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Comment Re:Battlebots rip-off (Score 1) 77

A guy in the US came up with Robot Wars. A US record company funded it. As it was coming together, the relationship between the guy and the record company fell apart and ended in legal acrimony. The record company licensed it to a UK production company. The folks who were going to put it on in the US put together BattleBots. It think that the US folks worked on it first, but the UK folks got it on TV first.

FWIW, I prefer BattleBots (except for that bogus rule interpretation on the prohibition of capture devices in the early rounds).

Comment Re:"Custom OS" (Score 1) 277

They do mention that the disks had about a 160 Kb capacity, which was fairly standard for Shugart 5-1/4" floppy drives of the time.

That's why they're still readable. The disks with the lowest density (barring really early and crappy 8" formats) are your basic 5.25" floppies. 360k PC floppies would regularly remain readable for much longer than we actually used them, and if you're only using one side then you do even better.

Someone that I know who is familiar with this effort reports that the filesystem layout was custom and software had to be written to sort through it and separate the files from the metadata as well as converting file formats to something that could be used by the Roddenberry folks.

Comment Re:Should I move to the cloud? (Score 1) 225

If I am out of signal range with no WiFi the last thing I want is to have a device that can't run my applications. That goes double if I'm lost in the woods and need a compass app or I'm looking to tune my guitar, for example.


As it is, too many apps depend on being connected to the network to perform basic functionality. It seems like the folks who design this stuff spend their lives in Cupertino or Mountain View or SF and don't get to places even a short distance from where they live and encounter places with poor connectivity.

I live about 10 miles from downtown Seattle and there are plenty of places between here and there (including places where people live) with no cellular data coverage (or so spotty to be unusable). I have been in towns and on roads not far from my house and been surprised to find no connectivity so Apple Maps or Google Maps were useless in helping me figure out where to turn to get back to civilization (versus going deeper into nowhere). An hour west of my house, my phone has no service at all until I almost reach the Pacific Ocean.

The cellular data coverage in the US is not yet complete enough for web apps to work here.

Comment Re:"Soup is Good Food" campaign by Campbells. (Score 1) 313

A sound and logical move for Volkswagen. They have stuck themselves in a really deep shit pit and the only way out is to make a big move, a really big move and going all electric for future car development, for a car manufacturer would be the biggest move they could make.

Or, they could leave the US market. Out of the 12 million cars affected, only half a million were sold in the US. As bogus as it seems, the magic air flow correction intake tube fix and software changes seems to work to address the diesel emissions issues outside of North America. With Piech gone and presumably so his goal of having VW Group become the world's #1 automaker by sales gone, they could probably save money by leaving the US market.

Then VW could shut down their Chattanooga factory and then the right-wing would have a concrete example of emissions regulations costing good jobs and something to get the people who don't pay attention to what is going on in the world worked up over.

Comment Re:What's scary (Score 1) 313

Other TWO campaigns??? Martin O'Who???

There was also Lessig and Chafee.

Say what you want about Lessig's campaign, but it raised more money and polled higher than Chafee and I think was on par with O'Malley, but the DNC set up the rules and then changed the rules to keep Lessig out of the debates.

Howard Dean's DFA (Democracy For America) group voted to endorse Sanders this week, so the timing of this move by the DNC against Sanders is interesting.

Clinton has already been anointed as the party's candidate by the DNC. They just have to make sure that the other candidates and the voters realize this.

Comment Re:Can the autonomous vehicle pass a drivers test? (Score 2) 139

But is an autonomous vehicle going to understand the motions of an officer, and drive the wrong way on several streets?

With proper use of beacons, signs and temporary signals, I don't see why not. For example, officers could be supplied with special batons, similar to those used by ground crews at airports.

Are you saying that autonomous vehicles can only work in redirected traffic if the people redirecting traffic have special batons? So, let's say there is a landslide and the road is partly obstructed and a good samaritan starts playing traffic cop because the real traffic cops can't get through the back up. Or, how about movers or home construction workers or anyone else dealing with an impromptu traffic redirection? How do autonomous vehicles not being able to determine how to follow directions from a person outside of the vehicle not make things worse in these conditions?

Comment Oh, please! (Score 2) 69

I bought a typewriter this year. I became interested in how they work and did research on what models were considered the best portable manual typewriters in their day. I found one (Smith Corona Silent Super) at a rummage sale just before summer. It was $35. The local typewriter repair shop (yes, there is a local typewriter repair shop around here) estimated $160 to go through it, clean it up and replace the ribbon. The shop had a backlog of job, so they had it for two months. When they were done, they found that my typewriter was in better shape than expected, so the repair cost was closer to $120. And I was able to get 5 ribbons for $10 on eBay.

Two side notes:

1. The plastic-cladding on later Smith Corona typewriters take so long to remove (to reach the guts of the typewriter to do the actual servicing) that it raises the repair costs to the point of making repair uneconomical these days.

2. The most common way that typewriters get damaged is by kids randomly hitting keys and bending the rods and levers inside the typewriters

As far as film ... I worked in a photographic darkroom for years. I have a bunch of B&W film in the bottom of my refrigerator and powder mix for developer and fixer. I taught my oldest kid how to develop film and I will do the same with my younger kids as they get old enough to appreciate it. To me, there is some cool about making pictures with chemicals.

As far as the Max Max future .. I am more concerned about film going away than typewriters (or typewriter ribbon) going away. Ribbons can be re-inked and many typewriter repairs are as simple as straightening a bent rod. Film photography, particularly color photography, require special chemicals that are hard to create without your own chemical factory.

Comment Re:Very good channel on the topic (Score 1) 250

I am sure that Apple and others want people to buy new smartphone hardware every couple of years, but, over a couple of years, the faster processor speed, better graphics capability, larger storage capacity and/or new features are things that people will actually make use of and not just buy because it is new.

I hung onto my iPhone 4 for a long time, but, when I finally gave in and got a iPhone 5S last year, it works so much better that I was wondering why I had put it off for so long.

And, as hard to repair as they are now, I think that it is easier now. The first gen iPod touch had a soldered on battery that was tricky to replace without overheating components adjacent to the connector. I replaced the battery on a newer one recently and it was so much easier. Then again, part of why it was easier was better tools are available, including stuff from iFixit.

Comment Good news, bad news (Score 1) 53

Yay, MST3K is coming back.

Unfortunately, I can't watch it because Jonah Ray is on it. I politely corrected something that he said on the Nerdist podcast and he went off on me. I tried to apologize and he just raised the level of his bile. Nerdist is one of my favorite podcasts, but I don't listen if he is on it.

Comment The Subject is misleading (Score 1) 494

The VW diesel issue only impacts Porsche and Audi because a) the two additional execs who are leaving were at VW when the diesel issue started and b) the Audi A3 used the same EA189 engine.

People continue to post stuff here like this issue effects all VAG diesels, when the problem is just the EA189 engine and not the more expensive engines that use urea to reduce NOx emissions. Do you homework before you post.

Comment Re:That'll teach you... (Score 4, Insightful) 301

The CEO of VW can start cleaning out his desk, and a bunch of executives will be headless in the coming weeks, as well. That serves them right. However, in typical corporate fashion, VW will end up firing ordinary, innocent workers, who had nothing to do with the fraud at all.

Written by someone who does not understand the on-going boardroom drama at VW.

The VW Group CEO (Winterkorn) recently came out ahead in a boardroom battle in April. I have to wonder if his Winterkorn's opponent (Piech) knew that this was coming.

Comment Re:Thanks, Obama? (Score 1) 411

Well, the entire synopsis is pretty bad, but that is often the standard on /., isn't it?

Why does the synopsis spend so much time comparing what VAG has done with malware (huh?), but doesn't mention key info like how this issue applies only to diesel-engined cars and their nitrogen oxide emissions?

As far as I been able to tell, the source of the "recall" story seems to be the NY Times story. All I have seen from the EPA is the Notice of Violation. According to the Notice, the investigation is continuing and the issue has been referred to the Justice Department. I think that the recall talk is premature at this point, though it will likely happen at some point. I think VW would need time to develop software and certify its compliance with the Federal standards before any vehicles could be recalled. BTW, one source indicated that, according to the statutes, the fine for this violation is $37500/vehicle, or over $18billion for the number of vehicles involved.

Comment Re:subjects in comments are stupid (Score 1) 280

In the USA, a recipe can't be covered by copyright because it's a collection of facts and directions, but theoretically it can be patented as a process and/or composition of matter. It's very difficult to get a recipe past prior art and obviousness, but it is considered patentable subject matter.

Unless that recipe is called "software"

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