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Comment: Re:For safe integration with existing air traffic (Score 1) 129

When the 3 lb drone gets sucked into the helicopters turbine engine, and that helicopter crashes, who pays for what?

I get your point, but it is probably an extremely low risk for a helicopter. The drone would get knocked down by the rotor-wash long before it got to the intake. A more likely example would be a fixed wing aircraft flying into a drone, but that doesn't fit the hypothetical story as well.

I don't recall what the numbers are, but there is an airspace floor, which pilots of "real" aircraft are not supposed to fly below (except for takeoff and landing, of course). Keep the drones there.

Comment: Re:For safe integration with existing air traffic (Score 1) 129

Of course, once you mandate the smoke canister, parachute, etc. you have mandated that the drone will be quite large, just to carry all the mandated gear. Getting hit by a 2 oz. quadcopter, is going to hurt a lot less than getting hit by the smoke canister carrying one, even if it has a parachute.

Comment: Re:Can I buy an editor? (Score 1) 129

The original "editor" had it correct, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS).

And what is wrong with the word "myriad?" It means "a countless or extremely great number." I suppose one could say that it is hyperbole, but one can lean on the "extremely great number" part of the definition, or if desired, add another word to make it "seemingly myriad."

(Ok, "several" may be more readable/accurate/etc., but it is nice to read words above a 5th grade level every once in a while.)

Comment: Re:The real reason? (Score 1) 187

by McFly777 (#48501583) Attached to: Music Publishers Sue Cox Communications Over Piracy

Ok. I'll take a stab, although I admit I am probably not the best one here to do so.

If Cox et al are common carriers, then the advantage legally is that they are not responsible for their customers bad behavior, as they have no control over it. Much like the phone company can't stop you from transacting an illegal activity over the phone. However if they are common carriers, they also can't discriminate between your traffic and Netflix (for example), to give Netflix higher (or lower) bandwidth. This is a disadvantage to cable co ISPs as Netflix, etc. is taking away from their HBO sales, On Demand, etc. This restriction is (to some*) known as Net Neutrality.

* I say "to some" because recently I have been hearing "net neutrality" used in a somewhat different way recently. A way in which I can't quite get my head around. This was from specific radio commentators, who I usually happen to agree with. Since they were speaking about specific legislation, and since several of them seemed to be operating from the same (strange) definition, I am not sure if the term has recently been redefined in the proposed bill, or if they just all got the concept wrong in the same way coincidentally. I would not put it past congress-critters to have redefined the term such that it means almost the exact opposite of what it used to mean, but I would not put it past the commentators to have misunderstood either.

Comment: Re:*sighs* (Score 2) 333

This can happen regardless of color. As I understand it, the kid had removed the orange tips from the "gun" which is supposed to help the police know that it is a toy.* Orange tip or not, I can remember specifically telling my son that he was NOT to point his cap-gun at ANYONE, and he was not allowed to play with it in the car as we returned from Disneyworld, where we had purchased it.

* Re: the orange tips, I have always wondered how often (or why don't) criminals paint the tip of a real gun orange, just to gain that moment of hesitation on the part of the police.

Comment: Re:Gender discrimination is cool now? (Score 1) 333

If the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) had been passed in the 1980s, then this little government side-show would be black & white unconstitutional....

An interesting choice of words, especially considering the 14th amendment and '60s civil rights laws, etc. which did pass; yet we still have Ferguson today.

Comment: valid photo ID not required (Score 1) 551

by McFly777 (#48309255) Attached to: In this year's US mid-term elections ...

Interesting. I wonder where the AC is living. In both states where I have lived, NO ID is required. None! Just walk in and give your name, or your neighbors, etc. No wonder that people question the legitimacy of the election results.

The reason for this sorry state of affairs is that any time someone proposes checking that a person has at least gone to the trouble of obtaining a good fake ID before they can vote, it has been construed as a 'poll tax' by the courts.

The other thing I would like to know is why the AC is unable to obtain valid photo ID. Around here, one just has to ask for it at the DMV. It's even free. (which makes the whole 'poll tax' arguement really silly... sigh...)

Comment: correction (Score 1) 594

by McFly777 (#48304193) Attached to: Space Tourism Isn't Worth Dying For

I need to correct myself slightly. Looking at Wikipedia, I see that Paul Allen bankrolled the initial venture. Branson came in somewhat later.

Either way, the point is the same, as my conversation preceeded both. Selling rides, at least in the form of offering them as a perk of being an investor, was disucssed very early on.

Comment: Re:Not worth it ? (Score 1) 594

by McFly777 (#48304009) Attached to: Space Tourism Isn't Worth Dying For

Sometimes, the development of a technology to make a commercial venture of it is enough to open up new and better ways to accomplish something. The government is actually typically rather poor at new development (although it can happen) as in the short term it is better to field something which you know will work now even if it is more expensive. In contrast, a business venture (even for tourism) wants to find the most efficient way to accomplish the task. It is that efficiency which drives the technology further, one baby step at a time.

This technology may only be useful for space tourism at this time, but there will be lessons learned in the process which will be useful for more practical purposes later. (even if the only lesson is "don't do it this way")

FWIW, I had a conversation with Burt Rutan (the designer of spacehip one and two) shortly after the X-prize was announced. From the beginning (before Richard Branson), Burt was talking about selling rides as a way to fund development. That Branson was willing to bankroll the project allowed Rutan to develop the aircraft without having to do so, with a certified passenger air/space craft as the end goal. (I know, and so did he, that there are all sorts of legal issues about selling rides in experimental aircraft. As I recall, the loophole would be to do some training and deputize your customer as an "investor" and "crewmember.")

Comment: Re:Well (Score 1) 594

by McFly777 (#48303675) Attached to: Space Tourism Isn't Worth Dying For

Imagine if the [Wright flyer] crashed and killed one of the [Wright] brothers. Then some stupid journalist shows up and says "this stupid hobby you're working on isn't worth dying over because it will never amount to anything."

It is ignorant. Point blank.

Actually, on the one of the early demonstration flights for the US Army, Orville did crash. In the crash, the army observer/passenger 1st LT Thomas Selfridge died. (Orville was badly injured, but survived.) As a result, the US govt. did not buy into the newfangled airplane for a few years. IIRC, the Wrights instead went to France and sold airplanes to the french military.

I don't have any newpaper articles on hand, but I am sure that some of them said essentially what you propose, and you are absolutely correct, it is ignorant.

Comment: Re:Works better for flu (Score 1) 294

by McFly777 (#48273231) Attached to: Ebola Forecast: Scientists Release Updated Projections and Tracking Maps

The nurse has tested negative for the Ebola virus. She has no symptoms.

As I understand it, nobody will test positive for the Ebola virus until well after they are able to transmit the disease because the test looks for the body's immune response to the virus, not the virus itself. The lack-of-quarrantine concern is that time period during the incubation period where the symptoms are still mild, but the disease may be transmissable. Probably a small window, but do you really want to be the one who gets hit by the improbable?

In all good risk analyses, one considers the consequence in addition to the probability of the risk. Ebola may be moderate or even low probability, but the consequences are severe. This is why many people would rather stay on the conservative/safe side of the decision matrix. That and a general distrust of the message being transmitted by the government experts. Distrust earned from being lied to in the past (or at least everything being heavily spun).

I am not saying it is right, just understandable.

BTW, keep in mind that the nurses who survived were able to avail themselves of plasma donated by the doctor who was flown in with ebola. This helps the body learn how to fight the virus. (Duncan had an incompatible blood type for this treatment.) There is only so much plasma which can be collected for this, even assuming compatible blood typing, so this will not be available to any sort of large outbreak.

Comment: Re:Not sure what is going on here... but... (Score 1) 572

by McFly777 (#48267013) Attached to: FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

I agree, and disagree. I have no issue with the concept of patent rights, or IP in general. There are some big issues with the implementation at the USPTO, etc., but that is another topic. I am not one of the "information wants to be free (so I am going to take it)" people.

Where we seem to disagree is what a proper (legally appropriate) response is when aggrieved. You are certainly allowed to defend your IP rights, either through the courts, or by attempting* to protect it technically. I can even empathize with your frustration when your work has been stolen. I was just saying that, as tempting as it may seem, one can't go over to the dark side and start repaying evil with evil. Bricking the end-user crosses that line; passively refusing to operate would be ok. It may not be as satisfying, but wearing the white hat means that one has a larger set of constraints than those in black. (How many more metaphors can I work in here?)

* I say "attempting" because historically the track record of such technical controls are rather poor. There is usually a technical work-around to the technical protection. One can attempt an arms-race, but there are limits to what one can do ethically. Which is back to my original point, again.

Personal insults aside, the citation was not germane to the original argument, but was in response to your questioning the ability to patent the mechanical design of a car seat, which was the parallel example that I was trying to use to make my on-topic argument. I don't have a bunch of case-law to cite, but neither do you. I am merely discussing the ethical ramifications of over-reacting.

P.S. Thanks for the spirited back and forth discussion. You can have the last post if you wish.

Comment: Re:Not sure what is going on here... but... (Score 1) 572

by McFly777 (#48257869) Attached to: FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

My move? Frankly, this has now gone far enough off topic that I am struggling to get it back on, but lets try anyhow.

Of course it is a specific system, all patents are. This just happens to be my specific system (assigned to my former employer). As to whether it is good or bad . . . time will tell. I certainly hadn't seen anything remotely like it when we developed it. What I can say is that millions of vehicles have been manufactured with it in the last seven years. (Yes, the corporate patent lawyers managed to stretch the application process out that long. Don't blame me.)

Good or bad, you are free to design around the patent, creating a system which performs a similar task through different means. (Yes, I am oversimplifying.) This is not a mistake in the patent system, it was done that way on purpose. If you can do it simpler, without losing functionality, I'll be the first to congratulate you.

None of this changes my original point regarding vigilanteism, and the potential for Streisand-like backfires.

(Hmm . . . With a better segue that might have counted for getting back on topic. As it is... Not so much. Feel free to bring it back home.)

Comment: Re:Not sure what is going on here... but... (Score 1) 572

by McFly777 (#48254331) Attached to: FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

You can't patient that.

Interesting... Try US patent # 8,801,101 : Vehicle Seating System

I have a few more. Both in the field of Automotive Seating (which you just stated couldn't be patented), and in other fields. How many do you have?

Anyhow... Peace "Bro". Nobody is mad here. On the other hand, you are the one who has been ranting about people "stealing your sh--." My point is just that vigalenteism only harms innocents. Go ahead and bring suit against the actual theves. Feel free to write your drivers to only work with your hardware. But do no harm otherwise (to the end user who is innocent, and likely unaware of who manufactured the componant parts.) I attempted to express this with humor first, and later with a more concrete example by transferring it to another modern day product, but apparently both attempts have been in vain.

P.S. It is also worth noting that in a discussion, generally whomever yells first (swears, calls names, etc) has lost the argument. I thank you for your submission.

Comment: Re:Not sure what is going on here... but... (Score 1) 572

by McFly777 (#48239831) Attached to: FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

So the next time you buy a car, I am justified slashing the tires because I notice that it contains a seat with similar designs to the one which I hold a patent on? (or perhaps just removing the valve from the tires, as that is "reversable.") It doesn't matter that you had nothing to do with the infringement, and no knowledge of its occurrance.

No mercy. You should have researched each part delivered with your new car, and asked the dealer to replace the infringing seat with one from a different make of vehicle which properly licenced my design.

The point is that you/FTDI are attacking the wrong person. The only logical response to such attacks is for the consumer to avoid all products which use FTDI chips, as the consumer cannot tell if they are counterfit until after they are rendered inoperable. I have no problem with you/FTDI refusing to work with the counterfit, but when your response crosses over to misplaced vigilanteism it is wrong. And despite it being cliche, two wrongs still don't make a right.

Mr. Cole's Axiom: The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant; the population is growing.