* Posts by ChrisC

562 posts • joined 2 Jul 2009

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Working from home on Virgin Media's broadband? Too bad. Outage hits English capital

ChrisC

Re: Same shitty excuses

And parts of London didn't go down, so that's ALSO everyone. The problem must therefore have had a Schroedinger-esque quality to it, whereby it both did and didn't affect everyone at the same time.

Keeping up is so hard to do when dealing with logic like this...

Splunk to junk masters and slaves once a committee figures out replacements

ChrisC

Re: Where will this end....

Calling something a "safe list" rather than an "allow list" or similar brings some potentially unintended (and legally questionable) implications over exactly how safe it might be to treat an email that gets through to you as entirely safe and guaranteed to be free from any nasties...

GitHub to replace master with main across its services

ChrisC

Re: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Mentioning TMNT is somewhat apt here, because when they first came over to the UK in the 80's they were renamed Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles - the word "ninja" was considered to be unacceptable for use in a kids show due to its perceived link with violence...

Today we know better, no-one bats an eyelid at its use, and kids participate in Ninja Warrior.

Telling people they can't use a word just because it's bad mmkay, without taking the varying contexts in which the word may be used in different scenarios, is divisive and damaging to whatever genuinely good cause is involved. Educating people as to the background of the word and why, in specific contexts, it could be considered offensive, is the way to go - you're not simply telling people they can't use it, you're giving them the tools they need to decide for themselves if a given use is right or wrong.

And *then*, if they still persist in using it badly, by all means accuse them of being (something)ist, but don't jump to that conclusion right from the outset merely because someone dared to use the word in a completely different context to the one where it genuinely is unacceptable.

ChrisC

Re: SPI

Not really, because if the main device fails for some reason, does the secondary device now step in and take over the reins? No, no it doesn't.

Master/Slave terminology in comms interfaces (SPI, I2C etc.) provides a clear distinction between the device that is in charge of the interface (generating clock signals, arbitrating when the devices can communicate etc) and the devices which are also connected to the interface but can only do stuff on command from the master device.

There may well be equivalent terms we could find which don't have implied links to mistreatment of certain sectors of humanity, but don't think it's quite as easy as clicking your fingers, pulling two words out of the dictionary that *sound* as if they'll do, and go "there you are, there's your new terms, use them!". Changing long-established technical terminology without careful consideration of what the alternative terminology might imply (or fail to imply) really isn't a good idea.

ChrisC

Re: "There's no slave in git though"

"Masters are the official finalized recordings from which copies are made."

Until the master gets remastered...

Developers renew push to get rid of objectionable code terms to make 'the world a tiny bit more welcoming'

ChrisC

Cowboy movies provides an explanation for "white hat" and "black hat", but not an explanation for why those two hat colours were chosen to represent good and bad - that's where the previous poster's comment comes in, by providing one possible explanation for that.

For an IT angle, referencing the computers used by the good and bad guys in the various series of "24" would give us "Apple Hat" and "Windows Hat"...

US Air Force wants to pit AI-powered drone against its dogfighting hotshots in battle of the skies next year

ChrisC

Only?

What about being able to handle all the sensor inputs without the need for them to be fused into a single overall sensor picture suitable for human processing?

What about being able to devote 100% concentration to monitoring those sensor inputs, whilst also being able to devote 100% concentration to keeping the aircraft pointing in the right direction, whilst also being able to devote 100% concentration to managing the aircraft systems etc?

What about not needing the aircraft to lug around bulky and heavy life support/other aircrew safety equipment (oxygen generators, ejection seats, survival packs etc.)?

What about not being burdened by human emotions - not hesitating even for a split second before taking the shot, not wondering if it'll survive the fight and return home to the wife and kids?

Being able to pull G-loads up to the structural limit of the airframe is probably the biggest single advantage an AI fighter will have against a human-piloted fighter in a close-in dogfight, but before the fight even gets close enough for G-limits to become a factor the AI fighter will already have been placed at an advantage in the BVR part of the encounter.

Watch an oblivious Tesla Model 3 smash into an overturned truck on a highway 'while under Autopilot'

ChrisC

Re: I get that the cameras may not have picked out the truck...

As I noted in my other comment here, depth perception doesn't need two eyes - the distance between our eyes is so small that our ability to judge depth purely from stereo vision diminishes quite quickly as the object gets further away, and you're then into the domain of monocular depth perception where you're judging depth/distance based on your learned knowledge of the scene you're viewing.

e.g. once you've learned how big something (like, say, a fully grown cow...) looks at a given distance, you can then make a pretty good estimate of how far away another example of said object is if you see it occupying a different portion of your field of view.

The bigger problem with vision loss in one eye is, as you also noted, the reduced field of view. However, once you've lived with that for even a fairly short period of time, you start to get into the habit of moving your head more to allow your functioning eye to fill in the gaps. It's.certainly not as good as the instantaneous full field of view you get with two working eyes, but it's more than good enough.

ChrisC

Re: I get that the cameras may not have picked out the truck...

I'd hope that stationary object detection does at least make use of the information generated by the radar when doing the image processing to inform it as to which parts of the image are likely to contain stationary objects so it can then do a better job of trying to classify them as "roadside object, not in my way" vs "ooh crap, this looks bad"

ChrisC

Re: I get that the cameras may not have picked out the truck...

Worth noting however that, at the sorts of distances involved here, it doesn't matter whether a human has two functioning eyes or just one, because we're into the domain of monocular depth perception which is entirely based on our having learned what the world ought to look like as we move through it.

This'll make you feel old: Uni compsci favourite Pascal hits the big five-oh this year

ChrisC

I started my Electronics Engineering degree there in 91, and IIRC we were the last year group to be taught Pascal as our introductory language before they switched over to C. By then the CompSci department who ran the introductory programming courses on behalf of the Engineering faculty had equipped its labs with a load of Acorn UNIX boxes, though that's about all I remember about the development environment - due to the high demand for these workstations, I ended up doing most of my coursework on my Amiga at home using the somewhat flakey (but free) PCQ compiler, so tended not to use the workstations much beyond the first few weeks in the first year.

Having then ended up being allocated a final year project that was entirely software based (in a foreshadowing of the way my engineering career would eventually head over the decades), I then started using Turbo Pascal (v5 I think) which had then been installed on the engineering lab PCs, and bought a copy of HiSoft Pascal so I could continue working at home through the night (another bit of foreshadowing - most of my best code is written between lunchtime and whatever time I eventually decide I *need* to get some sleep).

After graduation I was lured back to the department to do some postgrad research work, during which time I continued using TurboPascal for bashing out command line test tools whilst also teaching myself the basics of embedded C and PCB layout (the two skills that were probably most important as far as securing me a decent first job out of everything I learned in the 7 years I eventually spent at uni). Whilst in that first job I started using Delphi for doing in-house development tools, then transitioned to Lazarus/FreePascal at my third employer, and still use it today for some stuff if don't feel like doing battle with C#'s thread-safe design philosophy, or if I'm doing something where the godawful C# serial port component would cause problems.

So whilst Pascal wasn't the first programming language I learned, it's been the one I've used the longest in one variant or another - getting on for 29 years so far. Not bad for something that quite a few people dismiss as being not much good for anything except teaching...

Boeing brings back the 737 Max but also lays off thousands

ChrisC

Re: Rebranding

No, it's the one where RoboCop is onboard as the air marshal...

Turns out Elon can't control the weather – what a scrub: Rain, clouds delay historic manned SpaceX-NASA launch

ChrisC

Re: The Right Stuff

"50 years ago they just got on with it"

And only *just* got away with it...

Given that one of the outcomes of Apollo 12 was a change in launch procedures to avoid launching into such weather conditions on future missions, criticising the current generation of steely eyed missilemen and women as snowflakes is so far from the mark it's not even funny if you were trying to just make a joke out of it, let alone if you were being even remotely serious.

Scrubbing a launch is disappointing, but I'll take that over an inflight abort (or worse) every single time. "SCE to Aux" is a memorable (for the right reasons) phrase from the lexicon of NASA launches, but let's never ever forget the equally memorable (for all the wrong reasons) "Roger, go at throttle up"...

You E-diot! Formula E driver booted off Audi team after getting video game ace to take his place in online race

ChrisC

Re: Seems like an Abt punishment

I've seen a couple of those as well, and as you say the graphics quality is really quite impressive these days - certainly a bit of a step up from the days of Geoff Crammonds F1GP, which was the last time I was seriously into simulated F1 (after that I got too involved in flight sims to give driving ones much of my time).

However, as a F1 fan as well, I have to admit to also being quite impressed with the actual events themselves - after the first couple of laps I find myself getting as much into the racing as any of the actual races, and whilst it certainly isn't a complete substitute for the real thing from a viewer perspective (although I think part of that is just down to the absence of all the pit lane/paddock coverage and the familiar presenters that you get along with the race itself), it's definitely doing a good job of filling in the gaps along with all the re-runs of older real races.

Linus Torvalds drops Intel and adopts 32-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper on personal PC

ChrisC

Re: $$$

You know, I look at the price of high-end CPUs today and start to think the same, but then I cast my mind back 25 years and being quite happy to spend £849 to upgrade my Amiga with a 50MHz 68060, which was then the fastest processor option available... In todays money that's around £1650-1700, which in turn translates into around $2000.

Back then it was certainly a significant outlay, but I barely thought twice about making it - being a computer enthusiast back then was an expensive business anyway, so the relative cost of the upgrade didn't feel like such a leap - whereas these days I'd certainly need to take a long run up at the "Buy now" button in order to persuade myself to spend so much the next time I upgrade my PC, no matter how tempting it might be to have that much processing power sat under the desk...

Serial killer spotted on the night train from Newcastle

ChrisC

Along similar lines, the display at Furze Platt spent the best part of a year displaying an error message related to its GPRS modem.

Mind you, that was about as useful a means of determining when the next train was due to arrive as the actual arrival messages were once the modem problem got resolved, perhaps even moreso given that it at least didn't even attempt to suggest anything regarding when the next train might deign to put in an appearance. I have my suspicions the ETAs on that board are generated by a RNG within its own firmware rather than being based even vaguely on any externally available data regarding the whereabouts of the trains it claims to be informing us about...

ChrisC

Based on my own experiences, I was under the impression that the "Haynes" commands were the ones you used to break something, and the "Senyah" commands were the ones required to get it back into working order again...

Non-human Microsoft Office users get their own special licences

ChrisC

Yes. I particularly "like" the way the update mechanism combines with the autosave mechanism when editing online documents, so that you can be literally in the middle of typing a sentence, pause just *slightly* too long at the wrong time, autosave does its thing and then *boom* your document apparently vanishes along with the rest of the Office suite, only to all reappear again 20-30s later once the uber-critical update has been applied.

I say uber-critical only because I can't think of any good reason why an update should cause any apps actively in use to be shut down without giving the user any warning (even if done so in a way that avoids data loss), unless the update in question has to be applied RIGHT NOW damnit, don't you see, the fate of the whole universe, your family, loved ones, and several small cute kittens, rests on applying this patch within the next 37.6 seconds...

Square peg of modem won't fit into round hole of PC? I saw to it, bloke tells horrified mate

ChrisC

Re: *Hisses & wards against Evil*

Can't remember how good the K6 family was at being overclocked, but I do recall them being quite decent little chips for the price.

So much so that, having started mulling over upgrade options for my old P166 system one lunchtime.at work, I then figured that just swapping out the P166 for a K6-2 would give the required performance boost, and was then so keen to try this out that I spent some of my flextime to leave work at 4pm, hot-footed it the mile into town to get the next train into London, then the tube up to Blackhorse Road, and finally a brisk walk across the road to Simply Computers before closing time to collect the prize... Ahh, the days before next day delivery from Amazon :-)

ChrisC

Can't remember what it was, but one of the cards I bought came with a mounting plate that the manufacturer had decided would look *so* much nicer with a nice matt black powder coating rather than the more mundane bare shiny metal sported by, well, everyone elses cards.

Cue much cursing at said manufacturer when attempting to fit the card revealed that instead of using a thinner plate to compensate for the thickness of the coating, they'd obviously just used a standard plate and had that coated. On both sides obviously, which meant that the combined thickness of metal + 2 layers of coating left the retaining tab now incapable of fitting into the tab slots on the PC case, until after I'd introduced it to one of my metal files...

ChrisC

Re: *Hisses & wards against Evil*

Having done my share of IT support for friends and family over the years, I've come into contact with a few PB machines, all of which were utter delights to deal with...

...hah, who am I kidding! Nightmares the lot of them. Although I was pleasantly surprised by one of them which turned out to have twice the HD capacity it had been sold as having - the factory OS image had been set up to provide a C: drive of n GB, but after the factory restore discs then failed dismally to actually restore anything resembling a working OS and I got the owner to run down to the nearest PC store to buy a retail copy of XP (insert jokes about still not resembling a working OS...), the nuke from orbit type clean install process I then went through gave me the option of setting up a C: drive of 2n GB. Hmm.

After cracking open the case again to check the part number on the HD and confirming that, yes, it really was expected to provide 2n GB of capacity, I left XP to do its thing and ended up being able to hand over a fully functional PC unencumbered by any of the extras PB had included in their default setup, and with twice the drive space as a bonus.

Tesla sued over Tokyo biker's death in 'dozing driver' Autopilot crash

ChrisC

Re: @Brian 3 - Sorry, mate

I read it a few times before posting my earlier reply, and having read it again now I still don't see any reason to change my PoV here, except to say that suggesting they may have thought it was a speed limiter they were setting was incorrect.

However, I'm willing to be educated as to why I'm wrong here, so if anyone of the people downvoting me would like to put in a little bit of effort to explain why, rather than just either doing so silently or with a non-educational response like this one, please do - I genuinely am interested to know.

My interpretation of YAAC's post was that:

1. YAAC hired a car without realising it had *adaptive* cruise

2. They did however believe it had standard cruise, which then they set to 70

3. On encountering a vehicle doing only 60, they maintained a steady speed behind it despite having set what they thought was standard cruise to 70.

At this point, there are only two ways for their car to have not rammed itself into the backside of the lorry at a closing speed of 10MPH. Either YAAC adjusted the cruise settings (by lowering the setpoint to 60, or by manually braking), or the car reduced speed all by itself.

Now, had YAAC adjusted the cruise settings themselves, they'd then have had to adjust them *again* in order for the car to then accelerate itself back up to 70 once the lorry moved, so it wouldn't have taken them by surprise.

Which leaves only one option based on the information provided - the car matched the speed of the lorry all by itself...

If that was the case, then it's at THIS point in the drive where it should have been obvious the car didn't just have standard cruise control.

ChrisC

Re: License to Kill

"Many other cars also have an automatic braking system that is the same or functionally similar to the on in this model of Tesla. This also does not stop the driver crashing into parked vehicles. My car's AEB decided that the car that had just pulled out in front of me was not a threat and did not activate AEB."

And did you crash into it, or was your level of engagement in the driving process sufficiently high that you were able to brake manually anyway?

"The Autopilot software on that vehicle is a driver aid that can also be found on many other vehicles. It is not designed to be a full autonomous driving experience."

That might be what Tesla are saying in public, but that definitely isn't the impression they're giving to a growing number of their customers. And regardless of what their official stance is on Autopilot, human nature being what it is, the more driver aids that are provided to make it "easier" to get your vehicle from A to B, the less engaged the driver is likely to become with the whole process.

And when you're less engaged in something, your levels of attention drift, your ability to quickly respond to changes in the process diminishes, and BOOM you've just driven into the back of a stationary obstacle that an alert driver would have more likely have been able to avoid...

ChrisC

Re: @Brian 3 - Sorry, mate

"That's when I worked out what it was doing"

I would have thought the fact that you hadn't already driven straight into the back of the HGV despite it travelling 10MPH lower than the speed you'd asked the cruise control to attain ought to have been a giant clue that it wasn't just a plain old "maintain this speed unless physically impossible to do so" type of cruise control...

...or did you actually think it was a speed *limiter*, and that all the time you were sat behind the HGV it was your right foot rather than the car electronics responsible for maintaining a steady 60MPH?

Florida man might just stick it to HP for injecting sneaky DRM update into his printers that rejected non-HP ink

ChrisC

Re: Bizzarre!

"I am sure that there are valid reasons for having colour inkjets"

Yes.

Like being able to quickly print off some new passport photos (which, despite the dire warnings from HMPO that photos printed at home are unlikely to meet their requirements, have never once failed to be accepted by them in the 12+ years I've been doing it) to avoid the need to drag myself, the wife or the kids off to the nearest photo booth or store that offers passport photo services and pay whatever stupid premium they charge for the privilege of getting a handful of tiny photos in return.

Or being able to print off photo-quality copies of family photos at just the right size to fit the new photo frames your OH bought on a whim and now wants to put on the wall.

Or to do any other colour printing where achieving photo quality output is important, and where you don't want to have to waste time and money travelling to a print shop/kiosk, or even more time waiting for an online print service to return something.

And whilst ink carts certainly do require more TLC than a laser toner if not used regularly, I've never needed to throw away any of the genuine Canon carts I've bought just because they'd been left partly used in the printer for too long. At worst I've had to run the deep clean cycle a couple of times to free up all the nozzles if it's been more than a month or two since the last bit of colour printing, but more often than not all that's required is either a basic nozzle clean or even just adding a bit of extra stuff at the top of the first sheet to be printed off (e.g. when printing new passport photos I'll simply copy-paste a couple of extra rows, so that by the time the printout reaches the 3rd row any of the partly clogged nozzles will have cleared themselves whilst trying to print the first 2 rows).

ChrisC

Re: And they have also totally destroyed Samsung printers

Having been a happy owner of two genuine Samsung lasers over the past decade and a half, when our last one started misfeeding paper after getting on for 7 years of sterling service (and having been fed with third party toner ever since the starter toner ran out), I naturally started looking at the current equivalents expecting to see the same highly rated reviews from users. Having not been aware of the HP takeover in the meantime, I was therefore taken by surprise to see so many poor reviews, and on digging further into the details was when I then noted comments about "it's just a rebadged HP", "no support since HP took over" etc...

As a result, I've now got a rather nice Brother mono laser sat in its place - a little more expensive but with almost entirely glowing reviews from users and with readily available third party toner, and a few nice extra features to make the price justifiable - auto duplexing and a proper internal paper tray being the two main ones for me. Only time will tell if it withstands the next 6-7 years of use as well as the Samsungs did, but so far it's been all good, and I can see why the reviews have been so good.

ZX Spectrum prototype ROM is now available for download courtesy of boffins at the UK's Centre for Computing History

ChrisC

Re: Nostalgia

In the world of embedded system development, having an extra engineer, let alone a supervisory cat as well, working on a project is more often than you might think an unimaginable luxury. In the 21 years I've been in the industry so far, the firmware development team for almost all of the projects I've worked on has consisted of me. And on around half of them, I've also been the hardware designer too...

Right now I'm in the unbelievable position of working on a project alongside TWO other fulltime FW/HW engineers and, right right now thanks to the current fad for working from home, two supervisory cats as well. Though in reality, I think their focus is more on supervising the contents of their food bowls than anything else. The cats that is, not the other engineers. Probably.

You've duked it out with OS/2 – but how to deal with these troublesome users? Nukem

ChrisC

Re: Why reinstall Win3.1?

"Windows to OS/2 - why bother? NO compelling reason!"

The ability to get around the utter bilge that was Windows excuse for multitasking back then. I was a postgrad at the time, doing some stuff with Matlab/Simulink which has now fled into a deep dark recess of my memory banks from where I refuse to even attempt to coax it back out into the light... Anyhoo, that Win3.1 version of Matlab was quite probably the most multitasking-hostile thing I ever used on 3.1 - once you started it going off on a set of calculations, the PC was useless for anything else until it finished.

After several weeks of time spent waiting for the PC to finish grinding its way through the latest set of calcs, I idly wondered WTF the PC couldn't simply multitask as well as the Amiga I had sitting at home, despite said PC having somewhat more in the way of processor grunt and free RAM. Whilst reading up on what made PCs so utterly crap at multitasking, I then stumbled upon a reference to OS/2 Warp which suggested it held the answer.

Taking a gamble, I forked out of my own pocket for a copy of Warp (red spine edition IIRC, as I already had the necessary Windows 3.1 licence) and installed it on my PC at home (which, despite being even faster than the PC the uni had provided me in the lab, was still no better at persuading Matlab to multitask within the 3.1 environment - all the extra performance did give me was a shorter wait before I could get on with the next bit of work). After a bit of faffing around getting it to run properly with all the required hardware drivers, I gingerly fired up Matlab to see what would happen...

O.. M..G..

Matlab went off crunching through its calcs in its own window, but the rest of the system was still completely responsive to my inputs. Could it be, a PC finally capable of multitasking like an Amiga? Oh hell yes. I then fired up Word, and praise be, I could continue writing up the latest section of my research notes whilst Matlab was still churning away in the background. All that time wasted over the previous weeks and months just because Microsoft's idea of multitasking at that time was "yeah well, it'll work if everything running on the PC lets it work, but otherwise tough"

And still, 20+ years later, Microsoft continue to demonstrate that they don't really get pre-emptive multitasking, despite all the improvements they have made since those bad old days of 3.1. When the multi-core, multi-GB PC sat on my desk today, featuring more processing power than a supercomputer of old, can still be brought to its knees by a rogue task leaving the UI unresponsive, it makes me weep at what could have been if MS hadn't gained such a stranglehold over the PC marketplace.

BOFH: Darn Windows 7. It's totally why we need a £1k graphics card for a business computer

ChrisC

Re: Keyboards

Back in the days when mice still had balls, the MS Intellimouse range was the bees knees - had one on my PC at uni, which then encouraged me to buy one for my PC at home, which then encouraged me to buy a newer one for my PC at home so I could take the old one into work to replace the brick on a string masquerading as a pointing device on my PC there...

I do however recall their early attempts at optical mice were less than stellar, which is what prompted me to jump ship and see if Logitech were as good as everyone was suggesting - the MX510 I bought as a result is *still* going strong.

ChrisC

This x1000, along with the monitor(s). Penny-pinch on the stuff you physically interact with every single time you use the system, and you'll regret it forever.

Artful prankster creates Google Maps traffic jams by walking a cartful of old phones around Berlin

ChrisC

Re: Ingenious

And yet, despite the ever present threat of global nuclear annihilation, the world felt so much safer back then. At least to the teen version of myself back in those days. *sigh* some days I just wish I could go back to the 80's for a while, where the winters were cold and snowy, the summers long and hot, and the home computer scene at its peak...

ChrisC

Re: Can't stop smiling >> app drawings

I think our Spoonerism-afflicted hand tool was trying to suggest that if enough people collaborated, it'd be possible to get Google Maps to display the desired word/phrase *in realtime* as a traffic jam highlight, which would be rather more of an achievement than merely tracing out a recognisable image within a recorded GPS track for viewing *after* the event, which is something god only knows how many of us have done at least once whilst playing around with GPS trackers... If I dusted off my own data archives, somewhere I'd find all of the track data I captured getting on for 20 years ago walking around London with my old Garmin eTrex, which IIRC includes tracks showing the outline of the Isle of Dogs and some of its larger docks, Hyde Park and the Serpentine, and the route of the Circle line (or as close to it as you can get by following footpaths above ground).

Smart speaker maker Sonos takes heat for deliberately bricking older kit with 'Trade Up' plan

ChrisC

Cardboard packaging can be fairly trivially broken into by a bare-handed thief, whereas opening up the plastic packaging used by the likes of Sandisk et al to protect their products from going walkies requires a fully stocked workshop (as well as an equally fully stocked medical cabinet [1]), making it somewhat harder to surreptitiously remove the items of value from within the packaging and depart the store unnoticed.

1. to deal with the life-threatening lacerations [2] picked up as you guide your favoured cutting implement around the perimeter of the packaging whilst trying not to slice straight through any of the contents...

2. between lethal packaging materials, the hidden bits of razor-wire inside every PC case just waiting to slice your fingertips to shreds during a system upgrade, or the cunningly located heatpipes and other bits of thermal control metalwork inside SFF systems which are almost, but not quite, just far enough away from the stuff you need to work on to avoid burning yourself unless you leave the system to cool down for a few hours first, the IT industry never seems to stop coming up with devious new ways to injure and maim its customers...

When is an electrical engineer not an engineer? When Arizona's state regulators decide to play word games

ChrisC

Re: AKA Libertarians

"Well , you could just call yourself a Computer Programmer, and leave the engineering to the Engineers."

You've assumed that the code the OP was talking about was intended to run on a computer.

As an engineer myself, now into my 3rd decade of working on bare-metal embedded systems development, I don't see the slightest problem for people in this sort of role describing themselves as "software engineer", "firmware engineer", "embedded systems engineer" etc. Nor was it a problem for my university, who alongside the more traditional "Electrical & Electronic Engineering" degree I was on, also offered one titled "Microelectronics and Software Engineering". Which, in hindsight, is the one I probably should have taken given how little classical electrical engineering I've done since then, but that's another story for another day.

Because when you're working in that sort of role, you're not bashing out code to run in a nice clean abstracted OS environment where you almost certainly don't need to care much/at all about the underlying hardware, you're writing code that needs to be tailored to the specific capabilities of the target platform and making use of your experience with the particular microcontroller to provide feedback to the hardware designer (if that's someone else and not just you wearing a different hat on a different day) as to how the hardware could be tweaked to make the code more efficient.

And in such a role, describing yourself as a "programmer", "software developer" etc. is more likely to have you eyed with suspicion as to how much embedded coding experience you actually possess...

P.S. I'm neither outraged, nor have I cast any downvotes here, but I hope that doesn't disqualify me from responding to your request for an explanation :-)

Tesla has a smashing weekend: Model 3 on Autopilot whacks cop cars, Elon's Cybertruck demolishes part of LA

ChrisC

Re: I Can't Stop Myself

"Not sure what "full blown" autopilot is? Autopilot is steering within lane and traffic aware cruise control. DO you mean Enhanced autopilot which does lane changes and autoparking?"

No, I mean "autopilot" as it's touted by Tesla. Other manufacturers choose to provide some of the features such as lane departure warnings, blind spot monitoring etc. without the need to make out that they're anything more than they are, and without the need to provide *all* of the features - thus some of the benefits you've suggested are attributable to "autopilot" can also be attributed to many other cars as well.

"Because radio waves can bounce off many surfaces (specifically the road). Cameras and your eyes are generally viewing what is directly ahead and light reflections rarely have any bearing on that. SO the Radar can detect two cars ahead."

Hmm, good luck getting much of a useable return signal after it's bounced off the road and squirmed its way under the vehicle in front which is blocking the line of sight to the vehicle ahead of that, then reflected off said vehicle and squirmed back under the vehicle in front via the road surface again... I think you're giving automotive radar subsystems a bit too much credit here.

And things like light reflections and shadows cast by vehicles further ahead DO often play a significant part in giving a driver - at least a halfway competent and observant one - clues as to what's going on beyond the vehicle directly in front of them.

"but it is well known by Tesla and all owners of their cars that the vehicles are fully self driving"

Ah, so you admit it :-) Unfortunate slip of the keyboard there...

"However over 2 billion miles driven on autopilot and you've probably read about every crash they've ever had. It is actually pretty impressive, and you could conclude that the likelyhood of it getting it wrong over that mileage is extremely low?"

The question is whether any of those accidents would still have occurred if the drivers in question had a clear understanding of the limitations of "autopilot" and hadn't therefore left it to drive the car for them whilst their attention was elsewhere.

ChrisC

Re: I Can't Stop Myself

Pretty much, although IIRC it's still up to the human pilot to handle taxying *from* the stand to the runway and then the take-off itself. Once up in the air though, a full spec commercial autopilot system, combined with the associated ground systems at the destination airport, can do everything else up to and including taxying *to* the stand.

Add into the mix the option to link other technologies such as TCAS and GPWS to the autopilot, and you can end up with an aircraft capable not only of getting from A to B all by itself, but of doing so without colliding with anything else along the way.

ChrisC

Re: I Can't Stop Myself

"Do you have any evidence at all for the guy thinking that the car required no driver attention due to the fact it isn't an autonomous vehicle?"

Besides the evidence that he clearly thought it was perfectly acceptable to divert all of his attention into checking on woofums in the back, without first pulling over to the side of the road and parking it safely?

As a parent of two, I'm only too aware how much of a distraction it can be to have someone or something in the back seat demanding your attention, but in all the times I drove with my kids in the back, I never, EVER, forgot that my primary objective was to continue driving safely. If one of them suddenly started crying out, or threw up, or anything else attention-getting-worthy, it was a case of finding the first safe place to stop and then, and only then, attending to them.

So at the very least, this incident provides sufficient evidence that this particular individual isn't fit to be driving any sort of vehicle, let alone one which uses potentially misleading terminology to describe its driver assistance features.

"In fact do you have any evidence that a Tesla owner believes that the system does not require the driver to remain alert and keep their hands on the wheel. The fact it reminds you every few seconds, is usually quite a good hint."

The fact that Tesla felt the need to have their cars reminding their drivers regularly throughout a drive, rather than just on startup/first use of "autopilot" in that drive, suggests they think there IS a risk that some of their drivers aren't quite as clued up and sensible as this.

And the fact that this incident is merely the latest in the collection of such incidents related to driver misuse/misunderstanding of what "autopilot" actually is, rather than being the first such incident ever to occur with a Tesla, suggests that this risk is entirely real and not being adequately dealt with by whatever warnings the car is giving the driver.

ChrisC

Re: I Can't Stop Myself

"a) Keep the car in lane without veering out of lane"

Don't need full-blown "autopilot" to achieve this...

"b) Keep a suitable safe distance from the car in front and any cars that may enter the lan"

Ditto...

"c) Notice and react to sudden slowing events even not in visible sight of the car"

How will it know the events are occurring if they're out of sight? The various sensors used by "autopilot" are all still reliant on having line of sight to whatever it is they're being tasked to detect.

"d) Reduce driver fatigue in poorer driving conditions"

Possibly, although...

"e) Allow the driver to be more alert to their surroundings with less mental agility required for driving"

...whenever I dabble with using cruise control on my cars, I very quickly remember why it is I detest using it - the feeling of disconnection between what I'm doing and what the car is doing makes me feel like I'm always ever so slightly behind the car, so if something occurs up ahead that requires my attention I find myself reacting a little slower than I'd like to. In contrast, when I switch cruise off and let my right foot take care of speed and distance control, everything falls more comfortably into place and I then feel more able to respond to events around me.

IMO, if you take *too* much stimulation and mental effort out of the act of driving, the driver then ends up in a reduced and somewhat soporific state of attention, which is the polar opposite of where you need them to be, or where you're expecting them to be having just given them all that free time to spend on watching out for stuff happening now they're not having to work on the basics like maintaining speed, lane position etc.

"f) Have full visibility for blindspots and the situation around the car within it's own capabilities but working at a sustained and constant level at all times"

With *heavy* emphasis on "within its own capabilities". This, and other "autopilot"-related collisons, prove that its capabilities are, at times, far worse than would be even remotely acceptable from a complete novice driver out on their first ever lesson.

"g) Fail to spot something that may require driver action"

Yep, it seems to be pretty good at that...

The thing about "autopilot" is that, whilst all of its individual parts seem like a good idea, and indeed in some cases *are* a good idea - hence them being available from pretty much every other car manufacturer on the planet - the way all these parts have been lumped together under the "autopilot" moniker and promoted, knowingly or otherwise, to Tesla owners as being something rather more than it actually is, is what makes so many of us deeply uneasy about it. And crashes like this one, which should have been well within the capabilities of "autopilot" to cope with despite the idiotic behaviour of the driver, really don't help its cause one bit.

I'll take your frame to another dimension, pay close attention: This AI auto-generates 3D objects from 2D snaps

ChrisC

Bonus points for making them into adversarial images, so that the 2->3D generator ends up spitting out a perfectly formed model of a lump of dog poo, or a hand giving them the middle finger/v-sign/other locally obscene gesture...

High-resolution display output or Wi-Fi: It seems you can only choose one on Raspberry Pi 4

ChrisC

Re: An RPi as a desktop computer ?

Next you'll be telling us that a Ford Focus is definitely not a car, because comparing it to a Bugatti Veyron it loses out in pretty much every category except "number of wheels"... And in the game of PC Top Trumps, your system sounds like a bit of a wimp compared to some - only 6GB of VRAM, pffft, only 4 physical CPU cores, oh you poor thing, however do you manage?

Labour: Free British broadband for country if we win general election

ChrisC

Re: For a given value of "free"

And Amazon delivery drivers, along with every other person that Amazon employs in the UK, *are* British taxpayers anyway, so every bit as "entitled" to use the road network as anyone else...

ChrisC

Re: Welcome to Cloud Cuckoo Land

"if you're fine with getting around by bike why should you have to pay for fancy roads for those that can afford to buy a Mercedes?"

Because unless you live *completely* off grid and grow all your own food, weave all your own clothes etc., there's a remarkably high probability that the essential items you need to survive will have been moved around the country on the motorway network. You might never use the motorways in person, but simply by living in this country you'll almost certainly be responsible for indirectly generating traffic on the motorways.

If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is: Nobody can decrypt the Dharma ransomware

ChrisC
Coat

Dharma encryption, eh...

...wonder if anyone's tried 4815162342 as a backdoor code.

Bloodhound rocket car target of 550mph put on ice after engine overheat

ChrisC

Re: Dear AC

It seems we were thinking much along the same lines at the same time - your reply here is a somewhat more succinct version of what I was trying to say with my slightly more rambly response...

ChrisC

Re: Dear AC

But the data gathered during the test runs *will* be of use in validating the simulation models, which in turn may then be of use in other scenarios. There's also the question of whether any of the technology might have applications in areas where similar forces/speeds are present - e.g. does the work that's gone into designing the Bloodhound wheels provide us with any new data that might be useful when designing high-RPM flywheels for energy storage?

I honestly don't know the answer to that or any other similar "what if/does this" questions that could be asked of other aspects of the Bloodhound project, but I'd be amazed if, once it's all done and dusted, it hasn't generated even a single piece of knowledge/data that can be put to good use somewhere else. And, even if it genuinely doesn't generate anything of tangible value at the end, it has acted as something of a useful catalyst for getting more people engaged in STEM - if it then results in even a tiny percentage uptick in the number of people choosing to follow a STEM educational and career path rather than whatever else they might have considered doing with their lives, the potential long term value of that effect is not to be sniffed at.

Microsoft's phrase of the week was 'tech intensity' and, no, we're not sure what it means either

ChrisC

Alternatively it could be read as "(tech adoption x tech capability) XOR trust", in which case trust = 0 is the only time you can be sure that improvements in your adoption and capability figures will result in corresponding gains in your intensity value...

When the IT department speaks, users listen. Or face the consequences

ChrisC

Re: Mapped drives and disconnected laptops....

"No excuse when a PC is a desktop and the drive is always available."

You're assuming the networked drive *is* always available (which, given the number of single points of failure present between a users desktop PC and the networked drive, can't be guaranteed), and that if it is, the applications you're using won't then see a significant performance drop due to having their working files stored remotely vs locally. And also that the network itself is happy to have all this additional load placed on it vs the loading it'd see if users were working with locally stored files being regularly synced onto the network drive.

Mandating that desktop users store all their files on a networked drive, with the local drive only being used to hold the OS, applications and genuinely throwaway temporary files, might work OK for some scenarios, but it's not a one size fits all answer IMO.

Traffic lights worldwide set to change after Swedish engineer saw red over getting a ticket

ChrisC

Re: It depends

"It must really suck to only be capable of understanding things in the context of a handful of distinct (primary and basic blend) colours."

As someone with red-green colour deficiencies, my personal take on this is that it only sucks when someone else fails to understand that we don't all have identical colour vision and gets all huffy when you try explaining to them that you genuinely can't tell the difference between colours A and B no matter how many times they tell you they really are different.

As far as it affecting my own individual progress through life, other than being ruled out from a few career choices I might have been interested in, it rarely crosses my mind *except* when someone else brings it up. Being CVD from birth, I've never known what it would be like to see the world with a more vibrant and varying palette of reds and greens (or any other colours of which these are component parts), so how I view the world is, quite simply, how I view the world. My skies are still blue, my grasses are still green, and my stop lights are still red. I still live in a world of colour, even if I don't necessarily see them in quite the same way as others.

ChrisC

Re: Not quite

"No, they use inductive detector loops embedded in the pavement."

Or even in the carriageway - left/right side pondian English isn't short of confusing terminology, but pavement/sidewalk and pavement/carriageway must surely rank up there as also being one of the more dangerously confusing ones...

"Welcome to the UK, please remember to walk on the pavement"

and

"Welcome to the USA, please remember to drive on the pavement"

ChrisC

Re: Show this to the Mexican police

"the official law is that when a light is red you must stop before the stop line - if your front tyres are over the stop line when the light turns red you are beyond the point where you have to stop and so should keep going."

No you shouldn't. You commit an offence if you allow *any* part of your vehicle to proceed beyond the stop line when the red light is showing, so unless *all* of your vehicle has crossed the line at the point when the red light comes on then you need to stop.

"also pay attention to whether the signage says green light or red light 'cos if it says red light you can start moving once the light turns from red to amber, but if it says green light you're supposed to wait to proceed until the green light shows"

Are you *really* a UK-based traffic engineer? Where, on a public road in the UK, would a driver encounter a set of traffic lights which change from showing only red to showing only amber? The actual sequence is red -> red+amber -> green, so regardless of what the wording on the sign says, you wait for the green light before you can proceed, otherwise you're still guilty of driving through a red light.

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