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Researchers Are Developing Ad Hoc Networks For Car-To-Car Data Exchange

StormyMonday Re:It is called DSRC and it is nothing new (126 comments)

Yup. I built and installed a working DSRC system in 2006. Supposedly, large-scale deployment was scheduled to start in 2008. Oops.
The major problem was that the chief sparkplug for the whole idea got sick and died. Without him pushing the project, it stagnated.

about a year and a half ago

China's Stealth Fighter Flight Test Successful

StormyMonday Wonderful! (161 comments)

Another industry we can outsource to China! Look at all the money we'll save!

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What Language Should a Former Coder Dig Into?

StormyMonday Wrong Question (530 comments)

Times have changed. Languages are essentially irrelevant; if you have a reasonable background, you can pick up whatever languages (note plural) you need.

The question a couple of years ago was "what libraries?" There's probably a library that does what you want; use whatever language it's written in. Yeah, I know, everything eventually reduces to C, but like most things, it ain't that simple.

The question now is "what frameworks?" Nowadays, you don't develop programs from scratch; you start with a framework and build on it. Using Ruby on Rails? Write in Ruby. Using Django? Write in Python. Node? Write in JavaScript. Hadoop? Write in Java.

That said, the only two languages that it's really necessary to be fluent in are C and JavaScript. C is, of course, the language that most of the rock-bottom stuff is written in. A lot of systems produce C as intermediate code, and, as a result, a lot of C-isms tend to sneak into places you wouldn't expect. Learn your pointers. JavaScript is the only language that will run inside a Web browser *; if your code touches a browser, it will use JavaScript.

* Yeah, I know; Java applets. I don't know which is more painful -- writing them or using them.

more than 2 years ago

Some USAF Pilots Refuse To Fly F-22 Raptor

StormyMonday Drones (569 comments)

IIRC, the last actual one-on-one dogfight an American fighter was involved in was in Vietnam. Everything since then has been long-range missiles and control from AWACS planes. And air-to-air missiles can be carried by drones as easily as air-to-ground.

In pure dogfighting capability, the latest from MiG and Sukhoi would eat the lunch of anything we have, or are likely to have in the near future. We could buy them from the Russians for a lot less than we could build our own.

Another issue is that the US doesn't build "fighters". The planes we call "fighters" are actually light attack bombers. Very fast and maneuverable attack bombers, true. But that dual role is one reason why they're so bloody expensive. The Russian planes are real "fighters" -- short range and no particular capability for lugging JDAMs around.

more than 2 years ago

DARPA Aims To Reuse Space Junk

StormyMonday Re:good idea (67 comments)

So let the ion engine guys have some fun designing a "space tug". Pick up junk and tow it to a nice stable orbit somewhere, probably just outside geostationary orbit. Later, when we need a counterweight for a space elevator, we have a nice big hunk of mass that's already just sitting there.

For smaller stuff (paint chips and so on) I like the idea of a big sponge (open-cell foam) in an eccentric orbit. It'd make a few dozen orbits, pick up junk on the way, and then re-enter naturally (big == air resistance in LEO). It'd probably be really pretty, too.

more than 2 years ago

DARPA Works On Virtual Reality Contact Lenses

StormyMonday Been Tried; Doesn't Work (129 comments)

In WWII, somebody had the bright idea of putting calibration marks on contact lenses for aircraft spotters. The markings might as well have not been there. Turns out, if something isn't moving relative to the retina, the brain tunes it out, and it disappears. (That's why your eyes are always making little jiggling motions -- keeps the image moving on the retina.)

Now, if they have something that will project an image directly onto the retina, *that* would be something ...

more than 2 years ago

Looking Back On a Year of LibreOffice

StormyMonday Re:Java? (242 comments)

As others have pointed out, the main Java GUI (SWING) is a real pig. This is a result of Java's "compile once, run anywhere" philosophy colliding with different OS GUIs.

The other problem is that Java's startup time is ridiculous. Load the VM, load the code, load the libraries (*lots* of libraries!), verify the libraries and the code, initialize the libraries (lots of .properties files!) and the code, and then run.

Once the startup hooplah is over, Java code is quite reasonably fast. Benchmarks either minimize the startup time by, say, running 10,000 iterations of a loop, or eliminating it entirely by using "flying start" techniques.

more than 3 years ago

Chinese Want To Capture an Asteroid

StormyMonday Re:China, don't get ahead of yourself. (481 comments)

Everyone know that if that war ever happened there would be a worldwide nuclear holocaust.

Nope. Worldwide economic collapse, yes. Nuclear war, no.

more than 3 years ago

Hurricane Irene Prompts Unprecedented Evacuation of NYC

StormyMonday Re:Mandatory? (395 comments)

Those who stay behind get automatic nominations for a Darwin Award.

more than 3 years ago

Amazon Launches 'AWS GovCloud'

StormyMonday And Then ... (26 comments)

... Outsource support and system management to Mumbai. What could possibly go wrong?

more than 3 years ago

8 Grams of Thorium Could Replace Gasoline In Cars

StormyMonday Anybody Got Any *Real* Info? (937 comments)

The first linked article above is gibberish. The second one is a minor rewrite of the first. The website of LaserPowerSystems (ahem!) does not inspire confidence.

Trying to squeeze some sense out of the article, I'd guess that they claim that, by using a laser to heat up a hunk of metallic thorium, they can get it dense enough to fission by itself. Perhaps the laser is related to a neutron generator? I'd also guess that "250MW" is a typo for "250KW".

Or maybe it's just a bunch of buzzwords strung together in hopes of attracting some scientifically illiterate venture capital.

more than 3 years ago

The Case For Surrealism In Games

StormyMonday Realism ... (186 comments)

How about a shooter where, when your character dies, it reformats your hard disk?

more than 3 years ago

The Most Expensive One-Byte Mistake

StormyMonday Not C's Fault (594 comments)

The problem is not with the C language. NULL terminated strings are just fine for printing status messages and suchlike, which is all they were intended for. The problem is using C to write text-bashing programs. In C, you have to spend a lot of time and effort checking string lengths, allocating and deallocating buffers, worrying about character sets and funny characters ("magic cookies", anyone?), dealing with byte order, and all sorts of other cruft that should be handled by the compiler.

IMHO, the first really useful language that was designed for text bashing was PERL, or perhaps Microsoft BASIC (I've used SED and AWK. Bleagh. I've not used SNOBOL so I can't say anything about it.)

more than 3 years ago

Could Wikipedia Become a Supercomputer?

StormyMonday I Ssw This A Couple of Days Ago (165 comments)

I hit some random website (I don't remember which one) and suddenly my CPU usage pegged and the Java console popped up. The output on the console implied that a Java applet was mining bitcoins. Of course, I killed the browser process immediately.

A few years ago, I designed a Java "CPU leech" applet that would do things like this. Wasn't particularly difficult. I never actually built it; somebody else obviously did.

I wonder how many of these things are out there that are smart enough to throttle their CPU usage.

more than 3 years ago

I would draw the line at cloning...

StormyMonday Re:Varley cloning... (471 comments)

John Varley clones must die!

more than 3 years ago

Cyberwarrior Shortage Threatens US Security

StormyMonday Re:H1b? (394 comments)

The Government has already outsourced its computer security to Microsoft.

more than 4 years ago

1/3 of People Can't Tell 48Kbps Audio From 160Kbps

StormyMonday Pop Music (567 comments)

Pop music is engineered to be played on cheap equipment. After all, that's what most people have. Practically nobody has ever heard Michael Jackson without a ton of electronics between them. You want a real comparison, use classical or jazz, where folks know what a *real* live performance sounds like.

It's also notable that the people who liked the lower bit rate recording said "more bass == better". "More bass" has been the "gold standard" in pop music for a good number of years -- the harder it punches you in the stomach, the "better" it is.

more than 5 years ago

Who Will Fix the Internet? No One, Apparently

StormyMonday Re:Hmm (370 comments)

And, most importantly

  • NAT prevents direct attacks on Internet- connected machines
  • NAT prevents snooping of internal network structures

more than 5 years ago

Obstacles Near Emergency Exits Speed Evacuation

StormyMonday It Makes Sense (199 comments)

Think of it as impedance matching.

more than 5 years ago

Arizona Judge Tells Sheriff "Reveal Password Or Face Contempt"

StormyMonday "The" Password? (624 comments)


How many passwords do you think a system like this has?

If it'd been me, I'd have given them the root password to the network admin box. Let them have fun getting into anything else ....

more than 5 years ago


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