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Comment Re:Some privacy is more equal than other (Score 1) 470

Good luck with that if you're ever in a police station and say something "off the record". No need to worry either since I'm sure if they did record you, you could just make that argument and the police would get 15 felonies filed against them just like these activists.

Comment easy choice (Score 1) 374

Like it or not, C is still the defacto standard for embedded programming. If you're working in any where near bare metal your going to be using it. That may change but for now, if you dev for Internet of things and you don't know it, you're basically a script kiddie. Source: I'm an electrical engineer.

Comment thus is a very useful technique, but it has been d (Score 2) 45

Probably 5 years ago or more I read about grand theft auto being used to test pedestrian recognition for street cameras. It was really convenient, since it automatically generates scenes with pedestrians, trafic, day/night etc. And this was back in the ps2 erra.

I'm sure this technique will only get more popular as computer graphics get increasingly accurate.

Comment Re:+3000$ AR15 rifles (Score 1) 336

This is going to sound stupid, but have you ever play airsoft? It's the closest thing I can think of to using a gunsight in a combat situation (aka down on the ground, peaking around shit, etc). The iron sights are almost useless at close range. Why? Its not because you can't line up a perfect shot with them, it's because it takes too long. With a good close-range optic, you look through the scope and bam, there are the crosshairs, the head placement is very forgiving. With iron sights on the other hand, you have to look through that TINY hole in the rear site, and you need your eye to be close to it if you actually want to see anything. The reflex sites are even better, I can keep both my eyes open and bring my gun up, and instantly get a green dot superimposed on my vision. It's so fast you can do it at 10 yards or closer (like when you're watching a little hole the enemy might peak out of).

Comment ROBO CODE (Score 2) 140

Check out Robocode, it's a game where you write simple java code to control a tank in 2d. You can then battle your robot against your friends. The great part about it is that you can make a working AI with really simple code, stuff like turn until facing enemy, if facing enemy drive forward. If facing enemy shoot straight ahead. If you know enough trig, you can try to lead your shots, try to dodge, etc. We did this once at a computer science camp I went to in highschool and it was AWESOME. The other thing that's great about it is that since they're competing with each other, they wont get too discouraged. Everybody's bot is going to be a twitchy mess, so even barely working ones can win matches. This works best as a mult-day things, since the kids can learn from each other and refine their bots over time.

Comment Re:My dad always told me... (Score 1) 258

I've been a self-employed engineer for about 3 years now, and I totally agree. You don't really get a direct financial benefit. I think you're a bit off on some of your assumptions though. Depending on your job, you definitely don't spend 2 hours for every 8 doing paperwork. If your an engineer like me, it means 1: you have to keep track of your own hours, and send invoices. I just keep track on my phone, and type it up once every 2 weeks, takes about 30 minutes. and 2: your taxes will be much harder. You can save a lot by itemizing, so you really have to do it. That means keeping track of receipts (thank god for the internet), and all that jazz. Basically your taxes go from taking like ..3 hours, to taking a full 1-2 days.

There are other benefits too though. The biggest one for me is that people treat you differently. They know you're hourly, and they know your hourly rate is high, so people try a lot harder not to waste your time. Like if everything's set up and you're just waiting for some parts you overnighted to come in, instead of being expected to kill half a day doing menial tasks, you're expected to take a hike, come back tomorrow. Some people wouldn't like that, but I LOVE it.

There's another benefit that's sort of subtle. I find negotiations to be WAY easier as a contractor. If I think I deserve a raise (and you know, usually), I can just say, "hey, so my rates going to go like 30% soon, you know [this reason], [that reason], are we still good? Obviously I can wrap things up at the old rate if you need". Every time, they're like "ok but we might have to hire you less". Now, they do really think that, but it's just a human reaction from the negotiator. When it shakes out, if they really need you they'll keep hiring you just the same. ..There, you just got a raise, and there was no bullshit like "you have to wait 6 months until we do compensations reviews, and then maybe we can get you half of what you're asking for"

Edit: also, there's quarterly taxes, but honestly last year I just didn't pay them, and instead made a spreadsheet and saved up the amount I would owe. I think the penalty turned out the be 25$ so that's what I'm doing this year too.

Comment 4000 is greater than 5000 (Score 3, Interesting) 285

I was working on an embedded system recently that had a 5 minute timer to shut off the machine. We had received customer complaints that the machine occasionally shut off early. The code was a simple while loop that ran some pid controls and every loop checked "If (run_time > 5 minutes): exit;". I ran the machine in the lab for a while and sure enough, it shut off early once in a while. I looked through, and eventually SCOURED the code, assuming there was a subtle bug, such as clock corruption due to interrupts, or some kind of type conversion mistake, I couldn't find anything. I eventually set up a serial printout from the machine so I could see what was happening. And it would run and then print out "5 minutes elapsed, shutting down". No glitches or resets (which is what I was expected). So now I'm staring at this one line "If (run_time > 5 minutes): exit;", pulling my hair out. Finally in a moment of insane desperation, I added another line to the while loop. "if (4000 > 5000): print("Something is very wrong!"); I carry the machine to the lab and set it up, and IT PRINTS. Every few minutes or so it pops up on the display. So now I'm just like "fuck everything" how can I possibly run code if I can't even trust the basic principal that the computer will do what I tell it too. So the first thing I do is add triple checks to all critical comparisons, that eliminates the symptoms for now but I know it's going to cause weird problems forever if I leave it like that. Ok so the execution is buggy, I get out the scope and check the power line and various other things and it looks ok, but I notice at this point that the problem never occurs when the machine is running empty, only when it's loaded, so I clip ferrites everywhere you can possibly fit one and spend half a day putting metal covers on everything. As I run the machine this time I'm practically holding my breath, 1 run good, 2, 3. I'm getting super excited at this point, then bam "Something is very wrong!" prints and I die a little inside. After walking out to my car and screaming at the sky for a while, I get back to it. At least I know it has something to do with noise. Since the machine can't possibly be more shielded a take a look at the schematic, it looks normal, but there's a bunch of funky stuff on the reset line. I ask around and nobody knows why its there. It's got a regular pull up resistor, but somebody added a diode in series, and a ferrite bead right before the pin. Due to the voltage drop the MCLR is only being pulled up the 3.9v instead of 5v, so that's not good. Then I take a look at the ferrite on the board and it's sticking off the board with a coil of wire through it not 2 inches from a brushed motor the size of my fist. It must be acting like a transformer secondary. I shorted the diode and the ferrite and the problem never happened again!

Comment Re:As an RC enthusiast and quad builder and pilot (Score 1) 37

Really $1300?

You've obviously never built a quadrotor that's better than toy quality. The parts alone are around 800 if you buy them non-wholesale. Of course I would expect that price to come down if they seriously mass produce them.

Let's start at the weight 4 lbs. WTF are you guys thinking?

Again,. that's just what a quadrotor that can carry a go-pro weighs. The phantom's slightly lighter than that, but it's underpowered for the job and only flies for like 7min. (that's what I hear, I don't have a phantom).

Completely waterproof so the battery bay is watertight? The motor stators and windings are watertight? The flight control board is also watertight?

Funny thing, brushless motors are inherently waterproof. In the underwater ROV community it's common to use brushless motors as the propulsion. Honestly it's probably IP 66 or similar. It's like your car, protected from water ingress so it's good in rain, but not actually submersible. Why make it water tight? If it falls in the lake it's going to sink anyway.

Comment Re:Damned shame (Score 1) 362

Totally agree. For years my college friends and I have been getting bored of the halo series, but they're the only games that still support split-screen to any decent degree. It's amazing how few titles these days support the basics like 4 players per console, bringing guests online, etc. Call of Duty - no, Left 4 dead - (ironically) no, Gears of War - no.

Our current setup is two lcd's in the living-room, 2 360's, 2 copies of reach, and 8 controllers. No number of new features or game-play improvements can compensate for the ability to coordinate and trash talk with your friends across the couch. The feeling of getting together a full 4's team in one room and crushing superior opponents with sheer teamwork may just be the greatest thing of all time.

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