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US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

djchristensen Re:Benefits, but still misses the point... (698 comments)

"Gun free zones" are a joke. They'd be better labelled as "10 minutes of free-fire before someone with guns who can stop you shows up zones".

In the world we live in (in the US), most or all schools are effectively "gun free zones". So we can discuss that side of the argument with plenty of facts and statistics. Your hypothetical armed school zones are really only a thought exercise at the moment. Why don't you get together with other gun rights folks that feel the same way and start an experimental community with all of your kids (you do have kids in public school, right?) going to a school loaded with guns (no pun intended). As long as you have a fairly representative sampling of people (no cherry-picking only truly "responsible" gun owners, good representation from all socioeconomic groups), it would be an informative experiment, even with a sample size of only one school. And after a decade or so of no gun violence on campus, you can remind us all of how right you were.

Until then, I'll stick with the statistics that show that my kids are slightly more likely to die due to a dog attack than from a school shooting.

about a month ago
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US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

djchristensen Re:Benefits, but still misses the point... (698 comments)

Heck, armed teenagers would solve this problem.

Maybe, but it almost certainly would create a much bigger problem. Teenagers as a group are somewhat less than stable emotionally. Some good studies have shown that simply having access to guns escalates aggression among adults. We don't really need petty squabbles that might result in hallway fights turning into shootings instead.

Without engaging in a gun rights debate, I'd certainly much rather my kids attend a gun-free school than one where anyone is allowed to carry a gun. Far, far, far, far more people are killed by guns in non-school-shooting-rampages than the other way around, so I'll take the odds as they are now.

And I'll again mention the Washington State school shooting from a few weeks ago. From the accounts I've read, there almost certainly would have been no chance for anyone to have done anything in that case, even if all the kids were carrying guns. Many or most of these school shootings tend to be over before people really realize what was happening. And I somehow don't think the thought of getting shot is going to deter someone who is going to kill themselves, anyway. So your "solution" applies to a subset of an already very small (probability-wise) problem.

I do whole-heartedly agree with your comment about mental health help, though.

about a month ago
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US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

djchristensen Is it worth it? (698 comments)

That equates to something like $2B to $10B to equip all the public schools in the US to stop a very small number of deaths. Such a system would have done nothing for the kids in the school in Washington State a few weeks back. I think very few of these school shootings last long enough for a system like this to make a real difference. But it makes people feel safer to think their kids are protected. I just wonder how much more effective that money could be at helping the potential perpetrators and preventing the shootings in the first place. It's amazing to me how stupid we are in this country that $20K+ per school to react faster to a catastrophe is so much more palatable than helping distressed kids and preventing the catastrophe in the first place.

about a month ago
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Microsoft Develops Analog Keyboard For Wearables, Solves Small Display Dilemma

djchristensen Re:Going in circles (100 comments)

I'm with you. I thought Graffiti was stupid until I spent 10 minutes using it and became proficient, and then quickly became much more than proficient. Until I discovered Google's swipe keyboard for my Android phone, I regularly wished for something like Graffiti.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Software Issue Tracking Transparency - Good Or Bad?

djchristensen Why not both? (159 comments)

Assuming your customers are technically competent, allowing them access to the bug DB for bugs that might affect how they use or deploy your system is probably a good thing. On the other hand, access by competitors to your development plans is a bad thing (it's not always good for customers to have access to that, either). I don't know if bugzilla can do it, but what you really want is a way to mark bugs as internal or external, and allow customers (those who are registered and/or have a support contract) to search and view "external" bugs. If required, your sales and marketing folks can filter which bugs go from internal to external.

Cisco is a very notable example of this approach. Just about all bugs that might be seen by a customer are made available to customers who have an account with Cisco. Bugs found during development of new features and such are not exposed. Only a subset of the bug data is made available (not necessarily a good idea to expose names of developers, for example).

about 3 months ago
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AT&T Proposes Net Neutrality Compromise

djchristensen Gotta give them credit... (243 comments)

Even most of the posts here seem to miss the point that they are trying to keep the argument framed in terms of particular sites like Netflix. I think if they had said something like "allow individual consumers to ask that some applications, such as streaming video , receive priority treatment over other services", then it might be a reasonable attempt at a compromise. As it is, it's a sly bit of marketing to mask the desire to extract money from direct competitors. The last thing they want is the focus to be where it should be--content providers and service providers should not be the same companies.

about 3 months ago
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World's First 3D Printed Estate Coming To New York

djchristensen Re:Huge? (108 comments)

I moved from a very small 1250sqft house to a very large (at least by the standards of this discussion) 4400sqft house (at about 1/7 the cost per sqft). I got more than three times the house (in purely sqft terms) at less than half the cost, so I tend to think of a 2400sqft house as not particularly big, but it depends very much on where you are. I paid in other ways, though, since I had to move from the CA coast to TX to do accomplish this.

In any case, I think the reaction comes from the description of a 2400sqft house as "huge" and part of an "estate". A slightly larger than median-sized home doesn't qualify as huge in that context, although it likely qualifies in the context of 3D-printed homes.

about 4 months ago
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Getting Back To Coding

djchristensen Re:c/c++, vi/emacs, make, ddd (240 comments)

It's interesting how so many people seem to just assume that newer tools are needed for more efficiency/productivity. Assuming the same code needs to be produced, the important part is the knowledge required to produce that code and have it be efficient and of high quality. The tools have absolutely nothing to do with that aspect of the job other than to provide a level of comfort to the developer. That's a highly personal thing and necessarily prohibits any usefulness of a "my tool is better than yours" argument.

I greatly prefer emacs over a fancy GUI IDE for the largely same reason that I would prefer to do documentation in LaTeX over Word or LibreOffice. When the tool is largely invisible (which becomes true with enough experience), I can completely focus on the *content* that I am creating. That doesn't mean that I think my way is the best way for everyone, just the best way for me. It's where my experience has taken me. Not that I haven't tried newer tools or been forced to use them from time to time, but there's a high bar for them to get over to truly improve my productivity.

My only real problem with GUI IDEs is when using them precludes not using them. While I've managed to mostly avoid the MS world throughout my career, where it has impacted me has generally been painful. The tools there tend to assume that everyone uses the same environment and make little or no accommodation for other environments. Yes, I know this is not universally true, but true enough that I will continue to avoid that world as much as possible. I can use emacs, make, and gdb on Windows, OSX, Linux, and more. Can the same be said about Visual Studio? (Running Windows in a VM is NOT a valid argument.) The rise of Linux as a common base OS in the embedded space is making this easier every day, thankfully. I'm not really trying to bash MS here, it's just a particularly easy example.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Beginner To Intermediate Programming Projects?

djchristensen A puzzle solver (172 comments)

I recently had to refresh my C++ skills, so I decided to write a sudoku solver. The neat thing about this particular problem is that it can be as complex as you want it to be. There are a large number of techniques available to solve increasingly difficult puzzles (check the sudoku wiki if you aren't an avid fan of sudoku), and you can implement as many of them as you want as optimizations before resorting to brute force. You can further challenge yourself by setting different requirements. For example, I tend to work in the embedded space where memory resources are not plentiful, so I focused on solutions that were memory efficient.

about 7 months ago
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Million Jars of Peanut Butter Dumped In New Mexico Landfill

djchristensen Re:convergence of wealth, lawyers, and arrogance (440 comments)

"I've volunteered at the local food banks and base on what I've seen, Costco peanut butter is probably an upgrade to the various expired high fructose laden supermarket rejects"

The food banks I've volunteered at have very high standards and a big part of the volunteer's job is to weed out expired, leaking, or generally icky-looking packages and throw them away. I wouldn't be surprised if we threw out 25% of the stuff we inspected, especially on the frozen food line. Our instructions included something along the lines of, "if you wouldn't want it in YOUR pantry, throw it out." (It was understood, of course, that this applied to safety concerns, not palatability. As gross as I might think Lunchables are, they provide FDA-approved calories to kids who might otherwise go without.)

I know I wouldn't feed any of this peanut butter to my kids no matter how much testing it had received, so would it be morally right to feed it to the underprivileged?

about 9 months ago
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Eric Schmidt On Why College Is Still Worth It

djchristensen Re:Case in point is worse than meaningless (281 comments)

More importantly, who thinks Zuckerberg would be where he is if he had gone to vocational school or straight to work out of high school? Not finishing college is a very different thing from not going in the first pace. I don't disagree that college is not the best choice for some, but holding up Zuckerberg as an example is just stupid.

about 9 months ago
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Getting Evolution In Science Textbooks For Texas Schools

djchristensen Re:The irony is that. . . (710 comments)

You say that as if in jest, which means you probably don't live in Texas, where the GOP platform calls for eliminating teaching critical thinking skills to children lest it undermined the autority of their parents and possibly cause them to question their "fixed beliefs".

1 year,23 days
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Elevation Plays a Role In Memory Error Rates

djchristensen Re:Heat related? (190 comments)

Right, cosmic rays have a hard time penetrating through too much matter, even air, so it makes sense. I've been reading articles about high energy neutrino detection and maybe confused the two just a little. I stand corrected.

1 year,26 days
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Elevation Plays a Role In Memory Error Rates

djchristensen Re:Heat related? (190 comments)

That assumes that the rays tend to come down vertically. I don't know what the distribution would be, but I'd be very surprised if it was mostly vertical at any particular point on earth. So then it would depend on what the rays had to travel through to get to the memory chips. I'd further assume the computers were not exposed to the sky, so I remain skeptical of the cosmic ray explanation.

It would be easy to test though. Have a rack of servers with only the bottom one turned on. Then move that server to the top of the rack (again with the rest of the servers turned off) and compare error rates. That would eliminate heat effects (actually, it might reverse the heat effect if the server stays cooler when at the top of the rack) and allow for testing the shielding effect.

1 year,26 days
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Pastafarian Wins Battle To Wear Colander In License Photo

djchristensen Re:Hey (535 comments)

Mormons were instrumental in getting Prop 8 passed in California, so your argument falls at least partially flat.

about a year ago
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Orson Scott Card's Superman Story Shelved After Homophobia Controversy

djchristensen Re:I'm not even a fan, but (1174 comments)

Bullshit. The US Constitution is supposed to apply to everyone equally. I'd argue that if 30 years ago "there was no right to gay marriage", then it was because the definition of "everyone" was wrong at the time. By your argument, blacks and women should still have no right to vote since the definition of "everyone" did not include blacks or women at some point in the past. It takes this country a painfully long time to release its predjudices, but at least we keep moving closer to "ereryone" really meaning everyone.

about 2 years ago
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Orson Scott Card's Superman Story Shelved After Homophobia Controversy

djchristensen Re:I'm not even a fan, but (1174 comments)

The people who are against Card's politics/bigotry are not censoring his work. They are free to express their disgust and to make it clear they will not buy or sell his issue and possibly not buy other items from the publisher. The publisher then has to make a business decision as to whether or not publishing Card's issue would harm their profitability. Groups (religious and otherwise) pressure companies all the time in exactly the same way, and those companies go through exactly the same decision making process (JC Penney and Ellen Degeneres, Chick-fil-A, for example). DC has the right to decide what they publish and why.

I for one think the government needs to be OUT of the marriage racket.

The main point as far as I understand of the marriage equality movement is to gain equal recognition by the government of the rights conferred by legal marriage. It makes no sense at all to say that government needs to be "out of the marriage racket". I did not get married (to my opposite-sex spouse) in a church/Church and have no real interest in the religious aspect of marriage, but I have a significant vested interest in the legal institution of marriage. It provides numerous protections/rights for myself, my wife, and my children/heirs. I've always thought it was unfortunate that the government institution of marriage shares a name with the religious institution, which allows (in this case) religious groups to coopt the legal rights of those whom they do not agree with.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Practices Impede Developers' Productivity?

djchristensen Re:fix it later (457 comments)

Spending an extra 5 minutes now to verify the documentation for a function you call can save days later on.

Not always. Case in point: I found the following code after a day and a half debugging (note that the dest and src addresses are guaranteed to be overlapping):

// delete the record. Supposes memcpy is implemented increasing.
memcpy(p+i, p+i+rec_size, env_size-(i+rec_size));

The problem was obvious to me once I narrowed down the area of the bug and saw the comment. So was the idiocy of the dumbass that knew memcpy wasn't safe for overlapping regions and did it anyway. I guess this only proves that bad developers are bad developers.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Do Coding Standards Make a Difference?

djchristensen Re:After 42 yrs programming I say... (430 comments)

It's not as simple as that. Sure, everyone is going to have bugs in their code, but some are much worse than others. No accountability at all can be just as detestable as incessant finger-pointing.

about 2 years ago

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