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Comment Re:The obligation of an engeer (Score 1) 569

Indeed. And now if you put software designer you can often get HR to pay you more because designers are more important than engineers in "technology" companies.
The time for Professional Engineer Licenses (P.E.) in safety critical applications may have come. The preliminary test known as the Fundamental of Engineering (FE) was really designed for structural engineers, but one might argue that if you can understand and pass it you have no business writing software for ABS brakes, emission controls, railroad switch, x-ray therapy equipment, elevator controls or other safety critical applications. Of course it is easy to miss that everyday IT applications can have life/safety impact. Consider an everyday ERP (inventory) system that spits out a BOM (Bill Of Materials) for a power supply to be built with the wrong fuse and causes homes to burn down. Now some Java intern is writing life safety code without a clue for the impacts and rules for parts substitution.
Texas seems to have started this process.

Comment Re:What we need... (Score 2) 372

Patent reform is not strictly the issue. It is the willingness of Wall Street to invest in very high risk research. Parma has given up on real research and as a result we are see almost no new classes of drugs. Most of what we are seeing come on the market are incremental improvements of existing classes of drugs. If you want a radical solution, for a decade invest equal to say half of what we spend on drugs per year and put that into universities and NIH to do the breakthrough research that pharma refuses to perform. Then have NIH manage the trials. After approval let the generic industry sell the stuff without patent restrictions. On a straight out of pocket basis we'd pay less for drugs after an initial investment as new drugs would be at generic cost. The biggest return on investment for society would be the advances in real breakthrough drugs. Big investment up front, but massive long term payback in health and dollars.

Comment Re:no duh (Score 4, Interesting) 65

If you're in Shenzhen you can take a walk and pick up all the components you need for your prototype project in the morning and assemble them in the afternoon.

The poster is more right on than the off hand language might suggest. Working with Chinese vendors has taught me that they are business people first and engineers second. Just the opposite of most US start-ups. Several times I have been chatting with a Taiwanese/mainland vendors, when I incidentally mention a design/manufacturing/supply problem only to have them say that they have a [brother|cousin|friend|associate] who can sell me a solution. While I've often found that these referrals were off the mark or just a ploy to get a commission they have taught me that in China folks do build and maintain relationships. In the US there is a whole industry of head hunters just to get resumes to HR departments because far too many US engineers fail to build those networks to keep themselves employed. Conversely, there are places where China fails miserable. Theses weak points include design innovation, marketing, prototyping and importing (importing into China - good luck getting parts/tools quickly through customs and into China). A number of times I've seen Chinese contract manufacturers ask US customers to supply partial or full prototype parts for pilot production runs because they lack the infrastructure to work in short runs nearly as fast as a US company can have made in the US. Shenzhen and Taiwan are indeed unique manufacturing clusters much as San Jose is for development and Detroit used to be for automotive. The US need to nurture and regrow our manufacturing base to remake our manufacturing clusters.

Comment Right Choice (Score 2) 46

Mr. Kimishima is a great choice Nintendo. He is a banker and CFO at heart, but I found him much more personable and approachable than Iwata-san. He goes way back in the Nintendo family including CFO at Pokemon and functionally the chairman of Nintendo of America (NOA). NOA tends to have alternating layers of Japanese and American levels of senior. Mr. Kimishima was definitely Japan's top representative to NOA in the US. As a banker and CFO type he is well placed to help Nintendo evolve into its next incarnation to meet the changing landscape of disappearing handheld business. His old Keiretsu bank employer is a nexus for business and money in Osaka. He knows how to build relationships outside partners and invent to put big N on a sound footing.

Comment Re:Manufacturing requiring humans isn't coming bac (Score 2) 102

This is hardly new. There has always been a tradeoff between long term capital investment and the option for using higher cost (per unit manufactured) hand labor. The equation is not just the cost per hour of a person vs. the lifetime cost of a machine. There is often different tradeoffs in quality and flexibility. Due to rising asian labor rates, increased shipping rates, very high Chinese energy costs, the capital cost of product sitting idle in transit and the general brain damage of working with an off shore vendor, manufacturing is moving back to the US. Jobs will not be moving back at nearly the same rate because labor rates are much higher in the US and far fewer americans are willing to stand for eight hours a day snapping together two pieces of plastic. You can expect to see a huge growth in manufacturing engineering jobs and yes even robotics engineers. You can also expect to see changes in product design: faster revision cycles because the engineers are located in the same building/timezone as the factory, different design that make use increased automation vs hand assembly, different material/manufacturing choices to take advantage of different energy/supply chain options and cheaper spare parts.

Comment Poor console sleep drives energy waste (Score 1) 207

Puns aside about consoles insomnia. Wasting $100s of dollars of you power bill every year is not a serious concern for the video game industry. In 2008 the NRDC, the US EPA with their EnergyStarWalmart beat the console industry about the head and neck and the video game industry managed to sandbag any regulation that even a GE or Sylvania could not for lighting. The reason is simple sloth and incompetence. Simply put the problem is not energy used during game play , but the lack of a meaningful sleep mode. This lack of sleep mode is driven by poor APIs to book mark game status and put the console into sleep mode. The other energy driver is the console companies instant on collecting detailed data of how you use your device and uploading it when you are not playing plus forcing add and other "content" down to your console when it should be sleeping.

Comment Oddly, for technology try the patent offics (Score 1) 131

While not the usual scientific publications there was until reciently a "non-pantent" filing with the USPTO called Statutory Invention Registration (SIR) that is used by someone wanting to prevent an idea from becoming patentable by making this public disclosure. This effectively put an idea into the public domain. Now days I guess you can file a preliminary patent and then just abandoned it to the public domain. Still cost about $300, but that is less than many open source publications. I assume that most academic departments would still count this as a publication.

Comment Internet Of Titans/things (IOT vs IOt) (Score 1) 123

Anything that runs node.js and python is not part of the I O things. An IOt device is more likely to have 256 bytes not 256MB and be a PIC or an 8051 not a x86 or A9. If it is an overpriced high end device maybe a M0. 8K bytes is a whole universe on an embedded device. An IOt device is a connected sensor or a actuator, not a computer or a web server.

Comment Re:Eh? (Score 2) 108

Please, this is an embedded OS, not computer (or pocket computer masquerading as a phone). There should not "apps" in an embedded OS. The entertainment system must be architected as a whole and the car must be architected as a whole. Given this is a life/safety critical device there must be a hard separation between the nice to have things like the radio and critical systems like the brakes. Especially if you have a system that has open ports, OTA upgrades or even are connected. The executives, engineers and marketers need to face significant criminal liability for such breaches of trust when offering a life/safety device to the public. Even though I am not a PE this type of situation does argue for licensing.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 4, Interesting) 465

Yes, truckers are cheap because the industry has turned them into the ugliest of sharecroppers where the are paid by the mile, lease the trucks from the company and pay for upkeep on the trucks. Now fuel, that's expensive! And for longshoremen, everything is so automated that the docks are deserted compared to a century ago so the port labor cost per pound is miniscule. Truckers are lucky to get gross $20/hour BEFORE expenses.
The biggest expense in shipping is time: capital setting idle, decaying value due to technological obsolescence, missed market windows, etc. Find some smart MBA at a global company, buy them lunch and let them bend your ear on logistics. That is why so many of your favorite electronic toys arrive via cargo plane.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 2) 465

One of the real long term bottlenecks for our ports is the over reliance of trucks to move containers in and out of the ports. Let's face it, everyone want to be next to the ocean so freeways are already clogged (LAX, SD, SFO, SEA). The US ports need to take on building (or greatly expanding) their own rail links to the interior to get around big city traffic. Existing long range freight rail is already maxed out in the west due to extraction industries exporting oil and coal that farmers can't get their grail to the ports for export. There is also the need to restore many of our short line rail in the western cities to get cargo between the ports and logistic centers. Much of these road beds are just setting fallow in "rail banks," waiting for us to restore them to life. What cheaper and more efficient way unclog our freeways of heavy, slow, polluting and damaging trucks.

Comment The Ultimate bridge to no where (Score 2) 465

This is about as practical as building a space plane to take me from my kitchen to my livingroom. Slow and inefficient rubber tired transit for more than 1/2 around the planet is the biggest waste of a slashdot article let alone the massive physical resources. Modern cargo containers ships are faster, travel more direct, are more all weather, cheaper and gentler on the environment than running trucks on iced over roads. Other than a civil engineer's board imaginations, I can only assume that this is the ultimate attempt of the Serbian chamber of commerce to get a global scale pork barrel project in their backyard. For transportation comparison:
Mode - Miles/Gallon/ton - [Hydrocarbons, CO, NO lbs/ton mile]. .
Ship - 514 miles/gallon - [0.0009, 0.0020, 0.0053]
Rail - 202 miles/gallon - [0.0046, 0.0064, 0.0183]
Truck - 59 miles/gallon - [0.0063, 0.0190, 0.1017]
Keep in mind that the above does not include the materials, cost or environmental damage to build this road to no where. If you really want a wild road trip drive from Cape Town to Cape Chelyuskin.

Comment Re:Non-problems, except for traffic (Score 1) 410

With our Seattle transportation issues we only seem to talk about cars. There is another big side of this that we don't address with all our talk of ST3 and Metro. That is the ever growing truck traffic being driven by the ports of Seattle and Tacoma. The ports need to step up and take responsibility for their impact on the roads. The ports have the bonding authority to do just about whatever they can get wall street to finance. RIght now good can not get into or out of the ports. Our Washington state farmers can not get space on trains to get their wheat to the ports due to all of the space being leased up in bulk by coal trains. I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass is a often closed in winter for delivering trucking cargo that results in billions in delays. There is a fallow railroad bed, known as the old Milwaukee RailRoad that is in public hands. It runs from between the two ports in Renton, near I-90 just east of Issaquah and reaches all the way to south of Spokane. It has a very even 1.7 grade at that could easily be built out to 150 MPH. The planned expansion of eastside light rail will come very near to the Old Milwaukee line at Issaquah. The ports could easily restore the Old Milwaukee line and lease excess capacity to Sound Transit, Metro and Amtrak. Imagine how moving all of this truck traffic off our Seattle and Freeway roads would reduce congestion. Imagine how a two hour train ride to WSU, the Apple Cup and Spokane would unite the state, reduce congestion, carbon pollution. With a one hour trip from the massive cold war runway at Moses lake it would allow the port to push freight out of Seatac to open up more lucrative passenger plane slots. This would put the ports at a competitive advantage if they can guarantee containers will be in Spokane on railcars ready for trucks or further rail transports regardless of weather or traffic. Now imagine the Ports building out a high speed rail line along I-90 that leverages cargo and passenger service. By combining the cost and solutions of cargo and commuter transportation together we can solve both problems at lower cost. Win-WIn-WIn.

Dinosaurs aren't extinct. They've just learned to hide in the trees.