Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:What are you planning to do? (Score 1) 164

by sjbe (#48933065) Attached to: Drone Maker Enforces No-Fly Zone Over DC, Hijacking Malware Demonstrated

The stupid GPS restriction would prevent me from doing that despite the fact that indoor flights pose no hazard to the White House or anyone else except me. There are indoor uses for these copters. I'll bet you can think of some.

GPS doesn't work worth a shit indoors.

You seem to be under the mistaken impression that I was in some way arguing for putting GPS on these drones? I don't care about that at all. I'm merely responding to the fellow who seems uncomfortable with the notion of making a product intentionally unflyable in restricted airspace. And the simple fact is that there is a public interest to be considered here which likely outweighs your desire to fly a drone near the white house.

Comment: Re:What are you planning to do? (Score 2) 164

by sjbe (#48933007) Attached to: Drone Maker Enforces No-Fly Zone Over DC, Hijacking Malware Demonstrated

Are you an American? I ask because I cringe when I see this type of comment from a people who should understand what freedom and limited government is supposed to mean.

Yes I am and I'm also bright enough to realize that freedom does not mean you get to do whatever the hell you want any time you want regardless of the consequences. Freedom does not mean no laws. Limited government does not mean no government. It means we keep government out of things that it has no reason to be involved in. Safety of the public airspace is something the government very much has a reason to be involved because there is a compelling public interest at stake.

We don't use a metric of what I 'need' to do to determine what freedoms I should have.

We do that all the time. We do not permit you to legally drive to work at 120mph because you do not need to do so and it would endanger others. There are all kinds of legal limits on your behavior which balance the needs of society against your desires. Your freedom ends when it impinges on my safety and my ability to enjoy the same freedom and vice-versa. That is the metric.

I don't need to purchase a 64 ounce mountain dew. That hardly means that I should be protected from doing so if I choose to.

If you can explain to me how your purchase of a mountain dew will result in it crashing on the white house lawn or bringing down an airliner then we can pretend that your analogy has any bearing on reality.

I could continue, but frankly if you don't understand or agree with the argument it's pointless to go on. You comment regarding the United States being 'not so different' that China is fairly telling. It's not based in any semblence of reality. Censorship? Political arrests?

You mean like the folks who were arrested and imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay often wrongfully and all of them without charges? Like the people we've tortured and innocent people we've killed in the last ten years over two pointless wars? Like the FBI censoring US citizens with National Security Letters? Like the NSA spying on innocent people including those with unusual political leanings? Let's not pretend the US is some paragon of virtue.

I've actually been to China. Spent a fair bit of time there within the last decade. I'm probably far more aware than you are of how restrictive their government is and yes it can be quite oppressive in some ways. Thing is that you can say pretty much anything you want about China and the opposite is often almost equally true at the same time. China is a mass of contradictions, not all of which are obvious or make sense.

Comment: I don't care about DC traffic (Score 0) 164

by sjbe (#48931495) Attached to: Drone Maker Enforces No-Fly Zone Over DC, Hijacking Malware Demonstrated

You haven't lived in/around DC. Driving a few miles can be quite the chore. 8 miles can easily mean 1-2 hours.

Yes I have spent plenty of time in and around DC. No I don't give a shit if the traffic is bad sometimes. I particularly don't give a shit if it interferes with your ability to legally fly a drone regardless of purpose. If it is that important to you then figure out how to do it in unrestricted airspace.

Comment: Balancing public needs versus private wants (Score 1) 164

by sjbe (#48931479) Attached to: Drone Maker Enforces No-Fly Zone Over DC, Hijacking Malware Demonstrated

There's no 'need' to consume alcohol, play team sport, have foods with added sugar, own a car, or have the internet either. It's idiotic to look at laws restricting things on the basis that there is no 'need' for the thing they restrict.

It's not at all idiotic to look at need versus wants when public safety concerns are involved. We do it all the time. Every single example you cite (particularly alcohol) has laws relating to balancing public needs versus private wants. Should we permit you to drive drunk just because you want to? You certainly have no need to do so. You might need to own a car but that doesn't mean your needs and wants are free of restrictions. You don't need to own a car without a muffler and so we restrict your ability to own/operate one on public roads. If you want to live in a civilized society you constantly have regulate genuine needs versus wants. You might need a car but you don't need one that is demonstrably unsafe to those around you.

We restricted the airspace in various places for very good and practical reasons. If you think a specific bit of airspace should be unrestricted then by all means petition your government to un-restrict it. However you apparently have no argument for why we should permit drone in restricted airspace beyond mere desire which is not sufficient.

Comment: What are you planning to do? (Score 1, Interesting) 164

by sjbe (#48930987) Attached to: Drone Maker Enforces No-Fly Zone Over DC, Hijacking Malware Demonstrated

I didn't know that. It actually bothers me that they would intentionally make their product un-flyable in areas to 'prevent' me from breaking the law. Is it a law that they have to do it?

Why should it bother you? What is it preventing you from doing that you would otherwise do? You have no actual need to fly a drone near the white house or in other restricted airspace. Given the safety concerns involved what you want (versus need) to do is pretty much irrelevant unless you can articulate a coherent reason for what you hope to accomplish. And for the record, no we should not by default trust you or anyone else to necessarily make good choices in this matter. I'd certainly be willing to listen to good arguments in favor of flying in controlled airspace but I doubt there are any.

I'm looking at car manufacturers: how would people feel if they governed their cars to the posted speed limits on the roads?

Probably annoyed but for a very different reason. We have nearly 100 years of history of the public being able to control the speeds of their cars but the consequences of that precedent are very different and well understood. Very few people have actually piloted an aircraft, manned or unmanned.

I'm not surprised that a Chinese company took this route: it's par for the course in China to be under the governmental thumb.

Not really so different here. People have this illusion that the government in China is this all pervasive authoritarian entity but in reality it has less control than most westerners realize. Conversely, the US government is more pervasive and intrusive than most people seem to be willing to acknowledge. That's not always a bad thing but it definitely causes problems sometimes.

Comment: Non governmental rule making bodies (Score 1) 164

by sjbe (#48930849) Attached to: Drone Maker Enforces No-Fly Zone Over DC, Hijacking Malware Demonstrated

It may seem odd that a private club has effectively been given authority to make law, but it has worked quite well for 60 years or whatever.

It's nothing unusual at all. To give another example Congress granted the SEC delegates authority over accounting standards to the Financial Accounting Standards Board which is not a governmental agency but rather is an association of professionals tasked with setting accounting standards for public companies. And they do a very good job of this task. (I'm a certified accountant so yes I would actually know) If they failed in it the SEC could take the responsibility away at any time and by using this group the public gets better results for less money.

This is analogous to the other AMA, where doctors make rules for themselves and any doctor violating these generally accepted standards is likely to lose any court case.

The AMA is a bad example because they are fundamentally a lobbying group for physicians. They do not have any formal rule making authority that I am aware of delegated to them by the government.

Comment: So drive a few miles in the other direction (Score 2) 164

by sjbe (#48930813) Attached to: Drone Maker Enforces No-Fly Zone Over DC, Hijacking Malware Demonstrated

What if you live, say, 20 miles from the capital? If that happened in London it would stop about *15% of the UK population from being able to use one!

And what is your point? Are these people who so desperately want to fly a drone incapable of driving a few miles to an area without restricted airspace?

Fact is while there are plenty of innocent reasons to want to fly a drone, there are virtually no innocent reasons to *need* to fly a drone. Particularly that close to sensitive airspace.

Comment: Re:A scientific hypothesis is not a guess (Score 1) 152

by sjbe (#48917187) Attached to: How Do We Know the Timeline of the Universe?

Hypothesis was used in the quote. In fact "theory" doesn't appear at all. So you're arguing against some other statement.

Had you a clue about the scientific process you would know that the word "theory" as it relates to science simply means a well tested version of one or more hypothesis. The words are often used interchangeably though they are technically different mostly in the degree to which they have been substantiated.

Reality doesn't give a crap how words are used.

Engineers and scientists do give a crap how words are used because how they are used matters and affects their work.

You apparently do and are taking umbrage.

"Umbrage"? No. I'm just an engineer correcting someone who is stating something that is incorrect.

Comment: Big city thinking (Score 2) 396

by sjbe (#48916375) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

Having lived in NY state, according to NY city people, everything past Westchester is irrelevant. Even Albany (state capital for non US people) is a hick town that doesn't matter.

I've seen that too. I'm generalizing of course and have seen plenty of exceptions but NYC dwellers definitely often think their city is all-that-and-a-bag-of-chips when it's really just another city and not actually amazing to the rest of us. I went to college on the east coast and spent plenty of time in NYC and the folks from NYC were among the most parochial people I've ever met. They tended to think of themselves as worldly when they barely knew (or cared about) anything if it didn't exist in NYC. Most of them couldn't drive and those that could generally couldn't drive well. They had tons of preconceived and almost invariably wrong ideas about what life is like elsewhere.

In their mindset, water magically appears from the tap & the 200 miles a aqueduct doesn't need maintenance, nor do the roads stretching 400 miles to the other side of the state.

That's unfortunately not unique to NYC though it seems to be particularly virulent there. Lots of big city folks act like they think all the food, water, power, and stuff they buy appears by magic somehow and is undeserving of their attention. I had a friend a few years back who was living in one of the bigger midwest cities and he was complaining about how there was "nothing to do". I asked him what he wanted to do that wasn't available in some form or fashion but was in NYC? Major league sports? Good shopping? Excellent restaurants? Public transit? Museums? etc. Basically everything he was complaining about was available but just not quite in the same fashion as in NYC. Not that NYC doesn't have great stuff going for it but it's still just another big city with the same amenities available in most big cities.

Comment: I'm an American (Score 1) 396

by sjbe (#48915919) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

300$ fee if you drive in 3 feet of snow!!! GEEE! Hope these guys never go up north.

If 3 feet of snow is normal where you live then it isn't a big deal. Where I grew up was on the shore of Lake Erie and we got lots of lake effect snow so several feet was nothing unusual for us. Other places 3 feet of snow or even 3 inches is a huge problem. Folks south of the Mason Dixon line rarely get big snowfalls and don't really have the equipment to deal with it adequately due to the cost/benefit ratio. I'm sure you're not really equipped for a month of 100+F days like they get in Texas or Arizona. I'm sure you're not equipped for earthquakes like they are in California. Chances are you don't experience Tornadoes with the frequency they do in Oklahoma. Just because you are used to a particular weather condition doesn't mean everyone else needs to prepare for the same.

A unknow local beer, and my children want to taste it like they do here, I give them the glass... then the waiter tell us that it's completly illegal and we can be arrested for doing that.

It depends on locale but most likely the waiter was misinformed. It is generally legal for a minor to drink alcohol in a private setting and/or under the supervision of a parent or guardian most places in the US. The waiter cannot sell alcohol to anyone under 21 and most likely was just being a little over cautious. If the waiter were to serve alcohol to a minor they can get in hot legal water and lose their job.

I think to myself, what a real land of the free where you government tell you how to raise your children.

Are you seriously going to tell me that there are no laws regarding parenting in Canada? Just because the rules are a bit different south of the border doesn't mean you should start getting all holier-than-thou. I'm quite certain there are Canadian laws those of us south of the 49th parallel would find equally odd.

Comment: Re:Going to/from a Mac isn't hard (Score 1) 376

by sjbe (#48914357) Attached to: Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

If anything Windows 8 and OSX are the closest. (Start Screen = Application Launcher); and the taskbar and dock continue to converge.

Disagree completely. Windows 8 Metro is closest to iOS if anything. I use Windows 8, Windows 7, XP and OSX daily. OSX's basic interface conventions are far more similar to older versions of Windows than Windows 8 Metro is to older versions of Windows. And since you can't really get rid of Metro satisfactorily without third party help I stand by my statement at least for the time being.

But transitioning form 7 to 8 isn't hard either. It's far easier than transitioning to OSX because once they know how to find and launch a program in 8 it looks exactly the same on 8 as it did on 7.

Except that "find and launch" bit is a pain. Do you have any idea how much time I've had to blow explaining the differences between 7 and 8 to people? 8 is designed for touch screens and not a single desktop or laptop computer we use has or needs a touch screen. The apps are the same but I still have to interact with the file system and other OS features regularly so that doesn't mitigate the problem at all for me.

I agree it needs about 5 - 10 minutes to cleanup its settings to make sense on a default, pin what you need, cleanup the live-tile overload on the start screen, tell it to boot to desktop, and use the desktop versions of the photo viewer, etc so you aren't being thrown into "Modern UI" at random all over the place. Turn off the extra hot-corners, etc.

Which most people I know are never going to do. Maybe you work with more computer literate folks than I do (wouldn't be hard) but I generally see the defaults left at whatever they are. Any system that requires that much clean up is something I have NO interest in using.

But you don't need any third party utilities or anything to make Win8.1 a completely serviceable desktop OS. I'm at this point indifferent which one I'm using.

Personal preferences I guess. I truly cannot stand Windows 8's interface. I find it clumsy, badly designed, and it generally just gets in my way. I'm not the pickiest but it makes even things that should be easy needlessly difficult in my opinion.

Comment: Command-Option-Escape (Score 1) 376

by sjbe (#48914195) Attached to: Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

You can't even do ctrl-alt-del on a Mac.

The equivalent on a mac is Command-Option-Esc which is identical to pretty much every unix system out there.

Really, the interface is weird and dated.

Right. Apple sells millions of these things thanks to their "weird and dated" interface. Clearly that is a huge problem for them.

Comment: Re:Going to/from a Mac isn't hard (Score 1) 376

by sjbe (#48912961) Attached to: Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

Oh bullshit.

What an eloquent rebuttal.

I think the Windows 8 interface is ass-tastic too. But I own an MBP (job requirement) as well and the interface is not "a lot closer to Classic Windows" than 8 is.

And I own a MBP, a Mac Mini, a Window 7 laptop, a Windows 8 desktop, etc and I disagree with you. What you or I own means nothing. If you disagree that's fine - but explain why. Something more than "nun-uh" preferably.

The new interface they slapped on Windows 8 IS wildly different from the interface in Windows 7 and earlier. It's arguably more of a change than from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 which was a pretty big change. I have had to train plenty of people at work and home (I run the IT stuff at my work among other roles) on the transition between Macs and Windows boxes as well as between Windows versions and to a person I've had an easier time transitioning people between Windows XP/7 and a Mac than between Windows XP/7 and Windows 8 Metro. The Mac and earlier versions of Windows use similar interface conventions and generally do things in similar ways (mostly). Generally if someone is comfortable in one they can pick up the other pretty easily. With Windows 8 Metro they pitched that and lots of people (myself included) took some time to figure out how things work and to be frankly Metro has more in common with iOS then it does Windows.

Comment: Going to/from a Mac isn't hard (Score 1) 376

by sjbe (#48906959) Attached to: Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

yeah because learning MAC, an entire new eco system is going to be easier than learning about the incremental (although visually major) update to windows??

The Mac interface is a LOT closer to classic Windows (XP through 7) than Windows 8 is. I've transitioned plenty of people between OSX and Windows XP/Vista/7 in both directions. They're not all that different and transitioning between them isn't hard for most folks. I use both on a daily basis. Windows 8 is a HUGE departure in interface intended to merge touch screen and keyboard/mouse interfaces.

Personally I absolutely loathe Window 8. For me it is the most annoyingly unintuitive OS interface I've used in the last 20 years. Maybe it's fine on a tablet but I absolutely hate using it on a desktop.

We can predict everything, except the future.