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Comment Commercial, production laundry operations (Score 1) 139

Same thoughts here - just take a moment and enjoy it at home, but... I used to work for a company that made apparel. There is a plant in the deep south with washing machines the size of dumpsters - they wash 288 jeans at a time. Over 10,000 pieces are washed, dried, pressed, and folded a day. People stand there and manually turn them wrong-side-out and then, after laundry, turn them back again. They have to check the pockets to make sure there isn't any pumice left in them from "Stone Washing" - the rocks will mess up an iron. Extremely low-tech, labor intensive. Most of it is done in Mexico, except during droughts when it's hard to get enough water there (I'm not making this up), so they keep the operation in Alabama running all the time and they just add a couple of shifts during dry weather. A jeans-folding robot would need to come in pretty cheap so its Net Present Value would be less than minimum wage. Wild guess, maybe around $10K would be the breakeven point.

Come to think of it, with Alabama in record drought right now, I wonder if that laundry is running? :-)

Comment Re:GPS clock (Score 1) 291

The cool thing about CDMA is that it won't work without precision time standards in each of the base stations - i.e., GPS receivers with antennas fed through known lengths of feedline (or, alternatively, GPS receivers with known lengths of wire providing a 1 pulse per second reference). Net result is that CDMA can give sub-ppb time reference, and it works great indoors, too. Probably overkill for getting the kids up in the morning. :-)

Comment Re:How about the FCC just does its job? (Score 0) 173

The FCC has, over the last couple of decades, gone a long way toward outsourcing radio regulation. Now, they're predominantly a finance agency conducting spectrum auctions and counting on competitors to police each other. Often, this actually works. Sometimes it doesn't. To be sure, they do have some field-based, rapidly-responding capability to identify interference, especially for (and between!) public safety users, and they occasionally use this to levy big fines to scare everyone else into compliance - I wouldn't want to absorb the typically $11K fine, personally. But their enforcement division is nothing like it used to be.

As far as what used to be called "type approval" (the pre-marketing certification that a device is compliant), it is now 100% outsourced. The fees for this run between $100K and $500K, depending on the complexity of the device and the section of the FCC regs you have to be compliant with (47CFR). 47CFR95 devices are cheap, 47CFR90 devices aren't. 47CFR5 devices can (usually) be self-certified, but they can't be sold.

So, unless Open Source drivers can be sold and operated under Part 5, and it's totally not evident to me that they can, then certification cost is going to mean that someone if going to have to pick a tiny handful of reference devices, certify some binary blobs, and call it done. My guess is that those someones would be Red Hat and quite possibly Lenovo - the one and only marketable Linux Laptop would perhaps be enough of a niche to pursue. In principle, someone like, say, Intel could certify a blob for a mezzanine card and sell the card to vendors, but bear in mind this means the antenna must be fixed onto the card and certified as a package.

Sorry to be such a downer...

Comment Re:Don't Panic! (Score 1) 68

If you're reading this article, you may also be interested in the E. H. Danner Museum of Telephony located on the grounds of Fort Concho National Historic Landmark in San Angelo, TX. While there, you might as well see the Robert Wood Johnson Museum of Frontier Medicine, also on the grounds. Don't go on a full stomach. And that's about all there is to do in San Angelo.

Comment Re:HYPE (Score 1) 35

Still, you could have a lot of fun with someone... this is the sort of thing that happens when you google "dental robot vomit":



"The 600 series had rubber skin. We spotted them easy, but these are new. They look human... sweat, bad breath, everything. Very hard to spot." -Kyle Reese

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