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Comment Re:Patent office should have to pay legal fees (Score 1) 143

Maybe demand the filing party put a value of the patent into an escrow account. If the value of the patent goes up, just put in more money. After the patent expires, the company gets the money back.

If they file a suit, they can't value the patent at more than is in the escrow account; i.e. MS uses a $10 unlicensed patent to do $100M in business means the company can sue MS for $10.

If they lose, the escrow account goes to the winner.

Comment Re:2nd Amendment Question (Score 1) 551

I'm not a NRA-type. But I do like to shoot.

Not everyone here loves guns. And those who do love guns have hundreds of reasons why they do.

I keep a shotgun for shooting skeet. I don't care to hunt or eat birds, so it's just a sport for me.

I have a bolt-action rifle for hunting deer. I'm from the Southern USA, and deer season has been in my family since they got off the boat 400+ years ago. I grew up with it and it's something I love to do.

I also have a semi-automatic rifle. One could make an argument for it being an assault rifle, but just because it looks like a military rifle doesn't really mean anything. All semi-automatic rifles work the same. Again, this is a sport rifle for short and medium range shooting. A local gun club hosts a CQB tournament a few times a year and it's fun to run through their "village" and clear targets.

I also have a small, semi-auto pistol. It holds 7/8 rounds of .380. I use it, again, for sport. But I also keep it on me most of the time.

To most of the gun crowd, the 2nd covers any "gun" that fires any "bullet". We have people out here with everything from Civil War cannons to Vietnam-era artillery. Most people in that group agree that a tank would also be acceptable and I have heard that some people do, in fact, have functioning WW2/Vietnam tanks.

The crowd here gets divided when we start talking about bombs and missiles. I fly RC airplanes also, and I do a lot with tri-copters and quad-copters. Most of these control systems aren't much different to 80's style guided missile control systems. But folks around here just think it's going too far to actually implement such a system.

So, we stick with, mostly, a "bullet" fired from a "gun".

Yes, that includes rocket launchers, recoil-less rifles, and RPGs. There are several individuals in the area who are licensed to own fully-automatic weapons and RPGs and the like.

Really, in the US, it's all about what you can afford to license. If there was a "room-killer" on the market, then someone here would probably have a license to own one. I think it's a bit much for anything practical, but I still think it would be cool as hell to shoot one at the range.

A final point. The Second Amendment is a touchy subject. First off, there are (at least) 2 versions that differ in punctuation and capitalization. Second, people argue if it means a Military, a Militia, or just every-day people like me. No one really knows what "arms" are; could be a muzzle-loading smoothbore or could be a tactical nuke in the garage. Third, there is a lot of debate between "well regulated" and "shall not be infringed".

Anyway, it's all a dumb argument anyway. Most guns can't be obtained legally. The ones that can mostly need a State license. Even with the license and legally-obtained gun, you can't carry it in most places.

And that's the way all of the amendments are going. Somewhere, "Congress shall make no law...abridging...the right of the people to peaceably assemble" got turned into "free speech zones".

"The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches" turned into "stop-and-pat" and your iPhone doesn't count as "papers" or "effects".

Everything today is "interstate commerce" so the DEA can raid a local pot grower in Colorado.

The Second Amendment should have been a negotiating position to stop that from happening. Not so much of a "I'll shoot you if you try to do this" but more of a "let's see you enforce it" concept. That's probably what it was written for. But it's too late now and people have Idol and Game of Thrones to watch. It ended, not with a bang, but with a flurry of text messages to vote for the next Top Model...

Comment Re:In the internet no knows you are a dog. (Score 1) 122

That may apply in most cases. However, a degree is now acting as a barrier for entry to jobs people are fully qualified for.

I have seen government contractors hired with a BS in Art History and a CCNA over candidates with HS diploma and a CCNP. It's happening more and more to those of us who just want to ride routers all day. We know the job and lack of a degree should be seen as a good thing. We aren't looking to replace our bosses. We don't want to become managers or team leads or any of that crap. We just want to sit in darkness and work on network stability and optimization.

I'm sure you can find the same thing in CS. People who know how to code, but lack a degree for whatever reason. You'll pass over a candidate who's been programming since age 8 and select a candidate who first heard of programming in his Intro to Computers class.

Comment Re:Stop buying gear without lifetime warentee (Score 1) 156

I sometimes look at things like power and water and wonder what could be done with a ground-up redesign.

As for networking, the guy was talking about a 6500 series switch. Anyone buying a 6500 would probably get 2 or 3 and use something like HSRP or the like:

That way, uptime of a single node (probably in the high 90% range) isn't so important. As long as you have one other node operational, then the network isn't aware that anything has gone wrong.

If a water pipe could detect a pressure drop and trigger a set of valves, then you might be able to continue service while only affecting spurs coming off the damaged section.

Comment Re:Tough (Score 1) 159

It wouldn't be that bad.

Have a 360Â servo with a 80Â-90Â servo mounted on it. Directional mic on top of all that.

Arduino/Pi rotates the first servo 1Â then sweeps the second servo. Or vice versa.

Feed that into an algorithm looking for prop noise. Most drone motors will be IC or electric. An IC will be running between 9K~18K RPM. Electric would be running from 7K on the low end to 30K on the high end. Realistically, an electric for drone use would be on the low end of that spectrum; the higher-RPM motors are usually for fast airplane.

Take the RPM and figure a 2-bladed or possibly a 3-bladed prop. Filter bandpass for 15K~55K. Run that through a doppler-shift algorithm and filter out anything moving slower than 20MPH or faster than 200MPH.

Using that, you should get pretty close.

Once you have the location, feed that to another mount with a spotter-scope and webcam. If the image-detection stuff sees something other than sky or clouds, have it snap a few images and SMS/email them to you.

I'm not entirely sure you will get good enough images to identify the specific UAV using servos programmed for Â. The servos usually range from 900-2100ms of pulse width with 1500 being "centered" on the servo. So, you can get it down to 3-steps per  on a 360 servo and 13-steps on a 90 servo if you use straight PWM and good digital servos.

Submission + - The Planning Fairy Tale (

Esther Schindler writes: Software project management is full of “Let’s pretend.” Let’s pretend we can write a full schedule before we know the requirements; let’s pretend we can estimate how long it will take to solve this unsolved problem; let’s pretend we can predict schedules to the hour or half day, two years in advance

...In any case, people come out of the planning meeting with their initial enthusiasm quenched in the certainty that what was just a stake in the ground on Friday afternoon will be The Plan of Record on Monday morning. And they foresee a significant part of their future will include heroics to meet a schedule date, and endless negotiations to change The Plan as reality impinges upon it. The Plan of Record, the development team is sure, will run into the Two Ineluctable Facts of Project Planning:

1. If you don’t know what you’re going to build, you can’t know how long it will take to build it.

2. You only really know what you’re going to build when you finish it.

Here’s how to spot a “Let’s pretend” schedule and what to do when you find one.

Comment Re:Safe guns (Score 1) 1013

Very few Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines will handle a weapon on a daily basis. In a home-station environment, you will have the base security people (maybe 200 people at any one time) actually carrying a loaded weapon. You may have another 100 or so training with dummy/unloaded/blank-modified weapons each week.

The thing that no one ever wants to talk about is that the US Military is just a sample of lower-income Americans. We have thieves, rapists, alcoholics (oh god at the alcoholics), drug addicts, murderers, etc. We keep things locked up because we know we are crazy. Or at least we suspect the next guy is...

Oh, WRT psych evals, there are some, but not nearly enough. Recruiters and basic trainers want to meet quotas. It's in their best interest to pass as many through as possible. Once a (possibly crazy) troop arrives at their post, they are usually kept in-line or hidden by their front-line supervisors. It sometimes seems like the quickest way to get rid of a bad seed is just to wait for their enlistment to end...

Comment Re:Bullshit. (Score 1) 164

A123 had other problems as well. The batteries they produced were worse than other Lithium batteries in almost every way. Heavier, lower energy density, fewer cycles, etc... Their only advantages was that they could be charged quickly and they kinda resembled (but weren't interchangable) batteries people were used to seeing at the supermarket.

As LiPo batteries evolved, they were able to charge more quickly and their energy density has gone through the roof.

Comment Re:encryption (Score 2) 402

Sure, not feasible on a glued-together Macbook, but most business-class laptops have easily removed keyboards attached by a ribbon cable. On something like a Dell Latitude, it's easily a 1 minute job. The keylogger hardware isn't isn't exactly off the shelf, but not out of the question for a state-sponsored attack. Still, you have a point. Any target that's worth attacking with such sophisticated equipment is probably paranoid enough not to be traveling around a foreign country with the digital crown jewels, encrypted HDD or not.

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