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Comment: The important question... (Score 2) 34

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49498339) Attached to: Incorrectly Built SLS Welding Machine To Be Rebuilt
The article does not mention where the cost of this error is going to fall. This seems like an important detail. On a sufficently complex project, one of the bevy of subcontractors fucking something up isn't a huge surprise; but I would be very, very, disappointed if NASA wasn't able to contract sufficiently vigorously to make the vendor eat the cost of delivering the goods as specified, rather than paying them for their effort no matter how well or badly they do.

Comment: Re:30 day suspension of pilot's license for prev. (Score 1) 182

by ScentCone (#49496901) Attached to: Gyrocopter Pilot Appears In Court; Judge Bans Him From D.C.
I don't believe you actually need a pilot's license to fly anything characterized as an "ultralight" aircraft, as these tape-and-balsawood gyrocopters appear to be. Doesn't mean the FAA can't fine your ass, of course, when you do dumb crap like flying a possibly deadly set of large rotors right past crowds of tourists at low altitudes in an urban area like DC.

Comment: Re:Yeah, why not looking for ant-tools? (Score 1) 85

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49495677) Attached to: World's Oldest Stone Tools Discovered In Kenya
Alas, the only known emergent sentience is the one that exists in the neuron colony inside each of our skulls; but there are some pretty damn cool sub-sentient emergent behaviors even in quite limited organisms. Bacteria in biofilms do some very impressive things, as do slime molds when they form masses.

It's too bad that (to the best of my knowledge, and I've hunted a bit), no organisms have evolved to exploit RF signalling. It's not inconceivable, loads of organisms use electrical signalling internally, a fair number have magnetic sensory structures, and a variety of common metals are amenable to biological chemistry if you need a better antenna; but that's the sort of thing that would make linking multiple nervous systems with reasonable speed and without direct contact possible.

Comment: Re:Buyer's remorse (Score 1) 318

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49495603) Attached to: LA Schools Seeking Refund Over Botched iPad Plan
I would hope that, should any impropriety be found in the contracting process, that the superintendent and any collaborators are dealt with as harshly as possible.

As for Apple, I'd be curious to know how much terminating the deal would involve for them. Obviously they'd rather have the sales than not; but there is a big difference between 'not making sales we had previously expected to make' and 'large piles of used inventory being returned and/or inventory prepared for this specific contract now without a destination.'

Particularly if it is only the former, Apple might well cave(not for honor's sake; but because an 'iPads in Education Program a Giant Clusterfuck; Lawsuits Fly!' is not a headline that Apple PR wants running any longer than necessary); if it's the latter they might be harder to convince.

Comment: Re:Sign off. (Score 1) 318

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49495547) Attached to: LA Schools Seeking Refund Over Botched iPad Plan
In fairness to Apple, they have been working to improve the situation, and things are better now; but the state of the possible when this program started(~2 years ago) was rather less pleasant. They started tightly wedded to the 'device basically has one user, who has an account directly with Apple and a CC number on file' model; and it has been a rather slow path to getting support for a model where things like 'applications owned by the institution' actually works smoothly.

Apple's first-party support for remote management is still better than Android's; but their grip is tight enough that it is them or nothing, while Android is all over the map; but 3rd parties can actually offer options without the keys to the OS.

Comment: Re:Sign off. (Score 1) 318

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49495447) Attached to: LA Schools Seeking Refund Over Botched iPad Plan
Wow, asking you to do the work so that they can deliver a sales pitch is really, really, nervy.

Are you running something in-house(or off the shelf but fairly heavily specialized) enough that they couldn't just put together an equivalent test environment on their end and use that for the sales pitch, or are they actually that lazy and entitled?

We certainly deal with doing the various things required to make what our users choose work; that's sort of what they pay us for; but I wouldn't have imagined a salesweasel demanding that I set up their tech demo for them.

Comment: Re:Since when.... (Score 2) 245

by ColdWetDog (#49494445) Attached to: FBI Accuses Researcher of Hacking Plane, Seizes Equipment

Standard procedure. Every time. If something MIGHT be involved in a crime, the first thing law enforcement is going to do is put that thing someplace where they can prove provenance. It can be annoying and law enforcement over reaches at time, but I have a hard time getting mad at the FBI for this one. Especially the field guys - they aren't doing the detailed forensics or anything, they are just their to make sure that the scene is safe and secure.

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