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Comment Re:Industrial controls are having their "XP Moment (Score 1) 162

> serial-to-Ethernet stuff

Haha, I worked at a company whose bread and butter were devices like that... then they got into payment processing as well.

Products were barely cobbled together by people with not enough time or understanding to make a secure system. I left, and they tried to get me back to do some consulting.. I asked em about what kinds of security testing they do... 'well we use openssl'... hahaha ok... sure.. jesus.

Comment ahem (Score 4, Insightful) 397

Even if you *can* program it doesn't mean you'll actually want to do it.

Many aspects of programming are boring and tedious. You need someone who can handle the abstract thinking, memorize the various components involved, understand how they fit and how to change them, and then sort through the various administrative steps(version control, bugtracking, communicating with devs/qa/mgmt, etc). Also, many programming jobs are very un-social. I've had times at work where I did't speak to another human for several weeks.

Comment Re: Litigious Much (Score 4, Interesting) 818

A few of us current engineers got started as kids doing stupid things that only resembled real engineering. I used to spend my allowance at radio shack buying random components only to hook them up to a 9v battery and a metal file to make sparks.

Take away the backstory about how his dad probably used the kid for politics and political gain, and take away the family's scary religion, and you have a guy a lot of us would sympathize with. We were weird kids who did stupid things and scared people.

I guess if I sat around listening to the right wing shitstorm over the issue I might feel differently. As much as I am appalled at the family's lawsuit and monetary demands, I have to admit that they did a good job trolling a bunch of stupid school administrators and small town law enforcement. The over reaction of the school and cops opened them up to this. Seriously... interrogating a kid without his parents? I remember when they tried that shit on me.

Comment Re:Are you high? (Score 1) 122

The drone bikes/skateboards/small cars will come first. Especially easy when the cars are also driving themselves, however, cars currently integrate pretty well with bicycles, so I see no reason they couldn't integrate with a self-driving, smaller sized vehicle.

There's no reason to send a package via air unless speed it the utmost priority. Even when Amazon can offer drone delivery by air, they'll likely deliver more packages via ground based drones. I see a future of skateboard-sized vehicles which grab your package via a vacuum. They roll up to your house, wait, and when you pick up the package they roll on. You could standardize a (inductive?) charging system too, so they can charge while they wait.

For efficiency, I could see a larger vehicle like a UPS truck which deploys the smaller package delivery vehicles.

Comment Agreed... (Score 1) 424

I bet you could craft a local, static HTML page which would present you with a search box into which you could type your search. You could then wrap each term in quotes and send the whole thing off to google.

You could also make a second text entry box when you want the entire string to be quoted.

Yes, you can always add quotes manually, but that's tedious.

I wonder if Firefox has an extension which provides a 'literal google' search option?

Comment Re:Card skimmers (Score 2) 106

I've always wondered about skimming using nothing more than a high speed camera and a zoom lens. I'm guessing you could point a camera at a gas station card reader from 200' away and read the entire back of the card as it goes in and out.

I look like a nutcase when I use my credit card in public for this very reason. Sadly it's easy to get a misread when you're awkwardly trying to shield both sides of the card with your hands.

Comment Craptop... (Score 1) 558

HP Pavillion DV6700

Core2 Duo T5850 @ 2.16GHz
GeForce 8400 GS 256MB
512GB SSD - Samsung Evo
Dell UltraSharp U2412M 24"W Monitor
Ergotron monitor arm
StandDesk adjustable desk
Microsoft Natural Wireless 7000 Keyboard & Mouse

Fast enough not to upgrade. Used it on the road doing software consulting but for most of the last 7 years it has functioned as my desktop. I keep thinking of upgrading, but haven't found a compelling reason to yet.

Comment Why wait for robots... (Score 2) 17

Why not just create a telepresence robot that, say, let's grandma wash dishes and fold laundry for the kids who live 2,000 miles away? You don't have to wait for fancy AI - just low-latency video and control channels. Maybe it sounds like a way to enslave the elderly, but my mom would go nuts at the chance to help out her kids.

Comment Re: $30 (Score 1) 515

> But for traveling along the northeast corridor

NYC to Philly is 97 miles according to Google maps.

LA to SF is 381 miles according to Google maps.

CA is not the northeast.

I now have TSA precheck. I can fly SWA last minute to SJC and be there in 2 hours for $250(last minute fare). Why the hell would I want to ride a train?

The high speed rail in CA is going through some expensive real estate. There's no way it'll be going full speed for the full journey.

Take a look at the new Oakland Bay Bridge for a clue as to how high speed rail is going to go in CA.

Comment Re:No surprise... (Score 1) 114

Are you kidding?

Yes, some, usually large, companies have very competent engineering teams doing embedded work. Often, they're some of the smartest guys around(although IMHO the Verilog guys are smarter on average...YMMV). Then there are hoardes of engineers around them who do most of the integration, grunt work, bug fixing, etc. Their work is usually not thoroughly inspected by the smart guys.

Then you have the thousands of small companies doing embedded development. They usually have one guy who is somewhat competent but needs to be fluent in everything from hardware bringup to adding a web configuration dialog. These are the guys that do things like try to stick ubuntu on their ARM board. These guys usually do not have a very comprehensive view of security, and even if they did they don't have the time or the budget to do it right.

If I had a nickle for every company I've worked for who just wanted to integrate off the shelf(usually FOSS) components together and ship it as soon as it was barely functional...

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