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Comment Re:Make a law saying that independent repair shops (Score 1) 279

> Make a law saying that independent repair shops must get the same software and codes that the dealers get and the software can't be locked down to only on dealer systems or be rent only.

Not a bad idea, but the government protects the secret sauce inside the machines we use to vote... it will be hard to pass something like this for cars.

Comment Re:That's exactly right (Score 1) 645

> They compare Fukushima to a single wind turbine failure and proclaim wind is safer.

To me it seems like when you talk about nuclear power the average person assumes that a nuke plant is super high tech, the pinnacle of engineering, the safest that it can be. I mean, it's NUCLEAR, right? That's got to be high tech! So we have most people believing that any current *or future* nuclear plant is a possible Fukushima disaster... not realizing there are different designs, more modern ones are safer, and it is possible to design and build plants that are safer still.

I don't think nuclear can have a big renaissance as long as the average person's understanding of nuclear power is a combination of The Simpsons and Chernobyl.

Comment Re:Bull Spit (Score 1) 259

> Like speech recognition, which also seemed to always be 3-5 years out until it finally went mainstream a few years ago.

I feel like it went mainstream but only for limited use cases. You can use Siri or OK Google for some very useful things but we still seem to be a long way from truly smart long-form dictation. "OK google, play music by David Bowie" feels like the equivalent of self-park...Truly useful, mainstream, and yet not nearly realizing the full potential of the technology.

My doctor's office is actually going back to human medical transcription, too many errors from the computerized system they use.

Comment Re:distribution of wealth and (Score 1) 729

> GP was right -- it IS all about greed, just on even more levels.

I think any system will, over time, evolve under pressure from the incentives that are part of that system. If the people who own the capital can enrich themselves at the expense of those who are powerless, well, that's human nature and absent a legal structure to prevent it, it's inevitable. There was plenty of exploitation going on in the old days for sure, but even with the legal protections labor has now, somehow we've seen the entire nature of the economy and class system change.

We see similar "optimizations" going on in other industries. Journalism is going down the drain, with maintstream media turning into political entertainment, and the Internet is overrun with 9 incredible headwriting techniques... You won't BELIEVE number 4!

Even video games... The $50 game-in-a-box is under attack from "freemium" games. More and more game studios are focusing on that model because it has lower risks and higher rewards... even though almost no one who likes games will say the freemium products are better.

I am not equating Candy Crush to the trouble with our economy, just observing that the relentless desire to squeeze out every dime damages lots of things. And how can you fix that? You're fighting human nature.

Comment Re:"the FAA should do the same" (Score 1) 131

> That prevents you from harassing a guy who was doing something perfectly legal that you think ought to be illegal.

You've made an excellent point which should be modded up. Car analogies often suck but yours was perfect.

I live right by a school, and I have about a half dozen "drones" that need to be registered. They are all fixed-wing models. A couple of years ago they'd be "toys," not "OMG DRONES" but whatever.

I am worried that any time a parent at that school imagines an infraction putting their kid at risk, they'll come pound on my door thanks to the open Federal database. Little Timmy says he saw a drone? Parent thinks they saw a drone? Better go have a talk with that weird drone guy.

I'm considering exiting the hobby or only flying models below the weight cutoff.

Comment Re:Bulk surveillance, what is it good for? (Score 1) 139

> If so, what is it for? Blackmailing politicians? Blackmailing the wealthy and powerful?

Time and again we see that anything they have the *capability* to do, they *are* doing. This includes the CIA spying on Congress.


They got caught with their hand in the cookie jar that time, but what's to say that similar things aren't still happening? Merely their assurances, and how much are those worth?

Based on what we know about bulk data collection, our intelligence apparatus does seem to have the *capability* to influence the the legislative and executive branches in inappropriate ways. Based on their past behavior I feel like we can't just dismiss that possibility as crazy.

There's nothing so special about America that we cannot suffer from corruption, and we have built the technological toolbox to enable it.

I feel like a lunatic writing this down, but "they" truly could be manipulating our elected officials.

Comment Re:unique id (Score 1) 214

In my state you need to purchase a special parking pass to enter state parks. You can get the pass when you register your car, or you can buy it at a sporting goods store like a fishing license.

To buy the pass at a retail location, you must give the clerk your social security number. Why does my state government require my SSN for a parking pass... and who thought that a system requiring a Big 5 clerk to handle private information was a good idea? It's absurd.

Comment Already got burned with the Intel Compute Stick (Score 1) 224

I really want to like these products but my first foray into the field was a disaster. The Intel Compute Stick was my first cheap-o headless "full Windows" PC and it was total garbage.

It was so slow that installing Windows Updates took for-ev-er. And worst of all, in its shipping configuration, it just failed to install most updates. You'd watch it grind away for 30 minutes, throw an error, reboot, and then uninstall the partially complete update.

If a computer can't even successfully keep up with Microsoft's recommended patches without crapping itself, it isn't very useful.

I got some moderate use out of the Compute Stick by disabling WU entirely, but then its built in wifi started to fail, and then the provided 2 A USB power supply died, and then I gave up on it.

Comment Re:Bull (Score 2) 235

And this is why I fear that parts suppliers like HK are going to end up on a hit list eventually.

Trying to regulate radio controlled models is going to be about as hard as regulating any other dirt cheap consumer technology. For the regulation to be effective, it's going to have to be extremely heavy-handed. Then we'll end up in an endless cat-and-mouse game of workarounds.

2-5 years from now your HobbyKing multirotor controller board will be sold as a generic robotics gyrostabilizer board, with no mention of flight. It will also be delivered without firmware. You'll have to find an illegal overseas torrent of the firmware file you need, and you'll have to flash it yourself. At this point you'll have committed multiple felonies, like every other person at your hobbyist flying field, but since "they" only go after the biggest offenders (and people that they need to charge with something), you'll probably be fine. Probably.

Except once in a while, you won't be fine, because the eye of Sauron will turn to you. Then we'll get a news story about an "unjust" drone bust and it'll be discussed here.

"14 Year Old Inventor Builds Unregistered Drone, Arrested by FBI"

This story will happen when a kid does the exact same stuff that every other hobbyist does, but he flies his technically illegal drone too close to someone fussy. So maybe the kid's drone scares someone's show horse in their yard, and the horse owner calls the FBI, and then the kid gets jammed up, and we talk about it here and hope it won't happen to us.

Comment Re:Social media (Score 2) 307

I am an introvert without a Facebook account (or Twitter, or Instawhatever). And I love social media.

I kind of want to be left alone, or rather, I want to choose when and how I interact with people. With most people seemingly socializing through Facebook, it is a snap to opt out of unwanted social pressures and small talk if you aren't also a user.

Facebook casts a long shadow. It is easy to disappear in it.

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