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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

MpVpRb Problem solving (723 comments)

Although my main profession is software, I also do circuit design, construction, metalworking, carpentry and most of the other building trades

I find that even though the specifics are different, the fundamental skill is the same..problem solving

Software, circuit design, carpentry or any of the other disciplines seem more similar than different

The steps are the same..clearly identify the problem, look at the tools and materials that are available, then find a solution using what you have to work with

4 days ago

Ask Slashdot: Will Older Programmers Always Have a Harder Time Getting a Job?

MpVpRb Always is a long time (379 comments)

Today, the digital world is young and new

The managers are young, the employees are young, the customers are young

Once upon a time, the railroad was the hot new tech, then radio was, then tv..etc

Someday, software will be as mature, professional and boring as ball-bearing engineering

I suspect that ball-bearing engineers suffer no age discrimination

BTW..I am a 60 year old programmer who is turning away work. I work in the totally non-sexy world of embedded systems and industrial equipment

about a month ago

Teaching Calculus To 5-Year-Olds

MpVpRb I saw a presentation on Squeak (231 comments)

..Alan Kay's educationally oriented programming language

They said...

Most kids who take math don't learn math

Most kids who take French don't learn French

But, kids who grow up in France, have no problem learning French

We want to create "Mathland" where learning math is natural

about a month and a half ago

A New Car UI

MpVpRb Sounds like learning a musical instrument (237 comments)

Whenever I hear the term "muscle memory" it reminds me of learning to play a musical instrument

That thing looks as baffling and intimidating as a saxophone to a new user

Sure..once you learn it, it might be cool, but how many people have the physical talent and time to learn it

I tried for years to learn piano, practiced a lot, and just never could get it

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Anti-Camera Device For Use In a Small Bus?

MpVpRb The owner is an asshole (478 comments)

Tell him his idea is stupid and find another customer

about 2 months ago

The Road To VR

MpVpRb In the early 90s we all read the hype (61 comments)

The articles were filled with very optimistic visions of a VR future that was "coming soon"

I worked for Disney Imagineering R&D at the time, so money was available to buy some stuff and play with it

We bought the "state of the art" system, and hooked it up..it was not super impressive

When we showed it to the President of WDI, he said "don't show this to anybody else, it makes us look bad"

Years, and many millions of dollars later, we managed to create our own VR headmount display and opened "Imagineering VR Lab" at Epcot

It was better, but still nowhere near lived up to the hype

about 2 months ago

Star Trek Economics

MpVpRb We all wish for a Star Trek future.. (888 comments)

..but, the way things are going, the future will be a very small number of ultra-rich with the rest of the population living like rats in the sewers of Calcutta

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Should Developers Fix Bugs They Cause On Their Own Time?

MpVpRb We're in the pre-industrial era.. (716 comments)

..of software development, and even the best of us aren't very good at it

If there was a foolproof procedure to guarantee bug-free code, and only the lazy or incompetent produced bugs, things would be different

Unfortunately today, a talented, competent developer, using best practices, always produces bugs

about 2 months ago

Customer: Dell Denies Speaker Repair Under Warranty, Blames VLC

MpVpRb VLC does not access the speakers directly (526 comments)

..it uses Windows system calls which then call the sound driver

If the damage was caused by software, it's clearly the fault of the driver

VLC is too far up the stack to cause anything abnormal

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?

MpVpRb The problem is not... (876 comments)

..text vs "something-else-that-isn't-text"

The problem is complexity

Programs are getting too complex for humans to understand

We need more powerful tools to manage the complexity

And no, I don't mean another java framework

about 2 months ago

Who Makes the Best Hard Disk Drives?

MpVpRb I know a WD test engineer (444 comments)

After hearing his horror stories, I wondered if I made the right choice buying WD drives

But, the evidence speaks for itself...100% reliability

about 3 months ago

You Might Rent Features & Options On Cars In the Future

MpVpRb Re:All I Have To Say Is (437 comments)

It seems like the marketoids are convincing companies to design ever more annoying technology to piss off their customers

In the old world, companies tried to satisfy their customers

In the modern world, it seems like companies want to make customers as angry as possible

Sadism is the new corporate religion

about 3 months ago

Incandescent Bulbs Get a Reprieve

MpVpRb Re:Freakin' Riders. (767 comments)

The douchiness is in reactionary fucking morons who scream "waah CFLs suck because of LEDs, therefore we should all go back to incandescents" which is a really fucking stupid comment as you watch them make it.


CFLs aren't dimmable..yes, some manufacturers lie and say they are..but they're not

LEDs are dimmable, poorly, but they are somewhat nonlinear and have a minimum threshold where they turn off

I am all in favor of energy efficient bulbs..IF THEY ARE DIMMABLE!..I mean really dimmable, with a smooth, linear transition from off to full

about 3 months ago

Do Non-Technical Managers Add Value?

MpVpRb My best boss ever.. (249 comments)

We were the R&D group of a major corporation

Our boss, the VP of R&D, was non-technical, but he did a great job

He handled the politics

He got us the budget

He got us our own purchasing guy and receiving dock

He isolated us from the bullshit of the rest of the corporation

He gave us freedom to handle the technical side as we saw fit

To sum it up..his job was to give us the perfect environment, our job was to do cool stuff that made him look good

about 3 months ago

Disney Pulls a Reverse Santa, Takes Back Christmas Shows From Amazon Customers

MpVpRb They should be more honest (418 comments)

You are never buying from them, only renting for variable durations

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What's On Your Hardware Lab Bench?

MpVpRb I rarely use my scope..but (215 comments)

When I need it, there is no substitute

One of my favorite tricks when working on digital/analog hybrid circuits is to use the microprocessor to set an output pin, then use the signal to trigger a scope

I have debugged lots of tricky interrupt driven realtime stuff with this approach

But yeah, it gets turned on about once every two months

about 5 months ago

Vint Cerf Thinks Privacy May Be an Anomaly

MpVpRb We will get used to it (145 comments)

We are living in the transition time where some people have private lives and some are more public

If current trends continue, everybody will have embarrassing pictures on the internet and nobody will care

about 5 months ago

4K Ultra HD Likely To Repeat the Failure of 3D Television

MpVpRb Big difference (559 comments)

So called "3D" (actually stereoscopic) sucks in most cases

The best it gets is in a carefully done CGI film where left and right eye views are separately rendered by someone who knows what they are doing

Unfortunately, a lot of "3D" is regular 2D films, cheaply post-processed to give a slight taste of stereoscopic-ness

A 4K monitor can use intelligent upscaling to make any existing program material look better

about 6 months ago



What are your experiences with AT&T U-verse

MpVpRb MpVpRb writes  |  more than 5 years ago

MpVpRb (1423381) writes "So...late last night, this very persistent young man came to my door. He was pitching AT&T U-verse. Evidently this is some kind of hybrid fiber/copper broadband that promises high speed internet, TV and phone. He talked and talked and refused to stop, even after I told him I was not interested several times. The fact that they have resorted to high pressure door-to-door sales makes me think that the service is in deep trouble.

Have any Slashdotters tried it? If so, what are your experiences?"


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