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Comment: Re:I for one welcome Microsoft on IoT/Pi (Score 2) 307

by kamakazi (#48960141) Attached to: Microsoft Announces Windows For Raspberry Pi 2

Remember WinCE? Microsoft's embedded products are not the same as their desktop products. And, no, WinIoT on a Pi will not run the same executables, it is an ARM platform which Microsoft just emphatically orphaned with their last go around. Remember the surface RT? That did not run any standard Windows executables, at the very least the executable would have to be compiled against the ARM build chain, and that isn't an option for end users of proprietary software.

Thinking about this I understand the point a couple (at least one) person has made that MS getting involved will help mainstream the non-x86 low power stuff, or at least the ARM branch, but then I remembered what happened to the exploding world of netbooks when companies started growing them to run Windows.

The netbook market disappeared, seemingly over night, and now we are left with ultrabooks, or whatever they are calling the MacBook Air class of machines now. Sure they are light and small, but they are a whole lot more than the $100 price point netbooks were approaching.

On the Pi there is a lot of similarity to the Android stuff, we have Java as an app platform. Is this new Pi really powerful enough to mix Java and ARM.net at the same time? Just the overhead of a Java VM plus a .net framework resident at the same time sounds a little bit much for any current ARM SoC with just a gig of RAM

Now if you are targeting actual IoT devices, just developing on the Pi, sure a single purpose embedded device will probably run on a Windows stack just as well as it will on Linux. I am a little concerned about MS attempting to be responsive to exploits, but then I think we will find that most people never update their thermostat or refrigerator regardless of what OS it runs, so I think the exploitability will probably be a wash.

I am more concerned that some inexperienced whiz kid, whether he be of the .net or Java persuasion, will manage to make an actually universally useful device, but not know enough about the actual requirements of embedded programming so it just works well enough for everyone to buy one, then all the non-techy people who buy it get their home netork pwned or it crashes in an untested but relatively common use case and has significant socio-economic impact on our tech dependent society.

So all in all I really don't think MS jumping into the fray is a bad thing. I don't plan on running it on anything I build, but think about it, according to the rumors Apple thought hard about buying Nest. Would you want your house controlled by software coming from 1 Infinite Loop?

Are you actually confident about running it on software coming out of the Googleplex?

The truth is everybody that doesn't read /. is gonna buy these connected devices just like they do blenders and dishwashers, and if they act up they will return them to Walmart or Home Depot or Best Buy and get their money back just like they do now with toasters, TVs, and computers.

Do you care who wrote the code embedded in that 386 running your microwave? Do you even know if it is a 386 running your microwave? Me either. I do know that at least at one point the embedded 386 family was often used for things like that, but I never bothered looking.

OK, I am down meandering and ranting.

Comment: Re:Buy two... (Score 1) 190

I am amazed after all the flame wars ^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h discussions about raid VS backup that people still don't get the difference. A backup is not a daily synced drive. How do you recover last Tuesdays file if you already synced the deletion??

  A backup is a snapshot in time, which is preserved _as_is_ for a period of time, determined by space/data retention compromises, but under no circumstances would I consider a single drive which lags the live drive by a maximum of 24 hours a backup strategy.

If you had 10 drives, backed up to a different drive every night of the week, with a longer cycle for the Friday drives, that is a backup strategy.

Raid is for data availability, backup is for data retention. Neither works for the other.

Comment: Yes, I only have 8 tools in my toolbox (Score 1) 82

by kamakazi (#48461583) Attached to: A Toolbox That Helps Keep You From Losing Tools (Video)

OK, I know that is only a prototype, but really guys, he specifically said it wasn't worth doing tool ID. When I work on something my toolbox tends to accumulate nuts and bolts and odds and ends, and isn't always deployed in a well lighted place. In fact it has been deployed in the rain at night. A simple light sensor is just not gonna cut it, at least in my real world.

A tool box that actually identified and inventoried my tools without carefully placing them in space wasting foam cutouts would indeed be useful, and would probably even be worth $1 per tool to me, but I have not seen any system that could tag tools with a tag that wouldn't just get smashed off when using the tool in a tight space.

This could be useful for a specific tool kit, say a fusion splicer kit or network analyzer kit, where it does make sense to have neat foam cutout for all your pricey little cleavers and media converters and whatnot, but those are definitely pricey enough, and used carefully enough, to justify RFID tagging.

All in all, yes, I think this is a problem that could use a solution, I just don't think this is a valid solution for a general purpose toolbox, and for the special purpose toolkits the problem is largely solved by a simple visual check for empty foam cutouts before you close it up.

The truth of the matter is that probably most of that $35,000 of "lost" tools just went home with someone, either accidentally, or to beef up their own tool collection.

Comment: Thse tests are all the same car (Score 5, Insightful) 314

Did anyone else notice those seem to be successive tests on the same car? In the alternator test you see a fastener toward the back of the belly plate gets loosened, in the trailer hitch test you see the fastener actually come out, then in the concrete block test you see the belly plate actually flap under impact, and you can see what appears to be the hole that fastener came from.

I am fairly impressed that, not only did they do real world tests (which do fall short of shearing off wheels and battering through concrete walls) but they apparently did not put the car on a lift and return it to perfect condition between successive tests.

That makes the test a bit more real world like, cars get driven and accumulate wear and tear, so they are not necessarily going to be in factory mint condition when they hit something.

You get the feeling, regardless of what you think of Musk or the car, that he is very proud of that car, and it appears justifiably so. Yes, he is defensive when the press screams disaster and trumpets doom and gloom about the car, but he doesn't ever try to hide from the press or try to spin the reports, instead he makes a change to improve the car, then does his spin on his own terms.

Obviously titanium might be a bit pricey for the "cheap" Tesla when it arrives, but I bet the anti-penetration armor design will be there, even if it ends up being constructed of less expensive materials.

In this way the response to the overhyped Tesla accidents and fires will help us all in the long run, just like the German automakers pioneered crash simulation in the 80s and 90s, and now all cars have crumple zones.

Comment: Re:many moons ago (Score 1) 151

by kamakazi (#46195857) Attached to: Dead Reckoning For Your Car Eliminates GPS Dead Zones

Yup, this, I think. I definitely remember in my much younger years a Popular Science review of a system that used dead reckoning, basically you told it where you were to start, and it used distance measuring, nothing as sophisticated as accelerometers, but whenever you turned a corner it would realign itself to the map.

It did not work well if you drove many miles in a straight line, but worked well in city driving, which of course was all that was needed when people could still use a map to find the right city.

It is a wonderfully elegant solution, since it predated public availability of GPS systems and had no external dependancies. It was also delightful in that it was an exact computer analog of nautical navigation since the discovery of the compass and knots on a rope.

Comment: Who is the customer here?? (Score 1) 250

by kamakazi (#45586841) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Recommendations For Beautiful Network Cable Trays?

I guess I may have misunderstood, but I thought this was an office. Don't architects and designers design to a functional spec? If I hired Frank Lloyd Wright to design a garage for me, it darn well better hold cars. I don't care what your designer thinks, if he is designing an office, it has to be a functional office first, and a showcase for his skills second. If he has to jump through hoops to make it both, those are his hoops, not yours. Anytime a designer expects a functional change to make his design easier it demonstrates two things:
1- He misunderstands his position in the scheme of things
2- He is not a good imaginative designer, who would make a way to either hide the cabling or make the cabling aesthetically pleasing and harmonize with the rest of his design.

If the Bobs at your place of employment actually weigh design and function equally they are equally wrong. You can have functioning ugliness or your can have functioning attractiveness, or you have dysfunction, one of those does damage to the future outlook of your company.

Bah! I feel scrooginess coming on.

Comment: Is this a possible tack? (Score 1) 199

by kamakazi (#45467505) Attached to: Warner Bros. Admits To Issuing Bogus Takedowns

In fighting these overreaches in the courts, would it be possible for a party whose legally owned video was "accidentally" taken down by someone like Warner Bros. to bring a suit for libel? Warner Bros. or some computer they have empowered to act for them has made a false claim that they (the legal video poster) committed a crime.

If I were to tell the grocery store down the street in writing that my neighbor Joe stole bubblegum, and the store took action against Joe, based on my known false statement; Joe could sue me for libel with a good prospect of success.

Is this case much different? Even if the DMCA says that someone can claim works they don't own, it doesn't it definitely does not say they can testify in a legal document that someone broke the law without the accused having recourse in the courts.

I would love to see them held in contempt and found guilt of perjury, but it appears that isn't going to happen. However when actual damages have occurred such as loss of YoutTube accounts or damage to reputation it seems to me that someone should at least talk to a lawyer about the possibility of a libel suit.

It would really be fun to see a class action libel suit brought by a group of victims of false take downs.

Comment: Re:GNUpg To The Help (Score 1) 986

by kamakazi (#44617039) Attached to: Joining Lavabit Et Al, Groklaw Shuts Down Because of NSA Dragnet

hmm, do you live in a city? I have seen dogs bite a porcupine, in fact the same dog multiple porcupines, and our porcupines have barbed quills, unlike your friendly little hedgehogs. I don't think that was a very apt simile, even though the dog does whimper and yowl a lot while you pull the quills out of their nose with a pliers.

On the actual point of your post, exactly what pointy fur am I gonna grow? Exactly how does my using GPG do actual damage to the government dogs when they do bite me? The principle behind a hedgehog's defence is that it hurts the offender, how do I do that to the government? Are you advocating some kind of militant response?

The fact is that when we have to preemptively encrypt all our personal email because we know it is being intercepted, as opposed to sometimes encrypting sensitive emails in case it gets misdirected, then the mental/emotional damage PJ is talking about in TFA has already occurred. We have already been deprived of the concept of personal privacy, we are already in Auschwitz with Primo Levi.

Whether the government actually is intercepting all our email or not no longer matters. It is no longer just the preppers and the tinfoil hat types that see the NSA behind every door, it is now a significant percentage of the unwashed masses.

At this point what intelligent person would actually believe the government if the were to come clean, admit what they had done in the past and give us transparent oversight into what they are doing now?
Based on history most of us would immediately assume there is yet another three letter acronym behind the NSA, with even quieter black helicopters, that has been pulling the strings all along, and will continue to do so unseen by us.

It is much like what Asimov did with his foundation series after the first three, there is always a darker more hidden organization behind the ones we uncover, and they are always better manipulators than the ones before. We are just discovering psychohistory, but in reality a hidden group has been steering all of human civilization for thousands of years, and yeah, they are robots.

This rant went a little over the top, but I am thinking of all the stuff I did as a kid that my children will never be able to do, and it pisses me off.

Comment: Re:Is the article confused? (Score 2) 120

by kamakazi (#44355109) Attached to: What Wi-Fi Would Look Like If We Could See It

Yeah, I looked at those troughs and crests and said
"Wait, that isn't wifi, I don't see any Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing there, he must have accidentally visualized the NSA scanner waves protecting Washington DC from any stray intelligence"

And then I realized the NSA scanner waves must really work.

Comment: Re:Hmmmm (Score 1) 235

by kamakazi (#43773463) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Wiring Home Furniture?

I have encountered 2 of these devices in my life. The first one I was a teenager, and still smart enough to realize the only way to make it safe was to immediately cut both ends from the cord.

If you are into that kind of excitement we could probably make you a phone charger that involved metal contacts on your shoes and a walk on the third rail....

By the way, there are actually recessed male receptacles, designed specifically to use a normal (or sometimes twist-lock) extension cord, they are seen on the side of most campers and motorhomes, and on the side of my kids playhouse. Makes it easy to make the playhouse electrically safe, just put the extension cord away.

They even come in rain resistant outdoor styles, or, if you want to drop a buncha money, in actual water proof styles.

Electrical safety really isn't all that hard, but you do have to avoid being an idiot.

If you want GFCI for your couch, or anything for that matter, go to your local building supply store (the one contractors use, not the one with blister packed picture hanging kits) and buy a 1 foot GFCI interrupter cord, they are required on construction sites in my area, just plug it between your couch and the wall.

Comment: Re:Not as strange as it sounds (Score 3, Interesting) 976

"In any case, the representative is full of shit. When I'm walking my kid to school, and we get to the door, I can smell the exhaust of the dozens of cars sitting there. It does not smell like that from an equal number of people breathing."

I am pretty sure it isn't the CO2 you are smelling from those cars.

I am also pretty sure that CO2, even in concentrations that will heat the globe and drown us all in rising seas before it cooks the flesh off our bones in broiling deserts does not present an immediate health risk to individual humans.

However the stuff you do smell in those car exhausts does present a real immediate health risk for the people who breathe it, and a cyclist doesn't emit any of those chemicals no matter how hard he pedals.

It is starting to annoy me that the global warming hysteria (I am not a denier, global warming does appear to be a real, already occurring problem) has made all other pollution issues invisible. Yes, global warming will cause suffering, probably even in my lifetime, but the toxins we emit by burning fossil fuels have been causing individual suffering for generations. After all, CO2 is not directly toxic. Many of the other compounds released by burning fossil fuels are direct primary toxins, even in small PPM concentrations.

Comment: Oh I get it! (Score 1, Funny) 286

by kamakazi (#42658207) Attached to: Three Low-Tech Hacks for Phones and Tablets

This article was really a very subtle commentary on the misuse of the word "hack", using a parody of creative reuse of household objects to point out that common sense doesn't require any special qualifications.

I am afraid that it is too subtle for most people to understand, especially those who normally use the stuff they own to accomplish what they want to do, as opposed to those who use the things they own strictly for the use pictured on the box.

Oh, also, don't most geeks have a camera tripod around somewhere? Wouldn't that have saved the ridiculous expense on the milk crates and the emotional stress of the ugly bookshelf?

Comment: Re:A few items (Score 1) 338

by kamakazi (#42209349) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Old Technology Coexisting With New?

I have not only seen cat3 in the wild, I still know of a dorm that is pre-cat3, uncategorized phone cable. It is a very loosely twisted air cable, and it is punched through standard 66 blocks, sharing cables with analog voice. Sometimes to get a room the 2 pair needed a single pair is stolen from 2 other rooms.

And for you cable monkeys out there, there are spots in that building with cables carrying ethernet on cables spliced with UYs

  Yep, it does work, and will even connect at 100M most of the time.

It is the last dorm on campus that isn't at least Cat5e, with several that are Cat6a now. It is becoming less of a problem, since almost all students are coming equipped with laptops, and 802.11n wireless is much more convenient. There are probably a few runs in that building still nailed down at 10half, because those runs were flaky enough that the NIC would negotiate to 100M and then error 99 percent of the packets.

Computer Science is the only discipline in which we view adding a new wing to a building as being maintenance -- Jim Horning