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Comment: Re:"Smart" is a misnomer (Score 1) 70

by SuricouRaven (#47957447) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Alternate Software For Use On Smartboards?

The Smarrtech ones are not simple IR sensors. I tried to duplicate their pens. IR cameras, yes - including a DSP processor. The patent outlines some of the maths involved in determining if pen or finger is poking at the board - the preprocessing part I can just about follow, but then it uses a neural network as a classifier.

I failed. I don't know how it identifies a pen from a finger - according to the patent it's on shape alone, but I tried both 3D printing and plaster-casting an exact replica without succeess, so I think there's another element I'm missing.

Comment: Re:economy of scale... (Score 4, Interesting) 311

by SuricouRaven (#47955123) Attached to: Why You Can't Manufacture Like Apple

Those many different models are often just variations.

It's always fun trying to read a service diagram for Toshiba laptops. The diagram is of a hypthetical super-laptop that contains the intersection of all the components of the various models that use that chassis - it'll have a flash drive and an HD fitted in the same bay, two devices in one mini-PCIe slot, and so on. You open it up and find that the diagram shows three wifi antennas, but the model you are working on only has one. Screws are especially fun, as it'll sometimes show two screws going into one slot. You get use to it after a while.

Comment: British problem. British solution. (Score 2) 111

by SuricouRaven (#47954461) Attached to: Star Wars Producers Want a 'DroneShield' To Prevent Leaks On Set

Barrage balloons. String some blimps up on cables around the property, hang nets from the cables. It's legal, passive, safe - and only the most skilled of drone pilots could reliably navigate the maze without getting their rotors tangled. Plus the studio gets some free drones - somehow I don't imagine many of the pilots will be asking for their return.

Comment: Re:Simple, politically incorrect solution (Score 0) 111

by SuricouRaven (#47954449) Attached to: Star Wars Producers Want a 'DroneShield' To Prevent Leaks On Set

It's pretty hard to legally buy a gun in the UK. You need a license, and they aren't available to just anyone who asks like in the US. You need to demonstrate a legitimate reason to own a gun (Self-defense doesn't count - pest control or organised sports shooting will do), and then there are some background checks to go through. There's even a requirement for a doctor's certificate of competence (ie, no mental illness) and a police inspection of the intended firearms storage area to ensure it is secure.

It's really quite good for annoying the gun-rights people in the US, because it's the type of totalitarian nightmare they fear - and it works. Our murder rate is a fraction of that in the US. Gun crime is exceedingly rare. We've not had a school shooting since 1996. The country is so safe, even our police don't carry guns - they have no need to, because they'll hardly ever encounter a criminal carrying one.

Comment: Re:they will defeat themselves (Score 1) 950

by SuricouRaven (#47930585) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Not much of a bomb, then.

China tolerates NK, but their alliance is strained. They seek regional stability, while NK is always sabre-rattling at the south and at the world in general, provoking naval skirmishes as a show of force and generally stiring up trouble. You're right, it isn't worth the trouble - the cost of peacekeeping would be huge, and there would be diplomatic trouble with South Korea too. But I've no doubt China has invasion plans drawn up, and if NK ever does something that starts a real war, China will be ready to put a stop to it. They just won't be the ones to shoot first.

Comment: Re:Actually against Islam (Score 1) 950

by SuricouRaven (#47929167) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Muhammad raised an army, besieged and captured Mecca and went on to take over much of the surrounding area. He wasn't some hippy street-peacher like Jesus - he was a prophet of action, not just words. Given his willingness to use military force to convert rival tribes to his new religion, he may well have been perfectly ok with beheading those who effectively served the enemy by spreading goodwill and thus sapping his side of the will to fight.

Comment: Re:Why math? (Score 3, Informative) 950

by SuricouRaven (#47929127) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

I suspect it might be a translation issue. But to know that we need the oppinion of someone who speaks whatever language the announcement was in, presumably Arabic. Banning math makes no sense, but it might be perhaps banning certain types of math, or preparing for a yet-to-be-finished Islamic Mathematics cirriculum that downplays the role of western mathematicians.

Languages can be tricky. Another Islamist group, widely (Though unofficially) called Boko Haram, literally translates as 'Counterfeits are prohibited' - but it actually means something closer to 'Western education is unislamic.' A translation that wouldn't be at all obvious unless you are familiar with the region's history, and knew that 'Boko' might mean counterfeit or fake, but could also be a contraction for 'ilimin boko' or 'fake education' - a phrase used to describe British schools created when the country was formerly part of the British Empire.

Comment: Re:they will defeat themselves (Score 1) 950

by SuricouRaven (#47928969) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Nice idea, but not practical. This isn't an old-fashioned war of country v country. They'll just discard uniforms and blend into the civilian population. Unless you can justify vast numbers of civilian casulties, it'd be impossible to kill them all, and require a continued and expensive presence just to keep them underground.

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