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Wing Wong
Works at Bright Roll, Inc.
Lives in Cupertino, California
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Wing Wong

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/08/23/soup-is-money-in-here-ramen-has-become-the-black-market-currency-in-american-prisons/

So it's come to this.... sigh

Prisoners committed crimes. They are serving time. They are supposed to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment. Are we saying that cutting down quantity and quality, and effectively rationing their food to the point that a ramen brick is a viable currency isn't inhumane?

Seriously, think about this. Prisoners have moved away from CIGARETTES, which are addictive and moved to RAMEN packs as a form of currency.

People who do that, do that because they need to. And if prisoners are driven to the point where they need to barter and even fight for food, what does that say about the humane-ness of our prison system? 
Instant ramen has overtaken cigarettes as the go-to currency in U.S. prisons, according to a study.
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Cherrie Chiu's profile photoWing Wong's profile photo
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Same here. :)
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Random train of thought: Massive Excavators x Rail Guns/Mass Launchers as a means of securing/dominating a geographical region.

Most massive excavators are situated in LARGE, and I mean LARGE manmade canyons to mine and excavate large(100's-1000's of tonnes) quantities of ore/rock/etc.

If there were some way to take that raw material and bind it on-site into a dense, but otherwise inert slug, clad it in a non-ferrous conductive material... you would now have a means of creating a near endless supply of high mass, high weight slugs that could be launched by an appropriately sized rail gun. Replace rail gun with a launching system of your choice based on the energy sources available in the area: desert=solar, oil field=oil, swamp=hydrogen/methane.

If the excavation, production, and launching system were all semi to fully autonomous, you would have a system that could effectively hold or otherwise provide heavy support fire for a region spanning 1-5 miles, depending on the practical range of the launcher.

Several autonomous systems like this in key points throughout an otherwise barren and hostile to foot patrol and troops would make for a cost effective way to take/hold a region, especially if the powers in control are involved in mining/refining/etc.

Built near the shoreline, and you would be able to take on ocean going craft as well. In the case of super-sized class carriers/battleships/cargo ships, massive amounts of dense slugs impacting and lodging themselves onto one side or one end of the ship effectively disables a ship, even if it might not outright destroy the ship like standard munitions might.

The gotcha would be that such massive excavators are massive, expensive, relatively fragile, and are a pain to defend. Ie, an incoming warhead/plane/etc, could very effectively disable or destroy it. So the unit itself would need to be defended.

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Wing Wong

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Started looking into older "legacy" hardware again thanks to some work I'm doing on getting a CNC up and running and upgrading it with endstops/etc.

In the recent past, if someone wanted to interface with a computer, I would have just said, "USB". I mean, it's universal, right? For anything not-realtime, yeah, it's fine. But looking at setups where you are driving stepper motors to control a CNC mill where timing matters, USB becomes much less acceptable due to the latencies involved and the serial nature of the beast.

For things like data transfer, where you have a buffer and some delay/lag is not the end of the world, since your data will get re-assembled afterwards, high speed serial interfaces make great sense. Your goal is to send blocks of data. The timeliness of the 300'th byte in the block isn't super critical vs the 15th byte, because the data is getting buffered and critical timing has more to do with protocol and additional buffering/waits than it does with the mechanics of a machine that is moving. (Hard drives move and spin, but the data sent to it is buffered and the critical timing is internal to the drive itself. So it's a computer talking to a smaller computer.)

In bringing up a LinuxCNC box, I've been wondering, why parallel ports? Quite a few CNC systems out there use them when a PC is involved. After reading up on it more, it seems that the PC directly sends the step and direction signals to the circuits that route power to the stepper motors. So each motor step is controlled by the PC itself through the parallel port. Not something one would want to do serially. Minor timing or ordering issues and it results in artifacts in the movement of the end mill and that in turn results in artifacts on the final piece.

With a realtime kernel, the PC basically becomes like a large powerful RAMPS, GRBL, Smoothie,Printrboard, etc. CNC/3D printer control board. But instead of dealing with a micro controller with extremely limited resources, we're dealing with a larger system with quite a bit of resource. Enough to run a full operating system with X11 GUI, slicer/CAM tool path generator,etc.

Will USB->Parallel port work? I'm guessing it would. But there would be penalties: Either you would have to operate the connection with larger latency allowances, or your USB->parallel port motor driver would need to buffer commands kind of like USB->(RAMPS/Printrboard/Smoothie/etc.) where the gcode is interpretted on the controller instead of in the computer.

But the work on bringing up the LinuxCNC CNC mill has inspired me to build a small desktop computer with parallel port cards on it for GPIO work under Linux from a desktop computer instead of a BeagleBoneBlack or other MCU. Access to more common x86 code/compute libraries means more power/options for creating tooling paths or doing robotics.

$45 got me an HP mini desktop computer with parallel port/drive/etc. Another $40 got me a parallel port cable, PCI parallel port card(for second parallel pot) and a parallel port breakout board to do interfacing.

Assuming the Linux kernel allows me to just keep adding cards until the slots fill(PCI, PCIx1, PCIx1, PCIx16), I can max it out with 5 total parallel ports including the one on the motherboard. That's a total of 60 digital output pins and 25 digital input pins using stock Linux. (I could also have gotten one of those MESAnet cards, but they are pretty pricey). But that's alot of IO pins to control alot of external systems. :)

#linuxcnc #legacypc #linux #cnc
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Ryan Carlyle's profile photoWing Wong's profile photo
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yep... I'm not expecting to run the latest distro of Ubuntu on this. :) With this box, definitely going for stability/consistency.
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lol.
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Finally got around to watching Dawn of Justice... Hmm... Wth. Seriously, wth. Wonder woman in the movie was good. Has me looking forward to the Wonder Woman movie... But everything else in Dawn of Justice with Lex, Batman, Superman, etc... It was over two hours of "why did I watch this!?".

It seems good movies worth watching are getting harder and harder to come by. :(

Examples of wth(s):
- Jimmy Olsen as a war photographer!? Cia!?
- Lex as a crazy dot-com ceo!? Lex was crazy smart... Not crazy. Horrible casting there. :(
- A Superman who is dumb as a bag of bricks and can't figure simple things out like why a wheelchair needs to be lead lined!? Or letting the kryptonian ship be seized by normal folks?
- A batmobile that arbitrarily decides if it has mass, inertia, and/or invincible powers!?
- A batwing that makes the same sound as a futuristic hover car/stargate puddle jumper!? What?
- Power brown outs that don't reset computers or TV(s)...
- CG that is so over done and with so little scene to scene checking or grading that it's shades different from the background....
- Weird nightmare dream things for Batman... Was that just to burn through budget!?

Please don't make more movies like this... Such a huge waste of time and effort.

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Yeah, doesn't make sense that criminals would go after people who are branded. :/
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#DonaldTrump is the #RNC's official presidential candidate. It's been a long and interesting journey... and also a shining example of American Democracy in action. Kudos and serious respect to Donald Trump for achieving what he set out to do despite political resistance.

I'm thinking of all of the Americans who had been so disengaged with what the American government stood for that they did not participate, but who have rallied behind Trump's banner. I'm not just talking about him, as a politician, convincing on-the-fence voters to vote for him vs the other guy, but getting people who have not organized or participated in voting in the recent past and mobilized others to do so.

His message didn't just resonate, it inspired people to act. The impact and reach of his message and platform got him the votes he needed to win the nomination fair and square.

And that's something to be respected. That is quite an achievement.

I'm not voting for him, but like many, who've watched his climb up, while his message and approach doesn't resonate with me, I see that it resonates with a previously silent, but sizable portion of the American population.

And that's something else that's important to see as well... America is made up of many people and their beliefs. How they see the world, their own personal way of life, and their personal choices about their own lives and the lives of their loved ones.

We're all human beings, we just believe in different things. Sometimes, the same things, just a different way of getting there. :)

So congratz to Donald Trump on his victory. I'm still voting for the other candidate, but that doesn't mean I'm not hoping good things will come regardless of whichever candidate wins the presidency.


While there was no “Never Trump” walk-out, not all of the delegates were satisfied by the results.
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Wing Wong

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Reviewing my home voicemail, got like a dozen voicemails from folks running for political office. Not going to say who.

Food for thought: Getting robocalls with automated messages multiple times on my voicemail is NOT the way to get my vote. In fact, it is the fast track to getting me to vote for whomever is your opponent.

To me, robocalls from anything other than emergency services or people/businesses I do business with giving me important relevant messages(like my rentals are coming due, I have an unpaid bill, etc) are considered just as much of a pain as scammers currently calling in about IRS lawsuits, computer viruses, etc.


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I spent a few hours playing "No Man's Sky" last night. And I think I really like it.

I say I think I really like it because I went in thinking it was kinda minecraft or rust-like and it turned out to be much more like an old game I used to play on my Palm/Handspring: Space Trader. But just completely different.

I like the fact that the game starts you out the way it does. On a random planet. Trying to get your bearings and kind of discovering the world and figuring things out.

It is NOT like Minecraft. Not even close.

It IS very much like Rust. But without the savagery of everyone out to kill you.

The game is very lonely at first but the act of discovering materials and figuring out what you need to survive and eventually "get out there" is quite a blast.

On the whole, I like the game. But I don't like the flight dynamics of the ship. I want to bank, roll, and pull up/down like I would with a real plane when in the atmosphere. I want the in-space flight thrust to be less rubber-band-like. If I hit reverse thrust and my speed is nearing zero, it shouldn't go up again when I let go of the reverse thrust.

But more or less, I like the game.

What I don't like is the motion sickness I experienced playing the game. :(

To date, the only game I can play at length without getting motion sickness is The Division. :(

But for folks who like exploration/survival type games with a space twist, this game is a good one. I really like it.
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+Pokémon GO +Niantic Nice update to the tracker. To be honest, this is the update you should have released before disabling the broken tracker and killing third party tracker sites.
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http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Comcast-Says-It-Wants-to-Charge-Broadband-Users-More-For-Privacy-137567

~LOL~ This is a laughable suggestion. Not because I don't think that gauranteed privacy or elevated levels of privacy shouldn't be a service a company should offer... but because I have SERIOUS doubts about Comcast's ability to actually fulfill their privacy offerings given how they treat customers now.

It's literally a non-starter for a company like Comcast, whose track record of respecting customers is abysmal. At best, it would open Comcast to a class action lawsuit when it falls through. At worst, it will give countless people and organizations a false sense of security about their privacy.


News: Comcast this week informed the FCC that it should be able to charge broadband users looking to protect their privacy more money. The FCC has been crafting some
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+Pokémon GO Wow... so the in-game tracker was broken and is now effectively useless. Pokemon are much more resistant to pokeballs and run at the drop of a hat. AND third party tracking sites are being shut down, so people have no way to find pokemon except to wander around aimlessly and waste a tonne of pokeballs.

This reeks of a company wanting people to spend more real money to buy more supplies in-game vs wanting people to enjoy capturing and collecting pokemon.

Let's compare two gaming experiences:

In the first, one plays the game by itself. One would wander around aimlessly, only able to see game related locations relatively nearby. There is NO global map or historical map of where you've been and what pokestops you've seen or gyms you've seen. You have no idea where pokemon are. The grass thing? Yeah.. doesn't really work. The tracking thing? It could be showing you pokemon that are 1-2 city blocks away... with no way to indicate direction. So you wander and wanter aimlessly or repeatedly around the same region, wondering what is up with the tracker and trying to keep stocked up on pokeballs. Or you pay real money for in-game money to keep your pokeball supplies up. Gets old real fast.

In the second situation, you ignore the in-game "tracker" (I use that term in quotes because it has been a PITA/useless.) and use a third party tracking site, like PokeVision. You have a much better sense of where things are in the game, and you head in that direction. Along the way, surprise! You meet up with other people who are heading there too! You make new friends and go hunting pokemon together. You actually travel to different places because you now KNOW of different places. IF you are a hardcore gamer, you shell out real money for in-game money to buy things.. but if you are a casual gamer, you now know where to get refills of things and play on your own schedule(or drive around at night in a group with a driver, navigator, and community game handling...)

+Niantic +Niantic Project and +The Pokémon Company going and basically never fixing the in-game tracker, making the pokemon harder to catch(runs very often, resists pokeballs much harder, etc) and shutting down third party sites(ala PokeVision) through whatever means... (I'm guessing legal, since these 3rd party sites are violating ToS and so are the users of these sites) is basically crippling the user experience.

Niantic/PokemonCompany/Nintendo is calling these third party sites cheating. Mmm.. sure. Technically, anything you use that isn't part of the game, to gain an advantage, can be considered cheating. But it can also be read as the features that people who play your game actually want to see working in your game.

Ie, things like:

* A real working map system.
* A real working tracking system.
* A game that doesn't require 100% network uptime to maintain state or fail in amazing ways otherwise. (I realize this is to do stateful tracking and prevent cheaters from changing the game state, but if you've walked several blocks to get items from a pokestop and the game dies, it's a PITA.)
* ACTUAL INSTRUCTIONS/GUIDANCE from Niantic/PokemonCo/Nintendo.

The game maintainers can talk about "fairness" and "multi-user balance"/etc. all they want, but the facts are, the game came with no instructions on how it works and people were forced to fumble their way through a game and developed their own means of playing the game. The tools and services that sprung up are good indicators of the working things that people would like in the game. But instead of innovating and fixing obviously broken things in the game, they choose to shutdown useful services(granted, still in violation of ToS) instead of releasing an update that would make those services obsolete.

Suggestions:

* Actual working map. Sure, reveal pokestops/etc ONLY AFTER someone visits them. But let people see a map of where they have been/etc.
* Actual working tracker. A radar ping type interface would be good. Maybe have people spend pokecoins on better tracker upgrades, like ones that indicate how much longer a pokemon will be around so they know not to chase after what are effectively unobtainable ghosts.
* I don't know... instructions from the makers?

Up till now, the game has been fun. But with the recent update, what if feels like is the makers of the game squeezing the players for real money. Make it harder/impossible to find pokemon. Make the pokemon use up more pokeballs and supplies to catch. Which in turn makes it harder to get materials to upgrade and evolve pokemon and to level up the trainer. Which greatly increases the amount of time or money people have to put into the game to make advancements.

Which is a very wrong direction for such a popular and successful, despite the many issues, game to go...

Third party sites making the game less fun? No, if anything, the third party sites are unlocking the fun that is what the game should be like. I see this first hand with the roving parties of PokemonGo players in my neighborhood. Parties as small as 2-3 and as larger as 2-3 dozen.

Seriously though, fix your game's shortcomings. Shortcomings as seen through the eyes of the players, not the investors. If the third party sites' usage has caused a decline in in-app sales, how about figuring out a way to work with them vs just shutting them down?

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facepalms

Food for thought:

1) Touch ID lock against something OTHER than your primary fingers/thumbs.
2) Set PIN and make it so that the phone self wipes after a number of wrong entries. The more paranoid you are, the lower that number should be.
3) Don't store anything useful on your phone, if you are so paranoid.

Phones today are literally treasure troves of information. Personal information. Financial information. Access to private networks. Access to data files. Sometimes, even access to incriminating information, if you are engaged in such things. If you're paranoid... secure it in multiple ways. ALWAYS do full encryption(apps/data/etc).


A second federal judge has ruled that a suspect can be compelled to unlock their iPhone using their fingerprint in order to give investigators access to data which can be used as evidence against t…
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Have him in circles
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Work
Occupation
Operations Engineer
Skills
Facilitating productivity and helping to ensure the almighty uptime!
Employment
  • Bright Roll, Inc.
    Operations Engineer, 2012 - present
  • Ning, Inc / Glam Media, Inc.
    Linux/Operations Systems Administration, 2009 - 2012
  • VMware
    Sr. Systems Administrator, 2006 - 2009
Basic Information
Gender
Male
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Friends, Networking
Relationship
Married
Story
Tagline
Tech-loving, slightly off kilter, random-factoid-regurgitating, kind of guy.
Introduction
I'm just your typical tech-loving, slightly off kilter, random factoid regurgitating, camera loving, weird tech thing building, loving husband, overly cautious father, kind of guy. 

I spent half of my life growing up in Southern California and have spent the other half of my life in the Bay Area. My love of technology(and a good paying job) brought me to the Silicon Valley, but it was love and starting a family(and a good paying job), which has kept me here. ;)

I greatly enjoy photography and just shooting the breeze. Though lately, I've taken up 3d printing, micro controller project building, coding, and even got my ham radio license, though I've yet to engage in rag-chewing on my little 5W handie-talkie unit.

You'll find my various profiles all over the inter-webs. But this is where I spend the bulk of my time, on Google+ or in the Google Forums(The #deltabot forums mostly!).

I currently work for a technology platform centric company based out of San Francisco, but am fortunate enough to work out of the Palo Alto office, where I work with a very energetic and amazing group of engineers.
Bragging rights
Married to an amazingly straightforward, understanding, insightful, patient, and loving woman who somehow finds it within her to put up with me and the cloud of messiness/noise/random ramblings I bring with me. Proud father of an exceedingly energetic, unendingly inquisitive, and a paragon of positivity daughter. Both of whom remind me why life is wonderful.
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Currently
Cupertino, California
Previously
Cupertino, California
Wing Wong's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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