China Worried About Terrorist Pigeons
I remember when the color-coded scare-o-meter played at the airports: "The current threat level is Orange". And every time I heard it I thought to myself, "... and it will never change". Turns out I was right.
New Research Casts Doubt On the "10,000 Hour Rule" of Expertise
I think it really requires all of the above (Passion, Education, Practice) to be a real expert. Those that really love a particular subject tend to do the other two automatically. Whether it's fixing cars, botany, math, or computer programming. I look for people with passion to work with. If they do what they do just because it's a job, I don't really want to work with drones.
Ask Slashdot: Swift Or Objective-C As New iOS Developer's 1st Language?
As of now, Swift *is* native tools. And it's a far more elegant language than Objective-C.
Scala Designer Martin Odersky On Next Steps
I really like Scala, but I only use a small subset of all the crazy (and what I consider a bunch of superfluous) language features. Simpler Java with Closures is what is should be. Granted I'm not a language expert/theorist, but most of us that code for a living aren't. Trying to read some of the more esoteric features of Scala leaves me with "I thought it was supposed to make my life easier". When I have to spend an hour looking up syntax to describe what the code is doing - well, that doesn't work for me.
Why Phone Stores Should Stockpile Replacements
It troubles me that you were without your phone for a few days. Really... well... NOT. What kind of tripe is this on Slashdot? This is perhaps one of the most whinging pathetic things I've heard in a while. It reminds me of a two-year-old crying over spilt milk.
If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?
Java as a language isn't fun - I haven't used it for many, many years now - but the advent of JVM-targeted languages makes the Java ecosystem fantastic.
Starting with the JVM - a very good machine that runs on pretty much anything, without having to re-compile your program. Perfect, no, but is anything? And the performance (given that it's a virtual machine) is top-notch.
Then there are the JVM-targeted languages: Scala, Groovy, JPython, BeanShell, etc, etc... Pick your poison.
Then there is a crap-ton of very useful libraries out there, and they can be used with any of the above targeted JVM-targeted languages.
So, we can whine about Java (the language) but really, I use it (the JVM, the other languages, and the libraries) to get stuff done. Cool, no. Productive, yes.
Professor Steve Ballmer Will Teach At Two Universities This Year
It's been said many times - Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach.
I know where that saying comes from as I have had numerous terrible teachers. However I have had many amazing teachers both in normal public schools and in the corporate world. These people could "do". I also used to teach a popular corporate class and my students always appreciated my insights into the product I taught because I actually worked with it in real life. I quit because of the travel and relatively low pay, but I can very much "do".
I suppose what I'm getting at is, I don't like that saying - it implies that teachers can't do what they teach. I think that's probably the bad apples that create that sentiment. Along the same lines as "99% of the lawyers give the rest a bad name." I'm sure there are a few more percent that are good.
Volkswagen Chairman: Cars Must Not Become 'Data Monsters'
After owning a Prius(*), I specifically went looking for an old vehicle and found an old, 1988 Jeep Wrangler that I'm in the process of fixing up. You see, you can't fix up or work on a Prius, or most cars these days and I very much missed doing that. The Jeep is carbureted with no computers whatsoever and I'm loving it because I have control over what I want to do with it. This summer, I'm going to make a project out of replacing the dash and user controls with Arduino and Beaglebone controllers and displays. It's going to be so much fun I can hardly stand it. I'll probably put an after-market throttle body fuel injector on at some point to help with the fuel delivery at least.
(*)Note that I didn't buy the Prius for the mileage - rather than I'm a computer geek and I thought it was cool. This Prius did not have the stuff they have now tracking your every move.
Should programming be a required curriculum in public schools?
It makes sense to have one required class that teaches the basics - logic, loops, and basic algorithms. It has to be basic enough that everyone should be able to follow along and accomplish something trivial, but meaningful. Once this course is complete, then the people that like it can move on to more advanced classes if they want them. The stuff I've seen online (I'm afraid I don't remember what it's called) that Bill Gates and Zuckerberg and those guys are doing is a good first step, but most normal people aren't going to go there on their own.
Judge Says You Can Warn Others About Speed Traps
I didn't read this specific article, but the Judge made the comment along the lines of: Flashing your lights is a genuine part of driving safely, therefore it shouldn't be restricted or ticketed. Otherwise people might be inclined to not flash their lights when they should.
This judge actually sounds intelligent.
You Might Rent Features & Options On Cars In the Future
The way cars are going these days, I'm only going to buy old cars from now on. In fact, I just bought a 1988 Jeep Wrangler and I love it. I searched for a long time to find something: A) Cheap, B) Not computerized, C) Easy to work on, D) Good condition for its age. Is it sexy? Nope. And I'm ok with that. I waited about 7 months to find it. It popped up on Craigslist one day and I bought it that same day.
I'll grant you that it's not very fuel efficient, but I don't drive that much anyway. And I feel good about being able to yank things apart and customize it where I see fit. Parts will be available for it for as long as I live. I even put a high-beam switch on the floor just because I can. I don't feel bad about scratching it or modifying it. Can you say the same for your current car?
I need to replace the dash. I'm going to replace it a DIY BeagleBone data capture and display system. It'll probably cost about $500 total for all the pieces. That puts my Jeep at $4500 total cost.
95% of ATMs Worldwide Are Still Using Windows XP
Is the dispensing software is written in Java? Half kidding, and wondering at the same time.
Oracle Seeking Community Feedback on Java 8 EE Plans
I've been programming in Java since it first came out, and I never had any particular problems with it, other than the fact that it's rather verbose. I've been thinking there must be a way to accomplish the same thing without so much boilerplate code. Then I discovered Scala (which runs on the JVM and can easily integrate with existing Java libraries).
Mind you there are some things about Scala that are kinda weird, like so much optional syntax and type inferencing makes it sometimes hard to read. But I've been finding it a joy for new code I write, almost Java-like but much less verbose, plus you get the functional programming capabilities that Java lacks. Some of the library code that's out there is hard to understand because of the nature of the syntax, but after you study it a bit, it's not too bad.
University Developing Technology To Vote On Your Tablet, Smartphone
Washington State does by-mail voting. No voting booths. Wouldn't that be essentially the same? I haven't heard of people complaining about it.
World's First Cycle Trip To the South Pole Achieved
Seems the brand name of the trike is apt: ICE. I've been in the market for a trike lately and they have been a top contender. Just have to get the cash to buy one.
F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen Cancels RSA Talk In Protest
Let me just say that, by far, most of us Americans *do* care about the surveillance going on in our country. And we're horrified by it.
Ford Engineers Test 'Predictive Logic' To Improve Cruise Control
By the way, the deposition isn't where it used to be. Here is one that still exists (PDF warning).
Ford Engineers Test 'Predictive Logic' To Improve Cruise Control
After reading this article (yes, I actually read the article and the deposition) I think automobile software should be reviewed by anybody that wants to review it. Let's face it, the software may be somewhat sophisticated, but it shouldn't be rocket science. Certain algorithms could even be patented for all I care, but the code quality must be reviewed.
For those of you that haven't read the deposition from the link above, the upshot is that the expert witness saw horrible software practices being performed in a vacuum - as it were - he couldn't even take a pen and notepad in the room where he could view the software. He had to exit the room, make notes, then come back in after a security screening. This is the worst kind of software, and people are driving with it every day.
Until software that has my life in its hands is peer/public reviewed, I'm going to buy only older cars for as long as I can. I sold my Prius after reading the above article.
Skype Is Evaluating Adding Typing Suppression Feature
I've had the pleasure of using a duplicate clicky keyboard for many years. Loved it, but frankly I type so much that the sound was just driving me crazy. I've tried many keyboards - from the MS Natural and everything down to the pathetic Dell keyboards (which I can't believe how bad they are). My new favorite keyboard: The Apple Keyboard. At first, it took a little getting used to, but it didn't take long. And of course it's for a Mac, which I use. But it's quiet, easy, and fast to type on. It doesn't feel flimsy, even though it's quite small/thin. I don't think I'll ever go back to the big clicky keyboard again.
How 3 Young Coders Built a Better Portal To HealthCare.gov
While a nice idea, I would foresee the API being an absolute horrible twisted XML wasteland that nobody can understand. Sort of like the Open MSOffice XML document format.
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