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Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs

chriswaco Break them into two (237 comments)

One spin-off can handle A-M searches and the other can handle N-Z.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Books for a Comp Sci Graduate Student?

chriswaco Classics (247 comments)

K & R
Effective C++
Object-Oriented Software Construction by Bertrand Meyer
The PostgreSQL manual

about 8 months ago

Vintage 1960s Era Film Shows IRS Defending Its Use of Computers

chriswaco "Feel Like a Number" (146 comments)

People were afraid of being treated like numbers rather than human beings. It was a very different era.

about 8 months ago

Study: People Are Biased Against Creative Thinking

chriswaco Kettering knew (377 comments)

"People are very open-minded about new things - as long as they're exactly like the old ones." - Charles Kettering

1 year,16 days

Future Fighters Won't Need Ejection Seats

chriswaco Signal jamming, friend or foe (622 comments)

Drones can be hacked. Their signals jammed or spoofed. Their satellites destroyed. Their home bases attacked or infiltrated. They work very well against low tech enemies like Iraq and Afghanistan. Against the Russians or Chinese it would be a different matter, especially when the chips in a drone originate in China. War is an ever-changing game where every move has a countermove. The nice thing about human pilots is that they understand their orders and the underlying reasons for those orders. They can change their minds quickly and use situational information that drones would lack.

I'm not sure that g-force matters all that much in an era of smarter, faster missiles. When was the last real movie-style dogfight?

On the other hand, there is no question that drones are useful and will continue to improve at a rapid pace. Eventually they will replace most of our planes. With longer flight times we might be able to replace half of our aircraft carriers with land-based drones, but the inevitable cost overruns won't magically disappear.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Convince a Team To Write Good Code?

chriswaco Kill the "product guys" (366 comments)

Date-driven development is almost always a disaster. The only way it works is to completely finish a reduced feature version of the application, add and test one feature at a time to it, and ship what you have when the date is hit.

about 2 years ago

It's Hard For Techies Over 40 To Stay Relevant, Says SAP Lab Director

chriswaco Value (441 comments)

He is probably confusing lines of code with value.

more than 2 years ago

OS X Mountain Lion Out Tomorrow

chriswaco Re:ML drops support for my perfectly capable Mac P (230 comments)

I couldn't agree more about Apple abandoning perfectly fine, expensive hardware. My 8-core, 3GHz MacPro2,1 can still run circles around most of Apple's current lineup and yet it won't run Mountain Lion. I specifically waited for "64-bit" hardware so it would last longer. If new MacPros weren't so damn expensive or offered something more than compatibility in return it wouldn't be quite as annoying.

more than 2 years ago

Chuck Schumer Tells Apple and Google To "Curb Your Spy Planes"

chriswaco We will if you will (302 comments)

Google and Apple should respond with "We will if you will."

more than 2 years ago

SPDY Not As Speedy As Hyped?

chriswaco Too many connections (135 comments)

SPDY solves *a* problem, but not *the* problem. The root of the problem today is that loading a simple web page requires 20 or more separate connections: images, ad networks, tracking systems, social network links, 3rd party comment systems, javascript libraries, css, etc. Somehow all of that content needs to be coalesced into fewer connections.

more than 2 years ago

Soda Ban May Hit the Big Apple

chriswaco Re:It's a setup for a kickback (1141 comments)

In general that is how it works, but Bloomberg is more of a nanny billionaire.

more than 2 years ago

Server Names For a New Generation

chriswaco The future (429 comments)

As an old guy, I am not looking forward to a future with servers named after Harry Potter characters. If Trek was good enough for us, it's good enough for our kids!

more than 2 years ago

Making a Privacy Monitor From an Old LCD

chriswaco Contact lenses (185 comments)

Now all we need is polarized contact lenses so you don't look silly.

about 3 years ago

Unified NoSQL Query Language Launched

chriswaco Re:Can somebody explain NoSQLers to me? (194 comments)

Have you ever used a relational database?

Yes, I've cursed them for more than 25 years because trying to fit desktop application storage into relational models nearly always creates more work than necessary.

Key-value storage is merely a two-column table, for instance.

Except that the column types are fixed. What happens if keys point to different types of data (images, text, movies, urls, other tables)? Do you create one column for every type of data that may be used into the future? One table per data type? Do you misuse blob columns? One of the nice things about sqlite is that it doesn't force developers into such a restricted world view.

Just because you can haul anything in a semi truck doesn't mean that a semi truck is the optimal vehicle for hauling everything. Sometimes it's better to use 5 minivans. Do you seriously think that Google Maps are implemented in BigTable because the folks at Google were too stupid to use a relational database?

The OOP to Relational mismatch is described at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Object-relational_impedance_mismatch

more than 3 years ago

Unified NoSQL Query Language Launched

chriswaco Re:Can somebody explain NoSQLers to me? (194 comments)

Relational databases work well for certain types of data but to assume that tables of rows and columns work for every need is silly.

Relational databases are inherently hard to scale because they mix data together that doesn't necessarily need to be together. If there's no reason why Bob and Alice's records should be in the same table or on the same machine then they shouldn't be. You can avoid all contention by distributing each individual's records on unique or underutilized machines.

Relational databases do not work well for storing hierarchical data like a file system or an object-oriented data store. They do not work well for large blobs like movie files or for unstructured documents like medical records. Because of their rigid structure, they do not version well because copying records to older versions of the schema loses data - if the column doesn't exist there's no place to put the data (imagine if application versions 1 and 2 have to read and write to the same database).

Relational databases have their place and I completely agree that transactions are vital to data integrity, but the fixed column data model is way too limited to store all of the kinds of data used in the real world.

more than 3 years ago

Square Enix Attempting Final Fantasy XIV Damage Control

chriswaco Charles Kettering quote (215 comments)

"The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of meeting a deadline is forgotten." -Charles Kettering

more than 4 years ago

Best Way To Publish an "Indie" Research Paper?

chriswaco Just put in on your blog (279 comments)

Don't post it to IEEE. That will guarantee that 90% of people interested in your paper won't ever be able to read it. Just put in on your blog with a note here in SlashDot.

Are you trying to monetize it? If so, you need to file for a patent instead. Naturally everyone here would prefer you publish it for free on the internet instead.

more than 4 years ago



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