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Comment Sometimes (Score 4, Insightful) 568

Are you actually doing engineering work? Scoping out and building a system? If so calling yourself just a "programmer" may cheapen the scope of work you do. Moreover, the author points to huge software failures as examples of things that won't happen in Engineering, but bridges and buildings collapse too, trains derail, car designs turn out to be duds or unsafe, etc. Plenty of what the author defines as "real" engineering has run into the same problems he highlights in software. The author, frankly, seems to have a beef with software as a concept, and a problem understanding its role in the modern world. To answer the post title though: not all programming is engineering, but there is plenty of programming that is.

Comment Re:Totally Agree (Score 1) 568

Unlike law, medicine and traditional engineering fields, software development is completely unregulated with no real standard certifications (even a degree is optional). This is nice for letting skilled yet uncertified people into the field and allowing self-taught people to capitalize on their self-investment.

The IOT-craze will probably force us to take a second look at this as craptastic software will have an even greater influence on the tangible world and people that live in it.

Developers usually do not shoulder outward responsibility for the applications they write.

On the flip side, most of what we consider "real" engineering was more of an apprenticeship than anything else up until the 20th century, with no degree most of the time either.

Comment Almost same as OP, diff outcome (Score 1) 363

When I took Linear Algebra the prof (also the undergraduate chair in addition) had written the textbook. The commercial version, which could be bought on amazon and which other schools used, cost around the same as the one the article mentions. For any classes *at* my school the school had a special version printed and bound especially for them. The printing and binding wasn't the greatest quality and it only included the material used in the specific curriculum of the school, but it was $25 at the university book store. I've always thought that was really cool and I always respected the prof for that.

Comment Re:Can disrupt? How about INTENDED to disrupt! (Score 1) 194

That's because the feds have been studiously trying to keep them under wraps, but the majority of users do appear to be locals, for ex the ACLU's tracking page here. The FBI has been interfering with court cases where they are filing amicus briefs and injunctions to attempt to prevent disclosures of local use of stingrays, which is why the feds are *particularly* prominent in this.

Comment Re: Non-scientist at work (Score 3, Informative) 292

I'll bite. Ballard's discovery wasn't "accidental". He'd been pushing a new way of searching for wrecks, which he wanted to use to find the Titanic. The Navy thought his work was perfect for looking for a lost sub. They funded him for a set number of days, using his well known desire to search for the Titanic as a cover, with the deal that he could look for the Titanic with his remaining time after (if) he found the sub - first he found the latter, then the former The only irony is that the Navy was initially concerned that the publicity in actually finding the Titanic would make people wonder why the Navy had bothered funding a search for a passenger liner, but the huge amount of acclaim meant that no one really ever dug deeper into the mission till more recent times.

Comment Re:So? (Score 1) 175

There are jobs the electric tools can do that human muscle can not. Try boring a quarter inch dia. hole through an inch of case hardened 4140 chromemoly hand drill and get back to us.

Or just will do massively better and faster - I just had to drill through 3 layers of masonry to run new lines at work. I'm sure I *could* have done it manually, but the hammer drill I had did it with a nice clean inch wide circular hole in only a few mins. The best tool for a job is the one that lets you get it done right, get it done fast, and move on. It's nice to make sure you have a manual backup around, but electric tools get the job done for most people.

Comment Re:Still pretty affordable (Score 1) 393

because it's not *just* for the charging network, it's to stimulate growth of the whole industry - and that starts with having an install base of the *cars*. Get enough EV machines on the road and there will be a lot of third party things made for them. It's better to stimulate the primary driving force behind that than one specific aspect

"Sometimes insanity is the only alternative" -- button at a Science Fiction convention.