* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

'Liberator': Proof that you can't make a working gun in a 3D printer

Tom 13

Oh, it means what he thinks it means.

I've been off on forums that aren't filled with hoplophobes, and they are pretty much unanimous that it is easier to build a fully automatic than a semi.

Interestingly they particularly note the usefulness of 3D printers in making the lower for an AR-15, which I think we can all agree is a real weapon.

Tom 13

Re: Name me a State of the US which was a country before joining the US.


Tom 13

Re: Which - if anything...

Pat Paulsen beat him to that line by at least 40 years.

Tom 13

Re: Shocking lack of perspective

To some extent, I think it was purposely made to be something that didn't have a long shelf life. Not a gunsmith myself, or even a tinkerer in that area, but I'd imagine a competent one COULD put together something more, shall we say, serviceable. Rigid plastics have been a huge improvement in the area of handguns with traditional manufacturers. But to some extent, they've kept the metal concentrations high specifically because of concerns that were raised back in the 1980s about plastic guns being able to circumvent then current security processes.

Tom 13

Re: simply requested politely

There was no 'polite' about it. He was ordered to take them down. It came from State under the auspices of some unratified international gun treaty.

Yes, the guy was a putz and a fool for putting them up in the first place, and as such probably didn't deserve polite treatment.

Emergency spacewalk as ISS takes a leak

Tom 13

Re: Only one system?

Check this article:


If the pump weighs in at 260 pounds, that points at a significant engineering reason for only 1 system: too much mass to have parallel systems.

Tom 13


If it weren't for the space program, he wouldn't be able to criticize it on El Reg. The local pub perhaps, but not El Reg.

Peril in orbitT: ISS leak plugged in five-hour spacewalk

Tom 13

Good news indeed.


3D printed gun plans pulled after US State Department objects

Tom 13

Re: Read this:

Don't have to. It's based on a discredited studies even though hoplophobes refuse to admit it. Truth is: more guns less crime. In fact reliable estimates are that guns are used to stop about 2.5 million crimes a year, (not including police).

Tom 13

@AisForApple: Mostly true.

But you should remember that when the first firearms were introduced the orientals laughed because their swordsmen could easily stop the bullets and could kill far more people more quickly than the English could with their new found technology. So with more engineering it will present a more serious threat than what was put out in this demo. What's important is thinking rationally about that threat. Which those who are panicked about this video and the plans are unlikely to do.

Tom 13

Re: Sure, you could take this onto a plane.

Testing teams still routinely get ammunition, guns, and even bombs onto planes via non-approved means. The government just doesn't advertise the failure rate.

Franklin has the correct counterpoint: passengers will no longer allow airplanes to be hijacked, even if 5 or 10 of them have to die to stop it. This (and not the TSA granny strip searches) is what is stopping that line of attack.

Tom 13

Re: there's a reason guns aren't usually made out of plastic.

Yeah, we passed a law against it.

It wasn't the 3D printers that prompted that law. It was lawfully constituted gun manufacturers. Plastics in the gun make them lighter, easier to handle, and surprisingly more accurate. And when they found you could get them past metal detectors the spam hit the fan so to speak. Yes there were claims that you could set the scanners so it would find the casings for the bullets and everything would still be good. But it still resulted in a law to prohibit manufacturing plastic guns.

Frankly, I think it stifled innovation that I would like to have seen. I actually like guns, and the idea of an all plastic gun has an appeal to me. I'm not surprised that the hoplophobe in the listed city were quick out the gates with new legislation since what they really want is to ban all privately owned firearms. I might after some thinking even concur that we should take the risks associated with plastic guns and focus on the real problems with murders, which is not the guns. But that doesn't mean that I don't recognize certain risks associated with plastic guns and that society thought they'd already closed that barn door.

Ban Samsung sales in the US? Sorry, Apple: Tech titans say 'No'

Tom 13

Re: Rounded corners? Please.

While I concur that rounded corners have been around for sufficiently long to invalidate that claim, I should note that there can exist instances were an exact physical dimension can be a valid point for a patent and/or trade secret. I once worked for a manufacturing company and the precise angle (to about 2 decimal places) for part of the mechanism was the key to the efficiency of the finished product and they held the patent for it. I expect by now the patent should be long expired, but being IP won't disclose more than what I have written.

Tom 13

Re: rudderless on the way to the waterfall.

They may appear that way to you, but monkeyboy has his sock puppet doing exactly what he wants: turning them into the next SCO.

Tesla earns first profit, Model S wins '99% perfect' rating

Tom 13

Re: a review that is a tad critical will meet up with a serious shortfall in advertising

except that Consumer Reports is not an advertising supported magazine. Theoretically they are unbiased because they are a member supported group. In fact, if you've got a subscription you'll find it comes with a disclaimer that if they give you a good review, you can't buy copies to put in your showroom.

The unbiased bit is of course pure bunkum. Their leftist biased. Okay as long as politics doesn't enter into it, but bring in an issue like AWG and their impartiality goes out the window.

Tom 13

Re: leave your garage with a full load, go a hundred miles

So it's suitable for maybe Denmark or Luxembourg, but probably wouldn't get me to and back from my alma mater's Saturday football game.

Tom 13

Re: CR reviewers focus on driving.

Right, that's why their car reviews always include information about frequency and cost of repairs as well as resale value when calculating the ratings for other cars.

Why are scribes crying just 'cos Google copied their books? asks judge

Tom 13

Re: the authors can pull out of publishing/distribution deal with these research libraries

Given the economics of the research publishing industry, probably not. I expect their publishers entered into contracts with the libraries to provide them with the books/papers. And I expect that without the money associated with those contracts, the books/papers wouldn't get published.

Tom 13

Re: Google is never making any book available online without first having the author's permission.

Patently false. If it were true Google's lawyers would present the signed contracts with the authors indicating they've signed over permission and the lawsuit would be summarily dismissed, with prejudice.

Just because you want that to be true, doesn't mean it is.

Tom 13

Re: S/B class action, but authors should lose

An even longer, more rambling, more pointless post.

How very Marxian of you.

Tom 13

Re: Cory Doctorow is full of shit

There once was a relatively unknown sf writer who couldn't get a book published in the US because he mostly wrote short stories and was a relatively new writer. He did manage to get some stuff published in the UK where short story collections weren't so out of vogue. But he was willing to go to SF conventions. And there was this smallish but somewhat old convention held near Baltimore, MD every year. And it had some folks at it who thought he was a good author. So a few of them formed a new company. I believe they contacted one of the British publishers and contracted the right to use their proofs to publish a small press run of his works to sell at a convention the author was attending. (They might have actually had to set and proof this one, but I think they got the proofs.) Shortly thereafter the author had a contract with a major US publisher and is now reasonably well known for his works. His name is Allen Steele and that first book was Rude Astronauts published by Rare Earth Books. I know because I knew all the people involve with the creation of Rare Earth Books and had the good fortune to meet Mr. Steele at that convention and have him sign a book from one of those small print runs.

Bottom line, if you write good stuff in SF and work on selling it, you will make it. Maybe not big, but certainly enough to support you in middle class fashion.

Tom 13

Re: Socialists!

That's what I expect statists such as yourself to say. Socialism in the US has advance precisely because we've allowed too many socialist twits to impose their views on society from the bench.

Tom 13

Re: 2- TPB makes available the work in full

So are Google, only you'll have to work at it a bit. Different search terms in subsequent searches, but you can pull the whole thing out given enough time. Or maybe an automated program.

Tom 13

Re: at least not until it hits the SCoTUS.

Not even Scotus has the power to revoke the property right involved in copyright. It's power is limited to determining whether the legal rules have been followed, including the legal rules of what is constitutional.

Invalidating the protection ought to require an act of Congress with approval from Potus.

Where Scotus has issued a warning about copyrights is that the Constitution clearly states copyrights and patents should be for a "limited time." Recent Congressional actions have technically kept limits on the time, but that as we were rapidly approaching the point at which everyone who read/saw/heard such a work when it was first copyrighted is long dead, we might be exceeding the practical meaning of "limited time."

Tom 13

Re: many smaller suits

Hell, at that level it's likely many of the suits couldn't even afford the court filing fees let alone the cost of lawyers prior to that.

Tom 13

Re: Seems counterproductive...

In the specific instance you have provided you would fail on several counts, not the least of which is there is no criticism or commentary on the part copied. Even were that present, because so much of the book continues intact, you would still be guilty of infringement.

In order to get to fair use, you need to be in the sentences or paragraphs area, not pages and pages. This is well established in case law.

Tom 13

Re: Seems counterproductive...

Except they aren't simply serving snippets they are scanning and indexing the whole book, and the fact that they actively have to engage in scanning, then using ocr to convert the book to the machine readable files moves them well outside 'fair use' coverage. In fact, it pretty much moves them into Napster territory. Well, actually beyond Napster territory because Napster at least had the fig leaf that they weren't the one uploading the unauthorized music, while Google are actively doing it.

Once you understand the legal implications of that, you understand why Google's lawyers want the class action status resolved first. Resolve the copyright issue first and it's a slam dunk for the authors. Once that's established, class action makes perfect sense. If on the other hand you can split out all the suits into a mouse versus Goliath, the mouse is probably gonna lose, repeatedly.

Tom 13

Re: robots.txt is your friend.

Scanners, that is those things that make whiring noises as the bright light goes across the page on the glass, don't give a rat's tail end about any 'robot.txt' file.

Enjoy the weekend, sysadmins: Next Tues fixes 33 Microsoft bugs

Tom 13

Re: developed and tested a fix for the IE8 bug in less than two weeks

While it does indeed reflect on them recognizing the seriousness of the bug, for some reason I expect we'll be seeing an additional update for this specific security flaw next month, and possibly the month after.

'Hotmail, since you changed to Outlook, you've been a massive pr**k'

Tom 13

I missed that second Wright quote in earlier stories.

And I have to say ewe-ee that's gonna leave a nasty scar.

Apple wins documents fight with Google in Samsung case

Tom 13

Re: earch engines that grew out of them but basically, they returned poor results,

No, there were a few decent search engines before Google. But Google became ubiquitous in part because of their minimalist interface. And as they became more and more dominant the other engines faded into obscurity.

Tom 13


No, Bing!


or! perhaps! Yahoo!

NASA on alert: International Space Station springs a leak

Tom 13

Re: I think the next step...

Just as long as the snake doesn't eat the baby, everything should be OK.

HP knew Autonomy was a duff buy, claim HP shareholders in $1bn suit

Tom 13

Re: why did they leave out KPMG?

My guess would be this bit from the article:

KPMG has denied doing a full audit, saying its review was limited to publicly available documents and it never audited Autonomy or looked at Deloitte's work.

You can pretty much bet KPMG will be able to show exactly what they were contracted to do, and that the alleged work isn't there. Because if it had been there, KPMG would have made a boatload more money than just reviewing the publicly available information. Also, their lawyers are probably even better paid than HP's are.

Tom 13

Re: then HP (or their insurers)

Not necessarily HP's insurers, but some insurance company somewhere. Although yes, the company usually purchase insurance against this sort of thing for their members in the US. It's only prudent is a lawsuit happy country. The possible exception is if they can prove willful/gross negligence on the part of the defendants.

Microsoft plasters IE8 hole abused in nuke lab PC meltdown

Tom 13

Re: force users to go to Windows 7

Actually it was Vista. I'll grant you Vista was nearly as bad as ME and therefore people like to forget about it, but we shouldn't forget about it.

Tom 13

Re: A restriction which is largely artificial

Yes, it is largely artificial. But it is legally binding. Which is of course the bitch when you game the legal system.

Tom 13

Re: I'm tired of this typical MSFT marketing crap.

If you don't know the root cause of the exploit, it might not be sufficient to be using a different browser so long as IE8 is installed. This is the huge technical mistake MS made in their legal anti-trust fuster cluck all those years ago: the IE components are still part of the OS and therefore accessible to other apps even if you aren't actively using them. I'm assuming the other versions aren't vulnerable because they've replaced the vulnerable files as opposed to some other improvement (like sandboxing) in the browser itself.

Symantec: We 'stubbed our toe' on Backup Exec, but we'll be fine

Tom 13

Re: reasons it has been so popular in small businesses

Once upon a time, long, long ago it was a decent product. But that's so far back in computer time, most people don't remember it any more. Sort of like MS was with MS-DOS.

'No discernible increase in piracy' from DRM-free e-books

Tom 13

Re: No surprise here - It is DRM that increases piracy

K's numbers may be extreme, but that's the basic principle of economics - so long as demand goes up more than production costs, you make more total profit at a lower price point than you do at a higher one.

I'm surprised you were surprised about limited edition high-cost printings if you're involved with small presses. It's how they ultimately make their money. Those editions go to people with a collecting interest who are willing to pay for the privilege. You try to cover your cost of production with the paperback/ebook and make your profit from the hardbacks (numbered, w/slipcover and optional signature) which you might have to store for 3-5 years before you sell them all. The numbers I typically heard were 100-300 such hardbacks at $25-$50, 500 regular hardbacks at $15, and a couple thousand paperbacks in the $5.50-$8.50 range. Prices on the regular hardbacks and paperbacks tended to be set high so you could still make a small profit after discounts if you arranged with a local mass distributor to sell them (20%-50% depending on the size of the distributor). Two SF NPOs in my local area were both involved in these sorts of ventures.

Tom 13

Re: And

I'd like to and am inclined to agree, but I do have a caveat.

SF readers are a bit of an outlier. They know what they like to read and they know they need to pay the people who produce it so they can get more of it. I think they are also inclined to put peer pressure on any friends who might try to leech from the creative commons. I expected similar results for Anime.

I'd like to believe the same will be true if other publishers adopt the same stance. But we'll need the data to confirm it.

San Francisco caves over mobile radiation warnings

Tom 13

Re: Radiation sources

Don't joke about that!

They might require us to put labels on the labeling devices.

Tom 13

Re: Cancer kills, find a cure for it,

I have no data to support my hypothesis, but I long ago decided that there is no cure for cancer because there is no cause, or definable set of causes for it. I think cancer is just an error in the cell reproductive process. The body has mechanism to either repair or remove most of them, but even running at 16 nines of reliability, every so often something is going to slip through.

The best you can do is reduce exposure to things we know that can increase the likelihood that the repair/removal mechanism is needed. So technically any increase in exposure to radioactivity is increases those chances. The rub is in figuring out which increases it is reasonable to avoid. For example, I think the reason we see increased lung cancers associated with cigarettes and asbestos (particularly short length fiber varieties) is that they cut lung material which requires repair and the repair itself is subject to that 1 in a trillion chance of failure. Increase the opportunities enough and you will get a failure. Exposure to either increases that damage exponentially, which is why we been able to statistically tie them to cancer. Genetics of course modifies that because some folks will have better repair/removal mechanisms. Which is why George Burns could live to such a ripe old age smoking cigars without getting cancer while the Marlboro Man didn't.

Tom 13

Re: Free speech ground

If you're a rational person as opposed to a knee-jerk statist, it's pretty easy. Let's try this one on for size (deleting as is appropriate for your world view):

All warmists/denialists be forced to put a disclaimer on their research that their research might be biased.

Yeah, until you are on an ultra firm legal basis (like loosing a court case) it's dangerous to require certain kinds of speech on products sold.

Tom 13

@Peter 45

Yep, even back in the 1770s they called them 'coffin nails' for a reason.

Secret UN 'ZOD' climate deliberations: UK battles to suppress details

Tom 13

Re: I do hope .....

The problem with you wet behind the ears youngins is that you have no concept of history.

Hell, I'm not even half a century old yet, but I recall reading as a child in those very early environmental awareness books about how we'd all be out of petroleum by now, or at the very least taking out house sized mortgages if we wanted to buy a gallon of it. Back then the US had a 600 year reserve of coal and a 70 year reserve of oil. When I check today despite increased consumption of all fossil fuels across the world we now have a 600 year supply of coal and as of a news report sometime last week, twice that in natural gas thanks to fracking. So unless we really are going to experience a Biblical flood as a result of global warming, I'm not too worried about finding replacements before fossil fuel runs out.

Tom 13

Re: Frack much?

No he doesn't. He's seen the movie Gasland and he knows its true. It says so on the internets.

Tom 13

Re: as a scientist

The first draft as you describe =/= the first draft from WG1 of IPCC

Their first draft is akin to your published paper.

And frankly even as you described it, if I were looking for nefarious inputs into YOUR process, I'd want the whole thing. If there are mistakes and irrelevancies in it and the process by which they are removed is documented in your updates (Dr. Smith pointed to a faulty assumption for ..., Dr Samms corrected my math in ...) you will remain in good standing. But if I find a branch of your hypothesis is suddenly dropped at the same time you received funding from someone with a contrary opinion with no evidence pointing to a valid change in the research path... Yeah, I'll want you to lose not only the grant but that good standing too.

Coke? Windows 8 is Microsoft's 'Vista moment'. Again

Tom 13

Re: Sadly, these will be from an alternative poster.

Not sad, expected. Since I expect it, I'm occasionally surprised when he makes a thoughtful non-MS bashing post.

Although I do have to admit I sometimes wonder how much per post he gets paid by monkeyboy. Because I can't think of anything PR related that looks worse for *nix advocates than an Eadon post.

Tom 13

Re: MS fans have fallen so low

I rather thought he was *nix guy.

I'm a softie myself, but his was funny and I gave him an upvote. Yours is not, although I didn't thumb you down.

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