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Comment The most value from such an exploit... (Score 2) 57

The most value from such an exploit...

... would be being able to accumulate a list of the users stupid enough to still have Flash installed! (Or allowing it to be run indiscriminately))

(If you do have it, please use a flash blocker, so that you then only click on the button to run the flash on trusted sites.)

Comment Re:Time Warp (Score 1) 91

You wrote code for position loops? Congrats you've just ruled out 90% of the market because you wrote code yourself.

To clarify: I wrote the code for a company. (Omicron Systems.) Allen-Bradly subsequently bought the company, to start their first line of microprocessor-based CNC controllers. (Before that they had used HP minis). That code is many of those 80's and 90's CNC controllers...

Comment Time Warp (Score 4, Insightful) 91

Where have you been for the past 40 years or so?

OK, let me actually read the article, and see WTF they are talking about vs. the almost certainly misleading post title... I suppose they mean, like "personal CNC"...

Oh, I see. We're talking about "desktop CNC printers" and "hobbyist CNC Mills".

Is it really that hard to come up with a title that expresses that, or at least include it in the body of the post? No? Too much to ask?

The reason I ask is that you've been able to buy CNC tools easily for the past 30-40 years or so, if my memory isn't failing yet. Because I remotely remember writing Z-80 code for the first microprocessor-based CNC controller a long, long time ago! (They were all minicomputer-based before that, and mainframe going even further back. BTW, Allen-Bradley bought the company that I wrote that code for...)

So, yea, the only people buying CNC machines back then were GM, Ford, Chrysler, Boeing, their suppliers, etc. etc. etc.

The truth is, this could have happened in the 80s, if only there had been Harbor Freight! Z-80's were certainly affordable to hobbyists. What didn't exist - I don't think - was decent, affordable, small mills. No reason it couldn't have happened were there a demand.

So, the excitement over 3D printing is past, and now people are realizing that there are CNC mills too?

Did we have to wait for affordable, powerful processors? Funny, that 4mHz Z-80 could run a 5-axis mill, with the position loop(s) running in the Z-80 (not in the specialized hardware used today.)

I wrote the code for those position loops. And counted every machine cycle by hand!

So, yawn. Big breakthrough.

Comment Re:Eliza (Score 2) 94

For the n00bs:

Hails originally from 1964-1966.

It was fun for a moment for me when in college in 1972 to re-code it in Snobol...

Reasonably convincing. No AI. Just some clever, crude parsing and a small bit of contextual memory.

The conversations from this advanced 50-years-later technology looks about the same...

Comment Quartz (Score 1) 71

By what mechanism do they expect stresses in rocks to produce electric fields?

Quartz. Squeeze it, it creates a charge. The last 100 or so years of radio technology has depended on this. Earthly rocks got lots of it.

But.... yawn... pretty sure I read this like 40 years ago in Popular Science or Popular Electronics or some such.

Build an earthquake detector!

Comment Re:60% tax (Score 1) 160

Nonsense. At least in the U.S.

For one, how does one "automatically" rank in the highest tax category? That would depend on your income, not your freelancer status.

Make sure to incorporate (C or S). (Or form an LLC.) You then have many options not available to a sole proprietor:

  • Your medical insurance premiums are deductible. (You do not need a company-sponsored plan.)
  • You can receive your personal income as a combination of salary and distributions. Only salary is subject to social security taxes. This can be advantageous if you are young and don't expect to ever collect Social Security, or if you are older and have already maxed-out or nearly maxed-out benefits.
  • You can deduct expenses in excess of income. (Although then you must depreciate rather than expense capital equipment). Good if you might put the business "on hold" some years while working a salary job for somebody else.)
  • No-quibble home-office deduction. (Most sole-props and their accountants are scared-to-death of this one.)

Comment Tesco (Score 1) 53

I worked for a San Diego Company called MediaShare (later changed to Elemental Software) that created a site with shopping cart for Tesco in 1994 or 1995. Not sure if it actually went live, but was not for Minitel, it was for the web.

I wrote the shopping-cart part. The server side was in C, either CGI or NSAPI for Netscape Server.

The company had software for creating catalogs on both print and CDROM. I convinced my boss that publishing to HTML as well might be a useful thing.

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