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Comment: If you are planning on dropping them... (Score 1) 28

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#48224881) Attached to: A Low Cost, Open Source Geiger Counter (Video)
Does radiation detection(with actual accuracy, linearity, and repeatability, not just a quick demonstration that you can add some noise to a webcam by pointing a small sealed source at it) have currently good, or at least promising for the not too distant future, solid state options?

I'd imagine that for cost, robustness, and duration on battery power, the presence of little gas filled tubes, some with fairly delicate internal structure, that require a high voltage power supply is a necessary evil at best. In the case of a scintillation counter, the photomultiplier tube would be a similar headache.Are there better behaved options?

Comment: Re:USB VID is meant for a specific organization (Score 1) 443

by dgatwood (#48224873) Attached to: FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

Regardless of the fact that it may be legal for others to do so, it's unethical and clearly misrepresentation.

Not true. Lots of small homebrew hardware uses off-the-shelf chips like the ones FTDI builds without applying for their own VID/PID combo. This causes minor headaches because software can't tell them apart from one another, but as long as the final product doesn't have a USB logo on it, it is perfectly acceptable to sell it, even if your homebrew flash programmer looks like a USB to serial adapter to any software that asks.

If you want to use the USB logo, you have to apply for your own VID/PID combo and reprogram the chip to identify itself as being your product, and ship a custom driver that talks to it (which could be a modified version of the official FTDI driver, or the open source driver, or whatever).

Comment: Re:Toxic light (Score 2) 24

by reverseengineer (#48224113) Attached to: Recent Nobel Prize Winner Revolutionizes Microscopy Again

The toxicity is actually an indirect effect. The fluorescent dyes can in their excited states react with molecular oxygen to produce reactive oxygen species that damage tissues. By reducing the time and energy of excitation of the fluorophores (by only exciting those actually about to be scanned by the microscope), this technique reduces the amount of toxic byproducts.

Comment: Re:Criminals are dumb (Score 1) 58

by ultranova (#48223975) Attached to: Tracking a Bitcoin Thief

If you put a Bitcoin wallet on a USB flash drive and hand it to someone the transaction is not recorded anywhere.

Which means there's nothing stopping me from going home and moving the coins in the wallet I just gave to another one, leaving it empty.

There is no way to know how many people the wallet passed through before the coins resurface in public transactions again.

If I give away a wallet I received from someone else I risk being held accountable if whoever gave it to me spends the coins in it. So even if I accepted a wallet rather than a transaction to an address I control, I'd still need to transfer the coins to one generated by me before using them.

So no, you can't trade Bitcoins without making the transaction public. Not without total trust to everyone you trade with, and everyone they trade with, and so on. But if you have that, why not just use pen and paper - or, better yet, just abandon bookkeeping completely and share everything, since you trust everyone to not abuse the arrangement?

Comment: Re:Wake up America ... (Score 1) 94

Some years ago most of the population spent its time working in the field. Now agriculture employs about 3% of population. So, do these 97% of other guys starve or what?

Why do you think communist revolutions happened? And why did their agitators use such rhetoric as "you have nothing to lose but your chains"?

We'll need human jobs anyway until develop AI (and that's not going to happen in any foreseeable future).

"AI" is a nebulous term. A modern computer processor contains over 1 billion transistors; do you think a human being placed them all? AI runs factories, AI diagnoses illnesses, AI plans logistics, AI flies airplanes... What's missing is a general AI that can adapt to any task, but any particular task can be automated.

People will find another values that can't be produced by robots.

Perhaps. But here's the thing: the remaining farmers need products of industrial workers, just as badly as those industrial workers require food - after all, the farmer has only 3% or so of his pre-industrial workforce remaining, so he can't farm without a tractor and fuel. On the other hand, neither the farmer nor the industrial worker need, say, a barber. It's a luxury they can cut out by trimming their own hair. And the same goes to every other "value" anyone might produce. That's why the service industry and the entertainment industry are almost universally minimum wage jobs despite having some superstars who make millions. Selling luxuries to a group that keeps getting smaller and poorer is a losing proposition.

Comment: Re:Counterfeiters not competitors (Score 2) 443

FTDI didn't choose that specific value(though, thinking back to Intel's amusing choice of '8086' as their PCI vendor ID, you probably can choose a VID if you push hard enough or have a cute reason); but there are still some commonalities(though arguably some differences as well):

The USB spec (and, probably more importantly, USB as implemented on basically all commercially relevant systems) supports essentially two mechanisms for telling the OS what driver your device requires:

If supported by a generic class driver; your device descriptors include a bDeviceClass field containing a defined USB device class code; but isn't 0xFF(which is valid; but means 'vendor defined'), a bDeviceSubClass field with a valid subclass code, and a bDeviceProtocol field with a valid protocol code.

If your device is supported by a specific driver(or one of the hybrid arrangements, not uncommon, where a versatile device class like USB HID will be used to do most of the low-level work; but a vendor-specific driver will implement whatever device specific behavior is offered on top of that), then you need to supply the correct VID/PID combination.

Now, let me be clear, I see absolutely no reason why FTDI should need to provide driver support for clones, so even if Windows(correctly, as an OS) responds to a USB device with an FTDI VID/PID by loading the FTDI driver, it is fully within their rights to have a driver that detects and ignores non-FTDI parts.

However, (and this is where the analogy to consoles and trademarked-but-technically-necessary really comes in), the USB spec does not offer a 'compatible with VID/PID' device description option. Either you specify the appropriate generic class, or you specify a VID/PID and a vendor-specific class. There is no other way (barring atypical configurations and kernel hacker tricks that aren't of much use in the wider world) to do it.

If you want a Game Boy or whatever to load your cartridge, you need that logo to be present at the appropriate address. If you want to specify "I need the driver that supports device X", you have to supply device X's VID/PID. There is no 'compatible with device X; but actually made by me' mechanism.

If you are buying fake FTDI gear to take advantage of FTDI's driver devs, then I have no pity. Not FTDI's problem to support you. However, there are 3rd-party FTDI-device-supporting drivers (notably on Linux and BSD, maybe somebody has ported one to Windows or OSX, maybe you plan to implement your own, whatever) that it would be perfectly legitimate for an FTDI-compatible device to request, and (so long as it doesn't involve copyright or patent infringement, or fraudulent misrepresentation) there are perfectly licit non-FTDI chips that implement FTDI-compatible behavior. The USB-IF certainly doesn't have enough power over short hex values to stop that; and I'm not convinced that we would want them to.

A large number of now standard or semistandard devices, protocols, and command sets we don't even think about today started life as dirty clones of the more popular brand: The PC BIOS, the (still spoken, in extended form, by a moderately alarming number of things) Hayes command set, the 16550 UART (originally a National Semiconductor model number; now register compatibility with those is practically a standard in itself, thanks to about a zillion clones), the NE1000/2000-compatible NICs that helped make ethernet ubiquitous and cheap...

Again, FTDI has every right to make the use of their drivers contingent on the use of their ICs (or some other licensing terms, if that amuses them). Also, non-FTDI parts being sold (with varying degrees of sophistication, from pure nonsense to nearly perfect fakes) as FTDI is a bad thing. For FTDI, for the buyer being defrauded, for the electronics supply chain generally.

However, we would not be well served to be blinded to the (generally desirable and helpful, as much as incumbents dislike them) history of 3rd-party interoperable parts by lumping all of them in with 'counterfeit' parts and taking measures that make it easier to suppress them, and easier for 'counterfeit' to mean 'compatible with someone who doesn't want you to be compatible with them' rather than to mean 'based on illicitly copied designs and/or sold under fraudulent label'. These are two very different things.

Comment: Re:Bull (Score 1) 52

by hairyfeet (#48222435) Attached to: Microsoft Exec Opens Up About Research Lab Closure, Layoffs

Or maybe he is just accepting reality, which is unless there is some major breakthrough we're pretty much finished innovating? The cost to get below 20nm has been calculated to be non-profitable for pretty much everybody, sure Intel is doing it but they are also shutting fabs because chips have been insanely overpowered for several years now and ARM? ARM don't scale, once you go past a certain MHz it shits all over its power budget which is why we are now up to octocore on the ARM side.

The simple fact is that all the really good uses for tech have been done, which is why Apple is grasping at straws with the iWatch. Computers, be it desktop or mobile, are gonna end up like washing machines, things you don't replace until they break. You can stuff 'em in tables and walls and watches all day long but unless we come up with either some super new battery tech or some new material that doesn't have electron leakage? We are pretty much as high as we are gonna go. Hell even gaming can't punish the systems like it used to, a C2Q from half a decade ago can easily play damned near every game out there, there just isn't anyway to go higher without blowing LOTR money on the game.

Comment: Re:Counterfeiters not competitors (Score 1) 443

They could make the argument; but I'm not sure that they could win it.

It is widely accepted that you can use a protected mark, so long as you don't do so deceptively, to provide information about your product(the usual formulation is "Store brand product, compare to Product(tm) active ingredients). Not a trademark violation, even if the trademark holder might not like it; just telling the customer what your product is intended to be compatible with.

In computing applications, since the data are usually being sent to an (often inflexible and buggy) program rather than to a human, and since identifying information is often necessary for operation, even more blatant use is often accepted. Most browsers still claim to be "Mozilla/5.0" followed by a bunch of other stuff, often equally trademarked and equally false, because that particular string was the only way to get the correct output from assorted crufty HTTP servers. In more adversarial cases, like Lexmark's battle with Static Control Components over toner lockout chips, SCC ended up being allowed to duplicate an even larger chunk of Lexmark's firmware, over Lexmark's objections; because that was deemed a technically necessary part of producing an interoperable toner cartridge.

The USB VID/PID is conceptually in a similar position to the browser UA: it's not hard to find; but not really there for human readers and subject to fairly specific technical limitations if you actually want it to work. "0x0403" is a valid VID. "0x0403 (compatible; China Cloneshop)" is not. It won't even work, much less request the correct driver. USB does provide for purely descriptive, human readable, information fields ('Manufacturer String Descriptor', 'Product String Descriptor', and 'Serial Number String Descriptor') and those aren't subject to technical constraints.

I certainly wouldn't want to be on defense if I were selling a product with somebody else's trademark misused in the string descriptor fields; but the VID/PID would be much more defensible.

Comment: Libertarian talking point goes down in flames (Score 1) 552

So the idea that a higher minimum wage would drive automation is bullshit, as we suspected all along. Companies would automate jobs if they were being paid $2/hour. Humans get sick, they have a bad day and require training. Humans need managers, machines just need maintenance.

It was always a bullshit talking point. How many companies have a receptionist these days? Or a switchboard operator? A higher minimum wage never explained ATMs and online banking.

Maybe it was just Koch brothers brand bullshit all along.

Comment: Re:Not a feminist issue. (Score 1) 527

by fyngyrz (#48220927) Attached to: The Inevitable Death of the Internet Troll

Being able to be offended is free speech

Troll. All you did here was invert my argument and then complain about it. I agree that the argument you made up is invalid.

That is not the equality which feminism is about.

Your entire sally was a troll, which is why I only gave it a one-line answer.

none of that is relevant to anything

What I said was relevant. What you said definitely was not.

"How do I love thee? My accumulator overflows."