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Google Announces Project Ara Developer Conference, Shows Off First Prototype

3dr Link to the video (60 comments)

Dear submitter, if you want to include text that says "they have released a video, here's the link" then link to the video, not some ad-laden secondary site.

The video is on youtube, at


Why CurrentC Will Beat Out Apple Pay

3dr Re:Not a chance (629 comments)

You know what? Pretty well, actually.

Several years ago on a whim I began asking for discounts everywhere. "Do you have any promotions you could apply to this?" is what I would typically ask. I was shocked to find that most of the time, there is something, like a 10-20% coupon or similar that they can throw at it. Or, if not a direct discount, say at a restaurant, they may give a voucher for a free dessert or appetizer. The worst answer is they say "no, sorry, don't have anything I could do" and you leave it at that.

So, while the peon running the register may not be able to change prices, they are often empowered to provide a discount if prompted.

2 days ago

National Security Letter Issuance Likely Headed To Supreme Court

3dr Re:DOJ Oaths (112 comments)

Leave him alone, it's a typing impediment.

about three weeks ago

Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

3dr Re:If you wanted us to believe your Op-Ed... (547 comments)

Python is my go-to language for quick code sketches, framework ideas, etc. That's the power of dynamically typed languages, it's very easy to throw code together to test ideas, and is what I value in "scripting" languages.

As much as I like Python, even with it's quirks like len() is a function on a sequence not a member, the one thing I despise is the whitespace-describes-structure. I have lots hours due to an auto-format of code run amok. Suddenly, all the code following an if-statement is now the body of that statement. It just doesn't make sense to not have block delimeters. With every other meaningful language under the sun using curly braces, why couldn't Python? I like the *idea* of clean code like Python code, and I enjoy reading Python code, but I prefer to have explicit block syntax.

As an aside about spelling mistakes, I agree, and Python doesn't help you there (unless you are reading a misspelled class field). One trick I use to fortify larger Python programs is to define slots on each class to explicitly define the members. If your code accesses a mistyped member name, that name will not be in the __slots__ list and the python runtime will raise an exception. Not only do __slots__ protect you from name typos, they are faster than regular fields for some reason. I've shared this tip with other pythonistas, and nobody else has heard of doing this; I can't believe others aren't doing this, too.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Software Issue Tracking Transparency - Good Or Bad?

3dr Two takes on this (159 comments)

First of all, I'm of the mindset that it's probably best to not list every issue fixed, and especially not list every bug reported publicly. Many bugs reports are bogus, and it's certainly possible for a large number of "reported issues" to detract from the true quality of the current version. For a new product I would never make this information public. But that's neither here nor there since in the OP's situation, they are public. So, let's go with that.

What I would do is based on a Freakonomics episode where a company (furniture company, or appliance company, whatever it doesn't matter) inadvertantly stopped advertising in some of their major-market newspapers. While it was an intern's mistake that this happened, what they found was that there was no impact (i.e. no reduction) of sales in those markets. So while a logical person would say, "Let's scrap advertising in those markets forever and keep the cash," the people in charge instead said "but we *have* to advertise." Preserving expectations/status-quo won out over rational thinking, and the difference was millions of dollars.

I would put a challenge to the marketing and sales departments. If they think public disclosure is hindering sales, let them prove it. Pull the publicly-visible bug tracking for a period of time and if the marketing and sales people are right, sales will go up compared to similar periods in previous years. If, however, customers are unhappy with the "secrecy", take that into account as a ding against the approach. But I'd be firm -- if you pull the bug info, the sales better increase.

Of course, before you issue a heavy-handed challenge to M&S, maybe just ask your existing customers about it. "We are considering pulling our publicly-visible bug tracking/reporting but have no plans to change our update cycle, just the reporting. How does this impact your business, and how does it impact your decision to use Product X?" Use that as a basis to continue current practice, or start the M&S challenge.

I also acknowledge I am anothing but a keyboard jockey in this horse race. :)

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Swift Or Objective-C As New iOS Developer's 1st Language?

3dr Re:They are wrong... (316 comments)

Although they plan to have translators to move old code forward, do you really trust automated translators enough to run them on huge chunks of production code?

Yes, certainly. It's called running the automated translator and NOT blindly checking in the generated code. There's no concern here.

about a month ago

GM Names and Fires Engineers Involved In Faulty Ignition Switch

3dr Re:That guy is going to need a lawyer real fast (307 comments)

True. It's a shame, really, since his PRIDE is what apparently kept him from sucking it up and fixing it. His pride killed these people. And no design reviews of the switch for torque and electrical capacity? The managers have a role in this, too.

But in this whole scenario, I think the one thing that surprises me is how they are designing yet another ignition switch. How many switch variants do there need to be across a manufacturer's models? I'd divide it across RFID-enabled keys vs. plain-Jane metal keys.

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Do You Consider Elegant Code?

3dr Re:Duff's Device (373 comments)

It's just optimizers all the way down.

about 7 months ago

Interview: Ask Richard Stallman What You Will

3dr Re:GPLv4 (480 comments)

The GPL is a license on the software source code controlling its distribution policies, not on the software's end-use. The GPL is not an EULA.

about 8 months ago

Facebook Puts 10,000 Blu-ray Discs In Low-Power Storage System

3dr 1993 Datamation called... (153 comments)

...and it wants its HSM back!

Hierarchical storage systems, and hierarchical storage managers (HSMs) have been migrating lesser-used data to cheaper (and sometimes offline) storage for decades. So what's new about it, the use of contemporary yet inefficient Blueray discs?

about 9 months ago

Lawsuit: Oracle Called $50K 'Good Money For an Indian'

3dr Re:Shocking (409 comments)

Response 1: It was sales, and that's what they do.

Response 2: Even if he got $60K in California, it still means the transplant was getting screwed.

about 10 months ago

Streaming and Cord-Cutting Take a Toll On the Pay-TV Industry

3dr Re:Here is why... (261 comments)

Yep, we don't watch live TV anymore since it's a better use of my time to wait for the recording, then FFwd over the copious commercials. That's like a 40% productivity increase! That and the fact that "cable" companies keep bumping up the total costs. TWC was careful to not change the specific service cost, but they would routinely increase the various bullshit fees appended to the bill. "1848 Reparations Bill Utility Access Fee, $5.00" "CEO New Car Assurance Fee, $1.29"

about 10 months ago

Firefox 26 Arrives With Click-To-Play For Java Plugins

3dr Re:A good start.. (208 comments)

Possible in Chrome, I don't remember using an extension for that. That's how I roll, with videos off by default.

about a year ago

Why Reactive Programming For Databases Is Awesome

3dr Re:recent? (165 comments)

Exactly. So far RP in the article sounds a lot like data-flow engines (spreadsheets, various visualization tools, DB triggers, even make builds). It has spanned decades and fields, too. Many artificial intelligence systems used this type of reactive engine; for example, the CLIPS engine "reacted" by matching conditions to a subset of currently-asserted facts to trigger actions (which can then cascade by asserting new facts and causing other patterns to match). The common aspect to all these applications of a data-flow engine is that a Result has Dependencies, and those Dependencies may be "atomic" (like a file timestamp in make), or a Result from an earlier conclusion. At any point in time, the entire scenario can be paused, and each pending Result has a list of Dependencies that may or may not be satisfied at that point. Spreadsheet calculation 101.

about a year ago

Why Can't Big Government Launch a Website?

3dr Re:Assumes we still could do that moon thing (786 comments)

" I've seen a few WWII era rifles stamped "manufactured by IBM" or similar...that's because they needed to use the manufacturing capacity."

Oh god. I can imagine every 5th shell stamped with "This shell intentionally made blank."

1 year,2 days

An Animated, Open Letter To J.J. Abrams About Star Wars

3dr Re:Wilderness? (376 comments)

You'll need some weed to get through "Star Wars 7: Jar Jar's Big Adventure" and "Star Wars 8: R2D2 Makes A Friend (A Musical)". And we all thought the ewoks were bad!

about a year ago

GNU Hurd 0.5, GNU Mach 1.4, GNU MIG 1.4 Released

3dr Re:Have you HURD? (206 comments)

Oh, perhaps of a certain ornithological topic.

about a year ago

NSA Posts Opening For "Civil Liberties & Privacy Officer"

3dr Re:Proxy approval (177 comments)

38%? Are you sure?

"... Thursday's report, from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, put 2012 voter turnout at 57.5% of all eligible voters." -

And the Bipartisan Research Center, clearly a liberal media tool, also reports 57.5%.

I could go on. Oh, and finally, if only 20% voted for Obama, then by your stats only 18% voted for Romney. You weren't trying to imply 80% was against Obama, were you?

about a year ago


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