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Comment Color ma a skeptic, but... (Score 3, Interesting) 77

...from my experience with embedded engineers, the past cluster-f*cks implemented by that category of engineer (think SCADA), and the more-of-the-same coming down the pike (think "we'll just invent our own security rather than using proven solutions"), it's doomed from the start. These are guys that optimize down to the last 1/8 of a bit of RAM, the last 10Hz of processing speed, the last milliwatt of power. Given that mindset, they don't have a clue that security is a top line concern for anything that communicates with the outside world. The necessary solutions are just way outside their sense of scale.

There is also this intrinsic mistrust of anybody else's code, which is polar opposite to the instincts required to do proper security. Of course, if you see the crap code they get force-fed from the chip vendors, and anything else that has to run in 16K of code space, it's not hard to see where the bunker mentality comes from.

But I've peeked into that world, and I don't see it changing. That's going to be a Very Bad Thing(tm).

Comment Re:How about circuit boards? (Score 3, Interesting) 266

For circuit boards I'm loving my Othermill. Pricey but the software and support seriously flatten the learning curve, which may or may not be worth the price premium to you. I've already transformed a few prototypes from hand-soldered perfboard to actual PCBs, and am currently nowhere near the boundaries of what is feasible with this little gem.

But 3D printers are more useful for making enclosures to said circuit boards, not for fabbing them.

Comment Re:Replacing hard to find spare parts. (Score 4, Interesting) 266

Same here. Fixed some crap curtain-rod brackets that were drooping by fabricating a cantilever to prop them back up. Beat having to buy new rods, we like the style of the current ones, even if they are poorly made.

Made brackets for the power-supply to my CNC mill so that it conveniently hangs off the side of the workbench but can be quickly removed for transport.

In same workshop, a cheap 8-port switch I bought for it turned out to not have wall-mount keystone holes. So made some clips which screw into the side of the bench and hook into the vent slots of the switch to brace it.

The most useful things for it tend to be the most pedestrian. Though my other use is for enclosures for custom electronics projects, which is also extremely useful.

Comment Re:AT&T/Verizon don't do unlimited (Score 1) 272

Well, I switched to AT&T's new data plan a few months ago, which for an extra $3/mo gave me 15G/mo. That's for anything, including tethering. It's spread across four devices (two iPhones and two iPads), but those devices belong to only two people. They then introduced rollover data with no action required on my part, with no uptick in price. The rollover is limited to one month. but I effectively have at least 25GB/mo at my disposal. For me anyway, that is essentially unlimited as I will never come close to that ceiling. So yeah, it's unlimited while being honest about where the boundaries are. This is a problem how?

Comment Re:Unfortunately (Score 3, Insightful) 144

Either you aren't a parent or you greatly resemble a helicopter.

I'm 'guilty' of leaving the kids (9 and 11) to read in the car if I know I'll only be in a store for less than ten minutes. But even lately I've limited that to things like a quick pop-in at the drug store, since it seem more likely people would overreact to seeing a child in a car at the grocery store, where the average time the child would be left along is much higher. That I even have to worry about that is just crazy.

The problem with bring authorities into a situation is that they are a very blunt instrument. They are not going to care that I actually am being mindful about evaluating (the usually miniscule to begin with) risks involved. For example:

  • If it's too hot, they stay with me.
  • If I think there's a chance I might get hung up past 5-10 minutes, they stay with me
  • If it's both of them, I'll often apply stricter standards, since the biggest risk is them getting into fight. And the biggest risk with a fight is them causing undue attention to the fact that there are alone in the car.

Ironically, this sort of unnecessary heightened vigilance leads parents to make potentially riskier decisions, if that decision is less likely to come under public scrutiny. For example, if I'm the only parent covering after school, sometimes one or the other has to be picked up, or I have to run out for some other reason. If it's less than 30 minutes, and the child's time would be better spent finishing homework than being stuck in the car, then I'll consider leaving them home. Fortunately they have good judgement, as the hazards in the home far outweigh that of being in a car.

And even then, I'll almost never do that if it means leaving them both alone, as the sibling rivalry factor raises the other risks by several orders of magnitude.

So some stranger's knee-jerk reaction to something that has actually had some thought applied to it poses a greater risk to the welfare of the child than whatever it is they think they are saving them from.

Comment Re:Oops (Score 1) 450

You'd be surprised what you can do with an Air. Mine, which is admittedly tricked out with max memory an i7 and a 512G SSD, can do some pretty heavy lifting. In addition to the native OSX (which gives me tight integration to my iThing collection), I also run Win7 in Parallels. We're talking full-up Visual Studio plus some other tools that I can't run in OSX.
Short of the too-small screen, it performs admirably. And the size/weight/battery-life has a lot going for it. I recently was spending day-long sessions on a deployment site upgrading firmware to over a hundred embedded devices. The two other guys had Dells, which crapped out by lunch (why they didn't bring a spare battery is beyond me, but whatever), whereas my Air cooked along all day. And was way less fatiguing to carry around from station to station.

So these aren't necessarily status symbols for light workloads. They are capable of real work.

Comment Re:None (Score 2) 55

Funny thing is, even as a very experienced developer, I often fall prey to my own version of that: "All I Wanted To Do Was..." Things that seem simple on the face of it almost always turn out to be some of the biggest time sinks. Combine that with a general ignorance of how much time programming takes to begin with, and the situation turns toxic quickly.

Comment Re: .NET is NOT “Open Source” .. (Score 2) 253

Nice ad hominem. Not posting this anonymously, nor am I a Microsoft booster. Now will you go check your facts? It is indeed MIT licensed (as been cited a dozen times above), and does have a patent promise attached. What more do you want? Yes, there could be some clever devilry hidden about somewhere, but on its face it seems pretty legit and straightforward.

Comment Re:Big city thinking (Score 1) 397

I went to college on the east coast and spent plenty of time in NYC and the folks from NYC were among the most parochial people I've ever met.

Yeah, no kidding. Unexpectedly spent three years there and was amazed at the juxtaposition of metropolitan and provincial. Our next stop (RI) outdid NYC in terms of provincial, just without being as metropolitan.

Comment Re:Problem was underinvestment (Score 1) 397

+1 for Wunderground. A refreshing break from the hysteria of "weather as panic button" that is pretty much every other source of weather information I've seen. I constantly get comments of "OMG! They're saying the sky is gonna fall!" from friends and relatives, only to find a calm factual forecast on wunderground. It's about as reliable as weather forecasts tend to be, but without the hype.

Comment Re: Suppository form works just fine. (Score 1) 135

Indeed, not to be messed around with. I was lucky a few years ago in that I developed C-diff but the standard antibiotic took care of it and it never recurred. I have read horror stories of people having chronic C-diff that goes away with treatment but just comes back. Didn't know it had turned lethal, but it is damned unpleasant. Not something I would want to live with on a chronic basis.

"The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, preserved their neutrality." -- Dante