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Comment: Protecting Raytheon & Friends (Score 1) 217

by topham (#46735221) Attached to: FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

This is an attempt by the FAA to protect Raytheon and friends. With the upsurge in UAV for military purposes aligning reasonably well with the ban on any commercial use it has allowed companies like Raytheon to establish themselves with hardware, as well as patents on the related technologies and purposes one would use remote controlled aircraft for. It's also why they don't actual have proper specifications to classify the aircraft, something which they so completely obviously should have done in the first place when the ban went into effect.

Should fly objects be regulated? Sure. But they've taken few steps to actually regulate them, it has just been a delaying tactic to prevent the upsurge in small companies from applying for, and receiving patents which could potentially be used to sue the likes of raytheon.

Comment: Re:HERE'S A NOVEL IDEA !! DO NOT PUBLISH CRAP APPS (Score 1) 329

by topham (#41748315) Attached to: The Struggles of Getting Into the App Store

This.

I've personally developed and released multiple apps, and each app has had updates shortly after release. One was a rather embarrassing oversight. I didn't blame Apple, I blamed myself. I also used their expedite service to request a quick review for the update and was granted the expedited review. The updated application was approved within 2 days using that process. Apples process is frustrating, and can be extreemly aggravating, but I have to wonder how come they didn't have an application + iPad to use for their demo/tutorial. Creating an Adhoc version, as well as a corporate signed version are easy enough under restricted circumstances. (You can't distribute to everyone that way, but you can get it up and working on multiple devices so your client can review and test and train).

Comment: Re:No, they didn't print an engine (Score 2) 87

by topham (#41722985) Attached to: 3-D Printing Enables UVA Student-Built Unmanned Plane

As an engineering study of the applicability of printing 3D objects it's somewhat interesting. As to the importance of being able to build an airplane like that for under $2k it's entirely underwhelming. It's pretty easy to make one by hand with a very small collection of components and materials, and it would have taken less time. (So much so that even building a prototype, then dies to pre-cut material to produce the plane more traditionally would have taken less effort).

Comment: Re:mac (Score 1) 732

by topham (#40125399) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Shop For a Laptop?

I, along with a number of other people, second this.

As a long time PC user with well over 20 years of experience: buy a Mac. If you need Windows applications there are options (bootcamp, or virtual machines) and if she never -needs- a Windows version of anything she'll probably never have to call you for support either, or it'll be simple things like 'How do I sync my music?'.

And really, it takes about 10 minutes to pick what you want. Done.

(I've owned 4 Macs, a G5, an Intel iMac 17", a MacBook Pro 15" (2006 / Core Duo) and my latest purchase: an i7 15" 2.2Ghz machine with 8 Gigs of ram. (which I upgraded myself because Apple does charge way too much for ram).

And the best thing? Unix command line... (ok, your sister won't care.)

Comment: MySQL and Drupal are fine (Score 4, Interesting) 316

by topham (#38720400) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Open Source vs Proprietary GIS Solution?

I can safely say that MySQL handles GIS data sufficiently for the type of scenario you've described on Slashdot. I've got a database I periodically play with that is all the cities / major towns of the world and can quickly query it with distance data. (as in: Give me everything within 100 miles of Lat,Long)

MySQL doesn't make all of it as easy as it should be, but with some careful design decisions it can work surprisingly well for it.
I previously had created a distance function that worked pretty good, but more recent versions of MySQL have better internal support and I was able to ditch some of my custom routines.
(Note: my routines performed efficiently, but gathered extraneous data that could later be filtered out to be more precise. The extra data was maybe 10% more than necessary, but meant the query was very fast.)

Perhaps you should be looking to upgrade your MySQL instance, or getting some procedures/functions written for MySQL to handle some of the calculations.
(It's pretty easy to calculate a rectangle for the query to run against, and then follow up with a more precise distance calculation to filter out a few stranglers that slip into the dataset. (better to include a few that are dropped in later stages than to exclude valid data up front)).

As for the moral issues: Stuff them. They aren't what you should be focusing on.

Comment: Re:Wait, what? (Score 0) 77

by topham (#37135512) Attached to: Canadian Government Seeking New Net Snooping Powers

Yes, it is highly likely a new version will be tabled.

But it is stupid to try and stir up shit over a version of the bill that is defunct. Call up your MP and mention this bill and they'll laugh at you. When the new bill is tabled and you can identify the sections you have issues with then your MP might actually listen to what you have to say. Most of them aren't even smart enough to correlate what is in the old bill with what may appear in a new bill. Assume they are all stupid and wait for the new bill to be tabled first.

Anything else is just stirring up shit without a purpose.

Comment: Re:I read the article (Score 4, Insightful) 523

by topham (#37126236) Attached to: Why PCs Trump iPads For User Innovation

Pretty much, I've noticed a resurgence of the trend in the last couple of months. But as attempts go this one seemed pretty lame. iPad unstable? really? My mom has one and she doesn't even know how to turn it off or reboot it. She uses it constantly. (Several hours a day on a typical day).

Now, my iPad is pretty unstable, but it's running beta software all the time. Hardly conclusive. And, even with its instability I don't have to reboot it.

Most of the statements in the article have some truth to them, but the implications are wildly out of wack. (Implying a stability equivalent to PCs for instance, while PCs have greatly improved in recent years they still often have issues waking from sleep for example.)

The article is pure FUD in the truest sense. Fear, Uncertainty, Disbelief. While I'd be somewhat hard pressed to accuse the author of directly being in Microsofts pocket, I think it's obvious that Microsoft had a influence in some manner. (Even if it was just a quiet little request made to an editor for a more 'balanced' perspective).

Practical people would be more practical if they would take a little more time for dreaming. -- J. P. McEvoy

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