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Ask Slashdot: Dealing With an Unresponsive Manufacturer Who Doesn't Fix Bugs?

doug Have you thought about publicly shaming them? (204 comments)

Why not just bad mouth them. If they get a reputation for poor service, then so be it. This shouldn't be anyone's first approach, but if you've tried for over a year and they're not living up to your expectations, then they squandered more than one chance to do better.

about a month and a half ago
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DARPA Uses Preteen Gamers To Beta Test Tomorrow's Military Software

doug Re:The Last Starfighter (84 comments)

You deserve extra points for not saying Ender's Game.

The only thing that made me think of Ender's Game was the word "preteen". Using video games to train/recruit soldiers always makes me think of The Last Starfighter.

about 3 months ago
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DARPA Uses Preteen Gamers To Beta Test Tomorrow's Military Software

doug The Last Starfighter (84 comments)

It looks like someone at DARPA just couldn't turn down the chance to be the next Centauri.

about 3 months ago
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Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

doug Re:It's not that much (442 comments)

considering Miami Vice was pulling these kinds of numbers in the '80s. Granted, it was only for one actor, but still.

I think all 6 stars of Friends were pulling in $1M/episode at the end of its run. What was once outrageous is now common place. I guess that is progress of sorts.

about 4 months ago
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Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

doug Re:Answer needed (390 comments)

Sure. The content streaming from Netflix has been requested by Verizion customers. They've paid for access to the internet, which includes Netflix. They are the ones being throttled. Basically Verizon is trying to double dip here - get money from regular customers plus shaking down more from content providers. If Verizon really cannot handle the flood of Netflix content, shouldn't they raise the cost to the consumers to build out the Verizon network?

about 4 months ago
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X Window System Turns 30 Years Old

doug Re:time to die... (204 comments)

nobody saw Logon's Run here? Am I that old...?

You might be. I certainly am. I fondly remember the movie but didn't think the spin-off TV series was all that good.

about 5 months ago
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Man Builds Fully-Functional Boeing 737 Flight Simulator In His Son's Bedroom

doug Re:Call the N S A (128 comments)

Aid the enemy? He's French. Doesn't that make him the enemy?

about a year ago
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What Are the Unwritten Rules of Deleting Code?

doug Re:The more..... (384 comments)

Not really. If the code was in for 2 weeks before being found to have a corner case bug, a "look here first" indicator is not bad. Especially so if the person fixing the bug is not the same person who made the original change.

about 2 years ago
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HP Cuts Workforce By 5%, Looks To Probe GM Hires

doug Re:So.... (304 comments)

Bah. I have no sympathy for HP. I've never worked at HP, but I've been at plenty of places where most/all of the corporate history was lost. It is unpleasant, but you get over it. If this is an especially critical position, then HP should have used golden handcuffs to keep a few key people in place. If your employer treats you well, you usually stay put. If you are worried that you're going to get the axe, you jump ship. This is a basic truth, and if HP's management spent more time focused on its employees and less on the shareholders they would know this. Management should keep employees from having a conflict of interest. Yes, it might cost more in the short run, but it avoids situations like this. Too many people in management focus exclusively on the business side of things, and forget that people are involved. Unfortunately this is not unikque to HP.

about 2 years ago
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Why the NTSB Is Wrong About Cellphones

doug Re:Dunning-Kruger effect (1003 comments)

Makes sense. The only people who should be allowed access to "root" are those who won't use it unless it is unavoidable.

- doug

more than 2 years ago
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Military Labs Develop Caffeinated Jerky and "Zapplesauce"

doug milk plus (151 comments)

They just need milk plus to have a complete and balanced meal

about 3 years ago
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Ron Paul Suggests Axing 5 U.S. Federal Departments (and Budgets)

doug Re:In other words, we should give up. (2247 comments)

I do like the idea of doing more stuff at the State level, and a century ago much of that would have been done at the State level. So I'm all for moving in that direction.

But this discussion is about financing, and isn't this proposal just shifting the burden of paying for them from one layer of Government to another? That isn't really a savings, which is most likely Ron Paul's objective. Since most States already have balanced budget requirements, that would be good for the long term. But don't just dump it in the lap of the States as part of some knee-jerk reaction. A budgetary shell game is not in the best interests of the Nation, and since most States are broke right now, robbing Peter to pay Paul ain't going to work.

- doug

BTW: I'm just focusing on the funding issue. I know that this is actually more complicated than just funding.

more than 3 years ago
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Boeing Suggests Possible Manned Version of the X-37B Space Plane

doug Re:SpaceX diversion (87 comments)

Don't care. This won't stop SpaceX. And who knows, maybe it will turn out to be a viable launch system. I don't care much about who is behind these systems, as long as we get something that enables manned space flight. And I would prefer competition to a single source.

more than 3 years ago
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Marx May Have Had a Point

doug Re:For sure Marx had a point (1271 comments)

No its not. People stumble on to the right thing all the time without knowing why its right. Doing the right thing for the wrong reason is so common that it even has its own expression. So it is possible for a solid analysis to lead to a poor solution, and it is possible to stumble onto a correct solution with a bad analysis of the problem. They are unrelated.

In this case Marx identified some problems associated with Capitalism and proposed a possible solution. Other people have shot down various parts of his proposal. So the credit that Marx is due is not "finding the correct solution", but for identifying a problem, and starting the discussion on how to fix it. Since we're still talking about him well over a century later, it seems that some of his ideas have resonated with a large number of people. That alone is pretty impressive.

- doug

more than 3 years ago
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Social Media a Threat To Undercover Cops

doug Re:It cuts both ways... (252 comments)

I don't know about helping the cops, but I've heard that Facebook is a divorce lawyer's best friend.

more than 3 years ago
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FSF Uses Android FUD To Push GPLv3

doug Its not just the FCC (282 comments)

I remember something from a few years ago about the FCC equivalent in Japan being much tougher than our beloved FCC. That have regulations requiring fixed frequencies that basically mean if you can change your broadcast frequency in software, and the software isn't locked tight, then you can't use it in Japan. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the European nations have pretty tough rules too.

more than 3 years ago
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'The Code Has Already Been Written'

doug the difference between profession and amateur (253 comments)

My personal observation was that when I got my BS way back in 1990, I knew everything that I needed to succeed in the software world except for handling non-sunny day cases. Sure, we talked about stuff like error handling, validating user input, and so forth in various classes, but it didn't really sink in. It wasn't until I had a job and worked on a system that had to stay up and run for months at a time that I learned those lessons. Most school projects only last one semester, and really only have to work once, so no one really gets much exposure to the necessity of bullet proof code.

Those scientists seem to have the same mind set. It works in a few sunny day cases, so it must be ready to ship. Management can think like that too, especially if some other group is tasked with support and bug fixes. But those of who have had to pick up the pieces know better than that. Isn't that part of the value-add that profession software people add to a project? Coding really isn't that hard to anyone who can handle the symbolic manipulation (mostly algebra) and can pay attention to details. But there is a world of difference between toys and serious applications.

As a software engineer, if you find yourself in that situation, your road is simple: look at the source, find a few corner cases that will break it, and then you can demonstrate that the code is not production ready. Then you should be able to get the green light to harden it. If you do it right, you can earn the respect of whomever cobbled together the original code, and then you can work with them next time. That is kinda the Holy Grail, isn't? You get to add your software experience and they get to add their domain knowledge.

And if they are jerks about it, at least you get to rub it in their faces how bad they are at writing code. While that isn't really a "win" of any sort, it can be amusing to knock someone down who has put himself on a pedestal that he hasn't earned.

- doug

more than 3 years ago
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41% of Chinese Websites Shut Down In 2010

doug Re:OK, I'm a grammar nazi, so sue me (203 comments)

He also corrected s/Chine/China/ although technically a typo isn't a grammar mistake.

more than 3 years ago
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Can a Monkey Get a Copyright & Issue a Takedown?

doug Re:Maybe a million monkeys (335 comments)

You are absolutely right. But will the IP lawyers ever understand that point?

more than 3 years ago

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