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Comment Car makers LOVE dashboards that go obsolete faster (Score 1) 417

You replace your phone or tablet (on average) every couple of years. In two years, it's obsolete. Not fast enough, not enough storage, doesn't run the lastest apps or the latest OS updates.

You replace your car far less often -- and as cars are lasting longer and longer (remember when 100,000 miles was end of life?) one of the ways to get your car to "need replacing" is to build in technology that looks ancient in 2 years. What do you suppose the resale value of a car is that is 3 years old, has less than 40,000 miles on it, but can't run the latest dashboard operating systems or applications?

Comment Re:As a firefighter, I am extremely skeptical. (Score 2) 30

Thanks for the nice feedback. I could get a lot more graphic, but I don't think people would really believe me. What you see on TV of firefighting is as unrealistic as everything else on TV. For good reason, I guess, since video of what goes on inside a real burning building would be very hard to watch. It would mostly be a dark or a white screen and a lot of noise. Not great television.

Comment Re:As a firefighter, I am extremely skeptical. (Score 1) 30

SCOTT offers a mask with a heads up TIC, and I'd imagine MSA does but I've never checked. The problem is, they're expensive. We can have one handheld TIC on each engine, ladder, and heavy rescue. If we were buying the masks with built in TIC units, we'd need to have one for every pack because they really can't be shared.

Comment Re:Question (Score 1) 30

Thank you. I commented at length about this already -- but yeah, this kind of robot would be very little help in any configuration I can currently imagine. Thermal imagine is commonly used, but handheld units are more common than the very expensive ones built into SCBA masks. You can't share a mask between crew members so you'd have to be one per firefighter rather than one per crew, and they're not cheap. Most departments have a hard enough time getting budget to replace worn out hose lines, let alone thousand dollar thermal cameras.

Comment Re:This is silly (Score 3, Insightful) 30

Thermal imaging cameras are quite common for fire crews. We have one on most of our engines, trucks, and heavy rescue units. They are available built into the SCBA masks but they are extremely expensive in that configuration and can't be easily shared between crews and crew members so you'd have to buy one for each firefighter rather than one for each crew. Remember, you can't just use an IR camera from best buy. They have to be waterproof, intrinsically safe (no sparking internally when switched on/off), impact resistant, heat resistant, and 100% reliable.

Comment As a firefighter, I am extremely skeptical. (Score 3, Insightful) 30

The article gets right that visibility is limited. Let me be more clear. Visibility is often zero -- as in you may as well close your eyes. If you get there before the engine crew is actually putting water on the fire and the smoke layering is still undisturbed, you may have visibility at floor level, but often not. The minute water gets to the fire -- or a heating pipe solder joint melts and the pipe sprays water -- the building fills with steam and the layering is disturbed and conditions are zero visibility. It's also very loud, between the sounds of the fire and the sound of your breathing through the respirator mask.

Now, imagine what's on your living room floor, or your kids rooms, or blocking your hallways. Imagine you don't know the layout of your house and you're blindfolded. Try searching under those conditions, keeping in mind that seconds count as your knees are sticking to melted plastic toys and you're feeling ahead of you to make sure there's no open hole in the floor, stairway, or other hazard, and you're checking to make sure that the engineered joists holding the floor you're crawling across haven't become weakened by the heat to the point where you'll fall through into a burning basement. While doing all that, you've got one hand on the person's gear leg ahead of you (or perhaps a hose line being led by someone ahead you can't see) and your other hand is trying to sweep the floor around you with your tool, and a third hand may be trying to look around with a thermal imaging camera to find a patient on the floor, under a bed, or in a closet. You've got 20 minutes to find what you need before your low-air alarm starts going off and you've got to head out with your crew while another comes in. Meanwhile other crews are banging around trying to put the fire out before the house comes down around you.

Call me skeptical, but I don't see any current robot technology that can do all those things -- let alone do it in several hundred degree heat.

Comment Some answers to the know-it-all comments: (Score 4, Informative) 246

MS didn't sue earlier because it's really hard to find a legal entity to sue. When you get one of these calls, the thing calling you is not directly attached to a land line. It's a software pbx system that may be running on a compromised machine in some part of the world. The call only gets connected to the person you talk to after you connect and the system determines you may be a real person willing to talk to someone. The calls get routed through compromised voip service providers, compromised pbx systems, or termination lines leased with false id and credit cards. By the time the provider knows what's happening, tens of thousands of calls have been made and the front end system just moves to another provider. As to "opting out" -- only legitimate telemarketing organizations bother with do not call lists. These asshats just random dial. It's cheaper.

To figure out who to sue, you have to participate in the scam long enough to have an actual transaction processed and then follow the money -- but that's not so simple now. Most of these particular kinds of scams don't accept payment at the telecenter you're talking to. They just install the ransomware on the pc. Then once you're already compromised you have to pay someone else -- through a web site, a wire payment, or some other mechanism that's much easier to hide than just a credit card transaction.

Comment Re:How about someone who groks the math, comment? (Score 1) 197

Thanks, but the only person to quote for that one (including the poor grammar) is me. I'm glad you enjoyed it. As I just said to someone else who disagrees, "If you put some steel across a span with lots of triangle shapes to it, intuitively you may look at it and say "should hold". I'd probably walk across it willingly. I would not, however, want to count on driving trucks over it regularly without someone with engineering training and rigor applying math and proven science to the problem first."

Comment The difference between obvious and proven... (Score 1) 197

If you put some steel across a span with lots of triangle shapes to it, intuitively you may look at it and say "should hold". I'd probably walk across it willingly. I would not, however, want to count on driving trucks over it regularly without someone with engineering training and rigor applying math and proven science to the problem first.

Comment How about someone who groks the math, comment? (Score 4, Insightful) 197

I'd love to read a real comment (yeah, I know, it's almost like I'm new here) from someone who is actually capable of understanding the math here. It would be great to see a reasonable discussion on the actual implications here.

As to people saying "that's obvious" -- what you can intuit and what you can prove are not the same thing. The only thing prove by a "that's obvious" comment is that the person posting it doesn't have a clue.

Comment Re:People are the problem (Score 4, Interesting) 82

actually, many many people are saved by AEDs every day. I've seen it done. In one case at my daughter's school a kid's grandfather dropped during a drama production. A student ran and got the AED our department had placed in the school, a parent used it on the floor of the auditorium. The man WALKED to the ambulance when it arrived a few minutes later.

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