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Ask Slashdot: Where's the Most Unusual Place You've Written a Program From?

Coz Re:My Job (310 comments)

Ditto. Hit the job boards and find somewhere competent. The people you're working for will be out of business soon at this rate, anyway.

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Where's the Most Unusual Place You've Written a Program From?

Coz 4: Multiple Choice Crashers (310 comments)

The oddest thing I've written - code that crashed, deliberately, in different ways based on use selection.

I was working a project where we built atop an "abstraction layer" designed to insulate us from OS changes (this was the 90s, such things were in vogue). The team doing the abstraction layer, at another site, rolled out a new version. The best I can say of it is, it compiled.

Different parts of my code started exploding. Almost literally - I had one test case cause a kernel panic in AIX, which was no small challenge. Of course, it was all blamed on my "bad code practices" and couldn't POSSIBLY be flaws in their update.

Over the course of two weeks of core dump analysis, discussion with the AIX team at IBM, and heated exchanges going up the chain of command, I crafted a 200-line program which three different options to crash the system. Pick your choice, guaranteed crash, including the kernel panic. Once I delivered THAT through channels, they got silent quick. It took them another month to fix their internal bugs and re-deliver. The memory leak I found in that version required another "prove it!" program, but my management had my back by then.

about 4 months ago

MIT Students Release Code To 3D-Print High Security Keys

Coz Re:Uhm... not really impressive (207 comments)

I recall a rash of home burglaries when a certain company in Florida was using cheap materials under the siding, before the inner walls were finished, where burglars were removing the siding, punching through the outer walls, opening doors from the inside and making off with copper piping, wiring, and appliances. They were keeping track of the progress of the new homes and would wait until the appliances were installed before going in at night and removing them. They were even replacing the siding to make it harder for security to notice the holes until the work crews showed up to finish the drywall and install carpet.

about a year ago

Learning Rocket Science With Video Games

Coz Simple Physics and Wind Tunnel (64 comments)

An iOS, and Android app for tablets and phones, Simple Physics works very well to educate kids on forces, leverage, relative strength, etc. Build a bridge and drop rocks on it to see how many it can hold. Build a dam to withstand a flooding river. Build a shelter to withstand a bomb blast, all from the same simple "wooden" materials. My kids play this for hours when I let them.

There's also an excellent Wind Tunnel app for iOS that acts as a simple 2-D wind tunnel, with particle streams, smoke, pressure differentiation, etc.

Fun toys, and the kids learn while they play 'em.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What Stands In the Way of a Truly Solar-Powered Airliner?

Coz Re:Neutrinos (590 comments)

You forgot:

6. Profit.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What Stands In the Way of a Truly Solar-Powered Airliner?

Coz Re:Solar powered jet engine (590 comments)

There will still be graphics overkill. There will also be actors "acting" and a plot that might make sense outside King George's skull.

about 2 years ago

FAA Permits American Airlines To Use iPads In Cockpit "In All Phases of Flight"

Coz Re:Hope it's not IMPORTANT documentation (372 comments)

It's the rolling bags of charts they have to carry with them whenever they fly. There are regulations that specify what charts they have to carry; all in all, a "Jep Bag" is about 35 pounds, and both pilots carry one. If they're using a Electronic Flight Bag app for the iPad, that's a pretty straightforward conversion of mass and very specific savings.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Best *nix Distro For a Dynamic File Server?

Coz Re:Wow (234 comments)

Consider setting up several servers and GlusterFS, auto-replicating the data when it's mounted and presenting a infield shared file system. You can run CentOS or RHEL6 for the OS, and the FS will take care of data persistence, replication, and presenting a CIFS or NFS view.

about 2 years ago

Jack Daniels Shows How To Write a Cease and Desist Letter

Coz Re:Classy (402 comments)

And it's good to see them "rewarded" for this behavior by the /. populace, and the greater Internet community at large. Bravo!

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What Is the Future of Standing/Walking Workstations?

Coz Re:In REAMDE... (204 comments)

Well, yeah... he's a prolific author of heroic fantasy - you'd expect him to be sane?

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Wrist Watch For the Tech Minded

Coz Re:Mechanical. (466 comments)

I wear a mechanical autowinder with a window on the front showing the grasshopper gear working, and a clear back, showing all the autowinder and all the other mechanical beauty. Muy steampunk.

For a more high-tech device, I'd just go with an iPod nano watch, with the clock screensaver. Touch it and it lights up with the time, and run headphones up your sleeve to listen to the music unobtrusively :-)

more than 2 years ago

Engineer Thinks We Could Build a Real Starship Enterprise In 20 Years

Coz Re:Pacifism loses ... (589 comments)

"didn't not" == "did not" - hate when I catch that kind of thing after hitting "Submit"

more than 2 years ago

Engineer Thinks We Could Build a Real Starship Enterprise In 20 Years

Coz Re:Pacifism loses ... (589 comments)

And most of those founding fathers were there when the US Navy was established to protect our trade and coasts, and agreed to it. As well as the Marine Corps, our first "expeditionary" capability derived from the Navy.

We had an advantage - we weren't in Europe surrounded by a bunch of historically hostile Powers. We had Canada to the north, with negligible offensive capability, and to the south and west were bordered by natives and weak colonies. A standing army wasn't needed. By 1812, we had one and we'd keep it forever - we realized the limitations of the "well-regulated militia" Teancum refers to.

It wasn't that long ago we had three powers openly espousing their intention to dominate their neighbors, and then the world - Germany, Japan, and the USSR. WWII reduced the open militarism of the first two, and the following decades of Cold War, however expensive and bloody in proxy fights, didn't not result in global domination by the USSR (or, by the USA, which has NEVER espoused a mission to dominate our neighbors, Monroe Doctrine notwhithstanding). We're not that far from military brutalism in the world today - just look at Sudan. The armies of the so-called Western powers exist mostly to defend themselves by deterring others from frontal warfare, and are succeeding, as shown by the fact that terrorism is the weapon of choice by hostile parties, instead of frontal warfare.

more than 2 years ago

Engineer Thinks We Could Build a Real Starship Enterprise In 20 Years

Coz Re:Karl Marx was right (589 comments)

Or mooch off the rest of society, or spend your time scheming to increase your own power and influence instead of working your way up in society while having to provide for your own needs and those of your family.

Thanks for playing, troll.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Using Company Laptop For Personal Use

Coz Re:No (671 comments)

Agreed. I carry my own laptop and the work laptop when I travel. The work laptop is imaged, controlled, and dedicated to work, and I don't do ANYTHING not work-related on it. If I want to video chat with my wife and kids from across the country, I do that on my home laptop.

Do NOT screw around with these machines. If you work for my company and it's discovered you've done something like this, for any reason, you're gone, and they're going to dissect the machine and see if you were careless with company confidential material, or if you used peer-to-peer software, or anything else that would put their data at risk. Porn, gambling, or other similar behavior is an escort-you-from-the-building offense if done on work systems.

It only takes one breach to make companies paranoid, and most have had that breach. Don't be tempted - be responsible.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: One Framework To Rule Them All?

Coz Django for the 80% solution (287 comments)

We've been building a suite of tools using Django that combine near-real-time event processing and offline analytics. It's been very useful and flexible; the data model abstraction is clean, and we can target different databases with a couple of lines of config file change. We're integrating some Javascript and other visualization tools in our UIs, and finding it pretty easy to support in the Django framework. Performance scales with resources fairly linearly, the overhead has been very manageable, and it integrates into almost any security framework. I've seen nothing to convince me we need to look at a different framework.

more than 2 years ago

Are Power Users Too Cool For Ubuntu Unity?

Coz Re:'cool' power users should like usability and ea (798 comments)

It's not the usability and ease of use - it's stupid crap like removing the ability to right-click and get a menu of things to do with that menu item, instead of just having it kicked off... it's burying the UI customization where it can't be found easily, and removing the easy tailoring options in favor of the "Unity" standard.

We just rolled back...

more than 2 years ago

SpaceX Sues Valador For Defamation

Coz Re:Let's see the issues. (111 comments)

Correct. Falcon 9 was designed to be man-rated, but SpaceX isn't spending the money to jump through NASA's hoops until they have more of a hope of a contract for human launch services. Man rating is a high enough hurdle that LM and Boeing have refrained from man rating the Delta IV or Atlas V on their own nickels.

more than 3 years ago

M.U.L.E. Is Back

Coz Re:Oh, I am so ready... (110 comments)

I was working in the first computer store in my hometown and bought it (using my wages - heh). This and Archon... I lost entire weeks to the two of them.

more than 4 years ago



P != NP - or does it?

Coz Coz writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Coz (178857) writes "Vinay Deolalikar of HP published a "proof" last week that P != NP — one of the Holy Grails of computational theory. Since then, there have been several lively discussions on whether, and how, the proof holds up, and even the NY Times has weighted in — although their emphasis is on how fast the review has been, in the degree to which technologies have been employed to generate deeper insight and allow more people to examine such things faster."



Coz Coz writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Da puppydawg is dead.

Goliath, the miniature pinscher. Almost 13 years old. Diabetic. Heart murmur. Unhappy about not being able to eat people-food anymore. Long-time form of birth control ("If we don't kill the dog in the first four years, we'll consider kids."). Guardian of the home. Protector and companion to the Wif while I was on travel. Nagging pain in the tuckus when his tummy got upset because of something he'd eaten (like a dead bunny the mover hit). Only pet the kidlings have had.

Katy has known this was coming for a while, and it upset her. He got really sick back at Christmas, when we left him with friends and he just laid around - I think the change in diet at their house triggered the initial diabetes. We had him at the vet's for a week, while they diagnosed, regulated his food, administered insulin, and got his blood sugar under control.

For the last 7 months he had to have an insulin shot (human insulin - funny thing that, eh?) before his evening meal. No more scraps or begged things. No more changes in dog food. No more doggy treats. A uniform, bland diet that he came to hate.

He'd lost a lot of agility. Mini-pins are generally pretty agile, but about 2 years ago he lost the ability to jump onto our bed. 6 months later he couldn't make it up onto the kids' beds. Last week, we had to help him up onto the futon. He had bad gas almost all the time.

We had friends over Saturday all day. Their littlest let Goliath get hold of some food. Not good - he didn't want to eat his own supper that night. There'd been cheesecake, and the remains went into the trash. Around 2 am, Goliath managed to push the can over. He ate about half the cheesecake, and rolled in the rest.

At 5 am, he came up and begged the Wif to go out. She let him out, and noticed the mess he'd made - and hosed him off outside. By church time, he'd started with diareah. When we got back (and he'd been left outside for a couple of hours), he was contrite, and seemed to feel better, but his tummy was bulging - he'd really gorged himself.

As the afternoon went on, he got worse. By the time I put on steaks that evening, he was having trouble walking. The girls were upset. He came up on the deck, and they covered him with a towel as he lay there, panting slowly. His belly was distended. We called the vet - he said there was nothing much he could do, just give the dog all the water he wanted and no more food until Tuesday (this was Sunday - yike!). A few minutes later, as I was turning over the steaks, the girls got upset - something was wrong. I sent them inside and checked. Puppydawg was gone.

In a way, this was a releif for Katy. She handled it very well. There were tears all around, and the Wif is still upset, but the girls handled it very well - they've been expecting it. It's the first death they've had to be around for.

Goliath is buried in the back yard, where they can see it from Katy's room. He was as good a dog as I could hope for. I'll miss ya, dawg. Have fun chasing wabbits up there in Doggy Heaven.


She's Baaaacccckkkkk.....

Coz Coz writes  |  more than 12 years ago

This was it - the day the Wif went back to work. It was a pain getting the kids together and out of the house, but I'm sure it'll get better.

The ones I feel sorry for are the students - they have NO idea what they're in for....


Gainful Employment

Coz Coz writes  |  more than 12 years ago

The Spousal Overunit has taken a job. She's going back into the work force, after over five years of "unemployment".

Of course, she's been busy. She's raised one child, had another, and gotten a graduate degree at a university an hour's drive away. But that was all a couple of years ago. Our youngest is over 2 now, the eldest will be in first grade, and she's not very good at being a Donna Reed-type mommy figure - she sucks at housekeeping. She's been busy with other things - church, social things, some child care for friends... but it wasn't enough. She's going back to warp the brains of high school students.

I knew she would, some day.


I can What?!?

Coz Coz writes  |  more than 12 years ago

As though the Universe were conspiring as an entity, cumulatively, against ME, personally... but only in ways I couldn't prove were a conspiracy... Slashdot has to add this, the Journal.

Be warned, I may actually use this. Unlike most other primates, whose opinions correlate most strongly with bodily orifices (usually rather smelly ones, at that), I have more than a few - and may choose this as a venue suitable for their recordation, on the off chance that some other interested sapient might consider their perusal.

You never know.

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