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Comment Re:Apple (Score 1) 25

They don't sell products where you need to crack a manual and read for a week before you can get started.

Heh, that's ... interesting.

You're not wrong, and yet that's exactly what the Apple ][ was. It came with a complete dis-assembly of the 6502 monitor code included in it, for heaven's sake!

I guess that they've changed somewhat since then ...

Comment Re:Why do some people want to prevent photography (Score 1) 280

Soon we will only be able to take photographs of people in the nude in a wilderness

I take it that you're assuming that $DIETY will not come out and assert copyright on His own works?

Actually, the parents could claim copyright on their children's bodies, and so could their grandparents (derivative works), etc.

At some point this becomes ridiculous. Food? The point has already passed, clearly.

Comment Re:It doesn't have to be perfect. (Score 1) 57

There's another confounding factor to this ... every autonomous car collision will be documented in exquisite detail, but in a format that few are familiar with.

So ... if the logs say that the car was at fault, people will use that to crucify those responsible for the car. And if the logs say that the pedestrian was at fault ... people will say that the logs were altered, incomplete, etc. and use those claims (accurate or not) to crucify those responsible for the car. And if something went wrong and there are no logs ... that too will be used to crucify those responsible for the car.

Comment Re:"I was spying on you from 200 feet, not 60!" (Score 1) 528

At 200 feet, a wide angle GoPro picture of somebody can't even identify their face, even at maximum resolution when you zoom in on the picture all you can.

Even at 60 feet, you'll have a hard time identifying somebody.

To really spy on somebody, especially if you want to be a peeping tom, you'll have to come in close. Ten feet, perhaps?

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 528

is that shooting vertically, at a drone above you, limits the maximum range of the shot.

Of course it does.

However, by how much? That's pretty easy to estimate. If we can ignore air resistance, if we shoot something upwards and it travels 200 feet ... sqrt(2 * g * 200 feet) is 113 feet per second. The object will have lost 113 fps due to the gain in altitude.

Now, of course we can't ignore the air resistance, but we can't ignore it when shooting horizontally either, and the 113 fps slowing simply due to the altitude gain is still accurate.

How does that compare to the speed of a shotgun out of the gun? From what I can find, that's usually around 1000-1300 fps, so it's only 1/10th of the shotgun blast's initial speed.

Based on that ... I would expect that shooting straight up at something 200 feet up vs something 200 feet horizontally would reduce your range by around 10% at most.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 2) 528

the drone pilot came storming over to the owners property and menaced the owner.

And how do you/they know that? Oh yeah, the owner told them.

The previous article had *nothing* from the point of view of the pilot, all you heard from was the oh so reasonable owner -- how he carefully used the safest shot, how it was hovering over his daughter, how it wasn't the first incident, how his careful display of force is what kept the belligerent pilot and his crew at bay, how he doesn't dislike "drones" -- he thinks they're fine and dandy, etc. Personally, it sounds like he was setting himself up to be the "reasonable man" and it's not clear how much of that was actually true.

Ultimately, if we can't trust the telemetry to be unmodified ... we can't trust the statements of the homeowner either.

In any event, the police were there and spoke to everybody involved, and they only arrested one person ...

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 528

A quadcopter has four propellers, each usually with two or three plastic blades. And they're often quite fragile. If one pellet hits one blade and breaks it -- the quadcopter is coming down immediately. It will only take one, so the only remaining question is -- is if still moving fast enough to break the fragile blades?

Comment Re: Might want to reconsider paying the fine... (Score 1) 528

IMHO one rule that needs to be established ASAP is that all camera equipped flights need a permit with predetermined flight paths, a period for filing objections, and a steep fine for failing to get a permit in advance.

You do realize that the vast, vast majority of camera equipped models have a wide angle lens that can't even identify individuals at over 75 feet or so, right?

The vast, vast majority of these pictures are of landscapes, buildings, crowds of unrecognizable people, and when they come closer -- it's generally in a public area and the people who are recognizable are fully aware that the craft is there. To actually use it to be an effective peeping tom would require that you get in so close that the target could certainly hear it and could probably even knock it out of the sky with a broom.

In any event, the FAA isn't really concerned with the privacy angle of things -- to them, their concern is safety.

Comment Re:Might want to reconsider paying the fine... (Score 1) 528

What about the drones used by activists to fly over industrial operations breaking the law and get footage of it?

Alas, Texas has already weighed in on that question.

Texas' unmanned aerial photography law basically says that it's illegal to "conduct surveillance" of other people's property without their permission -- and then goes on to explicitly say that if you do it anyways, the photographs can *not* be used in court, and the property owner can sue you for several thousand dollars for taking the pictures, and more for disseminating them.

This incident is probably what lead to that -- they wanted to protect companies from having their crimes be detected with them.

So ... you'll have to use a manned aircraft for that.

Comment Re:Nope... (Score 1) 528

Pretty much comes down to the privacy vs. security issue in the back of everyone's mind.

In this case, it'll probably come down to 1) where exactly was the quadcopter, and 2) does somebody have the right to destroy somebody else's property if it ends up on their property.

And note that the answer to #2 is already well known ... the answer is NO. They can remove the item, and they can even bill the person for the trouble of moving it, but they cannot destroy or take it for themselves.

drones themselves are likely a peeping tom's wet dream

Maybe in dailymail fantasy land, where every quadcopter is flown by a peeping tom looking to hover outside a girl's window and watch her undress.

In the real world, their cameras usually have have wide angle lenses and a person would be to small to be recognizable if the quadcopter was more than 75 feet away from them. The vast majority of the operators are simply taking pictures of houses, landscapes, the sky, etc. If there are people in the picture, they're incidental or just "a crowd" unless he brings the quadcopter within 25 feet of them -- and there's nothing stealthy about a quadcopter at 25 feet.

Comment Re:Wow, end of an era. (Score 1) 152

He was saying that the SS10 could handle 512 MB in 1992, at time when the best PCs were maxed out at 32 MB or so.

The SS10 takes proprietary memory, and I know there was a firmware update that allowed it to use larger (32 MB, I think) sticks at some point. Ultimately, I don't think there was any way to put 512MB into a SS10 in 1992, even if the machine did eventually support it. I think 128 MB was more likely, though even that's very good for a desktop box back then.

As for 128MB simms in 1992, I have my doubts. This chart doesn't really try to list *everything* that was available, but even so -- it doesn't list 128 MB sticks until 1999. (It doesn't mention 64 MB sticks until 1999 as well, so clearly, it's missing some stuff.)

According to this, there were 64 MB SIMMs available in 1995 for a massive price -- $2600 each. (I didn't try to find the ad itself, however.)

Comment Re:Wow, end of an era. (Score 1) 152

I was asking about the Sparcstation 10, not a PC.

Wikipedia says "The SS10 can hold a maximum of 512 MB RAM in eight slots", so that means we need 64MB modules for it, and I'm not sure they were available yet in 1992.

I've got a SS20 in my garage, and it's got 208 MB of memory -- which wasn't too bad at all, "back in the day" anyways.