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Comment: Re:An O'Scope (Score 1) 215

by mschiller (#45477419) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's On Your Hardware Lab Bench?

But then again I work on custom FPGA-based mixed signal boards and therefore have a lot of custom interfaces to debug... For a micro-controller based project running on Linear regulators?? Yeah you could probably get by with a Logic Analyzer, but that isn't going to cut it for more complicated stuff like my project at work or even the design of a Video card or the main board of your Laptop.

Comment: An O'Scope (Score 5, Insightful) 215

by mschiller (#45477389) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's On Your Hardware Lab Bench?

If you're actually designing from scratch a new digital PCB, you can do without a lot of stuff but a 2GHz or faster O'scope is essential:

1) Debug of Switching Power Supplies [could get by with 100Mhz scope for this...]
2) Debug of high speed digital AC effects [line impendance, termination etc]
3) Verifying Setup / Hold of interface busses
4) Determining margin on variety of interfaces

Seriously. First tool a high speed scope... And Garmin International: 300MHz is for yesteryear, today most engineers need at least 1GHz to get by in digital design

2nd tool: a Good DMM
3rd tool: A thermal camera for when things go dreadfully wrong..

Other tools are gravy... [Though clearly a power supply is non-negotiable...]

Comment: Re:When exactly was this, exactly? (Score 1) 330

by mschiller (#44196915) Attached to: U.S. Independence Day is a ...

Actually we are at peace right now and have been since the end of World War II (which depending on you interpretation ended on one of the following days: 9/2/1945 or at the Paris Peace Treaty 2/10/1947 when war was officially ended against the minor axis powers after the defeat of Germany and Japan earlier in 1945)


The fundamental problem is that we have been having illegal wars since WWII. In WWII congress and the president did the right, constitutional thing: The president asked congress and congress gave a declaration of war. In Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf, Libya and Afghanistan (and others). The president did not insist on, nor the congress give a declaration of war. Therefore we are officially at peace. Without a declaration of war we are at peace. So we've been at peace for over 66 years.

So the original op, is somewhat correct though he fails to recognize that the 40 year span is actually the current span (+ many more years)

Personally I don't think the President should have the power to commit troops to another country for the purposes of war-like operations without a declaration of war from congress and I think the War Powers Act is unconstitutional. But congress apparently doesn't have the balls to either do the right thing and commit the US to a real war with clear objectives (by declaring war) and give the military full authority (and money) to win the war OR tell the president to shove it and not assert powers he doesn't have and stop waging war without congress first declaring it. The problem is the politicians don't want to declare war, because since these wars are controversial they can play politics to be seen to be on whatever side has the most for them to gain. They can play games with the budget, the scope, and other things by not declaring war, things that would be much harder with a declaration of war....

Comment: Re:Doing what is right... (Score 1) 955

by mschiller (#43960489) Attached to: USA Calling For the Extradition of Snowden

I agree with you. Since I reject that spying on the American people can be justified without a Warrant for the specific person/information that is to be found. Eg the 4th amendment.

1) Releasing sensitive information on how we spy on Terrorists/other countries can easily be argued to comfort or aid "terrorists". Therefore the US Government will at least consider the charge of Treason.

Do I agree that this material aids terrorists? Not really. But that doesn't matter they will make the argument.

And for some of the sheeple in the US, that argument will per persuasive because we are all to ready to give up our liberties for "security".

Comment: Re:Doing what is right... (Score 4, Informative) 955

by mschiller (#43960375) Attached to: USA Calling For the Extradition of Snowden

Oh there is plenty of stuff that probably justifies a top secret stamp.

1) Landing location for a major offensive in a declared war. [Eg how much better could Germany have prepared, in WWII, if they knew exactly which beaches we were planning on using and what day we were going to launch our offensive...]
2) Technical specifications for NEW military hardware
===> Once the hardware is out there for a few years, say 7 years, the secret rating probably isn't as justified
3) Technical specifications for Nuclear bombs (no age limit...)
4) Identities of Our Spies operating in foreign countries
===> Note, I'm not stating that spying on folks is a correct thing. But if you accept that we must do it, because everyone else does it, then the spies identities must also be protected.

And probably lot's of other examples.

Comment: Doing what is right... (Score 3, Informative) 955

by mschiller (#43960237) Attached to: USA Calling For the Extradition of Snowden

We have an obligation to do what is right and proper above any other law. In the sense of the USA government, the Constitution is the highest law and lies out what is right and proper. If our government is unjust and doing something unethical and against the constitution, then we must first do what is right and proper to protect the constitution.

Our Government is given power by the people, if they steal powers without consent of the governn than the highest law calls us to correct the misdeed and that trumps the laws on secrecy, etc. A soldier need not follow an illegal order!

Now that being said: Breaking confidentiality on top-secret stuff is no laughing matter. It's treason, a capital offense. But that doesn't mean we aren't called to follow the higher law if the top-secret stuff is in itself illegal.

Comment: Not really the same (Score 3, Informative) 461

by mschiller (#43346483) Attached to: Let Them Eat Teslas

While it would be easy to say Government just prefers the sheeple broke and stupid... These really aren't the same. Cars can be repo'ed.. Your education can't be repo'ed.. Further from a Govt perspective the return in tax income from your education is risky.. You might never finish school. Might end up working in India and not paying taxes.. You might never repay those loans if given the choice because you won't lose anything.. The car might seem like a loss, but you will definitely pay taxes on stuff for the car like tires, registration and property taxes etc the employees who built the car will pay income tax etc. Plus there is the political side of green jobs.....

Comment: Re:NO (Score 1) 258

by mschiller (#42353547) Attached to: Is Safe, Green Thorium Power Finally Ready For Prime Time?

You have a good point of course. But a lot of the cost of a nuclear reactor is in the safety systems. Which is being driven not my mathematics, but fear. Fear is the root cause of NIMBY. If we attributed the deaths caused by coal into the safety of mining and coal plants they would be alot more expensive too (but we don't, those are relatively hidden cost, while nuke absorbs some of those). We fear nuke power because of three relatively bad plant disasters in older style plants. Two of which are directly attributed to human error (TMI and Chernobyl) caused by improper operator commands.

I argue that we should go back to the drawing board. Do the research and get a safer design.

So to get cheap Nuke power we need:

1) Simpler safety systems as new designs incorporate safety by design rather than relying on pumps, electricity and human operators
2) Improved Training courses
3) The ultimate goal: Mass production.

Right now every plant is unique. We spend billions doing safety assesments, environmental impact studies, training, and inspecitions etc. What if we got to a design that was an appliance? Where you could get one installed next to your house, or one in every city or something?

Pebble bed reactors potentially would allow this...

Because it's not the fuel that makes nukes expensive it's the safety related stuff. And a better, newer, design might very well simplify the safety issue.

Comment: Re:NO (Score 4, Insightful) 258

by mschiller (#42341489) Attached to: Is Safe, Green Thorium Power Finally Ready For Prime Time?

I agree, but that doesn't change the fact that there is an awful lot of NIMBY going on. We could've and should've been building new reactors since the 70's, but instead the reactors that are online are mostly still the original first generation designs from the late 50's and early 60's. The same whack job environmentalists who should be all for this, are also typically the most adament against it. Yet watch them and their energy use isn't substantially different then any other American....

I suspect by the time we figure out that we can't put up with this NIMBY crap we will be OUT of oil OR have completely screwed up the environment once and for all...

I mean really this was the first new nuke plant licensed in 30 years:

And it's the AP1000. Still a Water based design and Generation 3.. Though from the look of it a lot safer than most of the reactors (Gen 2) in operation

Comment: Abject Failure? (Score 5, Insightful) 64

by mschiller (#42274203) Attached to: Current Radio Rules Mean Sinclair ZX Spectrum Wouldn't Fly Today

"It’s not just a failure; it’s an abject one" Really? Now I admit the situation could be a ALOT worse with the accessories and cables, and until you've ran the test you don't know. But it's only about 6dB above the line, I've seen a lot worse problems [try 20dB!]. There is a good chance this would be a relatively easy fix when you start looking at the problem.

A ferrite bead on the power supply cable would probably fix the "bad power" supply if indeed that's what it is. And some judicious copper taping would likely fix the other problems. Worse case you do a board spin and add ferrite beads to the I/O and possibly move suspect traces into internal layers. Worse WORSE case you change the clocking to use spread spectrum which would likely not require any changes except in the clocking circuits. None of those would prevent a "modern" version of the product from going to market.. And a good engineer could probably implement them in less than 6 weeks in a production environment...

Plus it doesn't even manner, if you were going to bring a sinclair back to market it would draw about 20mA, run on USB power and be completely implemented on a single chip.... Because it has roughly the same processing power as a PIC uC.

Comment: Re:Boatware (Score 4, Interesting) 403

by mschiller (#42131669) Attached to: Dell's Ubuntu Ultrabook Now On Sale; Costs $50 More Than Windows Version

Practically? This clearly demonstrates that it pays for the windows license and is also a revenue stream. Either that or Dell is sticking it to linux users just to get a few more bucks... Probably a windows machine that they just pay some high school student to install linux onto....

Who wants to take a bet there is a windows 7 key on the bottom of the laptop?

Comment: Enjoy your summer... (Score 2) 335

by mschiller (#40401001) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What To Do Before College?

If you don't need the money, enjoy your summer! Spend time doing hobbies, volunteer opportunities, working on open source projects [programming]. Worry about education and internships when you get to college.

It'll be A LOT easier to get employed after your sophomore year. You should try after Freshmen year, but no guarantee it'll happen.

Maybe take a general ed class that will transfer at your local community college if you must do "something productive"

If entropy is increasing, where is it coming from?