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Software Error Caused Soyuz/Galileo Failure

thegarbz What's a "Programmer"? (123 comments)

What's a "Programmer"? Also precisely who should we get to write critical software? A maths teacher? The after hours cleaner? Maybe some random MBA from middle management? Programmers most definitely SHOULD be the ones writing critical software. It's when it is written by non-programmers or hobby programmers with full time other careers (physicists, engineers, etc) that you end up with some of the most basic mistakes and unexpected behaviour.

Your big mistake is to assume that all programmers are the same, and that all hardware designers are the same, and that all civil engineers are the same. A civil engineer who's speciality is designing sewers and town water systems is unlikely to be the one you want designing a skyscraper. Just like in my world I have a VERY experienced instrument engineer sitting next to me, but we wouldn't ever let him work on safety shutdown systems.

QA for software is exactly as much of a joke as people make it. At a small software house, it may be almost non-existent. At a company designing safety shutdown systems it is a whole world of hurt. Unfortunately it's management which are the biggest risks. There's never enough time to do it right, but there's always enough time to do it again.

13 hours ago
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Microsoft Dumps 1,500 Apps From Its Windows Store

thegarbz Re:They won't (122 comments)

The problem is the end users. I see this a lot as we work in an IE shop, IE7 to be precise because of some sensitive stupid web services that won't run in anything else.

Anyway my point is that they default to Bing, there is an option to change it permanently in pretty much an identical way that you described in Mint, yet 99% of the users don't do this, and of those 99%, 100% of them talk as if they are about to gift me their firstborn after I show them how to change it.

NEVER underestimate the power of "defaults" and the stupidity of users.

yesterday
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HP Recalls 6 Million Power Cables Over Fire Hazard

thegarbz Re: Not the PSUs? The actual cables? (135 comments)

Oh so now you call me an arsehole just because of the way that I talk despite what I mean and my intentions? What next? All Aussies are arseholes because we shorten words?

And yes the connotation of deciding to place names on people who talk in a certain way regardless of meaning is just as much a form of prejudice as racism. I suppose you also pick on retards when they say something you don't like because they just don't know any better.

You sir are one hell of a self absorbed prick.

yesterday
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Chromium 37 Launches With Major Security Fixes, 64-bit Windows Support

thegarbz Re:The tabs are slightly sucky (112 comments)

I switched to chrome because of this. With lots of tabs open Firefox have no indication of the number of tabs. At that point I'm usually interested in going through sequentially anyway and not go through by specific content, I.e. open up interesting Slashdot articles.

2 days ago
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HP Recalls 6 Million Power Cables Over Fire Hazard

thegarbz Re: Not the PSUs? The actual cables? (135 comments)

Oh right so now we need to segregate language based on how people react? That's ludicrous and would lead to us not being able to say anything at all.

I saw a comedian today while at a conference. The conference organisers said at the bar tonight that this is the first comedian they've employed in a long time since previously one person wrote a long winded letter that they were deeply offended by the previous one. I asked the comedian what he thought of it and he turned around around and said that he guarantees a percentage of the room thought he was offensive and that there are other people offended by the fact that some people thought that offensive.

You can't please everyone.

Now I live in a country and a culture where we shorten everything. I will call Pakis Pakis, and Kiwis Kiwis. If they want to take offence at it that is entirely their business, and it is entirely their problem as well. If they can't accept language the way it is given (I do not mean to offend by this) then there's really nothing more I can do. An attempt to please everyone is exactly what has resulted in the pussyfooting around political correctness that quite frankly offends me. And I REALLY mean that. I find it offensive that someone thinks I should be restricting what words I can and cannot use.

Do you work for the Chinese government?

(see what I did there? Some people will laugh at the connection between your form of censorship and the government. The government themselves, they'll likely be offended).

Anyway I think you should have a cement pill and harden up.

2 days ago
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Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive

thegarbz If this were a WD article (314 comments)

Honestly if this were a WD article someone would come up with the same anecdote and a different brand. Every manufacturer has had bad batches. I too have had a Seagate fail. I also had a WD fail. Like 4 IBM drives fail, a Quantum drive fail.

2 days ago
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Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids?

thegarbz Re: Dobsonian (185 comments)

I was strict about the getting the absolute best. What you were being is absurd. A big aperture can make some incredible sights visible from even a light polluted area. Don't believe me why not look up John Dobson's history of setting up his telescope design in the middle of a city and showing people the sights they can't see through the blanket of light. Then you can do something as simple as use a UHC filter to cut out what makes up a very large portion of light pollution and still look at some amazing sights.

A dark sky is something that is outside of direct control and also highly dependent on mobility and personal activity. What I mean by that is that a good 6 times a year I end up in a dark sky with absolutely ZERO relation to astronomy and with ZERO effect on my astronomy budget. It's called travel / holiday / camping.

When my trip to the dark skys allows (i.e. I'm going camping in the bush not on a sandy island) I take a *drumroll* dobsonian because my EQ mount is large, heavy, has more parts, is easier to setup, supports a much larger telescope, and doesn't fit into a suitcase.

2 days ago
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Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids?

thegarbz Re:Dobsonian (185 comments)

This isn't underestimation, it's observation. I spend quite a bit of time at the local astronomy club, frequently we work with kids to try and get them interested. I also know both heads of science at the two schools in the area with observatories and astronomy as part of the curriculum, and they say the same thing.

Yes it is sad, but the sad part is what I'm seeing, not what I am estimating.

If you want to kill a potential astronomy hobby, start by sitting your kid down for a nice healthy dose of orbital mechanics.
If you want it to thrive show them the stars and let them figure out the mechanics how it works when they are ready and willing.

EQ mounts not only significantly complicate the night, but also limit what type of telescope you can look through, and even if we're not talking about kids if you go to any astronomy night that segregates imagers (me) from visual observers you will find the imaging field covered in EQ mounts, and the visual field littered with Alt-Az forks and dobsonians because when you look through a scope, the aperture is key, when you take a photo through a scope the steadiness for a longer exposure is key.

2 days ago
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Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids?

thegarbz Re:Dobsonian (185 comments)

That's exactly what the entire dobsonian craze is about. Spend money on optics which are nice and large and capable of capturing the sights to get people hooked.

On a budget (which what the entire Ask Slashdot was about) I would never recommend an equatorial mount. Without a budget I would say go your hardest and suggest spending upwards for $1000 on one.

2 days ago
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California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

thegarbz Re:As usual, the wrong question (501 comments)

That's only true if you haven't been following their progress the entire time. What Google demonstrated was a design prototype not yet ready for the road. In the mean time their previous car with all the things you've mentioned has done over 1000000km and had only 2 incidents. The first involved someone manually driving the car. The second it got rear-ended while stopped at the lights by a human driver.

This level of testing as well as the conclusions reached thus far show that it is most definitely not flawed judgement to try and take a human out of the equation as quickly as possible.

2 days ago
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California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

thegarbz Re:How does it handle the unexpected? (501 comments)

Definitely and really why not? The only question is the timeframe and if we figure out how to make robots do this stuff before we destroy the entire world for (insert doomsday scenario here).

There is absolutely no reason that once we resolve the technicalities of teaching robots to do these jobs this will actually happen. Heck we're halfway there already. They are trialling robot assistance to the elderly in Japan. People around the world are working on autonomy and on artificial intelligence. This century we've figured out how to make robots walk, run, beat humans at chess and general knowledge, even beat humans at determining if they are speaking to robots.

2 days ago
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California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

thegarbz Re:Not surprising (501 comments)

As Toyota demonstrated to us,

The only thing Toyota demonstrated was that their control system was complicated and written in a level that didn't take functional safety into account. You do NOT need a hardware level brake. What you do need is a very carefully controlled and well thought out system with simple and reliable software.

2 days ago
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California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

thegarbz Re:Not surprising (501 comments)

There's a design philosophy called "fail safe" that would disagree with you.

You definitely don't need a "manual" brake if the software and the design is perfect, even in hardware fault situations.

2 days ago
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Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

thegarbz Re:My opinion on the matter. (807 comments)

Want last year the year of Linux on desktop? Why are you still running it on a server!

3 days ago
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Princeton Nuclear Fusion Reactor Will Run Again

thegarbz Re:Thorium? (147 comments)

No but you are the only one who constantly brings it up in only vaguely related articles. This is about fusion not fission. In the long run fusion will be far better than any thorium cycle you can imagine.

3 days ago
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Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids?

thegarbz Re:A telescope is a bad gift for a novice. (185 comments)

You and your friends are special. I have a very cheap telescope (well had, I bought a better one with a flat field for imaging purposes). You can see the rings of Saturn on a crap night. On a good night you can start counting them. Several of Jupiter's moons are visible as is the big spot. So are the polar ice caps on Mars.

When I first bought it I used my $500 scope and went on a Messier Marathon. Found most that were visible from out location. There were only about 5 objects that really weren't visible and I had to ditch my scope and look through a $2000 Celestron 8" SCT to see.

I'm going to say user error.

4 days ago
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Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids?

thegarbz Re:Binoculars (185 comments)

Where did you come up with this nonsense? At a decent dark sky you can see most messier objects quite clearly with a set of binoculars. You don't need to spend lots of money on a parallalogram mount, certainly not $200US and in a bind just use a camera tripod and fashion a little bracket off the side.

And all of your comment doesn't at all address that binoculars have far more utility if the astronomy hobby doesn't go ahead. Oh wait you did address that, you said despite everything you have multiple sets.

4 days ago
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Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids?

thegarbz Re:Dobsonian (185 comments)

but it's not going to give them a working understanding of celestial mechanics.

Funny that actually the last thing most 11 year olds actually want. If you're an adult getting into the hobby fine, but the whole reason for the dobsonian's creation was to get a world of no fuss kids with short attention spans introduced to astronomy and not bore them to death trying all night to set up their mounts.

Setting up an EQ mount requires dedication to the cause which most people with emerging hobbies just don't have.

4 days ago
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Major Delays, Revamped Beta For Credit-Card Consolidating Gadget Coin

thegarbz Re:We need this why? (78 comments)

What killer use have I failed to consider for the Coin?

Anger and frustration induced blunt force trauma?

4 days ago
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Major Delays, Revamped Beta For Credit-Card Consolidating Gadget Coin

thegarbz Re:I'm missing something about this product, I thi (78 comments)

Mine doesn't even have raised letters

"Doesn't Even" is not the right term for a new trend. Many parts of the world are getting rid of raised letters on credit cards. In Australia they simply started rolling out the infrastructure for chips a long time ago and we have been on chip and pin for years (and only last month outright banned the use of magstripes), but the removal of the raised letters is something that I have seen only emerge in the past year here.

4 days ago

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