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Comment: Re:most lego's are a rip off (Score 1) 352

by v1 (#46773153) Attached to: Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs

I have NO idea how many lego sets I had. IMHO the "junk" of the sets were the windows, people, wheels, the stupid closed minded stuff. I preferred the raw blocks, mainly the 2x4 and the longer ones that were in such short supply. I mad some amazing things, including a box with a door locked by three tumblers, that required its lego key to open. (if it had been glued together, naturally)

I also had dominos and blocks, two capsula sets (adding a switch, motor, and wires to the mix), an old and a new girder n panel set (kinda meh), tinker toys (also meh), and later a number of assemblable toys like a little battery powered toy boat I had to wind the motor (dc windings) on, a ball clock, crystal radio, and by age 10 two electronic design experimenter (150 and 200 in 1's). I did a LOT of building when I was growing up. (though a good deal of it started going toward electronics by the time I was a teen)

Kids need a shot at that sort of play when they're growing up. It's not going to be for everyone, but this whole culture of "stick an ipad in his hands" by default is just a shame. Ikea is going to go out of business by the next generation, nobody will be able to assemble any of their furniture!

I was just talking with a friend of mine, father of my godson, about the possibility of getting him into arduino. Wow, he's gonna be NINE this December, and he doesn't have anywhere near the head-start I did. I did manage to inspire him with a variety of art supplies which he loves, and got him several of those assemblable bots from radio shack last year, trying to get him a good start and taste of things that he finds he has an aptitude for. It's not just building things, kids need to get exposure to a variety of things as early as possible, so they get their feet wet with essential flexible skills like buidling, as well as getting a taste of variety to see what they really enjoy.

But being able to make things, that's such a basic, universal skill. It's one that every kid should get heavy exposure to, in a format they can enjoy excelling in.

Comment: Re:Wich only serves to further (Score 5, Interesting) 84

by v1 (#46715835) Attached to: Stung By File-Encrypting Malware, Researchers Fight Back

WHY is it okay for Symantec to do this?

The more relevant question to ask is "Why DID Symantec do this?" A more interesting question would be "Why did Symantec break the law?" They didn't do that, but the answer to all three is the same.

"because it helps them make money".

In this particular case, the fear of ransomware helps Symantec sell their product. So a researcher doing something to combat ransomware hurts Symantec's business. So they do what they can do, to protect their profits. In this case, it's even legal for them to do it. So it's a no-brainer.

You simply have to expect this sort of behavior from any big business. There's no point in being confused or shocked by it.

A month from now they will be able to make a new press release, "Two months ago security researchers dealt a blow to ransomware, protecting users and devaluating our product. Today, we're pleased to announce the ransomware developers have made the necessary fixes to their code outlined in our recent publication, and once again, Symantec is your only defense against ransomware!"

Comment: this is NOT dangerous (Score 1) 402

by v1 (#46646493) Attached to: NASA Can't Ethically Send Astronauts On One-Way Missions To Deep Space

Danger implies risk. Risk implies different possible outcomes.

If we send a meatbag to mars, they're not coming back before they spoil. There's only one possible outcome. It's not risky OR dangerous. It's guaranteed lethal. So now that we've gotten that out of the way, lets continue with the booking please? (and I wouldn't mind signing up myself, but I rather doubt they'd take me)

Comment: Re:In other news... (Score 1) 41

by v1 (#46521827) Attached to: Judge Tells Feds To Be More Specific About Email Search Warrants

I'm sure if they were publicly asked if such a whitelist exists, they would deny it. And they would be lying. The first group that inspired the creation of the list is the list of state senators. Those were built into the system from day 1, I'm sure 100% of them are on the "always fly list". And then a few of the uppers in the NSA landed on the list due to travel etc, and raised hell, and got themselves added to the list by internal means. And it just snowballed from there as someone says "well if we're adding sensators and ourselves, who else would be a good idea to keep the heat off us?" Judges, celebs, secretaries of state, governers, union officials, and other powerful people added thereafter. I bet the list is well into the ten thousands by now.

Comment: Re:RadioShack's business model (Score 1) 423

by v1 (#46408909) Attached to: RadioShack To Close 1,100 Stores

Well, the recent adoption of arduino was a good effort, but probably too little, too late.

And right now their markup on arduino products is pretty unpalatable. They're selling things for quite a bit above MSRP. The first thing that does is drive people to buy from places like MCE that are still quasi-retail, but online only. (where RS is likely headed) But then once you're online you realize that $65 Mega2560 that you found at MCM for $50 can actually be had in generic form (Funduino 2560) for $16 with free shipping off ebay, as long as you're willing to wait 3 weeks for it. And then Radio Shack falls back to it's "I need this today" store of desperation only. You did buy one mega from RS, but you will never buy another one from them because now you have four more knockoffs at home for the price of one more locally. While "local desperation" is a valid market, it's not a good one to rely on for too much of your volume.

I still go there somewhat frequently because I'm too impatient for my own good though.

Comment: Re:RadioShack's business model (Score 0) 423

by v1 (#46399711) Attached to: RadioShack To Close 1,100 Stores

The sad part? One of the absolute best presents I ever had as a little kid was that 120-in-one electronics lab kit they used to sell

And the 200-in-1 that I got a year after the 150. That was 100% responsible for my interest in electronics today. My how far the Shack has fallen. I remember back in the days, going out to the local RS in KCMO with my breadboard and pencil/paper with schematics, buying parts, over to the table to work on it, back over for a few more things I needed nextâ¦. now it's so hit-and-miss. I can think of more parts they've stopped carrying than parts they DO carry. Walls of 5pk's of resistors turned into a single pull-out drawer with maybe 15 varietyâ¦.

Comment: Re:Force them to warrenty whole unit.. (Score 1) 526

by v1 (#46206307) Attached to: Customer: Dell Denies Speaker Repair Under Warranty, Blames VLC

Hardware that allows software to easily damage it is designed wrong. If your OS crashes, it can basically do anything Murphy's Law dictates, within the bounds of what the hardware will try to humor it on. Hardware has to be designed to protect itself against flippy software because it's gonna happen from time to time. I'm not saying that all hardware needs to be 100% software-proof, but it needs to be, within reasonable limits. The sound hardware blowing out your speaker cone because your software tried to turn the volume up to 1e+15 is a hardware/firmware issue that should be covered under warranty.

Comment: Re:Vive la difference! (Score 1) 457

by v1 (#46167747) Attached to: Judge Says You Can Warn Others About Speed Traps

Police do not get to keep the money they collect. None of that money is allowed to go back to the police department.

In my city, the Chief of Police drove around for several years in a red ferrari, seized from I believe a drug dealer. They had it sent into the shop to retrofit a light bar, radio, etc into. It's difficult to say what exact maneuvers they went through to pull it off, it might have been a not-so-public public auction or something.

Wish I still had a pic of it to share. It was an interesting sight to see. You can see similar things nowadays though looking at some of the hopped up police cars that run on the autobahn, looks about the same. Sort of like this, only it was red and the light bar was a lot wider: (and they didn't bother to write "police" across the side)

Comment: "perfect security" (Score 1) 66

by v1 (#46143131) Attached to: Pwn2own 2014 Set To Hunt Unicorns

typically attracts people that already have a stable full of unicorns, especially if you're foolish enough to put a big bounty on it. Announcing you have "perfect security" just brings the embarrassment to your door that much faster.

And try as you might, even actual "perfect security" on your part will usually fail miserably at someone else's hands. Look at Safai, and how often flash or java (or the user themselves) is used to compromise it. (approaching 100%?)

Comment: find out why you were hired (Score 4, Insightful) 308

by v1 (#46140835) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Do You Do If You're Given a Broken Project?

I think that's the first thing you need to do before deciding how to react.

Did the author decide he'd created an unmanageable hack and push management to pull in a contractor to either clean up the project or simply suffer through trying to maintain it, so he could get back to focusing on his other work?

Did management rush the author to get something "usable" out the door so they could put him on another project, and you're just the mop-up crew?

It's very likely one of those two things. You could respond to either of them by simply "run, forrest, run!", or you could roll up your sleeves and get to work. If you choose to take it on, your approach will depend on why you are there. First off, trashing on the author won't get you anywhere with anyone, don't even consider it. The author may realize he made a mess, management may not. But right now the author is your best ally. Don't burn that bridge by running to management and telling them the reason it's going to be expensive to fix is because the author created a mess.

That being said, document everything, in case it comes back to bite you. You don't need to share that documentation with anyone unless necessary. It's your safety net in case the excrement strikes the oscillating unit and the author tries to blame the problems on you.

Have a private chat with the author and find out which of the two above is the reason you're there. You'll notice that in either case, he's probably very happy to have you taking over, and you should be able to easily leverage that to get his cooperation. That will make your job monumentally easier. Projects by good authors that get into this state are usually the result of inadequate planning, or a late change in requirements. The author probably had a fairly-well fleshed out plan that went south at some point, and that plan is probably not very clear to you right now. Ask about that plan, find out where the code was meant to go, why it didn't end up going there, and mosts importantly what problems did that create and how did he work around them. Those work-arounds are what's causing your grief. Knowing what they are is half the battle (that's why stuff broke when you edited), knowing why they were necessary is the other half. (THAT'S why other unrelated stuff started breaking) Get this information from the author.

At that point, you can take a very well-informed look at the project and decide if it's worth your hassle to take on. Then either take it or leave it. If you decide to bail, you can look back on your documentation and decide how much of that is necessary to justify your decision and get some compensation for your trouble. If you do decide to take on the project, discuss the issue again with the author and get their input on how to explain the maintenance costs. Even if it has to come down to "this is going to be expensive because Bob created a mess", giving him a chance to have some input on how this is addressed will help keep him in your corner down the road. If he's anywhere near reasonable, he'll understand that he's going to have to accept some of the responsibility for what he started.

Everything that can be invented has been invented. -- Charles Duell, Director of U.S. Patent Office, 1899