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Comment: Wrong application (Score 1) 67

by Animats (#46820379) Attached to: Google's Project Ara Could Bring PC-Like Hardware Ecosystem To Phones

This is a lousy idea for a smartphone, but it has potential as an industrial automation and robotics controller. Those are built up from lots of little modules, but the mechanical and electrical standards are decades old, and systems are too bulky. Think of this as a replacement for Arduino "shields", too.

Comment: It's about time (Score 4, Interesting) 119

by Animats (#46820021) Attached to: How Apple's Billion Dollar Sapphire Bet Will Pay Off

It's surprising that Apple didn't do this a long time ago. Checkout scanners have had sapphire-coated glass for a decade or more. I pointed this out a few years ago, and the Apple fanboys immediately replied that Gorilla Glass was good enough and sapphire was unnecessary.

It's embarassing how fragile Apple's mobile products are. But this, at least, will stop screens from being scratched by coins and keys. You can drag canned goods across a sapphire coated supermarket checkout scanner glass for a decade without much effect. Home Depot self-checkout scanners have sapphire coated glass, and they get everything in the tool department dragged across them.

Comment: Yeah, blame the victim (Score 2) 142

by Animats (#46817299) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can We Create a Culture of Secure Behavior?

Users are not the problem any more. Crap code is the problem.

C is the source of buffer overflows. Microsoft is the source of autorun problems, or "if it's executable, run it". PHP is the source of most SQL injection problems. Vendor-installed backdoors are the source of most router vulnerabilities. None of these are end-user problems.

Comment: Re:History repeats itself (Score 1) 78

by Animats (#46816377) Attached to: David Auerbach Explains the Inside Baseball of MSN Messenger vs. AIM

Yeah, those long forgotten chat-silo days when you needed an ICQ account, an AIM account, a MSN account,

Now you need a Twitter app, a Google app, etc.

Take a look at the mechanism Twitter uses to lock out non-Twitter clients they don't like. There's a cryptographic authentication system in Twitter using OAuth to do that. Twitter routinely yanks the credentials of developers who do things they don't like, such as filter out ads.

Comment: That's called progress (Score 2) 269

by Animats (#46812601) Attached to: Our Education System Is Failing IT

And yet the process most of today's IT pros use to learn a skill amounts to asking somebody else how to do something.

Well, that's progress. Progress involves not having to know how the layers underneath work. This allows operating at a higher level of abstraction. How many drivers can change a spark plug today?

The trouble with this in software is that our abstractions are still flaky. Computer users still have to worry about bugs which allow stack overflow attacks, library bugs, backdoors in firmware, and middleware which doesn't conform to spec. (Hardware is in better shape. Users rarely have to worry about CPU design errors, voltage control problems, electrical noise, static electricity, failed gates, or connector intermittents, all of which were problems with early mainframes.)

Computing has become, to some extent, a ritual-taboo culture. We have huge books of examples on how to do things. If you take API documentation and write code to exercise the API in ways not used in examples, it is likely that many of today's APIs will fail. As a result, asking someone how to do something is more likely to work than reading up on an interface and expecting it to work as documented.

(Open source doesn't help. Ever try to get a bug fixed in open source code? I have bug reports with clear test cases that have been outstanding for over five years.)

Comment: Fake cable cars (Score 2) 199

Not as bad as the stupid fake cable cars we have in San Francisco.

The fake ones are more dangerous than the real ones. The real ones are limited to 9.5MPH (the cable speed), but the fake ones, on truck chassis, can go at highway speeds. They have sideways facing seats, standees, and no seat belts, which is OK at 9.5MPH but not at 30.

Comment: It's all about the dosage level (Score 1) 185

by Animats (#46801133) Attached to: Google Aids Scientology-Linked Group CCHR With Pay-Per-Click Ads

Trouble from religion seems to be associated more with dosage level than theology. Once a week seems to be a safe dose for most people, while several times a day is an overdose. The nuttier religions tend towards the overdose end of the scale. Islam and the haredi branch of Judaism go for All Religion All the Time. Scientology goes in that direction, but more through intermittent intense experiences rather than constant daily obsession.

Fortunately, Scientology is stuck, by policy, with Hubbard's 1930s technology and their skin-resistance meter. If they were keeping up with technology, they'd have mobile apps tied to wristband sensors reporting to HQ in Clearwater, FL, auditing using functional MRI machines, and big data systems analyzing all member communications.

Comment: Re:Getting attention at the expense of 3D printing (Score 1) 206

by Animats (#46800411) Attached to: Cody Wilson Interview at Reason: Happiness Is a 3D Printed Gun

I wish this clown would shut up instead of trying to get 3D printing regulated just so that he can be famous.

Agreed. 3D printing is a lousy way to make a gun. This guy is doing this to get attention.

(Google result for "gun dealers": "About 44,300,000 results.")

Comment: Re:Not a problem for MGP (Score 1) 395

by Animats (#46797717) Attached to: Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

Here's Frank-Lin's list of products. It's alcohol, deionized water, and flavoring. That's what Frank-Lin does. These are just the brands Frank-Lin owns. They also do contract bottling for another 2,000 products. "With an annual production capability of 15 million cases and on-premise tank storage capacity in excess of 1,500,000 gallons, Frank-Lin has the facilities and expertise to efficiently handle any project".

Frank-Lin is noted for having one of the most flexible automated packaging lines in the world. They can switch from one bottle/ingredients combo to another without stopping the production line. Every product can have a unique bottle. They're next door to the bottle factory. This is what the booze industry is really like, minus the advertising hype.

  Brandy - American
        A R Morrow, Lejon, Potter's Finest Brand, Montanac Brandy

        Busnel Calvados -
        Menorval -

        1st Cru Collection
        Francious Voyer Napoleon -
        Maison Prunier
        Marthe Sepia -
        Menuet -
        Aubade & Cie.
        Francois De Lyon
        Jules Domet
        Maison Prunier

        Frank-Lin Farms

        Cafe Del Amor, Curacao Liqueur, Destinee Liqueur, Gran Citron, Grand Marquette, Holly Toddy, Jules Domet Orange Liqueur, Kona Gold Coffee Liqueur, Maraska Cherry & Pear Liqueurs, Potter's, Potter's Long Island Iced Tea, Potter's Sour Splash, Vice Rei - Portugal Passion Fruit

Cream Liqueur
        Duggan's Irish Cream, Laddy's Country Cream

Energy Drinks (Non Alcoholic)

        Barrett's London Dry, Bellringer (England), Cossack, Martini London Dry, Potter's London Dry

        Classik Grappa

Liqueurs - French
        Jules Domet Grand Orange

Liqueurs - Herbal
        Agwa, Arak Razzouk - Anise Liqueur, Par-D-Schatz

Liqueurs - Italian
        Ramazotti -

Liqueurs - Lebanon
        Arak Razzouk -

        Don Antonio Aguilar

(Non Alcoholic)
        Jero Cocktail mix, Puerto Vallarta, Vinnie's Bloody Mary Mix

        Pietra Santa Olive Oil -

(Ready to Drink)
        Pocket Shots -
        John Daly Cocktails -
        Puerto Vallarta Margarita

        Diamond Head, Hammock Bay, Havana Bay, Moraga Cay
        Potter's Specialty Rums, Potter's West Indies
        Prichard's -
        Tanduay -


Scotch Whiskey - Single Malts
        Glenalmond, Glen Ranoch, Muirheads Speyside

Scotch Whiskey - Pure Malt
        Angus Dundee, Tambowie

Scotch Whisky
        Blackburn's, Duggan's Dew, Lloyd & Haig, Potter's

        Maraska Kosher, Subovorska

        Defrost Schnapps -

        Baja Tequila Liqueur
        Don Diego Santa -
        El Tirador -
        Orendain Ollitas -
        Gran Orendain -
        Puente Grande Tequila
        Puerto Vallarta -
        Señor Rio -
        Sol De Mexico -

Triple Sec Liqueur
        Potter's, Puerto Vallarta, Jules Perchard

        Beyond -
        Crown Czar
        Crown Superior
        Ed Hardy-France -
        Monnema -
        Purity-Sweden -
        Royal Czar
        Spirit of Santa-Finland -
        Vampyre-Transylvania -
        White Wolf

Whiskey - Bourbon
        Black Saddle
        Bourbon Age - Ky
        Bourbon Club
        Buck Bourbon
        Clyde Mays Conecuh Ridge Whisky -
        Joshua Brook
        Medley Bros.
        Old Medley

Whiskey - Blended
        Barret's Blend
        Glenwood Blend

Whiskey - Canadian
        8 Seconds -
        Campbell & Cooper
        Canadian Crown
        Potter's Crown

Comment: Re:Call me a rock wielding barbarian (Score 1) 126

by Animats (#46796427) Attached to: Google's New Camera App Simulates Shallow Depth of Field

Some movie directors are still bitching over the disappearance of film grain. There are companies putting unnecessary film grain in digital images.

We need to get to 48FPS or better, so slow pans over detailed backgrounds look right. No more strobing!

(Instead, we're getting 4K resolution, which is only useful if the screen is in front of your face and a meter wide.)

Comment: That's the Chevy Volt. (Score 1) 356

by Animats (#46796229) Attached to: Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential"

A pure electric first gear would marry the best torque range of electric motors would free the IC engine of its low end torque requirements. No battery, no regenerative braking or fancy nancy stuff.

That's the Chevy Volt. Modest engine and battery, good electric motor. The Honda FCX has electric drive, a fuel cell, and ultracapacitors for acceleration boost.

A pure electric transmission with an IC engine? That's a Diesel-electric locomotive. Works very well, especially with modern solid-state controls. Overkill for a car, where getting started isn't that hard and clutches are in slip for only a second or two. A huge win for trains, where getting all that mass moving is the hardest part of the job.

Comment: Not a problem for MGP (Score 1) 395

by Animats (#46796143) Attached to: Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

MGP Ingredients, which produces a sizeable fraction of the distilled spirits in the US, doesn't seem to have a problem with this. They're already running their distillery by-products through a dryer and turning out dried-grain animal feed. MGP, formerly Midwest Grain Products, takes in grain and turns out a broad range of food and beverage products. They're set up to make and ship food-grade products for humans, so complying with the rules for animal feed isn't a big deal for them.

The liquor industry is different than ads indicate. The "secret family recipe" hype is mostly bullshit. Huge plants in the Midwest produce bulk alcohol, which is then shipped by rail, in tank cars, to companies which perform further processing and bottling. The same ethyl alcohol is used for vodka, gin, rum, scotch, bourbon, brandy, tequila, Canadian whiskies, and liqueurs. MGP also sells some ethyl alcohol for fuel use, although for them it's a sideline, not their main business. They make more alcohol than the booze industry can use.

So, for the big plants, this isn't a problem.

Comment: Bullshit (Score 4, Insightful) 395

by Animats (#46795611) Attached to: Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

Brewers get $30 a ton for the waste from beer manufacturing. Per can/bottle of beer, that's negligible.

Brewers can continue to sell this as animal feed. They just have to follow the same rules as everybody else who sells animal feed, like Purina Chows and Cargill. The big plants will have to do a little more processing and testing. The "craft brewers" don't produce that much waste, and it's biodegradable.

Possessions increase to fill the space available for their storage. -- Ryan