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Comment I love this stuff (Score 5, Interesting) 74

As an oldish (40+) programmer who's only recently got into robotics (the simple stuff - arduino, sparkfun, xbee, khr3-hv), coding the control software to make a robot actually do stuff is way more challenging than the supposedly complex projects I work at on my day job. Programming a robot kit to walk or pull poses is simple enough, but coding 'any form of 'intelligent' decision making ends up with lines and lines of code and as many sensors you can sensibly add to the hardware.

I thought it would be pretty simple to build and code a robot cleaner - like a basic remote control car that just drives around the house with a duster underneath which heads back home when the batteries are running low and recharges. Clearly the challenge of climbing the stairs can move to the version 2 release, but if I stick it on the first floor, just stopping it falling down the stairs needs around five sensors and over 500 lines of code.

Two cameras for 3D spatial awareness? Try coding it to tell the difference between and apple and an orange. Built in GPS to get an absolute position reference? Even if you get a signal, 5 meter accuracy doesn't help much when you are driving it towards a lift shaft.

That's why I love this stuff.

Submission + - UK launches competition to find cyber security exp (

DomHawken writes: A national public competition has begun to find people with a talent for keeping computers and networks secure.

The competition aims to find those with relevant analytical, forensic and programming skills using web-based games and challenges.

Without more computer security experts the UK will not be equipped to handle rising cyber crime, say professionals....

Comment Re:It's a salary negotiation ploy (Score 1) 423

it's exactly as the poster title suggests - and also based on flimsy news. The global economic crisis is still in full swing, and swinging cuts to the BBC are in full effect, but that doesn't affect the BBC's top programs in the same way that asking Hugh Laurie's agent to take a cut for the next series of house because money's tight would wash. That said - he's not exactly great - check the diminishing viewing figures from the first episode (ignoring the usual peaks), and get over the fact that Doctor Who was a great series that has been re-invented and now is the UK equivalent of watching the lottery on Saturday evening - good - but you wouldn't care if you missed it. It's not something I would tape for the kids to save for the future...

Comment Re:Great. :( (Score 1) 484

yes - but judging by most of the people in the office here it _really_ is the software (stupid) combined with a hardware interface that my grandmother could learn to use faster than the alternatives. Make a tube of toothpaste with a bigger nozzle, you'll sell more toothpaste...

What phone are you using by the way? Sounds lovely.

Comment 'secure frequencies' (Score 2, Interesting) 311

Love to know about this - there's no such thing as a 'secure frequency', if you know it, you can jam it. I'm assuming 'secure' here obviously means more than 'we've switched to a new one they can't guess' - hoping and there's some cool spread-spectrum, channel jumping geekness occurring, or even better some new tech way beyond the levels of current software-defined radio open source stuff that's ahead of the game. I love radio - whether it be it cell phones, wifi, ham's bouncing signals off the moon or distant medium-wave broadcast stations fading in and out after dark, but it still leaves me worrying that one man with an expensive PSP and a transceiver in backpack can launch a missile strike with such easily comprimised communications.

Comment interestingly, slashdot trolls unusually quite... (Score 1) 281

$90,000 ~= $90 within two years. The usual pr0n and torrent jibes aside, this is a really cool development. The spec of the routers you run on your local/company networks (and mine are already stretched), are the same spec as the routers you will be running on the front-end of your incoming net feeds in a year or two. Props to Cisco and their investment and resulting product. Obviously Logitech will release a version based on open-source code in the near future which we can tweak to our own requirements, but heck - this is the Internet..

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