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Washington DC To Return To Automatic Metro Trains

Euler Re:Old technology (141 comments)

I suspect what Jmstuckman meant was that the controls were not intuitive to humans, or have a range of control that is awkward. In other words, imagine that the gas pedal on your car had 1 mm of travel and you had to manually set 3 different interlocks to change to reverse gear, and you had a significantly obstructed viewpoint, since it was only meant for automated control. Then you too would have a hard time with the simple 1-dimensional control as well. Getting within a foot of the platform target would probably be good enough if it took significant effort on touchy controls to adjust.

Disclaimer: the only train I have controlled is in MS train simulator.

13 hours ago
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High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint

Euler Re:99.99%, eh? (589 comments)

Oh wait. Yeah, I can live with the 1/10,000 chance because THOSE THINGS NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPEN EXCEPT IN YOUR IMAGINATION. Or do you think the "liberal media" is covering up the hundreds of thousands of people who use guns to prevent themselves from being stabbed in our (incredibly safe) country every day?

Actually it turns out that is generally true according to the recent CDC study. (I don't know about an actual cover-up, but clearly these stories are not being reported on.)
From the conservative angle:
http://www.gunsandammo.com/pol...
Same thing from a progressive angle:
http://www.slate.com/articles/...

Interesting how both sides were basically surprised when we all just sat down to really look at the problem. They both had a spin to it, but nothing really fit the dialog from either side.

about a week ago
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Original 11' Star Trek Enterprise Model Being Restored Again

Euler Re:Crude? (99 comments)

Yeah, and when you personally see the TOS model it actually is very crude. ...they had no idea that the film prints would be scanned for high-def TV eventually.

When I saw it around 2008 I had two thoughts:
1) Why is something so iconic being given such outcast treatment in the basement of the gift shop? Yes it wasn't actually a spacecraft, but still deserving of attention compared to some random ejection seat or circuit board designed for a space probe.
2) It was really crude.. Basic hardware-store type materials were used. That weird screen-door protector perforated metal with the two different sized holes that was popular in the '60s and '70s... The body of it was mostly just plain surface, maybe wood or something easily workable.

about a week ago
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City of Turin To Switch From Windows To Linux and Save 6M Euros

Euler Re:... and back again. (249 comments)

Exactly, some people will adopt the latest style and interface. But most will not, and still have to get their normal jobs done. Computer literacy is something that shouldn't be taken for granted. Why should a company have to keep retraining people to do the same things they have been doing successfully? Not a good business proposition.

The interoperability is no longer an argument in favor of Microsoft. It was always a sham, but just happened to work because everyone was running Microsoft products i.e. Office 97 or similar for about 15 years. When docx et.al. got forced on us, then compatibility got more complicated but was fine as long as you got the plug-ins or whatever within the MS family. But never was this about interoperability, it was simply monopoly that happened to work well for most people. Now it isn't necessarily true anymore, people are expecting web-ready documents, or better ways to collaborate, control changes, etc. Office never really did that very well and there isn't a single dominant player on that front that I'm aware of.

about a week ago
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City of Turin To Switch From Windows To Linux and Save 6M Euros

Euler Re:... and back again. (249 comments)

Seems like some very rational long-term thinking to me to make the investment in Linux now. For an institution like a government organization or university, etc. 15 years is nothing, or rather that is exactly the point. Linux will be still be available in a familiar and stable form without a forced 'upgrade', but with reasonable security patches and hardware support. Microsoft, apparently, will not provide that anymore. It is a shame, because all fanaticism aside, that is why people chose Windows in the past; it was generally familiar and ran legacy stuff way past its prime. No longer is this the case, so screw 'em.

about a week ago
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U.S. Threatened Massive Fine To Force Yahoo To Release Data

Euler Re:Yahoo knew fine was a bluff (223 comments)

Would have been interesting, paying the fine would require disclosure to shareholders? Is that a violation of 'super secret stuff'? Who wins SEC vs. NSA?

about two weeks ago
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Protesters Blockade Microsoft's Seattle Headquarters Over Tax Breaks

Euler Re:well... (246 comments)

..Because 5 year-olds haven't been influenced by conservative rhetoric. And believe me, I'm fairly conservative. But I hear this 'fairness isn't a real thing', and see this as a dark side of conservatism to deny fairness as a basic trait of civil behavior. To a 5 year-old, fairness is getting an equal slice of pie. To an adult, fairness is equal consideration under the law. Not really a hard concept to define. That, of course, isn't trying to argue that the world has to be made equal by redistribution; it just means that giving company A a tax break that isn't available to company B is worthy of criticism. Maybe it can ultimately be justified, but I'm not on-board with the automatic statement that tax breaks are a part of the free-market. There is clearly potential for monopolistic, corrupt, and nepotistic behavior, or just ineffective results. Where I live, the county's tax break program (conservative politicians that created and run it) is largely a joke for spending millions of dollars for only creating a few jobs.

about two weeks ago
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"Net Neutrality" Coiner Tim Wu Is Running For Lt. Governor of New York

Euler Re:Dogma... (40 comments)

Yes, this is exactly it. It is the polarization in politics. We argue with each other to support our prejudiced conclusions without looking at our own motivations first. Problems can potentially be solved with moderate, incremental, and mutually agreeable solutions. But that doesn't satisfy the dogmatic, extreme ideas from each side. Add moneyed interests, stubborn defensiveness, and how can we possibly get out of our own way?

Why should I agree to support any liberal / conservative politicians when I know they will take it a mile in one extreme or the other? How can we have prosperity and stability knowing the laws can change abruptly every 4 years depending on who got elected?

about two weeks ago
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Uber Now Blocked All Over Germany

Euler Re:Insurance and a 1099 (312 comments)

Heck, those pesky Bar exams and medical boards too... :)

about three weeks ago
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If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

Euler Re:What's the point? (511 comments)

Mean == average (sum of samples / number of samples)
Median == 50th percentile within the set of samples.
Mean != median (unless by chance the distribution is symmetrical.)

When an even number of samples exists, the common practice is to find the median between the two central samples by averaging the two. But that does not imply an average of the whole data set.

about a month ago
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If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

Euler Re:What's the point? (511 comments)

Or visual basic

about a month ago
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Long-Wave Radar Can Take the Stealth From Stealth Technology

Euler Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (275 comments)

The real question is whether the rules of engagement in various scenarios keep the F35 beyond visual range or not. Military planners like to have that capability, but often in modern warfare, the rules of engagement require visual confirmation. Also, once the stuff hits the fan in a larger conflict, sheer numbers of opponents and battlefield confusion might close that distance quickly. Once the enemy can see you visually, they can target you with a variety or means besides radar and traditional maneuverability and speed become crucial. Also, an opponent having even a low-quality/low-frequency radar hit from a ground station on an F35 will give enough warning for opponent force to take evasive actions.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

Euler Re:Not this again. (637 comments)

That is very true, but for several reasons:
1) location: embedded work is not necessarily something you find in every city. Much of it is concentrated in cities like the SF Bay area, Detroit (cars are at least still designed there), place where aerospace is. So much of consumer devices are designed off-shore now.
2) how talent is scouted: in my job-seeking experience, most engineering jobs are never posted. And the jobs that are posted are vaporware or duplicates of jobs already filled - usually just to help recruiters fill their databases in case a job opens up. Sometimes you have to cold-call HR departments or work with head-hunters. Hiring of friends or classmates is very common, so it pays to know people.
3) HR: jobs that need embedded programmers are often listed more generically by HR if they don't understand the significance of embedded vs. systems or applications programming. Often people find themselves doing embedded programming when the job description was simply an EE-type job posting for hardware design.

about a month and a half ago
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Algorithm Predicts US Supreme Court Decisions 70% of Time

Euler Re:biased algorith (177 comments)

You could train it with 80% of the historical data and see if it predicts the next 20% of historical data.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

Euler Re:Beards and suspenders. (637 comments)

Things that require assembly:
- special instructions that the compiler didn't support, but that need to be manipulated
- extensions to the instruction set like DSP, SIMD, etc. Compilers generally won't automatically make use of these. If you are lucky, your compiler has macros that basically translate to asm instructions.
- math operations not supported effectively in the abstract concepts of your programming language (overflow, carry, etc.)
- access to data types or structures that your language cannot support effectively
- work-around compiler bugs or limitations
- access to special memory areas that the compiler doesn't understand
- code that just won't run fast enough or use resources efficiently from the compiler

Granted, C++ on x86 or ARM probably has enough maturity to avoid these issues. But these are daily occurrences on embedded platforms.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

Euler Re:ASM (637 comments)

There is a turtle standing on silicon at some point. Get a micro-controller evaluation kit and twiddle some bits. Write a "Hello World", and no using that fancy printf stuff. Write the bits to the UART and manage the status flags.

Then just for fun, do some add with carry to a longer int type.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

Euler Re:"Real programming" is BS (637 comments)

The things you list are excellent. Without understanding basic pitfalls and trade-offs, no amount of MIPS or RAM can save you.
6502 was very limiting; I'm grateful that we have cheap micros that can do 30 MIPS instead of 0.5 MIPS. So whole new classes of problems can be solved in real-time. But embedded programming is still a place were bytes and number of instructions are a big deal.

It boggles my mind how inconsiderate programmers have become where a news webpage can bring a multi-GHz 64 bit CPU to its knees.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

Euler Re:Not this again. (637 comments)

Embedded systems may not get the attention of mobile apps or web development, but they are literally surrounding you. They are everything but a niche. Every entertainment device, appliance, furnace/AC, remote control, toys, car, cable modem, etc. And they all run on low-cost processors where bits and instruction cycles make a difference.

about a month and a half ago
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Western US States Using Up Ground Water At an Alarming Rate

Euler Re:Fusion (377 comments)

True. My only criticism of projects like ITER, NIF, etc. are that they are more academic than deliberate in achieving energy generation anytime this century. Granted, you have to work out the fusion part first, but then what? Do we wait another 50-100 years for the anointed project scientists to build a working power plant? We need tons of engineering going into this - now.

The ROI of fusion research is unimaginable if it ultimately works out. $20 billion _per year_ should be the least we could do. We should keep throwing ITER a bone _and_ triple whatever domestic (USA) programs we have currently. Get multiple projects in the pipeline, humanity cannot wait much longer.

Ending energy scarcity forever is _the_ most important thing humanity will have done up to this date. Wealth, poverty, hunger, and greed will have very little meaning when energy is virtually free. On the other hand, there is much political denial since it would certainly be a game changer for those in power.

The same effort that went into the Manhattan project, or the Apollo program should just be a given here. Being over-budget is rather meaningless; you could be over-budget by 10x, and I wouldn't bat an eye. The Manhattan project built multiple enormous facilities in parallel. Laying foundations for enrichment refineries that weren't even designed yet. That took some leap of faith.

You have to take a lot of false paths and then breakthroughs can happen unexpectedly. But we won't get there by not trying at all. Until it is proven to be impossible, the risk of dropping a few tens of billions a year to end energy scarcity forever is a reasonable gamble.

about 2 months ago
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The Truth About Solar Storms

Euler Re:Another ignorant fearmongering article (91 comments)

DC voltages would be blocked at the transformer. The miles-long transmission lines wouldn't carry a DC voltage into your house unless the protective gear on the pole failed somehow. The transformer itself could likely overheat leaving you without power later on.

about 2 months ago

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