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The Most Expensive One-Byte Mistake

cecille Re:The Road Not Taken (594 comments)

Would anyone care you join me
in flicking a few pebbles in the direction
of teachers who are fond of asking the question:
"what is the poet trying to say?"

as if Thomas Hardy and Emily Dickinson
had struggled but ultimately failed in their efforts -
inarticulate wretches that they were,
biting their pens and staring out of the windows for a clue.

Yes, it seems that Whitman, Amy Lowell
and the rest could only try and fail,
but we in Mrs. Parker's third-period English class
here at Springfield High will succeed

with the help of these study questions
in saying what the poor poet could not,
and we will get all this done before
that orgy of egg salad and tuna fish known as lunch.

-- from Billy Collins "The Effort"

more than 3 years ago

Google+ Already At 10 Million Users

cecille Re:Sure, send me an invite! (1223 comments)

Late to the party here, but if anyone has a spare, I'd love an inv. cecille.freeman at gmail

more than 3 years ago

Women Remain the Ignored Audience In Gaming

cecille Re:sounds like their needs are addressed quite wel (432 comments)

I can't read past page 2 of the actual paper, and the article is a little bit vague, but are they saying that 50% of people who PLAY games are women, or that 50% of the time played is played by women? Because if it's the latter, then you're totally correct, if it's the former, then they may have a point about untapped markets.

For example - I'm a female, and I would say I am a gamer, although I play one game primarily - three guesses what that might be (not the sims) - and sometimes I play little puzzle/flash games, but it's rare that I would go out and pick up a new game 'cause I just don't care about most of them. I'm not opposed to the IDEA of buying games, so it's not a social barrier that needs to be overcome. If there is a signficant population like that then that might be considered as an untapped market.

more than 3 years ago

C++ the Clear Winner In Google's Language Performance Tests

cecille Re:You're misunderstanding the argument (670 comments)

It seems strange to assume that every person ("code monkey") who still writes code late into their career is doing so because he/she "simply never understood the practical or business side of things". There are plenty of developers who understand the business side of things, but just don't want to go into the business side of management. In our company, and I think probably in a lot of others as well, there are two different paths up the food chain. You can either code for a while and then try to get into management with the goal of being a project/product manager and up, dealing with issues like customers and business strategy, or you can work your way up the other side try to become an architect, where you're working on more technical issues. Either way, you end up basically managing people, but as an architect you're still writing code well into your career.

more than 3 years ago

ISP's War On BitTorrent Hits World of Warcraft

cecille Re:Reading the article..... (252 comments)

I'm with Rogers and I've seen this a lot. For me, it's not about high latency, it's an auto-disconnect. If a torrent download starts while the game is on, you get disconnected, full stop. Very annoying, especially since we've asked about it before and they basically said that we were idiots who didn't know how to set router priorities.

more than 3 years ago

Microsoft Admits OpenOffice.org Is a Contender

cecille Re:Old Success Stories (480 comments)

I'm not sure I agree. They are adding some significant new functionality, it's just not necessarily used by everyone, and it's not really that mature. But the new citation functionality, for example, is aiming much more towards an academic audience. Combine that with proper use of styles and referencing (also much improved as far as I can see), and you can see that they're now moving away from the fancy notepad model towards something that can be used more like Latex. You supply the content, mark up the heading, and it handles referencing, citation and style.

It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and you'd be hard pressed to get an old-school academic to switch from Latex, but the development in this area is certainly not stagnant.

more than 4 years ago

Harvard Ditching Final Exams?

cecille Re:one step closer to drive thru degrees (371 comments)

I'm currently at the University of Waterloo doing a PhD in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department. It's in Canada, so it's not a big 10 school, but it has a solid reputation as a pretty decent school, especially in engineering. For our program, it's expected that a grad student maintains at least a 78% average with 75% being a pass. This means that if you're running a grad course, and you think that a student should pass the course, you basically have to give them at least a 75%. The end result is that if you graduate from the program, you're almost guaranteed an A average.

The requirements are listed here: http://ece.uwaterloo.ca/Graduate/PhD/

more than 4 years ago

Bill Proposes Canadian Cellphone Unlocking Rights

cecille Re:Oh Canada (359 comments)

Waterloo in general is a good place to look for engineering jobs. There's RIM, but there's also a bunch of other tech companies around there. My old company was hiring when I left, and the company that backed my master's work was also looking for VLSI people.

more than 4 years ago

Computer Competency Test For Non-IT Hires?

cecille Re:Simpler solution... (369 comments)

If we were all paid just for time, then everybody would be in at 8:30 and out the door promptly at 5 with exactly 30 minutes for a lunch break and no more. Nobody would have a blackberry and they could lock down the internet to their heart's content And that's one way to do it. Of course, locking down the internet also means employees don't necessarily have access to nice things that make their job easier, like the ability to quickly look up commands etc., but since we're just paying for time, efficiency doesn't matter one way or the other.

On the other hand, it's also possible to create a workplace where it's OK to check slashdot if you're running tests or compiling code or something, and sending an email to a friend isn't a fireable offense. Those sort of workplaces also tend to be the types of workplaces where people don't mind staying a little late to get extra work done or help out a client. They're also the type of workplaces where people don't wake up every morning loathing their existance and hating their jobs. Call me crazy, but I think that counts for something too.

more than 4 years ago

Gaming in the 4th Dimension

cecille Re:So Many Questions (303 comments)

For rings, if you lifed one ring in the third dimension, and then moved it over then projected that back into only 2 dimensions, then they would appear linked. In the demo, they say they are shifting back into the 3rd dimension, which I'm interpreting as a projection, in which case, the links would seem linked in the third, but not necessarily in the fourth. On the other hand, what they show is more like a star-trek style phase shift. Not that I can blame them really - they're simulating a 4D world, drawn with 3D drawing techniques on a 2D screen. Can't be super easy to get absolutely right.

more than 4 years ago

Why Are Digital Hearing Aids So Expensive?

cecille Not a simple device (727 comments)

I've done a bit of work in hearing aid development (master's), and there are a few issues that make them so expensive. Most decent (digital) hearing aids are not just simple audio gain. Aside from possible loss from occlusion (which can be fixed surgically) hearing loss normally doesn't happen in all frequencies equally. Sometimes you can get away with a simple gain hearing aid, but it's not really matching what your loss is. As mentioned above, the gain has to be adjusted in bands, which requires a dsp capable of performing banding and gaining in real time so the lip sync doens't get off. Now, this doesn't seem like a hard task, but have you ever seen the size of the chips they use in hearing aids? Compare the size of a simple BTE aid and the space it has for the hardware. The newer ones are fully hidden, making them less than the size of a finger. If you're ever seen the chips, they're maybe the size of a few pin heads, if that. And, they have no fans to help heat dissipation and the power comes from an unbelivably small battery. It is NOTHING like a computer. If you can fit a computer chip and board in your ear, more power to you, but most people can't.

Not only that, but many digital aids also include noise reduction, because background noise is a big problem - it's amplified directly into your ear. Plus, there's feedback. A hearing aid can be designed to be open, so you need to repress the feedback, or closed, which has it's own problems - ie, it's forming basically an echo chamber in your ear. For example, stick your finger in your ear. Sound strange? Same thing with a closed aid, only now imagine your finger is talking. So there's that, and the sofware development costs that go along with it.

Not only that, but you have to pay a trained audiologist to fit the device physically, and do the appropriate band gain settings and whatever else the hearing aid needs.

Anyway, to sum up, they're expensive because:
- hardware costs - very small size, low power, low heat
- software costs - banding, noise reduction, feedback comp
- audiologist costs
- possible licencing costs (wasn't too involved in that end, so I'm not sure)

more than 4 years ago

Not Enough Women In Computing, Or Too Many Men?

cecille Re:Yeah right (686 comments)

It's the feminists who are making excuses

I'm not sure I agree with your whole post, but I have to give you props for this quote here. I'm a women in computer engineering and honestly, the place I feel the most uncomfortable is around so-called feminists. In university I avoided the women's center like the plague because every time I went in there with my eng books or wearing an engineering sweater or anything I always got the LOOK and a lecture about how I was just as bad as all the rest of those engineers and why are our songs so disgusting and blah blah blah.

There's sort of a delicious irony about someone claiming they are this huge feminist and then going into women's studies, the MOST un-evenly gender balanced and stereotypically female subject available and then having the gall to give me shit for singing stupid songs and drinking too much beer. You want to fix the gender balance in computer engineering? Well, the computer is right over there, stop doing stupid sociology studies and learn to code.

about 5 years ago

Zune HD Twitter App Censors Tweets For You!

cecille Re:Who cares? (155 comments)

Ditto. Not an HD, but one of the older ones. Totally decent MP3 player, doesn't even do a bad job on movies. Good in my books. I want for little.

about 5 years ago

New WoW Patch Brings Cross-Server Instances

cecille Re:Old (342 comments)

movies are actually 24.

about 5 years ago

Canada Supreme Court Broadens Internet "Luring" Offense

cecille Re:So... (596 comments)

Minor: what's goatse?
/.er : (posts link)

Bam - you're a criminal.

about 5 years ago

Offset Bad Code, With Bad Code Offsets

cecille Re:Deliberately bad? (279 comments)

Open Source projects are the kind that are meant to be used by other developers, so they generally focus on those good coding practices; comments, documenting, etc.

Wow, what open source projects have YOU been working on? They sound magical.

about 5 years ago

If the Comments Are Ugly, the Code Is Ugly

cecille Not always true (660 comments)

Yes, spelling and grammar in comments are important for understanding, and proper spelling in variable names in particular makes it easier for developers after you to follow and track through code. However, I disagree with the generalization that long comments always mean you don't know what you are doing. Most of my code comments are 1-liners, but I always leave long comments for function headers so everyone is clear on what the inputs are. I also leave larger comments for equations that aren't immediately obvious, ESPECIALLY if the equations are coming from spec documents. A spec number, section number and explanation help developers FIND these things later and actually understand them. Spec documents in particular can be thick and it's not always easy to see at a glance how things are supposed to work. Plus, if there IS a mistake (let's face it, no one is perfect), it's way easier to track where something went wrong if you know what the start point is.

more than 5 years ago

IT Snake Oil — Six Tech Cure-Alls That Went Bunk

cecille Re:In Defense of Artificial Intelligence (483 comments)

Maybe. But I think it's mostly just a disconnect between what the people who work in the field believe the term to mean and what the general public takes the term to mean. Some of that might just be naivete on the part of researchers. And maybe some bravado as well.

When I hear about intelligent anything to do with computers, I just think of a system that learns. That, to me, is the key differentiator. On the other hand, my mom's friend was telling me one night at dinner that her son was taking a class where they're "building machines like brains". Well, he was clearly learning about ANNs in some undergrad CI course, but man, it sure sounds better when you say you're building brains, eh? It sounds like self-aware systems are a semesters worth of work away. Maybe he was trying to make his work sound more impressive. Or maybe his mom just took the wrong thing away from the conversation. Either way, he's talking about building an XOR and she's thinking Commander Data.

To be honest, though, researchers aren't always clear on what the terms mean either. Don't get me wrong - you'd be hard pressed to find a researcher who genuinely believes they are going to build a self-aware system or anything of the sort, but I remember going to a conference with an hour and a half long panel discussion on whether or not the fields of AI and CI should be combined or separated in the conference, and what each encompassed. No one had a good answer.

more than 5 years ago

The Internet Turns 40, For a Second Time

cecille Re:Try 18 years. Re:40 years of 40th birthdays (152 comments)

I think the guy at the store tricked you...'round here 8 bits can count way past 18 - get up to 255 unsigned. Looks like you have about a 4 1/2 bit machine. I'd take it back, and never shop at best buy again.

more than 5 years ago



Sequoia to publish source code for voting machines

cecille cecille writes  |  more than 5 years ago

cecille (583022) writes "Voting machine maker Sequoia announced on Tuesday that they plan to release the source code for their new optical-scan voting machine. The source code will be released in November for public review. The company claims the announcement is unrelated to the recent release of the source code for a prototype voting machine by the Open Source Digital Voting Foundation (http://osdv.org). According to a VP quoted in the press release, "Security through obfuscation and secrecy is not security.""
Link to Original Source

E-voting paper trails questionable

cecille cecille writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cecille (583022) writes "A joint report from researchers at NYU and UC Berkeley looks at electronic voting machine paper trails. The report suggests states are fully equipped to find sophisticated and targeted software-based attacks, non-systemic programming errors and software bugs that could change the outcome of an election. The full report is also available (PDF)."

OLPC for porn

cecille cecille writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cecille (583022) writes "Reuters has a short story on the OLPC laptops, which are apparently being used by some students to browse adult websites. "Nigerian schoolchildren who received laptops from a U.S. aid organization have used them to explore pornographic sites on the Internet, the official News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported Thursday.""


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