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Comment Re:What with all the other debris? (Score 3, Insightful) 200

I think what he was getting at is a firework intercepting a quadcopter will revector its trajectory.

Someone had already planned every path the fireworks were to take, so the spent shells would not land at the wrong place.

However, having hit a quadcopter, a live firework, its payload yet to be spent, could have its trajectory revectored to a viewing area, with likely tragic consequences.

Someone designed that thing to go off a hundred feet up, not spuzzing around under the seats of the audience because it hit something on the way up.

I am sure the safety of the quadcopter was the least of their worries... it is that deflected live firework that I would be worried about.

Comment Re:This app is incompatible with all of your devic (Score 2) 82

That one thing, Sir:

I get the message "X This app is incompatible with all of your devices"

is by far the PRIMARY motivator I have of pirating anything. Second is having to reveal my banking transaction codes in order to make a purchase, when I have no trust of either my own system, my connection, or my vendor, third, and LEAST, is the PRICE.

It has been my experience that DRM'd stuff is so finicky and unreliable I might as well throw it away like an old screwdriver whose shaft slips in its handle. Its simply not good for anything. Maybe I can superglue the shaft to the handle to get an operable screwdriver - someone will cry foul, but you know, I'm gonna do it anyway, because I have a screw I need to install and the damned screwdriver won't work.

Comment As a hardware engineer.... (Score 2) 57

As far as I am concerned... just because a MIDI port was originally used for keyboards does not mean its limited to that. A MIDI port is really quite versatile and can be used for many other things.

Now, one thing I used to like a lot is the 15-pin game and MIDI port was on damned near every PC, and very few people had it tied up. It was simply a great way for me to get data in and out of the computer. All I needed to do was coin a protocol on my Borland C++ compiler, and talk to the port. I could always design hardware on the other end to talk to it. Shift registers. It was very easily optically isolated, which again made it ideal for what I was doing where I did not want to risk a very expensive PC because I had a ground fault somewhere.

I really liked that port. I used it a lot when I was building custom things controlled by a PC in the early DOS days.

Another neat protocol out these days is DMX. Used for light controllers.

They may make these for one thing, but when you see just what it is and how it works, they have usually made something that will work for a lot of stuff.

Comment Re:Wear leveling (Score 5, Informative) 68

I was looking into that when I was checking out alternatives to sub-gigabyte hard drives to keep legacy systems ( DOS and the like ) alive.

Sandisk's CompactFlash memory cards ( intended for professional video cameras ) seemed to make great SSD's for older DOS systems when fitted with a CF to IDE adapter. I can format smaller CF cards to FAT16 ( using the DOS FDISK and FORMAT commands very similar to installing a raw magnetic drive ). With the adapter, the CF card looks and acts like a magnetic rotating hard drive. I had a volley of emails between SanDisk and myself, and the gist of it was they did not advertise using their product in this manner, and they did not want to get involved in support issues, but it should work. They told me they had wear leveling algorithms in place, which was the driving force behind my volley of emails with them. I was very concerned the File Allocation Table area would be very short lived because of the extreme frequency of it being overwritten. I would not like to give my client something that only works for a couple of months - that goes against everything I stand for.

So, I have a couple of SanDisk memories out there in the field on old DOS systems still running legacy industrial robotics... and no problems yet.

Apparently the SanDisk wear-leveling algorithms are working.

I can tell you this works on some systems, but not on others, and I have yet to figure out why. I can even format and have a perfectly operational CF in the adapter plate so it looks ( both physically and supposedly electronically ) like a magnetic IDE drive in one system ... but another system ( say an old IBM ThinkPad ) won't recognize it. However a true magnetic drive swaps out nicely - albeit the startup files may need to be changed from one system to another.

Comment When it comes to "big money" (Score 5, Interesting) 411

First, I will say I have worked for a major oil company.

Second, I will say I have read "Twilight in the Desert" by Matthew Simmons, was an ardent follower of The Oil Drum petroleum web site - was more active there than I am here.. That site was full of petroleum engineers and field guys - and I trusted their insight far more than I trust words from any investment advisor sitting behind desk whose job it is to influence my decisions of how to allocate my retirement savings.

And Third, I will say I swallowed the "Peak Oil" paradigm hook line and sinker. Apparently messed up my retirement savings big time by investing in the energy sector as I believed with all my heart that we were in serious decline.

Suddenly fracking made the scene and all the investment buyers saw energy as plentiful again. And the price dropped, And many of the smaller guys sold out.

I cannot help but wonder if all this panic talk is them yet rounding up another round of panicky people and investors to make a poor investment.

I can't help but remember all this talk about how dire our energy situation was coming from our leaders. Then there is no energy crisis, Then there is.

Almost sounds like Donovan singing about petroleum. First there is a crisis, then there is no crisis, then there is.

We pay countless taxes into our government, and countless well-paid bureaucrats are supposed to be leading us, but does anyone up there really know what's going on?

So far, they seem to rank about as reliable as an ouija board.

How in the hell can anyone make rational decisions when no-one seems to take this stuff seriously? It seems lately all our government has wanted to so is snoop. 96% is a helluva big number.

I believe special interest tie guys have the government release all these "facts" in order to manipulate the market.

When I saw fracking, I was and still am concerned that was equivalent to "blowing the gas cap" on a dying oil well as once we relieved the subterranean pressure that was helping to push what was left of the liquid oil to the surface, we were draining the last "fart" from the earth before there was no longer enough energy recoverable from the lift effort than we were able to recover from the oil lifted. It meant the show was over.

I remain very concerned this whole fracking "happy days are here again" thing has been nothing more than a ploy to get control of the remaining oil reserves at a bargain basement price.

Comment Re:this is just too much. (Score 1) 129

I thought AT&T's whole marketing plan was based on the magic words "up-to [dream] for only $[price]* ".

Those magic words "up-to" make great talking points for the advertising people's sales pitches without committing the company to a thing, while at the same time obligating anyone who drinks their kool-aid to pay at least [price] and *likely more.

It seems every time I see those words "up-to" I think its "AT&T calling"

Comment Re:Combination of both (Score 2) 220

Shouldn't that be illegal?


If you are a college graduate who has invested tens of thousands of dollars into education and is expecting a return on that investment, if some businessman can get those skills cheaper overseas, its just good business.

If you are some business who has invested tens of thousands of dollars developing some product and is expecting a return on that investment and someone can bypass that and simply download the work from an overseas server, that is copyright violation, violation of patent, or some other way of saying "theft" and is verboten.

It just depends on how big you are and your relationship with the government on whether this action demonstrates "good business skills" or is considered "theft". Its really a fine line; I often cannot tell which side of it to be on myself, as I know that the game is rigged, and trying to be an honest player is a sure way to lose.

My personal ethics and the reality of my environment are usually at odds with each other big-time on these issues, which is why I have done my damndest to "drop out" of it. Doing science is what I feel I was borned to do, but putting up with the politics of the management classes goes against damned near everything I hold true.

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