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Comment: Re:For safe integration with existing air traffic (Score 1) 129

by cozytom (#48574553) Attached to: Report: Big Issues Remain Before Drones Can Safely Access National Airspace

Imagine a 15 car pile up on the freeway going to downtown. The newspapers and TV stations are real close, but they dispatch their drones out to get live action shots of the carnage. Now there are 8 drones maneuvering in the sky above the carnage. Sure they want to be in the 50-300 ft altitude region, "out of other aircrafts way".

Who should keep the drones from bumping into each other?
Who insures the drones are maintained well enough so they don't rain down on the more healthy victims?

Now the medical personnel have asked for a couple medical helicopters to evacuate some seriously injured people. So the medical helicopters show up only to see 5 or 6 drones they must thread their way through (even though there are 8 up there, they didn't see all of them).

Who gives the helicopter pilots some priority?
Who tells the drone pilots to get out of the way? How do you talk to the drone pilots?
When the 3 lb drone gets sucked into the helicopters turbine engine, and that helicopter crashes, who pays for what?

No, the FAA has huge challenges and issues you and I haven't even thought of.

Comment: It is going to be a when, not an if. (Score 4, Insightful) 206

by cozytom (#43903867) Attached to: Footage Reveals Drone Aircraft Nearly Downed Passenger Plane in 2004

Current technology won't separate the aircraft well enough. The drones are not about to see and avoid like people. Think of control delays (speed of light seems pretty fast until you realize the pilot is thousands of miles away, you have to get the video image to them, and then the pilot has to react, then the reaction command has to get back to the aircraft, it isn't seconds, but certainly many milliseconds).

Then you can also see how fast the two aircraft are converging. It was easy to miss the little dot, and it was really darn big by the time the drone could make it out. Of course by then, there wasn't much either could do. And what is with that big antenna or whatever blocking the view?

One day a drone will hit a passenger carrying aircraft. Who is gonna scream then? Lets let the technology catch up, and not put these things in civilian airspace.

Comment: Re:Competes? Oracle reminds me of IBM Assembler (Score 1) 112

by cozytom (#43796539) Attached to: MariaDB vs. MySQL: A Performance Comparison

Oracle databases are maybe fast, and maybe allow more redundancy but that comes with extra work.

MySQL and most of the other commercial databases have richer data types allowing for more a more modern feel.

Sort of like IBM assembler vs. Java. IBM assembler allows screaming fast apps, but at a cost, when that cost approaches the complexity of a modern language, the playing field levels, and suddenly you are better off writing in Java, since you can maintain the code.

Comment: There are plenty of pork programs (Score 2) 484

by cozytom (#42992991) Attached to: There Is Plenty To Cut At the Pentagon

I was offered a chance to work on the "Crusader" program back in about 2001. A mobile howitzer. The idea is sound, but the program was pork all the way. One company doing the software in Minneapolis, another building the chassis in Oklahoma City, some assembly in Denver, basically parts of it were being worked on in all 50 states. So the lobbyest gets to tell the local congress critter that they will be loosing jobs in their state if they cut the program. Well the "Crusader" got cut, but go look at the "Non-Line-of-Site-Cannon", same technology, same do part in every state.

Find your favorite program that is happening in the defense industry. It probably falls in the same pattern, one or more contractor partners have work being done in several states they don't really need that much stuff being done but, it helps keep the lobbyests have a good argument to not cut the program.

The cost of a "program" like this is the lifetime. That is crew training, maintenance, fuel, and every dollar spent on the airplane over its lifetime. Buy several thousand, and guess what, it adds up to a trillion. How many cars are planned to last 30 years, but hey the F-35 variants will be around in 2043, just like the Harrier that was build in the 1970's is still around. It is a different mind set. Sure each new program will cost more than the last one, partially due to pork, but mostly due to simple inflation. The Harrier is really that old, and the F-35 makes a solid replacement for it. The F-16 is almost that old, and there needs to be something else in line for it's replacement (although one could argue, that the F-16 probably has 20 years left in it). The navy really doesn't need it, but it is probably cheaper to operate than an F-18. (It won't replace the A-10, no way, it is too fast, and
I wouldn't fly that so close to the ground. The A-10 has more armor, and two engines, and a bigger gun, it just make sense to have a medium straight winged airplane that is built that tough helping the ground forces).

We have so many people in the pentagon pushing paper these days, it is quite inefficient. Get rid of some of the extra reporting that congress has mandated and we could afford the F-35 and the next aircraft system. (I know people will argue that there will be no more manned aircraft, but I'd believe it when I see it.) I know there is a risk someone is going to take advantage of the guvnment, heck congress has been doing it for years, I guess they hate competition (or not being able to share in the wealth).

There is always a role for a manned aircraft, not just transport (do you really want 300 people riding in a UAV? I know about autopilots, don't give me that). Fighter escorts and close air support are still going to be done with people in the aircraft.

Comment: No, Hell No, They Can't, They Won't. (Score 5, Insightful) 267

by cozytom (#42931003) Attached to: Do Patent Laws Really Protect Small Inventors?

Lets say someone invents the best thing ever, better than anything you could imagine. This thing will make people want to be with you, or leave you alone, as your preference. It will make food taste better, and you will be happy for the rest of your life if you use this thing. This person gets a patent on it, and sets up a factory to build these things. This person has a perfect business plan, the product price includes the R&D costs, some blue sky, and he pays employees a fair wage.

Evil company X decides this product is easy to make (they read the patent, it was easy to figure out) so they set up a factory across the street, and sell the same thing at a lower price. They don't have any R&D (other than a read of the patent), they pay lower wages, and use cheaper packaging.

No big deal you say, he has a patent on it. Ok, he calls his lawyer, and says, I need an injunction, and I want an infringement suit and I want treble damages. Law being a civil profession, his lawyer calls the evil companies lawyer, and they go to lunch (which our hero is paying for). His lawyer comes back, and says evil company X wants to go to trial. Our hero believes he will win, so of course he says yes, lets do it, we will get the injunction, and treble damages, I'll borrow money from whoever to pay for this adventure.

The lawyers all have a few more lunches (not at McDonalds I can assure you), and they chat and scheme, and make a court date. Aha, in 7 months, there will be an initial trial to determine if the injunction can happen.

During the 7 months, our hero has to sell his house borrow against the factory, lay off employees and pay the rest a little less. Evil company X announces a HUGE profit, and is setting up a second factory in Europe. The evil CEO now wants to live in France to educate his daughter, so he buys a chateau.

Well the trial happens, and sure enough, our hero wins the injunction. Cool, now it is on to the civil phase, and the trial for the damages is scheduled for 9 months from now. The customers have all but forgotten our hero's products, and he doesn't have any money to advertise, or build new products, it is all tied up in lawyer fees (and lunches).

Well, dang, evil company X has also run out of money, since they could sell anything, and they have this factory, and a second one in Europe, lawyers and employees to pay. But the CEO didn't sell his chateau, or stop educating his daughter, he just let the corporation file chapter 7 sells the factories to pay the lawyers, while he kept his money separate. He has partnered with some middle eastern investors and is helping them start a lesser evil company Y that makes the same product. This lesser evil company will use a factory in France and build a new factory in India, selling all over Europe and Asia importing the product into the US.

The civil trial begins against evil company X, and no one from evil company X shows up. The judge rules in favor of our hero, awarding them 80 bazillion dollars, which becomes 240 bazillion dollars because it was willful infringement. Our hero is happy, and asks his lawyer to begin collection. The lawyer finds that evil company X has filed chapter 7 liquidation, and has no assets, so there will only be a judgment against them, but no real money will change hands. Because the liquidation happened before the civil judgement, it will be difficult to get anything.

Meanwhile lesser evil company Y is importing this wonderful product into the US advertising and selling in the same stores as our hero's product. Our hero asks his lawyer to get another injunction, but this lawyer is no fool, wants his money up front still. Our hero doesn't have the assets to get any more money.

Yes our hero was right, the patent protected him from honest people. The patent system doesn't protect anyone from a dishonest company. The legal system is slow, and painful. It can take years to be proven right, but still never see any money for being right.

Comment: Check out the EAA (Score 2) 100

by cozytom (#41186375) Attached to: Makerplane Aims To Create the First Open Source Aircraft

Having built my own plane ( it is something ANYONE can do. Well, not anyone, especially anyone who would rather tell us all that they can't do stuff, but anyone who is willing to spend a couple years out in their garage, basement, or whatever workshop you have getting stuff done. It is not a risky venture, if you either follow the plans, or do reasonable engineering (if you know that discipline) when designing your own.

Any avocation can be expensive. Sure you can pick up fishing for like $15 for a rod and reel at Walmart, but in a couple years, after the boat and SUV purchase, you are talking about real money. Very capable airplanes can be bought (yes factory built even) for the cost of a good used car ($15K probably for a 2 seater). Learn to fly in your own airplane, with a good instructor, and you can learn for very little.

The medical requirements are minimal, and if you are willing to stay with a 2 seater aircraft and not really high performace (Light Sport Aircraft category) you only need a drivers license as your medical certificate. Even a 3rd class medical (if you want an airplane with higher performance or carrying more than 2 passengers, you need that) can be passed by anyone who is willing to get off their butt a couple times a week and move around. (if you want to fly for money, you need a 2nd class medical, and if you want to be a captain of an airliner you'll need a 1st class medical with the whole EKG and all).

The inexpensive airplanes aren't made anymore, Steve Witman designed some wonderful inexpensive fast! airplanes (tailwind as an example). Long-eze was maybe a peak of recent plans designs, by the man, Burt Rutan. Kitplanes magazine does annual issues of various kit offerings, as well a plans designs. Wicks and Aircraft Spruce are reliable suppliers.

The EAA is a little shifty supporting the home builders, but have been the most reliable for over 50 years. The EAA chapter organization is probably the best support group in the world. Use the resourcfes available, don't do it alone. There are plenty of resources available, from tech counselors to flight advisors. Yes you can fly an airplane you built yourself, or you can have someone else fly it for you.

Comment: We need to stop spectrum auctions (Score 1) 1

by cozytom (#36803268) Attached to: Congress Spectrum Bill Screws tech community
Short term gain, and really killing the future.

Imagine a device in you pocket, it does a lot of communicating, but it does it smartly.

A short distance communication, within the room, it will do point to point analog. No cells involved.

A medium distance communication, in the neighborhood or building, it may use a pico/nano cell.

A long distance communication, it will use a cell as needed.

It can receive broadcast (AM/FM/TV) without any special extra hardware.

It can do only digital communications, as needed, for voice, data or anything else.

It can locate other uses via the cell network, to know what mode will be the most efficient communications means.

The device is smart, and uses software defined radios. It will use the proper spectrum and modes to accomplish the communication. Analog voice, use SSB; CDMA for cell or as needed; proper psk, for digital, etc.

But... to make this work, the spectrum needs to be available. If it is all sold off, the program won't work. The cell carriers can still make money with the locator service, (maybe not as much, but they are about to not make as much due to other pressures)

If we keep auctioning off all the spectrum, there will be no opportunity to get any of this. We will still have to use the inefficient modes we have today, filling the available spectrum with overhead.

Comment: Astroturf week? (Score 1) 336

by cozytom (#32767254) Attached to: HDBaseT Supporters Hope To Kiss HDMI Goodbye

First it was D*Star, those goofy french are making our proprietary stuff illegal. Now we hear HDMI is dead, this new DRM crap will replace it.

Puleze will someone with some common sense filter these articles, get 'em out of the front page, and let the technical people make technically necessary products so we can have progress.

I am tired of people taking working stuff, making it worse, and blaming everyone for not buying into their stupid ideas.

Comment: What market exists? (Score 1) 225

by cozytom (#32288496) Attached to: Microsoft's New Attempt To Dominate Robotics

I've built many robots, (Hero-1, other homebuilt ones, etc). I've been involved with robot clubs since the early 80s. Very little has changed!

My first robot was run off a parallel card plugged into my Heathkit H-8. simple h-bridge some bumpers, and I was set. worked pretty good but the dang cord was a problem.

The next robot had an on board Z80 processor. It also had a CRT and a dozen batteries. It weighed a ton, used relays and transistors to control the motor.

The Hero had an on board 6809 (I guess one of the accessories had a second 6800 I think, so technically it was 2).

I used various 8 bitters for many other robots, always trying to solve the power problem, finding more and more efficient processors, so I could use less battery.

I switched to a tinyboard (8088) for one, it ran DR-DOS, and turbo pascal!

Even the handyboard processor was good, and has a great library (interactive C).

Basic stamps have come and gone for various projects.

Aurdrino's are pretty current.

Which one of the above processors will run anything from M$? I don't think any. Right, all 8 bit processors. I see very few robots with more than an 8 bitter even in the 21st century!

Someone needs to convince the robot builders to switch to 32 bit processors (ARM, maybe beagle board, or anything else) and then there *might* be a market for an OS that runs robots. Trouble is, it'll be Linux or Android running it, since the robot builders are a little more scrappy.


Comment: Re:Slower than current aircraft (Score 1) 459

They already fly slower. A 737-NG was designed to fly at Mach 0.72 to 0.78 (some will argue 0.82, but they are usually grumpy old guys). Currently many of the airlines prefer to use cost index (IE CI20). see: Most passengers don't notice it, but in crowded airspace (IE New York TRACON) the controllers hate it.

Comment: the article is obviously a troll (Score 0) 261

by cozytom (#27177051) Attached to: TomTom Can License FAT Without Violating the GPL
First Microsoft has a lot of explaining to do as why anyone should license the FAT file system.

TomTom didn't write the code, they licensed it from, well not sure. They are following the gpl, and that is the end of the story. Microsoft needs to be talk to the licensor, not suing one of their own customers, besides.

Microsoft didn't learn squat from their puppet SCO.

This isn't the strategy of a company in it for the long haul.

+ - iGoogle Changed for mobile devices last Thursday

Submitted by cozytom
cozytom (1102207) writes "Last week, some junior genius at Google, decided since they can't make iGoogle perfect on every device, they made it awful for every device. iPhones, Androids and others. There seems to be quite a buzz that this is the beginning of the Yahoo-ization of Google. The beginning of evil. There seems to be little response from the Google support from Google, no too bad, no we made a mistake, no anything, just sort of an implied "we're google and we know best, live with it".

Some of the forums are: android,


Comment: Mattel can only screw up software! (Score 1) 216

by cozytom (#22645284) Attached to: Facebook Scrabble Rip-off Capitalizes on Mattel's Lethargy
Back in the day Mattel used to sell spy ware infested programs (Printshop). It was hard to
use and just funky as can be. It got better over the years, but the spyware would make me
not want it.

My daughter got my boys a Fisher Price digital arts and crafts studio (more Mattel software).
It barely installed (see amazon reviews, not too many people can get the POS installed). Wow
what a pile of crap. Hardly usable. The kids can draw their pictures but can't print them, it
takes tricks to save, print and recover them. Way less than intuitive. Makes it obvious they
don't think kids understand computers, turns the multitasking machine back to one task at a time
DOS like.

Okey so now they think they can build a game that will be as popular as some people who get the
net. Good luck with that. Watch it be built by committee, with featuritis explosis (every
feature a group marketing dorks can imagine added on). It will be unusable, to the point where
people will complain, and marketing will blame everyone else.

They should shut up, and pay the kids who know what they are doing, and keep marketing out.

"Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows." -- Robert G. Ingersoll