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Comment Tempests and Teapots (Score 5, Insightful) 278

Might as well teach US kids to make tennis shoes while you're at it.

US kids don't need more computer science, US companies are already (still) offshoring tech jobs as fast as they can.
The colleges want to keep selling the courses and the big tech guys want to say that they're "doing something" about "the problem" (meanwhile they need more H1Bs, please) but nobody else would benefit.

If US public education gets behind *any* concept, you can bet that it's at least 5 years out of date already, and may be 10+ years out of date.

Comment Re:I met him (Score 1) 182

I wondered what happened to this guy since the 2007 arrest (for smoke alarms)...
He never struck me as especially talented; he seemed to disregard a lot of safety matters with what he was doing, which is not the mark of an intellectual.
The facial sores looked like narcotics use or possibly still more radiation exposure, neither of which would have been good news (for him).

He was on my ship. I was a nuke. He was not, and he was not nearly smart enough to be one. Nor did he have the dedication or discipline to succeed at it. He was obnoxious and racist. And I don't mean pretend racist that everyone like to toss around. He was openly racist and got his ass kicked more than once because of how openly bigoted and belligerent about it he was. There was nothing impressive about him, except for his disregard for common sense.

If the claim of his schizophrenia is true I would hope this would dispel any anger you had for him.
The typical onset of this condition is the late-teens / early 20's, and schizophrenics commonly pose the greatest risk to themselves--exactly by attempting to do things that they don't really know much about.

Comment Re:Holy shit (Score 1) 128

Speechless

Are you reeeeeally, now?
How many big company execs have you seen that don't know that "when Microsoft Word underlines something in red, it means you probably spelled it wrong"?

As for silicon valley, it is what it is.
A 'startup' is what they call a company with people who have no experience, no real assets and no real product.
Old money stays far away. "Pump and dump" is not a viable long-term investment plan.

Comment Re:Don't get too excited about this yet (Score 1) 95

Your friend is a good person but is at once fooled, since many clever countries as the US, Russia, China, India and many others have always hoped to reach the vast wealth and resources of Somalia

(It may have been used by somebody to spy on somebody, but it's probably a totally-local issue)

Comment Re:Walmart greeters (Score 1) 360

Do they have some secondary, "hidden" job, like, looking out for shoplifters or the like?

They don't just greet people.
They can generally direct customers to where stuff is in the store. Which isn't rocket science, but it is nice if one is in a hurry and the store is the size of three soccer pitches (which some are).
Another task they do is when you bring an item in to return it, they put a tag on it so that the people at the returns counter know that you really brought it in from outside.

Last but not least:
It allows Wal-Mart to employ some elderly people in a position that doesn't require much of any physical labor other than standing up. The greeter is usually a senior citizen (pensioner).
Due to US hiring laws companies need to be able to show that they are employing (or attempting to employ) people of all ages... and this is a job that is fairly easy for older people to do.

The door greeters are usually way too frail to attempt to stop any shoplifters. They just call for someone else for that if they see it.

Comment Selective Memory.... (Score 1) 630

This quote seems oddly familiar:
" There's a saying in the auto industry that hydrogen is the future of transportation and always will be."

I distinctly recall reading that Lee Iacocca (or some other big-US-auto-industry maven) said this many years back, but he was speaking about ELECTRIC cars. Not hydrogen.... ?
The time I remember this from was YEARS before fuel cells for cars were even considered a practical thing for cars at all.

I am middle-aged so this could have been quite some years ago. IIRC the person was commenting on the GM Impact program and EVs in general. By 2002 Iacocca was marketing ebikes and NEVs so it would have had to be before then.

Comment Re:Why not just buy arduino clones?? (Score 1) 83

Yea,,,, I hate to rag on people trying to be nice, but this thing doesn't seem to have any advantage over a lot of already-available options.

If we can dream, here is what I would propose:
1. A roughly-credit-card sized board powered by 3v, so they can just hook up a couple 1.5v cells (maybe attach the board to a plastic battery holder--they don't cost much).
2. some capacitive button sensors right on the PCB, so some human-interface input is already present (at least 8 - 10 buttons),
3. an SMD LED next to every button to show when the button is pressed (this could be code-operated, these LEDs don't need to be hard-wired. coding it could be the second assignment, after "hello world")
4. A visual-output display, right on the board. This could be a 2x16 character LCD, or just a matrix of enough SMD LEDs to show some printed characters--maybe 8 x 32 LEDs or whatever....

5. and this is the big one: do something to break the requirement of a PC for programming the thing...
My own suggestion here would be to have two photocells mounted on the face of the board, one is the CLK and one is for DATA input. And then you could write a program/phone app to write your code on, hold the board up to the screen with the photocells over two squares on the screen, and the app blinks the squares white and black to transmit the code to the board optically. This method would work on a PC or a cell phone, as long as you could run the app.

Having a USB connection on there is nice but a lot of people in the world can't afford a PC. A lot of schools in the world can't afford a PC. Most places you can get phones now tho, and there is Android phones that only cost $25. You are way more likely to see a cell phone in the 3rd world that you are to see PCs.

Also--having a few I/O pins on there is nice, but a lot of schools won't be able to use them much due to the cost of obtaining all the pieces. (mail service in many 3rd-world countries is pretty much a combination of 50% crapshoot and 50% extortion. The product needs to come complete if at all possible; you should not assume that they can mail-order anything).

Ultimately it would be best if you didn't need any external hardware (other than power) to program the thing at all. That is a pretty big jump tho, requiring a better display and probably at least 2 processors on there instead of one (assuming you stick to using tiny85-type chips... some little processors can modify their own runtime code--{Propellers can, IIRC. can ARMs do this trick? } ).

Maybe someday: it would have on-board solar cells for power, to finally remove even the battery requirement. I have little doubt this can be done now, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it.

Comment Your superior mode is inferior, too (Score 1) 400

Buses and (short-distance/commuter) trains both suffer from nearly the exact same drawbacks; buses have traffic issues but can be rerouted according to needs (such as re-evaluating the route layouts on a yearly basis). Trains don't suffer from road traffic, but are far more expensive to reroute if changes in demand calls for it.

And anyway,,,, all mass-transit suffers from two major utilization issues that are inherent in the very concept. One is that to be useful during peak-use times the carrying capacity runs nearly empty the rest of the time. How can that ever be considered efficiency? The other is that to be useful to lots of potential riders, mass-transit must be accessible (with lots of boarding and exiting locations) but increasing the number of stops lowers the average speed until the service overall becomes undesirable compared to other methods.

The way of the future is not mass-transit at all, but individual transportation. That is--motorized vehicles built for JUST one person.
The problems of individual vehicles are technological and can be easily improved upon. Smaller 1-2 person vehicles, less cost, lighter weights, better safety in crashes, better fuel economy, and so on.
The utilization problems facing mass-transit are inherent in its design and cannot be solved.

Comment Step #1 is to always have a plan,,,, (Score 2) 518

The guy is a jerkwad and deserves to get reamed for this. If he would have kept it hid, he would have had his quiet-time and nobody (there) would have known who to blame.
,,,,,
I am making a mental note of this incident tho: if I am somewhere similar and my phone (and everyone else's) appears to be dead, then Imma going to pull out my phone, pretend to call somebody and just keep on talking like normal.

Comment Gotta pay the bills somehow I guess (Score 1) 91

It seems like Hackaday is just throwing a bone to the places offering turnkey mini CNC machinery.

You can still get a bigger machine cheaper by DIY-ing it, but that depends on if you have more time or money really.

That, and the fact that with CNC {metal} machining,,,, it really isn't possible to get a fast & accurate machine by bolting together pieces of t-slot beams. (I don't think I've seen even one you-built-it CNC router that used ballscrews).

Comment Re:who gives a shit? (Score 1) 291

Despite your attempt at hand-waving, Bitcoin is already significant. Wishful thinking won't change that.

No, not really. Not compared to say,,,, the US dollar.

A major portion of the way that bigger countries control their citizens is by manipulating the value of currency. How long you work until you retire, what sort of work pays well, where and how you can spend your money and so on.

The people who run the governments of these countries know how critical this ability is, and they will never give it up willingly.

If bitcoin is a good concept for individuals is beside the point. It's a bad thing for governments trying to manage economies, and governments can change the rules of the game whenever they want.

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