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Comment Re:Why air gaps? (Score 1) 136

If you're talking about things that happen with p < 10^-5 you can can't test to any kind of reasonable confidence level. Engineers have to use the collective experience of the profession as a whole as a guide, in addition to actual testing.

Since phone design is interdisciplinary -- involving marketing, industrial design and engineering -- engineers will just have to push back when the designers and marketers try to take that half millimeter away. This case will be a touchstone for future generations of EEs, the way the Tacoma Narrows Bridge is for civil engineers and Therac-25 is for software engineers.

Comment Better Than Most (Score 1) 127

The slowest speeds listed in this report are far better than what HUGE swaths are of U.S. are relegated to: dial up.

Broadband rollout is so poor in the U.S., due mostly to corrupt relationships between providers and lawmakers, that most of the country's geography is not served by anything better than dialup or satellite, both of which are horrible.

Comment Re:I.e. Samsung acted recklessly for profit (Score 1) 136

Samsung is already on the hook according to the legal doctrine of res ipsa loquitor. Mobile phones aren't supposed to catch fire in you pocket. If they do, especially if lots of them do, the rebuttable presumption is that it's the manufacturer's or designer's fault. While there may be finger pointing between manufacturer and designer, California product liability law allows you to go after any link in the chain of commerce that is most convenient for you. In other states or countries, YMMV.

Comment Re:When I meet a copyright owner (Score 1) 70

Just to follow up on a couple of the points you mentioned:

Downloading some things from our library for use off-line is actually one of our most frequently asked questions, and again it's something where we generally take a pretty liberal approach and always have. We want people to enjoy the material. That's why we make it!

What I'm talking about is people who don't just download a few bits and pieces, but blatantly try to download everything right before the end of their subscription. These aren't people who are going on a trip and want something to listen to on the train. These are the people who would sign up to Spotify and then try to run scrapers on a mass of cloud-hosted machines to download literally every song on Spotify for their permanent use. Somehow, I would be rather surprised if the facility you mentioned for downloading content for offline use extended to providing a 100% DRM-free copy of Spotify's entire library, or if their ToS said that was OK, or if they would take no action if they caught someone doing it.

As for what is reasonable, I'm not sure I understand your position here. We're not offering (or in any way pretending to offer) a permanent copy of our works for someone to keep. We work on a subscription basis, and we offer subscriptions at a price that makes sense for that arrangement. I don't see how it's any different to saying you used to go rent a movie from the video hire store, but you paid a much lower price than buying your own copy and you had to return it. Offering the movie for rental didn't give customers any automatic right to buy a copy, at the same or any other price, nor did renting it out give customers the right to make their own copy to keep forever or share with their friends.

In the same way, I don't see how it is reasonable to expect us to provide access at a fraction of the per-user cost it would take just to produce the material, let people sign up for the minimum period, and then let them download as much as they can before it runs out even though it's clearly not being used on the terms we offered. Sure, you can just download the web pages or audio files or whatever from our site, and up to a point we'll be understanding about why you might want to even though that's not really part of the deal, but you basically seem to be implying the same as DRM guy: if we don't want people to abuse our openness, we should actively stop them, which brings us back to limitations and DRM of one kind or another.

Or maybe I've misunderstood and you were just saying you only like payment models where you get permanent ownership of your copy of the content? If so, that is fine and your choice, but it's not the deal we're offering and so joining our library wouldn't be a good option for you. Apparently it's also not a deal that would be economically viable in our case (we know, we did plenty of research to find out), which means if we were required to offer such terms if we were offering our material at all, then we simply wouldn't be producing and sharing that material, and again everyone who does currently enjoy it and find our current pricing plan acceptable would lose out.

Comment Re:What danger ? (Score 1) 330

If you try to punch through a car window, all you can expect is broken knuckles. The right tool is a glass cutter, but a sharp piece of hard metal should do in a pinch, provided there's only one layer of glass, and not two layers with a layer of glue between them. I vaguely remember seeing that configuration in some broken car glass, and if that's the case you'd need to first score the layer closest to you, and then strike the delineated area with enough force to not only detach it, but also to shatter the second layer.

OTOH, car glass is all tempered (unless it's an antique, in which case the doors won't lock themselves), so you don't need to worry about sharp edges.

Comment Re: Dangerous (Score 1) 330

It's not that simple. I personally prefer the mechanical roll-down windows...and my wife strongly prefers a station wagon the size of a mini. So we go looking for a new car...nobody we looked at had mechanical roll-down windows, but the onlly mini-sized station wagon we could find was a used car. Only one instance, too. It's been a decent car in most ways, but I'd still rather be able to roll down the window when the battery is dead or the engine's turned off.

Later I heard about the Volkswagen Rabbit, so there was probably actually a choice if we'd kept looking, but my bet would be that the windows are electrically operated.

Comment Re:Read the first volume (Score 1) 353

Not really. One should read the first part of the first volume, but it's general use is as a reference book(s). I have frequently gone back to parts of volume 2, but I've rarely needed the other volumes. For awhile I was planning to learn MIX but instead I only skimmed over it...and instead learned CDC 6400 assembler, which I had a practical need for. But the first part of volume 1 should be considered mandatory. Read it, know it, and build it into yourself so deeply you forget it...the knowledge is just implicitly there.

Comment Re:Dangerous (Score 1) 330

I'm pretty sure I'd see features like independently powered exit row lighting, emergency exits, inflatable slides/rafts, life vests etc.

In design and engineering you can't make things failure-proof, but you can plan for certain failure-modes. Yeah, if you lose a wing at 10,000 feet or do a nose dive at Mach 2 into the ground nobody is going to survive. But there is plenty of design that goes into an airplane that is aimed at very rare situations like the loss of all engines.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Some post election clarifications 1

1. No, Liberals were not "in a bubble". Our reaction isn't because we were surprised by the Trump victory, we knew there was a chance of one, pretty much every liberal I knew in a swing state voted for Clinton because we knew how close it was. Our reaction post election is horror, not surprise. Insofar as we expected a Clinton win, it was because the opinion polls seemed to suggest that. Those of us who trusted Nate Silver knew there was a one third chance of Trump winning.

Comment Re:Unfortunately no and I have a reason (Score 1) 353

The Abelson and Sussman textbook, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, uses LISP (actually Scheme). There are quite a few LISP fanatics who passionately feel it is still the best programming language made, citing such reasons as the simplicity of writing an interpreter for it. However, that textbook is pretty difficult. The authors didn't appreciate how hard recursion can be for many students to understand, and LISP and functional programming in general uses recursion so heavily it's the proverbial hammer for every nail of a programming problem.

Well, that's what you get when you beta test your textbook with MIT students. But that said, CLRS is no picnic for people who aren't very good at math, either.

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