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Comment: Re:Overblown fear mongering (Score 1) 267 267

As an electronics technician i have to ask:' How do you troubleshoot/find faults in those systems without power applied?

First of all, it's only control power that's off (sensors are always on). Measuring a voltage is one thing, but if you need to replace a motor, you have to lock out the energy. Secondly, the electrical devices that do the controlling are usually located in electrical panels accessible from outside the guarding. Third the cell is normally designed so you can see pretty well what's going on from outside (the guarding is typically something you can see through like lexan or square mesh painted black).

Comment: It's most likely a sign of code age... (Score 1) 200 200

It used to be scarily common, but I believe that it's slowly phasing out in favor of hitting a website where you can (re)set the password yourself after a couple of security questions.

I believe it's just a sign of old code (or an old coder) on the site. There may be cases where the guy writing the sitecode is inexperienced or incompetent, but I like to think that such cases are rare.

I think I only see a cleartext password sent via email like once every 10 requests now.

Comment: Overblown fear mongering (Score 4, Informative) 267 267

I can't believe I heard about this story on the radio this morning, with the radio hosts likening it to the movie Terminator. I work in industrial automation and let me assure you that these industrial robots have absolutely nothing even remotely approaching "AI". An industrial robot is no more than a multi-axis motion control system with some fancy co-ordinate transformation math on top of it. The programs are as simple as "wait for this input, then move to this point, turn on this output, wait for this input", etc.

When we're starting up any industrial automation workcell (whether it as a robot or not), the cell design has to be certified (stamped by a professional engineer in our jurisdiction) that the safety system meets appropriate regulations and is built with certified components, all of which are specified to specific safety requirements based on hazard, etc.

The thing is, those regulations are there to protect factory workers and people interacting with the cell in normal operations. If you take any machine apart using a wrench, you're supposed to be properly trained in how to lock out all sources of energy in the machine. That said, when you're programming the cell, you're allowed to be inside the cell and power up the robot using a teach pendant with a special enabling switch you have to hold down. This requires you to put the robot in a special teach mode which also limits the robot speed to less than 250 mm/s. If the cell was built correctly, the interlock switches on the gates have to be wired into the gate inputs on the robot, and when you open the guarding, the robot can only be energized while in teach mode with the teach pendant enabled.

The system isn't fool proof. We all know impatient people. Maybe the person programming the robot didn't check that the gate switches were wired in properly, or maybe he asked his buddy to close the gate behind him and press the reset button because he wanted to see what was going on (something I've seen several people do, and have always chastised them for). Maybe the guarding wasn't completely installed yet. Maybe he mistakenly put it in "Teach 2" mode which allows full speed operation with the teach pendant enabled. This mode is generally illegal in the United States, but some jurisdictions do allow it as long as you take other safeguards, like striping out a dedicated area on the floor where the robot can't reach where you're allowed to stand.

That's why this is most certainly human error. The question is, who is liable? Did a manager pressure the guy to continue programming the robot even though proper safeguards weren't in place? Did he just get impatient and ignore his own safety training? I see lots of people do that, and I also see lots of people with missing fingers - go figure.

Comment: Re:Delete? (Score 1) 119 119

I'm glad to see someone besides me on /, isn't terrified of Facebook.

I use it and I think it's relatively harmless as long as you understand, as Rasperin says, it's a loud speaker. I expect everything I post on FB will be available to everyone, everywhere, forever. I long ago, many years before Facebook was a thing, figured out that if I never posted anything online I wouldn't want my sainted mother to see, I'd never have anything to worry about*. I speak my mind freely, but I would have no problem if my mother, my wife, my boss, my kids or my pastor were to see anything I've posted.

* Now, of course, that doesn't mean some day in the near future agents of the Ministry of Love won't show up at my door to conduct me to a re-education camp for my political views, but at least I know my mother won't be ashamed of me.

Comment: Re:Prepaid is the way to go (Score 1) 81 81

I pay $45/mo, no contract on Net10, I get unlimited data**. I bought my own damned phone already unlocked (the LG G2 GSM phone I bought a month or so ago cost me something like $215 brand-new off of Amazon.)

It only costs me $755/yr my way ($45/mo plus $215 for the GSM/international phone I bought separately) with no ETF at all...

...versus at least $1167/yr (for a typical $89/mo big carrier capped data plan plus $99 towards their shiny new subsidized phone), and a 2-year contract w/ a massive ETF whether you like it or not.

Oh, and I still get 4G speed on AT&T's network.

** at $45/mo, the first 3GB is at 4G speed, but anything over that in a given month is throttled to 3G, but there's no overage charges at all... I rarely burn more than 2.5GB though, so I'm fine with the terms given the rather massive discount.

Comment: Re:Are you OK, samzenpus? (Score 3, Insightful) 81 81

I think I see the problem:

conservative-libertarian

To put it bluntly, there's no such thing. The two ideologies' interests do overlap in places, but the libertarian ideology also overlaps with the liberals on others.

Basically, the libertarian mindset is socially liberal, fiscally conservative, combined with a strong distaste for governmental interference of any non-critical type. Their main goal is to take over the government, then promptly get the government out of everyone's way.

HTH a little.

Comment: Re:IOW: TracFone Finally Agrees to Obey the Law (Score 1) 81 81

As a guy who uses Net10 (TracFone's parent company), I can tell you that the phones they sell aren't exactly top-of-the-line. Most of the models are the really low-end stuff: Huawei, ZTE, some-off-brand-or-other, and on the Net10 side, obsolete models of Samsung and LG. The Net10 side does have a couple of flagship phones, but those are prices way out of the reach of their typical customer. this is a typical list of phones we're talking about here. Many of these phones (in spite of being overpriced IMHO) cost less than a trip to McDonald's for a family of three. Even the most expensive ones top out at around $200.

On my part, I usually buy my phone unlocked from elsewhere, e.g. Amazon, then I do Net10's "Bring Your Own Phone" plan, which means I don't have to give a shit what they think. It also gives me the advantage of being able to jump to whatever carrier I damned well please, and choose the cheapest plan I can find. :)

Comment: Re:Are you OK, samzenpus? (Score 1) 81 81

Dude, seriously... if you want evidence, see this article , and notice that the modded-up posts are mostly *not* conservative in ideology. While you're at it, see the posts about AGW.

Personally, I find /. to be center to center-left, depending on the subject.

QED: GGP's Weak troll is still weak.

Comment: Re:Ah That's Good Shit (Score 1) 66 66

Probably so, a lot of the 90's are kind of a blur now for reasons. Also, the company I was working for at the time was notoriously cheap with IT costs. They were also the only company I ever worked for that allowed smoking in the office. Around computers. That's smart. The two old guys who ran the joint both died of lung cancer a couple years after I stopped working there. So... yeah.

Comment: Re:UO Not Just a Fighting MMO (Score 1) 75 75

I had to punch an AWFUL lot of deer to progress, back in the day. That was before Trammel or any of EA's WoW-Style gear grind nonsense. I did manage to get a mage to GM mage/GM Scribe and was at different times exalted and notorious. I probably still have a couple of shots around somewhere of the ol' guy. Made bank selling filled spellbooks, recall scrolls and rune bags to people. I had runes to damn near everywhere. That was another thing that was pretty unique to UO -- you could make a rune to damn near anywhere. And despite this, the world still felt HUGE!

Comment: Re:Stuxnet (Score 1) 349 349

Now I don't want to be accused of defending the NSA, but they are not exactly the most transparent organization in the world. Just as with the FBI, CIA and DHS, we can point to their obvious screw-ups and overreaches but I for one believe that the fact that we are not being nickel-and-dimed on the terrorist front is due in part to their work.

I mean, they have the records of 8 scrillion phone calls and access to everyone's hard drives. One would hope that they are actually able to do something with all that.

The first myth of management is that it exists. The second myth of management is that success equals skill. -- Robert Heller

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