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Comment Re:Laughing myself out of the room (Score 1) 578

Come on a few hundred miles south to austin, where our brain dead road crew failed to properly stripe the lines on mopac during construction and people were crashing in to each other left and right until they fixed it.

What you can get away with in a relatively less populated area is different than what you can get away with in a heavily congested area. People are not going to slow down when their commute is already >1hr. They're going to drive like cows in stampede.

Comment Re:More nation-wrecking idiocy (Score 1) 578

I'd expect drivers are slowing down because the road is less safe without the lines, and are adjusting their speed to reclaim that lost safety factor

And as we know, people are capable of deciding for themselves what is safe. Said every drunk driver, and/or lead foot, ever.

This is clearly an example of cheaping out on proper road work hiding behind some bleeding heart cause. Tar and feather em.

Comment Re:Education is getting better (Score 1) 207

I have noticed that Public education is getting better in the US

I disagree, the article has some very telling things to say between the lines:

The students are being produced by a new pedagogical ecosystem—almost entirely extracurricular—that has developed online and in the country’s rich coastal cities and tech meccas.

Parents of students in the accelerated-math community, many of whom make their living in stem fields, have enrolled their children in one or more of these programs to supplement or replace what they see as the shallow and often confused math instruction offered by public schools, especially during the late-elementary and middle-school years

My conclusion is, also based from what I see from my own kids in Texas public schools, are that parents who know what they're doing, and are already in the field, are feeling compelled to give their kids extra-curricular instruction in math, wherever they can find it, to augment the generally poor math being taught to "the normals" (by which I mean everyone who simply attends public school). Not only is there no push for better math, it is intentionally dumbed down even from when I was in school. What school or government sponsored math enrichment exists, exists in precisely the form the article describes: math competitions. To take the math programs here in Austin (varies wildly by school and ISD), you have to commit your kid to participating in these stupid competitions. It's not about learning math, it's about being #1. Bad news: only one guy can be #1. But the world needs many, many people who know math and science very well in order to field the workforce required for further progress, or indeed simply to staff existing jobs as us old farts age out.

Public schools themselves are still very much behind the ball, all we're actually seeing is our elite outperform the other team's elite. What we need to see is a significant rise in overall mathematical literacy across the board.

Comment Re:Damned if you do, damned if you don't (Score 4, Insightful) 405

You could replace the fingerprint sensor with something that could provide arbitrary fingerprints, possibly based on a collection you have made of them. Then use your collection to buy stuff. Requires no memory in the sensor at all. This is much faster than creating molds of fingerprints and applying them to the sensor. I can see Apple not wanting to tolerate replacing things tied in to your CC #.

Replacing a battery seems less defensible to me, if that aspect is true. It's hard to argue this is tied in to any trust chain.

Comment Re:"Squandarded productivity"?That depends... (Score 1) 153

Well I still submit my antarctic born, hogwarts attending, international, two-spirit gender facebook avatar has sabotaged someone's productivity and finances. At the very least a past employer on whose dime I created it, and whatever big brotherish agencies are slurping facebook and have the unholy job of fumigating the nonsense. Most of my uploaded photos are of cats I do not own, internet memes I didn't create, and lately every derp face Trump picture ever taken. The latter itself could fill a sizable storage array.

Still, i can do what passes for interaction with my family in a synthetic and non-time consuming way, which is all facebook has ever been good for anyway.

Comment Re:Mean time to failure (Score 5, Informative) 220

It's not really that simple except for reasonably large, well studied components. But if you are doing the design of say, a motherboard or a the main board of your cell phone, you are essentially constructing a new thing, based on components that themselves may or may not be well understood even under their own environments. Processors are a crapshoot, many of them (including our favorites) don't have an MTTF at all, or any reliability data period. In fact quite a lot of smaller ICs are like that too. In a mature organization we do study the lifetime curves of the components (in some fashion or another), and there are standards of acceptability based on the market, but that is definitely not a good assumption to make about most consumer electronics (for example). A lot of those are made in some shady fly by night environments.

The whole topic in context of consumer electronics is kind of dumb. Nobody designs things to fail in a given window. It's hard to do even if you have reliable statistical models. You design not to fail in a given window, and inevitably outside of that window something eventually goes wrong somewhere. In reality you are often against some sticky design choices (quality, reliability, cost, pick one). My favorite is selecting decoupling capacitors for big digital ICs like CPUs. Failure to have adequate decoupling will result in random and unpredictable failures, yuck. Proper decoupling is frequently physically impossible, some people who make chip packages don't think this through real well and don't simulate. Yay. But the designer does the best he can, trying to find the smallest parts to get in to all the nooks and crannies, with the least inductance he can introduce. In choosing that small package he has chosen quality over reliability and cost: the smaller package will have a lower voltage rating and thus the MTTF will be lower (often very much lower in practice), and you often add cost in choosing those components because they require SMT lines that support small parts, the smaller footprints have larger manufacturing fallout (tombstoning, bridging, etc.) and sometimes they just cost more because only one guy sells them, etc. No one will ship if the derating curves are too bad, but at some point we say "a life of 3 years is good enough", and that's that. In reality decoupling in many environments is black magic, no one has the technical data to know how much is enough, and we massively overdesign it, and even as components fail nobody ever notices!

Then there's mfg variability. Your design may be absolutely correct on paper, it may even have met your DFM criteria for your factory. But there is a non-zero probability of failure in fab and assembly of every part of the design. Things happen, I mentioned surface mount part tomb-stoning (literally turning at 90 degrees to the PCB, like a tombstone) but that's just one of so many things. Not all of these produce a hard failure immediately, many of them make it through whatever physical and functional test you apply to a device after it is manufactured. But they fail early because the circuit as designed by the engineer, as hopefully studied for standard component failure, is now outside of its design spec, and is going to fail early. Or possibly someone mishandled a component and induced a latent ESD event to a device causing its lifetime to be reduced. So all that work above, designed to make sure your design works "just long enough" gets ruined horribly when it gets physically assembled.

In reality, yes we are making lifetime choices based on the market, but not in any devious technical way. Given the low costs the market demands on consumer goods, and the fast design cycles a number of less than optimal choices are being made that impact the final product. There is no way to predict what is going to fail first, all we can do is look at failures that come in and identify where the weaknesses must have been (even that is usually only done for the first 90 days, or maybe 1 year). However since products change so significantly from one gen to the next, it is difficult even to use the historic data.

If we get to a point where technology in a given area has mostly stagnated, we might see an improvement in reliability such that we could engineer it in better ways. But as things are right now, as a designer I would never intentionally design something to fail earlier... it would be inviting disaster.

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