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Comments

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Does Relying On an IDE Make You a Bad Programmer?

tttonyyy Re:Walk before you can run code (627 comments)

No, no, no! This is Slashdot, we need a car analogy:

Does relying on pre-made rubber tires make you a bad driver?

That's a terrible analogy.

A better one would be saying something like "Don't use ECU diagnostic interfaces to find out what's wrong with your engine - that's cheating - a real mechanic would just take it apart to see what's wrong!"

In a similar way to the ECU telling you what is up, you still need an underlying knowledge of engine mechanics in order to use the information it provides effectively. Sometimes it will be misleading. The same goes with IDEs and coding. Sure you can write everything in vi/emacs if that takes your fancy, but you won't be as efficient as if you use a decent IDE, but that's not to say you should trust the IDE entirely.

about 5 months ago
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Does Relying On an IDE Make You a Bad Programmer?

tttonyyy Re:IDEs are good. UI builders are bad. (627 comments)

IDEs with any form of wizard for "creating stuff" potentially take away the underlying understanding that a programmer might use to come up with something better.

But, for code navigation, a good IDE is totally indispensable, particularly with large codebases of someone else's code. What could be more useful than hovering your mouse pointer over a structure variable and having a little window show you how it was declared and what members it has? Or telling you all the places the current function is called from?

A good IDE shouldn't get in the way of coding, but nor should it take over the coding for you.

about 5 months ago
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Chinese Lunar Probe Lands Successfully

tttonyyy Re:Kicking up the lundar dust (250 comments)

Not even the Chinese can claim a planet.

It's a moon, not a planet, but since we're talking on your level... if you look on the other side there is a huge "MADE IN CHINA" sign and a big array of bitcoin ASICs that they used for their 51% attack. More hashing power than Uruguay. That's how they bought the fake landing sets off NASA!

about 7 months ago
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Monthly net electricity use in my household:

tttonyyy Re:Tesla (327 comments)

I drive oil, but it's catalytically cracked veg oil.

The heating process for dewatering and then distilling excess Methanol off afterwards takes a fair bit of energy (16kWh) but over the course of a year and making 2500 litres it adds up to less in electricity costs than running a home server 24/7 (50W).

So I'm firmly in the 500-999kWh range.

about 8 months ago
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Tremors Mean Antarctic Volcanism May Be Heating Up

tttonyyy Re:Saw a movie about this. (132 comments)

Hand your movie buff card back - Tremors; that can only mean snakeoids about to pour from beneath the very dirt itself!

about 8 months ago
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Demo of Prototype Virtual Retinal Head Mounted Display

tttonyyy Retina burn (93 comments)

Less deeply cool if the mirror control software locks up and you burn a line/spot into your retina.

Trying, plasma TV style, to run noise/wipes material through it to reduce retina burn-in would not be fun.

On the other hand, nice to see another step towards the Snow Crash universe. Just need a depleted uranium hypervelocity railgun and people will finally start listening to Reason.

about 8 months ago
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A Patent Tree Grows In Seattle

tttonyyy Re:"Patent Trees" (2013) (37 comments)

That's lovely. Where's my patented copper nail?

about 9 months ago
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Qualcomm to Build Neuro-Inspired Chips

tttonyyy A little thin on tech detail (43 comments)

A quick google fails to reveal any detail about how it works, and TFA's explanatory diagram says very little (a drawing of a brain and some boxes - oh so that's how it works?)

We can only assume this stems from Qualcomm's partnership with Brain Corp http://www.braincorporation.com/

about 10 months ago
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90% of Nuclear Regulators Sent Home Due To Shutdown

tttonyyy Re:How many does it take? (358 comments)

Checklist:

1. Is it glowing?
2. Is there a smoking, glowing crater where the plant used to be?

If both are no, the back to napping.

Perhaps an urban legend (I can't find a reference), but didn't operators of nuclear reactors used to sit on one legged chairs, so they couldn't nap at the controls?

about 10 months ago
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90% of Nuclear Regulators Sent Home Due To Shutdown

tttonyyy Re:What could possibly go wrong? (358 comments)

In all fairness nothing is likely to go wrong unless a reactor is being experimented on, or an unusual catastrophic event/mechanical failure occurs (even a fully staffed reactor doesn't necessarily mean they'll be avoided). Lack of staffing should be the least of our worries!

about 10 months ago
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How long before most automobile driving is done by computers?

tttonyyy Re:Never gonna happen. (472 comments)

Perhaps a few of the less competent might opt for it but us race car drivers will never stand for it.

Ironically racing is probably a better defined operating environment so easier to successfully automate.

I can't see everyday driving being automated because there will always be a scenario that isn't covered, an odd bug that no-one expected, or mechanical failure that the computer can't compensate for in a sensible way.

Commercial flight systems on aircraft must be so thoroughly tested, yet we still have pilots to take over if the machine fails. How would that work with cars? If you have to be there paying close attention in case you need to take over, doesn't that negate the purpose of the automated system in the first place?

about 10 months ago
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My SSID Is...

tttonyyy Re:A Series of Tubes (458 comments)

Mine is updated by a cron job that randomly abuses my neighbours by name.

about a year ago
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Next-Gen Video Encoding: x265 Tackles HEVC/H.265

tttonyyy Re:This is great news! (104 comments)

MPEG2 lingers because it costs a lot to replace millions of existing set-top boxes, however that's only for video delivery to the home. A lot of backhaul/contribution/distribution is H264 which then gets transcoded at the edge of the broadcaster's networks. All the modern delivery over the internet systems are H264 because there's no legacy technology to replace and bandwidth is at a premium. HEVC will both get adopted both within broadcaster systems, and also for new domestic systems (4k being the obvious one).

1 year,3 days
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Next-Gen Video Encoding: x265 Tackles HEVC/H.265

tttonyyy Re:This is great news! (104 comments)

Ultimately video over IP (which sounds like a bad plan to start off with) is all about the connection - modern broadcasters use adaptive streaming - the same video is encoded at a variety of bitrates and resolutions and made available to playback clients. The client assesses live buffer fill and decides between low bitrate and poor quality and high bitrate/quality dynamically depending on how the link is performing, fetching small/large files off the server as appropriate. It works very well and the user is left completely unaware that it's happening.

Curiously enough the H264 standard was very forward thinking in this respect and there are lots of clever ways to dynamically control streaming - none of which anyone uses as it's complicated to implement compared to just encoding the same thing at different bitrates.

H265/HEVC is the logical progression in computational complexity vs compression efficiency - definitely here to stay in the video compression industry.

1 year,4 days
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Home Server Or VPS? One Family's Math

tttonyyy Cost effective but with a few catches (380 comments)

I've run a server at home 24/7 for coming up on a decade. It does all our e-mail, runs a web server, runs a CCTV system and is a filtering proxy for the kids. For a long time it was one of only two Alien Arena master servers. And actually the uptime has been better than the shared hosting we used to have before we went for home serving. There is no additional cost when it comes to adding more web domains (running it as a virtual host), and it can be an ssh tunnelled proxy for when you're away from home.

The downsides?

If it goes down when you're on holiday, it stays down. You'd need someone to have keys to the house to go reset it.

If the hardware fails, it's you that has to fix it. If you run any moderately successful sites from it then you start getting calls. This added pressure can be stressful.

You're solely responsible for keeping it secure, so you'll have to stay on top of that, and keep monitoring it for intrusion. Heaven forbid you accidentally set up an open mail relay. Your ISP would crucify you :)

Most DSL is asymmetric which isn't ideal for servers, as most of the content is outbound. Plus it's easy to hit your maximum DSL monthly bandwidth allowance (vnstat is your friend!). If you don't think you have one, you may well discover in short order that actually, you do ;) Then you end up hunting around for deals that give greater bandwidth allowances. All more hassle!

Then there is the leccy cost, so you'll need a nice lightweight server (and unplug everything from it that isn't a hard drive, CPU or memory). Really this is the least of your worries considering everything else above.

All of that said, I wouldn't be without mine. It's far too useful.

about a year and a half ago
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How Do You Backup Your Data?

tttonyyy Photos of hex editor windows of my files (212 comments)

Using a film camera. Then I scan the negatives for double redundancy and write the scans to tape.

Of course, I spend so much time doing backups I never have time to use the source data.

about a year ago

Submissions

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Geek warning: Tektronix scopes catch fire

tttonyyy tttonyyy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

tttonyyy writes "Following two incidents of "oscilloscopes burning at customer sites", Tektronix are warning that the Lithium-Ion battery TDS3BATB fitted to TDS3000 and TDS3000B oscilloscopes may overcharge and ignite, and possibly explode. Tektronix recommend that the battery should be removed from these products immediately, and are investigating the problem.

If your laptop doesn't get you, your scope may well finish the job."

Link to Original Source
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tttonyyy tttonyyy writes  |  more than 7 years ago

tttonyyy writes "The Christian game Left Behind: Eternal Forces has been accused of glorifying violence in the name of religion, the BBC reports.

The Christian Alliance for Progress has been campaigning to get Wal-Mart and other retailers to take it off the shelves.
"It's essentially faith-based killing," said Tim Simpson of CAP. "The object of the game is to either kill or convert one's opponents inside the game."
"Rather than seeking to close the gap between neighbours, as Jesus did in his ministry, the game's purpose is to drive a wedge between people, teaching teenagers that what God intends is for them to slaughter those who do not share their beliefs."

According to popular reviews, it's not even a good game."
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tttonyyy tttonyyy writes  |  more than 7 years ago

tttonyyy writes "Link to videos on YouTube, and you might find the full force of Fox's lawyers bearing down on you and your ISP. This is the position that Quicksilverscreen finds itself in. Although no video material is hosted on the site, Fox have served takedown notices for linking to material that infringes on their intellectual property rights. It would be interesting to know if similar takedown notices have been served to the sites that hosted the videos."
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tttonyyy tttonyyy writes  |  more than 7 years ago

tttonyyy writes "The New Scientist reports that researchers in Japan have developed a tiny pump driven by living heart cells. The pump could be used as a medical implant or in chips for biological analysis. Rather than requiring electrical power, the pump needs a supply of nutrients for the rat heart muscle cells.

From the article:
"The pump is made from a hollow sphere of flexible polymer with tubes connected to opposite sides. The sphere is coated with a sheet of cultured rat heart muscle cells and these cells drive the pump with pulsing contractions.""
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tttonyyy tttonyyy writes  |  more than 7 years ago

tttonyyy writes "For the hungry D&D player that wants to eat the D20 right after rolling it, this has got to be the ultimate food offering — a pecan pie based Cosahedron.

From the article:
"Once the pies were cool, we re-attached the magnets. It is a little hard to describe accurately the sensation of wrestling with magnets that are incredibly small, incredibly powerful and covered with some combination of pie filling and rapidly hardening epoxy.""
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tttonyyy tttonyyy writes  |  more than 7 years ago

tttonyyy writes "Here's my dilemma. An ISP I was with nearly a decade ago still allows me to pick up pop3 mail from my old account. Recently it has come to my attention that they've got a new subscriber with the same name as myself, and given him my old e-mail address.

Either the pop3 server is allowing access to the mailbox with two different passwords (anyone here care to explain how that could happen?) or they issued the new subscriber with my old pop3 password, because I can still pick up my e-mail.

This is bad for many reasons — I can read his e-mail without him knowing. I can also potentially request passwords to any site he subscribes to online.

The reason I've not got straight on the phone to the ISP is simple — he can do the same with old accounts I've forgotten about. And, in fact, he has done, upon discovering that Amazon/MSN passport won't let him register with his email address because an account already existed. Fortunately no credit card details were on file at Amazon, not that they would still be valid if they were. I'd quite like to lurk in case some others I've forgotten about turn up.

I should point out here that the UK-based ISP in question is big, with nearly three million subscribers — so this must be happening to other people without them knowing. How many people discard their old ISP supplied e-mail addresses without thinking about them being re-issued? This is surely a very good reason to buy and maintain your own domain and hosting, as I do now.

Do I tell the ISP? Do I tell the new subscriber? Would I get into trouble for accessing my old pop3 account?

So, dear slashdotters, any advice would be greatly appreciated!"
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tttonyyy tttonyyy writes  |  more than 7 years ago

tttonyyy writes "Both The Times online and the BBC report a violent incident in which one chat room user tracked down another for an act of vengeance. Although the phrase "web rage" has been coined by the news agencies, this could easily apply to other communications mediums and is almost certainly not the first instance in which this situation has occurred. Does web rage even exist?"
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tttonyyy tttonyyy writes  |  more than 7 years ago

tttonyyy writes "After Microsoft was hit with fines for anti-competitive behaviour in 2004 and 2006, it seems that the launch of Vista may be delayed in Europe. Microsoft is blaming this delay on a lack of guidelines from the European Commission. The Commission denies causing any delay, declaring that the emphasis is not on them but on Microsoft to produce a product that conforms to the EU competition rules.

The New York Times reports "Delaying the introduction in Europe, [members of the European Parliament] said in a letter made public by Microsoft on Thursday, 'would put European companies at a competitive disadvantage with every other company around the world who does have access to these new technologies.'""

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