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DRM Could Come To 3D Printers

robert bitchin' Not going to happen because.. (315 comments)

..who is going to be at the other end of the wire, this gatekeeper of whats legally printable? Can you see Disney allowing their printers to communicate their new character designs to some other entity (with poor network security that allows others to scoops them) and have exact copies coming from China days later? Ditto for numerous other large conglomerate with design secrets to be kept. As a live, current example of this in action, see what happens when you try to check the status of an interesting URL with one of the registrars. If you don't register it immediately, you'll be forced to go through someone who 'somehow' came up with the exact same idea at the same time. Our printers currently look the five circles in our currencies before preventing the printing of banknotes. Thats about as far as you're going to get with inhibiting what can be reproduced.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do With Found Calculators?

robert bitchin' Use them in science experiments (302 comments)

When I was in high school ages ago I used hacked calculators as programmable measuring instruments. If you crack them open and solder a pair of wires across the '=' key, you can attach those leads to momentary switches on your test subject. For one of them I used a reed switch mounted on a bicycle fork, attached a magnet to a spoke, and then typed in the circumference of the wheel as an addition: 0 + (circumference). When the wheel turns it just 'clicks' the equals key for every revolution thus becoming an accurate odometer. (The '=' key on most calculators repeat the last operation)

more than 2 years ago
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Toyota Acceleration and Embedded System Bugs

robert bitchin' Sol'n: fly by half-wire (499 comments)

Most throttle systems I've worked with employed two cables to control the throttle in a push-pull arrangement. If setup in a single-wire arrangement then only one wire is used to pull the throttle open and a spring is used to ensure it closes when the tension is removed. In some motorcycles where the operators have a literal grip on the throttle then, if the spring is not strong enough to close the throttle (or one of the cables jams), the operator can always physically force its return by turning the throttle back manually. Car operators using pedal-based accelerators, unless they are barefoot, cannot wrap their toes around the pedal to pull it back into position.

My solution blends the two strategies: retain the pedal position sensor that captures the operators intention while retaining use of a 'return' cable. The ECU can remain in control of advancing the throttle to retain their interest in fuel economy measures while removing its control over retarding it. Pushing the pedal down merely provides enough physical free play for the ECU to work with while retaining any veto control if it gets out of hand.

The final part would encourage the adoption of accelerator pedals that users slip their feet into rather than just on top of. This would provide the same ability to positively influence the pedal return rather than expect the spring to do so.

more than 4 years ago
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Genetic Discrimination in the IT Workplace

robert bitchin' The end of health insurance (as Americans know it) (556 comments)

Health insurance is basically a bet on your health by the insurance providers. Once either you or they get more risk information than the other then the risk pool gets distorted and people receive innordinate premiums or get no coverage at all.

The only real solution is to void the entire health insurance industry and migrate to a system where the state covers the health of each citizen regardless. As the article illustrates, this process has already started on its own accord.

more than 9 years ago

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