Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!



Finland's Nuclear Plant Start Delayed Again

SimonInOz Re:But the good news is (130 comments)

I put a software system into a nuclear plant in, oh, 1978. It was a pair of PDP-11 machines, had graphic colour monitors, multiple terminals, and a host of monitoring software, mostly written in FORTRAN, if I remember correctly.
It went in more or less on time, and seemingly behaved well.
This was in Holland - and the plant was the cleanest place I have ever seen (a lot cleaner than the hot strip steel mill I worked in some years later).
The project lasted about 6 months.

Why are they taking so long? The reactors are pretty much the same, the software is much more sophisticated, and the people are just the same.

about two weeks ago

New Nail Polish Alerts Wearers To Date Rape Drugs

SimonInOz Re: The world we live in. (595 comments)

>> strait alcohol

Hmm. Is that alcohol served in a very narrow glass, perhaps?

about three weeks ago

South Carolina Student Arrested For "Killing Pet Dinosaur"

SimonInOz Re:Land of insanity (421 comments)

And in Australia ...
A while ago, my daughter, aged approx 14, wrote a rather scary essay all about grooming of girls for sex. It was a creepy story - about creepy people.
The school was shocked, called her in for counselling, and called me. After a while they settled down, came to the conclusion she was not writing about real life, and let the story stand.

No police, no arrests, sensible consultation. I think they did a much better job.

Scary essay though. Where did she get it all from?

about three weeks ago

Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

SimonInOz Re:Agile can fuck off. (239 comments)

Oh yeah. Agile is institutionalised micromanagement.
It's horrible. Nobody ever gets the opportunity to actually think, there is no global view, there are no innovations.
But big piles (I use the word advisedly) of code get written - and tested.

And "sprints" ... has any actual sprinter tried to keep doing "sprints"? Get a bit tired and inefficient, did they? Paint me surprised.

about three weeks ago

The Technologies Changing What It Means To Be a Programmer

SimonInOz Re:what a load of utter bullshit (294 comments)

I've been doing this full-time since 1977, and the most distressing part is how little real change there has been in all that time!

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: When Is It Better To Modify the ERP vs. Interfacing It?

SimonInOz Re:Major application vendor headaches... (209 comments)

True, they are in it for the money. It looks great to management - they think they can outsource risk! And so they can at first, but at considerable cost, especially later, and they end up with all the IP of their company known, and held, by external parties.

And they will be held to ransom.

And I have to say, I'd never put Oracle very high on my list of good value suppliers. Big, certainly, capable even, rapacious, sure, but good value, never. And their idea of integration is not mine. Not even close.

On the other hand, Oracle did sponsor - and win - the most impressive America's Cup series seen to date. That has to count for something, right? (Yup, Oracle's team of Aussies just managed to beat New Zealand's team of Aussies. Strange world we live in).

(Yes, I've been into into sailing and computing for forty years - and can be a bit boring on either).

about a month and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: When Is It Better To Modify the ERP vs. Interfacing It?

SimonInOz Re:No matter how common you think it is... (209 comments)

Mind you, slashdotters seem to get through a lot of hot air, so they obviously do know about HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning).

about a month and a half ago

Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

SimonInOz Later in life (550 comments)

Laser surgery gives, in general, very good fixed correction. It is excellent for people under 45 with vision that needs correction. There are occasional failures, yes, but they are quite rare.

But what about later in life (hello, 50) when your lens hardens and you can't focus it any more? Laser surgery will achieve nothing. You are still stuck with reading glasses.

Well, I had -7 vision and was mightily sick of being blind without glasses, found contacts a drag, and it's all damned expensive. My vision with my (very expensive) glasses was excellent, with contacts acceptable, but it was all annoying.

So I got lens replacement surgery. It's the same operation as for cataracts, but voluntary. And expensive (AUD 10,000). The replacement lenses are not focusable, so I got lenses with three focus points - close (reading), medium (screen, and distance. A Zeiss trifocal implantable lens.
The operation was quick, but unpleasant (you are almost, but not quite unconscious - not nice). Recovery involved many, many drops for a few weeks gradually diminishing to none.

Result - daytime vision is excellent, both near and far. I can read, compute, play sports.
Night-time vision is not so good, you get some haloing and other artefacts. I can drive ok, but stargazing is not so great.

These lenses will not harden further so my vision should stay the same for the rest of my life, which is nice.

On the whole I am pleased. It's certainly a joy to go swimming without concern, see in the rain, and even water ski. Amazing after a life of really, really poor vision.

I researched the surgeons, checked the research, and balanced the results against the side effects and risks. In fact, the risk of actual permanent damage - ie blindness - are very low indeed. After all, they do these operations by the thousand in Africa (look up Fred Hollows) in what must be poorer conditions.

Laser surgery was not for me - that would indeed have corrected my main vision problem, shortsightedness, but I would have been unable to read or compute without reading glasses - and where's the fun in that?

It's amazing to wake up in the morning ... and be able to see.

about 2 months ago

Study: Why the Moon's Far Side Looks So Different

SimonInOz Rotation (79 comments)

The moon became tidally locked within a few million years after its formation (around 4.5 billion years ago), so it's been tidally locked for over 4 billion years.

But really, did the earth stay hot enough for "a few million years" - hot enough to affect the locked side of the moon more than the other?

The moon would have cooled somewhat faster, being smaller, but this theory requires the earth to stay hot enough to affect the "earth side" of the for a very long time after the moon has cooled enough to solidify.

about 2 months ago

New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

SimonInOz Re:Now I'm confused ... (380 comments)

Two reasons:
* storage - ammonia is a liquid at fairly low pressure (150psi/1000kPa). [Unlike hydrogen, which requires very high pressure (10,000psi/70,000kPa), and generally cooling. And the damned stuff seeps though anything (dem H2 molecules are kinda small)]
* energy density - as a liquid, ammonia has about half the energy of petrol (gasoline). Not bad - certainly better than the average battery. Vastly better (7x) better than hydrogen

It's not delightful stuff to handle, but beats the heck out of a highly flammable liquid .. like petrol (gasoline)! It's not very flammable at all, actually, though you can burn it in combination with other things.

Also, if it escapes, it turns into gas - which is easier to get rid of than a liquid.

about 3 months ago

Privacy Worries For 'Smart' Smoke Alarms

SimonInOz Sensors - for quakes? (90 comments)

There are quite a lot of sensors, and processing power in a Nest gadget. It includes a motion sensor, and that data could be extracted to a database, giving us an absolute plethora of sensors spread across homes (ok, mainly rich homes, and certainly a lot in California).
Such a wealth of data would surely be brilliant for earthquake monitoring.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Where's the Most Unusual Place You've Written a Program From?

SimonInOz Re:Caravan (310 comments)

Pah. It was my boat all right, but it was relatively cheap - and I did get paid pretty well. Or at least it felt that way - no family, no mortgage ... those were the days.

The card readers were pretty expensive, and I did not think they'd survive the salt. I stored programs on little plug in memory modules which worked well. Great little gadget.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Where's the Most Unusual Place You've Written a Program From?

SimonInOz Re:Submarine (310 comments)

Hah. Nuclear sub. Nice and stable, well lit - easy.
And you even had power!
My little boat rocked about a lot, all power came from a small solar panel, it was rather damp.

Mind you, I didn't have to salute anyone or wear a uniform (or wear anything, come to that). And the view was pretty extensive.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Where's the Most Unusual Place You've Written a Program From?

SimonInOz Re:Caravan (310 comments)

Yup. It was separate. I didn't have one - too expensive.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Where's the Most Unusual Place You've Written a Program From?

SimonInOz Re:Caravan (310 comments)

The inside of a small yacht, crossing the Atlantic.
I was sailing (an Iroquois 30' cat, in case anyone's interested), and found sight reduction (yes, a sextant was involved) rather tedious. So I wrote a program for my HP calculator to do the calculations.

Those HP41C calculators were really neat.

about 3 months ago

Earthquake Warning Issued For Central Oklahoma

SimonInOz Re:Earthquakes competency (127 comments)

>> There have been more earthquakes in Oklahoma (per mile)
What the heck does that even mean? Do they mean per square mile? Cubic mile? (And OMG, when will USA finally give up on miles ... geez)

about 4 months ago

First Glow-In-the-Dark Road Debuts In Netherlands

SimonInOz eight hours isn't very long (187 comments)

I used to live in the Netherlands, and I can confirm winters are cold and dark. Days are not very bright either. So an eight hour life (yes, I RTFA) for these very cool glowing roads is not going to cut it - nights comprise 16 hours of darkness in midwinter.
It should work well in the summer, when days are brighter and nights shorter.

But I think a backup is required, destroying the whole point.

But it does look very cool, doesn't it?

about 5 months ago

How a 'Seismic Cloak' Could Slow Down an Earthquake

SimonInOz Re:Slashdot unusable at work (101 comments)

Yup, that works nicely, thanks.

But - more to the point - Slashdot should not be doing this in the first place!

Bring back CmdrTaco!

about 5 months ago

How a 'Seismic Cloak' Could Slow Down an Earthquake

SimonInOz Slashdot unusable at work (101 comments)

If you start putting stupid autoplay on stories, they cannot be read at work. And Slashdot will die.

What the heck is wrong with you guys?

about 5 months ago

Prototype Volvo Flywheel Tech Uses Car's Wasted Brake Energy

SimonInOz Re:energy from BRAKING - best for stop-and-go (262 comments)

I'm really worried about your breaks braking. Are you sure you didn't mean brakes breaking?

I guess that depends on your brakes, lucky or otherwise.

Gosh, such pun.

I'll be here all weak.

about 6 months ago


SimonInOz hasn't submitted any stories.


SimonInOz has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>