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Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 103

I have the front panel of the VAX 11/780 used to render that scene hanging on my wall, but I got to Pixar after that project. This year and last I've contributed some designs that will fly on a FEMA satellite, and a long time ago did a little work to support the Biosciences mission on the shuttle.

Comment Re:So that makes it OK then (Score 1) 575

If Putin instead decided to target the RNC they might uncover discussions of voter suppression efforts or other dirty tricks.

You don't need the Russians to reveal that the Republicans want to suppress voting, the Republicans make voter ID and reforming the Voting Rights Act an open part of their political program.

What's truly bothersome about the DNC emails is that the Democrats are so completely sanctimonious about being the guardians of the voting franchise, yet they're completely willing to undermine the primary election process by hindering or sabotaging a candidate who posed a significant threat to their preferred candidate.

So what do they REALLY value, free and fair elections where the outcome might not be what their power brokers want, or a fraudulent process that they control through manipulation? To me, they are cynical to the core and their only belief is self promotion.

At this point, it's becoming less and less a question of policy (since really, no meaningful change in the status quo will actually happen no matter who wins) but a question of voting for the candidate who seems the least cynical and dishonest. At this point, I'd rather vote for a candidate who's up front about being an asshole than I would one who's going to lie continually.

Comment Re:That's Interesting & Irrelevant (Score 1) 51

My picture was nice too, but they had system boards that shouldn't have made it through basic inspection, and of course the mechanical design was absurd. Since there was no provision for mounting the system boards in a conventional way I have to conclude that the sloppy construction at least was by design.

Now as for whether LeEco build quality will be better, worse, or the same, I have no opinion. I'm just reacting to the notion that Vizio makes a quality TV. In my experience it doesn't. Your experience doesn't negate that, because the tough thing isn't turning out quality units, it's turning them out consistently. That's why it's called quality "control" or "assurance".

Comment Re:RIP (Score 4, Informative) 51

Errr... the build quality for Vizio TVs is dreadful. I had one fail twice in the warranty period and then of course immediately after the warranty expired.

Opening the thing up the mainboard of the device was fastened to the backlight panel chassis with packing tape. I'd never seen such shoddy construction, not to mention the very poor quality of the boards themselves.

In general I think the idea of "smart tvs" is bad for the consumer economically. On top of that selling our viewing habits a profit center for Vizio on their already crappy throw-away TVs. And to add insult to injury, the UI for most smart TVS is just terrible. I replaced the Vizio with a Samsung, not because I wanted another smart tv, but because it was cheap. Not only was the search function hopelessly broken, the damn thing interrupted stuff I was watching on Netflix or Amazon with service change bulletins for Samsung services I neither subscribed to nor used. How could any UI designers be so damned stupid.

But you almost can't get a smallish HD TV that's not "smart". I ended up with a Hitachi "Roku TV" which is just a plain old TV with a Roku stick stuck in one the HDMIs. I'm much happier with Roku's UI and service, but if I wanted to I could just pop the Roku stick out and have a plain old TV.

Comment Re:Hard to fathom they would actually build cars (Score 1) 134

I guess that's part of my question. A lot of car parts do come from the existing global parts supply chains, so building a "new" internal combustion vehicle wouldn't be that hard because almost nothing about it would be unique or proprietary and would be available from suppliers, right down to complete power trains.

With electric cars, though, there's a lot of engineering synthesis between the batteries, the drive train, even the braking (for regenerative braking) and in some ways, even the chassis considering the weight/safety issues relative to batteries.

While it's "just electric motors" and "just batteries", you're not building a golf cart, you're building a car where capacity/distance are major selling points and where innovation is ongoing, meaning that these systems aren't parts bin parts, many of them are highly proprietary engineered systems that can't easily just be bought off the shelf if they can be bought at all, especially when the buyer is Apple and the vendors of these products might not want to cede the market for electric cars to them.

With ICU cars, the incremental improvements in powertrains are miniscule, so nobody has a problem selling you their engines or transmissions and the rest of the car literally is parts bin parts from Delco or Bosch or the like.

Comment Re:They did the same thing for dual booting Linux (Score 1) 376

I still dual boot -- but I almost never use Windows, which is kind of the point. I don't use it enough to justify paying for a virtualization compatible license, and it's just a static waste of resources to boot in Windows to run Linux under a VM.

I suppose one solution for those instances where you have to boot Windows yet also access stuff in your Linux partition is to use raw partition access in a virtual machine and serve the data over a virtual network server. I know it's possible but it's been so many years since I've had to do it I couldn't comment on how other than to say read the virtualization platform documentation.

Comment Re:Not just at the border... (Score 1) 315

I've noticed there are quite a few cameras trained at cars in the Arizona checkpoints I've been through. I wonder if they have some kind of collation system that's able to identify cars via license plate readers who have been through an actual border crossing and then compare the occupants from high resolution cameras trained at the passenger compartments.

In theory, foreign cars that have already cleared the actual border and seem to contain the same occupants would be ones you would possibly want to reduce scrutiny on since you've already checked their IDs and vehicle at the actual border, possibly adding some kind of reasonable time window for the car to have been driven from the border to the inland checkpoint.

That way, if you crossed into the US, did the entry-to-the-US thing at the border you would be of less interest at an inland checkpoint and can be waved through faster, cutting crossing delays at the inland checkpoints.

Comment Boats that can fly (Score 1) 151

Sea planes are mostly planes that can use water as a takeoff and landing surface, but don't generally operate on the water as seagoing vessels.

Has anyone ever built sort of the opposite, a vessel that can fly but has some designed in ability to stay on the water more in the manner of a boat?

Maybe with gas turbines for electric generation, electric motor props and a electric pod drives retractable into the fuselage for marine propulsion?

Perhaps the engineering is too complex or it would do neither job well enough to be worthwhile, but it seems like there may be some interesting niches where rapid access to a remote ocean location is desirable but where there's some task needed where loitering and maneuvering on the surface of the water is desirable in ways or for time periods that an airplane isn't useful.

Comment Hard to fathom they would actually build cars (Score 3, Insightful) 134

I mean whole cars meant for consumer sale.

While it's not like they don't have the cash (in Ireland..), but vehicle assembly is a huge job and I'm guessing that many of the parts for an electric car aren't something you can necessarily just get out of the Bosch parts bin or get from jobbers.

My guess is they're building one to try to understand them from the ground up to be suppliers of technology or to lure a major carmaker without an electric car into building it for them.

Comment Re: TFA is not terribly clear... (Score 1) 222

And if they compel me to provide fingerprints, not only should I not have to tell them which fingerprint may unlock the device, it should be up to them to convert my fingerprint into a useful tool to actually unlock the phone.

Hopefully device manufacturers will include a configurable time window for the time to PIN/password fallback. It would be useful to adjust it based on usage from anywhere 0 to days, depending on what you think your exposure is.

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