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Heathrow Plane In Near Miss With Drone

cerberusti Re:Cue Ayn Rand worshipping Libetarians... (325 comments)

Pretty much, now that the cost of a drone has gone sub $100, and can be flown with no real understanding of the forces involved in keeping it in the air... it is a very different risk.

Think child, or dude with a mcjob getting all drunk and deciding it would be great fun to park near an airport and fly with the real planes.

I actually mostly agree with the proposed FAA rules for the commercial variety as well: pilot license, stay low, stay away from airports, stay in visual contact. They can relax them as the technology improves.

about two weeks ago
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Heathrow Plane In Near Miss With Drone

cerberusti Re:Forget paranoia, more likely about the $$ it co (325 comments)

We could do that... except that it will lead to the requirement to carry insurance, as with other situations where you can cause more damage than you are likely to be able to pay for.

Your insurance company will in turn tell you to stay away from airports or the policy is not valid, meaning you are illegally flying. The end result would basically be a drone tax, and you would still not be allowed to fly near an airport.

It seems easier to just ban drone flight near airports, and cut out the middleman.

about two weeks ago
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Heathrow Plane In Near Miss With Drone

cerberusti Re:Forget paranoia, more likely about the $$ it co (325 comments)

There is a big difference between a bird, and a metal drone.

Bird strikes are a bad thing for aircraft, but mostly survivable. If you suck a bird into the engine it is going to cause a ton of damage come out as a fine mist.

Ponder for a moment the amount of energy it will take to render your drone into a fine mist. Now consider the energy content of battery or fuel. If the engine casing breaches the plane probably is coming down, or it will at least be a very bad day for all involved.

Still think it would be no big thing?

about two weeks ago
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Heathrow Plane In Near Miss With Drone

cerberusti Re:It won't be long (325 comments)

I cannot imagine any sort of reasonable risk analysis deciding it is ok to allow drone flight near an airport.

A commercial passenger jet at 700 feet is either taking off, landing, or crashing... so we can safely assume this was in controlled airspace near an airport.

about two weeks ago
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Man Caught Trying To Sell Plans For New Aircraft Carrier

cerberusti Re:Standard FBI followup (388 comments)

Disclaimer... I am hugely drunk to an unreasonable degree which nobody my age should be.

I am all about personal liberties, and feel that our government has no business at all looking into the life of any citizen without great reason to do so. I do see a very large difference between inciting crime in a normal citizen and inciting someone with a security clearance.

Pushing a citizen into selling or manufacturing narcotics for instance is hugely different from getting someone to publish engineering details which are classified. I stand by my assessment that inciting this kind of thing in someone with a clearance is prudent and reasonable.

Knowing people who do this kind of thing for a living, they pay enough that financial troubles can be nothing other than greed or such horrifically bad life choices that it is ok to come down upon it.

about two weeks ago
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Man Caught Trying To Sell Plans For New Aircraft Carrier

cerberusti Re:Standard FBI followup (388 comments)

If you take a security clearance you give up many of the rights you would have as a normal citizen. I would consider this level of entrapment a prudent security measure, as when nine of of ten offers are traps, the resulting paranoia diminishes the risk of actual disclosure.

about two weeks ago
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Ubisoft Claims CPU Specs a Limiting Factor In Assassin's Creed Unity On Consoles

cerberusti Re:Cell (338 comments)

I am not so sure a game AI would be a good task for a highly parallel processor which mostly handles floating point numbers.

How would you even put an AI together without a ton of branching? It would seem to me that the entire problem is check this condition, do this if true, if not check this, etc.

about 2 months ago
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Object Oriented Linux Kernel With C++ Driver Support

cerberusti Re:Right buddy... (365 comments)

Hmm, I think it is fairly relevant.

It is more difficult to write a C++ compiler than C, it is also easier to be sure an optimization is safe with C code.

http://benchmarksgame.alioth.debian.org/u32/cpp.php shows C as faster and smaller than C++ in most of the benchmarks too, and that one is GCC on Linux.

In theory they should be the same, but the reality is that they are not (although it is very close.)

about 2 months ago
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Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

cerberusti Re:Scripting language du jour (547 comments)

Really? C is quite possibly the most portable language which currently exists if you care to write it that way.

I nearly always use C for programs which must be portable due to the ease with which it can be made to run on a variety of platforms. I have quite a few which run on more than a few entirely different platforms with a simple recompile.

You can write C code which is tied to a specific operating system of course, but for any task where you have language options other than C you can generally write a portable C program which does that. The tasks which absolutely cannot be portable also tend to be the type of program where you have little to no choice of language anyway.

I also tend to pair it with another language for the UI unless I need something specific (although that really has more to do with my desire to hand projects off to someone else for minor UI tweaks, color changes, etc.) If you want portable UI code there are C libraries which can do that, although you end up with the same problems other languages with a portable UI library have (mainly lack of consistency with the rest of the UI, as you are not using the native API.)

If the project is the kind of thing where a web based UI is desirable, you can even make the UI language HTML. It is easy to have a C program bind to port 80 and respond to HTTP requests, or use CGI and a web server.

about 2 months ago
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Object Oriented Linux Kernel With C++ Driver Support

cerberusti Re:Right buddy... (365 comments)

I have a program using MSVC which is about 10% faster when compiled as C (with a long enough run time that this is a several minute difference just by changing the compiler option for the language).

Maybe some features could be disabled to make it match, or maybe it is an optimization the compiler only feels comfortable using if the language is C. In any case it does seem like programs in pure C tend to be ever so slightly faster than C++. It is not really enough to matter in the vast majority of cases, other design decisions will usually matter much more.

I can see the point of wanting to keep the language as C for the Linux kernel. While they could probably define which subsets of C++ are allowed and where, it is generally a lot easier on everyone to say that the subset is C for the entire thing.

about 2 months ago
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Eye Problems From Space Affect At Least 21 NASA Astronauts

cerberusti Re:What can be done about this? (109 comments)

The phrase "close enough for government work" comes to mind.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do About Repeated Internet Overbilling?

cerberusti Re:AT&T DSL/Uverse Data Limits (355 comments)

Lies, base64 encoding (as in e-mail) only bumps it up to 4/3. Even when you add TCP, ATM, and all the rest you are likely to run into, it will only be about 1.5x.

A worst case there and back is more like ever so slightly above 30 than 60. To get 60 on an e-mail you would need to bounce it between a totally stupid number of mail servers to get the mail headers to become 30MB.

about 4 months ago
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Air Force Requests Info For Replacement Atlas 5 Engine

cerberusti Re:Let's do what every other third world country d (108 comments)

TFA states that they are considering it.

It also states that we were supposed to set up our own production line quite some time ago, but never did so as it was cheaper to continue buying them directly.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

cerberusti Re:C++ is not the language you start with (548 comments)

I am not arguing the advantages of C for some tasks, it is my favorite to this day. I really only use other languages when I want to be able to hand maintenance off to someone else (if I think I will end up maintaining something anyway, I nearly always use C.)

While I have a fair amount of code running on Linux at work, none of my servers have the X window system installed. UI stuff is usually win32 or web based (if it can be.)

I still think the answer to the "I want to use C, but also want built in objects." problem is "Use C++."

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

cerberusti Re:Know where your programming language is headed! (548 comments)

They have no reason to do so, that project fails a risk / reward analysis hard.

Old does not mean bad, there are many more recent but much worse languages which have not stood the test of time. COBOL works well for what they do, the existing code is written in it, and it is well tested.

Designing a new language requires that you have staff who can design, implement, and test that compiler / interpreter. You then need to task that staff with doing so instead of something else which could make the company money, and retrain the programmers who would be using it.

If you try to pitch a project to an insurance or banking VP which involves a lot of risk, a lot of cost, and has no real benefit... you will at a minimum get a polite no as an answer.

C is pretty old as well (40 years compared to COBOLs 55), but most really important modern code is still written in it. I would not be surprised if it was still a popular language at the century mark.

The syntax for general mathematics is about 400 years old, and still going strong.

about 4 months ago
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Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers

cerberusti Re:Must be an alternate earth. (441 comments)

We should just open immigration up again with some minor basic criteria (learn english, no communicable diseases, job offer or enough cash to live for a year, etc.)

I have no problem with someone who comes here to make a new life. I do have a problem with the way we run the visa program right now.

about 4 months ago
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Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers

cerberusti Re:That's why slashdot is against tech immigration (441 comments)

Down with all the barriers!

I should be able to choose which country I pay personal taxes in too, it is only fair that I also get to shop around for the best rates available. The US wants an over 65% effective tax when all is said and done? Screw that, Bahrain says I owe nothing.

The local pharmacy wants big money for a prescription? Some importing can fix that problem.

Cigarette prices in NYC getting you down? Time for some arbitrage.

Problem with my order of a 5 megawatt magnetron and 50,000 smoke detectors? A vacation to central Africa sounds about right, I doubt they have a problem with it.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

cerberusti Re:Know where your programming language is headed! (548 comments)

COBOL also happens to be very good at what it is mostly used for (insurance / banking.)

There are very few languages with fixed point and binary coded decimal support. You want this for financial applications.

Most other languages are C derived, and do not support these. The C solution is usually to use a scaled int, or two ints. This works, but is not obvious to a new programmer. New programmers tend to use floating point numbers, which is slightly wrong... banks hate being wrong, and hate having to staff a ton of very expensive programmers in order to get what should be simple tasks right.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

cerberusti Re:Know where your programming language is headed! (548 comments)

There is always C, if you can hack it.

It has a near monopoly in systems programming, is common in serious applications across a large range of industries, and the standard sees minor changes every decade or so. The combined usage is enough to make it the single most popular language, and it has been for a very long time.

Most operating systems, compilers, virtual machines, and scripting interpreters are also written in C, which makes it easy to learn these when you have a reason to do so.

It is not for everyone though, and the learning curve to become competent is longer than most languages.

about 4 months ago

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