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Comment Re:Batteries from Nevada to Australia? (Score 1) 274

Um You ship them UPS...

Seriously the stringent regulations only apply to passenger air craft. Since most US mail is transported by passenger aircraft, you can't mail batteries. But you can ship them UPS with pre-approval from UPS. For sufficient cash, I'm sure UPS or any other cargo airliner will happily load an entire plane with lithium ion batteries.

Comment Re:How about shipping them now? (Score 1) 84

You know what else could be happening? The production pipeline could be being stalled by an engineering bug. If there is a flaw in the design that causes 10% of the Pi Zeros to fail testing, that could cause production yield issues, slowing down shipments as more units are needed and more testing is done to verify shipped units actually work. What's the solution to that? Revise the PCB. Engineers like to add features when they revise PCBs, so if it's deemed low risk I could totally see an Engineer make a change to say fix the a high speed net that didn't make timing [and thus resulted in flaky hardware] and at the same time slamming in a new connector as a "freebie" new feature.

Comment Re:16 years (Score 1) 388

So instead draconian lawyers and corporations do the following:

1) Delete email older X months old => Wasting time and money when employees have to replicate work because they can't find information in their email.
2) Hide criminal behavior by destroying evidence.

An organization with integrity wouldn't delete email to save themselves from a lawsuit. They'd delete email because the storage costs exceeded the likely future value. Which with the cost of storage being so low that is basically never. I can vaguely see forcing users to download their old mail locally [ie. Outlook's AutoArchive feature], thus removing that storage from the server which has higher IT labor then my desktop. But I don't think corporations should force users to not archive mail either by IT rules or by domain policy settings [at my work Outlook can't download mail to a local PST because they've disabled that feature, yet anything stored on the server is deleted after 1 year]

Email should be held indefinitely while a user's account is active simple as that. Any deletions, subject to legally required retention rules, should be done at the users discretion. 1 year retention after a user is fired/quits seems reasonable for non-active users. Otherwise your discovery just get's harder as users download their email for future reference to who knows where... Make memo's on random network drives, post it notes in their office, you get the idea.

If discovery happens corporations should stand by their actions. If they were illegal or unethical, they should face the music at the lawsuit/criminal proceedings. Simple as that. But there is a simple solution to that problem too: Don't do sketchy things..

Comment Re:Document Retention Rules. (Score 1) 177


Email = Memo or Engineering Notebook from yesteryear

Let's say your in the early design phase for an engineering program

You've come up with 5 different ways to approach a problem. You prepare some thoughts about how to solve the problem in those 5 ways. You type them up (say 1 page per an idea) and send them to your colleague for their thoughts. They aren't formal documents and you aren't holding a meeting over it (so theres no powerpoint slides). But you've done some calculations, thought about pro/cons of each potential approach...

The project eventually goes done path 2, so you discard the other 4 ideas and generate formal documentation for path 2. 5 years later, a new derivative project with different requirements comes along. You realize the idea you had 5 years earlier is a perfect fit for the new problem. So you do a 5 minute Email search, and BAM you just reminded yourself of your thoughts from 5 years earlier

It's good company policy to RETAIN my email. For the sole purpose that my emails contain useful tidbits like this....

Sure I could put them in documents on the server... But the retention policy would still delete them because these sorta things aren't tied to a released formal document.

Comment Re:Document Retention Rules. (Score 2) 177

Effort??? *blink* *blink* *blink*. I suppose the IT person does backups 100% manually??? Sheesh the effort should be marginal, and if the file isn't changing it's not like you need to re-back it up every week or whatever. So let's see:

For each TB of *stale* documents:

1) ~$250 for Tapes (1 local + 1 offsite)
2) $100 for hard drives (1 local online + 1 offline backup)
3) 20 minutes of IT person support (multi-tasking, since all he has to do is plug in hard drive or insert tape and press go) = $40 (assumes $120/hr effective rate)

This assumes you have a small shop, without automated tape loading etc....

So It'll cost a whopping $400 to have 3 backups of the data and have a hard drive ready to spin up if the data is needed...

Yes it might be more complicated in an enterprise level house. But seriously, the price seems reasonable for what you get. I've generated well less than 1TB of documents/emails/etc in 12 years of engineering... Yet I've lost at least a week of accumulated engineering time due to retention policies deleting my email..... 1 week of Engineering time (~$100/hr effective rate) is $4000. Seems like $400 is a good investment to me!

[Note this assumes that DATASETS are treated differently. Transitory data such as: Compilation runs, Recorded Engineering data, etc should never be backed up in the same way as a document. I've probably generated ~1PB of datasets But who needs 1000's compilation runs most of which ended in errors or failed miserably when ran through testing. With the exception of released code, these are useless after a few months because I probably won't be able to figure out what the heck I was debugging anyway. But transitory datasets of this nature rarely fall victim to the data retention policy anyway, precisely because they are transitory... I don't keep the builds. I use a revision control system to allow me to recreate the builds if I needed them for some reason....]

Comment Document Retention Rules. (Score 5, Insightful) 177

1) Don't delete other people's stuff. IT workers / Lawyers I'm looking at you. You should never delete something without a specific verbal or written OK from the document owner. When you automatically delete my stuff I find ways around your scripts.. It does no good, because I WILL retain my records indefinitely. So just stop wasting my time and leave my stuff alone.... The only justifiable reason to delete my files is: the Server harddrive is full. But it costs less to buy a freaking hard drive, than to decide what documents can be deleted...
2) Document Retention Policy: Min: Legally required length of time Max: FOREVER. See Rule #1. You should NEVER touch my inbox, Network Drive, or any other place I store documents with an automated script, deletion of files should only occur by hand by the document owner...
3) Don't do unethical things. You don't have to worry about what's in the document if you did the right thing in the first place... You should fire any employee who is unethical and as a corporation take responsibility if those unethical things embarrass the company. This is what reviews (code, business, technical etc) are for, you're supposed to check that your employees are following good practices... Then that circumspect code, business practice etc, would've never seen the light of day in the first place. When a corporation fails that they shouldn't hide it, they should admit it and take their licking...

My email contains important technical information that I may need for years after I composed that email. When you delete it for me. You waste valuable company time as I recreate the exact same information I already "knew" which may have never made it into a formal document.

JUST STOP IT. There is nothing illegal about keep business documents forever. There is something highly unethical (and possibly illegal!) about a practice that stems from the idea of destroying evidence. So stop it. The ethical, right, and more reasonable thing to do is enforce from the IT perspective the minimum retention policy. After that, (ie when you delete) should be based on business need: 1) I really will never need this again and 2) The storage costs don't justify the (low) possible future return. Since storage is CHEAP, #2 should pretty much never come into play...

Comment Re:An O'Scope (Score 1) 215

But then again I work on custom FPGA-based mixed signal boards and therefore have a lot of custom interfaces to debug... For a micro-controller based project running on Linear regulators?? Yeah you could probably get by with a Logic Analyzer, but that isn't going to cut it for more complicated stuff like my project at work or even the design of a Video card or the main board of your Laptop.

Comment An O'Scope (Score 5, Insightful) 215

If you're actually designing from scratch a new digital PCB, you can do without a lot of stuff but a 2GHz or faster O'scope is essential:

1) Debug of Switching Power Supplies [could get by with 100Mhz scope for this...]
2) Debug of high speed digital AC effects [line impendance, termination etc]
3) Verifying Setup / Hold of interface busses
4) Determining margin on variety of interfaces

Seriously. First tool a high speed scope... And Garmin International: 300MHz is for yesteryear, today most engineers need at least 1GHz to get by in digital design

2nd tool: a Good DMM
3rd tool: A thermal camera for when things go dreadfully wrong..

Other tools are gravy... [Though clearly a power supply is non-negotiable...]

Comment Re:When exactly was this, exactly? (Score 1) 330

Actually we are at peace right now and have been since the end of World War II (which depending on you interpretation ended on one of the following days: 9/2/1945 or at the Paris Peace Treaty 2/10/1947 when war was officially ended against the minor axis powers after the defeat of Germany and Japan earlier in 1945)


The fundamental problem is that we have been having illegal wars since WWII. In WWII congress and the president did the right, constitutional thing: The president asked congress and congress gave a declaration of war. In Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf, Libya and Afghanistan (and others). The president did not insist on, nor the congress give a declaration of war. Therefore we are officially at peace. Without a declaration of war we are at peace. So we've been at peace for over 66 years.

So the original op, is somewhat correct though he fails to recognize that the 40 year span is actually the current span (+ many more years)

Personally I don't think the President should have the power to commit troops to another country for the purposes of war-like operations without a declaration of war from congress and I think the War Powers Act is unconstitutional. But congress apparently doesn't have the balls to either do the right thing and commit the US to a real war with clear objectives (by declaring war) and give the military full authority (and money) to win the war OR tell the president to shove it and not assert powers he doesn't have and stop waging war without congress first declaring it. The problem is the politicians don't want to declare war, because since these wars are controversial they can play politics to be seen to be on whatever side has the most for them to gain. They can play games with the budget, the scope, and other things by not declaring war, things that would be much harder with a declaration of war....

Comment Re:Doing what is right... (Score 1) 955

I agree with you. Since I reject that spying on the American people can be justified without a Warrant for the specific person/information that is to be found. Eg the 4th amendment.

1) Releasing sensitive information on how we spy on Terrorists/other countries can easily be argued to comfort or aid "terrorists". Therefore the US Government will at least consider the charge of Treason.

Do I agree that this material aids terrorists? Not really. But that doesn't matter they will make the argument.

And for some of the sheeple in the US, that argument will per persuasive because we are all to ready to give up our liberties for "security".

Comment Re:Doing what is right... (Score 4, Informative) 955

Oh there is plenty of stuff that probably justifies a top secret stamp.

1) Landing location for a major offensive in a declared war. [Eg how much better could Germany have prepared, in WWII, if they knew exactly which beaches we were planning on using and what day we were going to launch our offensive...]
2) Technical specifications for NEW military hardware
===> Once the hardware is out there for a few years, say 7 years, the secret rating probably isn't as justified
3) Technical specifications for Nuclear bombs (no age limit...)
4) Identities of Our Spies operating in foreign countries
===> Note, I'm not stating that spying on folks is a correct thing. But if you accept that we must do it, because everyone else does it, then the spies identities must also be protected.

And probably lot's of other examples.

Comment Doing what is right... (Score 3, Informative) 955

We have an obligation to do what is right and proper above any other law. In the sense of the USA government, the Constitution is the highest law and lies out what is right and proper. If our government is unjust and doing something unethical and against the constitution, then we must first do what is right and proper to protect the constitution.

Our Government is given power by the people, if they steal powers without consent of the governn than the highest law calls us to correct the misdeed and that trumps the laws on secrecy, etc. A soldier need not follow an illegal order!

Now that being said: Breaking confidentiality on top-secret stuff is no laughing matter. It's treason, a capital offense. But that doesn't mean we aren't called to follow the higher law if the top-secret stuff is in itself illegal.

Comment Not really the same (Score 3, Informative) 461

While it would be easy to say Government just prefers the sheeple broke and stupid... These really aren't the same. Cars can be repo'ed.. Your education can't be repo'ed.. Further from a Govt perspective the return in tax income from your education is risky.. You might never finish school. Might end up working in India and not paying taxes.. You might never repay those loans if given the choice because you won't lose anything.. The car might seem like a loss, but you will definitely pay taxes on stuff for the car like tires, registration and property taxes etc the employees who built the car will pay income tax etc. Plus there is the political side of green jobs.....

Comment Re:NO (Score 1) 258

You have a good point of course. But a lot of the cost of a nuclear reactor is in the safety systems. Which is being driven not my mathematics, but fear. Fear is the root cause of NIMBY. If we attributed the deaths caused by coal into the safety of mining and coal plants they would be alot more expensive too (but we don't, those are relatively hidden cost, while nuke absorbs some of those). We fear nuke power because of three relatively bad plant disasters in older style plants. Two of which are directly attributed to human error (TMI and Chernobyl) caused by improper operator commands.

I argue that we should go back to the drawing board. Do the research and get a safer design.

So to get cheap Nuke power we need:

1) Simpler safety systems as new designs incorporate safety by design rather than relying on pumps, electricity and human operators
2) Improved Training courses
3) The ultimate goal: Mass production.

Right now every plant is unique. We spend billions doing safety assesments, environmental impact studies, training, and inspecitions etc. What if we got to a design that was an appliance? Where you could get one installed next to your house, or one in every city or something?

Pebble bed reactors potentially would allow this...

Because it's not the fuel that makes nukes expensive it's the safety related stuff. And a better, newer, design might very well simplify the safety issue.

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