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A Router-Based Dev Board That Isn't a Router

petes_PoV Re:Why flash and not microSD? (52 comments)

MicroSD required mechanical connectors to the device and is a great deal more expensive that flash - in a very price-sensitive market. Given that an IoT thing could find its way into any environment, the last thing you want is for its operation to be dependent on the correct operation of nasty, cheap (and they *would* have to be cheap for comparable production costs) connectors and uSD cards of variable quality - that are outside your control.

Far better to have everything firmly and permanently attached to the board. Why solder in a connector whan it's just as easy (and takes the same amount of board space) to solder in flash instead. That way you don't get the blame when an idiot user "recycles" an old uSD card and blabs all over the internet how crap and unreliable your product is, as their card keeps corrupting.

RPi got it completely wrong in this respect. You don't hear of corrupted software & kernels on all the cards that use flash. If it's more "difficult" for noobs to use, then that's no bad thing either as it discourages those who are lacking in the clue department. This is not meant to be a plaything for children.

13 hours ago
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A Router-Based Dev Board That Isn't a Router

petes_PoV Others available from $10 (52 comments)

There are other people out there making similar devices.

One I have heard of is Olimex who reckon their product (still in design, with an RT5350F) will be 10 USD in 1,000 off quantities. Over time and with better integration of future devices we can safely assume that will halve.

13 hours ago
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Soccer Superstar Plays With Very Low Brain Activity

petes_PoV Re:Science or anecdote? (148 comments)

Well it proves there is one footballer with a brain.

If you've ever seen them being interviewed on TV - either before or after a match, even that singular result will be a surprise.

2 days ago
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'Just Let Me Code!'

petes_PoV Re:The price you pay (368 comments)

Such checks can be inserted without going beyond a few hundred lines of code

And then the next guy writes their own set of checks, which work slightly differently and check different things and in a different order. So both of you have spent time writing essentially, the same thing. - And maybe even spent even longer testing it and occasionally documenting it too. OK, maybe that last one''s a stretch. Nobody bothers to document "simple" programs, since we all know the code IS the documentation and any good programmer can work out what is going on (are they still teaching that garbage?)

And then when there's a change to the data formats, or a migration to a new environment, instead of swapping out one library of standard code - every single soddin' "simple" program has to be checked, re-tested and debugged.

So no. People who are still doing this sort of thing, even though the industry has been suffering from their intellectual laziness for decades, shouldn't be allowed to develop commercial code.

4 days ago
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'Just Let Me Code!'

petes_PoV The price you pay (368 comments)

The simple programs of a few hundred lines of C++ long ago disappeared from my experience

I think the reason is, that people who pay for software have been bitten by "simple" programs too often.

With a simple program: one where you open a file, do some stuff and produce an output - that always supposes that everything works as it's expected to. It assumes the input file has the expected name, that it contains the expected data and that the format is what you expect. It also assumes that the data will fall nicely within the bounds of "sensible" values, and that the output can be written as the coder expects.

However, real-world data is never as neat as we plan for (especially when there is a deadline). There can be missing values, changed formats, some data is floating point or fixed and DATES. Can the "simple" code deal with DD-MM-YY and DD-MM-YYYY or even some people who randomly swap that day / month / year field order, or use names for months - or slip leap years into the fields.

Basically, with the "simple" libraries that most of us use, there is a fundamental lack of robustness. Our code works with data we expect, but coughs a brick with something unusual - or from a changed specification.

And then there's the security angle. There's always a security angle

These are the factors that have made "coding" a complex business. Simply because the simple coding models we use to knock out a couple of hundred lines of code with, have shown themselves up to be wrong, limited an unreliable.

4 days ago
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"Intelligent" Avatars Poised To Manage Airline Check-In

petes_PoV A welcome innovation (102 comments)

create live, naturally intelligent, and expressive interactive systems

That'll be a first!

about a week ago
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Public To Vote On Names For Exoplanets

petes_PoV Re:A worldwide contest ... but only in English (127 comments)

But it's not about majorities (or minorities, come to that). it's about inclusivity.

If you're going to hold a "world wide" contest, then to not care enough to provide even a few of the most popular non-english languages, seems parochial, if not downright ignorant. You'd think that among all the IAU members, some individuals would have sufficient command of some other languages to be able to offer some alternative translations.

Or did it simply bot occur to the IAU that there may be a few billion non-english speakers who might like an chance to name a planet (not exacly science, is it) with an equal voice to their western counterparts.

about two weeks ago
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Public To Vote On Names For Exoplanets

petes_PoV A worldwide contest ... but only in English (127 comments)

You go to the IAU website and it's written in english. No language selections for non-english speakers. (Even IKEA.com does better than this). What does the "I" in IAU stand for, again?

You go to the nameexoworlds.org website - same deal.

You read the rules and all submissions (max 250 words) must be in english, too.

Given that this is about astronomical objects that are so far away, to them The Earth doesn't even register as a blip. Therefore to limit the naming process to one single earthly language seems like an extraordinary limitation. Especially when you consider that so many stars have Arabic names - couldn't we be a bit more inclusive?

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Dedicated Low Power Embedded Dev System Choice?

petes_PoV To answer the question (183 comments)

Look at the Olimex range of boards.
I've been using these for a year or two and found them to fit the bill nicely.

There are single and dual core boards, with / without embedded flash memory (or micro-SD card slots) and they'll run Debian (or other) Linux They have a lot on on board peripherals and pinouts for their own range of LCD screens - though I use an HDMI monitor for simplicity. The power supply will accept anything from 6 - 16 Volts from a phone-charger type PSU and you can even plug in a LiPo for backup.

I'll stop there before someone accuses me of advertising (I'm not, and I have no connection to the company). But as a last point, they are also pretty cheap.

about three weeks ago
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Duolingo is a Free, Crowdsourced Language Learning App (Video)

petes_PoV Re:Example (75 comments)

someone who is not familiar with words having different modes

The problem is, that if you don't know these basic constructs in your native language then you're not really fluent in it. You might think you can speak it fluently - but you're not well enough educated if you lack the basic rules.

Sadly this is very common: just look at all the internet content that confuses they're, their and there. Or mistakes "have" for "of" in written form.

Perhaps Duolingo should have a qualification test to screen out people who weren't paying attention at school (as all these topics are taught, in every english-speaking school) and it could sign them up for a remedial english class, instead.

about three weeks ago
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Following EU Ruling, BBC Article Excluded From Google Searches

petes_PoV Re:Who controls the past... (239 comments)

Who controls the present controls the past.

And who controls the controls, controls everything.

about three weeks ago
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Following EU Ruling, BBC Article Excluded From Google Searches

petes_PoV Cat and mouse (239 comments)

So the guy had an old article removed.
The journalist then writes a *new* article, commenting on the removal of the old article
The guy then requires the *new* article gets delisted, too. So the journalist ....

And so it continues until one party or the other gets bored, dies, or realises that all these article, this MOUNTAIN of articles are all still available (and increasing in number) on other search engines and that since new articles can be submitted faster than old ones taken down (and presumably the guy is paying a service to issue take-downs on his behalf) he's paying money and achieving the opposite of what was intended.

about three weeks ago
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In 2012, Facebook Altered Content To Tweak Readers' Emotions

petes_PoV Re:Ethical Responsibility (130 comments)

Facebook deliberately did it, to see the effects. Manipulating people is never ethically right.

And yet there are individuals who do exactly the same thing every day. I would suggest that there are also organisations that make a positive decision to post content to change the emotions of their readers: whether to make them happy (and possibly tie that happy feeling to the website's message - religious, political, cultural), or angry or apathetic.

Just like every advertisement we see is designed to manipulate our emotions, websites do it all the time for gain, so to have FB do the same is neither new nor unacceptable. It could even be argued that since they had nothing to gain (materially or financially) that their motivations were more benign that those sites or advertisements that manipulate our emotions for their own gain.

about a month ago
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In 2012, Facebook Altered Content To Tweak Readers' Emotions

petes_PoV Re:Ethical Responsibility (130 comments)

to protect human subjects

Oh do stop being so precious. It's no different from an individual posting a sad or depressed piece, themselves. Should they then be sued, arrested or punished for the "emotional damage" they cause to anyone who reads it?

about a month ago
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In 2012, Facebook Altered Content To Tweak Readers' Emotions

petes_PoV For every action .... (130 comments)

So basically all they've done is tell us that people respond to their surroundings. Okay, nothing new there. What would be interesting is if FB could somehow start quantifying the level of the reaction. Then, after a few hundred years of study we might start to get the glimmerings of a science.

about a month ago
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Human Language Is Biased Towards Happiness, Say Computational Linguists

petes_PoV Tells you more about the speakers than the texts (86 comments)

From the article:

the team paid native speakers to rate how they felt about each word on a scale ranging from the most negative or sad to the most positive or happy

So all the research was based on the native language speakers interpretation of how happy or sad the words were - and then their relative frequency in the texts. If the speakers of each language had a natural disposition to happiness or sadness, that would skew the whole result. And since there's no objective measure of a word's "happiness", the whole thing comes down to interpretation, rather than science.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

petes_PoV Re:Two necessary requirements (427 comments)

wow, you are such a douche

That whooshing noise you heard just after you read the post ... you have any idea - any at all - even the slightest inkling - what that was?

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

petes_PoV Two necessary requirements (427 comments)

Firstly, like in an ordinary watch the battery life should be measured in years and it should require no other maintenance.
Second, people should be openly admiring of it - both as a technological marvel and as a timepiece.
If it could do anything else than keep good time, that would be nice but not necessary.

Personally, I consider the first of these needs to be the most achievable.

about a month ago
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Draper Labs Develops Low Cost Probe To Orbit, Land On Europa For NASA

petes_PoV Re:"float down on Europa's atmosphere" (79 comments)

Um, are we talking about the same Europa here?

Maybe the Draper Labs guys misread the project definition.
"Europa??? we thought you meant Europe"

about a month ago

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