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Comment Not a "Design Flaw"/a Testing Flaw (Score 2) 157

I can see that most of the comments are referring to this as a design flaw and overly complicating the product but I imagine this was put into the Product Requirements Document as a feature that provided some benefit to the customer.

The issue really is, what was the testing protocol put in place, I would think that with something like this, the Samsung engineers would have to check for:
- The S-Pen being put in backwards and twisted to the preferred orientation
- The S-Pen being damaged and put in the right way and backwards and turned away from its preferred orientation
- Something other than the S-Pen being put in.
- The S-Pen being inserted with the force of a jackhammer
- The Galaxy being dropped (on all of its axis) with the S-Pen inserted correctly and incorrectly
- etc.

These tests should have been part of the product test and qualification plan.

Comment "Start me up" - What was Gates thinking? (Score 4, Interesting) 282

IIRC, Gates paid the Rolling Stones $12M for the rights to use their song "Start me up" which to this day I don't understand why he'd pick a song with the lyrics "You make a grown man cry!" in the chorus.

Trying to install Win95 on a Win 3.11 machine of the day certainly lent itself to tears. I don't think I was ever able to successfully do it (I reverted the 3.11 system back and then just went with Win NT and then then Win 2k) - I never used a Win95 or Win98 PC at work or at home.

A step in the right direction but definitely not an OS that was ready for prime time (sorry for the mixed metaphors).

Comment Fighter "Generations" is a Lockheed Marketing Term (Score 3, Interesting) 732

When reading articles about the F-35, you have to remember that the term "Fourth Generation" and "Fifth Generation" are terms that Lockheed Martin came up with to provide some marketing cachet for the F-22 and F-35.

There is no strong definition for the term and the best description that I seen is that "Fifth Generation" fighters employ stealth and undetectable communications. This definition is used with the F-35 to indicate that it will sneak up to enemy aircraft and launch missiles before the enemy aircraft know that it is there - the F-35 doesn't have the dog fighting capabilities of the F-22 or that of other fighters.

People seem to forget that the F-35's capabilities were first defined after the first Gulf War in which F-16s and other fighter-bombers could not detect Scud missile launchers or approach ones that were detected by other platforms before being detected and the launchers moved out of harm's way or camouflaged in such a way that they couldn't be detected. Then deciding that the basic platform could be extended to a SVTOL for the Marines and a carrier aircraft further doomed it's ability to maneuver effectively against other aircraft that were designed for air-air combat.

Unfortunately, the US(AF) has put all its eggs into the F-35 basket. I don't see there being a lot of opportunities to order more F-16s or F-15s (with the F-22 line shut down).

This means that in future conflicts, the US may lose the "air dominance" that has been used in war planning over the last fifty years.

Comment Start with this Password Verification Function (Score 4, Interesting) 52

I'm trying to remember where I first saw this function (I think it's a pretty common example for security coding seminars):

int passwordCompare(char* enteredPassword, char* validPassword) {
int i;

        for (i = 0; (len(enteredPassword) > i) && (enteredPassword[i] == validPassword[i]; ++i) {
        }

        if (len(enteredPassword) == i) {
                return -1; /* true */
        }
        else {
                return 0; /* false */
        }
}

but, I would imagine that it would qualify as an example for the contest. I don't think it was originally designed to be malicious, but more of a coding error.

I would expect most of the entries in the contest would be of this variety, something that a (new) coder has put in that works for basic test cases, but has a serious flaw...

Comment They're sorting for "the right" employees (Score 2) 396

While I don't disagree with you, there are people who thrive in an environment like Amazon's. Now, most other people would consider the people who are successful at Amazon as "assholes" and I think they'd be right.

It doesn't sound like Amazon is shy about telling prospective employees what it's like to work there, so, to a certain extent, there shouldn't be any surprises for their employees when they're working there. That doesn't mean that it's not shameful to harass/punish employees when they have unexpected personal challenges and tragedies.

The good thing about all this is that Amazon is taking the assholes out of the workforce.

Comment Like Microsoft in early days but more organized (Score 1) 396

When I read the article, it reminded me of my interviews at Microsoft (Winter of 1985) with regards to the attitude that they had towards employees and work.

One of the things that I remember being told was that the Microsoft average employee peaked at 25 and left the company at 28 (with a suitcase of cash) to form their own business (or live on a beach). I was being hired to give my all for five years and then take a break. There was a lot of talk about supporting employees to help them work at this pace. What I didn't get was a sense of organization or where they wanted to go; I was being interviewed for hardware design and I got the feeling that they knew they were on top of the world and destined to be there forever, but didn't have a vision as to where they were going/taking the industry.

Over the years, it seems like Microsoft changed and became more corporate and relaxed but Bezos and Amazon are making this into much more of a cult(ure) with solid plans and expectations. I'm not surprised with their focus on results they are the successful company that they are and I'm not surprised that their employees are burning out and are bitter.

Comment How do you define a "robot"? (Score 1) 38

When I do robot classes and workshops, I define a "robot" as a device which:

1. Can perform different tasks.

2. Uses sensors to control its operation.

These points are pretty common for definitions. One additional requirement that I have seen is "more than three axis of movement".

From these requirements, I would say this is a robot.

Comment Smug and NOT reducing his reliance on AC (Score 1) 466

Rhinehart is not substantially reducing his reliance on AC, all he is doing is passing it on to others in the service industries.

I gagged at the sentence in the conclusion "To me the real upside is the pleasure in being electrically self reliant." - I guess he could live off the land as long as there were supermarkets around.

I don't believe that going to a restaurant and letting them provide meals, lighting, heat/AC actually constitutes reducing the amount of AC consumed.

Comment Easy Conclusion If Perceived Costs & Range Ign (Score 1) 904

Nice to see that electric cars are seen as a viable alternative but I think we're a long way away from the "tipping point" which won't change until consumers attitudes change.

I can't see electric cars being at the same or less purchase price than gasoline powered cars for some time. Don't forget there is also the cost of the charger installation and this could be a very significant cost for people who live in (rented and owned) apartments.

Maybe this will change with the $35k Tesla in 2016/2017 but even that is significantly more expensive than a basic Corolla - if the cost difference is $10k and the car is driven 10k miles/year and gets 25 miles/gallon and gas costs $4/gallon and electricity was free, it would take 6.25 years to make up the difference. That extra $10k seems to be hard to justify.

When I talk to friends/family about electric cars, the issue that always comes up is range. These are people who maybe drive more than 100 miles in a day once or twice a year and this is a huge concern. I don't know what happened with Tesla's robotic replacement for battery packs, but until it is common place or cars can travel 1,000 miles on a charge (and can be charged in less than five minutes) or "Mr. Fusion" becomes a reality, I don't see this not being an issue with the public at large.

Maybe we could see the tipping point if the price of an electric car was comparable to a gas powered car but I think it will take lower costs and essentially infinite range for it to happen.

Comment Can't this be tested on a Cube Sat? (Score 4, Interesting) 518

Just thinking about this, how expensive would it be to create a small, simple satellite, with solar cells, some large LiPoly batteries, a transponder and an EM drive that fires up every time there is enough juice in the batteries to run it for a few minutes?

Sticking with the 50nN thrust level for 50W of input and assuming that a 1kg LiPol battery has 260Whr available (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_polymer_battery), that is approximately 5hr of running time and assuming that the satellite is 5kg, there will be a 10nm/s^2 acceleration.

5 hours is 18,000s so there should be a delta-V imparted on the satellite of 1.8(10^-4)m/s which is tiny (I did say this is a pretty useless drive at the current time right now) but should be measurable or at least noticeable to its relative position to a control satellite that was launched along with it.

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