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Comment: Smart antennas (Score 1) 471

by Thomas Shaddack (#43140881) Attached to: Seattle Bar Owner Bans Google Glass, In Advance
That will keep working until smart antenna arrays become norm for cellphones. It is fairly logical - no need to send RF energy to all directions when a small fraction of the power can be sent just in the direction of the cell tower, and the same applies to the received signal which then stands out of noise (including jammers) much better.

Comment: Neural prosthetics (Score 1) 471

by Thomas Shaddack (#43140643) Attached to: Seattle Bar Owner Bans Google Glass, In Advance

My natural face-recognition skills are strongly inferior even to moderately obsolete computer algorithms. Such thing would work as a neural prosthesis for me, a social-interaction equivalent of a peg leg. Would you want to relieve me and others of such aid?

For the record, I'd strongly prefer if such functionality operated offline, without cloud connection...

Comment: Principles (Score 1) 290

by Thomas Shaddack (#42885153) Attached to: W3C Declares DRM In-Scope For HTML

Yes. Because there is something called principles. Because freedom is not free. Because there are friends that will ask for help with the same. And because then you can publish/validate the approaches that worked so others would not have to go through the blind alleys.
Hardware is cheap these days, and if you get a good deal on a stereomicroscope the soldering of even tiny SMD parts is about as easy as it can get.

Comment: Indexing (Score 1) 430

That mass of JSTOR data on the Pirate Bay is practically worthless. Unless someone goes to the effort of indexing it and creating a search engine for it, it's essentially useless. And if anyone does do that, they'll be doing nothing but re-inventing what JSTOR has already built.

You mean, like, ummm, running some of the widely available fulltext-search indexing software, e.g. the Apache Solr?

Comment: Rational people (Score 1) 222

The basic problem with your premise is that fully rational, well-adjusted people are so rare their existence borders on mythology. People in general tend to be fairly easy to manipulate and to follow the group they are in (peer-rejection/accetance is a powerful force), or to seek belonging in a group if they aren't in any. In proper context, my conservative guess is that a good half of people will be vulnerable.

Comment: Ear Trumpet workaround (Score 1) 549

by Thomas Shaddack (#41792505) Attached to: Why Can't Industry Design an Affordable Hearing Aid?
Give the test and autoconfig feature away as a free, preferably open-source, computer software. Give the iphone app the ability to read the presets via QR-code, generated by the PC app. Good luck regulating free software hosted on offshore servers. The commercial apps then can retain the functionality by splitting off the regulated functions away to the unregulatable noncommercial offshore platforms.

Comment: Principles (Score 1) 549

by Thomas Shaddack (#41792487) Attached to: Why Can't Industry Design an Affordable Hearing Aid?
You will think otherwise once you get older and your so-far presumably fairly perfect health will start deteriorating. Or when some hidden timebomb in your genetic code starts acting up. And before you start babbling about financial responsibility and saving money and so on, mind that you, like everybody else, are just one instance of bad luck away from bankruptcy. Be glad for the welfare safety net under you. You don't know when you will need it; and it is when, not if.

Comment: Phew. (Score 1) 549

by Thomas Shaddack (#41792283) Attached to: Why Can't Industry Design an Affordable Hearing Aid?

Is any of these requirements something that can not be implemented in an open-source way on e.g. a cheap dsPIC chip? The water-resistance and ESD-robustness are also nothing special; from a water-tight housing, conformal coating and a Li-poly battery to an industry standard ESD protection.

I still don't see the reasons for such high costs.

Even the FDA can be worked around; just sell the thing as something else non-medical and allow an user-end reflashing of the firmware that will add the "regulated" functions.

I can imagine the sound-processing core being sold as a naked board by SparkFun for $30, with printable housings available from Thingiverse and user-customizable with Sugru.

Maybe it's a high time for opensource software and electronics hobbyists to enter the field of health-care technology, and put some squeeze from the Great Distributed Bottom onto the overregulated market. Maybe a HAM-radio club equivalent for hearing aids? There must be a lot of retired engineers with bad hearing, certainly enough to come up with something.

Comment: The nature of things (Score 1) 146

by Thomas Shaddack (#41744797) Attached to: What To Do With Those First Generation Photo Frames?

It is not a "photo frame". It is a full-featured, though weak, embedded computer with a LCD display. Just because it has a limited firmware and marketers call it a "photo frame" does not take away from its inherent nature.

What's it with people these days that they let themselves be limited with how things are named?

Comment: Re:First (Score 1) 248

by Thomas Shaddack (#41133175) Attached to: Will Your Books and Music Die With You?

When the DRM is stripped, the files can be multiplied for all the friends/families who care to have them. The legal system does not have to be told about files on a computer, only about the computer itself. Assuming no ill will within the family, the issues can be resolved later after the possession of the physical hardware is resolved.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

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