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'Just Let Me Code!'

nonsequitor Re:Bicycles and Jets (368 comments)

If I had mod points, I'd mod you up some more.

Any new safety critical code has to be developed with "State of the Art" techniques, which now means using a variety of fancy tools for job & bug tracking, requirements and V&V (the requirements shall be written the same way we decided 20+ years ago), design IDE (UML from the 90's), coding IDE (emacs anyone? probably not at work), static analysis for complexity metrics, coverage tools for decision and structural coverage, source control, etc. These tools then get scripted to cross reference everything. And that's just for the software portion.

At system level, you have to perform a hazard & risk analysis to determine what the potential for harm is from hazards that may be encountered during operation. If you were writing software for radiation therapy machine like the THERAC 25, you would have to identify risks, like exposure to high dose of radiation and the severity of harm, in this case potentially lethal radiation poisoning. This determines you safety integrity level, and amount of process which must be applied, in avionics it's the difference between DO-178B Levels A - E (A = plane falls from sky, E = no risk to critical systems), in automotive it's the safety integrity level SIL 0 - 3. Then you would have to define safe operation, like maximum plausible therapeutic dosage. Then from a functional perspective you would identify critical signals from sensors, data buses which carry data that feed the algorithms which control the X Ray Beam intensity and activation. It will also mandate various software integrity tasks for each component like cyclic CPU core tests, program flow control monitoring, cyclic RAM and ROM tests, stack monitoring or analysis, and trace-ability of requirements to design to code to tests, and level of independence between coders and testers. For a SIL 3 component like an electronic steering wheel, where a malfunction in steering control at highway speeds can cause multiple fatal accidents, an independent organization would be required to develop and implement the test plan based on the requirements.

Managing the development of software by teams of individuals requires much more documentation and meetings than working as a lone coder and a process in which only 10% or less of the work is actually coding, that means enough documentation for new team members so they don't have to bug the productive team members and having a work culture that strives towards excellence in ensuring mundane details like a decimal point don't kill someone. If you want to write software that does cool stuff like control the maneuvering thrusters on the SpaceX Falcon 9R for a soft ground landing, then you and maybe dozens of other people have to make sure all those mundane details are right when its the difference between landing softly at the spaceport and crashing into a major metropolitan area and exploding (or so I assume, considering I do not and have never worked for Space X). If you undertake a project like this and fail to do your due diligence and are negligent in carrying out these tasks and people die, you or your manager might easily end up in jail or your company could be fined Billions in damages like what happened to Toyota.

about a week ago
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Open-Source NVIDIA Driver Steps Up Its Game & Runs Much Faster

nonsequitor Performance vs Closed source driver? (143 comments)

Kudos to the Nouveau team for reaching this exciting milestone!

If they tested side by side with the closed source driver from Nvidia, where does this put them in terms of performance?

How long until an average user will chose the nouveau driver over the closed source driver, if said user doesn't care about licensing or building from source, but is looking for out of the box performance? Where does that put them in comparison with the Nvidia driver on Windows?

Personally, this project is not very relevant to me since I have no qualms about using the closed source driver which is good enough for my purposes, but I'm not a gamer. I really hope someone like Valve is sponsoring this development because it sounds like a lot of tedious, hard work to be doing pro bono.

about a month ago
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Supreme Court OKs Stop and Search Based On Anonymous 911 Tips

nonsequitor Re:A boon for Parallel Construction (461 comments)

I think this is exactly what is happening when a criminal "butt dials" 911 or the sheriff who hears them discuss their plans in their entirety. I think that there must be some system in place that flags the phone user to the NSA, who when listening to their activated mic after hacking their phone, connects them to 911 automatically when they determine an active crime is being discussed. Or as in this case, the NSA calls the DEA who execute some parallel construction when they think the package is in transit.

Pre-Snowden this would be called a conspiracy theory, now it actually sounds fairly reasonable.

about 3 months ago
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Many Mac OS Users Not Getting Security Updates

nonsequitor Re:Exactly why I stopped buying Apple (380 comments)

It's more than just that, a lot of the keys are a different shape too. I still get lots of #'s when going for enter even after 9 months here. Gotta train new muscle memory. Fortunately, learning the QWERTZ layout hasn't degraded my ability to type on a QWERTY keyboard in the slightest.

about 7 months ago
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Many Mac OS Users Not Getting Security Updates

nonsequitor Re:Exactly why I stopped buying Apple (380 comments)

I replaced it with a Samsung Galaxy S which is now running CyanogenMod, no regrets here.

about 7 months ago
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Many Mac OS Users Not Getting Security Updates

nonsequitor Re:Exactly why I stopped buying Apple (380 comments)

You're comparing 20+ year old hardware not being able to run the latest software, to 2 year old hardware not being able to run the latest software and I'm the idiot? I was late to buy the iPhone 3G, does that mean it's okay for Apple to stop providing updates less than 18 months later??

about 7 months ago
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Many Mac OS Users Not Getting Security Updates

nonsequitor Re:Exactly why I stopped buying Apple (380 comments)

My late 2006 2nd generation intel Macbook Pro cannot be upgraded to Mavericks. I'm not making this up just to spite the Apple fanboys, I got an error message when I was attempting the upgrade. That's hardly leaping to conclusions..
And the iPhone 3G hardly runs iOS 4, since it causes the phone which worked fine before the update to drop 1 in 5 calls. And it certainly cannot be upgraded beyond that point meaning it does not receive anymore security updates.

In short, I would have to be a fool to continue using my iPhone 3G for anything important like online banking. And by extension, I would be a fool to buy more Apple products given their propensity to force users to buy newer hardware if they want to be able to receive security patches.

about 7 months ago
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Many Mac OS Users Not Getting Security Updates

nonsequitor Re:Exactly why I stopped buying Apple (380 comments)

When was the last time iOS 4 recieved a security update? Additionally, if you actually had an iPhone 3G you would know that upgrading to iOS 4 basically rendered it useless even though it was technically possible.

about 7 months ago
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Many Mac OS Users Not Getting Security Updates

nonsequitor Re:Exactly why I stopped buying Apple (380 comments)

I needed to buy a laptop with a German keyboard since I now work in Germany and need practice with the new layout (it's more than just Z & Y reversed if you code for a living). Switching to Windows 7 is what I did with that laptop but that's not what the article is about. It's about updating OS X, not Windows, who's trolling now?

By the time I realized iOS 4 had borked my phone, CyanogenMod was an option for Android.

It's not about more "Software Updates", it's about adequate security for devices I use for online banking.

about 7 months ago
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Many Mac OS Users Not Getting Security Updates

nonsequitor Re:Exactly why I stopped buying Apple (380 comments)

Only for a very limited definition of run. I had dropped calls increase to about 1 in 5 and the software made the phone run sluggish. It cannot be upgraded beyond that and upgrading to that point is a mistake if you actually like to use your phone.

You are all calling me a troll, but I don't like being extorted into hardware upgrades due to lack of continued support for older hardware.

about 7 months ago
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Many Mac OS Users Not Getting Security Updates

nonsequitor Exactly why I stopped buying Apple (380 comments)

When my iPhone 3G could not be upgraded to iOS4, I switched to andriod for security concerns.
Then my 2 generation intel Macbook Pro was too old to upgrade to Mavericks, so I bought a Lenovo.
I'm seeing a pattern here. I will not buy Apple anymore as a result of their withholding security updates from older and perfectly functional hardware. My response is not to buy a newer model, but to switch away from Apple products.
I initially switched to Apple because I liked their hardware and as a developer I wanted to experience a variety of OS's. Seeing how they abandon products only a few years old has left a sour taste in my mouth, I'm done buying Apple products, I've learned my lesson.

about 7 months ago
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Car Hackers Mess With Speedometers, Odometers, Alarms and Locks

nonsequitor Re: In other Breaking News... (159 comments)

What article did you read? The article linked in the summary says physical access to the CAN network was required for this hack. They said other researchers had hacked the car over Bluetooth, but not the researchers in the article.

about 8 months ago
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Car Hackers Mess With Speedometers, Odometers, Alarms and Locks

nonsequitor In other Breaking News... (159 comments)

In other breaking news, cutting the brake lines of cars can prevent them from operating correctly. Somebody issue a recall, quick!

This is not news, a CAN bus is viewed by the industry in the same way as analog wiring in the car, physically vulnerable. It's an issue when the side view mirror actuators are on the CAN bus, and thieves can open the door and start the engine with this technique. However, this research is stating the obvious for anyone in the know. Next thing you know, one of these researchers will find a copy of the J1939 protocol standard used by the automotive industry and discover what the CAN messages mean without fuzzing the problem space.

If someone found an On Star exploit that allowed a hacker to remotely accomplish these things on the CAN bus, then it would be news, this is not.

about 8 months ago
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LulzSec's Raynaldo Rivera, a.k.a. 'neuron,' Gets One-Year Prison Term

nonsequitor Re:$600,000 (105 comments)

Unlike student loans, this debt can be cancelled out by declaring bankruptcy. He will lose everything he has first though, assuming he doesn't have assets valued at $600k

about a year ago
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U.S. Election Day In Progress: What's Been Your Experience?

nonsequitor Re:WA - voted by mail 2 weeks ago (821 comments)

I voted 2 weeks ago as well. I hear WA is expected to have a voter turnout exceeding 85%. I hope other states adopt this approach, it is certainly the most democratic and fair approach to elections I've seen so far, since every voter has weeks to go through the literature sent about all the candidates. And no one has to skip work to vote, so it doesn't disenfranchise the poor.

There's still the option of going to an actual polling place, like I did 4 years when voting for president, but I much prefer voting by mail.

about a year and a half ago
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Why Does a Voting Machine Need Calibration?

nonsequitor Re:why are the options close together? (398 comments)

Why use a touch screen at all? They should have just made the screens have bezel keys along the sides like an ATM.

about a year and a half ago
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Surfcast Sues Microsoft Over Tile Patent

nonsequitor Re:Patent Law? (255 comments)

Also not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure defend it or lose it just applies to trademarks.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Explaining Version Control To Non-Technical People?

nonsequitor Re:How Much Would What Cost? (383 comments)

There are still fixed costs to maintaining a server even if the software is free. A git or SVN server won't store it's own backups offsite. Our Engineering department still gets charged by our IT department for hosting for wikis, source control, etc, even though the software running on the server is 'free', it doesn't deploy and maintain itself.

about 2 years ago
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Ancient Egyptian Tech May Be Key To Printing 3D Ceramics

nonsequitor Better for printing weapons? (138 comments)

Seems like this might make a better gun than a reprap.

about 2 years ago
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Is a Computer Science Degree Worth Getting Anymore?

nonsequitor Re:Engineering was always a better bet.. (630 comments)

I'm quite happy with my Bachelor of Science in Applied Sciences. Basically a CS degree from the college of Engineering at my University. I now do real time embedded programming for vehicle control systems. Lots of physics at the system level, keeps me engaged. All the V&V work gets tedious, but I wouldn't want to be the cause of someone dying because it was too tedious to write unit tests.

FYI, the National Society of Professional Engineers is adding a Software Engineering classification for 2013. Not for the feint of heart, as a professional, you assume a good deal of liability for the projects you're involved with.

about 2 years ago

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