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Comment Re:You got it backwards (Score 1) 1218

Yes - a National test adjusted to local preference.

What if they just keep the test they have and re-name it ' National Standards Test .'

That is in keeping in giving things a name that divert attention from the substance, kinda like the PATRIOT Act. End of Major Combat - Operation Enduring Freedom - Fair and Balanced

Comment Re:One (Score 1) 280

Light Switches in my house are operated by a Stone Age (at least) bio-chemical system, with the rest of the person wrapped around the brain Thermostat on HVAC is operated by the the thermo/dynamic operation of the weather system of the Earth.
The scale at my doctors office is a gravity operated system.
My watch uses a controlled mechanical release of a spring under tension.
The sun uses a chemical reaction with a self limiting feedback system
Commercial Machinery typically uses ladder logic systems

Assorted Magic - exact system unknown

My car's turn signal seems to cause the car in the lane next to me to accelerate
My wife is always right
The cats know a second before I pick up their bag of treats
The cats when a visit to the vet is about to happen
The 5-second rule
The speed at which my electric meter turns when I am not home
The time at which my neighbor starts mowing their lawn on Saturday morning
The ability of the kids to sense a McDonald's before it is visible

Comment Re:Did anyone else think... (Score 1) 371

Resistance = Heat, too much heat and you stop superconducting. The typical connection was to be ~ 10 to 15 nano-ohms. Anywhere the connections did not meet flush and without air or debris created additional resistance, so this would also have to be effectively eliminated.

At each location where the power lines went into the LHC - there was, by necessity, a penetration to allow the cable to exit. each of these points needed a flexible gas tight connection, along with being exposed to a wide range of temperatures.

Electrical interconnections used, among other methods:

Induction soldering with custom soldering ovens for the main busbars (13 kA) and also cryogenic zones
The ultrasonic welding technique used to connect the auxiliary and spool pieces busbars.

TIG welded electrical connections, using orbital welding machines from the standard IC whenever possible and, for the other ones, manually welded. The manual welds were X-rayed or Î-rayed in most of the cases.

And then there were the difficult parts also.

A few items cut and paraphrased from http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1124102/files/LHC-PROJECT-REPORT-1157.pdf

Comment Everything is monitored ... except this ATM (Score 2, Interesting) 394

Sorry pulled the evil trick of RTFA:

Computer World By Robert McMillan
August 2, 2009 04:59 PM ET

They were smart enough to place the machine in one of the few spots in the hotel where there was no security camera to catch them, Priest said. "It was literally right next to the hotel security entrance."

Comment Flash is often cheaper than wires (Score 5, Informative) 275

for anything more complex that a light switch, the flash will be the least expensive way to go - as mentioned above, what we are talking about is a micro-controller, not a dedicated flash memory chip like that used to store the music (or whatever) in a mp3 player. The smallest of these are US $1 Retail in single quantity. order a million and they are likely 20 cents tops. A slightly larger one will have enough pins for the keys on the keyboard and spit USB out the other end, along with enough extra pins to act as a USB Hub, light the LEDs for caps lock, and still have pins left over for factory testing. 1 chip is all you need ( yes it might be cheaper to use dumb logic to multiplex the pins from the keyboard buttons - in fact it is - the difference is a few cents but over a few million it adds up - i am attempting to make the simple argument )

And this chip is still well under $1.

With one of these i can use the same chip in every keyboard i design. The logic design for all my keyboards never needs to change - so i need to only stock 1 pc board for all keyboards - just flash the correct firmware before it goes into the keyboard. If someone lays out the pc board wrong - i may well be able to fix this problem in the firmware. I want to make a trackball, a joystick, a WOW keyboard - same chip, same logic pc board, just slightly different firmware - some guy in marketing wants to add an LED, same chip - same pc board

This same thing is what makes it possible to 'flash' BIOS. In "The Old Days" Bios was an expensive, custom memory chip . You had to change out the chip itself to upgrade the BIOS. So you had to disassemble the computer, so you needed someone who could do this, ... it was expensive to make a change, it was not easy to add a feature, like support for a new drive. and so on..

Today all BIOS is FLASH - and the flash is either inside a micro-controller, or (and more often the case) the memory has its own micro-controller and this is what handles all of the heavy lifting for a BIOS upgrade - it programs the BIOS memory. And everyone of these BIOS micro-controllers has extra RAM and FLASH hanging around, it makes upgrades easy and cheap. Problems that used to cost millions to fix are now only a download away.

These micro-controllers are everywhere today - they run the fancy display of car stereos - the graphics - the security code for detachable faceplates - all in one of these little things. The same is true for home stereos - it is cheaper to install one of these on the pc board with the display than to pay for the bigger connectors that would be needed otherwise. It really can be, and often is, cheaper than wire. And again use the same pc board, just flash new software into it, and the marketing guys have new features - or at least flashing lights - for the cost of changing some code. The left over memory in this chip is what allows for fancy 'demo' displays on electronics - the memory is there - let the marketing guys fill it with whatever they want. The other guys add a 'cool' feature - add your own without even slowing down the assembly line ( yes testing .... i know )

Anywhere you see cool flashing lights, or a small add on feature, on a piece of electronics, it is likely that one of these micro controllers is what is making that happen. You want serial and not USB - easy - , you want to make you product compatible with another guys new product - easy, you want to change the length of time on the wash cycle of your dishwasher so that it can get a better rating in Consumer Reports - easy -

Every keyboard has a similar problem - just happened to be exploited on a Mac first.

And if you are looking for a career in electronics/computer science/engineering - embedded design can be fun

Comment Just a question ... (Score 1) 749

Using your definition are you an idiot ? I am honestly curious. I understand what you are saying, and while I do not completely agree with you - I respect your opinion as reasonable.

But .... do you really not own any pre-recoded movies on DVD media ? If you do not, I have great respect for your actions, and how they match your thoughts.

If you do own any ... here's your sign .........

And perhaps we need to find slightly different way to approach the issue of DRM media, than to just stop feeding the machine.

[ I also think you might really enjoy the DVD movie thing ]

Comment You must have FAST FIOS to get this (Score 1) 168

From 'FIOS Central'

Who qualifies for free Verizon Wi-Fi?
Both new and current Verizon FiOS Internet users who subscribe to a plan with download speeds up to 20 Mbps or higher qualify for free Verizon Wi-Fi service.

Basic FIOS plan is 15 / 5 for $ 44.99

Upgrade plan w/ wifi is 25 / 15 for $ 64.99

I hate to admit it - but i can only suck so much down the light pipe - so it would be a $ 20.00 a month to get the 'free' wi-fi access

Not today

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