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Comment Separate the components of your electronic device (Score 2) 380

So it seems that TSA Bob is suggesting that separating pieces of your custom electronics may help your luggage get through TSA screening. Since this device was found in carry-on baggage I don't know how much that would help. I often travel with custom and semi-custom electronics in my checked baggage and I've never had a problem (although I regularly find the "searched by TSA" card when I reach my destination). A couple things I do:
-Put custom electronics in my checked baggage whenever possible
-Put the parts in separate containers whenever possible
-Separate batteries, antennas, and other accessories from the devices
-Try not to travel to Phoenix (nothing to do with custom electronics or TSA, I've had two bags seriously damaged at PHX)

Also, be aware that "rubber-ducky" type antennas show up as a thin metal blade/wire on x-ray. I've had my carry-on's searched a couple times because I forgot to put an antenna in my checked baggage, although it's never been a problem once I took it out of the bag and showed it to the agent.


ESA Releases Lutetia Flyby Images 48

The European Space Agency has released images from yesterday's close approach of asteroid 21 Lutetia by the Rosetta probe. At its closest, the probe was a mere 3,162 km from the asteroid, passing at 15 km/s and snapping photos sharp enough to make out features as small as 60 meters. "Rosetta operated a full suite of sensors at the encounter, including remote sensing and in-situ measurements. Some of the payload of its Philae lander were also switched on. Together they looked for evidence of a highly tenuous atmosphere, magnetic effects, and studied the surface composition as well as the asteroid’s density. ... The flyby marks the attainment of one of Rosetta's main scientific objectives. The spacecraft will now continue to a 2014 rendezvous with its primary target, comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It will then accompany the comet for months, from near the orbit of Jupiter down to its closest approach to the Sun. In November 2014, Rosetta will release Philae to land on the comet nucleus." There is also a replay of the media event webcast on the ESA's website.

Comment The suit against the service provider succeeded?? (Score 1) 263

From the article:

"The court in December refused to hear a related appeal from Arch Wireless, now a unit of USA Mobility Inc., the nation’s largest provider of paging services. The 9th Circuit court said the company violated a federal electronic-privacy law by providing the transcript without seeking Quon’s permission".

So the Supreme Court ruled that the department had the legal authority to review the pager messages, but the 9th Circuit says the service provider violated a federal law in turning over the records without Quon's permission?

Comment The Defense Security Service (DSS) is NOT the NSA (Score 5, Informative) 452

Not sure how this got a tagged as an NSA video, it's from the DSS. The DSS is the organization responsible for granting security clearances. The process they're describing is the polygraph you take to receive certain security clearances. Anyone who is taking this polygraph has applied for a Top Secret-level security clearance. This process is pretty much the same for anyone applying for these clearances, doesn't matter if they'll be working at the NSA, another three-letter agency, in the armed forces, or for a private defense contractor.

Comment Who uses integers in MATLAB? (Score 5, Informative) 334

MATLAB isn't strongly typed, and by default variables are floating-point (I think 64-bit is the standard if type isn't specified). Makes sense for scientific programming. You need to go out of your way to use integer types in MATLAB, and the only reason I've ever had to do it is when trying to convert MATLAB scripts to C code to run on fixed-point processors. I do think that not supporting 64-bit integer operations is an oversight but I don't think it affects the vast majority of MATLAB users.

Comment Super-cheap? CPLD development kits (Score 1) 185

A cheaper alternative that's well below your price point would be CPLDs (complex programmable logic devices). Much less capable than an FPGA but also much cheaper. Xilinx makes the CoolRunner line, Altera makes the MAX line, and I'm sure there are plenty of others. There's a $63 Xilinx development kit available from digi-key:

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