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

State of Iowa Tells Tesla To Cancel Its Scheduled Test Drives

NormalVisual Another way to deal with the problem (324 comments)

While I support Tesla's efforts against these ridiculous laws, and would personally like to see them challenged and struck down, could they not just lease the cars through a subsidiary that would hold the title (turning the new car into a used car), then transfer the title after the lease period is up? Or are leases treated in the same way as sales, and prevented under state law as well?

2 days ago
top

My toy collection is ...

NormalVisual Re:Gigantic and growing! (181 comments)

Oh, and at least one of my children has told me I have too much free time . . .

No such thing. Don't ever grow up - adulthood is highly overrated.

3 days ago
top

John Carmack's Oculus Connect Keynote Probably Had Samsung Cringing

NormalVisual Re:What, no positional tracking? (88 comments)

But I'm not in the business of writing novels on slashdot.

No, because that's Bennett Haselton's job.

4 days ago
top

Before Using StingRays, Police Must Sign NDA With FBI

NormalVisual Re:More common, and possibly unconstitutional... (124 comments)

Never happen. A previous poster alluded to parallel construction - what will happen is the suspect's calls will be listened to, then another agency will be given a time, location, and a car to look for. The suspect's car will get pulled over for failure to use a turn signal or some such, at which time a dog will be brought in, "alert" on the car, and the suspect will be arrested. These guys *know* that Stingray-gathered evidence won't hold up since the device itself can't be examined, and that operating them is contrary to FCC regulations to begin with. They can't allow any information gathered from them to be introduced into court, so parallel construction neatly solves all of their problems.

about a week ago
top

Washington DC To Return To Automatic Metro Trains

NormalVisual Re:What's wrong with American drivers? (179 comments)

Yes, they are quite light. We have six-car trains with a capacity of 60 passengers per car, so the capacity is comparable, but they've got composite bodies over a steel subframe, which saves a lot of weight. They don't have to be really heavy since it's an elevated system with no chance of interaction with roadway traffic, and owing to their configuration, they deal with high winds quite well without needing the extra weight just to keep them on the track. Additionally, there are some grades on the system (around 9%) that would bring any traditional rail prime mover to a screeching halt, plus the trains have to be able to take those grades at speed (and sometimes accelerate) with only half the motors if needed. Top speed on our trains is electronically limited to 40mph, but to my knowledge they're physically capable of running well in excess of 60mph.

about a week ago
top

Washington DC To Return To Automatic Metro Trains

NormalVisual Re:What's wrong with American drivers? (179 comments)

Don't we have machine learning and adaptive control for that? These things should still be easier for a computer than for a human.

I'm not disagreeing with you. I didn't design the train control system. :-) There was so much on our trains that the drivers really shouldn't have had to deal with, and I found it kind of ironic that the Orlando International Airport terminal shuttles had more smarts than our trains. As of 2012, Disney had concrete plans in place to finally put automation on the trains, which I personally think is going to be a losing proposition on a fleet of 25 year old monorails with 1970's-era control systems (the vehicle on-board controller is run by a pair of Z-80s) and millions of miles on them, and at their age are already *very* maintenance intensive. They get tons of PM, but nowadays it's unusual for a day to go by without at least one train having to go back to the shop, and not a week goes by where one doesn't get towed.

about a week ago
top

Washington DC To Return To Automatic Metro Trains

NormalVisual Re:What's wrong with American drivers? (179 comments)

but often gets the calculation wrong because even though the system "knows" how much each car weighs, people sway back and forth as the vehicles slow down and we undershoot the platform.

That's good that it's conservative like that, but does it actually bring it to a complete stop short of the mark? There have been times when I've been driving a full train that it slowed a bit more aggressively than I would have expected, but it was easy to just modulate the brakes to hit the mark without stopping short. Then again, our trains were substantially lighter (about 50 tons empty, 80 tons crush load), so I'm sure it was easier for us to deal with the varying inertia.

about two weeks ago
top

Washington DC To Return To Automatic Metro Trains

NormalVisual Re: What's wrong with American drivers? (179 comments)

I would hope that any company developing systems to automate control of any vehicles, most of all those tasked with mass transit automation, are fully aware of the need for redundant feedback systems which provide inegrated positioning and acceleration sensors built into every smart phone today.

Our trains had a pair of tachometers that measured speed, along with fixed transponders every thousand feet or so along the beamway. Between the tachs and the transponders, the train could figure out where it was and how fast it was going to quite a good degree of accuracy. When the tachs disagreed with one another or if a transponder was missed we'd get an indication, even though the train still knew exactly where it was. I'm sure integrating the tach inputs over time to get an acceleration value would be relatively trivial.

about two weeks ago
top

Washington DC To Return To Automatic Metro Trains

NormalVisual Re:What's wrong with American drivers? (179 comments)

Disney's trains were retrofitted in the mid/late 00's with a similar system. There are three optical switches that all have to be aligned with corresponding places at the station, otherwise the driver is unable to open the doors. It was fairly easy to only get one or two of the sensors in place, requiring the driver to move the train a couple of inches forward or back to get his doors open. It's gotten to be a real headache for today's drivers, since the new rules Disney instituted after the accident in 2009 require that *any* reverse motion of the train be set up by the central coordinator and visually cleared by an independent spotter beforehand, even if it's only to back up an inch.

about two weeks ago
top

Washington DC To Return To Automatic Metro Trains

NormalVisual Re:What's wrong with American drivers? (179 comments)

Hence, the acceleration and braking systems were optimized for automatic operation (as opposed to manual operation) and it is difficult for a human driver to control the train's movements precisely and smoothly.

I have a perspective on this that most probably don't, as I was a monorail driver at Disney World for a number of years. Contrary to what some might imagine, the current Bombardier Mark VI trains there are not attractions but are in fact full-up transit vehicles, and Bombardier continues to sell them as such (although with different bodies and newer electronics). If D.C.'s trains handle anything like ours did, I can understand why some of the drivers short-stop or otherwise have problems.

Our Mark VI trains were originally designed to accommodate automation as well, but I don't think this in itself really is a factor. More importantly, each train had its own "personality" and handled differently, and all of them would take between one and two seconds to respond after an input was commanded except for E-stops, which instantly opened the relay contactors and applied air to the friction brakes. One train might be ultra-responsive (relatively) to the throttle and have really tight brakes, which made it easy to drive and predict stopping distances with great accuracy. Others would act like your control inputs were more of a suggestion than a command, necessitating that you be looking a little ahead of where you actually wanted to be in order to stop where you were supposed to. We had some drivers that had difficulty dealing with that, and would often blow their stops by a couple of feet or so on a train with loose brakes, or would stop short if they were in a tighter train that didn't require so much anticipation of its behavior. I don't think I ever had a short stop, but did have trains "slide" on me a few times and missed the stop by just enough to have to back up a couple of inches to get lined up with the gates.

I would imagine transit trains everywhere exhibit similar unique peculiarities, and the only consistent way to deal with it is for the driver to be ultra-conservative, which can lead to the occasional short stop. It's not so much a problem for an automation system that can directly respond in milliseconds and isn't being moved between trains with wildly varying performance characteristics.

about two weeks ago
top

What To Expect With Windows 9

NormalVisual Re:Virtual Desktops (Workspaces) (543 comments)

I understand what you're saying (I think) but I've always wondered (and this is from a hardware-guy's perspective) wouldn't you rather have one big monitor [flickr.com], than two small monitors [wired.com]?

I actually prefer multiple displays along with virtual desktops, as the bezel doesn't bother me, and it's easier for me to have a dev environment on one screen with documentation/tools on the other sans taskbar, with the virtual desktops being used for stuff like IMs, email, etc.. Maximizing something on the second display fills that display, but leaves the primary untouched. Additionally, there are some folks that prefer to use multiple displays in different orientations, although I'm not one of those. Finally, it's cheaper. :-) Having said that, it's not something I'm dogmatic about. People should use whatever works best for them.

about two weeks ago
top

Original 11' Star Trek Enterprise Model Being Restored Again

NormalVisual Re:Crude? (99 comments)

We're talking about the Constellation, not the Enterprise.

about two weeks ago
top

Original 11' Star Trek Enterprise Model Being Restored Again

NormalVisual Re:hang on a minute... (99 comments)

It's commemorating the 40th anniversary of the present Air and Space Museum main exhibition hall, which opened on July 4, 1976.

about two weeks ago
top

Original 11' Star Trek Enterprise Model Being Restored Again

NormalVisual Re:Paint job, or just looked different on TV? (99 comments)

Of course it doesn't look like it appeared on TV, but when he did the restoration, Ed left the top portion of the saucer as it was originally done, minus touch-ups to hide where repairs had been made. Comparing the top and bottom of the saucer, it's obvious that while the original paint scheme did have very faint grid lines and weathering, it wasn't airbrushed to the extent of being overbearing like he did to the lower saucer and most of the rest of the model. He also added details to the model that were not present originally.

about two weeks ago
top

Original 11' Star Trek Enterprise Model Being Restored Again

NormalVisual Re:Crude? (99 comments)

There is some debate as to whether the model was actually one of those Revell models we used to get as kids at the local Gemco

It was a hacked-up AMT model, just like you'd get at the local hobby store. More than you'd ever want to know about the AMT kit can be found here.

about two weeks ago
top

Original 11' Star Trek Enterprise Model Being Restored Again

NormalVisual Re:Saw it at the Smithsonian a few years ago (99 comments)

Beats me. Samzenpus altered the original title, which was "Original 11' Enterprise Model Being Restored, Yet Again"

about two weeks ago
top

Original 11' Star Trek Enterprise Model Being Restored Again

NormalVisual Re:Crude? (99 comments)

And then on top of that, you have to admire the trust the actors had in their work. It's got to be hard to put on a convincing performance when holding one of those silly things, accepting on faith alone that it's going to look pretty damned good when it's in the can.

about two weeks ago
top

Original 11' Star Trek Enterprise Model Being Restored Again

NormalVisual Re:Crude? (99 comments)

Bingo. I bet the one-off single-show models were done as well as required- and no more.

The ones I was referring to specifically were props like phasers, tricorders, etc. that were used throughout the production run, but as you say, no studio wants to spend more money than absolutely necessary. If the prop guys can hack out 10 phasers in a day that will look acceptably on screen, instead of spending a day on each one making them museum-quality, it's not hard to figure out which route the studio will choose.

This is part of why I was so impressed with the Star Wars miniatures. There's detail there that's too fine to show up on even on 4K, and I really respect the obvious pride and effort that went into them.

about two weeks ago
top

Original 11' Star Trek Enterprise Model Being Restored Again

NormalVisual Re:Crude? (99 comments)

Models built for TV in years past often weren't built with much detail, simply because it wouldn't show up on screen anyway. That said, the TOS Enterprise did have a lot more detail than one would expect for a TV show (there are markings and such that are too tiny to see on TV), but it pales when compared to the Enterprise built for "The Motion Picture" which has much, much finer detail. A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to see a lot of the Star Wars filming miniatures - the Millenium Falcon hero model built for "The Empire Strikes Back" was just jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and holds up to inspection from just inches away. Compare that to some of the ST:TNG props that I've seen that look fine on screen, but when examined closely look like someone gave a 5-year old a couple of shots of vodka and turned them loose with a paintbrush.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

top

Original 11' Enterprise Studio Model Being Restored, Yet Again

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  about two weeks ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "The original 11-foot U.S.S. Enterprise studio model from the original series has gone back into the shop again. The Smithsonian owns the model and has had it on display in a gift shop at the National Air and Space Museum for the last 13 years, but will be placed on display in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall in 2016, to coincide with the museum's 40th anniversary. In the meantime, the model will be undergoing its fourth restoration to address a number of issues. The last restoration in 1991 was performed by Ed Miarecki, a professional modelmaker well known for his work in "Star Trek: The Next Generation", as well as films such as "Event Horizon". This previous restoration had Trek fans up in arms owing to the paint job, which many feel doesn't represent the way the model looked originally. Hopefully this next restoration will bring her back to her former glory."
top

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Newegg Patent Case

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  about 9 months ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes ""It's a really tough time to be a patent owner", said Soverain Software, LLC president Katharine Wolanyk, after the Supreme Court refused to hear their appeal after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit invalidated three of Soverain's shopping cart patents. Soverain had sued Newegg for allegedly infringing the patents in question, and had won in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Newegg later had the decision overturned on appeal, with the court ruling that the patents in question were obvious, and thus invalid."
top

Jack Daniels Shows How to Write a Cease and Desist Letter

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 2 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "When the Jack Daniels distillery recently became aware of a book whose cover they felt substantially infringed their trademark, they didn't go into instant "Terminator mode" — instead, they wrote a very thoughtful, civil letter to the infringing party, and even offered to help defray the costs of coming into compliance. I believe plenty of other companies (and many in the tech world) could use this as an example of how *not* to alienate people and come off looking like a bunch of greedy jerks."
Link to Original Source
top

Whose Cameras Are Watching New York Roads?

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 2 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "License-plate reading cameras are popping up on utility poles all over St. Lawrence County in upstate New York, but no one is willing to say who they belong to . One camera was found by a utility crew, removed from the pole, and given to the local police. "Massena Police Chief Timmy Currier said he returned it to the owner, but wouldn’t say how he knew who the owner was, nor would he say who he gave it to....(Andrew) McMahon, the superintendent at Massena Electric Department, said one of his crews found a box on one of their poles and took it down because “it was in the electric space,” the top tier of wires on the pole above the telephone and cable TV wires, and whoever put it there had taken a chance with electrocution. He said they had never received a request or been informed about its placement.""
Link to Original Source
top

Australian Restaurant To Use iPads As Menus

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 4 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "The Pearl restaurant in Melbourne will soon begin using Apple iPads running custom software to describe the available culinary options to its customers. Chris Lucas, the proprietor, has spent $40,000 in development costs on top of the costs of the devices themselves in order to research the food offerings in as much detail as they choose.

No word regarding the expected longevity of the iMenus, but it's doubtful they'll deal with spills and accidental drops nearly as well as paper menus."

Link to Original Source
top

Sony Offices Raided In Copyright Dispute

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  about 5 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "A copyright dispute between Latin recording artist Alejandro Fernández and Sony Music has resulted in more than 6,000 CDs being seized from Sony's Mexico City office by the Mexican police, along with master tapes and cover art. Fernández's contract with Sony was for seven albums, and the label had compiled and was attempting to market and sell an eighth album, created from previously unreleased tracks. The seizure comes two weeks after Sony ignored a cease and desist letter from Fernández's attornies. Sony of course maintains it has done nothing wrong."
top

Seagate 1TB Drives Failing at Alarming Rate

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 5 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "Owners of Seagate 1TB drives have been experiencing serious issues of late — many recent 7200.11 Barracuda SATA drives have a problem with the version SD15 firmware that often results in the drive failing on power-up after working perfectly fine for a time. While the data on the drive appears to be safe, the drive is completely bricked, resulting in the inability to flash it to any further firmware revisions without a bit of hardware hacking. The problem is making for an interesting discussion on Seagate's community forums, particularly since Seagate still refuses to acknowledge the issue and is tightly censoring the "official" discussion on the forums, so many 7200.11 owners are having to discuss the issue outside of Seagate's control. Tom's Hardware has also picked up the increasingly-vocal story. So, if you've got one of the big Barracudas, it's probably a good idea to to stay on top of those backups."
top

"Cloverfield" Trailer Available on Apple.c

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 6 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "After much waiting and speculation, the hi-def trailer for J.J. Abrams' new monster movie "Cloverfield" has finally been made available on Apple's web site. Still no really clear shots of the monster(s), but we really didn't expect that, did we? Let the hours of vapid and pointless speculation begin!"
top

MythTV Listings To Cost $15 for 3 Months

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 7 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "Schedules Direct, the folks that have been working towards providing listing data for MythTV users in the shadow of the impending shutdown of existing listing services by Zap2It, has finally announced pricing for their soon-to-be-available service. They will be initially charging $15 for a 3-month subscription, but anticipate substantial price decreases as they get more people on board. I for one am quite happy to hear this news."
top

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 7 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "The mailing lists were buzzing recently when Michael Buesch, one of the maintainers for the GPL'd bc43xx Broadcom wireless chip driver project, called the OpenBSD folks to task for apparently including code without permission from his project in the OpenBSD bcw project, which aims to provide functionality with Broadcom wireless chips under that OS. It seems that the problem has been resolved for now with the BSD driver author totally giving up on the project and Theo De Raadt taking the position that Buesch's posts on the subject were "inhuman"."
top

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 7 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "U.S. District Judge Deborah A. Batts ruled today that recording XM Satellite Radio broadcasts using the built-in recording functionality of some XM receivers is not equivalent to taping music off the radio with an analog cassette deck, as detailed in this article. The judge's reasoning was that the built-in recorders in XM units essentially make XM a broadcaster and distributor, whereas XM is only paying to be a broadcaster."
top

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 7 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "It appears that the unconstitutional and controversial warrantless surveillance program being conducted by the Bush Administration can continue until an appeals court can hear the case, according to this AP article. The 6th Circuit ruled that while the lower court had ruled the program was unconstitutional, they felt that the case's chances before the appeals court and the possible danger to national security warranted their decision to let it continue despite the likelihood that the appeal process will take months.

Good to know that the whole "separation of powers" thing works so well for keeping the government in check, eh?"

Journals

NormalVisual has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?