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Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

EmperorOfCanada Maybe its not Pascal its pascal people (488 comments)

Pascal is one of those languages like Powerbuilder and even Java that people learn the one language and then drag it through the decades kicking and screaming. At least with Java the language is being kept somewhat fresh but I don't think there is much I respect less in the computer world than a one language programmer.

4 days ago
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Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

EmperorOfCanada What about my 8 bit homebrew OS on my ATMega? (307 comments)

I cooked up a homebrew 8bit OS on my ATMega chip. I now demand that Netflix port their system over to my OS. Plus I still have a C64 in the closet so that needs netflix pronto. Then the computer in my car I believe is running that Vx stuff for combustion so it should get netflix as that is probably a more common OS than android. Then on top of all that I completely demand that my TI-89 gets netflix.

And that is just netflix. I have been waiting for a TI-89 version of Halo for way too long. Who do I sue? I want to sue someone for that omission!!! And I believe that someone released a doom for TI-89 so it clearly can be done.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Has the Time Passed For Coding Website from Scratch?

EmperorOfCanada You can't get there from here (302 comments)

For restaurant website or something similar then there are all kinds of out of the box solutions that rock. But the moment that something new needs to be done often using anything like wordpress is going to be a knife fight with everyone getting stabbed.

The usual sign that the out of the box solution has failed is that the project looks 90% done in the first week. But then ten weeks later the project is still roughly 90% done.

For instance I would not want to implement Wikipedia using any out of the box solution. I would not want to implement Reddit, or slashdot, or pretty much any major website using an out of the box solution. Although I could probably make a close knockoff of slashdot using wordpress it would be those final features that would probably stall as I effectively was forced to rewrite wordpress. Then wordpress would come out with an upgrade and then I would have to re-rewrite the changes.

Lastly in these days of SEO being critical to a website getting any joy from google speed is critical. So a hand tooled site that is 1% better than a typical bulky framework site will simply do better in search (all other things being equal) so while 1% might not be a seemingly worthwhile performance gain it is one of those cases where you don't have to outrun the lion just your fellow tourists.

about a week ago
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Study: Belief That Some Fields Require "Brilliance" May Keep Women Out

EmperorOfCanada Re:Better things to do.... (218 comments)

And not bathing or really any grooming pretty much.

about two weeks ago
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Study: Belief That Some Fields Require "Brilliance" May Keep Women Out

EmperorOfCanada Hello most fields do require brilliance (218 comments)

There are many fields where everyone needs to pitch in and the collective efforts sum up to a result. Digging ditches would be an example. Teaching would be another. One brilliant teacher can't teach millions; but one brilliant teacher can raise the bar with the rest expected to follow. But in theoretical science being a hard working slightly intelligent person is only going to result in a mild contribution at best. Only a very very few extremely brilliant people move things forward. In the more applied areas of science such as food testing hard work is a perfectly viable substitute for brilliance. It really annoys me when the mediocre try and say all the great science is now done by groups. That is true in that all the mediocre science is done by groups of mediocre scientists. But it is still the Feynman sitting alone in a room who make the leaps that everyone else then follows and fills in the blanks.

I see this in Computer Science every day. There are those vast majority of programmers who are rarely using any math beyond X++ and there are those who are taking an ML and figuring out ways to take some aspect of it to the next level.

Rarely is the brilliance separate from hard work but 99% of PhD theses could be and are completely ignored. That was a whole lot of hard work that went into them. But then there are people like Higgs who's hard work + brilliance resulted in the creation of the LHC to verify his brilliance; done by groups of people who worked very hard. I suspect that many of the best bits of the LHC were created by a very very small number of very brilliant people while the rest was plodded in to place by the merely very smart.

about two weeks ago
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Radio Shack Reported To Be Ready for Bankruptcy Filing

EmperorOfCanada Hire MBAs, get what you deserve (314 comments)

This is a perfect example of hiring a bunch of MBAs who then use terms like "Low hanging fruit" and change the company from technology company to high pressure cell outlet with junky high margin accessories.

I love when the darlings of the MBA world like Blockbuster turn out to be so riddled with cancer that they can't survive.

My next prediction is that the MBA riddled aviation world is next. The whole concept of "calculated misery" where they shrink seats not only to pack more people onto the plane but so that they can charge extra for getting what should actually be a mandated minimum leg room is classic MBA "cunning" that will blow up in their BSchool faces. The only problem is that the bastards are the sort who weasel their way into "retention" bonuses.

But to any CEOs who might read slashdot, right now go to HR and tell them to fire every MBA even if they are doing a non financial related job as their Machiavellian training is probably causing massive misery for anyone around them.

about two weeks ago
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UK Computing Teachers Concerned That Pupils Know More Than Them

EmperorOfCanada Which is why they will reach for the obscure/old (388 comments)

I can foresee some classes in Pascal, Fortran, Cobol, or even a newer yet obscure language like Erlang. This way the teachers will feel that they are superior to the students. I program C++ every day, yet some whiz could probably write small amounts of template code that I simply could not parse in my head. But good luck finding an under 20 whiz in Powerbuilder.

The other thing I foresee are a whole lot of frustrated kids who write far better code than was asked for yet will be told that their code is "wrong" because it doesn't match what was expected. For instance a "while" loop being insisted on with a "for" loop being rejected. Especially if it is newer C++ for loop that can iterate through something like a vector.

Then just to piss everyone off I can foresee many teachers being grammar nazis. So if(x==2) would lose you marks because it wasn't if( x==2 ) which would be considered better by that teacher than if( x == 2) but still not as good as if ( x == 2 ). But the same student might as well quit the course if they thought that using the magic number 2 instead of a const or a #define was actually a problem. I suspect that following strict formatting guidelines for some teachers will be more important than having the code even compile.

about two weeks ago
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Education Debate: Which Is More Important - Grit, Or Intelligence?

EmperorOfCanada I have met successful useless people with "grit" (249 comments)

I would agree that grit is critical to success, but not actually accomplishing anything. Years ago I was offered a Dilbert like bit of advice in an office which was "Don't go anywhere without a clipboard or file in your hand; even if you are heading to a meeting or doing something productive, enough people wander around socializing that not looking productive for even a moment will lump you in with the useless sorts."

But I have seen variations of this in the school system with my favourite example being my nephew going through engineering. They tortured him and his classmates with overwhelming amounts of stuff to learn and work to do. But what they taught him and how they taught him was a combination of useless, out of date, and just the wrong approach. While his innate ability to learn was amazing and resulted in top marks, he still had to work very hard. So the primary thing they tested was his "grit" but they hardly did anything with his near total lack of a single engineering gene in his body. He was completely in the wrong course and should have been in pure mathematics. I suspect that this same course would be repelled by an engineer with a natural Hillbilly/MacGyver ability who wasn't so keen on completing yards of work that their common sense told them was never going to be used and was effectively busy work.

One of the things that I think has happened in much of modern education is that it won't acknowledge that there are two types of people in things like science. There are the great minds and there are the bottle washers; with the bottle washers greatly outnumbering the great minds. So the bottle washers have created a system that gives them a chance to rise to the top while many of the great minds end up becoming garage mechanics because they just didn't have the "grit" to jump through the hoops that the bottle washers set up as an initiation rite.

A near perfect example of the bottle washers taking over would be the ITER fusion project. This is a perfect long term project where whole careers can be spent doing "science" without having to deliver a single thing beyond marketing, hype, and spreadsheets. But I am willing to bet that many of the top people working on that project have qualifications coming out their asses. Qualifications that can only be obtained through pure "grit". While I don't doubt that a few people working on that project are making actual science happen it would be almost despite the top leadership as opposed to because of them.

But seeing that any real scientist must pass these initiation rites it is absolutely a requirement that they have the ability to grit their teeth and appease the stupid gatekeepers.

That said it is very difficult to accomplish much if someone is not willing to put in a huge amount of hard work. The critical difference is that students of today have to do a huge amount of stupid before they are allowed to do anything smart.

about two weeks ago
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Radio, Not YouTube, Is Still King of Music Discovery

EmperorOfCanada Re:must be some wrong interpretation of statistics (126 comments)

I don't even want a radio in my next new car. I literally want a radio, including satellite, as much as I want an 8 track, a cassette player, or even a CD player. I want the sound system and controls to interface with my phone and that is pretty much it. Maybe just maybe I could use a little in car storage for the rare time that I don't have my phone.

about three weeks ago
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Tesla vs. Car Dealers: the Lobbyist Went Down To Georgia

EmperorOfCanada Whipping my startup really hard (190 comments)

I have the spurs and the whip going hard on my startup and one of the first things I would contemplate buying with genuinely spare cash would be a Tesla. Mostly for my inner geek but the concept of walking into a Mall (I don't really like malls) store and saying, "I'll take one in black." and not having a sales dick try and bamboozle me for the next 8 hours really really appeals to me.

I was in a restaurant a few months ago with a friend and at a nearby table there were a group of guys who all fit some strange demographic. They were very well groomed but in a Walmart mannequin sort of way. It was all not-GQ and sort of sad. We stared at the lot of them and just couldn't figure out what the hell was wrong with them. Then I realized. We were in a diner near all the car dealerships and this was a bunch of salesmen on a late lunch. I don't ever want to deal with these guys who spend every day trying to figure out ways to rip me off including dressing badly so I think they are stupid.

about three weeks ago
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Radio, Not YouTube, Is Still King of Music Discovery

EmperorOfCanada Re:Nice try failing radio media companies (126 comments)

My test for TV is the commercials. CNN had a prime time advertisement for catheters the other day. My guess is that 5 years ago CNN simply wouldn't have accepted their money; nor could such a niche product afford prime CNN advertising 5 years ago.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

EmperorOfCanada Re:Push starting a car (790 comments)

What I meant is that due to things like cars being better and inspection requirements keeping most of the total junk off the roads people just don't do that much. Even things like killing your battery by leaving the lights on is much harder as the smarter cars will just turn them off.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

EmperorOfCanada Push starting a car (790 comments)

There was that chug chug chug as the motor would either catch or almost catch along with the lurching and spring noises of the car bouncing with each engine turnover. But the whole choreographed event is something that I haven't seen in years. Yet even in the early 80s there were people(often students) who's cars pretty much always needed a push start. They would strategize only parking their cars pointing downhill.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

EmperorOfCanada Mufflers dragging under a car (790 comments)

When I was a kid this was a pretty standard noise. The things holding the crappy muffler were themselves crappy and between the heat and road salts they simply didn't stand a chance. I am pretty sure that if you stood by a busy downtown road in 1975 that you wouldn't have to wait an hour for a dragging muffler car to go by.

I am not sure that I have heard that sound in a decade or more.

about three weeks ago
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Radio, Not YouTube, Is Still King of Music Discovery

EmperorOfCanada Nice try failing radio media companies (126 comments)

I simply don't hear radio much anymore. My kids don't listen to it, I don't hear it in cars driving by, I don't hear it much in stores, and I certainly don't listen to it.

But the simple numbers that tell an absolute and unmanipulable truth is the advertising revenue. Every other statistic is a complete and total fabrication created in an effort to prevent the total freefall of existing sales and stock prices. A great example of these desperadoes is that they often show revenues from 2009 to the present. This makes it look like a growth industry but in reality it is a recovery from the disaster that was 2008.

Quite simply people don't want to be told by a bunch of baby boomers what music to listen to. They have a device in their pockets that gives them total control. Remember these are the same sort of people who loved putting one good song on each CD so that people were effectively paying $20 per song.

about three weeks ago
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Unbundling Cable TV: Be Careful What You Wish For

EmperorOfCanada Re:Cable news really sucks (448 comments)

I really hate when they find one guy with a PhD who just finished a well researched report proving that torture doesn't work and another guy who supports torture and was a general who knows none of the specifics and just keeps using phrases like "Think of the children" or "We must protect the boys in uniform." and after he is pounded into the ground the host will throw in a statement that the FBI thinks that they are justified in trampling rights because they are the "good guys"

Or when the news hosts will say things like "He learned too much math."

about three weeks ago
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Unbundling Cable TV: Be Careful What You Wish For

EmperorOfCanada How about unburdening Cable services (448 comments)

Nearly everyone I know has dumped cable and in most cases it wasn't to make their budget better but that once they got Netflix that commercials became insufferable and the cost per cable hour watched then skyrocketed. In my area to have a half decent set of packages you will end up paying around $100 per month. So for people who were just watching the occasional news show and not much else they realized that they were paying pretty much the same per show as the entirety of their monthly Netflix cost.

But then I hear other complaints which is that the news is becoming wildly biased while the quality of most programming is in freefall. I hear that it is becoming clear that many of the new programs are being made on silly low budgets. For instance I was over at a cable using friend's house and the weather reporter was talking to a camera on a tripod. They had eliminated the cameraman. Plus some of the travel shows are basically all selfie shots with a selfie stick or a tripod.

And CNN really took the cake when they had 1000's of hours of reporting on the missing airliner when their only two real facts were that it was missing and that it turned left.

So while in 1994 I would have killed to get my channels a-la-carte at this point it is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

about three weeks ago
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The Fire Phone Debacle and What It Means For Amazon's Future

EmperorOfCanada Re:Amazon is waiting for a competitor (155 comments)

Yes your last point of pissing off makers can be very important as if they stay pissed off long enough they will be actively searching for an alternative and will jump onboard as fast as makes economic sense; whereas if they too were fat and happy they might stick with Amazon even when it didn't quite make sense. For instance I know a pile of people who hate google adsense yet they can't find an alternative. But if one comes along and they switch, Adsense would pretty much not be able to ever get them back as they hate google because how they feel adsense has been treating them.

But the fat and happy is how companies relate to their suppliers and customers when they want to stay in business for centuries vs being an MBA driven flash in the pan.

about three weeks ago
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The Fire Phone Debacle and What It Means For Amazon's Future

EmperorOfCanada Re:Amazon is waiting for a competitor (155 comments)

I'm not sure that AWS is making money. I think that this seems to be a debated topic.

I can say that at this point one American that I know will check Amazon first for pretty much every purchase. The question is can that be translated to another company or collection of companies? Amazon isn't like ebay in that ebay is a terrible auction site but they have all the people bidding which attracts all the products which attracts... So breaking into that market against ebay would be very hard. But alibaba.com seems to look like they might weasel in on both ebay and amazon at the same time.

After it someone comes along and eats amazon's lunch it will probably be completely obvious in hindsight as to why they were able to.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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Japanese can build their own radiation detectors

EmperorOfCanada EmperorOfCanada writes  |  more than 3 years ago

EmperorOfCanada writes "Here is a DIY radiation detector For those Japanese wondering if radiation levels have gone up that can be made with household supplies: any clear sided container with a flat metal(preferably) lid, some black paint, rubbing alcohol, a can of keyboard air duster, and a flashlight . This won't give an absolute measurement but it will tell you if you are in a hot zone. The radiation leaves trails in the mist and looks very cool. Can't beat a home made Geiger counter in 10 minutes and for less than $20 US."
Link to Original Source
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Cheap cloud diffusion chamber with air duster

EmperorOfCanada EmperorOfCanada writes  |  more than 3 years ago

EmperorOfCanada writes "A 15 year old girl has invented a very cheap and easy way to build your own cloud diffusion chamber; which is a neat way to see various radiation particles leave trails. Radiation such as cosmic rays, background radiation, and any handy radiation sources such as a disassembled smoke detector.
Video"

Link to Original Source
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Avoiding eVoting fraud

EmperorOfCanada EmperorOfCanada writes  |  more than 6 years ago

EmperorOfCanada writes "I am looking for suggestions on how to prevent the use of eVoting in an upcoming election (Mid Oct.) in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The city is going to allow people to vote both online and by telephone. As a security aware software developer I am frightened of the number of ways that an electronic portion of an election can go wrong. For well over a year I have been in contact with a senior city official over this issue supplying her with dozens of examples of eVoting going wrong in the many ways it tends to do so. Obviously security theater has won the day and here we are staring down the barrel of an election with votes recorded at the whim of the company running the evoting. How can this be prevented? Does anyone have any good examples of grassroots efforts that succeeded in preventing the use of electronic voting? Is there any way to force an audit of the code / machines / security / raw data that are involved in this craziness? Minimally can people comment expertly on just how stupid an idea it is to allow voting via the internet and by telephone? Thanks, A very concerned citizen."

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