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Comments

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'Just Let Me Code!'

NormalVisual Re:Welcome to engineering (221 comments)

Your argument boils down to "Engineering is hard".

Not at all. The main point of my argument is that the idea that requirements are free to be changed, regardless of scope, is resulting in implementation being far more expensive than it needs to be, and IMO this isn't a good engineering practice. How many development shops take the customer aside after a project is finished, show him the dollar amounts for all the change orders, and point out that having had the requirements more in order beforehand might have ended up only costing him only half of what it actually did? "But you saw new stuff working every two weeks, even if it wasn't what you really needed!"

Requirements analysis is (or should be) just as much part of any engineering discipline as construction. Some degree of change is inevitable, but we shouldn't be in the situation where we build an airplane with four wings before determining two would have been sufficient.

4 hours ago
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'Just Let Me Code!'

NormalVisual Re:Analogies are poor... (221 comments)

Ah, okay - yes, you're absolutely right that the Windows environment itself doesn't come with what you need to be productive as a programmer, and you do have to know what you need beforehand.

5 hours ago
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'Just Let Me Code!'

NormalVisual Re:The price you pay (221 comments)

OK, maybe that last one''s a stretch. Nobody bothers to document "simple" programs, since we all know the code IS the documentation and any good programmer can work out what is going on (are they still teaching that garbage?)

Not just teaching it, *practicing* it. My boss is a hardcore Agile fan, and his official stance is "out of date documentation is worse than no documentation, so don't spend any time documenting anything, and if you can't figure out why this 12-year-old code is doing something, find someone in the group that does". Nice, except none of the guys that actually wrote that cruft are still there, and reading code doesn't necessarily provide any insights as to the higher-level theory of operation when multiple modules work together. Then on top of that, he says "I don't want to see any research tasks in this sprint". So what, I'm supposed to know how this works by osmosis?

5 hours ago
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'Just Let Me Code!'

NormalVisual Re:Documentation (221 comments)

For example, I am really excited about node.js, but on the page proper, their docs just dump some bits of info on standard functions. That ends up making learning something new, really fast, more difficult than it used to be because you have to go to 3rd party sources, they may be full of crap, way out of date or both.

It's especially discouraging if you've been around for a while and remember what documentation used to be like. I still have the 30 pounds or so of manuals that the old Borland C++ compiler came with. Microsoft's current electronic documentation is pretty good, but it can sometimes still be a bit tough to find exactly what you need.

5 hours ago
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'Just Let Me Code!'

NormalVisual Re:Thats why I stock MILLIONS of retro-components. (221 comments)

Everything is specialized and we literally have no jack-of-all-trades coders anymore, pity...that's what we need IMHO.

I would consider myself one of those. I don't pretend to be the ultimate expert in anything I work with, but I've had enough exposure to enough different environments and situations to at least be competent in just about any problem domain, or say, "y'know, over on this other system, this is how we often do this and it might be a more appropriate solution to the problem at hand". It cracks me up anytime Mr. "I'm the best thing since buttered bread" can't figure out why his VM isn't working because he's got a network submask set wrong or something similar, or is completely lost when presented with a Linux command line because all he's ever worked with is Windows and the filesystem organization is totally foreign to him.

However, my experience has been that coders that specialize in one particular thing but can't do anything outside that domain are far more marketable than those with a wide breadth of general knowledge and honest about not being the do-all and end-all of any one skill.

5 hours ago
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'Just Let Me Code!'

NormalVisual Re:Who is stopping him? (221 comments)

You are why spec and finished product do not match.

I think the main reason why spec and finished product don't match is because "spec" is a moving target that never solidifies. Agile processes just make it worse by not even attempting to nail down requirements beforehand - "it's more important to be able to show progress than actually know what we're supposed to end up with, and don't you dare document anything because it's going to change anyway" along with the idea that it's okay to spend thousands of dollars completely rewriting stuff as the requirements continue to change. It's impossible to properly engineer a product when you don't even know what the product is in advance.

6 hours ago
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Buying New Commercial IT Hardware Isn't Always Worthwhile (Video)

NormalVisual Re:My company... (92 comments)

My Sawtooth Mac had white LEDs back in 2000. :-D

yesterday
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Microsoft's Missed Opportunities: Memo From 1997

NormalVisual Re:Microsoft (161 comments)

I wasn't the one asking for a smart dryer. I was pointing out *why* someone might want a smart dryer, and I do in fact just run the dryer again a little longer if stuff gets wrinkled.

I'll bet your neurosurgeon friend can read and derive context, too.

about a week ago
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Microsoft's Missed Opportunities: Memo From 1997

NormalVisual Re:Microsoft (161 comments)

It's not about saving electricity so much as arriving to find that you've got a whole dryer full of now-wrinkled clothes, which either have to be ironed or run through the dryer again.

about a week ago
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Sony Forgets To Pay For Domain, Hilarity Ensues

NormalVisual Re:Special email addresses ... (276 comments)

You're suggesting a tactical solution to a process issue. Better to have the responsible group track and update necessary renewals on a regular basis, instead of depending on notifications from external parties being received.

I only hold a couple of dozen domains, but this is exactly what I do. I get notifications from the registrar directly to a specific e-mail address I've set up for that purpose, but I also automatically generate an email to my personal account on the first of each month reminding me to check with the registrar to see if anything needs attention anyway.

about a week ago
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Why the FCC Is Likely To Ignore Net Neutrality Comments and Listen To ISPs

NormalVisual Re:Of, For, and By the People (140 comments)

In January 2005, Texas revoked TA’s certificate of authority for failure to pay its annual franchise tax

Any state will do that - it's hardly an "execution". In my state it's a whopping $150 per year that goes to $400 if you fail to pay by the designated date. They don't do an administrative dissolution until much later.

about a week ago
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FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

NormalVisual Re:Only because they're stupid. (435 comments)

A protocol needs to be in place that allows the police to signal the vehicle to "pull over" and come to a stop.

Pulling in front of the car and slowing down, with another vehicle on the side if needed to prevent changing lanes, will do this quite effectively without the need for remote control. Since we're operating on the assumption that the car is inherently going to be obeying traffic laws to begin with, it's unlikely that any legitimate need to pull the car over would be something a single officer would be addressing anyway.

about a week ago
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Chinese Couple Sells Children To Support Online Game Addiction

NormalVisual Re:The good news? (131 comments)

You don't use kidneys for leveling - they're only useful for raid gear, duh.

about two weeks ago
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Nano-Pixels Hold Potential For Screens Far Denser Than Today's Best

NormalVisual Re:Oh good grief (129 comments)

From the *very next* sentence in TFA: "They then found that the "nano-pixels" could be switched on and off electronically, creating colored dots that could be used as the basis for an extremely high-resolution display."

about two weeks ago
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New Microsoft CEO Vows To Shake Up Corporate Culture

NormalVisual Re:Why highly paid CEOs underperform. (204 comments)

I suspect that by the time you get to the very top of a huge organisation, you run into a problem: the number of people on the surface of the planet who have the experience, skills and ability needed are so few and far between that you'll be lucky if there's half a dozen potential candidates in the whole country.

This may be true, but looking from the performance of who actually gets hired shows that often (not always, of course) they *don't* appear to have the experience, skills, and ability needed, or are overly self-confident to the point of dismissing data that clearly shows reality is different from their assumptions. A lot of times, a company's success is due to simple common sense and selling what people actually want to buy regardless of who's running the company.

about two weeks ago
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Hacking a Tesla Model S Could Net $10,000 Prize

NormalVisual Re:Void warranty (77 comments)

Where a Tesla has similar components and designs as other cars, the front suspension is going to be totally different than 90% of other sedans it's size.

Other than the lack of CV joints (I had thought the S was all-wheel drive, but you're correct on this point), what specifically is different regarding the front suspension? Does it not have upper/lower control arms and tie rod ends with joints that wear?

One could argue that sealed systems are less prone to wear because the dust and grit cannot get in and the grease cannot get out, but I'll skip making the obvious point.

You could argue it, but the worn (sealed) suspension parts in my '02 Sierra that I'm about to replace at 116K miles would tend to disagree with your statement (the joints in my '86 Silverado with twice the mileage are fine, but then they've been kept greased), as does the fact that almost everyone I've seen that did the replacement themselves replaces any sealed parts with greasable ones where they can. The Moog parts I'm replacing them with (which are far better than the factory parts) come with zerks - no drilling required. The worn ball joints and tie rod ends in my truck likely aren't dirty, but they *are* dry. Grease (even synthetic) doesn't last forever, and in a sealed system, once the grease wears out, the joint follows soon after and there's not anything you can do to prevent it. You're absolutely correct that most people with greasable parts don't follow the recommended maintenance schedule, and the sealed joints do last longer than an *unmaintained* part. They generally are also designed to be a royal PITA to replace (for ball joints, anyway), so most shops replace the entire control arm assembly at a much greater cost. They most definitely don't last longer than a properly maintained part with zerks though. Any decent 30-minute lube place should be taking care of anything with fittings anyway.

about two weeks ago
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Hacking a Tesla Model S Could Net $10,000 Prize

NormalVisual Re:Is that really worth it? (77 comments)

Not to mention the competition is in Bejing, so a lot of people would be spending several thousand dollars in travel expenses just to get the chance to win $10K, with most going home empty-handed. It's an interesting competition, but the prize money isn't enough to really encourage people IMO.

about two weeks ago
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Hacking a Tesla Model S Could Net $10,000 Prize

NormalVisual Re:Void warranty (77 comments)

Jiffy Lube for your Tesla? What are they going to do to a Tesla? Change the oil and filter?

I mentioned it in another thread, but the Tesla's front suspension really isn't any different than any other car, and needs grease like any other car. The components may be sealed - I don't know, but I would hope not. Sealed ball joints, tie rod ends, etc. tend to wear out faster than those with zerks that are properly maintained IME.

about two weeks ago
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Hacking a Tesla Model S Could Net $10,000 Prize

NormalVisual Re:Void warranty (77 comments)

They also have ball joints, CV joints, tie rod ends, etc. that need grease just like any other car.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Newegg Patent Case

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  about 6 months ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes ""It's a really tough time to be a patent owner", said Soverain Software, LLC president Katharine Wolanyk, after the Supreme Court refused to hear their appeal after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit invalidated three of Soverain's shopping cart patents. Soverain had sued Newegg for allegedly infringing the patents in question, and had won in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Newegg later had the decision overturned on appeal, with the court ruling that the patents in question were obvious, and thus invalid."
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Jack Daniels Shows How to Write a Cease and Desist Letter

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  about 2 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "When the Jack Daniels distillery recently became aware of a book whose cover they felt substantially infringed their trademark, they didn't go into instant "Terminator mode" — instead, they wrote a very thoughtful, civil letter to the infringing party, and even offered to help defray the costs of coming into compliance. I believe plenty of other companies (and many in the tech world) could use this as an example of how *not* to alienate people and come off looking like a bunch of greedy jerks."
Link to Original Source
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Whose Cameras Are Watching New York Roads?

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 2 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "License-plate reading cameras are popping up on utility poles all over St. Lawrence County in upstate New York, but no one is willing to say who they belong to . One camera was found by a utility crew, removed from the pole, and given to the local police. "Massena Police Chief Timmy Currier said he returned it to the owner, but wouldn’t say how he knew who the owner was, nor would he say who he gave it to....(Andrew) McMahon, the superintendent at Massena Electric Department, said one of his crews found a box on one of their poles and took it down because “it was in the electric space,” the top tier of wires on the pole above the telephone and cable TV wires, and whoever put it there had taken a chance with electrocution. He said they had never received a request or been informed about its placement.""
Link to Original Source
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Australian Restaurant To Use iPads As Menus

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 4 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "The Pearl restaurant in Melbourne will soon begin using Apple iPads running custom software to describe the available culinary options to its customers. Chris Lucas, the proprietor, has spent $40,000 in development costs on top of the costs of the devices themselves in order to research the food offerings in as much detail as they choose.

No word regarding the expected longevity of the iMenus, but it's doubtful they'll deal with spills and accidental drops nearly as well as paper menus."

Link to Original Source
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Sony Offices Raided In Copyright Dispute

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 4 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "A copyright dispute between Latin recording artist Alejandro Fernández and Sony Music has resulted in more than 6,000 CDs being seized from Sony's Mexico City office by the Mexican police, along with master tapes and cover art. Fernández's contract with Sony was for seven albums, and the label had compiled and was attempting to market and sell an eighth album, created from previously unreleased tracks. The seizure comes two weeks after Sony ignored a cease and desist letter from Fernández's attornies. Sony of course maintains it has done nothing wrong."
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Seagate 1TB Drives Failing at Alarming Rate

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 5 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "Owners of Seagate 1TB drives have been experiencing serious issues of late — many recent 7200.11 Barracuda SATA drives have a problem with the version SD15 firmware that often results in the drive failing on power-up after working perfectly fine for a time. While the data on the drive appears to be safe, the drive is completely bricked, resulting in the inability to flash it to any further firmware revisions without a bit of hardware hacking. The problem is making for an interesting discussion on Seagate's community forums, particularly since Seagate still refuses to acknowledge the issue and is tightly censoring the "official" discussion on the forums, so many 7200.11 owners are having to discuss the issue outside of Seagate's control. Tom's Hardware has also picked up the increasingly-vocal story. So, if you've got one of the big Barracudas, it's probably a good idea to to stay on top of those backups."
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"Cloverfield" Trailer Available on Apple.c

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 6 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "After much waiting and speculation, the hi-def trailer for J.J. Abrams' new monster movie "Cloverfield" has finally been made available on Apple's web site. Still no really clear shots of the monster(s), but we really didn't expect that, did we? Let the hours of vapid and pointless speculation begin!"
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MythTV Listings To Cost $15 for 3 Months

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 6 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "Schedules Direct, the folks that have been working towards providing listing data for MythTV users in the shadow of the impending shutdown of existing listing services by Zap2It, has finally announced pricing for their soon-to-be-available service. They will be initially charging $15 for a 3-month subscription, but anticipate substantial price decreases as they get more people on board. I for one am quite happy to hear this news."
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NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 7 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "The mailing lists were buzzing recently when Michael Buesch, one of the maintainers for the GPL'd bc43xx Broadcom wireless chip driver project, called the OpenBSD folks to task for apparently including code without permission from his project in the OpenBSD bcw project, which aims to provide functionality with Broadcom wireless chips under that OS. It seems that the problem has been resolved for now with the BSD driver author totally giving up on the project and Theo De Raadt taking the position that Buesch's posts on the subject were "inhuman"."
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NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 7 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "U.S. District Judge Deborah A. Batts ruled today that recording XM Satellite Radio broadcasts using the built-in recording functionality of some XM receivers is not equivalent to taping music off the radio with an analog cassette deck, as detailed in this article. The judge's reasoning was that the built-in recorders in XM units essentially make XM a broadcaster and distributor, whereas XM is only paying to be a broadcaster."
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NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 7 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "It appears that the unconstitutional and controversial warrantless surveillance program being conducted by the Bush Administration can continue until an appeals court can hear the case, according to this AP article. The 6th Circuit ruled that while the lower court had ruled the program was unconstitutional, they felt that the case's chances before the appeals court and the possible danger to national security warranted their decision to let it continue despite the likelihood that the appeal process will take months.

Good to know that the whole "separation of powers" thing works so well for keeping the government in check, eh?"

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