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Comment Back to the future... (Score 2) 102

During my tenure at Motorola SPS, it was a written rule that all employees get 40 hours of training every year. In the late '80s my management spent quite a bit of money to send me to UNIX administration courses of questionable value (I was a CPU geek using mostly MVME systems with rarely more than a bootloader, much less a full System V installation) to get me my hours. A change in management found that training was the easiest budget to reallocate for other purposes, however, and so it always was. By the mid-90's, when I asked my boss if I could go attend a training session that was exactly in my area of responsibility and I needed to extend my knowledge, I was told that since I spent what he believed to be an hour a week reading EETimes and IEEE Spectrum (at home, on my own time), he had already credited me with 50 hours of training and since I was beyond the 40 hour requirement I should ask him again next year. I wouldn't be surprised if the managers today are tracking IP addresses to form a way of crediting training with no cost at Freescale, if the 40 hour requirement survived the spin-off.

Comment Re: 25+ years (Score 1) 620

LOL, you don't happen to work at a NAS (Naval Air Station, not Network Attached Storage) in New Jersey, do you? Great group doing computer archaeology there, bringing truly ancient code from ancient hardware to more up-to-date and merely antiquated languages and hardware. I helped them do some porting of code from some bankrupt micro-controller company from the '70s to a 683XX micro-controller. Had a blast (particularly after a successful test :P).

Comment Re:A better solution (Score 1) 178

That meme was a meme long before South Park and long before the word meme was coined. We joked about it in managerial accounting classes in the mid-'80s (software engineering major, business minor). A personal favorite variation from a cartoon that I remember from the cartoonist Sidney Harris "And then a miracle occurs..." which was first published in American Scientist in 1977.

Comment Re:The source of troubles is usually in humans (Score 1) 386

And when C was developed, it was a HIGH-LEVEL language. It was the python or the scala of its day. It was designed as a labor-saving device, a way to write operating systems without fucking around with assembly. "Writing an operating system in a high-level language? You're fucking nuts!" And just like a proper high-level language, it held the programmer's hands and put major restrictions on what he was allowed to do, at least relative to assembly.

I miss Dennis, but I think he would tell you that while you are on the right path, you are wrong in the end. To be a real high level language would have meant surrendering direct-to-the-metal access, and he never considered that as even a possibility. His intention was to create an all-level language for the PDP/11 to improve on B (which was missing byte addressability), and even portability wasn't considered until after he achieved that goal; hand-holding was more to avoid breaking the compiler than to avoid breaking user code. He believed that if you wanted to access array[-16], you should be allowed to do that, even if it cost you your own foot (intentionally or unintentionally). His desire was to make a language that could easily map constructs to the existing hardware's assembly/machine code, which is pretty much the inverse of what high-level languages are today (or were, even then).

C was what Dennis wanted it to be. RIP, dmr.

Comment Re: Nice Slashvertisement (Score 1) 57

There is some confusion in the article about Po-motion - Lumo is a different application, built in Unity and designed to run on a small processor. We used what we learned developing Po-motion (which is built in AIR) but it is a completely different platform. We'll be providing a styleguide and SDK for Unity developers, and we're planning to support them as they come up with new ideas for the system. The main challenge was making a turnkey unit that parents could afford. I'm excited to see what other people come up with for it. :)

Yes, that is my fault. I read the Po-motion page first and came to the wrong conclusion that your Lumo system was based on Po-motion. I realized my mistake after hitting send, of course. But, as I understand it, you have reduced the hardware of Mandala, an Amiga, a projector, and a camera down to one thing to plug into the wall that provides all of those features and probably a similar level of performance to what was available in 1988 (depending on CPU choice, ARM has come a long way since the 68030 was released). I would love it if one of the Mandala creators were around to pipe up (last I left them they were following the Grateful Dead around the world and living out of Hare Krishna temple/hostels). IIRC, they were also from Canada, though I don't remember which city.

BTW, you should probably update your Lumo page to indicate that you are using an ARM CPU, or perhaps "an Android-compatible CPU", rather than an "Android CPU". As for cost, running Android on an Intel NUC would certainly increase your cost, but could also increase your performance by enough to allow orders of magnitude more challenging applications, maybe for the Hammacher Schlemmer version :P.

Comment Re: Nice Slashvertisement (Score 2) 57

The statement that the projector "plays" motion reactive games seems misleading, but for a typical consumer audience I can understand the simplification.

Meg, out of curiousity, other than not needing a stand-alone computer and video input, how does your product differ from Mandala, which was introduced by Very Vivid back in 1988, for the Amiga? It could use any video source (usually a projector aimed at a wall, but most any video output device would suffice) along with a video input from a camera to allow interacting with on screen content, and was quite popular with museums and other entities for setting up interactive displays in the early '90s, prior to Commodore's demise. Do you have anyone working on your team that has ever dealt with a Mandala, or even old enough to remember one?

At a hardware engineering level, has more been done than reducing part count, in effect? The Mandala was purely 2D, for example, having only the ability to determine motion on an X/Y basis parallel to the video display. Have you added another axis since you are supporting the 360 Kinect, perhaps, or could you consider that for your next generation? Additionally, would the use of 1080p or higher resolution video cameras make supporting resolutions higher than 1024x768 feasible in the future, or give more precise movement tracking? What is the granularity of movement tracking currently?

On a software level, how easy is it describe interactive objects and the interactions that can be performed along with the results? What would it take for Minecraft, for example, to be ported so that no controller was needed, just a lot of movement (my nephew REALLY needs some exercise!)? Or is it only really suited for new applications built from the ground up using your Po-Motion tools?

Comment Re:True on water as well (Score 1) 60

On a ship, the captain and the pilot are two different roles and never the same person. It is the captain who has ultimate authority, the pilot is a person brought in on a case by case basis to help the captain navigate through local waters. Captains might travel the world, pilots stick to a particular stretch of water and have the local knowledge to advise the captain, usually as a requirement of maintaining insurance in case of accident. My grandfather was a ship's captain away from home almost 9 months a year, my uncle was a pilot on the Panama Canal and slept at home almost every night.

Comment Re:You sunk my battleship (Score 1) 439

Depends on when you are talking about. Pre-2K, with the aid of an FO (Forward Observer), the shells could get fairly accurate by the 6th or 7th shell, 10th if the seas are high. Given the size of shells involved, though, that means you probably leveled an area the size of a small shopping center to hit the outhouse that had been your target.

Today, totally different story. With laser guidance from an FO, tiny little winglets will dance enough that as long as your target is within a cone of the shells target it will be hit within 1 meter. No FO? GPS guided shells will hit typically within 3 meters of whatever dot you put on your map. And if you can get optical terminating shells, they don't have the ability to just hit a window, but a particular pane of a window. Look up for yourself what Jane's has to say about cruise missile accuracy for projects like JASSM (because I don't recall what I am at liberty to disclose and too lazy to look it up from a beach in Thailand). Artillery shells can be built that have every bit of accuracy, just less distance and less cost per shell (until you include the cost of the ship, the crew, the support crew, etc...). This is done for land-based artillery guns and tank shells, as well. If you watch cable TV, I am sure you can find one of those "10 Best Whatevers" that will wrap shiny graphics and add in a few reasonably knowledgeable experts around Jane's information.

Comment Re:Not automatic (Score 1) 60

Demonlapin is correct: if you are doing proper chest compressions, there is a high likelihood you will crack the ribs of most adults over 40 (almost guaranteed if a woman over 60), and a reasonable likelihood of doing it to younger adults.

But, if you got out of the training that you should only do CPR if the AED doesn't work, you misheard the instructor. You shouldn't attempt to use an AED until after the first round of CPR has been performed (though not taught by the ARC at this point to lay rescuers, some schools of thought suggest that no initial rescue breaths are required for the first round if an AED is known to be available or professionals will be on the scene in less than 4 minutes from witnessed collapse). The AED should not be used until at least one round of chest compressions has been attempted. There are multiple reasons for this, which I won't go into. That you need to continue CPR if it can't shock the patient, or if the patient doesn't respond to the first shock, is, of course important. And that you should STOP doing CPR if the person does respond, hopefully that is a given, 'cause it does hurt when done properly!

Comment Re:Not automatic (Score 5, Informative) 60

Trained personnel? If they were capable of reading the instructions that were in the case, or listening to the directions spoken by the machine, that covers about 95% of what training is really required for a normal adult.

I am a certified First Aid/CPR/AED instructor for the American Red Cross. The level of training required to use an AED if you are calm, cool, and collected (and no cross-chest nipple piercings are involved) is less than is necessary to assemble a table from Ikea. That said, when you need to use one, calm, cool, and collected are frequently out the window, which is why training is recommended. Almost anything you can do wrong, the machine will let you know that something is wrong so you can correct it. Many kits even come with a razor to deal with the overly hirsute. Oh, and I was involved with building an internal pacemaker capable of phoning home to the doctor (though you had to hold the phone up to your chest, it couldn't reach out and grab it) back when they still required DSPs.

The AEDs automatically analyze heart rhythms (or lack thereof) and notify the operator to push a button if a shock is required. They will provide a shock for two different rhythms- V-fib (Ventricular Fibrillation) and V-Tach (Ventricular Tachychardia). They will not shock for asystole (no electrical heart signals detected at all, and must be avoided so you don't try using an AED to jump start your car or do some tiny welding) and PEA (pulseless electrical activity- the wiring is working, but the engine is dead).

Long story longer: Heart Attacks are NONE of these cases. AEDs WILL NOT PRODUCE A SHOCK for a heart attack, which is simply the blockage of blood to the heart, usually caused by a clot breaking loose. Heart attacks can result in cardiac arrest, which does result in one of the four cases above, but an AED will do nothing for a simple heart attack. TFA correctly describes that he had a cardiac arrest (sudden dropping to the ground), but incorrectly says he flat-lined (asystole, AED wouldn't have helped in that case) and that he had a heart attack (if he only had a heart attack, he could have walked off the court and hopefully gotten a quick ride to a hospital).

Any more info needed? I strongly encourage you and everyone to take a First Aid/CPR/AED class from whatever qualified source is available (Red Cross, Heart Association, etc). The chance that you will ever need to perform CPR is pretty low, but I have had to deal with a choking in a restaurant, a compound fracture at a swimming pool, a petite mal siezure on a subway, and other situations that are far more likely.

Comment Re:Service restored? Umm, not via my ISPs (tested (Score 1) 45

As an addendum to my previous comment, starting at approximately 11 pm Beijing time, three different VPNs I am using- one free, one paid, and one corporate- have all been blocked within China. Hopefully this is temporary. IT offices will have heads on the chopping block if this is still happening in 8 more hours (or less).

As of 11:45 pm, two of my three VPNs are working again. The one that isn't is, of course, the one that people will get fired for. C'est la vie, time for bed.

The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance.