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Ask Steve Wozniak Anything

acomj they have a site: askafreemason.org/ (612 comments)

I'm not kidding. They advertise for membership up here in boston..

askafreemason.org/

ask Woz about masonry is much funnier. I bet you get an answer.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Finding an IT Job Without a Computer-Oriented Undergraduate Degree?

acomj Yes, I know 3 who have done this. (504 comments)

2 history majors and a psychology major. 1 just got into the internet thing when it started (2000 ish). 2 went and got "graduate certificates" at a college, then got hired.
I was a civil engineer who got into computers,
so I went the "graduate certificate" route, used college to get an internship at IBM, decided I really liked it and got a Masters. It can be done. I did learn a lot of techniques in school that I probably wouldn't have picked up just hacking away, but some are better at learning just by doing.

   

more than 2 years ago
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Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance, GM Suspends Sales

acomj Prius Looks Green (599 comments)

There are a lot of hybrids that look like normal cars (toyota camray, ford escape....).

I like hatchbacks, but the prius shape now screams I like the environment. It makes a statement which probably shouldn't be discounted as a reason people buy them.

  Plus that shape is areodynamic, thus the honda insight looking almost the same

more than 2 years ago
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How To Get Developers To Document Code

acomj I disagree (545 comments)

As someone who's started a new position and using classes with No comments, I can say I've wasted a good deal of time trying to figure out what certain public methods and certain classes do. They've used good naming conventions, but even so there is some subtly about what is done that could have used some explaining, plus looking through 1000s of lines of code before using a method isn't time effective. Its would be far easier for me to read through method header with inputs/outputs than to slog through code trying to figure out if this is the method I want. I don't want every line commented (I've seen that some placws), just the jist .

I came from an internal api writing group, and those using our code would just ask us questions if they couldn't figure stuff out, and we rsther they didn't so we documented ..

Examples or some test code I agree are super useful.

more than 2 years ago
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Jobs Wanted To Destroy Android

acomj Duh - Slab based multi touch phone (988 comments)

There were so many slab based finger gestured multi-touch phones with almost no buttons before the iphone. Really?

The ability to install applications without going through the carrier buy in was pretty novel too.

    And Eric Schmidt was on the apple board, and at the iphone intro so google knew were this was going. If you look at andriod prototypes before the iphone, they are basically blackberrys.

One expects the ideas to be copied eventually, but not verbatim. I think Jobs was in the right to be pissed. They worked on this thing for years. Even microsoft came up with a different UI, which I think is better for everyone than to have companies just cloning.

more than 3 years ago
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Scientists Build Wireless Bicycle Brakes

acomj LED bike lights = tons of interference (213 comments)

I know someone who bikes a lot (From california to Massachusetts this year.) He has a wireless bike computer, which basically measuses each time your wheel goes around, and sends it wirelessly up to a little display on the handlebars. This worked great till he turned on his LED light, then the link was severed. By repositioning the light he could get the computer to work mostly. But computer isn't a key to functionality as brakes.

  I think as a proof of concept this is fun, I would caution against testing at night.............

Bikes are a interesting engineering compromise between "make it state of the art" and "keep it simple/exposed/fixable" engineering. We'll see if hub brakes/ belt chains and other "advances" make a mark..

more than 3 years ago
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Steve Jobs Dead At 56

acomj Keeping MS honest, mainstreaming UNIX (1613 comments)

Apple is the only company that survived the MS pc consolidation years. They lost the PC battle, but they were the only ones to really survive. CPM, TI, Atari, Commodore all failed.

With OSX apple took UNIX and made it a mainstream OS. Showed how to make it easier for consumers which is finally happening to linux. Even MS started to invest in there OS too. Competition helps us consumers.

I started with the Mac Clones, which Steve killed. I got a form letter from apple, I was mad, but got over it.

I have to admit really like the Apple Products. The less is more and focus on user experience really appeals to me.

more than 3 years ago
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Making Sense of the NoSQL Standouts

acomj Don't forget lotus notes (152 comments)

I was a notes programmer a decade ago... (wow...) I went to a talk on CouchDB and It all seemed strangely familiar.

Basically lotus Notes is a NoSQL database with an email and calendar program attached. Of course anything was better than "lotus script" but I can see why this stuff is very appealing. I think some of the couchDB developers are former notes developers are involved in the NoSQL movement.

more than 3 years ago
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Why Doesn't 'Google Kids' Exist?

acomj Re:The World is not for children..... (561 comments)

My point is by connecting to the internet you are basically connecting the entire outside world into your home and that has lots of not appropriate materials for kids (as the real world does, particularly cities which are a good representative slice of people, and the majority now live). Its up to parents to supervise this matterial. Google already has filter ("safe search"), they work with mixed results.

Much the same way responsible parents don't let kids play with knives, explosives and poison, but will still let them go out and play, even bike around town (depending on age).

There is children's software that doesn't require the use of the internet, although its not as common as it once was.

A internet sandbox might work well for young children, but by middle school they'll figure out how to go around it.

A whitelist is very expensive and technically quite difficult, as most pages load content from a large variety of hosts. Plus as has been pointed out there is a fuzzy line for some material (heck Harry Potter is out in some parents minds). Not to mention threats from hackers and trojan horses.

A tip that seems to work is to set up computers in family spaces (a corner of the living room) where all activity can be watched.

more than 3 years ago
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Why Doesn't 'Google Kids' Exist?

acomj The World is not for children..... (561 comments)

The World isn't for children and the internet is part of that world. This is a fundamental thing.

Just as you wouldn't let a child run around un-supervised in a city, you don't let them run around free on the internet. Suburbs were supposed to be a child safe environment, but ultimately they aren't either (I would argue they are about the same as cities, but thats getting off topic).

Some web sites are for kids, but to allow them on the internet they should be supervised.

The internet is not the same as TV where there is much greater control of what is coming in. The internet is all about interacting, while TV is about consuming.

There are services that promise to make the internet "safer" but I doubt they work well. I wouldn't trust them.

more than 3 years ago
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English Teenager Invents a Better Doorbell

acomj Mod up! (363 comments)

I've seen this system before too in a friends condo building. A code typed in the "buzzer" box call a phone number. If that number is a cell phone than that person can be anywhere. She lets in fed-ex and UPS while at work.

more than 3 years ago
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Major Release of Miro Aims to Compete With iTunes

acomj music on Amazon and Itunes has no DRM (201 comments)

As of now, music on amazon and itunes is DRM free.

It won't be too hard to top the itunes interface for syncing though..

more than 3 years ago
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How Mac OS X, 10 Today, Changed Apple's World

acomj Macos 7 - 9 were terrible (342 comments)

Nobody really knew what to expect. The transitions from version 7 to 8 to 9 where really minor so its not too surprising they were ignored. Apple was beleaguered.

Thank goodness for OSx. As someone with a power computing box and various mac os versions before X, they were ok but the lack of command line. OSX worked great for grad school. Unix on the desktop and it worked.

Plus they got rid of the "chooser" which couldn't make me happier.

more than 3 years ago
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Firefox 4, A Day Later

acomj awsome. (435 comments)

I love that page. I've been watching it for the past day. You can tell where daylight is by the download rates.

  Even Europe slows down at night, but those europians seem to be up at all hours....

I love it when a pacific island lights up.

more than 3 years ago
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Apple's App Store Accepts 'Gay Cure' App

acomj You can't... but they try (794 comments)

Being gay isn't anything that can be cured. Based on the gay people I know it seems to make life so much more significantly difficult (even in Massachusetts) that the fact that anyone would "choose" it seems patently absurd. You are what you are.

    I know of two cases where a guy who was married turned out to be gay (after having kids in one case) . Its pretty hard on everyone when that happens and comes out (no pun intended) due to an affair. In both cases there was a lot of religion involved which may or may not have played a role.

In the Bill Mahr movie "Religulous" which was ok, had an interesting scene where he visits someone who runs one of these "turn people straight" organizations, so there are people like that out there.

I think apple needs to rethink its app store model.

more than 3 years ago
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Airbus Faces Charges Over 2009 Rio-Paris Crash

acomj Companies are like people (187 comments)

At least in ths US companies are like people, they have rights, can make political donations. The main difference is that public companies have a legal obligation to make as much money as possible, people don't.
The same rules that give companies free speech let them be held liable for things.

more than 3 years ago
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No Contactless Payment System In Next iPhone

acomj Yes. Solution in search of a problem (239 comments)

The main reason is that this is a solution in search of a problem. swiping a card takes too long?

There are a few big problems with this.
1) People will have to stop texting/talking and wave their phone in front of something.
2) No batteries, no purchase..

more than 3 years ago
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When Should I Buy an Android Tablet?

acomj Oh, Eat up Martha (396 comments)

I mean...

Beat Up Martin.

Oblig Simpsons Reference.

more than 3 years ago
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Android Passes iPhone In US Market Share

acomj Andriod - restarting Asian Consumer Electronics (550 comments)

At the expense of the Canada/US/Europe (Blackberry/Apple/Nokia).

    Seriously all those companies (Samsung/LG/HTC.....) would never have agreed on a standard OS if it wasn't for being scared into it by Apple /Blackberry.
Google really saved there hides by coming up with a very competent mobile OS.

A free OS with expectation of pumping us full of ads.

Seriously competition is frustrating when Apple/ Google start copying the worst parts of the OS (Google got rid of the return policy/ Apple buys an ad company)...
Not to mention the new trend of providers "Capping" all you can use mobile bandwidth.

Competition is good for consumers but I see a disturbing trend.
Sigh..

Hopefully because there are more players in this market "the web" remains a viable platform so the device matters less.

I don't own a smartphone....

more than 3 years ago

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