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Comment Mod parent up (Score 1) 337

Unless you're experimenting with some really, really interesting stuff at home, I'd strongly recommend looking through eBay for some slightly used Tektronix gear. I have a TDS420A that I picked up for just over $400, and it does everything I really need. (I do wish it had a USB port for saving screenshots - I hate keeping floppies around just for the scope.) Seriously, it's a great little scope. Save some cash and put it towards other gear, like a used programmable power supply, or a function generator, or a used logic analyzer. I've picked up some awesome gear on eBay dirt cheap - the trick is just keep watching and have patience.

Comment Re:Let the lawn derby begin (Score 1) 582

One of the systems I've worked on in the last year used Microchip PIC12C508s as signal converters to interface one part to another. Basically the function could have been done with discrete logic, but why when a 25 cent, 8 pin micro will do just as well. Those bad boys have 25 bytes of RAM (yes, 200 bits, folks) and they're still an actively produced, useful part.

Comment Re:11k Is Too Big? (Score 1) 582

Actually, no, I used to use gcc against an m68k embedded target as part of my daily job writing firmware, and 11k does matter when your total program space is only about 256k.

Even today, I'd much rather compromise compile time for smaller, faster code on the output side. I live in the small embedded realm, though, and size is often directly related to speed due to the sloth-like nature of the memory bus.

Comment Re:Compare Nuclear Waste (Score 1) 324

Yeah, not sure what part of Middle America the grandparent poster is thinking of, but any part I've been to (including 22 years as an Iowan, now ten in Colorado as an Iowan in Exile) would love to have real manufacturing and basic industry jobs - good, relatively stable work with an actual product. Midwesterners tend to be pragmatists, and realize that industry=jobs=money, but that there are tradeoffs. I'd say you'd be much more likely to throw a rock and hit a NIMBY on the coasts than you would in the Midwest.

Comment Re:revoke ALL their copyrights (Score 1) 323

Yes, however, it would still be my physical item that I control. Maybe, if I'm an asswipe of huge proportions, I judge the risk to my item greater than the value I get by allowing others to do their thing with it (which is, for the owner, essentially squat).

I don't agree with CBS's actions. I think they're being royal jackasses over something that is truly a classic part of TV history. Their bullshit about lawyers is just that. I'm sure, like most large companies, they have a small army of lawyers, and I'm sure one of them could find some spare time to do this. I do, however, support their right to control the physical media they own, no matter what sort of asinine things they want to do with it. Just because it's in the public domain doesn't mean I have to let anybody else play with the stuff I own.

Comment Re:4 tens is awfully nice (Score 1) 287

I think for short bursts it works okay, but sustained for more than a few days in a row leads to fatigue and quality issues. I'd rarely say code that comes out of the 13th hour is exceptional, but it's often adequate.

On the other hand, if the dev team has been putting in 60 hour weeks for weeks on end, they're likely nearing the breaking point and quality is most likely in the shitter. Send 'em home, let 'em rest.

Comment Re:I am very sceptical... (Score 1) 1093

Should you be completely dismissed because you don't have a PhD? and to suggest it is irresponsible and idiotic.

I'd mod the parent up if there was any further to go. Instead I'll just agree with him. Many of the smartest people I've known have a BS or no degrees at all, because they skipped straight into the private sector (because they were just that damn good). Skipped the academic bullshit and go straight to profit, because that's what motivated them. I likewise respect those who do work in the academic sector, but to denounce anyone who didn't spend half their life in college accumulating letters after their name is just stupid and elitist.

Comment Re:no, they havent. (Score 1) 123

The thing is, you don't need the specifications on what Honda did. You need to calculate the limits at which the part needs to perform plus safety margin and work from there. Honda engineers obviously have the advantage of exact numbers and thousands of man-years of research and testing on their specific platform, and thus can get away with a much lower safety margin (because they know *exactly* what it must do), but that doesn't stop your a decent ME from figuring out roughly the same thing.

Car modifications over the years have traditionally been done by backyard mechnics with no ME degree. It can be done. It just can't be done with such a high degree of certainty as would be required for any engineered solution. Being able to construct something that works vs. something that's compact, inexpensive to manufacture, and reliable over the long term is the difference many times between amateurs and professionals. Often times rather than working through the calculations, it's much easier for the amateur to just way overbuild something and learn through trial and error.

Typically my rule when re-engineering car bits is to figure out the worst case and add a large margin if the part is subject to significant stresses. Then again I'm primarily working in the electrical side of things, as I'm an EE and my ME friends have made me swear off ever touching mechnical bits.

Comment Re:Personally I believe it depends upon if you're. (Score 1) 735

Salaried doesn't mean indentured servitude, though. Yes, I agree, if it was part of your initial employment that you will be on call for 24x7 support, you'd better figure that into your salary and just shut your piehole. However, many of us either a) used to be compensated separately for on call time or b) used to not have a 24x7 system, and were charged with one while maintaining the same position in the company. I'm actually at the unique intersection of both of these. I used to not have any 24x7s when I took this job, and once I agreed to take one on, there was compensation for disrupting my life for the weeks I got stuck with the pager (1 hour comp for every 8 hours on call, plus 1 for 1 recall time)

About two months ago, we all just got totally boned by a policy shift. Now they expect me to do it for nothing, and where I work, that means I'm no more than 15 minutes from being able to log in and I'm dead stone sober (meaning, a BAC of as close to 0.00% as you can get...). The only upside is that I get a minimum of 4 hours comp for every call. It certainly hasn't encouraged me to fix any bugs, since I enjoy the extra vacation and they're usually quite easy to deal with.

Ever seen the Dilbert where the boss offers an incentive payment for every bug fixed? Wally wanders off saying something about writing himself a new minivan. That's basically what they've created around here, and pissed us all off in the process. It's certainly not an incentive to make the pager quiet, just to make the bugs require minimal attention.

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