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Comment Re:Yeah right... (Score 2) 76

Why lug all those things around when the whole point of a tactile-sensitive surface is to liberate people from carrying around peripherals?!?

I already have a wireless keyboard, no thicker than their (expensive) overlay, that cost $10.

I already have a wireless mouse, so their product doesn't help me there.

I already have a WACOM tablet, so it doesn't help me there.

I already have a WACOM-type tablet with an underlying video display, so their thing doesn't help there, either.

I already have a USB piano keyboard, so how are they helping me?

It has sliders, pots, and 8 drum-pad inputs, so their product doesn't help for full audio production.

What else is there? Trackballs, game-pads, specialist tools. All of these can be had at reasonable prices.

No consumer is going to buy their (very impressive) touch-surface, and also buy a bunch of plastic clip-on things for it as well. The biggest problem is that it reduces the precision of the link between overlay and their super-sensitive surface with a mechanical-interaction layer — that's right, the overlays have to touch the surface. The consumer is back to square one, at best.

Comment At least they have the sense to not release it (Score 1) 48

because MS is far from the first with something like this.

My copy of "Strata Foto 3D CX" does exactly this same thing. And yes, I use my 8 Mpx iPhone camera to record images. These ultimately yield a color-mapped, 3D-skinned, object.

In the "About" box, one finds the following:

"Copyright (c) 2002-11, Creative Dimension Software Ltd . A ll rights reserved."

And then a little further down the buyout-chain is this:

Portions of this software are based in part on the work of the Independent JPEG Group. Copyright (c) 1991-1998, Thomas G. Lane

So hey, MS, you have nothing new, but something typically behind the curve.

Comment Tragedy of the Commons (Score 1) 157

Ah, well, this is how it always goes.

No private, for-profit entity will happily provide support for maintenance of a non-profit entity that provides a universal service, for example time-synchronization, upon which their lifeblood depends.

Gasp! That would put us at an economic disadvantage to our competitors! We donate a few thousand $$$, but others don't donate a thing. I say, "No. no. no."

OK, so I am past wasting breath. For the uninitiated, just find the Wikipedia article on the "Tragedy of the Commons."

The concept is so simple, so obvious, and so accurate

Read on

Comment Re:Vortex Cannon FTW (Score 1) 176

Yes, many simple solutions. Summarizing and expanding:

* Airzooka –hand-held vortex-gun, good to about 25 feet:

* Silly String

* Super Soaker

* Garden Hose

* Green laser-pointer (so you can see where you're aiming). 5 mW is enough to saturate the drone's CCD camera for a good 15 sec. 200 mW+ can be found — those should fry the camera, but who's going to have a record of it? Not the drone.

* Jam its GPS? EM-Pulse. 1.23 &/or 1.56 GHz , directed via Pringles can.

* Jam its RF controller signal? I'm not suggesting anyone cut a hole in their microwave oven, mount it on a gimbal, and again use a Pringles can to direct the jamming beam. That would be illegal.

* Bolo. Not the computer game – a rock on a string. Tangle those rotors.

Most importantly: Do so only if it is over your property. And take the memory card from the thing, but nothing else. That is evidence of their invasion of your privacy.

Do not talk to anyone who knocks at your door! Especially if it's the local law enforcement. You have NO OBLIGATION to answer your door. Just be sure to spirit that memory card away, to a friend, but better a safe-deposit box. It will then require subpoena power for anyone to access it – meaning that it is less likely to have the privacy-invading evidence destroyed by the owner or, more likely, the local LEOs.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 528

Ars asked an attorney who is an avid drone advocate, not an expert.

The lawyer pointed them to a website w/a chart listing the maximum effective range for various sizes of shot. Even if the chart is accurate, it lists max. effective ranges, as in horizontal distance, and not a max. effective heights. It's likely the numbers are for a nominally horizontal shot The slide lists neither a trajectory, nor a source for its numbers.

Height, potential energy, etc

Comment Re: Won't allow forwarding? (Score 3, Informative) 204

It's thought to be a Japanese invention.

Nice info.

Being a scientist, the first day the new $20's came out, I withdrew $300 and examined the bills under a microscope. The pattern quickly became obvious.

As did two other features. One is public. The other — while chatting with the head of R&D at the US Mint during a conference, I brought it up. He would only deny it, but a fresh sample of 15 is statistically significant. I checked again recently and they've quit using it, as it wears off.

Comment Re: Won't allow forwarding? (Score 3, Informative) 204

It seems strange, but even right now, some software will prevent you from modifying photos of certain things (Photoshop and hundred dollar bills for example).

Nah, you can get around it. Just do it in sections. Assemble resultant TIFF (or whatever) in IRFAN-View, or some of the numerous open-source image-editing programs.

The trick to "out-witting" the US Mint's genius bill-recognition scheme is to move some of the circles around –the yellow ones. They are 5-circle constellations, which is how Photoshop recognizes them as US currency. This has been known since the 'new' $20's came out about 15 years ago.

Comment Re:COTS and no internal redundancy (Score 1) 15

hardware capable of getting men to Mars might be considered "unachievable".

They said nothing about a Mars mission. They do Earth imaging.

Get your goals straight. "Space" is not one monolithic goal, but myriad goals, each with their own design-optimization parameters.

Comment Forearms parallel, low-profile mouse (Score 2) 340

I have always pushed my monitor as far away from my face as possible, so that I can rest my entire forearms flat on the desk (not just the wrists or elbows), to write, code, or mouse.

Also, I only use low-profile mice, meaning that my wrists are always resting on the desk's surface, not bridged to accommodate a high-backed mouse. This allows mousing by motion of the fingers alone. Track-pads are even better. Our wrists provide range of rotation and bending — they are not good for fine-motor control actions. Our fingers are for fine-motor dexterity actions, such as mousing: Mouse with your hand & fingers, not your wrists!

These two modifications have saved me from any discomforting symptoms after three decades of spending both work and free time in front of computers.

The rub is this approach is this:
    * Back muscles need-not support the arms to mouse or type.
    * Fore-arm muscles need not be used to mouse or type.
    * With a laptop track-pad, you can do everything without ever lifting your wrists from rest on a surface.
The Result: No gorilla arm.

Comment Re:Won't compare well to decade-old conventional t (Score 1) 134

Very cool. I had always wondered how they accelerate those gigantic loads so slowly but surely, without burning-out transmission gear-boxes.

Now if only they carried on-board batteries for regenerative braking, then rail would be even more superior to any other land-based transportation system.