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Comment Two possibly useful features and one useless one (Score 2) 87

The accident reporting and roadside assistance features could be useful. As soon as these become readily available, though, one of the first things that a car thief would do is pull the dongle out of the OBD II port and throw it and the visor widget out the window, making it impossible to track the car. As a built in module, it works, because it's difficult for a thief to remove, but if it can be removed in 30 seconds without tools, it's worthless for tracking a stolen car.

Comment Re:Exceeds state authority (Score 1) 192

I missed the section of the Constitution that mentions federal control of airspace, can you help me find it?

Since California's law addresses commercial drones, then the federal government has jurisdiction under the Interstate Commerce clause, using the same sort of argument that resulted in a farmer being successfully prosecuted for growing too much animal feed for his own use (by not buying feed, he was affecting interstate commerce). As long as the commercial drone activity can be, by whatever stretch of the imagination, linked to an interstate transaction, the federal government can 'justify' exercising authority.

Comment Re:Key is included snap-ons (Score 1) 76

From reading the Kickstarter page, the device itself is just a blank pressure-sensitive surface. The configuration software defines areas on that surface that produce specific responses when touched, in the same way that the HTML 'map' tag does for an image. The overlays just provide a visual and tactile feedback so that the user can readily see what the programmed response will be, rather than fumbling across a featureless surface trying to find the right spot (and, with the 'stock' templates, have a pattern of embedded magnets to allow the unit to configure itself automatically for the template).

Comment Re: Vietnam (Score 1) 282

American lost the Vietnam War because we weren't able to cope with a situation where there was so much guerrilla warfare taking place.

Add in the things that made prosecuting the war harder for the military, like LBJ's insistence on personally approving all targets for the bombing campaign to ensure that the selection of targets 'sent the right message' to the NVA government.

Comment Re:And all they wanted was a faster horse (Score 1) 732

If/when there's a war between the US and someone who can actually harm them if they limit themselves to visual range, they will change the ROE. The same is true of any advanced nation.

Or they'll take up tactics like they used in Vietnam, where a flight would split up when they detected a target and send one section straight for the targets at full honk to blow past them at a high rate of speed, then disengage once they had a visual identification, while the other section hung back and launched when the first section gave them a positive ID.

Comment Re:Good luck (Score 1) 129

...or get mugged by someone who thinks that's fun.

Which is my main objection to open-world PvP; there are always enough jerks whose sole measure of personal value and gaming skill seems to be how fast their level-capped combat monster can gank your single-digit-level newbie character, and who will melt into the shadows rather than face anything that even looks like it might be a fair fight, to make your experience an unending frustration cycle.

Comment Re:Doubtful (Score 1) 904

My Prius Plug-in was $27,000 BEFORE tax rebates. The Chevy Spark EV is $25,000.

My previous car, an Accord wagon, could fit 22 banker's boxes in the back with the rear seat down, and I used it for three moves, filling it repeatedly when moving the items that weren't big enough to require a truck rental. How many times more trips would I have had to make with a Prius or Spark to get the same volume of cargo carried?

Comment Re:Yes, but.... (Score 2) 351

I am reminded of a small bit in E.E. 'Doc' Smith's novel First Lensman, where Virgil Samms is visiting Rigel IV, and is being driven to a meeting with potential candidates for receiving a Lens. Samms is telepathically linked to the driver, and notices an object on the side of the road that, while perceived by the driver, produces no information about it, but which Samms' Lens decipers as "Eat Teegmee's Food!" -- and the driver comments, "Advertising. You do not notice yours, either?" The bit is foreshadowed by an earlier scene on Earth where Samms is driving his car and is chagrined at having had his attention grabbed by a particularly flamboyant advertisement for cough drops. The stories may seem hackneyed now, but 'Doc' Smith had a good eye for some of the finer aspects of human behavior.

Comment Re:Hierarchical database (Score 1) 166

This is why systems written in MUMPS have great transaction throughput and the UIs are usually responsive, but running reports is a nightmare.

It's not necessarily a nightmare; it depends on the flexibility of the reporting tool. I've pretty well given up on using the built-in reporting tool at work for the reports I'm asked to produce because the tool doesn't allow for making the sort of complex links between globals that the report needs (i.e., patients with a given diagnosis who are also on a given medication, and their most recent result from a specified lab test), while producing the data with a MUMPS routine is straightforward because of the internal arrangement of the data. So I would have to say that creating the reports requires a high level of expertise, while running them once they're created is easy.

Comment Re:Back door man (Score 3, Insightful) 91

And the OPM breach has shown us even more clearly the consequences of failing to use the strongest encryption, security tools, and IA policies available. Using encryption technology that's designed to be bypassed at need, with that 'need' determined by anyone other than the owner of the data, is the electronic equivalent of hiding a spare key under the welcome mat and believing that your home is still secure when it's locked up.

Comment Re:"Other types of electromagnetic radiation" (Score 1) 529

It's rare for me to encounter them any more with the progress of technology, but I can hear the whine from the flyback transformer in a CRT display, more strongly if it's badly adjusted or starting to go bad. It made the terminal rooms at college annoying because of the constant background whine.

Comment Re:Whats wrong with US society (Score 1) 609

Wouldn't that be extremely damaging to the roads?

That depends both on the tracks the tank is fitted with and the surface on which the tank is driven. Some tanks have (or can be fitted with) tracks that have rubber pads on them, which greatly reduce any damage to roads by spreading the weight of the tank more widely. The Sherman tank, for example, used both rubber-pad and steel-pad tracks through its service history. The M1 Abrams tank uses tracks with rubber road pads to reduce wear and noise, but can mount ice cleats replacing individual track pads for additional traction in snow and ice conditions. Tanks without rubber pads, though, generally will, on a road surface, concentrate the tank's weight over a smaller area, which can readily damage asphalt roads. Cement road surfaces are more resilient, but will also degrade over time.

Comment Re:The solution seems so simple (Score 1) 110

Just buy a copy of a random magazine that has pictures of various individuals -- People magazine, with lots of celebrities, is good -- then cut a page out of the magazine with a picture of the individual of your choice, tape it to your wall, and point the camera at the picture whenever you're not using it.

Just because he's dead is no reason to lay off work.