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December 12, 2008
News - Summer of Tariffs: Q&…
about a year ago
I do business with A LOT of small businesses and from my own personal experience, they are ALL fearing for their businesses right now. They are ALL saying these tariffs are a nightmare. I have seen businesses actually CLOSE because of it.
It doesn't matter what kind of business it is, they all rely on foreign trade in some form or fashion - for better or for worse.
The reasons are more complicated than cheap labor - which is everyone's favorite punching bag - and way over simplifies the problem. No, they seem to think the united states has every resource needed for everything they buy in insane abundance, you just need to pay more for it or wait for a factory to produce it or whatever... NOT TRUE.
There are materials and items that the united states simply doesn't have or we have so little of it or its so hard to get it isn't economically feasible to extract or make. Not talking about oil, but that is a major problem too - No, the scary thing is that some of these materials are a direct threat to our national security and without trade, we are screwed in that regard. Anyone ever hear of "rare earth metals"? Rare - you might look that word up in a dictionary and think about what it means...
I have seen people on these forums and others start right into the tribalism bullsh*t and defend the trade war as if it's an easy problem and we all need to suck it up and stop being "snowflakes", or " stop hyperventilating" - people that don't understand global trade, national defense when it comes to strategic reserves of certain materials and have zero clue how insanely obvious it is that this administration is also clueless when it comes to those problems - else these new tariffs wouldn't be happening - no - its just hand waving trying to make dumb people think they are getting a good "deal" while the other hand is emptying their wallet .
"We can just mine our own, it gives jobs to miners" - Ok, at what cost? and these materials are FINITE... You want to deplete our reserves at a higher expense now? What happens when we run out tomorrow? If you understood the math on this you would understand why we had perfectly fine trade agreements that benefited US more than you would ever know...
I can only imagine these are the same people that would be fine with an automobile mechanic performing their neurosurgery... Which is pretty much the same thing as letting a real estate agent / reality TV star play global trade expert... A real estate agent who has no problem selling your hats and clothing made in china while waving an American flag in your face, a real estate agent who can't get a loan in the US due to all his business failures, but can get loans from people who you really want to pay back, because their collections departments are not so friendly...
As other have pointed out we have moved from a manufacturing based economy to the design side of the equation. I went to school and got a degree because I used to roof houses with my dad and I actually worked in factory making engine blocks for a while too (robots do that job now, imagine that - do you know what website you're at btw?).
You can do that manual labor shit for 30+ years if you want, but seeing my dad and how broken down he is today from 35+ years of hard labor, I know why I got my education and a job where I use my brain rather than brawn. I want to see America succeed just as much as anyone else, but I know the path we are on right now is not going to make life for Americans better. If anything it gives major advantages to foreign countries that benefit directly from a weakened United States.
And the ones you think are screwing us? Well, if they really wanted to screw us, they would dump our loans and watch our economy fail overnight. No, now they'll just watch us isolate ourselves and crash our own economy and find new trade partners. And if you want a history lesson on how our economy looks right now, look back at 2007... If that doesn't scare you, you just have nothing to lose...
I'm just glad a lot of people are starting to see voting has major consequences and "I just voted that way to see what he'll do, MAYBE it won't be so bad and its only four years..." is pretty f*cking dumb idea.
about a year ago
To measure speed using a pulsed mode radar (if you don't access to Doppler information...) you would start a timer at the instance of your transmit pulse, and then stop the timer when you get a return pulse - how long it takes for the pulse's round trip is directly related to the distance. They are already doing that for you in the distance measurement routine. You would save that distance in a variable, then take another distance measurement and if it has changed, either coming closer, or getting further away, you would want to know the time it took for it to move that distance - that would be the speed - you are basically measuring the distance of travel over time.
You would want to take a series of those measurements and average them a little to weed out the fact the target will likely not be a perfect reflector - One reading might be of the front bumper, the next you might get a stronger return off the rear wheel - those kinds of things will add "noise" to your data you would need to account for.
That's how police LIDAR works, but its easier because a laser beam is still relatively narrow a distance and you don't have near the problems with the beam reflecting off of random surfaces - unless the officer has a really shaky hand. But they have software that is averaging and throwing away any wild returns, it needs to send a series of pulses to do this, but the clock rates of course fast enough the operator will just get a solid speed reading and distance, and the speeder will get a ticket before they can blink. The problem being with that is they can't be moving. Its stationary operation only. But they can use the distance measurement the LIDAR provides to check for tail gating, accident scene measurements, etc. Its also very hard to defeat outside of methods we wont talk about here... Radar detectors are absolutely useless against LIDAR because by the time you hear an alert, the nice LEO has your speed, and if you are breaking the law, good luck. All because it is an optical, line-of-sight dependent device that isn't spraying the air waves with RF - With radar, the ball is always in the violator with a radar detectors court due to 1/R^4 > 1/R^2
Radio waves spread a lot at distance, and by looking at the measurement distance of this thing, of only 2 meters, its kind of apparent it wouldn't be very useful for speed radar. You might be able to make some sort of dielectric lens, like a on a real police radar. If you've ever noticed the antenna of one of those it will have lens looking plastic dome on it, a bit like a can of soup with a spot light lens stuck in the end of it. That is a dielectric lens, it actually focuses the beam of RF from horn antenna inside the can just like an optical lens would focus a light beam from a light bulb for a narrower beam width at distance. I'm sure there is some sort of modeling software out there that could help design the lens, and you would probably need it - but at 60GHz, that is roughly twice as high in frequency as Ka band police radar, so the lens for this would need to probably be roughly half the dimensions?
I haven't read the datasheet for this thing, but I imagine it was intended for blind spot detection or collision avoidance more than long distance speed measurement.
Big radars, like weather or military types would be using the Doppler information of the return pulses for velocity information, as it would be a direct "measurement" rather than a distance over time "calculation" and much more reliable data. In fact, that is what police speed radar uses, the Doppler shift caused by the motion of your car in relation to the transmit frequency, which is constant, or constant wave (CW) mode because they don't really car about distance information and it's a lot cheaper than pulsed mode radar. The other advantage to CW Doppler police radar is they can be in motion and still clock violators, by taking into account the police cruisers speed via Doppler and throwing it out, leaving only target speeds. Again, not having read the datasheet or "SDK" - Maybe they give you a Doppler output? Then it would be a simple matter of doing the math to correlate Doppler shift to velocity
The only real advantage for a pulsed mode police radar would be a lower probability of intercept for those using ECM - i.e. a radar detector... In other words, it would be all the more difficult to detect a police cruiser running pulsed radar vs. CW radar. Again - 1/R^4 > 1/R^2 is a win pretty much every time for the radar detector and anything that can help offset that is an advantage to the radar and its operator....
News - My Love/Hate Relationship…
about 8 years ago
5 ohms / ft. eh? I guess you could lay thtings out in such a way that the LEDs always have current limiting resistors at known points. But that is a lot of drop and these walls won't be "green", that is for sure. Copper tape is pretty expensive these days, but I think very thin stuff that is also very narrow would be as good as if not better than the paint and you can solder to it and what not. You could always pinstipe with paint over that if copper (or patina) isn't your color. then i'd use kapton or or some other thin electrically insulating tape to cover the cross-overs. paint won't stick to kapton, but lightly sanding it might help that. Some copper tape conducts through its adhesive, some is made not to.
about 8 years ago
Hmm, sparkfun needs to start a service where i just tell you what I want a widget to do and you guys design and build it, work out all the bugs and ship the final revision to me. And if it can come in a mylar potato chip bag, no not a real antistat bag, but an honest to goodness potato chip bag for that yummy instant gratification feeling when I open it, than would just be awesome... I guess toss me into the "I hate labview" pile. Lets all buy a crippled version of a very closed source, extremely bloated and crazy expensive "I can read" programming interface that can only be ran on one platform that has to be running the LV runtime engine on it as well. Oh, and if you ever need to do something that your flavor of LV can't do, you'll need to purchase the full version and that particular add-on as well and have a subscription to their license service as well if you need it for more than a year or two. But you already have gobs of cash lying around if you can tie up an entire windows machine to run your "whatever" with the arduIdunno. God forbid anyone learn a real programming language that doesn't tie your hands behind your back. Speaking of that, can I have my potato chip bagged widget hog-tie me as well while we're at it?
I can think of several programming languages that are FREE that blow LV out of the lab in just about every way you can think of, but you'll have to learn something other than how to drag virtual wires around. And seeing people program in LV is laughable! You still have to know something about logical program structure. "why won't this loop?" snicker... I can code half a program faster than most labview monkeys can find and wire up a single function block. Save yourself the hassle and learn at least basic let alone C. LV is probably too much and too little for you at the same time!
News - The Return to Shenzhen - …
about 8 years ago
@ Mysterio, You obviously have never taken any type of training or class on ESD have you? What do those plumb-bobs do about the static that builds up from walking across the floor after you've touched them? If you think those are an effective means of anti-static, I've got a truck load of "wireless" wrist-straps to sell you. And it still makes me very nervous and weary seeing an american company doing business in china, I realize that this is the way it is done these days, but it still bothers me. I wonder if anyone like nate from spark fun has had any big dollar offers to ship a few restricted export IC's to "friends" in china? Not a good idea if you enjoy your freedom.
News - The Gameduino
about 8 years ago
Um, as someone who works in tubes (microwave) for a living, I can assure you that they use high voltage as well. Im not quite sure what you can do with a spark gap though, even a triggered sparkgap wouldn't be a very useful switch for logic. which is maybe why I've never heard of a sparkgap computer... transmitters maybe. nitpicking is fun!
News - Business Hat
about 9 years ago
I for the most part like what sfe is doing, I like work places that allow people a little freedom like dogs and a beer or two, as long as everything that needs to get done, gets done. However, I can find most of the items here for sale at a much lower price elsewhere. Its the markup that bothers me. But I know you have to make money somehow. It pains me to see some of the requests that people make here for parts that they can already get much cheaper if they would just use google a little smarter. The major thing that sfe is great for is break out boards. I remember being able to prototype just about anything on a breadboard without any soldering. Everything came in a throughhole package and with a little veroboard, you could build a working device with great ease. Now its a major pain to make anything without etching a board, where one misplaced trace can ruin your day. Or trying to solder things so tiny you can hardly even see them. Or without breaking out the hot plate. Having a board thats premade, and everything already mounted is wonderful, and really where I feel that I'm getting the most for my money.
about 9 years ago
I agree with the folks requesting longer strands, it would be nice. I'd also love to see these in a non-waterproofed version as well! I got a few of the "dinged" ones and (very carefully)peeled the potting material off of them myself (smells curiously like chocolate to me... No i didn't taste any).
I found them to be much, much lighter without all the clear goo on them. They aren't waterproof anymore of course, but I wasn't planning on using them to bling out my boat in the first place. On the current draw issue, I would question the math on that, I think full current draw would mean having every LED in white mode. i.e. all 3 R-G-B leds x 32 on full blast. Since these are pulsed or PWM'd vs. CW, I'd assume the current to be much less most of the time. And if you have a fast controller, you could probably drop all the LED's out for some period (faster than the eye can see of course) and get it even lower depending on how bright or dim you choose to make them. Since each color has a range of 255 steps, it would probably be pretty easy to crank them down anyway.
News - The Return to Shenzhen - …
about 9 years ago
Hahaha, Yuck, yuck, yuck. I seeing all of you giving yourselves away to a communist nation of thieves . Warms me to the depths of my little heart. Can’t beat ‘em so join ‘em right? Can’t take a prototype into that place without coming back a year later to find it being sold everywhere un-licensed. China is a great place to pick up all kinds of counterfeit parts of all flavors. You at spark fun have even been burned yourselves right? Take JPL’s class on counterfeit parts sometime and see what it means to national defense (AMERICA’s) when you have to worry about mal-ware coming preinstalled on your widget or your system actually working because you thought you had a real working IC… but I’m sure all those delicious cheap parts are all opensource and aren’t hurting anyone right? Being someone that actually works the REAL electronics industry (vs. hobby, so in that you are excused to some extent) I am appalled at the glee you people take in thinking bottom line over the injustice and harm that heap is causing the rest of the world, its own people and the environment. You’ve already convinced yourselves you can’t get this stuff anywhere else, not for the money anyway. Re-label it made in America and it rights all wrongs. Even when you sell it at a huge mark-up over any of the rest of the distributors. Amazing.
Search - “The electronic wasteland” and watch the 6 minute video if you don’t see this as a problem.
The chinese government only let you see what they want you too, remember that when you see the clean factories.
News - E-Textiles Galore
about 9 years ago
Don't read me wrong, its not the e-textiles I don't like. Its the people pushing them. No, I can't really say that because I don't know the people behind them. I just don't like the method of how they go about it and the weak mission statements being made. And I disagree, The little box does way more than entertainment, and it started off with a real purpose and then became something more fun. Not the other way around. Early computers were not just blinky boxes, they were built out of a deeper need for something, like lets decode the enemies messages and then evolved to the point you take them for granted. Do you really think the engineers at the early semicon companies were looking to build an blinky box just to be "cool"? pssh! But yeah, they led to atari and nintendo didn't they? And yes, while you are at it, Stay off my damn lawn! early 30's is so old!
No public wish lists :(
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