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Comment Re:Screw the user (Score 1) 665

If your auto dealer installed a camera in your car to snoop on you, an when you complain they say "we updated the EULA", are you going to just accept it?

It is not acceptable to do that in other industries. Why give Microsoft a pass?

GM customers seemed happy to keep doing business with GM after they did just that (well, audio, not video) for OnStar - there were several incidents, from police snooping to bored operators.

I'm OK with laws to enforce privacy, but it's a democracy and if most people don't care, well, we get the government we deserve. In the meantime, consumers also have a duty to stop doing business with assholes. Legal or not, when a company makes an asshole move like this, and you decide to keep doing business with them, well, decisions have consequences.

Well, that would be an option for almost any other industry. But this is the dominant Operating System on the entire planet. To walk away from Windows means either embracing Apple's Walled Garden approach, or delving into the tangled world of Linux. In either case there is a strong possibility that you'll be unable to use most of the Non-Microsoft software you own.

In other words, they are holding your Software hostage by virtue of the culture of prevalent cross-platform incompatibility.

Comment Re:Where the TMT can go now (Score 1) 177

The TMT project evaluated Five locations, with the Cerro Amazones site being the runner up. - Cerro Armazones, Antofagasta Region, Republic of Chile - Cerro Tolanchar, Antofagasta Region, Republic of Chile - Cerro Tolar, Antofagasta Region, Republic of Chile - Mauna Kea, Hawaii, United States (This site was chosen and approval granted in April 2013, but subsequently revoked in December 2015) - San Pedro Mártir, Baja California, Mexico

Comment Relay Logic (Score 1) 620

I do industrial control systems, and while most of it is modern SCADA systems, we still occasionally use good old fashion ice-cube Relay Logic. As in actual magnetic coils pulling mechanical contacts closed, stuck in a box somewhere and arranged in tangled-looking webs to create basic AND/OR Control Logic. This is often the preferred method any time Life-Safety what's being controlled. You have to limit possible Failure Modes, and in those environments the complexity of any modern computer system is actually working against you.

Comment Exponential Birthdays (Score 1) 126

Every time somebody I know turns an age that is a "round" number in my head I get a special nerd-glee. Squares and Cubes do it, for example: 9,16, 27, 64 etc.

l also enjoy hiding the Fibonacci Sequence in things, just to see who notices.

On my 27'th birthday I got a "Happy Birthday" message with Fibonacci exclamation points. I was most pleased.

Comment Casual Access and Listen to the Users (Score 2) 167

I was a member of the Techshop maker-space here before it folded. The thing that did them in was a lack of casual accessibility, as well as an overambitious start, I think. The way they structured it was to charge large fees for "training" classes to clear you on the use of the various pieces of equipment, after which you were free to use them so long as you were a current member. But it would take several classes and hundreds of dollars to get even a small project off the ground, simply because of the way they mapped out the different class certifications. They were a business so it's expected, and the need for proper safety training is undeniable. But it meant that it took a serious investment before you could accomplish much, and those dedicated enough to do so would generally rather spend the money on their own tools. And on top of that they opened their doors with everything from CNC mills and 3D printers to automotive decal printers to SMB circuit board ovens to metal casting; in other words far more expensive equipment than their user-base actually needed or used.

At the end of the day, there are two things to strive for, and they wont be easy.

The first is variety of tools and workspaces. It needs to be a place where people come to tinker and to get some idea out of their heads and into reality. So it needs to offer access to whatever it is that the actual local users are wanting to use. If they want metalworking, get a welder and a few milling machines. If they want woodworking, get some drill presses and chop saws. But dont invest it the cutting edge of everything up front. I recommend some kind of request system, so it can organically grow in the directions the users want. If they see the space is responsive to what they feel they are lacking, it will also go a long way to keeping them coming back, even if they dont have every little thing at first. This will be a balancing game between responsive acquisition and responsible budgeting. Fundraising drives can help, just like a high school that needs a new scoreboard, etc.

The second is casual Accessibility. Dont make them spend a hundred bucks and take a class that won't be held again for two weeks, just so they can drill a single hole. This is another balancing act between responsible safety and easy access, and the first solution is staff.

It also really helps to have a large scrap pile for free (or free-ish) materials.

Comment One good turn... (Score 5, Insightful) 235

Finally gets another. One guy does something selfless, and another guy does too as a reward. Especially since in an auction he's not just covering the cost, he's running the price up with his participation in the bidding. When everything i read seems to drop Humanity notch-by-notch, it's nice to see something that bumps it up a bit. Kudos Human Race.


Submission + - Laser Creates Quantum Whirlpool (

Quantus347 writes: Physicists at The Australian National Univ. (ANU) have engineered a spiral laser beam and used it to create a whirlpool of hybrid light-matter particles called polaritons. Polaritons are hybrid particles that have properties of both matter and light. The ability to control polariton flows in this way could aid the development of completely novel technology to link conventional electronics with new laser- and fiber-based technologies. Polaritons form in semiconductors when laser light interacts with electrons and holes (positively charged vacancies) so strongly that it is no longer possible to distinguish light from matter.

Comment Investment? (Score 2) 50

As somebody who designs networks of sensors and controls for manufacturing processes, I want to know what the investment was, and what payback period they are using to calculate those savings. Depending on the size of the plant $9 million might not even come close to covering that kind of mass retrofit.

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