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Comment Re: Somebody's getting a beating tonight (Score 1) 596

Detecting the failure should be easy, I agree. Could be done with simple analog circuitry or in the digital domain.

I can tell you that in my car there exactly three wires going to the accelerator pedal. And since that is the only place I am inputting the desired accel, this is where a redundant sensor would need to go. I'm sure on the gas engine side there are sensors on the throttle air/gas mixture block, so this would show what the engine actually did. And I would imagine the state for the cruise control is recorded too. But from a "person's foot command" point of view, only one sensor.

Comment Re: Somebody's getting a beating tonight (Score 3, Insightful) 596

If it's like my Honda Civic, "drive by wire," then there is a simple sealed variable resistor installed at the pedal lever. If one wire fails, the encoding ADC will either swing to the top or the bottom of the range. There really isn't a "throttle body" in an electric car.

So it is still possible that the throttle encoding circuit/wires failed and the computer logged a "full press" even though it wasn't pressed at all.

If it actually logged 512 or whatever the max is, I wonder if a normal press of the pedal could have achieved full scale? Maybe.

Comment Day already ruined (Score 1) 224

Their day was already ruined when they chose to operate a military-style operation at the hands of an OS primarily designed for video games and Facebook.

If they "didn't know better" then they were ill-prepared.

Sadly, yes, the U.S. Military had a fair amount of windows in their operations, but they can afford the Microsoft tax to get customizations that others can't.

Comment Re:Are you new here? (Score 2) 224

The fact is, unix and linux comprise 90% of the consumer "computer" market these days. There's Mac OS X/iOS and Linux/Android. The only devices running non-unix-like OSs are genuine windows PCs.

And the other fact is, there were multiple GUI shells before MS-Windows, even on the PC. The GUI as we know it mostly came from Xerox, which Apple copied followed by Microsoft. I would never claim though that any one of these agents is solely responsible for the GUI.

You are correct though about Microsoft and their vision for future products. Destroy, start over, destroy, start over...

Comment Unlikely to work (Score 1) 340

Unless these chips somehow share the antenna of the Bluetooth or 3G system -- which is unlikely as the wavelength is vastly different -- you would only pick up the strongest of signals.

I agree though that having a basic analog receiver in every phone could be very handy in emergencies and in rural areas where low power FM is normal and 3G/whatever isn't.

Plus I would just like to use it for music and news.

Comment Onion-like (Score 5, Insightful) 328

Ten years ago this would have appeared to be a post from The Onion. I can't believe this is really happening.

I dumped Windows 3.1 for Mac and later Linux, and I haven't really looked back since. Sure I bump into windows now and then, but I don't feel like I've missed out on anything.

But this takes the cake. How ridiculous can you get? They must have seen the writing on the wall and decided to go out with a big hurrah.

Comment Get a job (Score 3, Interesting) 255

Seriously, get a beginner-level job. Write some code for cheap, even for free. Maybe meet a mentor or two while you're at it.

Or if you're a student, march into some department's office that needs programmers (not comp-sci, but something like aerospace engineering where they need programmers and they can't program that well). Offer to help with some professor's project and see where it takes you.

Comment Three Politicians (Score 0) 434

Three Politicians finished using a unisex bathroom.

Hillary Clinton walks to the paper towel dispenser and uses two towels to dry her hands. “It takes me a little longer,” she says.

Bernie Sanders walk to the paper towel dispenser too, and remarks, “I’m not controlled by special interest groups, I only use one by my own decision,” and proceeds to dry his hands with a single towel.

Donald Trump briskly walks to the Dyson. The 430-MPH wind sprays water on the other two politicians. He remarks, “I’m Donald Trump, and I don’t pee on my hands!”

Submission + - Researcher Seeks Help Finding Developers of App Exposing 198,000 Users (

itwbennett writes: Researcher Chris Vickery has previously discovered database misconfiguration issues leading to exposure of sensitive information on 1,700 kids whose parents used the monitoring service, user accounts of millions of Hello Kitty fans, millions of voter records, and personal information of millions of MacKeeper users, among others. Now, he is trying to find the owners of a database containing 190,000 records, including email addresses, usernames and hashed passwords, that is sitting open in the public. 'The exposed records are connected to an iPhone application called Kinotopic,' writes CSO Online's Steve Ragan. But Vickery has been unable to contact them. 'I have tried to get in touch with the Kinotopic developers in several ways. All were unsuccessful,' Vickery wrote in a blog post explaining the situation.

Comment Re:Antennas (Score 1) 215

Yes. Carbon fiber can't be used for radomes and such.

But otherwise, the parent poster did an excellent job describing the reasons why the case can't be the antenna and the antenna can't be inside the case unless it is non-conductive. And even then, phones these days fit inside your hand, and the hand is a good insulator for RF.

That said, and back on topic, I have only seen better and better service in the years that I have had a phone. I think I've had maybe two dropped calls in the past 5 years.

Comment Re: probably, detects superheterodyne stage (Score 2) 42

Actually it can be done with a little RF theory.

The way these things is by multiplying the incoming RF by a carrier of frequency very close to the radar frequency. The result is a lower-frequency product that can be sampled or simply compared in the analog domain to a reference. In this setup, the frequency we are multiplying by (the "LO" or "local oscillator") is what is detected remotely, because, as you point out, it has a very direct connection to the antenna.

Here's how you get around it:

Multiply by the expected radar frequency plus, say, 200 MHz. Before the multiplication, near the antenna jack, filter for radar frequency +/- 10 MHz (bandpass). Now the result of the multiplication will be very low-level signal except for a portion around f+/-10 MHz. You then sample this data. As you can see, the bandpass filter doesn't allow the LO to escape through the antenna connection.

Traditional receivers wouldn't do this because it wastes a lot of potentially useful bandwidth, but you can do this to avoid having the LO detected. Without much background on speed radar, I don't know how much variance there is in radar guns, but you would need to take this into account when designing the input filter and choosing the offset from expected frequency for the LO.

Not in textbooks, but definitely something that can be done.

Comment Can they fix it? (Score 1) 222

So the question is, can they fix it? This is a relatively new car company, certainly the most successful of any new car company in the last decade. A problem with a door handle or a brake rotor is hardly unique in this industry.

To think this will cause permanent harm to all future Tesla owners is ridiculous. The car is pretty darn good for a new model. In a few years people will start to notice all the failed parts on their Fords and Toyotas and buy a Tesla next.

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