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Comment: Re:Good grief (Score 1) 98

Old saying goes, "I can't afford to buy cheap crap."

I have yet to see a computing environment where the demand of computing power significantly outstripped supply due to antiquated technology except where the network administrators were practically tenured. In those cases they were gobbling up so much in salary and blowing time to keep fixing stuff mostly due to age.

The administrator even seems to point at that he is trying to fix problems that don't fully exist. "...and it is hacked a lot." Is one of those telling statements that maybe the problems are the administrator going overboard to justify his job.

Comment: Re:De-salination? (Score 2) 110

This is exactly what I was thinking about. I am betting all along the Middle East and African coastlines this would be a killer technology to both drive steam turbines and produce potable water concurrently. I would bet the issue would be salts and other particulates clogging the water passages though. Might work as a final stage distillation in a plant that is completely solar powered though.

The other issue for using it as an electric (or rather mechanical) generation source is the fact that it needs direct sunlight in the "boiler" or pressurized section which is tricky. This would definitely necessitate a different structure of solar farm + turbine than currently in use. Most of the more successful solar thermal electricity generation schemes have worked precisely because they plug into existing electricity generation turbine infrastructure.

Comment: Re:Walled garden? (Score 4, Insightful) 171

by aaronb1138 (#47462963) Attached to: Is the Software Renaissance Ending?
That remark is nonsense. Most hobbies require an investment in tools and materials to continue the hobby. At $8-40 / month, iDevelopment is among the cheapest of hobbies. Evening adding in the Apple tax to own a couple iShinys still keeps this well below the cost of most modest hobbies.

If someone is trying to make a living off iCrapware, then they will certainly need to be making a good amount more than that per month to sustain themselves. Not being able to afford a fixed $40 / month cost to do business means your product is a failure.

Comment: Re:Documentary (Score 1) 117

People with a rudimentary knowledge of international economics and politics believed any of that? Much less a decent knowledge of network hardware and software.

We can't lay large scale cognitive dissonance on politicians and government agencies. It violates all forms of rational thinking. What rational mind thinks that a government agency (e.g. the NSA) whose hiring profile is mathematics graduates and ex-marines isn't obtaining information in a questionable manner and then ripping apart encryption.

In the US we have presidents who tap the strategic oil reserves to drop gas prices a nickel or two just to improve their or their party's chances just before an election. All of these sociological maneuvers are obvious as can be. We can't hold the matchstick men accountable for setting us ablaze when the public is so complicit.

Comment: Documentary (Score 1) 117

Clearly, many of you missed the short PBS run of the BBC documentary, Spooks, which details the exploits of MI5 in the UK. Peter Firth as the lead, great casting.

Joking aside, I don't understand all of the shock and awe at post-Snowden revelations about how various security agencies around the world operate. I have yet to see anything that comes off as remotely new knowledge since the Cold War. Yes, computers have made it easier in the years since the Cold War to store, catalog, and search data as well as automate human tasks. That's what computers were made for. Did people really think that the security services were going to act like the IRS and use the computer as a poor substitute for paper forms as opposed to modernizing and stretching technology's legs? Are people really so naive as to not understand the extreme manner to which computing advances have been driven by the needs of various secret security agencies around the world?

Comment: Re:LEAP Motion (Score 1) 65

They also missed out on the concept of thresholds, dead zones, and sensitivity that were standard concepts with joysticks on DOS games 20 years ago. Even the concept of usage based calibration!

The controller should be able to see the "ground plane" of the monitor and adjust rotationally +/- 5-10 degrees and its position between the user and screen and then calibrate that cursor and hand movement are proportional. It's not even difficult projection math to have a cursor that is perceptually under your finger. The hand-eye coordination to see your hand in front of yourself but have to visually track a disproportionate cursor is about as bad as it gets. Then to have every hand shake and micro-movement send everything flying. Or worse, to have the whole thing jerk around because the tracking briefly lost track of a finger and reset the center of the palm (input smoothing!).

Comment: LEAP Motion (Score 4, Interesting) 65

LEAP promised similar things. Logically, their technology should work well, but the execution was piss poor. The trick to getting 3D finger interaction to work will either be higher immersion, such as proportional (to the controller) 3D displays or Occulus Rift style implementations where you can see your hand interacting. Another issue LEAP has is defining the horizontal and vertical ground planes. Their controller would work better if it detected and calibrated to you monitor and activation motions occurred when you touched the screen in many cases.

3D gesture identification and intent management seems to be a stumbling block so far as well. Seems largely that programmers figured out the hand skeletal structure and then immediately ignored that musculature, tendons, and fine motor control are not the same in all positions and directions.

Some example dumb hand / finger gestures for 3D control (I see these in LEAP motion software and in proposed hand gesture libraries for similar technology):
  - Triggering a thumb against the side of the index finger - most of the hand moves, especially the index finger (which is typically being keyed off of for cursor position)
  - Triggering by pulling the index finger like a trigger - surprisingly inconsistent when there is no resistive grip or button
  - Holding a splayed out hand(s) horizontally, mid air as a default centered position
  - Keying z-rotation off of a hand pointed at the screen as if one's arm protruded from the chest
  - Expecting the hand to translate mid-air like camera dolly & track.
  - Lots of other ergonomically / kinematically ignorant ideas. I think they modeled everything with those articulated wooden hands for clay sculpture. And no arms.

Just some things to consider before creating your own 3D motion controller...

Comment: Not Surprising (Score 1) 203

I can't be the only one who saw this and thought, well sure a 15 year old can make a better faster 3D printer. Most of the reason I haven't bought one myself has been how underwhelmed I have been by the quality and results.

The only ones where I thought there precision and accuracy were useful were the UV/Near-UV plastics that operated on DLP lithographic principles. The consumables for those had too narrow of a usage range and ridiculous cost scales. The Makerbot and similar ABS extrusion machines are just dog slow, and get slower with increased complexity, not to mention consumables in the still silly price range.

Building something better and faster is easily within reach, and most of the commercial $10-100k models overcome all of the weaknesses of hobbyist / consumer offerings. Bringing some of the commercial speed optimizations (multiple nozzles) and such is trivial given the weak position of the hobby market hardware.

Comment: Re:Charge what it costs to certify (Score 1) 123

by aaronb1138 (#47396805) Attached to: FDA: We Can't Scale To Regulate Mobile Health Apps
The upside to a certification program, even if privatized, allows the assignment of liability which supersedes the bullshit in the EULA. The idea is to create a "seller beware" instead of "buyer beware" market and to empower the consumer in such a way as to scare off the majority heap of charlatans. Further the cost of entry of certification clears a lot of that out anyway. Certainly the spam crap apps out of China and India.

It also gives a registered address to send the legal summons and other such when someone does end up producing dangerous crap.

All of the butthurt that privatized certification is useless comes from people who don't understand how awful things would be in industries so regulated otherwise.

Assembly language experience is [important] for the maturity and understanding of how computers work that it provides. -- D. Gries