Member Since: September 25, 2006

Country: United States



carbon based biology

(expect more flippant answers like the one above - the need that some people have to chronicle their lives to complete strangers over the Internet is simply bizarre - get a real life and delete all those TwitSpaceFace accounts, ok? Unless, of course, you just like your potential employer being able to get answers to all those questions which it would be illegal for them to put on an employment application.)


cinnamon with frosting (Sister Schubert’s frozen heat and eat)


rarely, my desk is a mess

Spoken Languages

Curmudgeon, Mumble, Mutter, Curse, Invective, Excoriation, some English

Programming Languages

microcode, mind-machine interface, fat-finger, paper tape


new jersey and bad smells, new york and loud-mouthed nitwits, chocolate and cake, hot solder and intense pain











  • I understand the potential value of being able to push updates, and I’m certainly not casting aspersions on this hardware. But I don’t see any elegance in the move to a cloud based dev platform. None of the functionality which you are pointing to requires that the development environment itself be in the cloud, and it is to that largely pointless hobbling I aver an objection.

    While I’m not going to cut off my nose to spite my face when the cloud is the answer, privacy and security concerns make me leery of cloud solutions. In the case of moving the development environment to the cloud, my concerns are somewhat less about privacy and security, and more about adding non-useful layers to my work environment. I spent much of this past Monday without Internet access, but the outage had no impact on my ability to work. That is just the way I like it, so “no thanks” to cloud coding. ; )

    P.S. I very rarely use Arduino of any color board.

  • This is clearly a great program, and I don’t want to throw stones, but a learning opportunity is apparently being missed. Part of being a good engineer or scientist is communicating about your work clearly and effectively. It would be great if they could include a technical writing component so that the kids could overcome the tendency to use statements like, “This was the first year that we done[sic] it.”

    I spent several demanding but delightful (volunteer) years running a technology exploration program at an experiential K through 12 school, and we found that this sort of multi-discipline approach was very effective. Technology is fun for both the teacher and the student. In the midst of that fun you can slip in a fair bit of “boring” subjects like history, math, and grammar without the kids even realizing that they are also enjoying stuff they normally complain about taking. Technology is great, and I have spent a lifetime involved with tech and science, but we owe it to young people to help them become well rounded and fully functional people who can achieve their full potential. Properly applied, technology can be a great means to that end.

    Kudos to Sparkfun and all the others who make technology accessible to those who haven’t got the resources to “roll their own”. You do a lot to make these sorts of activities possible.

  • Let me second Member #679961’s objection to cloud based software development. It simply adds another layer of things to encumber the development process with no discernible benefit. I don’t get the fascination some people seem to have with moving essentially local tasks off of their computer and into the cloud. It is a bit like falling so in love with using wrenches that you start using them to drive nails. /rant mode off

  • Ah, so the end justifies the means? Nice.

    Until a court of law agrees that a product is violative of someone’s IP, it isn’t proven to be violative, and you are limited as to your options (negotiate, complain loudly, petition the courts for redress).

    Until a court of law sanctions a punitive course of action as a remedy for violative conduct, you had best not pursue it, as you are likely to be found liable for any harm that flows from your actions.

    Frustrating though it may be, you just don’t get to decide for yourself that something is violative, and then apply a remedy of your own choosing.

    And this, dear ones, is why Apple and Samsung don’t have ninjas assassinating one another’s senior management, although they may have both considered that option over a late night round of brandy and cigars. ;^)

  • You will find that disclaimer on all sorts of parts from all sorts of manufacturers in spite of the fact that they know their parts are routinely used in such settings. It is CYA boilerplate, and since there is frequently no mechanism to ensure that designers have been informed of it, nor a formal licensing process in place for many users of these parts, there is no sure way to know how any particular jurisdiction will view such a disclaimer. In other words, I wouldn’t rely on it - especially if I were committing an overt and legally dubious act which was intended to cause a failure. Judges and juries tend to take an uncharitable view of such behaviors.

  • Like most of you, I avoid knock-off chips to the best of my ability, but if we aren’t able to keep fake pharmaceuticals out of the prescription drug supply chain, then we aren’t likely to keep fake chips out of the electronics parts supply chain.

    However, to me this is a simple matter of taking illegitimate steps in addressing a legitimate issue. If FTDI wants to have their driver throw an exception when it sees what it believes to be a counterfeit chip, I think that is just fine. No reason they should support knock offs with their driver.

    But when they take the law into their own hands, and deliberately do harm to someone’s property by bricking the chip, they have crossed the line. I believe that this heavy handed approach will come back to bite them, and they wouldn’t want me on the jury if some innocent third party is injured by this puerile behavior.

    If they want to take a product using a counterfeit chip out of service LAWFULLY, then there are mechanisms for that. The fact that it may not be practical to apply those mechanisms in many cases does not give license for corporate vigilantism. I’m sure that if any substantive harm comes from this that a judge somewhere will be happy to educate their apparently clueless legal staff on this point.

    And what happens if the new driver kills a non-FTDI work alike chip which is not violative of FTDI’s intellectual property, or mistakenly kills an oddball production variant of an actual FTDI product?

    Just as I stopped buying Sony after they felt free to compromise my computer with a root kit, I will be avoiding FTDI like the plague from here on out.

    Anyone who signed off on this concept at FTDI needs to be “bricked” themselves.

  • At last, the perfect way to activate that prank self-electrocution Bermuda shorts project I’ve been working on… The Jewel Jangler 5000.

  • I just wait until election season and stick my boards in front of a politician giving a speech. Best hot air source I know. It works a lot better than a hairdryer, and I’m finally getting value for my tax dollars. ; )

  • “it is all of the nuances necessary to make and keep it safe for the person to whom it is connected”

    Ah, but that’s the beauty of self experimentation - the subject is expendable, and in the case of a fatality, the researcher is beyond the reach of any official inquiries. ; )

    The biggest issue I’ve seen with most home built ECGs is noise, but I certainly would not power one with anything but a low voltage battery supply. A “mains” supply might seem like a great convenience, that is, until the day the Chinese manufactured wall wart decides to couple 120vac across your chest.

    “The most frequent last words of a redneck are: ‘Hey y'all, watch this…’” - Jeff Foxworthy

  • I’m going to prove ear wax is an environmentally friendly alternative to flux if you’ll just hold still !

No public wish lists :(