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The Airplane of the Future May Not Have Windows

Durrik Re:Fine, if (286 comments)

United is actually taking the monitors out, in favor of an app you have to download onto your tablet and wifi for their entertainment systems (if you had a PC then you could just hook right up to wifi and use the entertainment system). I think it was United but the disasters of Chicago and weather had me switching from American to United to US Airways during that trip. They were giving a trial run on the flight I was on, but I bet they'll go for out on it because it means they don't have to pay for the screens and don't have to worry about the bulky screens getting in the way of packing more cattle....passengers in the plane.

3 days ago

Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment

Durrik Re:Boys are naturally curious... (603 comments)

Very interesting, thanks for sharing. There were a few problems I had with the video.

It did make the guys who professed that biology had nothing to do with it look a bit like closed minded idiots, but that was mostly their own fault. With the two that were shown the studies contrasting their views starting to call the studies weak, and almost name calling.

The video alluded to many studies that proved that biology had something to do with it, but only really went into details with two of them, and those looked to be one off studies. If they had been repeated by other scientists then I would give them more weight.

The video was a bit bias in its selection on who to present. The 'biology has nothing to do with it' looked to be young and barely out of post grad and wanting to make a name for themselves. They also seemed defensive and emotionally invested in their views. The ones on the other side of the debate were older, and looking to be more established. This gave the 'there's a biological link' a more credible appearance.

Personally I'm with the guy who said that you can't ignore biology and you can't ignore culture. That's also known as the grey fallacy, but when you're trying to find the root cause of something like this you can't cut out one side of the argument, even if its bee proven wrong. You have to continue to prove it wrong with hard facts and understanding, and each time you do you promote more understanding of what the issue is.

The video was also nice in that it pointed out, it was only the scientists form the culture is everything camp that discounted the biological portion of it. The scientists from the biology is important camp didn't say that culture wasn't important.

4 days ago

Google Fiber To Launch In Austin, Texas In December

Durrik Re:I want slower for cheaper (88 comments)

oh I'd love 10 mbs. I'm stuck with only one provider where I live. No cable, just CenturyLink DSL. I have the fastest service they offer in this area, a whole 7 mbs. And I get to pay $70 a month for it too. When I called up customer service about it, they seemed shocked that we only got 7 mbs for that amount, and then he looked at what was offered in the area, and apologized because that's all they have. I have a 70 ms ping to the speed test servers. Shows you how bad it is when they don't even care about faking speed test because there's no competition in this area.

What's frustrating is that a half mile west there's Cox. A half mile north there's cox. A have mile south there's cox, and a half mile east cox has partial coverage to northern half of the area. Just this one little area of new construction doesn't have Cox, and when I asked them when they'd get to it, they didn't know. I know cable sucks, and is a shared service, but its better than my 7-70-70 service (mbs, ping, price).

It takes about 30 seconds for my wife to load her facebook page, and her other pages. I don't really know why it could be so shitty. We have to unplug the modem at least once a week because it seems to die on us, and we seem to change IP addresses every 2-3 days. When both of our computers started downloading the latest round of windows patches it literally killed my wife's google talk page.

about two weeks ago

An Army Medal For Coding In Perl

Durrik Re:A virtuous Perl programmer (192 comments)

</p><p>I'm always amazed at what non-programmers are impressed by. Code up some major application, and... Why doesn't it have this feature? Why does it have that workflow? What kind of colorblind dyslexic idiot designed this UI? But whip up a simple script to automate some repetitive, routine task and you're a genius!</p></quote>

I'm always surprised at this as well. I had two things I was known for at my previous company. One that I was proud of, a software library that was used across the entire company, across multiple teams (20 project teams), built up a community around, supported and upgraded for 6 years. This was mainly on my own time, but I kept getting requests from other teams to help with integration (which I needed my time authorized for). I kept getting complaints about the library, people wanting to change the flows, wanting to add features in, wanting it to be more light weight, wanting it to be more heavy weight and do more, etc. The library was actually designed with maintenance and long term support in mind.

The other project, was something that automated a process I thought was stupid. Basically something that took multiple true type fonts, merged them together, and then based on all the localization strings it stripped out all the unused fonts to save on RAM. I threw that together when I was home sick from work with a 103 degree fever during flu season. It was only suppose to live till the end of the current project I was on (2 months). You can imagine how crappy the code was, it barely worked, it barely did what it had to do.

Guess which one I got more praise and recognition for? Not the properly designed project that affected our customers and revenue flow, but the code vomit (almost literally) project that made people's life in the company easier. Because of the second project I became known as one of the company's expert on true type fonts, and even had the company lawyers call me to talk about licensing of the fonts we used (as if I knew that). And I still had to support that tool 5 years after I wrote it, because it somehow leaked out of the original project which had been shipped and closed down. Just for the record I consider my knowledge on fonts to be slightly above average, but when you consider the average is 'a font is what you select in Word' its not much, no way is that considered an expert in any other area.

about 4 months ago

A 32-bit Development System For $2

Durrik Re:This (138 comments)

There is a PIC32 I/O expansion board (DM320002) that you can hook the PIC32MX starter kit to that will bring out the JTAG port to a standard header. Unfortunately that's a pricy board too that might be a bit too expensive for some people.

But it does bring out all the pins you'd want. SPI, UART, I2C, Digital I/O etc. And if you're going to be doing some pretty intensive stuff beyond what the starter kit gives you (3 buttons, and 3 LEDs) you'd probably want to pick one of those up as well. What I like about it is it has a 9 volt input jack so I don't have to power the starter kit off my PC.

The JTAG is left off the starter kit, since it is a starter kit, and they don't want to make it expensive. There isn't really any space on the board to put a JTAG port without expanding the area, and if you want one thing, others will want others, and yet others, and then its no longer a starter kit, but a full development kit. Which is why there's that I/O expansion board to handle the 132 pin connector that's on the bottom of the starter kit.

about 6 months ago

A 32-bit Development System For $2

Durrik Re:This (138 comments)

The PIC32 MCUs are a bit more expensive. Around $4.20 for single orders. But they're also clocked higher. The PIC32MX is an 80Mhz part. The one in the ARM in the article is 48 Mhz. There is also a big difference in RAM and FLASH. The arm has 4k and 32k. The PIC32MX has 64k and 512k.

Of course if you're really wanting to play with the MCHP parts its best to go with the starter kits, which makes them much more expensive than the $3 in the article. But then you get a USB debug port, a USB port to play with, and on some of the kits you get Ethernet as well. Which is much more than what the breadboard in the article is talking about, and you don't need a flash programmer. If you're really serious to get into embedded controllers this is probably the way to go, since you save the price of your flash programmer/debugger.

You could always wait for the PIC32MZ as well, which is a 200 Mhz part, more RAM and more FLASH.

about 6 months ago

Steve Jobs Defied Convention, and Perhaps the Law

Durrik Re:Ethics are for folks with consciences, (311 comments)

It's possible.

The CEO of Microchip Technologies (Steve Sanghi) has ethics, I don't know the majority of his ethical make up, but one of the big things is integrity. If you look at his and MCHP's history

- he's been CEO of MCHP for 23 years, which I never heard of in the high tech industry. In fact a good portion of the higher level executives have been around for a long time, some of them from the early 90s. This shows that he's willing to make a commitment and stick too it, and surrounds himself with people who do the same thing.
- MCHP has never had to restate financial results because of shady accounting practices.
- Have told their sales force that the values of doing business are the values of the head office (in the US), so no bribes to get business in 3rd world countries, etc. This has cost them business in the past but they don't seem to mind.
- Made it a corporate culture thing never to have more than 3% of the profits of the company reliant on one customer, which allows them to walk away from shady deals.

Of course this means that MCHP doesn't have a huge market cap, and may be overly conservative when it comes to new technologies, but you can't really argue with 94 quarters of profit that haven't needed to be restated.

Steve might not have a butt load of money, but probably more money than most of us will see in our life times. According to Reuters he makes 4.5 million a year and has 50 million in unexercised options.

The only thing I'm not sure of is where the company is registered, I'm pretty sure its in the US. But it may be outside since it is an international company and most companies are registered outside the US to reduce taxes. I'm not sure if Microchip does.

about 6 months ago

Ask Slashdot: User-Friendly Firewall For a Brand-New Linux User?

Durrik Re:Shorewall (187 comments)

Shorewall is very nice. For the user I would suggest using it and installing webmin to configure it. Webmin does an OK job configuring shorewall which is already pretty easy to set up, just it can be fairly confusing for the first timer with all the config files. After the first few times with webmin you learn how to do it with the command line and vim.

Bastille-linux is also something that was fairly easy to use in the past. I used that before shorewall, but I haven't used bastille for years, must be a least a decade so I don't know what the current state of it is.

about 7 months ago

Google Fiber Pondering 9 New Metro Areas

Durrik Re:Phoenix AZ Google Fiber (172 comments)

I was thinking the same thing. Why not Chandler (SE side), where Intel has two fabs, Freescale has an office, Microchip is located and a bunch of other big high tech companies? You're going to have a hell of a lot of high tech workers just begging for gigabit Internet. But that may be the reason, they may not want tech savvy people at it, because then they'll have a heavy stress test.

about 8 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Why So Hard Landing Interviews In Seattle Versus SoCal?

Durrik Re: It's the global warming (506 comments)

I just moved from Seattle to Phoenix, strangely enough it was because my job in Seattle ended and I couldn't get another job. The tech market for interviewees sucks in Seattle, I knew about the job closing for 6 months and still couldn't find a job there. So in a lark I applied to a job in Phoenix/Chandler. Had a phone call from them in 2 hours, an on-site scheduled 2 hours later. Call the day after the interview saying they're getting an offer together.

The job turned out to be about 2 levels above what I was applying for in Seattle. Love the weather here and don't regret leaving Seattle at all. They actually appreciate 15+ years of software engineering experience here. In Seattle all they seemed to care about was big O notation, not what you can actually do.

about a year ago

Redesigned Seats Let Airlines Squeeze In More Passengers

Durrik Re:Bullshit we won't notice (466 comments)

You might have the same problem I have. But I don't think I'll notice the change personally. I'm 6'4" tall (190cm) and I'm in pain if I don't get up from those seats at least every two hours and walk to the bathroom. I have a hard time getting into them now as it is, and usually I fly on short notice and I'm stuck in the middle. I'm quite sure that the airlines are having some sort of joke on the big guys, and see how many they can sit next to each other.

The last time I flew internationally (10 hour flight from Seattle to Amsterdam) I got lucky and upgraded to 'comfort' class and the booking agent apologized that I was tuck in the bulkhead row. Stuck? Man that was comfortable I could stretch out. But she was able to do better on the way back, and got me a proper seat. That was painful, and cramped. I had to get the guy on the aisle to let me out 5 times, and each time I was moving like an old man (and I'm not that old).

So I don't think I'll notice the loose of 1 little inch. My knees already run into the back of the seat in front of me. My shoulders already overflow onto the seats besides me. I might notice that my butt will be snug in the seats though.

But if they're jamming more people onto the plane, are they increasing the overhead bin capacity? When I fly I always take a small roller bag for my clothes and a laptop bag. I usually get these stowed (roller bag up top and laptop bag under the seat in front of course) but its usually cramped, and people who come in late always seem to try to jam in on top of everything. Somehow I doubt it as that is passenger convenience, and some airlines (I'm looking at you American) are charging for every checked bag you have. They're currently offering the checked carry on for free, but that might change in the future.

1 year,13 days

HR Departments Tell Equifax Your Entire Salary History

Durrik One More Tool to Fight the Rise in Workers' Pay (472 comments)

I'm not being conspiracy nut in this. This is just one more tool that HR departments can use to keep pay low for people applying for work at a company. They always ask for what your current salary is. Before an applicant could lie and tell the HR department a higher number and get offered that higher number. Now they can just check this database and see what the number actually is.

When I job switched in the past I've never been offered a number higher than what I currently made when I was truthful about my salary, and I screwed myself over. There was a time when I worked for a start-up and my salary was frozen for four years. When that job died I told my new employer what I was making and got offered a bit less since it was a rough job market. The raises I got at that job were less than inflation. The last time I switched I took my salary at the start of the previous job, ran it through the inflation calculator, added 10% and told that number to the new company. That was the number that I was offered, and they gave me some song and dance about it was a privilege about working in the industry when I tried to see if I could get it higher. So I got a 17% raise over my previous company.

Now with this database that tactic is no longer viable. And if you don't tell them the current number you're making and then check it out, they can mark you as dishonest. Kind of hypocritical if you ask me.

about a year and a half ago

Next-Gen Console Wars Will Soon Begin In Earnest

Durrik Re:Dev Console Specs... (284 comments)

Speaking as a developer of console games. The CPUs are the same between the dev kits and the retail console, so running unoptimized code will run the same on both CPUs. Where the kits differ is usually in the supporting hardware.

Both the Xbox360 and the PS3 had additional hardware in the box to aid in debugging. The PS3 had another 128 megs of ram. And a second Ethernet port. Being an online engineer I almost worshipped that second Ethernet port. Being able to put the 'game' port onto a packet filter (for latency, and other testing) while having the debug port still available unhindered was very valuable.

The PS3 also had a hard drive for running BluRay emulation on.

The Xbox360 (the ones I played with), had the same RAM on both the dev kit and the retail kit, they did add another 512 megs in later versions, but I never got to play with it. The side car had equipment for hooking up USB for DVD emulation and debugging support. It also had an internal hard drive, which the retail kits didn't have.

Mainly the 'better' specs were for debugging, not for actually running the software on.

about a year and a half ago

Little Miss Sunshine Screenwriter Gets Nod For Star Wars: Episode VII

Durrik Re:I don't want to see an animated kids movie (321 comments)

Don't forget the five songs, sung by the characters and the tap dance numbers with the characters twirling around the light sabres and spinning around them. Of course the songs will recap the entire plot because the audience had probably missed it completely by that point.

Suddenly all those dancing Storm Trooper Kinect mini games make sense.

Perhaps the makers of the video game weren't so far off the mark after all.

about 2 years ago

Sources Say ITU Has Approved Ultra-High Definition TV Standard

Durrik Re:Great! (341 comments)

There's a good link I usually pass out when people start to talk about noticing the difference between 720p and 1080p.

Now I don't know where the line for 4320p would be since the article is old, but if you look at the line for 1080p at a viewing distance of 5 feet you need a TV around 38 inches. For 1440p at the same distance you need a TV around 51 inches, a difference of 13 inches.

1080p is 2,073,600 pixels
1440p is 3,571,200 pixels
4320p is 33,177,600 pixels

1440 is 1.33... times bigger than 1080
3,571,200 is 1.72... times bigger than 2,073,600
4320 is 3 times bigger than 1440
33,177,600 is 9.29 times bigger than 3,571,200

Using simple linear approximation:
If you take just a 3 times bigger standard 1440p -> 4320p you need 29 more inches, or a TV that is 67 inches, or 3,571,200 -> 33,177,600 you need 70 more inches, or a TV that is 109 inches wide at 5 feet to get the full benefit of 4320p.

I don't know about you but sitting 5 feet away from 109 inches wouldn't work for me. 67 inches is doable, but that's still a huge TV to be only 5 feet away. I don't think you can follow all the action across the entire screen from that distance.

more than 2 years ago

Some Players Want Day-1 DLC, Says BioWare

Durrik Re:Are you serious? (357 comments)

Its a different process. I also work in the gaming industry, and on consoles.

The base game is usually a 10 week lead time from 'gold' (or final) till its on the shelves. Most of that time is certification with 1st party. There's one first party that wants 12 weeks of cert time. I've also worked on a game with an accelerated release schedule. Final, cert and ship in 3-4 weeks

Patches are usually 2 weeks, though maybe 4 weeks sometimes. Though I've had patch go through in two days before, of course that was the second submission of the patch, and the change was as stupid icon change (We put it on the left, where it fit better with the art, they demanded it on the right).

If the DLC doesn't have compiled code in it, then the DLC usually breezes through, maybe taking a week, though one 1st party likes to take 6 weeks with them.

Anyone in the industry that's had to deal with certification can tell you what a pain it is. There's no consistency to the process. One game might submit following one process and a game released three weeks later might follow a different process, it all depends on how much the 1st party wants your game on their console. Or how much they want to screw around with you.

more than 2 years ago

US "the Enemy" Says Dotcom Judge

Durrik Re:The enemy among us. (469 comments)

10 years is probably too short, but you're right that copyright laws are broken. I do like 10 years as a good number to work from.

I think copyright should be broken into personal and corporate copyright. Personal copyright is owned by the author. Corporate by a corporation.

Personal copyright should have a maximum 10 year exclusive license limit, after ten years the license should be renegotiated, and perhaps transfered to another publisher. He time limit for personal copyright should be Death or twenty years whichever is longer.

Corporate copyright should be free for 10 years. And then renewed in each country that the corporation wants to enforce it in for $10,000 for then next 10 years, then $100,000 for ten more years and so on. So:

0-10 years free
11-20 years $10,000 per country
21-30 years $100,000 per country
31-40 years $1,000,000 per country ...

If a company wants to bankrupt itself to keep a copyright that's fine but it'll quickly become too expensive for companies not to let copyrit lapse.

Breaking digital locks should not be illegal. You blame the lock if it gts broken, safes and locks are rated by how long it takes to break into them. Also you could look at it as a National Security question, if you my cryptography illegal, only crimals will be cryptologists. And then how are you going to secure your communications? Digital locks are a good way to train the next generation of cryptologists, and keep them practiced.

more than 2 years ago

The Pirate Bay Plans Servers In the Sky

Durrik Re:Search warrants not needed... (329 comments)

Being that small won't pose a hazard. I can't find a good link to the development of anti-aircraft radar before world war II. But the development team got a message during the first field test from the field engineers: 'It tracked seagulls' or something like that, and it took them a while, trying to figure out what the field engineer meant, it being a top secret project and they thought the FE was being cryptic. No he was being completely open. The nearest link I could find to that story is:

On another note, I'm not sure why the US would bother shooting a sea to air missile at the drone. Five inch flak shells are cheaper. I think that's one of the standard gun armaments the Navy carries.

All the Navy would have to claim is they were test firing the gun, and the drone just got in the way. Radar tracked shells are fairly accurate after the first one has been fired, and they would probably only need two of them, most likely they'd only need one. Much cheaper than expending a missile, and it would probably just hit the budget as: Ordinance expended during training. Just like a 5.56mm round fired out of a rifle.

more than 2 years ago

USS Enterprise Takes Its Final Voyage

Durrik Re:RTFS (455 comments)

I had to reread the sentence in the summary, probably because I was just reading up on the Enterprise recently. But the first time I read the entry I thought it meant the longest of any warship, as in the length of the hull. According to wikipedia:'s_longest_ships and (look at the first picture's caption) the USS Enterprise is still the longest warship in US history (and anyone else's).

So who knows maybe that's what they meant by the longest of any warship after putting in the —

more than 2 years ago

Apple Has Too Much Money

Durrik Buy a majority share in Microsoft, if they could (570 comments)

If they could Apple should buy a majority share in Microsoft. Then close down the operating system division, killing support for it. Keep the good products, like Office and Visual Studio. Merge the Xbox division into the AppleTV division, and then spin off or close the rest of Microsoft.

While immediately it looks like a bad move because they're sacking the company. Killing the operating system division would leave Apple's competitors in the PC market like Dell and HP out to dry. We've seen from the past that not many people want Linux, which is a shame. And this effectively leaves OSX as the only viable OS in the market. Apple would just have to make sure they have enough parts on hand to build up their production capacity to meet the demand of the PC manufacturers that no-longer have an operating system. With Apple being the only large computer manufacturer around at this time their stock would rise again after the hit of sacking Microsoft.

This would also kill most of the beige box component manufacturing as well, since most custom PCs run windows. And those customers would have to go looking for a PC eventually and the only real game in town would be the small time manufacturers using Linux, or Apple.

If they also make Office and Visual Studio OSX only products that will start moving corporate customers to their Macs, and iPads. BSD is already a server class operating system, and OSX is pretty darn close to it so they could move back into servers at this time, hell they'll have a monopoly on PCs, and Windows Server 20XX wouldn't be on the market, and the current server products wouldn't be supported.

But this move would probably be seen as a monopolistic move and hopefully killed by the SEC. And Microsoft Market Cap is 264 billion and there's no way for Apple to get a majority share in it. But that's a move I wouldn't put past Apple. Actually I wouldn't put it past any board of directors if they could pull it off. They'd dump their Microsoft stock first of course, its only insider trading if you get caught. A few bribes... campaign contributions, will get them past the SEC.

more than 2 years ago


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