Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Invasion of Ukraine Continues As Russia Begins Nuclear Weapons Sabre Rattling

EmperorOfCanada If I don't get that toy I'll melt both our faces!! (508 comments)

The whole point of nuclear weapons is not to get what you want but to prevent others from threatening you with them; hence MADD. But the moment you pull out your nuclear weapons and wave them in people's faces you have lowered yourself to the level of some street punk with a gun looking for respect. I really hope that the Russians realize that win or lose Crimea that this type of risk to world stability just isn't worth it.

Using the logic that they are trying on for size any nuclear power could wander around saying, "I'll take this, I'll take that." I think the US would like Jamaica, and I hear Spain is nice this time of they year, they should take that too.

Too me this is a very simple situation. There are parts of Crimea that are very very Russian. There are parts that are not. A referendum that was well monitored by many different disinterested parties would generally be accepted by most. Then there would be Crimea that could have a love in with Russia, and the Ukraine that could have a love in with Europe for a while until they remembered that they did have a big neighbour called Russia that is still there and speaking a very similar language with a very similar culture. At this point the Ukraine might find itself in a very favourable position where it could happily participate in both worlds.

The key to getting any separation right would be to make things very black and white. No Kashmirs left behind. Also there shouldn't be any cheating. If there is cheating then people would be far less likely to accept the result even if it largely was a real result.

8 hours ago
top

Power Grids: The Huge Battery Market You Never Knew Existed

EmperorOfCanada Re:Another huge battery market, Robots (219 comments)

You would still need the power to transmit a live feed from multiple cameras and sensors. That will still take a battery with some grunt.

I am a firm believer that the end design for most robots will be a combination like you suggest. That the robots will be fairly stupid and controlled by a central powerful computer. But if the robot is moving with any haste then it will need instant feedback loops running between its sensors and motors.

But even in this scenario on a farm the central computer will ideally be battery powered even if it isn't mobile. In this case I could see it also being solar powered. Just sitting way out in the field directing and fuelling a bunch of its little mobile friends.

Also there will be other uses for robots where transmitting to a central powerful computer isn't really an option. Robots that are sent way out into the field. Say water quality sampling along a river or flying huge distances doing air quality surveys.

So autonomous robots will really come into their own when they have the portable power to actually do stuff without breaking the bank.

yesterday
top

Power Grids: The Huge Battery Market You Never Knew Existed

EmperorOfCanada Another huge battery market, Robots (219 comments)

I build robots and they all suck, they suck because they don't have enough power. I could potentially load them up with $1,000 worth of Lithium based batteries or two tons worth of lead acid batteries but for a robot that I want to follow my cat I am not sure that it is worth it. If I want to build a real robot that will go out in to the real world and do real things then I need batteries. It is one thing to have smooth rolling robots running over a smooth surface and not using much power. But to have an agricultural robot weeding its way through a clumpy muddy farm right after a heavy rain, I need some serious power.

So batteries force robot designers to make many compromises: They can compromise sales by making the robot too expensive, they can compromise how much work it can do by a small battery, they can compromise the computing power to save power, they can compromise functionally to save power.

Of all the problems the one that bothers me the most is compromising computing power; it is very nice to have two or more HD cameras feeding their data to one or more GPUs that crunch what the robot is seeing in real time and plan the optimal solution also in real time. Also other sensors such as radar or laser scanners can be energy gobblers.

For instance I would be curious to find how much Asimo's battery cost, and how long it lasts.

So it is battery technology that is the last piece of the puzzle to adding independent robots to our lives in a substantial way.

yesterday
top

Feynman Lectures Released Free Online

EmperorOfCanada Silverlight (70 comments)

When these were first released they were silverlight only. I wanted to watch them but there was a zero percent chance I would use silverlight. It is wonderful that these are now available for all the sensible people who don't drink the microsoft koolaid.

2 days ago
top

Should police have cameras recording their work at all times?

EmperorOfCanada One step further (427 comments)

The rule should also be: they are not a cop if it isn't recording. They are just some joe shmoe waving a gun without it. Thus if they arrest or detain some innocent person without it then they are charged with kidnapping, extortion, waving a gun in public, etc.

3 days ago
top

TechCentral Scams Call Center Scammers

EmperorOfCanada My friend was immune (249 comments)

A frustrating friend of mine who periodically calls me for computer help but will argue with any help I offer got nailed by one of these guys. Except that he argued with them the whole time and wouldn't follow their instructions. The only thing that ended up being changed was that he deleted his browser icon from his desktop.

about a week ago
top

$75K Prosthetic Arm Is Bricked When Paired iPod Is Stolen

EmperorOfCanada My dog will explode (194 comments)

I had my dog chipped but the vet said that if I ever let my iPhone run out of battery the implant will explode. I think the implant was made by the same company.

about a week ago
top

Securing the US Electrical Grid

EmperorOfCanada Assume it isn't secure (117 comments)

The worst thing they can do is to secure it and then depend upon the security working. Thus the system should be designed so that if it is hacked every other Monday that it can survive. There have been a number of recent (last 20 years) events that have shown that single points of failure can have devastating effects. So make sure that if terrible things happen that a lesser grid can be maintained manually.

A great example of this would be a local grocery store chain's SAP system failed shortly before Christmas(some years ago). They were so dependant upon it that their ability to order stuff and manage inventory was pretty much non existent. So the store ended up looking like some kind of soviet grocery store where the only goods on the shelves were pretty much those that are managed by the distributors themselves; things like milk.

This grocery store hopefully has learned from this and now has some kind of manual backup plan where a store manager can actually phone in his orders and crudely manage the store's needs in the case of another serious computer outage.

The same with the grid. Ideally they set some sort of minimal functionality emergency plan whereby humans can crudely manage the system as opposed to a system that either works perfectly by computer or doesn't work at all.

But I worry far less about hackers and far more about system design failures and Carrington events.

about a week ago
top

Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

EmperorOfCanada I live in a near zero earthquake area (191 comments)

Where I live (Nova Scotia) basically doesn't have earthquakes. So the risk here would be Tsunami from a distant earthquake. Interestingly enough if there were a Tsunami the configuration of the seafloor would cause it to be massive and wipe everything out for 10 or more miles inland.

I am not sure how many bottles of water I would need for that scenario.

about two weeks ago
top

Illinois University Restricts Access To Social Media, Online Political Content

EmperorOfCanada Never heard of it (130 comments)

I guess this is why this fine academic institution has never crossed my radar. I have never heard it mentioned in any publication, any citation, any contest win. I am not saying that they don't publish squat but that nothing they have published managed to catch my attention. And when I read something in Nature, etc I will check to see which institution the various authors are from to mentally compile a list of intellectually active institutions.

So as far as I can tell this place is the intellectual opposite of say, MIT.

about two weeks ago
top

Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year

EmperorOfCanada Focus (610 comments)

I suspect that if most people were faced with the choice of paying for all ad-driven sites would simply not go to most sites. I could live with a only a few sites, StackOverflow being a huge one, a mapping web site, a classified ads site, etc. Do I really need to watch russian drivers crash into each other?

about two weeks ago
top

Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

EmperorOfCanada Re:Who signs the checks (371 comments)

How did you do as compared to say the CFO or the head of marketing(assuming equal time in the company)? I am not saying that techies lose every time but that often when you see a set of technical and business co founders that often the technical founder is gone by the time things go public.

about two weeks ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Would You Pay For Websites Without Trolls?

EmperorOfCanada Spam is worse than trolls (382 comments)

I don't know how many magazine sites that I go to (often science ones) where many of the comments are "blah blah made $8,500 in one week, blah blah."

Interestingly enough I think that it is ironic that this article is being promoted on slashdot where the worst trolls are not that bad. Usually the worst trolls here are either being deliberately obtuse or are just dumb, "Linux probably won't exist in 2016".

Unless the fees that are being spent are used to have 100's of highly skilled moderators, all I can see from a pay site is the same old crap but now with the administrators reluctant to turf paying members.

My quest is for the avoidance of group think, which most voting systems tend to reinforce. Try going to the reddit /r/Python section and saying that either the 3.x version or the 2.7 version is an abomination; there are few healthy discussions on that topic.

about two weeks ago
top

Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

EmperorOfCanada Re:Who signs the checks (371 comments)

Engineers, MBAs, accountants, and then lawyers. That is the order of decay products of who runs a company after the engineers leave.

A slightly different funny story was when a different friend of mine owned a small chunk of a company; a chunk that was undilutable. He was telling me this over lunch with another guy who was a major investor in many companies. The investor just about lost his shit. He just about shouted, "Undilutable makes your company a worthless pile of shit!!!" He then ranted that nobody would touch that company with a bargepole, that it was obviously run my morons.

He then said that a single undilutable out of a million would make the company dog crap.

What we both realized was that what an undilutable share did was to eliminate a huge ability of this sort of guy to screw the founders. Technically it would prevent the company from going public as new shares would need to be issued for that and any single owner of undilutable shares could hold the company hostage, the same with being bought out. But is that a bad thing? I have seen many companies that were bought out and a few that went public and in exactly zero cases did the bulk of the employees do well. We have all heard of the tech people who became zillionaires but in all cases that I witnessed the result was that at first they were well off on paper but that somehow it evaporates before it becomes cash, then the layoffs take everyone out. My own personal experience was that I left a company just as it went public and nobody still works there and another company I left just as they were bought out; and..... nobody works there. While other companies around me that did nothing financially exciting are still cooking along just fine.

And I think that the financial guy story sums up the difference between the sociopaths and the engineers. The financial guy sees companies ideally as tools to make him richer; whereas the engineer ideally sees a company as a place where a smart team of like minded people can do cool things, and make a living doing them.

These are not often compatible views.

about two weeks ago
top

Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

EmperorOfCanada Re:Who signs the checks (371 comments)

This might sound like a tongue in cheek comment but it is my sincere belief that in all groupings of people there is a continuous pressure toward feudalism. That basically a Chief will surround himself with a few thugs and that they will take take take from the group. This applies to pretty much any grouping of people. companies, governments (of all levels), home owners associations, religions, condo management boards, school systems, playgrounds. Even if you look at things that should be wholesome and pure such as charities, you will find that many quickly degenerate into organizations that exist for the primary purpose of serving the upper management, I suspect that any charities that don't degenerate were cunningly set up to prevent such a degeneration.

Thus when any organization is created the primary rules should be created so as to resist that degeneration. It should be assumed that a group of sociopaths will assume leadership at some point and try to thwart the rules. So for instance if I were setting up a charity, I would create a rule that if more than 5% were spent on administration that it would result in the instant termination of the entire upper management. Then the next 600 rules would clearly define how 5% and administration were to be defined. I would have these rule set in stone.

about two weeks ago
top

Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

EmperorOfCanada Re:Who signs the checks (371 comments)

As I titled it, Who Signs the Checks. Often the non techie ends up in control of things like accounting, and eventually arranges for things like a board being created. Then when the techie finds themselves being pushed out they have zero recourse. In this case there was nearly non-stop pressure from the salesman to change this arrangement with tactics ranging from ignoring, pleas such as "let's be rational", 'You're not acting like an adult." to bringing in a lawyer (who went away when the engineer informed him that checks not signed by the both of them weren't valid.)

Probably the one saving grace from a lawyer hiring point was that the engineer also saved his money while the salesman lived beyond his growing income and never could afford a good one. His one attempt to buy it out was financed by some friend of his.

about two weeks ago
top

Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

EmperorOfCanada Re:Who signs the checks (371 comments)

The key was not that people would be fired on a whim but if suddenly the whole staff were obeying the only the salesman(or engineer) with the accountant being key in that they then knew that they needed both signatures before any check was cut. Otherwise things like the leased car would be happening every day. Other people who weren't hired were a personal assistant for the salesman, and in once case his wife.

about two weeks ago
top

Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

EmperorOfCanada Who signs the checks (371 comments)

I hit upon a slight variation of this years ago when a friend of my was partnering up with a sales guy to start a company. I told my engineer friend to make sure that their written agreement was that not a dollar could be spent or a contract of any sort signed without his agreement. This included hiring peopel. Also any employee could be fired by either of them. The great twist that his lawyer threw in was that if one or the other agreed to something without the approval of the other that the cost came out of their share of the profits and has no legal standing with the company.

It wasn't two weeks after their first client wrote them a big check that the salesman leased himself a "company" car. My friend said, nope that comes out of your profits. The salesman went to a lawyer and then managed to return the car.

The other clause that totally screwed the salesman was what is called a "shotgun clause" basically what that states is that one partner can make an offer to buy out the other's share and that offer can not be refused; but it can be matched in which case the first party must sell for the amount they offered.

So the company was taking off and my friend just made an offer on a house. So the salesman made a lowball offer for my friend's half of the company thinking that all his money was tied up. My friend actually had quite a bit of money saved and combined with credit cards and family raised the matching money in about a day. This one ended up in court but didn't go anywhere as my friend was 100% in the right. What came out during the initial discovery was that now that they had hired a handful of engineers was that the salesman was ticked that he was paying 50% of the profits to my friend who he thought could be replaced with interns and local tech school graduates. But as my friend gleefully was able to do was replace the salesman with someone who was much cheaper than the 50% profits going to the salesman.

Needless to say, both of them were fairly replaceable but I would say that my friend had at least as good business skills as the salesman, while also possessing masterful engineering skills. The salesman only had moderate business skills and zero engineering skills.

The reality of the story was that while my friend was willing to let things continue as normal and let the salesman enjoy the fruits of his initial investment, the salesman was pretty much trying to screw my friend once a month. He just could not believe that some techy was his equal. Every new employee that was hired was told by the salesman that the salesman was in charge and that the engineer was basically a hanger on. So my engineering friend would often have to point out to people such as the accountant how things worked(as opposed how the salesman dreamed they worked) and that either one of them could fire anyone so if they tried picking a side they would be gone the next day.

Yet my friend fully agreed that when he turfed the salesman that either one of them were by that point replaceable. As he had brought engineering skills that at first the salesman could not get cheap enough, and that the salesman had brought a rolodex that got the company started before it was exhausted.

about two weeks ago
top

Microsoft Considered Renaming Internet Explorer To Escape Its Reputation

EmperorOfCanada No features aimed at me (426 comments)

It seems that every feature that Microsoft seems to add is aimed at selling their other products. There don't ever seem to be features that are just cool. I am not talking about their keeping up with the Jones' features; but anything new they add only seems to relate to their ecosystem. I can't seem to think of any WebGL type feature that they have innovated that was cool just standing on its own.

So maybe if they let engineers and developers steer the boat for a while instead of a bunch of MBA laden salesmen they might catch my interest.

about two weeks ago
top

Google Brings Chrome OS User Management To Chrome

EmperorOfCanada Stupid greedy selfish feature (68 comments)

This is a classic example of a feature designed by an MBA and probably not asked for by a single user in the universe. Why would Google let their sleazy MBAs design features, why would they even have sleazy MBAs working there?

about three weeks ago

Submissions

top

Japanese can build their own radiation detectors

EmperorOfCanada EmperorOfCanada writes  |  more than 3 years ago

EmperorOfCanada writes "Here is a DIY radiation detector For those Japanese wondering if radiation levels have gone up that can be made with household supplies: any clear sided container with a flat metal(preferably) lid, some black paint, rubbing alcohol, a can of keyboard air duster, and a flashlight . This won't give an absolute measurement but it will tell you if you are in a hot zone. The radiation leaves trails in the mist and looks very cool. Can't beat a home made Geiger counter in 10 minutes and for less than $20 US."
Link to Original Source
top

Cheap cloud diffusion chamber with air duster

EmperorOfCanada EmperorOfCanada writes  |  more than 3 years ago

EmperorOfCanada writes "A 15 year old girl has invented a very cheap and easy way to build your own cloud diffusion chamber; which is a neat way to see various radiation particles leave trails. Radiation such as cosmic rays, background radiation, and any handy radiation sources such as a disassembled smoke detector.
Video"

Link to Original Source
top

Avoiding eVoting fraud

EmperorOfCanada EmperorOfCanada writes  |  more than 5 years ago

EmperorOfCanada writes "I am looking for suggestions on how to prevent the use of eVoting in an upcoming election (Mid Oct.) in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The city is going to allow people to vote both online and by telephone. As a security aware software developer I am frightened of the number of ways that an electronic portion of an election can go wrong. For well over a year I have been in contact with a senior city official over this issue supplying her with dozens of examples of eVoting going wrong in the many ways it tends to do so. Obviously security theater has won the day and here we are staring down the barrel of an election with votes recorded at the whim of the company running the evoting. How can this be prevented? Does anyone have any good examples of grassroots efforts that succeeded in preventing the use of electronic voting? Is there any way to force an audit of the code / machines / security / raw data that are involved in this craziness? Minimally can people comment expertly on just how stupid an idea it is to allow voting via the internet and by telephone? Thanks, A very concerned citizen."

Journals

EmperorOfCanada has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>