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Comment Re:It's a NEV, it's not allowed over 25mph (Score 1) 350

An NEV is also an extremely good design choice for a prototype vehicle - I wasn't aware that Google had taken advantage of this. We're all clear that neighborhoods, residential streets, etc. are the most difficult for an autonomous vehicle to navigate. Testing in a vehicle that is MANDATED to travel slowly is an intelligent engineering approach.

If you don't like the idea of a slow vehicle, then argue with the lawmakers, don't blame the smart engineers.

It's also a very handy law if you want to take your recliner to work with you. Because the maximum speed is 25mph, the requirements (safety, lighting, etc.) for building such a vehicle are minimal.

Comment Re:So what? (Score 1) 246

No. The Republicans want to use the ACA as a weapon but would be devastated if it went away. It was written by one of their biggest donor groups (the health insurance industry) who continue to salivate at the premiums that are being paid to them by the government. They also protected another donor group - big Pharma - by inserting an amendment to prohibit drug price negotiation.

What's surprising is that Kentucky is in the mix. Mitch McConnell pretty much ran on a ticket of how much better Kynect - the Kentucky exchange - was than the ACA. Since Kynect IS the ACA you start to wonder at the stupidity of the average McConnell supporter.

Comment Re:What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (Score 5, Insightful) 278

and the first clue should have been "negotiated in secret". This is almost all the bad IP parts of the bills the Congress has been trying to pass but couldn't because of the public scrutiny (see SOPA, CISPA, etc.). Now they just get to vote "yes" on a "jobs" bill. The only remaining question is can they do it without drooling at the prospect of the campaign finance monies they'll get for doing the bidding of their handlers.

Comment Re:You really make it hard (Score 1) 308

they will leave in bugs [...] to ensure any apps relying on that continue to work. I've submitted my share of bugs that ended up in the "won't fix" pile due to this.

This is often not good for any API. What tends to happen is the another function with the bug fix is created and then you end up with groups of functions (A,B,C,D and W,X,Y,Z) that have apparently the same functionality, but if you mix calls between the two groups you end up with the most obscure and difficult to find bugs. I suspect that this, and the half a dozen different string pools account in large measure for the legendary instability of Win32 API applications.

Comment Re:Netbeans is looking just fine (Score 1) 141

I think you've missed something. If you're using Maven then you have a compile cycle. Eclipse incremental compilation takes, effectively, no time. Hot-swapping frequently saves restarting the application and getting it back to the state where you can reproduce the bug.

NetBeans does not do either of these well

Remote debugging is always very cool, but it's a little frustrating in that when you finally finish a session with Eclipse, including hot-swapping code on the fly - you then have to actually compile the remote application (personally I use Ant, but Maven would be just as frustrating - time spent watching the application compile).

J2EE apps are mostly awash between the two environments since there's almost always a compile/redeploy phase.

Comment Re:Netbeans is looking just fine (Score 1) 141

I assume that there is some type of application for which NetBeans is as good as (or better than) Eclipse - that application is NOT desktop/standalone Java application.

As a long-time Eclipse user, I moved to NetBeans for just short of two years before the delay when starting an application and the very flaky dependency building (when multiple projects are included in the final application) drove me over the edge and back to Eclipse.

In Eclipse you hit "debug" and it starts debugging the application. In NetBeans you hit "debug" and it starts to compile. Change code in Eclipse, hit save, and quite often the application continues with the new code. In NetBeans the on-the-fly debug changes are unreliable and slow (another compile cycle).

Haven't tried IntelliJ but if I have to wait for it to compile I have no interest.

Comment Fix the Date, Phone and Reservation ID (Score 1) 187

Haven't tried United recently, but websites where they ask you for a US phone number and then complain that you entered dashes, spaces, etc. really piss me off. A US phone number is 10 digit. If you ignore everything that isn't a digit and end up with 10 digits (or it starts with a 1 and you have eleven) then it's a freaking phone number.

Credit card numbers ditto.

Reservation number. If the first character is a space (as it often is after a copy/paste from e-mail) then ignore it and take the rest of the characters and see if they match the format you defined.

The date is a little trickier but not much.

If the people you hired to program the site can't manage these simple basics, there's really not much hope that the site is secure.

Comment Re:News? (Score 1) 425

I chose music because most people can relate at some level, but I think that the logic is true for just about any human endeavour. You could teach any kid to skateboard, but not every one could reach the Tony Hawk level. I don't think that just anyone could reach Zhihao Chen's level in Dota or chess grand master level.

Just as anyone can participate adequately in any of those activities, not every programming task requires extreme talent. However, if you do have a task that requires someone from the top end of the bell curve, I don't think that any amount of training will move someone from the bottom end to the top (or most of the middle to the top).

Comment Re:News? (Score 5, Interesting) 425

I would agree with this in the same way I would agree that anyone can learn to play a musical instrument. However, I still think it take an innate talent as well a (lot of) training to become an orchestral soloist.

Not to overwork the metaphor, but there are also people who would work in menial jobs so that they could program at night if it weren't for the fact you can make a living programming - the same people who have jobs coding and write software, say for open source projects, on weekends.

The real problem is weeding out the people who have no interest but still try to make a living writing code. I can only assume that those people write some of the websites out there, such as the ones that insist you enter credit card numbers without spaces or other punctuation. It's a 16 digit number, you can ignore anything that isn't a digit and feed it through the payment service to see if it's valid.

Comment Should all car drivers be able to ride a horse? (Score 1) 362

Should all car drivers be accomplished horse riders? Well yes obviously! You never know when your car will break down, run out of gas, etc. and you'll need to hitch up a horse to get you home.

I think that it's pretty clear that within a few 10s of years the car with a driver will be the anomaly. The economic advantage in large areas of transportation (trucking, taxis, deliver, etc. etc.) are so huge that the technology will be adopted, and the transition to home vehicles is inevitable because the cost is minimal and the advantages great.

These discussions will look really stupid, probably before mid-century.

Submission + - Vintage Nasa photographs for sale (

Art Challenor writes: Vintage Nasa photographs for sale

A collection of vintage photographs by Nasa's pioneering astronauts goes under the hammer at Bloomsbury Auctions in London on 26 February 2015.

It includes images not published before, some taken on the surface of the Moon during the early days of space exploration.

Comment Re:The big picture (Score 1) 211

Since these insurance companies wouldn't insure millions of people at a reasonable price until the government forced the issue it eludes me how this is "crony capitalism". It's not as if the insurance companies were lobbying in favor of insuring poor people.

Actually, the insurance companies wrote much of the bill and are estatic about insuring anyone, especially when the government is paying them. Effective compeitition (a pubic option) or allowing medicaid to negotiate drug prices with the drug companies might have helped with cost control, but those were both nix'd extremely early in the process.

"Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed." -- Robin, The Boy Wonder