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Comment Re:Not Zigbee's Fault, either (Score 2) 119

It's mostly to do with the low battery utilization of zigbee sensors. From what I can tell of the ones I have in my house, they basically use a reed relay to trip an interrupt on the microcontroller that causes it to transit that the sensor state has changed. In sleep mode then seem to run about a year on a coincell so it's obviously not in regular radio communication with the base station.

Obviously the sensors could wait for acknowledgement of their state change and otherwise continue sending it until they come, but that'd also mean if the base station was offline for a few days all the batteries in the sensors would be dead. Even in that case you could still disrupt the sensor by wrapping it in foil.

Despite all that it's still likely fine for a home security system. I highly doubt the average crooks would use a radio jammer or take the time to wrap sensors in tin foil. For most home owners the deterrent value is just fine.

Comment Re:Wait, what? (Score 1) 57

We're slowly working towards building out a genetic algorithm to plan factory resources. It works on some small tasks but scaling it up to plan our whole operation is going to require more compute power than a single server can provide and is also well suited to being processed in a distributed environment.

The nature of the task is that there's no "right" answer so I can see us doing something where we have 10 servers that run for 4 hours at night making a plan for the next few days, then after 4 hrs is over we take the best candidate and run with it. If one of those servers goes offline at some point, the chances are good that we'll still find the same solution and even if we don't it'll probably only be slightly-more-sub-optimal

Comment Re:That won't last long... (Score 1) 818

It also seems challenging to find another example because most of the time it's completely unreported. Around my group of friends maybe 1 in 10 seem to have taken electronic projects to school, but that's probably more like 1 in 1000 in the general population. And who knows what the number is in podunk texas.

Comment Re:That won't last long... (Score 1) 818

I graduated in the late 90s and was a straight A student. I'm sure i pushed a few boundaries but other than a few "i'll pretend i didn't see that" responses from teachers nobody really seemed to mind.

If what you say is true then i'm sure the district will have lots of comparable examples to draw on. However, my gut feeling is that someone made the decision of "he's fucking with us, let's teach this little shit a lesson". They acted like the children in this situation and are now going to have to defend that in court against someone who claims that they did it because of his race.

I think he's in the right (though certainly not $15M in the right), however I feel firmly that the school district is in the wrong and frowning on this kind of tinkering is a massive blow to that whole generation.

Comment Re:That won't last long... (Score 1) 818

I think a lot of that comes down to how you present something. The kid who got punished for making a gun out of his fingers also told the other student "you're dead". Seems like play to me, but in a technical sense you could probably view that as a threat of violence.

If you are like "Hey look at my bomb" then it doesn't matter if it's a suitcase with leds or a cheap nokia phone with a hotdog taped to it. But that doesn't mean anyone taking a hot dog and pay-as-you-go phone to school is making a bomb threat. If he's running round with his clock threatening to blow up the school then that's one thing, but I haven't seen much evidence.

Sure he's playing into paranoia but I don't think that'd be there if he were white.

Comment Re:That won't last long... (Score 1) 818

> Not quite. He was perceived as an Arab with a device that could have been a hoax bomb or a real bomb. Would a White or Latino be treated the same had they brought in a suspicious device?

You mean to tell me that teachers and administrators looked at this, said "well it looks like a bomb to me" and then sat there with him until the police arrived?! If they thought there was even a 1% that this was real bomb then they absolutely should have evacuated the school and brought in the bomb squad.

They knew fine well it wasn't a bomb.

Comment Re:That won't last long... (Score 1) 818

Well except this is a civil case.

The plaintiff will make certain claims and the defendant will be pretty much forced to refute them. The plaintiff will claim that "you did this because I'm a Muslim" and as far as I can tell the district has two broad defense arguments.

* We thought this was a credible threat to safety
* We treat all incidents like this and any time we aren't satisfied with the safety of an electronic project we call the police

The argument of "you're just doing this because you want to make us look bad" seems unlikely to fly in court.

Comment Re:That won't last long... (Score 1) 818

I'll admit I don't know how big the school district is, but i know i've brought random electronic projects into school from time to time. I'd honestly have expected a good chunk of slashdot would concur with me on that stuff. I wasn't the only person in my school that was bringing in stuff like that and i was in a school district of about 2000 students.

The worst I ever experienced was "put that thing away or i'll confiscate it". If this were happening in my former school district (and i wasn't 20 years out of high school) then you can bet i'd be there pointing out how my experiences differed.

Comment Re:That won't last long... (Score 1) 818

Now that's something I'd argue you should be disciplined for. I assumed he'd stripped the transformer and was running it off the backup battery.

Taking the transformer out of the double insulated case it was designed to be in and plugging it into the wall is potentially dangerous and should be grounds for removing him from class.

But the question still remains. If a white kid was fucking around sticking stuff in a power outlet, would the police be called? Again the school district surely has other examples they can point to.

Comment Re:That won't last long... (Score 2) 818

Isn't that the very nature of it?

If everyone is treated the same way for bringing a toy gun to class then it's not discriminatory
If everyone is treated the same way for fucking around with their electronics project in class then it's not discriminatory.
If everyone is treated the same way for wearing a miniskirt to class then it's not discriminatory.

The onus is on the school district to show that they always act this way.

Comment Re:That won't last long... (Score 1) 818

But when it comes to toy guns the reaction (or overreaction) is at least consistent. I don't think many school districts would have a problem finding an example of when "Brad" took a toy gun to school and showing that his punishment was comparable to "Mohammed".

All the school district really has to do is point to other situations where students have brought in electronic projects and show they were treated similarly. If they can do that then they are surely off the hook.

I've personally taken electronic projects which have 7-seg red leds to school and i once built a circuit which used some kind of oscillator/transformer/rectifier combination to charge a capacitor up to some kind of high voltage so i could shock people with it. I find it hard to believe a school district of this size won't have plenty other examples of that, and all they need to show is a consistent overreaction.

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