Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Use of Forced Labor "Systemic" In Malaysian IT Manufacturing

uncqual Re:"forced labor" (120 comments)

Even Democratic Congressmen use (and defend the use rather than apologize for it) the "Uncle Tom" racial slur to refer to Justice Thomas because he, apparently, doesn't "think Black enough".

This same Congressman asserts that another Congressman stating he would not support Obama's polices was because of racism -- ignoring the fact that President Obama is the least experienced President and ran on the most progressive platform (albeit, he hasn't followed through on his stated principles) of any President in decades (to say nothing of probably being the most publicly arrogant) and that their viewpoints on political issues were radically different. (Both viewpoints, IMHO, wrong - but that's another issue.)

If logic isn't on your side, scream racism and that will surely win the argument -- or so some liberals seem to believe.

4 hours ago
top

California Declares Carpooling Via Ride-Share Services Illegal

uncqual Re:Can we please cann these companies what they ar (288 comments)

However, if people using the cabs had instead had a friend or partner drive them to the airport (for example), the driver is often deadheading back to where they came from while a cab is more likely to pick up another fare without traveling the full distance of the original fare so there's less deadheading per trip. Thus, getting the same number of people to the airport by cab generally results in less total miles being driven than having someone else drive you so the cab is safer to society and creates less congestion.

One cab, ten 30 mile trips, 300 miles per day vs. Ten private cars, ten 30(+) mile trips, 300 miles per day - all pretty much the same (ignoring deadheading differences).

An inspection 3K miles would be once every ten days for the cab, once every 100 days for the private cars - again, mileage based on cars getting this sort of usage (if a car is only driven 2K miles per year, of course the time based inspections kick in for detecting time dependent decline in rubber components etc).

4 days ago
top

California Declares Carpooling Via Ride-Share Services Illegal

uncqual Re:Can we please cann these companies what they ar (288 comments)

Anyone who wants the security of a government certification for drivers "for hire", is free to choose a service offering that. Uber isn't trying to ban conventional taxi services.

Obviously if an Uber driver is claiming they are a licensed taxi service, they should be prosecuted for fraud -- but I've never heard of such claims being made.

Seriously, how many people audit a friend's insurance and financial records before accepting a ride from them?

4 days ago
top

California Declares Carpooling Via Ride-Share Services Illegal

uncqual Re:Can we please cann these companies what they ar (288 comments)

Go ahead and risk your life but don't risk the lives of paying passengers.

When dealing with vehicles on public roads many, perhaps most, life threatening mechanical failures also put those in other vehicles at risk. If I get hit by a car that loses control at 65MPH on the freeway because its front tire blew out, my heirs really don't care if the car that hit me was a "commercial" or "private" car -- they are just happy they were named in my trust.

If daily inspections are required for commercial vehicles, it seems they should be required for similar private vehicles.

In reality, only a few checks make sense every day. Glancing at tires daily to see if any appear to be flat is a sensible precaution as an embedded nail can cause a tire to leak down slowly and, overnight, make the car much less safe to drive than it was twelve hours earlier (although with the adoption of TPMS, this check is no longer as useful). However daily checks make little sense for most items (including tire wear) as "time degradation" is swamped by "mileage degradation"- drive belts would be an example of this (they should be checked a minimum of every M miles or W weeks but even most private cars will exceed M miles before W weeks between checks with modern drive belts).

Very few accidents involving modern cars are caused primarily by mechanical failure rather than driver error. It's not clear to me that an Uber driver is any less safe when driving paying passengers than when driving to meet a friend. In fact, driving to meet a friend may involve consumption of alcohol at the destination and a return trip in a slightly demeaned, but legal, state while the Uber driver is likely to be seeking another fare rather than hanging out at a bar after completing a paying mission.

4 days ago
top

Surprise! More Than Twice As Much Mercury In Environment As Thought

uncqual Re: Broken light bulbs. (173 comments)

Most consumer oral fever thermometers use a button cell battery of a size I don't keep around.

I keep lots of charged AA and AAA rechargeable batteries (Eneloop et al) around but that doesn't help me with the fever thermometers.

about two weeks ago
top

Surprise! More Than Twice As Much Mercury In Environment As Thought

uncqual Re:Broken light bulbs. (173 comments)

He didn't mention -- he fell off the ladder while removing the bulb and fell 12 feet (cathedral ceilings!) and hit his head on the edge of his Steelcase desk from the 50's (the ones that a lot of Cop shows have on the set). But, I'm pretty sure it was the mercury that had that remarkable effect, not the anxiety of if mercury was harmful or the concussion and blood loss.

about two weeks ago
top

Surprise! More Than Twice As Much Mercury In Environment As Thought

uncqual Re: Broken light bulbs. (173 comments)

You can buy thermometers with a bulb of mercury at any Chinese drugstore.

Awesome - thanks for the information.

I hate digital fever thermometers - when I need one every five or ten years, the battery is dead (and the very reason I want to take my temperature is the same reason I don't want, nor to people in the outside world want me, to go out at 3AM to find and buy a new one or a new battery). Fortunately, I still have a "backup" mercury thermometer that's close to 40 years old - but I've wondered where to buy a backup for the backup should it meet an untimely demise.

about two weeks ago
top

Could Tech Have Stopped ISIS From Using Our Own Heavy Weapons Against Us?

uncqual Re:Military equipment MUST just work on demand!! (448 comments)

With the timer disabling notion, presumably the expiration would be fairly long (days or weeks - perhaps varying based on operational conditions) and would be renewed regularly in normal conditions (such as hourly if normally done via satellite) and the equipment would begin to warn of failure of expected renewal quickly (such as after a couple missed renewals). Although this would not prevent the enemy from using a freshly captured device, it could keep them from using it for very long and there would be no "surprises" to the troops using the equipment due to sudden disabling due to timer expiration as they would have been receiving warnings for days or weeks of the impending disable event.

about two weeks ago
top

Could Tech Have Stopped ISIS From Using Our Own Heavy Weapons Against Us?

uncqual And inrease the cost to the US military. (448 comments)

Doing so would increase the cost of the US arming its own troops of course. Selling to foreign governments allows defense contractors to amortize the fixed R&D cost over more units and allows them to scale production more efficiently thereby reducing the unit cost.

about two weeks ago
top

Can ISO 29119 Software Testing "Standard" Really Be a Standard?

uncqual Re:Automated test in is a minimum (152 comments)

Qualified senior developers I know do some amount of all three and all have done a substantial amount of all three during various points in their career.

If you're considering just a "coder" (working, presumably, from some detailed design spec), that's probably a different matter (I've never worked anywhere that a "coder" job role existed), but a "dev" (a.k.a. "developer") is a much broader role than "coder" (and pays much better - so, yes, I probably pay them three times what I would pay a "coder" if I could find an efficient use for the latter). Anyone on my staff who only has potential to be a "coder", is sent on their way as it's faster to write the damned code than to write a detailed design spec that a one dimensional "coder" can code from -- and the result is generally much better (unless, of course, the detailed design spec is so detailed that the coder has to make no decisions -- in which case, just write the spec in Java or C++ and compile it).

about two weeks ago
top

Can ISO 29119 Software Testing "Standard" Really Be a Standard?

uncqual Re:It will "catch" on (152 comments)

Wait... I thought Healthcare.gov was coded long ago. Are you working on version 2?

about two weeks ago
top

Can ISO 29119 Software Testing "Standard" Really Be a Standard?

uncqual Re:Automated test in is a minimum (152 comments)

Asserts are fairly useless as a testing tool. Their excessive use can be extremely annoying as they clutter up the code and that clutter can increase the chances of introducing bugs.

However, responsible use of asserts can be quite useful in debugging - esp. when a customer is encountering a problem that is difficult to recreate (or, perhaps, nearly impossible from a practical standpoint because they won't give you access to their confidential data/environment). In those cases, running a "well asserted" debug version of the system on the customer site can sometimes help narrow the problem space substantially very quickly - not always of course, but the cost of running the test is often very small so it has a good ROI. Of course, if you're going to do this, you need to keep the asserts valid so systems test often needs to validate both the version WITH and the version WITHOUT the asserts enabled - else it's likely that the "well asserted" version has rotted and will result in a flurry of assert failures that actually don't represent a problem.

Of course if you're writing code that controls the United States nuclear weapon launch system, ignore the advice above.

about two weeks ago
top

Can ISO 29119 Software Testing "Standard" Really Be a Standard?

uncqual Re:Automated test in is a minimum (152 comments)

Does the average hobbyist dev have the skill set/ mind set of a tester? No.

FTFY.

If a developer doesn't have the mindset of a tester, perhaps they should find something else to do (maybe the local Walmart needs a greeter?) or be assigned support "on-call" more regularly so they can experience being waken at 3AM due to someone failing to design, implement, and test well. If someone doesn't have the mindset of a tester and their title is something like Senior Software Developer or higher, there is a serious title inflation problem in their workplace.

Design and implementation decisions, the classic "developer" roles, impact testing. Someone who doesn't grok and appreciate testing has no business playing a significant role in design. In my experience, one of the reasons that unit testing is sometimes quite hard (sometimes updating the unit tests takes much more effort than the corresponding modest change to the base code took) is that systems are rarely designed to be easily unit testable - commonly there's a "shadow" unit testing world of hacks layered on hacks relying on side effects of this subsystem or that subsystem that is cobbled together and labeled something like "the unit test environment".

When a developer commits code, they should be sure it works and take it personally (i.e., as a personal failing) and use it as a learning experience if the code fails either due to a design/coding error within the scope of the code (generally extending throughout the entire subsystem even if just one line in one module was changed) or misuse of some external service/API. Failures that arise from inter-subsystem interactions due to ambiguous specifications or not yet understood interactions are what testers should be finding (and the architects should usually be held accountable for those failures).

As well, you want developers to have a mindset of testing because they are then the most likely to develop and adapt tools that actually make testing a repeatable and low cost process.

about two weeks ago
top

Tesla Removes Mileage Limits On Drive Unit Warranty Program

uncqual Re:Battery (174 comments)

How much did Toyota get for your car vs. what Tesla gets for each Model S (counting the taxpayer's contribution)?

My Toyota is running fine after over ten years and I don't even bother with most "scheduled maintenance". Obviously oil and filter every so often (much less frequently than recommended), air filters, tires, batteries as needed. Only failure all those years has been I had to clean the MAF sensor to clear a 'check engine' light (did that myself). Some day I may change the spark plugs, belts, and hoses -- but so far no need.

Actually, every car I've purchased has been brand new well known Japanese brand badged and I've only once had anything eligible for a warranty repair. That was the original battery that went out just a couple months before its warranty expired -- and the dealer suggested that since I would have to pay the prorated replacement price I might just want to do down to the mom-and-pop battery place a couple miles away and save some money (which I did and did).

Of course, an anecdote isn't data and YMMV (there have been some lemons in the brands I've bought - I've just been lucky not to get one of these models).

about a month ago
top

Scientists Who Smuggle Radioactive Materials

uncqual Re:I've got it!!! (66 comments)

Unfortunately, there are no more TLAs left so the function will have to be folded into existing agencies.

about a month ago
top

Ask Slashdot: What To Do About the Sorry State of FOSS Documentation?

uncqual Re:LibreOffice suffers badly from this problem (430 comments)

Indeed. But those who claim that LibreOffice (et al) is "as good as or better than" MS office are just plain wrong because the documentation gap alone makes that claim untrue. It does not seem that the documentation gap is something that has been being improved aggressively in LibreOffice in spite of the gap being something that will hinder its acceptance in the non technical community (i.e., the majority of office suite users).

Obviously, if you only use plain text, you don't need either MS Office or LibreOffice so good/bad/non-existent documentation of either wouldn't matter to you as you would never look at it.

I suppose, we could think of LibreOffice as the "office suite" for techies who don't need or want an office suite - but I'm not sure that's their target market (if so, effort has been wasted on things like MS Office compatibility and the like).

None of this is condemning LibreOffice. It's just pointing out one aspect of LibreOffice that is not competitive. It's likely this won't change soon given the limited funding. I know a lot of developers who like to code as a hobby and will do it for no compensation but I don't recall working with any technical writer (including the best I've worked with) that wrote technical documents just for the joy of it (they are, in some cases, spending their evenings and weekend writing the Great American Novel or something more literary though).

I do use spreadsheets for certain types of data organization and charting and I do sometimes send/exchange/edit documents that are sufficiently complex that they benefit from visual and linking structure (chapters, headings, indexes, TOC etc) so although I use plain text for most things, I do use office suites (currently an ancient version of MS Office and a current version of LibreOffice -- the latter for stuff that is unlikely ever to leave my home network [except for backup of course!]).

about a month and a half ago
top

Ask Slashdot: What To Do About the Sorry State of FOSS Documentation?

uncqual LibreOffice suffers badly from this problem (430 comments)

For a product intended for use by non-techies, LibreOffice's end user documentation is horrible. It's uneven in coverage, lacks useful examples, and is generally not sufficiently detailed. Comparing MS Office's documentation to LIbreOffice's documentation should make this obvious to all involved in LibreOffice even if they, themselves, are not "non-techie end users" and think "just read the code" is a good answer. This lacking reduces the uptake of LibreOffice unfortunately.

Interestingly, the fact that MS Office code is not open forces MS to document its use well (although they probably would have anyway as MS does understand that a product is not just what the compiler spits out) - even if just so third party "self help" books can be reliably accurate.

about a month and a half ago
top

Mozilla Dumps Info of 76,000 Developers To Public Web Server

uncqual Re:Slashdot comments (80 comments)

Are ignorance, negligence, or arrogance better reasons not to behavior professionally and follow accepted best practices?

Sure, maybe I could have reviewed the code personally since, I assume, it's open source (as are, I assume all the administration scripts they use? Yeh, right). But, I probably use, directly or indirectly, nearly a billion lines of code every year - I really don't have time to review each change any more than I have the resources or interest to test each gallon of gasoline I put in my car for full compliance with all industry and governmental standards.

about a month and a half ago
top

Mozilla Dumps Info of 76,000 Developers To Public Web Server

uncqual What would one expect of an organization... (80 comments)

...that would think it was okay to screw over users with a new UI and not continue to provide security and stability updates for a few years to those who didn't want a new broken UI (something few successful commercial enterprise companies have managed to do). Or, thought it was okay to, a few days ago, push an update which either broke the UI further or broke a popular add-on that many of us were using to work around their earlier mistake.

If you can't get UIs right or understand that UI stability is important, there's no hope that you can get security or hard problems right.

Finally, after using Firefox since shortly after it was first released, I'm evaluating Chrome, Safari, and (ugh, but MS does understand users) IE. As much as it pains me, IE is looking better and better because I don't really want to spend time worrying about drive-by updates that break my world any more than I look forward to spending my time worrying about drive-by updates to my porch light or microwave oven intended to give me "better" (NOT) functionality. Sad, but my job isn't to work around broken UIs in utilities and spend hours figuring out how to restore behavior similar to prior behavior in order to get security updates to previous sloppy code at unexpected moments. This reminds me of the mid/late 90's when you couldn't trust Microsoft updates not to break your system.

It's unwise to trust amateurs with any of your information. Therefore, none of this is newsworthy. Just abandon Mozilla and don't waste your time contributing (obviously, though, spend a few minutes closing your accounts @ Mozilla). I'm sad to have been driven to this conclusion as I like Open Source and Free (not as in Beer) Software, but also it's not worth my time to try each harebrained alpha product and search for workarounds in hopes of getting security updates. Sometimes it just makes more sense to go with professionals.

about a month and a half ago
top

How Many Members of Congress Does It Take To Pass a $400MM CS Bill?

uncqual Re:Easy enough (180 comments)

I've thought this as well -- although I think $50K per head corporate H-1B tax is too high for many cases. It just needs to be high enough to make absolutely sure that it swamps the "fudging" on pay rates that companies do for H-1Bs. I think something like 20-25% of salary is enough.

There's plenty of times I would have happily paid that tax because there just weren't any great candidates available except H-1Bs. I hate hiring H-1Bs because of the paperwork, but have done it when I need to and have never paid them less because they were H-1Bs (and, it cost more in reality because of the legal costs, my time, and HR's time).

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

uncqual hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

uncqual has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>