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New Medal Designed To Honor Cyber Soldiers

femto Re:Combat isn't about guts. (230 comments)

> ...when the enemy begins targeting them directly

And at that point, the civilian population will realise what a really bad idea drone warfare is. It's all rosy whilst running an unequal contest, blowing up a bunch of Taliban with little ability to fight back. If an enemy with the ability to fight back is engaged, bombs will start falling on the drone pilots, and the civilian population will realise that drone warfare has turned them into human shields.

about a year and a half ago
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New Medal Designed To Honor Cyber Soldiers

femto Interesting video (230 comments)

The Pentagon has posted a really interesting video, about the process that they use to manufacture these medals.

about a year and a half ago
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Opus — the Codec To End All Codecs

femto Re:Sorry, nope. (327 comments)

For low bit rate voice (down to 1400bit/s) you can use codec2.

about 2 years ago
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Bionic Eye Lets Blind Woman Experience Vision

femto Re:Not vision (52 comments)

The background to this project is that a newly elected government held a big "vox poluli" talk fest called 2020, which was to lay out a "big vision" for Australia. A result was the announcement of $50 million funding for a bionic eye project. It's entirely possible that there is an element of "gung ho" about it in that a large chunk of money was laid down for a project that made politicians look good and was easy for the public to understand.

Having said that, there are some pretty smart people involved. As an Australian taxpayer, I'd hope that they are aware for the problems you raise and, given the grandness of the project, would plan on addressing such tough, tough problems. Given your area of expertise, maybe you should contact them? There might be some pretty exciting work to be done in collaboration?

about 2 years ago
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Bionic Eye Lets Blind Woman Experience Vision

femto Re:Not vision (52 comments)

In the final version, they plan on having an external camera, and stimulating the optical nerve. Presumably this bypasses the retina (or are the retina and optical nerve the same thing? I'm no expert.) Does this sound feasible? The background to this project is that it builds on previous work in Australia, on cochlea implants.

about 2 years ago
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Managing Human Workers With an Algorithm

femto SciFi - Manna (186 comments)

Have a read of Manna, by Marshall Brain ( How Stuff Works founder). It predicts workers being managed by computers, then extrapolates the results. The results aren't pretty.

about 2 years ago
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Is Australia's CSIRO a Patent Troll?

femto It was commercialised (175 comments)

By a company called Radiata, bought by Cisco in 2000. Radiata was a spin off from a Macquarie University/CSIRO research collaboration, founded by the research leaders at Macquarie University (Skellern and Weste). Here's a picture of the MU/CSIRO protype, taken around 1996. I know this because I (and 3 others) designed and built the pictured prototype.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Building an Assistive Reading Device?

femto Re:Kindle DX (134 comments)

What about a head mounted display or virtual reality goggles? These would allow a huge image to be formed, without the need for a bulky display. If you want to DIY, such a beast could probably be built with an ipod/kindle/... and a few lenses (from binoculars or a View-Master?)

Getting really funky, there also seem to be people experimenting with drawing images directly on the retina of Macular Degeneration patients. Not recommended for DIY!

more than 2 years ago
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Open Hardware Journal

femto Re:Does 'hardware' extend to FPGAs and the like (103 comments)

VHDL Cookbook is a good, though dated, intro.

Use ghdl to learn vhdl, without the need to have hardware, as it compiles VHDL to an executable. Icarus is similar, but for Verilog. gEDA has good tools, including the gtkwave waveform viewer. Combined, ghdl, Icarus and gtkwave are a pretty useful simulation suite. You can go a long way with simulation, since the normal design flow is to get the system 100% using simulation, then as a last step program the FPGA with maximal probability of it just working. As Bruce said, the actual partition, place and route tools are proprietary and specific to each FPGA vendor, and a google search will come up with a number of cheap FPGA boards.

Keep an eye on left field though. There is a convergence in progress between desktop CPU's, GPU's, parallel systems and FPGAs (which can be seen as an array of massively parallel simple processors). One day all I wrote may be obsolete and you will be able to program your FPGA in CUDA, or whatever results when mainstream programming figures out how to handle parallel systems properly.

more than 2 years ago
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Open Hardware Journal

femto Re:Does 'hardware' extend to FPGAs and the like (103 comments)

VHDL Cookbook is a good, though dated, intro.

Use ghdl to learn vhdl, without the need to have hardware, as it compiles VHDL to an executable. Icarus is similar, but for Verilog. gEDA has good tools, including the gtkwave waveform viewer. Combined, ghdl, Icarus and gtkwave are a pretty useful simulation suite. You can go a long way with simulation, since the normal design flow is to get the system 100% using simulation, then as a last step program the FPGA with maximal probability of it just working. As Bruce said, the actual partition, place and route tools are proprietary and specific to each FPGA vendor, and a google search will come up with a number of cheap FPGA boards.

Keep an eye on left field though. There is a convergence in progress between desktop CPU's, GPU's, parallel systems and FPGAs (which can be seen as an array of massively parallel simple processors). One day all I wrote may be obsolete and you will be able to program your FPGA in CUDA, or whatever results when mainstream programming figures out how to handle parallel systems properly.

more than 2 years ago
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Open Hardware Journal

femto Re:Fab lab network (103 comments)

An alternative to a centralised repository is a mark up / semantic language that allows designs to be published on the 'net and automatically discovered and catalogued. Anyway, I'll keep an eye on openhardware.org and jump in when I feel I can contribute. Thanks for kicking this off.

more than 2 years ago
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Open Hardware Journal

femto Re:Licensing - copyleft? (103 comments)

Thanks. It's heartening to hear that experience shows that legal paranoia is not necessary.

more than 2 years ago
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Open Hardware Journal

femto Re:Fab lab network (103 comments)

>Yes, we definitely want to stimulate a new movement, and put both thought and experience into it.

I'm keen. Is the current action concentrated in any one spot, or distributed around the net?

My gut feeling is that given the activity of the last couple of years the "new movement" already exists. If what already exists was focused, documented and disseminated, there would be a substantial body of work. (IMO) What is needed is a distribution mechanism/platform: an opencollector on sterioids; a Debian for hardware.

There's also the question of whether open hardware is a new movement or a progression of the free software movement, in which case we don't create a Debian for hardware, but extend Debian to include hardware.

more than 2 years ago
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Open Hardware Journal

femto Re:Licensing - copyleft? (103 comments)

Thanks for the response. I'll keep an eye on the wiki.

more than 2 years ago
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Open Hardware Journal

femto Re:Licensing - copyleft? (103 comments)

In the OHL, I don't understand the legal basis for section 4, "Manufacture and distribution of Products". What gives this section any force beyond a "gentleman's agreement" or a legal bluff, which is easily ignored? I can see that copyright is the legal basis for section 3, dealing with documentation, but don't see the same for section 4. Don't get me wrong, I want the OHL to be binding, but currently I don't see how it can be.

more than 2 years ago
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Open Hardware Journal

femto Licensing - copyleft? (103 comments)

What are the current licensing options for open hardware? Has anyone found a "copyleft" equivalent?

About a decade ago, this issue was discussed at length on the OpenCores mailing lists. At the time, the best we (engineers) could come up with was that the design documents/files could be copyrighted and so GPLd, but there was no way to oblige that a physical device be distributed with design data.

It seemed to be okay for someone to take a design, make secret modifications, build it and distributed a physical product that could not be replicated. The obligation to share modifications only kicked in when the GPLd design data was distributed, not when the physical product was distributed. Is this the case, or has a real legal mind figured out that we were wrong?

more than 2 years ago
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French Court Orders ISP To Block Police Misconduct Website

femto Words matter (178 comments)

It's bad for the integrity of policing. Good for the integrity of the police.

more than 2 years ago
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Patent Troll Says Anyone Using Wi-Fi Infringes

femto Re:CSIRO (436 comments)

Andrew Myles was the author of the thesis.

more than 2 years ago
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Patent Troll Says Anyone Using Wi-Fi Infringes

femto Re:CSIRO (436 comments)

I'd like to know what number patents Innovatio are using. The CSIRO patent (5,487,069, filed in 1992) was a pretty complete description of the 802.11 OFDM physical layer. Surely anything else has to be a minor and obvious increment? The oldest patent I can see, with inventors Meier and Mahany, is 5,394,436, filed in 1994, and it does not refer to the CSIRO patent (meaning it is open to challenge from the CSIRO patent?) 5,394,436 might apply to the MAC layer, rather than the physical layer, and it is quite vague. Defenders might want to refer to the PARROT project, which the CSIRO was running as part of its WLAN work, predating 5,394,436. PARROT was a complete WLAN MAC layer (google: csiro parrot mac layer).

There was also a PhD thesis that came out of Macquarie University in the early 1990's. The name of the author escapes me, but the supervisor was David Skellern. The thesis described a MAC layer for mobile IP, and fed heavily into the standards at the time.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Australia to get Total Information Awareness

femto femto writes  |  more than 2 years ago

femto (459605) writes "Australia's spy agencies are demanding that they be allowed to store the Internet and phone traffic of every Australian for two years, and have full access to social media websites. Objections can be lodged by email. The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security is conducting a review, and only a deluge of objection to its Inquiry into potential reforms of National Security Legislation will stop this proposal from becoming law."
Link to Original Source
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femto femto writes  |  more than 7 years ago

femto (459605) writes "This Friday, Australia Day, it will be Google vs. Microsoft in a dogfight over Sydney, Australia. Google will be flying a plane, taking aerial photographs at 600 metres. The resulting photographs will be the basis for a trial of the most detailed Google Map pictures to date. Microsoft's simultaneous effort, using a satellite and aeroplanes, is part of a competition. There is no word yet on whether these images will find their way into Microsoft Virtual Earth Both companies are encouraging people to get out on the street, put on a show and be photographed."

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