% of instructions, so CPUs are designed to do it efficiently.

It's security code. You have to scrub memory.

Comment: Anyone can buy Google Glasses right now, cheap. (Score 2) 156

by Animats (#46742721) Attached to: Anyone Can Buy Google Glass April 15

Anyone can buy Google Glasses right now on eBay. The going rate is about $1100. Google Glass "invitations" have been for sale on eBay for months. The going rate is about $50.

As an "exclusive launch", this is a flop. There have been XBox and Sony PSn launches where pre-order prices exceeded list price. Google Glasses are already selling at a discount before the launch. This thing is overpriced. It needs to launch at $995, and that will only hold until Samsung starts shipping.

Comment: Head-down time (Score 3, Interesting) 180

by Animats (#46738183) Attached to: The Case For a Safer Smartphone

Aviation human-factors people call this the "head-down time" problem - pilot looking at panel for too long. Big efforts are made to minimize head-down time during takeoff, approach, and landing. In combat aircraft, huge efforts are made to eliminate it outright, with heads-up displays and all essential controls needed during combat on throttle and stick. Pilot training emphasizes these issues.

Car UI people are just starting to get a clue about this. Early car interfaces were just awful. BMW's original iDrive is considered a classic example of how not to do it. There have some better interfaces since, but the tendency to emulate phones and do everything through a touchscreen is a step backwards.

Phone people have no clue at all. They assume they own the user's attention.

Comment: Trouble may be closer than we thought. (Score 1) 718

by Animats (#46738001) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

We're getting close to what could be the start of World War III. It looks like a land war between Russia and Ukraine is about to start. Reuters: Ukraine prepares armed response as city seized by pro-Russia forces. This is not about Crimea. Russia has now taken over cities 150Km inside the eastern part of Ukraine.

WWII started very much like this. On 1 September 1939, Germany invaded Poland.

Comment: Drones are still too dumb (Score 2) 213

by Animats (#46735559) Attached to: FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

The trouble with drones is that most of them don't have enough sensing to avoid other aircraft. Most don't have aviation transponders. Yet some of them are big enough that they're a hazard to other aircraft. Many of them can get 500 feet above ground level (AGL). (Aircraft other than helicopters are supposed to stay 500' AGL, 1000' AGL in congested areas. Around airports, airspace is controlled all the way to the ground.) This puts them in conflict with other aircraft. Here's a small Parrot drone at 1553 feet in the UK. It's little, but if it was sucked into a jet engine, the engine would definitely be damaged and might fail. In 2013, someone was flying a drone near JFK in New York and the drone had a near miss with a jetliner.

The Academy of Model Aeronautics used to have a 450' AGL rule, and the FAA has a clear rule about doing anything off the ground within 5 miles of an airport without coordination with the tower. That's enough to keep the little guys from interfering with aircraft.

The other side of this is that aircraft regulated by the FAA are considered not to be violating the property rights of the property overflown. Being overflown at 100' by an HDTV camera isn't a hazard to aviation, but property owners may object.

Comment: Re:Don't do it. Linux sucks as an XP workgroup (Score 1) 445

by Animats (#46728673) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Start With Linux In the Workplace?

I don't know why it says to edit smb.conf directly when the easy button way to set up Samba is with "system-config-samba"

Me either. But that's what the manual says.

This sort of thing is why Linux is a failure on the desktop. The "real way" to do something is by editing a text file. Then there are third party hacks to make it "easier", until the third party hack screws up something.

Comment: Re:Isn't this old news? (Score 1) 65

by Animats (#46728341) Attached to: 3D Display Uses Misted Water

Right. Fogscreen does this commercially. With better image quality, too. "Fogscreen" really is a fog screen. Here's Fogscreen in HD video, so you can see the quality of Fogscreen, which is OK for PR but not that great. They do interactivity, too.

Water screens are available, too. Those things can be huge, hundreds of feet long if desired.

All these technologies suffer from poor resolution. It's hard to keep a layer of fog smooth and flat. Resolution gets worse further from the nozzles, too.

The person who's taking you to lunch has no intention of paying.