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Comment Already being done for fishing boats (Score 4, Interesting) 436

Vessel Monitoring System.

They are required to have these tracking devices by NOAA in the USA. The boats have to pay huge fines if they stray outside their allowed zones and are not allowed to fish without out. If you've ever watched "Deadliest Catch", those boats all have one.

These devices regularly report the vessel's position via satellite and have internal batteries and no "off" switch. If you do remove power, the device immediately reports it as a power loss event and you have some explaining to do. If you block the GPS antenna it reports that too and again you have some explaining to do. All events are queued internally in flash so they will eventually be sent. If a vessel is not heard from for awhile NOAA all hell breaks loose since the assumption is that it has sunk, so it's in the vessel operator's interest to leave the damn thing alone.

These devices are quite small, use very little power, and the data throughput is tiny. It boggles my mind that airplanes don't have something equivalent.

Comment Re:adaptive technology (Score 1) 65

The frustrating thing is when a simple oversight renders something completely unusable. If a developer had, just for one minute, put himself in someone else's shoes it would have been completely obvious.

I can just imagine. Could you share some examples?

I used to be involved with web dev software. We'd make the effort to have it warn the editor if they use colour contrast combinations that are effectively invisible to colour blind folks. With the ridiculous way web pages are these days, I doubt anybody bothers with even that anymore

Comment Re:At least for web pages... (Score 3, Informative) 65

Damn that's hilarious. And I agree completely. Web site accessibility has utterly nosedived in the last few years.

The amount of layers of arbitrary and unnecessary popups and menus and crap has made the web worse and worse. It's become a challenge to put the mouse cursor anywhere and not have some unwanted menu or other idiocy pop into my face, obscuring what I really wanted to read. I used to use text browsers like lynx just to cut down on the noise, but these days hardly any sites work decently with lynx.

So what's a blind user dependent on text-to-speech to do? A few years back, that was workable. With today's craptacular web pages that use several megabytes of javascript, I guess they're out of luck.

Comment Re:Good luck with that (Score 1) 164

If you read the book, the movie makes perfect sense.

Now, I absolutely love 2001: A Space Odyssey, but I will freely admit that its one major failing as a movie goes is that it cannot stand alone. It gives absolutely no context or explanation at all for the "beyond the infinite" section.

Kubrick must have known that, and to this day I don't know why he chose to make such a lavish film that won't make sense without the book. I suspect a big part of it is that since Bowman is entirely alone at the end, it would take either internal dialogue, narration, or some back-and-forth with his hosts, all of which would have come across as utterly goofy or corny, so he decided to go weapons-grade primadonna artsy-fartsy instead.

So you have to read a book to appreciate this movie. There are worse things in life...

Comment Sedra & Smith (Score 1) 312

I'm dating myself, but I still have my copy of Sedra & Smith's "Micro Electronic Circuits" from my days at the University of Toronto. It's 30 years later, but I still use it.

It turns out that electrons don't change their behaviour after a few decades, and people who are good at explaining are still good at explaining in writing after a few decades. I also found a Quantum Mechanics book written by some guy around 1950 in German (which I can barely read but I managed) whose name I sadly can't remember but made my mind clear and pass QM with flying colours.

I really don't know what my kids are going to do with their pdf's. I really don't. I guess they'll manage, but I can grab the dead tree thing and it still works, despite some mold on the edges.

Comment Re:Egypt in 1922? (Score 1) 375

Well, how about this: my wife is Korean, and when I suggested to her that Korea is 68 years old she burst into mad laughter.

I suggest you go to Koreatown and suggest with a straight face to people there that Korea is 68 years old. The Japanese thing is a tiny blip in their millenial history and almost forgotten.

If you want to have some counter with a reset button based on some random criterion, fine, go ahead. Just don't expect anybody else to take it seriously.

Comment Re:Or to put it another way (Score 1) 115

x = [2, 8, 7, 9, -5, 0, 2] print [xn for xn in x if 2 < xn < 10]

y = [1, -3, 10, 0, 8, 9, 1] print [yn for yn in y if -2 < yn < 9]

print [xn for xn in x if xn in y]

Funny thing is, I find that easier to read and understand than the original. It's like "make a list of the elements in this range and print it", twice over, and finally "make a list of the stuff in x that's also in y and print it".

Comment Re:Egypt in 1922? (Score 1) 375

Like everyone else, you missed my part "how about year 1000" (a year I picked at random).

Japanese being assholes there for a few decades half a century ago doesn't suddenly erase the previous thousands of years of Korea being Korea.

I'm not even Korean and it's obvious to me.

Comment Re:I implemented a teensy WWCB transmitter once (Score 1) 97

Whether it was low pass filtering or just the card being at its limits I don't know, but the output was really quite weak. That's why I needed an audio amp. A 40W amp, no less. Since the audio amp wasn't designed for 60kHz either, the output still wasn't all that strong, but it was good enough for the watch to pick it up sitting next to the coil.

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Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.