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Comment Re:Amazon doesn't understand helicopters (Score 2) 142 142

That all sounds great, except that helicopter often operate at less than 500 feet above the ground. What happens when EMS is flying at 300ft and crashes into their delivery drone? What about law enforcement? Powerline and pipeline patrol?

I think the 'managed by exception' approach mentioned covers that. Given the gps and communications capabilities of the 'well equipped' drones they could automatically be ordered out of the area and/or excluded from the area. As they would would presumable be excluded from airports, infrastructure like powelines, etc.

In the North East, they even harvest Christmas Trees off the side of the mountain using helicopters, and that is well under 500ft.

The 'communications with other drones' mentioned suggests automated avoidance. Perhaps these 'well equipped' drones would listen for standard aircraft transponders, they seem to include such transponders since they are notifying air traffic control of their position. Avoiding low flying aircraft may be part of their normal avoidance.

I'm not saying they have it all figured out, just that they seem to be considering the sort of things you mention.

Comment Don't try to piggyback on TrueCrypts popularity (Score 5, Insightful) 114 114

If its Linux only don't present it as a successor to TrueCrypt. A very important feature of TrueCrypt is(was) that it targets Linux, Mac OS X and MS Windows. Any archive being available to any of the three platforms.

The successor to TrueCrypt will most likely be something derived from the audited TrueCrypt source code. You just won't compare favorably given the single supported platform. You are just going to create a reputation of being one of the lessor choices, which may be entirely unfair.

Don't handicap yourself. Promote your software on its own merits, don't try to piggyback on TrueCrypts popularity, such a strategy will likely backfire.

Comment Its not closed if you have the source ... (Score 4, Informative) 85 85

The incentive for people to contribute to a closed source project isn't all that much. Remember that open source isn't a gift by your company to the public, it is an offer of trade -- you let the public have the source, the public provides you with feedback (bug fixes, enhancements, etc.) and gets its suggestions provided back to it. It's a circle.

You are confusing proprietary with closed, its not closed if you have the source and sometimes the source is available for proprietary code. Consider libraries with binary-only and binary-plus-source licenses. In the later case I've had the source, complete rights to modify and redistribute my modification just like the vendor supplied binary. There was a community and a circle of benefits. Licensees provided fixes to the vendor, the vendor incorporated fixes in the main source, the main source was available to binary-plus-source licensees. It was very much like an open source community. We had the source, the right to modify and use it, our future was in our hands despite the proprietary nature of the library. Its a model that has worked.

What this particular vendor is suggesting seems similar to the binary-plus-source model, the main difference being no charge for the source option. History suggests this can work, it worked when the source option cost extra.

Comment Actually it is like a model proven to work ... (Score 4, Insightful) 85 85

Yeah, you seem to want to have your cake and eat it too. Doesn't produce a lot of sympathy. Think again about how to make your software free but still want users to pay. What about keeping value-adding plugins or frontends closed and opening the core? If you open source but limit ability of people to make use of the core, what exactly do you expect to gain from such a "community"?

It seems not so much making the software free but making it open to customers. It seems reminiscent of various source licenses I had for various past projects. The vendor offered binary-only and binary-plus-source licenses, fortunately I was able to get management to go for the later. Having the source meant our future was in our hands. I did fix some bugs that we ran in to. One was extremely technical and took a few days to find and fix, reproducibility was extremely low. It was dependent on random memory containing a value that when loaded into an x86 segment register passed verification but led to later permissions violations. It was not something the developers or other customers were running in to, we just got lucky with that random value. For everyone else the random value was failing verification and the erring code path was never executed.

My fixes and the fixes of other customers were incorporated into the vendor's source. We all benefited from the community effort. We had the source and the right to rebuild and link binaries into our projects and redistribute. If we cared to we could have customized things. In practice it was very much like open source efforts for us. Such models work, proprietary with rights to source works.

Comment If Colin Powell had run for President ... (Score 1) 434 434

Furthermore, Colin Powell used the private email server as well as Secretary of State and all of his private emails were lost.

If Colin Powell had run for President it would have been an issue. That is the detail so many people are missing.

Now consider the additional rules and policies that were implemented after Powell, perhaps inspired by Powell's handling. Now consider the greater common knowledge of hacking, official pentagon and white house servers getting hacked, and no one rethinking of whether a self-administered basement email server is a good idea for the Secretary of State. Legal or not it shows a severe lack of good judgment, which is a very important thing to consider in a Presidential candidate.

Comment Re:NSA SELinux open source, in mainline kernel 12 (Score 1) 100 100

And yet, regressions and other bugs still get in. I'm a big fan of the many eyeballs theory, but there are limitations to it.

Yes, but successful exploitation is a very different story. And such attempts are a bit unlikely when the code is publicly coming from the NSA. Anything coming from them will get extra scrutiny by some.

Comment Licensing of operators, registration of drones (Score 1) 368 368

This is California. One idiot misbehaves and the legislature will pass laws to require licensing of operators, registration of drones, mandatory gps based logging during all flights with such logs preserved and inspectable on demand by a government representative. Failure to provide such logs resulting in a loss of an operating license, fines, etc.

Comment Mars robotic missions and extreme sports ... (Score 1) 248 248

It is unlikely that kids are going to be inspired by someone doing something that people older than their great-grandparents already did 50 years ago. The people asking for manned missions to the moon are not young people looking for inspiration, but geezers trying to relive their childhood.

Easily disproven by the robotic missions to mars. The Viking robotic missions from the 1970s landed on Mars, took pictures, analyzed soil chemistry, searched for life. Sound familiar? Yep, much like the current rovers. And yet new generations are pretty damn interested despite the fact that geezers saw similar stuff in their teenage years.

The Apollo landings were also preceded by robotic mission, Surveyor, these tested surface soil and took pictures. Things the astronauts did a much better job at also. Plus the astronauts did some science the robots could not. For example removing the camera off of a surveyor lander they landed their lunar module "next to" and bringing the camera back to analyze how materials stood up to long time exposure on the lunar surface.

We can further disprove your notion with various "action sports". BMX, racing and freestyle, date back to the 1970s. Skateboarding in its more modern freestyle incarnation (vertical walls, tricks, etc), 70s. Snowboarding, 70s. Surfing in its more modern shortboard incarnations, 60s. Kids seem to enjoy some things their parents and grandparents also enjoyed.

Comment Re:Still so? (Score 1) 248 248

A base would offer something quite different than a three hour exploration of the surface. I think the Mars rovers demonstrate a continued interest in space exploration. However seeing a person on another celestial body offers something to aspire to be, unlike a robot. Take a survey of the scientists and engineers on those robotics teams and see how many had wanted to be an astronaut when they were very young and being first introduced to math and science.

Comment Re:Inspire a generation's interest in math, scienc (Score 1) 248 248

Other than inspire a generation's interest in math, science and engineering?

That was one of the (few) justifications for the ISS. It didn't work. The kids were way more inspired by the robotic missions to Mars, which cost 1% as much, and actually engaged in real science.

Earth orbit is not as inspiring as a person standing on another celestial body. Yes robotic missions are inspiring, but nothing compared to a manned mission. Speaking as someone starting elementary school immediately after Apollo 11.

The Curiosity rover project cost 2.5B, 25% as much as the proposed project.

A human with some tools can do a lot of science. And repair equipment, and deal with unforeseen things, and deal with things in real time, etc. How many rock and soil samples have robots brought back? Robots are not more capable, they are merely on site for longer periods of time.

Robots are a great tool, but they are plan B, a concession to costs or technological limits. And for Mars that concession seems a necessity at the moment. But if a moon mission with a little more endurance than previous missions can be done for $10B -- 4x Curiosity, 2/3x an Apollo mission, and possibly less than the mostly failed STEM encouraging projects the Congress will devise -- its probably worthwhile. Apollo probably eventually paid off in terms dual use tech and basic research. It spurred many technological developments.

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"