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Comment Re:Why should commercial be different from private (Score 1) 239

There are basically three levels of quad(and hexa, etc)copter devices (loosely):

1) Toy Grade: These generally cost $100 USD or less. Most have a range of 100m or less. And most will fall from the sky when they loose radio contact with the controller. If they have cameras, tend to be 720p or lower resolution. Virtually all have brushed motors. They tend to be small and light, and cause little damage if they collide with something like a window. Are used for the simple enjoyment of flying by the pilots.

2) Hobby Grade: Usually between ~$100 to $1,000 USD. Have a range of upward to 500-1000 meters, and usually have more smarts, including things like GPS positioning, telemetry, return to launch point, automatic takeoff and landing, altitude hold, etc. use FPV and/or high resolution (1080p to 2K) cameras. Majority have brushless motors. May be built up from parts and support many different motors, ESCs batteries, flight controllers, video transmitters usually in the 5.8G band, and tend to favour diversity and "cloverleaf" style antennae for control and video over simple dipole ones. If they can carry a payload, it is usually on the order of a GoPro action camera. They tend to be fast, and moderately heavy, and will certainly shatter or break a window in a collision. Tend to be used for things like amateur videography, racing, stunt flying, etc.

3) Professional Grade: From around $1000 USD and up to the tens of thousands of dollars. Range is in kilometers for both control and live video feed, and thus may require a radio operator license. Some are totally autonomous, while many have semi-autonomous such that they can follow a pre-defined flight path, or perform complex actions based upon different events. Tend to be fairly heavy and use brushless motors. Many can carry significant payloads, such as professional/broadcast quality cameras. Are used for professional videography, aerial surveying, Search & Rescue, Law Enforcement, etc.

Remember, this is a broad overview of classification for quadcopters, and of my own humble opinion. I am sure you can poke all sorts of specific holes in it, but would agree that it a good rough guide.

So with these classifications in mind, we can have a better discussion about the governance of these devices, and not confuse or conflagrate restrictions between disparate grades of devices.

Comment Re:Really a hero (Score 1) 68

Truly a Hero! I owe him a great deal!

  I got my real start in Computers and Programming due to Logo. I was lucky enough to get a high school co-op placement at Ottawa's Carleton Board of Education's Computer Pilot Project, the Computer P.L.A.C.E. where I got to play with a Terrapin floor turtle, and ended up having to hack it's code fix it's programming to make it draw square "squares". I taught computer programming using LOGO, both Terrapin and Apple versions, to some of the very same high school teachers who had told me that I couldn't do programming because my math wasn't good enough. It also enabled me to get a summer job teaching at a computer day camp, and thus my career in computers was launched!

This Samhain, Seymour Papert, you will remembered among the honoured ancestors of my craft! Hail and Farewell!

Comment Re:"for non-technical users" (Score 4, Informative) 254

You mean like the Anonymous Coward who says "graphical utilities don't update the kernel"

This person should simply click the Mint update manager on their bar which brings up the graphical Update Manager Window. Then you click "View", and from that drop-down menu select "Linux Kernels". From there you can choose from all of the available kernels for Linux Mint.

I don't know about you, but that is certainly looks fairly graphical to me!

Comment That info is easy to get. (Score 1, Interesting) 76

You can get a great deal of information from the "service tag" on your Dell equipment. Every piece of Dell equipment has one, and you can get the entire service history through the Dell website. This is very useful for service types, both inside and outside Dell. But it sounds like some people are abusing that, and I fear that will cause Dell to shut down or limit access to that service. :-(

Comment Re:Lovely summary. (Score 1) 1044

It's amazing how Brad R. Torgersen came up with an acronym to perfectly describe the various Sick Puppies, and that acronym is CHORF. I couldn't think of a better way to describe them, as it stands for "Cliquish, Holier-than-thou, Obnoxious, Reactionary, Fanatics". That perfectly describes a bunch older white males who pine for the Golden Age when they thought they ruled the world, when women stayed at home and had babies rather than winning Hugos - bunch of white male elitists had a bad case of homophobia.

As for the numbers, well they really do have something to say about how a bunch of whiny old 5th tier male writers tried to influence an popularity contest by insulting and trying to bully the very people they needed to vote for them. And, not so amazingly, they created an EPIC FAIL.

Comment Re:Lovely summary. (Score 3, Insightful) 1044

The AC who submitted this is of obviously from the "Sick Puppies" camp. Anyone who has a clue to how the Hugo system works could have predicted, and many did, that this would be a sweep for "no award" in the categories that were influenced by the actions of the "Sick Puppies".

And really, it was all about numbers. The Puppies are a small minority and were thus clobbered by the greater SF Community. To them, it's a well known "fact" that a Hugo win can boost the sales of books and collections, and that is what the Puppies were looking for. Unfortunately, they have confused cause and effect. Books don't suddenly become popular when they win the is because a book is already popular that it goes on to win the Hugo. So no matter how hard you campaign, or rile at the community, to try to win a Hugo, if the work isn't already popular, you only get a pyrrhic victory by getting it nominated.

And if the "Sick Puppies" really had a clue about how the Hugos work and it's history, they would have known they were going to fail, because a certain organization whose name begins with "S", which is fabulously rich and was founded by a science fiction writer once tried a campaign get a book "written" by him to win the Hugo, and *they* failed.

So the Puppies had no chance what so ever.

Comment Re:Who wrote the summary? (Score 1) 247

Given how wide Slashdot's readers are, I suspect the reason why people are picky is because there's the expectation that a lot of people reading will be not native speakers--and having been a regular of IRC chatrooms where we were chatting in English purely because it was the sole language everybody knew, it was hard to miss sometimes that while people fluent in a language certainly can 'fix' missing words...this required fluency.

Frankly, this is the first time I have had this problem. I've been posting on BBSs, IRC, Usenet, Compuserv and usually, the only thing I used to get dinged for is spelling. As spell checking has gotten better, I have been able to "see" the way the word written correctly looks like, and more often than not, notice that it is "wrong", but usually can't tell you why it is wrong.

How well do modern STT options work? I was a selective mute because it took years to get it to where my speech could be understood--it was simply less frustrating to not even try to talk--so I'm very wary of attempting to get a computer to understand my speech.

I haven't used computer based STT, but I am having good success with Android's version on both phones and tablets. I am going to have to see soon about getting some sort of STT running on Linux to see how good it is...I hope that I won't be forced to shift to Windows to get decent software....although in theory, the stuff Google is doing should be portable to Linux since, at it's base, Android is running on top of Linux. Android apps are really just like Java apps, as they run their own bytecode in a sandbox on top of something else, like the Linux kernel.

As for keyboards, I've found that HP, ASUS, and Lenovo's laptop keyboards work well for me, enough so that I've actually worn out a couple laptop keyboards. I also keep a cheap USB old-style keyboard in my Bin O' Cables. (I am not going out to buy a new keyboard in the middle of the night, thank you.)

I used to use a Happy Hacking keyboard, but I switched to using a KVM between two machines, and thus needed to switch to a USB keyboard. I am currently using logitech wireless keyboard & mouse combo as I was forced for a while to work in a very limited space, but I now have enough space to maybe move back to the HH keyboard, or buy a new mechanical one, and switch back to using a trackball.

Incidentally: Choose a craft or musical instrument you enjoy that requires deft hands, the skills do transfer! This is a way to try to force your brain to expand the region associated with your hands, as well as increase manual dexterity, and the skills will transfer. (It won't help your handwriting, though; my handwriting is and remains dismal in English. I have reason to suspect that'd require having to relearn it entirely but have seen no sign that anybody's done the research here...yet.)

I actually play guitar, and have played for about 20+ years. I'm no Jimmy Page, Jeff Martin or Alex Lifeson but with practice I can play along with some of the songs they wrote. :-) I also play synthesizer, which is a bit different from just playing keyboards...playing a synth involves knowing more than just what keys are what notes, but understanding things like waveforms, envelopes, LFOs and all sorts of esoteric "analog programming" to produce unique and intersting sounds.

This might also help you when your eyesight gets worse, since being able to work by touch is amazingly useful when you're working in the dark or in conditions where you can't see (well). Personally, I think it's a useful skill for anybody to have; if nothing else, being able to change a lightbulb in the dark has its obvious applications.

As it is, when I turn off the light when I go to bed, I don't turn it on again if I need to hit the restroom, and thus navigate in the dark. It's not much, but it gives me a feeling for moving around without sight. Luckily, Macular Degeneration tends to just remove the sight in the middle of the eye, so you get sort of a "reverse tunnel vision" type of blindness, that is, you can, see around the outside of your field of vision, but not what you are looking at directly. So getting around is one of the few things that is not as bad as for those with total vision loss.

BTW, it has taken me over an hour to write and then edit this....hopefully it's not too bad. :-)

Comment Re:Who wrote the summary? (Score 1) 247

Thank you very much for your suggestions!

I read up on Dysgraphia, and that does seem to describe some of my problems. I have a very hard time writing things out in longhand, and although I can express my self well writing on a computer, with decent editing, such that I have actually sold articles and been Editor-in-Chief of an academic magazine, writing on forums like Slashdot is where I run into "Language Nazis", and get flamed. I am seeing my doctor in a couple of weeks for a regular checkup, I will ask him about testing.

In reference to typing, I can type usually in the 60 wpm and in bursts up to a hundred...but I still have problems getting my ideas out, and a good keyboard helps...most new laptop keyboards suck galactic muffins. That is why I have and older IBM/Lenovo laptop. And on devices like phones, I do tend to use the STT options, I started that since I was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration, and I am slowly going I have go get used to doing things with limited sight. I also need to start learning to use a screen reader on the computer....

Thanks again for your suggestions!!!!

Comment Re:Who wrote the summary? (Score 4, Informative) 247

I have a great deal of respect for the English language, but as I suffer from both Dyslexia, and ADHD, it is amazing I can express myself at all in the written word. I can't write as fast as I think, so I accidentally drop words from sentences. If it wasn't for spell check, I would be functionally illiterate.

So go ahead and kick the cripple, it's easy and fun.


Submission + - Uber Faces $410 Million Dollar Canadian Class Action Suit (

farrellj writes: A class action suite has been filed by the Taxi and Limo drivers and owners in the Province of Ontario in Canada against Uber, claiming $400 Million Canadian dollars in compensatory damages, $10 million in punitive damages. They claim that Uber is violation the Ontario Highway Traffic Act that covers taxis and limos, and have caused them to lost money. They also seek an injunction against Uber operating in Ontario.

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