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Comment Re:Non-lethal?! (Score 1) 123

It depends on how the law is actually worded. A prohibition on lethal weapons is not a legalization of non-lethal weapons. FTFA:

"Then Bruce Burkett of the North Dakota Peace Officer’s Association was allowed by the state house committee to amend HB 1328 and limit the prohibition only to lethal weapons. “Less than lethal” weapons like rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas, sound cannons, and Tasers are therefore permitted on police drones." (emph mine)

While it's true that anything that is not prohibited is permitted, this bill does not somehow make non-lethal weapons "legal" where they weren't yesterday. Aside form the FAA having a few things to say on this topic (including "NO!"), unless the statute defines lethal weapon narrowly, any weapon which *can* kill, even if that is not the sole purpose or design, is still a "lethal" weapon. Usually, the definitions of those things go something like "can result in death," which would include anything which has ever caused, or could be reasonably considered to potentially cause death.

tl:dr, this story isn't about weapons on drones, it's about corrupt politicians watering down restrictive in laws for their friends at the expense of public safety.

Comment Re:Dumb Idea (Score 1) 101

Modular is practical in PCs because there is s much extra space it's easy to fit things in, there are few structural loads, and power is almost never a limiting factor. The modular laptop market, where these things matter more, the options are fewer. Move into ultra-books and your options shrink again. Tablets even more. Phones - well, up until smart watches came out, phones were the end point for miniaturization of portable computers in mainstream usage.

Interest will always be there, but the need/desire for modularity in phones is almost always going to be sidelined for size, weight, and battery life.

Comment Re: in-vehicle concierge (Score 1) 283

You answered

      "for some reason the car companies are very obsessed and hell bent on adding every piece of tech to a car they can."

with the previous sentence

      "To me this is all marketing crap. And I don't need Google or Microsoft or Apple in my dashboard, collecting analytics..."

If your grocery store is getting a cut of revenue enhancement by selling your data, you can but the car companies are trying to figure out how to get in on the game.

I'm not opposed to the tech for the most part. What I am opposed to is poorly designed UIs and inexplicable operational choices which make the operation cumbersome or dangerous/distracting.

Comment Re:Obey traffic laws; offer emergency override (Score 3, Interesting) 229

Why would they need to? You're in a self driving car that's going to obey traffic laws - they can just follow you to your destination without fear of loss in pursuit. It's not like you're going to "get away" in a self driving car or the car will be operated in an unsafe manner. If it's a single officer, you'll be followed until the car stops. If it's multiple officers, all the have to do is get in front of and to the left and they can "guide" your car onto the shoulder and stop safely.

There's no operating condition where they actually need an electronic remote disable.

Comment If only they weren't in the boondocks (Score 4, Funny) 266

It's a shame they don't live near a major technology hub. These little backwater towns just don't have the resources to lure competent IT staffers away from the cities where you have large computer-savvy people.

Where did they say this was?

Comment Obey traffic laws; offer emergency override (Score 5, Interesting) 229

The big red button. If you press it, the car will continue to your destination unless physically disabled or completely blocked, regardless of non-traffic signals. It needs to be there for times when it is unsafe, or the occupant feels unsafe, with questionable external conditions (fake emergency vehicle signals, etc). And cops should be just fine with that because self-driving cars will otherwise obey the rules of the road (i.e. not speeding or running traffic signals), so if they really need to stop the car they can (a) surround it and slow down/stop to prevent the car from moving or (b) follow it to its destination - which in an emergency should be selectable by the operator as the original destination, the closest police precinct, or closest hospital emergency room entrance. There is no need or reason to offer electronic remote kill capabilities.

By choosing a fully automatic car, you give up a level of independence in return for convenience. I, for example, don't carry a sidearm or wear protective body armor today. That puts me in an inferior position to those who do, or those who have greater physical strength. It doesn't bother me because I evaluate the chance of needing such things is smaller than, say, being struck by lightning. I trade the convenience of lower kitted weight and bulk for an inferior defensive position.

Comment Nobody sells that stuff (Score 1) 558

The money is in a rental-only model. For a mere $649/month you can get coverage of the 2.4GHz spectrum. The $929 version will cover you for 2.4 and 5GHz. Specialty versions which can cover you over the 1.6-2.2GHz LTE bands to reduce or eliminate effects of cell phone towers are $2349/mo, but include the 2.4 and 5 GHz dampers as well.

You may ask if $25k a year is expensive. The question you should really be asking is - is your health, or the health of your child, worth it?

Comment Re:Yeah, nice, but (Score 2) 250

The cap will grow when more people start hitting it. It may seem like a revenue center, but it's a management tool. They'll set the bar somewhere in the top 1-5% of customers usage to keep those with voracious appetites down. They know there would be backlash if all of a sudden many of their customers started getting overage charges. Now that may change if more and more people get used to such a thing, but I expect those caps will rise with the overall usage patterns - again, just to make sure that everybody on the network (who doesn't have to call CS*) stays happy with their speeds.

I still haven't had a single note from Comcast, and last month I uploaded about 2TB of data (Crashplan decided to re-sync my entire server after a version upgrade, even though the server had just uploaded that same chunk 4 months ago).

*There is no such thing as a happy customer that has to deal with Comcast CS, so the more people they can keep from calling, the better off they are.

Comment Re:Cable networks are shared bandwidth (Score 1) 250

With any kind of load balancing, you're still going to get at least 1/300 of it. And 1/300 of 10Gbit is 33Mbps. Now, that's not the best speed in the world, but it's your *floor*. Based on the actual performance of my internal Gb network, I could have about 20 big fat teenagers all hammering the network and still be limited by my internal bandwidth.

Comment Re:Robots create jobs (Score 1) 311

"Eventually all of us will have more free time as we can create businesses with a fraction of the capital and sell them to other people in poorer countries who will ahve an expanding middle class like China and soon Africa hopefully"

You've managed to come to the correct realization by taking the wrong path.

The people who will make money in the coming decades will be (already are, actually) the ones who own the robots. The advantage is that the good robots won't go out and become competitors for your business like the human workers of old and they never need a raise to keep them. See, if you had a business of 20 people, you'll have two that are smart enough to run their own business. You need them, of course, to oversee the other 18 already - which is why they're your foremen. One of those two, and possibly both, are going to want more money for that. And they're good enough that if you don't give it to them, they'll go start a competing business, probably taking your best workers with them with the lure of a salary premium.

With robots, this won't happen. You can control them all so you need fewer foremen. And even if you have someone "good" working for you, they can't lure your robots away with the lure of an extra day off a month or $1.50 more on their hourly rate. And they can't compete with your business as an individual because they can't actually *do* the work with anywhere near the efficiency of the robots.

Now, as long as either you have minimal competition or everyone in your industry goes along with a wink and a nod about "value", you can continue to charge what you used to for the work, but pay less in operating costs thanks to the robots. And you and all your people will still work 40 nominal hours a week because, let's face it, if you don't someone else will get ahead of you. And if they get ahead they'll drive down prices until somebody folds, and they'll pick up all their robots and keep going until there are as few players as the government will allow. Overhead per robot is down, prices drives out competitors, and then prices rebound. And half a dozen executives retire to private islands, a hundred managers stay on at 50 hours a week, and 1000 people go without any job at all.

You're scenario only works when there are poor countries to which you can sell your stuff, but eventually the tables will be leveled and you'll have ultra-rich robot owners, an upper crust of people with jobs, and a shitload of humans with nothing to do. Then we'll be truly and utterly fucked.

Comment Plumbers don't make more than doctors (Score 1) 311

Business men who run plumbing companies make more than doctors who are merely employees.

Just because you're a plumber doesn't mean you can't have business acumen. Just as being a doctor doesn't mean you do have it. I know plenty of both, and the rich ones are the ones that run a business, either instead of or in addition to their hands-on work. And the doctors running the business end of things are still making a shitload more than the plumbers who are running the business end of things, by a factor of 3 or more (similar to the plain-old-employee ratio).

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

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