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GIS Community Blocks Esri's Geospatial 'Open Standard' REST API

Stevecrox WFS/WMS (53 comments)

Why are they developing their own REST service? Several years ago I was messing around with the GML* specified Web Mapping Service/Web Feature Service's and they worked brilliantly. Our demonstration setup had NASA's World Wind Java querying the server directly and a wrapper's were written for TENET** and ESRI. The WMS & WFS server was an open source GEOServer***.

What does this give us that is new? WMS is great for tile retrieval and we were using WFS to supply all sorts of random mapping data. I would have thought those technologies would have matured quite nicely by now. I'm all for REST services but I can't really see the point.

*I'm away XML handling is slow, but converting the format into JSON wouldn't be hard work.
**Getting the WMS tiles to load quickly into TENET without locking the map UI was the hardest problem. ***May have gotten this name wrong.

about a year ago
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Yet Another European Government Drops ACTA

Stevecrox Re:A word of caution (117 comments)

It's the major flaw with democracy, most western societies have career politicians who have never done anything other than be a politician. As a result they have little experiences or knowledge outside of their bubble meaning they don't know when a lobbyist is lying or when they speak the truth.

To make matters worse modern media has descended in to sensationalism which only allows for sound bites, you have various papers like The Sun pushing for action when something outrageous happens. While this is important, an event may have occurred where no one was to blame or existing infrastructure is enough. But politicians have to be seen to do something or they are crucified often the measures they take only make things worse (see airport security).

It isn't just the tech world that has this problems, the recent Conservative parties big NHS reform has been placed on the scrap heap because they aimed far to much at ideology and didn't engage the people who would implement it. You can find similar bills in just about every sector of society.

I'd argue the only way to fix this problem is to ban politicians from standing for office for more than 2 terms and encouraging secondary houses like the house of lords. An unelected body made up of experts in their fields is what is needed to put the brakes on the more insane idea's that democracy produces.

Two elected bodies just makes the problem worse, sadly no politician is going to going to along those terms as they are part of the problem.

more than 2 years ago
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TomTom Satnavs To Set Insurance Prices

Stevecrox Re:I guess it's time to say "I told you so"? (605 comments)

No what is killing the Sat Nav market is the fact they are trying to stick with Sat Nav boxes.

Nokia Map's is as good as a Tom Tom or a Garmin and version 2 supported traffic routing for £1.50 a month fee (removed when the service went free in v3)..

I waited almost 2 years for one major Satnav manufacturer to release a SatNav application on Andriod, none have and none intend too. I would happily have bought one because Google Navigation is that painful*. I've finally given in and paid for Co-Pilot which is quite good. I've shown it to family who own TomToms and they are considering switching (one has).

The major players should have had applications on the store 4 years ago, they could have offered packages with a bluetooth GPS and all sorts but their actions are making them irrelevant (like MP3 players). Now I'm with co-pilot it gets me from A to B and they will get £10 a year from me for traffic, if they make me pay for map upgrades every few years I won't object.

* I use SatNav on a motorcycle, I get no display and just listen to directions. Google maps has a habbit of telling you to bear left/right when it means straight this is fine when there isn't a left or right but when there is you can go very wrong. It also comes out with things like "take the first exit left" at roundabouts when it means go straight on, which is fine when there isn't a reassessed petrol station on the roundabout that is on the left. Navigating Bristol was a nightmare, co-pilots directions are a big improvement.

more than 2 years ago
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Introversion and Solitude Increase Productivity

Stevecrox Re:Not sure about this one. (214 comments)

I can understand this, I've always worked in an open plan office. While open plan offices have advantages (greater sense of space, easy to talk to co-workers) the major disadvantage is noise. I have often been forced to put a set of headphones in so I can sit and think about what I'm doing. The worst is when project management decided they need to be inside the project (rather than in a seat on the outside of the group) as you end up with project management discussions happening right by you all day. It can be so noisy that I get headaches and that is obviously not good for productivity.

As for collaborative group processes, this is ok as long as your in the right environment. I've set around a table with some Software Engineers and thrown around design concepts. People will listen new ideas are created logical arguments are made and something great will come out the other end. Unfortunately most people in the industry seem to be Software Developers they argue for what they know don't really care about design or documentation and in those environments it's much better to have a dictator who listens to arguments and hands out dictates. Basically I think collaboration should be used when appropriate.

I'm a big fan of scrums they bring a team together help everyone understand what every else is doing. I just like quiet and being able to work for 2 - 3 hours without interruption.

more than 2 years ago
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2011's Fastest Growing Language: Objective-C

Stevecrox Re:Objective-C growth (356 comments)

They said anything faster than they have been able to code. I've met some pretty poor developers over the years who can't cope with C.

more than 2 years ago
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Code Cleanup Culls LibreOffice Cruft

Stevecrox Re:I'd bet there is. (317 comments)

The Eclipse Java Compiler can indicate a warning if a private function is never called, the Eclipse Code Compiler and Findbugs will both throw warnings if an area of code is unreachable. Findbugs is able to detect if a variable is declared but never used (dead store) and will throw a warning. Lastly CPD (a part of PMD) is able to look for identical code blocks allowing you merge duplicate functions.

Sure that doesn't cover public functions but I don't think there is harm in unused getters and setters and it's easy to find if a function is called through tools found in Eclipse. Just because Java developers don't use these tools doesn't mean they don't exist.

more than 2 years ago
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Running Great Britain? There's an App For That!

Stevecrox Re:Tory party is a collection of special interests (165 comments)

I thought more more Nordic people landed in England than Scotland. It's just Scottish people have held on to this celtic thing, while the rest of the UK moved on. If Scotland is Nordic then so is England, if you think that is silly then you see why calling Scotland Nordic and raising similarities is.

more than 2 years ago
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Running Great Britain? There's an App For That!

Stevecrox Re:Tory party is a collection of special interests (165 comments)

Westminster does have a English & Welsh bent to it and Scotland has be ignored (part of the reason for the Welsh and Scottish assemblies). I would suggest Scotland has caused this situation, there are often laws crafted which only cover England and Wales because Holyrod rejects them.

You forget if Scotland leaves the UK it will no longer have any agreements with the EU. While I'm sure trade agreements could be forged during the exit I strongly doubt the EU would let any country in to the EU at this time especially a brand new one that will be going through financial turmoil (setting up a health service, military, etc..).

Scotland is a country of 4 to 5 million people, it would be the smallest country in the EU and would most likely have the weakest voice. As part of the UK it is one of the strongest voices. MEP's equally cover Scotland, England and Wales and so independence wouldn't change the European Parliament representation.

Lastly when Ireland joined the Euro it went through some major problems (recession, etc..) because it's trade cycle matched the UK rather than mainland Europe. So exchange/interest rates were never set to what they needed to be for a healthy Irish economy. The leader of the SNP wants to join the Euro and I think such action would damage the Scotland economy.

I should point out I think the UK should join the Euro but I think we need to slowly match our trade cycle's first.

more than 2 years ago
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Running Great Britain? There's an App For That!

Stevecrox Re:Tory party is a collection of special interests (165 comments)

Here is how I see the situation panning out.

All MoD bases in Scotland will have to be closed down and moved, I'm sure there will be a transfer of Scottish solders but the knock on effect to the economy will be huge. I imagine most of the bases could be transferred to Wales. With purely Scottish regiments remaining.

Devonport Dockyard is the only commercially viable shipyard in the UK, Babcock Marine have been trying to damage that but the others only exist because of the work the MoD gives them. Ever since hearing the size of the defects list on the HMS Ocean (brand new from Scottish Dockyards) and knowing how long that ship had to be refitted to be functional I think very poorly of the Scottish ship yards. Currently the Scottish yards are constructing Type 45 and Astute Submarines. I doubt the Scottish government could afford projects of those size.

If Scotland left the United Kingdom it would lose it's EU status (initially causing exports to become vastly more expensive) while I'm sure an EU trading agreement could be established quite quickly (or during the exit). I don't believe the new independent Scotland would meet EU membership criteria, assuming that it did it would take 5 - 10 years. The UK does benefit with £4-5 billion of investment from the EU. Scotland would no longer get that investment.

You would also have problems with passports, losing it's EU status would mean more restricted movement. You could no longer be in the EU isle when going through customs in France, Germany, etc... Scotland would have to negotiate hundreds of agreements across the world (e.g. extradition and trade), establish Embassy's in its key export markets (more cost).

What about the oil reserves? Without a fleet Scotland (unlike regiments there are no Scottish ships after all) couldn't enforce it's right to territorial waters. So the collecting tax on oil would prove difficult, I wouldn't be surprised if Scotland did leave that the UK tried to maintain rights to those oil fields. you also have drug smuggling/ human trafficking. Without a fleet Scotland becomes a great way to illegally import, either England polices the waters for a cost or England would have to build a giant fence along the border.

I tend to buy Scottish lamb in part to support the UK. If Scotland left the UK I would either buy Irish/Welsh/English lamb or just go for the cheapest (if I'm sending money out of the country I might as well minimise it). How many others do similar things and what would be the affect on Scottish trade? While I am sure all of these problems could be overcome I strongly doubt the SNP are capable, watching Holyrod in session made me feel a lot better about the competency of Westminster (and I think poorly of Westminster). The SNP like to talk about independence like it will solve all ill's, but unless it occurs over decades I strongly believe it will put Scotland in to a serve recession for a decade. Yes Scotland does well with its budget but once you factor in additional costs (it's own embassy, military, etc..) and the fact it wouldn't have the same bargaining power (losing the NHS) I think things like free prescriptions (possibly even free health care) and free university will have to go and Scotland will be worse for it.

I support every countries right to independence I just can't help but think if Scotland become independent England will be leading the way with emergency relief 10 years after it happens.

more than 2 years ago
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Institutional Memory and Reverse Smuggling

Stevecrox Re:Company rules against removing documents (312 comments)

I think it can be an easy enough thing to do, for a while I was doing a far bit of travel for my place of employment. Considering some of the journeys took place on the weekends I had to take home some company gear. If you do that long enough the odd notebook can easily be left at home. I agree if you know you have something it's either better to give it back or to destroy it but can see how an employee would have this information.

I would suggest if you have continually worked for the company to simply come clean admit you have it, they can't really accuse you of using the information outside of work. Depending on the place it might either be seen a good or involve you getting a slap on the wrist, in any case disclosing how and why you took it home might help improve their document tracking and security procedures.

If you left the company I'd argue things become more complicated, personally I would still admit to possessing the documentation but I can see that things could go very badly and why you might not want to do that. Where I work they have an ethical helpline (anonymous) I'd call it and lay out the situation and do what they suggest.

Of course if you intentionally took the company gear home and kept it, you should really be asking yourself why you took it home and why you thought keeping it was ok. I'd argue you have much bigger problems.

more than 2 years ago
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Why Everyone Hates the IT Department

Stevecrox Re:I used to work in IT and.... (960 comments)

No in my experiences it is IT's insistence on security practices with zero thought on how this will impact the end user. A few examples:

I was looking after a Jenkins server for a project we were running, Jenkins was running on the latest version of Tomcat with a Java 6 runtime. However due to customer requirements there was also a Java 5 runtime which as being used to generate the build. IT felt the need to un-install the JDK 5 and upgrade the the machine's Java 6 (to the version with Oracle in its name). The removal didn't update the Java_Home directory causing Tomcat not to work. They decided to do this just as we were starting an Integration & Test phase for a major release. The Jenkins server was linked to me on their records but at no point did they think to mention it to me.

Same Jenkins server, this was running fine and suddenly the builds starting failing. 3 hours of investigation later I find out its because the Jenkins server password has been changed. Never mind the server username was the name of the project (e.g. projectXYZ). IT came up with a new policy which stated all server accounts needed to be > 48 characters and they had changed them all without notifying a single person on the project.

How about when IT decided that in a software house no one needed Admin access, which would be fine except they tried to forbid admin access on projects which were developing software which required Admin access (for a number of reasons). Those projects had to go up to the business director and have him shout at the IT head to fix it.

Or the fact they decided no one should have USB. A great idea except I was working on an embedded project (along with a dozen other projects) which required an unencrypted usb stick to load the software on to the test rig. Once they realised how many people had a problem they tried to limit it. But when your working on a 5 man team only allowing 1 person to transfer files causes you to loose a lot of man hours.

I can think of dozens of other examples, none of them were dictated by upper management. People hate IT because IT doesn't look at how to better help people work.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Inexpensive Anti-Theft Vehicle Tracking System?

Stevecrox Re:you could build something for $130 (296 comments)

I was considering power draw and size, if your dealing with an electric scooter an old android phone is going to have an affect on the battery life. A windows Mobile 5/6 phone might not be too bad...

Your right that something like google latitude/foursquare/facebook would be simpler (and you an get it on the N95, 5300, 5800, etc...) the problem is data plans. In the UK Pay as you Go offer either 500Mb free a month if you top up by at least £10 a month or £1 for 25Mb (valid for a day). I'd rather put £10 on a card and have the device start streaming its position once a minute when I ask it to.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Inexpensive Anti-Theft Vehicle Tracking System?

Stevecrox Re:you could build something for $130 (296 comments)

Wouldn't it be simpler to get an old Symbian phone and write an app?

A Nokia N95 has GPS and it very low power compared to modern phones (week between charges), you get a cigarette charger hooked up to the battery to keep it charged and then write an application that listens for text messages. Upon recent of the text message he phone would text/email it's number. Then all you would need is a water proof case and a pay as you go sim card.

A quick check on ebay shows them going for £40. I'm getting a Honda CBR 600 RR next week I might do this.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Good, Useful Free Software For Gifts?

Stevecrox Re:A "make your computer faster" kit (377 comments)

I'm buying my Mum a toaster this Christmas... as a bit of fun. Every time I visit my parents I almost set fire to the kitchen using the old one (timer doesn't work) and there is now a long running joke about it between my Mum and me. That won't be her actual present, just something silly under the tree

I agree this idea does sound like a terrible gift, there seems little thought about the intended person and putting software on it will involve opening the packaging which will make it seem like a used usb stick

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Good, Useful Free Software For Gifts?

Stevecrox Re:Not flash drives or free software (377 comments)

Mod this person up, ignoring everything else about Christmas I have always thought it as a time to show family and friends you care about them. Gifts should be thoughtful and hopefully meaningful I would argue that they can be utilitarian or something you would buy yourself.

Last year my parents bought me a Nokia bluetooth stereo headset, I would have bought them myself when my old set had died. They got them because over the year I owned the previous set I would mention about how they are better for online play, the gym, how I kept calling them on the old set and how gutted I was that my old set were dying. I never asked for them for Christmas and they meant a lot because it showed they do listen even when I go off on a technology rant.

I should point out that you shouldn't let money be a factor, one of my little sisters is trying to set a limit no Christmas spending. The rest of the family has been trying to explain that the amount you spend doesn't matter it's more important to get something meaningful. Heck last year I got my Dad a £5 survival kit and it has to be the most used and talked about present he got that year

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Good, Useful Free Software For Gifts?

Stevecrox Re:I gave gifts like this once. Everyone hated the (377 comments)

This is a good idea, I don't understand giving away a usb stick. They tend to be secondary things e.g. giving someone a digital photo frame with some family photo's on it.

The gift of a USB stick with OSS on it seems very generic and not really very thoughtful. I always thought the point of Christmas was to show you care about someone by taking the time to think up a gift/gifts tailored to them. For example one of my little sisters never used to read recreationally and I would tease her about it. This year she hasn't been able to put a book down and is also a huge fan of Harry Potter so I'm getting her the Harry Potter Special Edition book set.

I appreciate people have budgets, heck of all the things I gave my Dad last Christmas the £5 survival kit is one of the things he goes on about the most. It doesn't have to be expensive just bought with that person in mind.

more than 2 years ago
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Why Do So Many College Science Majors Drop Out?

Stevecrox Re:Because so many more enter college these days? (841 comments)

Your wrong, if you understand a subject it shouldn't matter how a lecturer teaches it. I don't understand differentiation and integration the way it is taught in UK schools. It took me a lot of effort to work out what things meant and why*, when I went to university the lecturer there did such things another way. I didn't claim it was unfair I wrote things down as he did went back to my notes and figured out what he was doing.

If in your first year you cover integration and differentiation is is unreasonable to expect your second year to reteach integration and differentiation before teaching something like laplace or furrier transforms.

If you don't have the knowledge for a class either you need to learn it in your own time (and possibly find someone who can help you) or you shouldn't be there. Your choosing to study that subject which means you must care about it, if you don't care about it why are you there?

*This is my biggest gripe about STEM teaching, it is only taught one way. A few years back my little sister was being predicted a D/C in her Maths GCSE. My mother called me home to try and help, I spent a single evening going through her Math curriculum book explaining how I understand the subject matter. He teacher remarked on a stunning improvement and she got an A*. I'm not a great teacher I just see and think about Maths in a very different way.

more than 2 years ago
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Why Do So Many College Science Majors Drop Out?

Stevecrox Re:Sometimes that's the plan (841 comments)

At my university (University of Plymouth) during the first year they would take on 70 people for electrical engineering related degrees and the facility expected more than half to drop out over Christmas. The second and third years would be limited to ~30 people.

The first term would cover all the preliminary knowledge required for the degree, I think the idea was to make sure everyone was at the same level but the pace of it meant it was more a refresher. It was designed to weed out people who wouldn't be able to complete the degree.

While it sounds harsh out of the dozen people I know who dropped out I think only one left because he couldn't keep up. Which was his own fault, myself and others had set up a study group and frequently invited him but he always said no. The others were international students who stopped coming to lectures after the first few weeks.Most of them seemed more interested in partying than learning.

more than 2 years ago
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What Google+ Games Needs To Beat Facebook

Stevecrox Re:What Google+ Needs To Beat Facebook is (75 comments)

No it needs to fix Picasa Web Albums. I tried to load my entire photo collection in to Picasa Web Albums and came across 2 problems. Firstly local tags don't aways get put online, when they don't appear online the application detags them locally. Secondly it creates duplicate people I have a person called bob, I upload 2 photo's of bob to web albums on my local machine that is one person but on Picasa Web Albums bob now has two person albums. This problem is compounded by the fact you can't merge or delete duplicate people albums. I have no photos in web albums at the moment but my account is stuck with over 400 empty people albums most of which are duplicates. Lastly just because I tag someone in Picasa Web Albums doesn't mean they are tagged in a Google + stream and tagging a person through the Google+ stream does not tag that person in Picasa Web Albums.

The people manager issue has been a known bug for more than a year and Google haven't even acknowledged it, for me the draw of Google+ was circles and Picasa Web Albums. If Picasa Web Albums is broken what is the point?

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Stevecrox Stevecrox writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Stevecrox (962208) writes "I'm in my final year of university and have a working knowledge of C/C++, Visual Basic, VHDL and a variety of Assembler languages, however chatting to a friend on his placement year I've been told that C# is what employers are really looking for. What book would Slashdot recommend to someone looking to learn C# with my expearence?"
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Stevecrox Stevecrox writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Stevecrox (962208) writes "With the recent scandals in america and the seeming rise in Bot nets I have to ask what anti virus software and firewall software do you use? I've tried a lot of the larger ones like kasperly, avast, norton, bullguard and stopped using them either they caused a huge drain on my system recources (like mcafee and avast) or they simplied lied. There have been times when I've been without the net for weeks and yet norton, kasperly and bullguard have imformed me that I was being attacked through the internet from IP adress 205/207.xxx.... when I had no network connection and my router was unplugged from the phone line(my home network is wired and all addresses are 192.xxx.) None of the AV software I've tried has ever shown my machine to have a virus and I'm using spybot but know I should be using alot more, where do I spend my money?"

Journals

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"Overrated"

Stevecrox Stevecrox writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Recently whenever I'm modded up (interesting, funny, insight) someone invariably mods me "overrated". I'm begining to think theres a perosn out with mod points continously out to get me. My last comment was designed to be informative and it was, the only slip up was in labelling the three stated logic as "tri state" but then several of my textbooks also call it tri state so I don't see the big deal. If my posts are flamebait etc.. I don't care if there modded down. Yet how is a post which answers a question and then goes on to explain the difference "overrated". I don't see how a person could disagree with the material in question.

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