Fotopedia Is Shutting Down; Data Avallable Until August 10
... where your data disappears and your apps stop working the moment the company goes under.
Last night I went to a panel in SF on the "House of the Future", which all participants interpreted to mean "hooking your appliances up to the Cloud for access via phone apps". When your cloud-based home control provider goes bust, (or just discontinues the "obsolete" interface your devices used) your gadgets will stop working.
People with cloud-based garage door openers, you have been warned.
Is the App Store Broken?
There should be far fewer "apps". Any "app" that just displays content should be a web site. Once you get rid of the appcrap, there probably is no need for more apps than there were boxed software products.
More Quantum Strangeness: Particles Separated From Their Properties
That's a nice result. It's in accord with theory. It doesn't match human intuition based on large-scale objects, but it's the way the universe really works. The theory in this area is well understood; Feynman's "QED" has a good overview.
Ever since the double-slit experiment, it's been clear that this stuff is real. Over the last few decades, more of the weirder predictions of quantum electrodynamic theory have been confirmed experimentally. This is another predicted event confirmed. Nice work.
A Look At the Firepick Delta Circuit Board Assembler (Video)
I guess you're supposed to stencil the paste in first and the put it in a heat oven as if you had done the pick and placing by hand.
Their FAQ contains:
TBD - Solder paste dispensing
TBD - Selective Reflow via custom ATC head
That's what would make the machine useful for prototyping. Printing a solder paste stencil can be done on a laser cutter, but you need access to one, or you must send the job out. Laying down solder paste by hand with a little syringe on each pad (probably under a microscope) takes longer than manually placing parts and is Not Fun.
Printing solder paste with an ink-jet printer type head has been done. If they can make that work, that will be a big win.
A Look At the Firepick Delta Circuit Board Assembler (Video)
Their presentation for investors quotes a sale price of $1000, not $300. At that price they might be able to do it. How well they'll do it remains to be seen.
Their presentation is all about their XY positioning mechanism. But that's not the problem. The hard problem is dispensing solder paste reliably and precisely, sticking the component down, and using hot air to solder it into place. As with low-end 3D printers, most of the problems are where the weld/soldering action takes place. They don't say much about how that's done.
The important thing is doing a consistently good soldering job. Nobody needs a machine that produces lots of reject boards.
Which Is Better, Adblock Or Adblock Plus?
I'm behind Ad Limiter, which limits Google search ads to one per page, picking the best one based on SiteTruth ratings. You can set it for zero search ads if you like. It also puts SiteTruth ratings on Google search results. It's a demo for SiteTruth search spam filtering.
This Mozilla/Chrome add on has a general ad-blocking mechanism inside. Unlike most ad blockers, it's not based on regular expressions looking for specific HTML. It finds URLs known to lead to ads, works outward through the DOM to find the ad boundary, then deletes the ad. So it's relatively insensitive to changes in ad code, and doesn't require much maintenance. The same code processes search results from Google, Bing, Yahoo, Bleeko, DuckDuckGo, and Infoseek. (Coming soon, Yandex support, and better handling of Google ads within ads, where an ad has multiple links.)
So, if I wanted to do a better ad blocker, I could do so easily. Should I? Is another one really needed? Are the headaches of running one worth it?
Tesla and Panasonic Have Reached an Agreement On the Gigafactory
The Tesla/Panasonic plan gets cell and battery production back into the same plant. The battery industry has, for a while, had a model where cells were made in one country (usually Japan, Taiwan or S. Korea, or at least with machinery from there) and assembled into device-specific battery packs near where the end device was produced (usually China or the US.) For the Chevy Volt, the cells come frm LG Chem in Korea, and the battery packs are assembled at the Brownstown, MI Battery Assembly plant.
There's no good reason to do it that way now that the era of cheap labor in China is over. As a rule of thumb, labor has to be 4x cheaper to justify offshoring. The coastal provinces in China have reached that level with respect to US/Japan wages.
Done right, this isn't labor-intensive. Brownstown has only 100 workers in a 400,000 square foot plant, and they're doing battery assembly, which is the more labor-intensive part of the operation. Tesla claims to need 6,500 employees for their 10 million square foot plant, but they're probably counting construction-phase employees.
3-D Printing Comes To Amazon
But this could be the beginning of mainstream 3D printing.
We heard that when Staples did it.
Amazon's 3D printed product offerings are rather lame. They're not offering any of the more advanced 3D printing processes; for that you have to go to Shapeways. All you can get from Amazon is plastic junk.
Put Your Code in the SWAMP: DHS Sponsors Online Open Source Code Testing
All they're offering are some existing tools, ones you can get for free. The main ones are the Clang static analyzer and Cppcheck. They're not offering free access to some of the better, and expensive, commercial tools.
Cppcheck is basically a list of common errors, expressed as rules with regular expressions. Clang is a little more advanced, but it's still looking for a short list of local bugs. Neither will detect all, or even most, buffer overflows. They'll detect the use of "strcpy", but not a wrong size to "strncpy".
Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?
It doesn't matter what the users want. It matters what the advertisers want. They want a big screen with room for ads.
This is especially true of Android, since Google gets their revenue from ads, not phones or phone software.
US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation
Over half the Bitcoin exchanges have gone bust. Entire Bitcoin "stock exchanges" disappeared with the money. Bitcoin "investments" promising substantial returns each month were, of course, Ponzi schemes.
Bitcoin is a scam magnet. Irrevocable, remote, anonymous money transfers are the scammer's dream. (Yes, there are people talking about cryptographic escrow schemes so you can buy something with Bitcoins and have some recourse if it doesn't show up. So far, that hasn't reached usability.)
That's why Bitcoin needs regulation. If you're going to hold other people's money, you have to be regulated. Deal with it.
Popular Android Apps Full of Bugs: Researchers Blame Recycling of Code
Let's see this list of spyware. Will Google kick them out of the Android store? Will the FBI prosecute the developers for "exceeding authorized access" under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act? If not, why not?
Off the Florida Coast, Astronauts Train For Asteroid Mission
When it's time for an asteroid mission, it will probably be robotic.
It's amazing how much money NASA can spend not going into space.
A Router-Based Dev Board That Isn't a Router
It's one of those "flexible funding" Indiegogo projects, where they get to keep the money even if they don't get enough money to make anything. Great scam; just come up with some popular idea, overprice the project, and keep the money.
Ask Slashdot: What Would You Do With Half a Rack of Server Space?
If you want more servers like that, Wierd Stuff Warehouse in Sunnyvale, CA, has the same HP series G Xeon servers for $189. (2 3GHz quad-core Xeons per server! Hard drives are extra, but cheap.) Wierd Stuff has huge supplies of previous-generation data center equipment.
It's amazing how cheap computer hardware is now.
SpaceX Executive Calls For $22-25 Billion NASA Budget
Reality check: space travel with chemical fuels just barely works. It takes huge rockets to launch dinky payloads, and that hasn't improved in 45 years. Satellites and probes are useful. Man in space has just been a boondoggle.
If fusion ever works, this may change, but with chemical rockets, it's not getting much better.
Nasty Business: How To Drain Competitors' Google AdWords Budgets
Right, that was when AdBlock sold out to Google.
Bad "Buss Duct" Causes Week-long Closure of 5,000 Employee Federal Complex
That building complex was overhauled in 1997 by Inglett & Stubbs electrical contractors, who did $14 million of electrical work. This failure may or may not be their fault, but it's not because of neglected infrastructure.
Google Looking To Define a Healthy Human
Now, at last! Google People! In cooperation with the Venter Institute.
Amazon's Ambitious Bets Pile Up, and Its Losses Swell
Amazon isn't out of expansion area. Their target is all of retail, and there's still a lot of non-Amazon retail. Most other big US companies with lots of cash have hit their natural limits.
Trying to go beyond those limits is tough.
Google has not been successful in expanding beyond ads. (Android only makes money as an ad platform; Google's phone revenue is small.) Apple has a lot of cash, but can't find any way to use it that will yield the kind of margins Apple is used to. Facebook is still growing, but again, it's all ads.
There's only so much ad spending in the world, and the ad-based companies are all fighting over the same pot. There's more room to grow when your business model is "sell everything".
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