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Comment: Re:A printer and a template (Score 1) 370

by erikscott (#46577051) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Fastest, Cheapest Path To a Bachelor's Degree?

Not really true. It's illegal to offer engineering services to the public for projects not suitable for instate commerce unless you're a PE. If a hypothetical project could possibly be built in one state and sold in another, you don't have to be a PE. Professional Engineers usually do roads, bridges, footings, big earthworks, stuff like that. Most Civil Engineers find that they have to be PEs to even hold a job, while almost no aerospace engineers are PEs. Turns out that airplanes can cross state lines pretty easily. Electrical Engineers who are PEs are mostly found in electrical utility design and construction.

Different rules apply in Canada and probably every other country. "Engineer" is a trademark in Canada, and the Canadian PEs protect their turf through trademark law. :-)

Comment: Re:I'm Inferior To A Tree (Score 1) 71

by erikscott (#46543669) Attached to: Pine Tree Has Largest Genome Ever Sequenced

Plants also have the advantage of being able to survive errors (or maybe "excursions"?) of miosis more often - polyploid mammals typically will spontaneously abort, but polyploid plants often become important to humans. Bread wheat and spelt are hexaploid because humans bred them that way millenia ago. The current record holder for largest genome, Paris Japonica, is huge only because it's octaploid. The loblolly gets props for having a big genome while being merely diploid.

Comment: Re:No place for 'almost', 'not quite' and 'nearly' (Score 1) 423

by erikscott (#46403933) Attached to: RadioShack To Close 1,100 Stores

That statement might be a little too categorical. The line between digital and analog is getting very blurry - SATA interfaces are, practically speaking, a bit of both analog and digital design. Ethernet has always been about stuffing bits through a noisy, imperfect transmission line, and 1G and 10G (and 40G) Ethernet just make it that much worse.

The good news is that even cheap 'scopes can also serve as a frequency counters, voltmeters, and some cheaper models can also serve as spectrum analyzers (and practically all of the expensive ones can). Take a look at how good the $200 USB-connected 'scopes are now.

If you're making robots or UAVs, you may not need a 'scope, but if you're making ham radios then you're going to want one. Get a cheap USB one so you can also use it as a spectrum analyzer.

(and if you get a chance, play with a Tektronix 4100 series - it's basically a logic analyzer that happens to have a 4-channel analog 'scope built in. Analog events can serve as the trigger for the digital side (and vice versa), and it comes with two decoder ROMs priced in - it can snoop CANBUS, for instance, and trigger the analog side on particular CANBUS messages. Not something everyone needs, but if you need it, you need it in a big way.)

Comment: Better marketting would kill them. :-) (Score 1) 466

by erikscott (#44875779) Attached to: Can GM Challenge Tesla With a Long-Range Electric Car?

They lose money on every Volt they sell - better marketting means they just lose more money. Like the 'Vette, a chronic money loser, it's a "halo" product that makes the rest of the product line look better. Come in to see a 'Vette, leave with a Camaro. Volt shoppers probably end up buying... a Prius?

Comment: Re:AI doesn't do shit to detect plagiarism (Score 1) 103

by erikscott (#44478647) Attached to: Project Anonymizes Your Writing Style To Hide Your Identity

Long long ago, in a computer teaching lab 30 miles away, I had 20 assignments turned in to me for grading. Of them, I had seventeen identical, bizarre wrong answers. Seriously, people... if you're going to cheat, at least copy from someone who isn't high/psycho/retarded.

Comment: Done two years ago and published. (Score 1) 398

by erikscott (#43920833) Attached to: Keyless Remote Entry For Cars May Have Been Cracked

Keyless entry that uses proximity to a wireless fob, and that explicitly does not require a button press to activate, has been well and thoroughly cracked and the exploit published. The basic idea to use two bent-pipe analog repeaters to fool the car into thinking your fob is right beside the car and not currently inside Wal-Mart (or in this case, Tessco perhaps?) where the accomplice is standing somewhat close to you and the fob in your pocket.

Oh lookie... here's the popular-press article right here.

Comment: mimics my experiences (Score 1) 302

by erikscott (#43542173) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Do You Move Legal Data With Torrents?

I agree: torrent can't really saturate a 10GE... for that you should see something like bbcp, which will quite handily flood a 10gig ethernet and then some. :-)

NC State University uses torrent to let students download some commercial software so they don't have to hand out DVDs... they distribute SAS that way for certain, probably a few others.

ibiblio had someone who developed sort of a "perma-seed" to use torrent for some sort of archive-like thingie. I know Paul Jones is probably reading this, perhaps he would like to comment? :-)

Comment: probably irresponsible at best (Score 1) 312

by erikscott (#43292429) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Enterprise Bitcoin Mining For Go-Green Initiatives?

If then entire value of this thing is predicated on finding SHA256 collisions, then we need ask "what is the practical value of an SHA256 collision?" Looks like some one or some group has found a way to fraudulently-sign-digital-certificates@home. Is that something you want to participate in, especially in a way that can be traced back to you? :-)

Comment: There's already a mechanism: the MOU (Score 2) 48

by erikscott (#43194597) Attached to: FCC Guidance On Radio For Commercial Space Operations Falls Short

Civilians can use govt/military spectrum under a Memorandum of Understanding between them and the agency, and a copy of that MOU is supposed to get sent on to the National Telecommunications Infrastructure Agency - the FCC for Federal Agencies, in effect. This is how privately owned stream gauges get operated on NOAA frequencies around 169 MHz and how privately-owned nuclear power plants use the SHARES shortwave network on federal frequencies. And have for decades. This is totally a non-problem.

Comment: You're right - and they do use lasers (Score 1) 48

by erikscott (#43194585) Attached to: FCC Guidance On Radio For Commercial Space Operations Falls Short

Actually, extremely-high bandwidth laser comms for communication at further-than-the-moon distances is a hot research topic, precisely because optical telescopes can do things that radio telescopes can't. Specifically, optical telescopes can offer 150dB of gain even from a modest-sized 'scope. For more, see the tech report series at JPL's TMO Tech Report Series.

Of course, lasers require precision aiming, but that's just an engineering problem. :-)

Comment: Re:Never Mind the Model M.... (Score 1) 298

by erikscott (#43115705) Attached to: Cherry's New Keyboard Switches Emulate IBM Model M Feel

I used some genuine 3278/79 terminals and I always thought they felt a bit mushy. Between that an VM/CMS, it wasn't terribly fun. I also felt like the genuine VT100/102 was too mushy, and anything with an LK201 was a non-starter (VT220/240 through VT420). But the keyboard that ruled was the Data General Dasher D410. That was a keyboard I could absolutely jam with. Never have found one that good since - crisply clickly, yet actually very low force. You could turn on ANSI emulation and it was good enough to work with VMS, which is pretty much the acid test for good VT emulation.

Comment: Re:It has for undergrad, not so much for the grads (Score 1) 605

by erikscott (#42914629) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is the Bar Being Lowered At Universities?

Undergrads now have similar competency in writing as they did in the late 80s - early 90s, but probably make different errors. Grammar is probably in a state of flux - ignoring textspeak completely, I think it's fair to say that "they" is well on its way to becoming the third person singular pronoun of choice for talking about humans without suggesting gender. In another century, perhaps, it will be accepted, but it's here right now and we can just decide to get along with.

Since there is no course for (or evidently even organized study of the pedagogy of) my field, I took the pedagogy of writing a while back. Quite an eye opener. Grammar and Spelling aren't even a goal now - the idea is they'll eventually pick it by reading enough. Also gone - pretty much any style of discourse other than the research paper, anything handwritten, and the reading of literature.

Meanwhile, the level of mathematical sophistication has increased. When I was an undergrad, it was unusual for students to come in with any calculus. Wealthy school districts could afford AP Calculus, and the rest of the state ended at Algebra IV. Now they can take AP Calculus online. Sure, it's the "AB" class, it's only good for one semester, but it makes a big difference in terms of graduation rates and time to degree.

Also, and this is purely anecdotal and shouldn't be trusted, but kids aren't coming to class wasted. I'm not saying they aren't using, I'm just saying they aren't coming to class blasted into space.

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