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Comment Re:R; apt-get install r-base (Score 2) 254

R -- I've heard good things about R, and it's a good tool for certain fields. But if the original poster is interested in going into an Engineering field then different tools are more appropriate (It's better to use the same or similar tools that your colleagues are using).

Matlab -- one of the industry standards for number crunching and plotting.

Octave -- a Matlab clone that is frequently good enough. (My company can't quite afford a Matlab license, and I get by with Octave when I need that functionality).

Maxima -- for CAS, I haven't used it much, I've heard that it works.

Python with NumPy, SciPy, and Matplotlib -- Highly recommended. The combination is almost as good as Matlab for number crunching, and it is more generically useful.

Orpie -- great command line calculator

Comment Re:Makes no sense (Score 0) 144

It has nothing to do with privacy laws. The main uses are for aerial pictures and search and rescue. When there's an automobile crash on the interstate, a quick aerial photograph of the accident scene lets the police clear debris off the road faster and open the road sooner. Right now, they'll send out a hook-and-ladder fire truck and send a photographer to the top of the ladder to get the aerial pictures when needed. Privacy laws remain in effect, independent of the technology used.

Comment Re:Debugging prototypes? (Score 2) 208

But for analog circuits it's not as easy. SPICE can give you a pretty good idea, but it's not perfect. Even more advanced programs like ADS won't give you the full picture. As the final step you will always need to actually make a prototype and just hope it works.

Sorry, but if your final step is to "just hope it works" then your design is incomplete. For example, I designed an optical to electrical amplifier in the late 90's as part of the fiber optic communication system on the ISS. It was a pencil and paper design, and the first prototype worked as expected. I can guarantee what the circuit will do for any input that is within spec.

With modern computer simulation tools a designer can absolutely expect an analog circuit to behave as the simulation does. If not, the model is incorrect, or the simulation tools are not being used properly.

Comment Re:In this case Apple's position is sane (Score 4, Interesting) 414

You are barking up the wrong tree. You are correct that Apple did not invent the term "App", but that has no bearing on the validity of the trademark.

"Open Happiness" is trademarked by Coca-Cola. Certainly no one claims that either word was invented by the company. PespiCo would be legally liable for using that phrase in an ad-campaign, however, a company in a different market (Dell for example) could probably use "Open Happiness" for computer sales without issue.

Are you familiar with "The Container Store". It's a store where you buy, wait for it, containers!! And yes, "The Container Store" is trademarked. No other company selling containers can use that name. Similarly, Apple was granted a trademark for "App Store". Just because App Stores have more competition than Container Stores at the moment does not make the trademark any less valid.

Comment Re:I did this (Score 1) 725

my g/f was shopping for a new TV. She found the model she wanted, on sale, and was just about to tell the sales guy "I'll take it" when she was interrupted by her phone. She needs to pay attention to incoming messages because she delivers babies. She excused herself and consulted the latest news about one of her patients on her phone. The sales guy must have assumed she was price checking -- he quickly said, "Let me talk to my manager" disappeared and when he came back offered an additional $400 discount!! She got the unexpected benefit of price checking without actually doing anything.

Places that do what it takes to make the sale will outlast the places that cry "waaaah, that's not fair!"

Comment Re:Mac vs. PC (Score 1) 453

Ok, that's fine and dandy, however when using the word "America" the singular refers to the USA, the pl refers to both continents.

No, the word "America" in the singular refers to the USA only in the common usage in the USA. In most of the rest of the world, this is simply not true.

Comment Re:Mac vs. PC (Score 1) 453

So is this a pedantic semantic argument? I guess so, but I don't see how you could possibly justify that usage of America.

How many continents are there? It seems like a simple question, but it really depends on where you are from. In most English speaking countries, we are taught that there are seven continents. In most of the rest of the world, including most of Europe, S.America, and Latin America, the answer is six. What we call North and South America, most of the world refers to as simply America. How could one possibly justify that usage of America? If you grew up in Brazil you would ask the same question but with entirely different meaning.

Comment Re:Yes but... (Score 4, Insightful) 81

It's technically illegal to fly UAVs without visual contact in visual flight rules air space.

Not quite.

The FAA controls the national airspace with a white-list approach. Everything is illegal unless a specific category of safe flight has been defined. AC 91-57 defines the Model Aircraft Operating Standards and creates a specific legal exemption for vehicles flown for recreational purposes. This exemption also applies to UAVs, provided they are flown for recreational purposes. However, there is no exemption for operating a UAV for commercial purposes. Even flying an R/C aircraft is illegal if the operator attaches a camera and attempts to sell the resulting aerial imagery!

The FAA recognizes that people and companies other than modelers might be flying UAS with the mistaken understanding that they are legally operating under the authority of AC 91–57. AC 91–57 only applies to modelers, and thus specifically excludes its use by persons or companies for business purposes.
-- from FAA–2006–25714, Unmanned Aircraft Operations in the National Airspace System; Notice of Policy; Opportunity for Feedback (FAA link to pdf is down right now)

Technically, you or I could fly a 1:1 scale F-22 Raptor, but only if it were for recreational purposes.

Comment Re:paper in your wallet (Score 1) 1007

Now I have an oh-so-sort dictionary (only 160 entries!) to feed to my favorite password-cracking program. The odds of my success just went from potentially being neigh-impossible to almost-certain.

Now tell me, if you happen to find a wallet with a similar password page in it, at which website will you direct your favorite password cracking program? What username will you pair with the password?

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