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Comments

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Man Walks Past Security Screening Staring At iPad, Causing Airport Evacuation

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Walked past Security Theatre (185 comments)

The article seems to suggest the guy wasn't arrested, so maybe "Only in Australia" is appropriate.

In the US, I have no doubt he would have been arrested and charged with causing mass panic (whatever the legal terminology might be). And his iPad, cellphone and any other electronics confiscated. Even if the charges were dropped, it would be after very intensive interrogation and at least several days in a very high security jail cell.

And, of course, being put on the no-fly list. (which I'm sure he is, anyway)

21 minutes ago
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Microsoft's Asimov System To Monitor Users' Machines In Real Time

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Start menu usage dropped in lieu of what? (204 comments)

At work, I am forced to use Windows 7. I keep my 5 "always open" applications pinned to the task bar and the 15 most used pinned to the top level of the start menu.

On my own PCs (laptop I carry and desktop at home), my XFCE desktop has a similar arrangement.

Anything else, I use the "instant search" feature like the parent post.

And like the GGP post, I also see 90% of my coworkers cover the desktop with launch icons.

about an hour ago
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Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Americans are smart. (422 comments)

What's s/he hiding behind that opaque white coat anyway?

In the case of one scientist, my girlfriend and I have seen. She (the scientist) was a guest of honor at a convention several years ago. My GF and I were at an adults-only party in the hotel's largest suite - which had a large hot tub. Around midnight, the scientist showed up. Trust us, she was very sexy. (More importantly, a damn good scientist in her field.)

yesterday
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EU Gives Google Privacy Policy Suggestions About Data Protection

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Last Straw (42 comments)

Of course! As an EU-citizen, you believe that the state should have unlimited ability to look into your private life, for your own good and the good of society

Interesting. The same people in the US who want to deregulate business want unlimited ability to regulate individuals' private lives. what do you label them?

yesterday
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Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Bullshit (422 comments)

What we need are more *spokespersons* for science. More Neil deGrasse Tysons. People who BOTH understand the science AND have the skill to teach it to laypeople.

If only it were that easy.

One of my daughter's (now former) science teachers (in a private school; previously in a public school) is such a person. But, she is very limited in what she's allowed to let the students do. Mostly she can only demonstrate. And even then she has to obtain approval for each demo (even repeats of past demos), then keep to the approved script.

Despite these restrictions, she manages to inspire her students. I thank her for her efforts. I just hope she won't be driven away from teaching.

yesterday
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Bash To Require Further Patching, As More Shellshock Holes Found

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Soon to be patched (319 comments)

A few things:

1. Linux can auto-update.

2. My employer's IT department does not blindly accept auto-updates. All PCs - both mswin and Linux - are configured to update from the company's servers, not any server outside the company. IT vets all updates before making them available on the company update servers.

3. The mswin experts (MS certified) in my employer's IT department have found and reported several "bone-headed obvious holes" in mswin.

4. Just because you are paying fees to receive commercial support does not mean you can setup-and-forget.

yesterday
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The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Completely converted house to LED, 3 have died. (591 comments)

Temperature. If the bulb is not well designed to get the heat out, the elevated temperature reduces the life of the device. Bulbs with the same wattage that feel hotter are actually dissipating the heat better and should last longer.

Total energy out == total energy in. The energy in is electricity. The energy out is a combination of light and heat. More heat implies less light.

Also, a bulb with more surface area for coupling heat to the air will feel less hot than an otherwise identical bulb with less surface area. The larger surface area has less heat per unit area. Also, the LEDs in the hotter bulb may be above their optimal temperature range, so operating less efficiently, so producing more heat per unit of input energy.

So, for otherwise identical LED bulbs, cooler is better. ("otherwise identical" being a big caveat)

Of course, there is another factor: Not all light is suitable for our use. Ideal would be all light produced be in the visible range with whatever color balance the individual user prefers (I prefer "daylight white"). It is possible for a bulb to produce less heat, but mostly unusable light while another produces more heat but mostly usable light. So, while the overall efficiency of the latter bulb is lower, its effective efficiency is higher.

As usual, YMMV.

4 days ago
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FBI Chief: Apple, Google Phone Encryption Perilous

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Beyond the law? (353 comments)

I will refer you to this paper which shows why applying the key-combination algorithm shouldn't apply to encrypted drives.

The hard drive/data storage device contains a lot more potential evidence than the safe (Except, of course, when the safe contains one or more hard drives / data storage devices). While court orders can limit the scope of evidence obtained thusly, such orders cannot limit what the analysts reviewing the unlocked data memorize.

Seems to me that the encrypted data storage device scenario requires more care than the combination lock scenario.

4 days ago
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Where Whistleblowers End Up Working

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Like always, snitches get stitches (224 comments)

We big-government socialists knew that, not sure why you libertarians didn't?

Which libertarians? The working class ones or the ones who get to tell other people what to do?

5 days ago
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Bioethicist At National Institutes of Health: "Why I Hope To Die At 75"

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Only 5 years of retirement (478 comments)

Enjoy your life, don't wait for your retirement. I don't see an especially good chance of ever being able to retire.

Fortunately, I've been enjoying life all along.

As for being able to retire, I'm not sure that we will have a choice to not "retire". We've been seeing more and more "old" people being forced to "retire" over the last few decades. As time goes on, a smaller and smaller percentage of these will be able to find alternative work, not even minimum wage work, no matter how few hours per week.

about a week ago
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Bioethicist At National Institutes of Health: "Why I Hope To Die At 75"

UnderCoverPenguin Re:The WHO (478 comments)

Based on current trends and short of a major breakthru there is no way someone born today will live to be 120-130 [...] but we've made little or no progress on actually extending life to any significant extent

It does seem most humans live 70 to 90 years. While the known record is 122, we don't really know what the maximum is. I recall reading numbers as low as 125 to over 300, so, by the end of this century, 110+ might be common and 120+ not so rare as now.

FWIW, I have a coworker whose girlfriend's great grand parents all lived past 105 and 3 of them past 110, all in good health and still productively contributing to the family business until their final few months.

about a week ago
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Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

UnderCoverPenguin Re:More importantly (393 comments)

I recently had to have the engine in my car replaced. Total was $3000. The best price I could find a similar used car was $8000. Given that the rest of the car was (and still is) in very good and fully operational condition, the $5000 savings made sense.

about two weeks ago
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An Open Source Pitfall? Mozilla Labs Closed, Quietly

UnderCoverPenguin Proprietary project die, too (112 comments)

In my professional career, several projects I have worked on have been canceled despite a good state - not behind schedule nor over budget, or even ahead of schedule and/or under budget. The reasons were usually variations from "marketing has decided to change direction" to "after management re-org, the new managers decided the risks were too high". The latter happened to one project despite us having 5 fully and correctly operating prototypes, and having invested 3 person-years of effort and over half a million US dollars in development tools and licensing of third party libraries. Another project was canceled because the primary stakeholder lost interest despite the first two phases being highly successful.

about two weeks ago
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Laid Off From Job, Man Builds Tweeting Toilet

UnderCoverPenguin Internet enabled hot tub (115 comments)

Back in the 90s, I went to convention in Detroit. I met a fellow who had sensors in his hot tub connected to a webserver so he (and anyone else) could monitor the status of the tub. He also had sensors in a minifridge connected to his server. His website went offline several years ago.

about three weeks ago
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Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Probably not. (546 comments)

Question should be rephrased: Does learning to code outweigh learning to code _better_?
It also ignores the other things you learn while getting your degree, and learning to cope with pressure which isn't present when you're learning to code whenever you feel like it.

I agree. Except for the first 2 classes (which I bypassed), the CS classes offered at the university I attended (and graduated from) simply expected that we could code. The graders barely looked at our code. If they could compile and run it, then if the results were correct, our programs were correct. There was no feedback, let alone instruction, on readability or maintainability. And the closest we got to software planning was that our term project design documents were 30% of our midterm grades (along with 30% from homework and 40% from test scores).

So yes, universities should add classes on software planning and improve classes on coding practices (while I did bypass the 2 "coding" classes, I did see other students' assignments and code, so I could see that the classes were more about applying coding to problems than coding practices).

about a month ago
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Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

UnderCoverPenguin Re:It's all bunk. (546 comments)

Employers and HR departments are rarely focused on actual performance, except in the very smallest of companies. Most use a combination of bean-counting, related age-discrimination, and the supposedly valuable rubber stamp of a degree to winnow out programming job applicants.

Yeah. This, along with "buzz word compliance". This strongly rewards those who are good sales people over actually technical ability. software people seem to especially vulnerable to this. Some times this can be worked around by knowing who's getting ready to post positions so those managers can tailor the requirements to fit. However, more and more HR departments are moving to standardized requirements. Although technical managers actually realize this is happening, the message that gets to the executive suite is "we can't find qualified candidates".

they don't like your failure to integrate into "youth culture" as in no particular fascination with social media... or even your preference for a shirt and tie

Interesting. My company's execs complain that too many employees are fascinated with social media. And no, the execs are not senior citizens. Also, the older members of the engineering staff are the ones most likely to not wear a tie.

about a month ago
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CPU's Heat Output to Amplify DNA Could Make Drastically Cheaper Tests

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Actual Link And Better Details (27 comments)

The takeaway is that PCR equipment sounds far more expensive than it needs to be.

A lot of equipment is more expensive than it could be. Doing more than a cosmetic redesign opens up a vendor to liability issues. Until either the lawyers are comfortable that the cost savings of a new design sufficiently outweigh the potential cost of law suits or they see competitor stealing too much of their business, they won't be willing to take the risk. Right now, these third world countries don't look like good enough markets to bother with.

about a month ago
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CPU's Heat Output to Amplify DNA Could Make Drastically Cheaper Tests

UnderCoverPenguin Reminds me of (27 comments)

This reminds me of a CPU fan that is powered by the heat using a tiny Sterling Engine. Maybe not the kind of "practical use" of the waste heat the editor had in mind, but still an interesting idea.

about a month ago
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Can ISO 29119 Software Testing "Standard" Really Be a Standard?

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Automated test in is a minimum (152 comments)

I'll just hire a QA guy to unit test all my code...

Actually, that's how the testing should be done. Give the requirements to both teams - testers and developers. Developers design/write the product code. Testers design/write the tests. Then let the testing begin. Problems entered into issue tracking. Both teams fix their respective problems. Retest. Repeat as needed.

Unfortunately, many companies fail to adequately fund testing so devs end up writing tests, which, in turn, catch fewer problems

about a month ago
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Can ISO 29119 Software Testing "Standard" Really Be a Standard?

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Standards (152 comments)

At least where I work, most likely is that it will be more paper work to get done - never mind that we already have too much paper work to do. Like us in development, the testing people will make whatever they can conform to this new standard, then file waivers for the rest.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Citizen Science: Who makes the rules?

UnderCoverPenguin UnderCoverPenguin writes  |  about 9 months ago

UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) writes "At MakeZine, David Lang talks about the some of the legal issues around a planned, amature science "expedition", as well as some other amature science projects.

In the not too distant past, most science was amature. Over the past 20 or so years, society has been making it harder for amatures to do real science despite the technical costs falling. With the recent upswing of the "maker movement", amature science has seen an increase as well, but is running into an assortment of legal issues.(An exception is astronomy, where amatures continue to play important roles. Of course, astronomy doesn't involve chemicals or other (currently) "scary stuff".)

Can amature science make a come-back? Or are the legal obsicles too entrenched?"
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Review: Sintel

UnderCoverPenguin UnderCoverPenguin writes  |  more than 3 years ago

UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) writes "Last night, I watched Sintel (sintel.org). Technically, it was a beautiful showcase for Blender. The models and animations were very well done. The fight and chase scenes were excellent. I think the movie can stand on its own among professionally made short movies of similar style and genre. Story-wise, the plot was weak and predictable. Also, the end of the final fight was too bleak and disturbing for the likely audience. Spoiler: I think the ending would have been better if the woman had been killed by the dragon. Unfortunately, I don't have the skill needed to re-do the ending myself."
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Stage 1 works perfectly, Stage 2 fails to seperate

UnderCoverPenguin UnderCoverPenguin writes  |  more than 6 years ago

UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) writes "In the 3rd launch of Falcon 1 (http://spacex.com), the first stage, with the latest version of the Merlin engine, works perfectly. Unfortunately, the second stage failed to separate. (http://www.spacex.com/updates.php) Hopefully it was only a minor setback, despite the huge cost."

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