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Comment: Re:Microsoft Optical Mouse (Score 1) 469

by afidel (#46789983) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

Not if you got a first generation, the first ones had a design flaw that caused the wires to wear out where they came into the case (hard 90 degree bend). MS to their credit had the design fixed (Logitech was the ODM) and covered replacements for like 5 years even without proof of purchase, you just needed a first generation serial number.

Comment: Re:HP LaserJet 4M+ (Score 2) 469

by afidel (#46789793) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

The 4 series was built fairly well, but it was nothing compared to the beast that was the LJ 3 series. I once was called out to repair an ~15 year old LJ3 with just under 1M pages (at ~3PPM!). The reason it needed repair? The single sacrificial plastic gear had grown brittle with age, everything else in that beast was metal.

Comment: Re:It's been a lot longer than 2007 (Score 1) 217

by Chibi Merrow (#46789227) Attached to: FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

You should look at U.S. Law 112-95 Section 336. In particular, it says to be an RC Plane:

In this section, the term ââmodel aircraftâ(TM)â(TM) means an unmanned aircraft that isâ"
(1) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere;
(2) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating
the aircraft; and
(3) flown for hobby or recreational purposes.

This guy doesn't meet those requirements, hence his aircraft is treated as a UAS, and for those the FAA requires individual certification and a LOA.

Comment: Re:It's been a lot longer than 2007 (Score 1) 217

by Chibi Merrow (#46789117) Attached to: FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

There is no reason that they need to be incompatible. Just require that all aircraft have a functioning ADS-B transceiver and TCAS, both manned and drones. Require drones to obey resolution advisories. That will eliminate most of the midair collision that exists today, manned or unmanned.

ADS-B is not some sort of magic bullet, despite what they've told you. It *may* increase safety (though studies have shown all the glass we've put in cockpits probably does the opposite), but it's not suddenly going to prevent all collisions.

In addition, STUFF BREAKS. Your UAS that depends on ADS-B for sense-and-avoid isn't going to see that Bonanza with a transponder failure. If all the electrical systems in a manned aircraft go out, the pilot can still at least bring it down where it won't hurt anyone, the same is not true of a UAS. If you really want to be terrified, you should look at some of the FAA's results on simulating GPS system failures in a future, ADS-B only scenario.

And that's all irrelevant anyway, as there is never going to be a requirement (at least probably not in my lifetime) for manned aircraft to have an ADS-B transponder anywhere they don't already need a Mode C transponder. That will never fly, pun intended. The vast majority of private pilots will never need ADS-B out, as they don't fly where it matters. There are huge swaths of airspace you can fly in WITHOUT A RADIO, much less a transponder. This is a matter of philosophy: the airspace of the United States belongs to the people, and they should have free use of it. The FAA is only supposed to provide the minimum amount of regulation and oversight to keep everyone safe.

Finally the reason this stuff costs so much is the certification overhead (and the low production numbers). Sure, we could make it cheaper by cutting out certification requirements, but that goes back to my original statement: We'd have to accept lower safety levels. There is a legitimate argument to be made that the current certification regime may not actually result in increased safety, and that maybe it would be better for more aircraft to be equipped with SOMETHING, even if it's not certified, but that will require years of study to determine.

And as a final aside, the costs aren't quite that bad. The company I work for makes a pretty good ADS-B in/out solution for about $4k. You need a compatible transponder, too, but those aren't that bad. And a compatible display if you want TIS-B/FIS-B. Otherwise we have an ADS-B-in only solution that's battery powered and integrated w/ an iOS or Android device for about $600.

Comment: Re:People getting wierd about liquid water (Score 1) 212

by meta-monkey (#46787301) Attached to: Kepler-186f: Most 'Earth-Like' Alien World Discovered

Oh yes, it was the most implausibly bizarre book I've ever read. And the interior of phobos was hollowed out to be a habitat where the sentient saurians (hadrosaurs if I recall) had been living for the last 65 million years. Yes, something was done to keep the planet from freezing. I wish I could remember the name of that book...

Comment: Re:People getting wierd about liquid water (Score 1) 212

by meta-monkey (#46786923) Attached to: Kepler-186f: Most 'Earth-Like' Alien World Discovered

There was a sci-fi book I read, and for the life of me I can't remember the title. One of the weirdest books ever. In it, dinosaurs had escaped to Phobos before they died out, and the earth had a massive world-changing event in which mountains split and formed into rocket engines that propelled the earth out of the solar system entirely and to another star. This was the aliens' way of meeting new species...bring them all to them.

It was a truly bizarre book, and I wish I remembered the title...

Comment: Re:Useful Idiot (Score 1) 377

Snowden has been careful to release only the things he feels violated the oath he and others took to the U.S. Constitution

Please point out the part of the US Constitution that says the Federal Government can't spy on foreign countries, then justify Snowden's leaking of intelligence methods and sources that had nothing whatsoever to do with American domestic civil liberties.

Comment: Re:Useful Idiot (Score 0) 377

What the fuck do you milquetoast standard-bearers of pusillanimity expect him to do?

Put his actions before a jury of his peers, like the numerous whistle-blowers who came before him, none of whom fled to hostile countries? Restrict his leaks to pertinent information, rather than dumping EVERYTHING? Attempt to work within the system before trying to blow it up? Leak the information without outing yourself, remaining anonymous like Deep Throat did?

Anyway, I'm all for the balance of power. The best antidote to an abusive US empire is an abusive Sov^WRussian empire.

You'd probably have a different perspective on that if you lived in the Baltic States, Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, Finland, Georgia, or any of the Central Asian Republics.

Comment: Re:Useful Idiot (Score 1) 377

Yep -- if the US wanted to not give Putin a propaganda tool, they could have welcomed him back home with a guarantee of safety.

It'd make more sense to play the realpolitik game: "Put Mr. Snowden on a flight to New York and we'll quietly acquiesce to your annexation of Crimea."

Unfortunately realpolitik is not something the current administration is very good at. They're very good at making promises they can't keep, and threats they won't follow up on, but making cold calculations to further American interests in a dangerous world? Not so much.

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