Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Odd in that a bayonet seems pointless (Score 1) 160

by pipedwho (#46633633) Attached to: Apple Patent Could Herald Interchangeable iPhone Camera Lenses

You could space the curved magnets around the periphery so they could be loosened by twisting. You could include a gentle depression on the perimeter to allow a release button on the lens to make that twist easier to perform when unlocked and much harder when locked. The lens would probably also need an outer weather seal that doubled as a soften auto-retractable snap buffer, so bringing the lens close wouldn't just snap on and shatter anything on either part. Also twisting on/off should partially clean the surface to avoid excessive build up from clogging the interface. It would be a good idea to include a dummy cover for when there is no lens attached to avoid crap getting into the sensor or onto the ring contact points.

Also note that a good lens attachment needs to pass power and a comms signal to control the aperture hole size, auto-focus motors, possible a remote shutter, and zoom motors if it's a zoom lens. This might be able to be done with an inductive coupling running at a few megahertz, or using a direct magnetic drive of these movements by putting the motor armature in the camera/phone and a second magnet selector to determine which element the motor controls, or maybe a couple of these motors. But, to keep the size down in the camera/phone for people that don't walk around with a lens attached all the time, it would probably be more compact if the contacts where physical connections. This must be done so the twisting action of attaching the lens partially cleans the contacts on insertion.

There are just so many cool an IMO obvious ways of doing this type of thing that it would be fun to work for a company trying to do this.

Comment: Re:There are Three Things I Know (Score 1) 192

by pipedwho (#46628095) Attached to: Supreme Court Skeptical of Computer-Based Patents

Even better:

1. Copyrights should be 14 years and require registration by loading into a fully searchable database that is made public on expiration of the copyright. This registration must take place within 12 months of publication/release or the copyright is forfeited. 12 months before the copyright is due to expire (and no earlier), an optional 14 year extension can be taken out after paying the appropriate fee. Assignment can happen at any time to any person (or corporation) for some consideration/value. Doesn't matter when/if the author lives or is dead as that just complicates things with no clear benefit.

2. Patents should be graded by the industry they are in with only certain industries having a duration of 17 years from filing date. For industries with a constant flow of new developments (eg. software/computing), the maximum should be half that. Time limits should be further reduced for ideas of debatable inventiveness and/or that require very little effort/skill to 'invent'. If something seems obvious, then it is, and should not be patentable. Better to err on the side of caution and not implement the patent. If an invention just scrapes through by the skin of its teeth, then the duration should be even further reduced accordingly. If multiple submissions are made in 'parallel' by different entities, with all filing taking place before any of the inventions are disclosed, then no matter how non-obvious the patent thought it was, all these inventions should then be deemed inherently obvious and should either become void, or all parties get to share the total number of grantable years for that type of invention. (ie. if 2 parties submit equivalent inventions, they each get at most 3.5 years instead of the 7 that would have been given if only a single party filed.)

Comment: Re:No expectation of privacy (Score 1) 405

by pipedwho (#46559993) Attached to: L.A. Police: <em>All</em> Cars In L.A. Are Under Investigation

Unfortunately, the "expectation of privacy" in what people do in their daily lives is gradually being shrunk to the point where soon it will no longer exist. At that point, the brown stains being wiped across the US Constitution will completely obscure the words of 4th Amendment.

Comment: Re:Nice recover (Score 2) 250

by pipedwho (#46546713) Attached to: Fluke Donates Multimeters To SparkFun As Goodwill Gesture

This doesn't completely make sense (although I also believe Fluke didn't actively initiate the action).

How would the Customs/Border "Protection" guys know whether or not SparkFun had a license from Fluke? Someone at CBP must have suspected something, and made a few phone calls asking questions first. They can't (legally) just claim Trademark/dress infraction and block passage because some random employee had a feeling in his gut.

They must have contacted someone (either SparkFun or Fluke) who said SparkFun didn't have permission and that the device was infringing. The CBP guy wouldn't have just pulled up the Trademark/dress filing and in his 'expert' capacity to interpret this decided to block the shipment without verifying the current ownership/licensee chain.

If it was SparkFun that sent a poorly written response and got themselves into trouble, then so be it. But, it may have been Fluke answering a simple question without thinking about the final outcome of their action.

Think of this like having the cops turn up at your door asking if you owned the car parked across your driveway, and you simply answer no and close the door. Then later that day your daughter's boyfriend complains that you had his car towed.

Comment: Re:His debate (Score 5, Informative) 220

by pipedwho (#46540719) Attached to: How Did Bill Nye Become the Science Guy?

Literal Creationism (or "Intelligent design") is primarily an American thing pushed by fundamentalist protestants.

The vast majority of old school mainstream christian religious people (eg. Catholics Anglicans, etc) hold that evolution is a scientifically established principle (supported by both observation and related scientific theories). As far as how a deity fits into their picture, it is generally understood that the biblical stories are allegorical and not literal tellings of an event.

The concept of 'evolution guided by God' is simply a restatement that scientific evidence guides the description of how the universe works, and the random events that coincided to an eventual outcome may have been influenced or set in motion by some divine force. And even then, that is the simplistic layman's way of interpreting the phrase 'you/people were created by god'. With a deep theological understanding, the physical and spiritual aspects of the human condition are not necessarily connected and therefore unconflicted when it comes to changes in how we understand the workings of the known universe.

In general, religious belief does not hinge on anything that can ever be proven/disproven by observation, and is purely the domain of spiritual fulfilment and ideas that exist outside of the physical universe. For these people, there is no need for debate or argument. Science is science. Religion is religion. Their minds are open.

For the biblical fundamentalists that treat their bible as literal tellings of actual events, the 'debate' will never end. Science is religion. Religion is science. Their minds are closed.

These 'debates' are not attention whoring by the religious right, it is attention whoring by the media. More eyeballs for all involved.

Comment: Re:Trademark Violation (Score 4, Informative) 78

by pipedwho (#46540235) Attached to: Tor Project: Fake Tor App Has Been In Apple's App Store For Months

Trademark/Copyright/Patent law aren't all inherently viewed as bad when implemented and executed properly. However, there are numerous examples (some of which appear on Slashdot) when the holder/government have overstepped the mark. This creates a feeling that the best solution to stop the abuses is to remove the system all-together. Here are some examples of the good/bad dichotomy:

Trademarks protecting an obvious brand-name: OK
Trademarks protecting a vague/generalised name/design: BAD

Patents protecting a clearly novel, non-obvious and very specific invention: OK
Patents on broad general topics and/or obvious incremental improvements: BAD

Copyright protecting a creator from having their clearly original work from being re-distributed commercially for a short time (14 years): OK
Copyright on a few bars of music that appear in the middle of a song from 75 years ago that could easily have been re-created without ever being exposed to the original: BAD

Comment: Re:The blurb doesn't give enough for a discussion (Score 1) 144

by pipedwho (#46538333) Attached to: Research Suggests Pulling All-Nighters Can Cause Permanent Damage

Muscles are not necessarily damaged by small amounts of activity, but take them beyond their limits too often or too quickly and you get tears, strains and other indirect problems related to interconnects like bones and tendons. Sleep deprivation is not a typical activity and should be likened to overexertion or overuse.

I agree the blurb is sensationalist in its claims, but the observations in the article are still valid within the domain in their claims of how sleep deprivation affects the mice they were testing.

Comment: Re:what about me? (Score 1) 144

by pipedwho (#46531489) Attached to: Research Suggests Pulling All-Nighters Can Cause Permanent Damage

If a population had a few night owls that stood guard all night, there is no reason why those 'owls' couldn't have slept in the back of the cave during the day.

Also, sleep deprivation may be less of an issue for those genetically inclined to need less sleep. Lack of sleep may take its toll in a different way than purely lowering the IQ of those participants. And clearly, for some, there may be no obvious issues at all. A slightly reduced life expectancy may be testable, but if something unrelated kills you first, you'll never know.

Comment: Re:sounds implausible to me (Score 5, Insightful) 144

by pipedwho (#46531159) Attached to: Research Suggests Pulling All-Nighters Can Cause Permanent Damage

Sleep deprivation has been a natural and common occurrence throughout human evolution. It seems highly implausible that "an all-nighter" would cause permanent brain damage in any meaningful sense.

I doubt a single all-nighter is going to cause a measurable change to your long term brain function. However, anything that takes a small toll, may become measurable in aggregate after a given number of occurrences.

Regarding human evolution; people generally sleep when it is dark. And with no unnatural sources of light, historically sleep deprivation would not have been anywhere near as common as it has become in modern society.

Comment: Re:Good idea (Score 2) 245

by pipedwho (#46513843) Attached to: Is Analog the Fix For Cyber Terrorism?

It's not that the secondary system is 'cross checking' or comparing results. They are really just monitoring circuits with a particular set of rules embedded in separate circuitry that just makes sure the primary system never breaks those rules. It is effectively the master control and will always 'win' if there is a problem. They are designed to be simple, robust and if possible, completely hardware based.

Some other examples are 'jabber' control hardware lockouts to stop a radio transmitter from crashing and permanently keying active; the watchdog timers in critical systems that will reset the system if it isn't periodically reset; power control systems that shutdown power domains if an overload is detected; etc.

Something like a nuclear power station should have more complex monitoring systems, but the rules are similar. In modern critical system design, the rules are generally set up to require a sanitising channel between the 'internet' and the control network. That channel may be some simple UART to UART based control logic that allows the a subset of general control commands to be issued without the ability to override the primary safety lockouts. If you want to override those, you have to turn up in person.

This type of security has been standard practice for years by the embedded systems engineers. Once people started shoehorning inappropriate solutions into critical system control, that's where it went belly up. That's where you end up with glorified 'web coders' writing what should be done by someone that understands the pitfalls. Sometimes, it's because 'management' has decided to requisition and install something beyond the design parameters set by the engineers.