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Comment: $8 million robots (Score 1) 33

by rho (#44713993) Attached to: The Augmented Reality America's Cup

The last meaningful America's Cup races were held in the late '80s. Somebody squinted hard enough at the 12-meter rules and entered a multi-hull. Now it's just a matter of who spends the most money on a carbon fiber boat with a wing sail. This is a sailing race of fundamentally unseaworthy vessels. It would be literally be safer to cross an ocean in a dinghy than in one of these monstrosities.

Come September, do yourself a favor. Watch Deep Water on Netflix. Read any book on Ernest Shackleton. Read any Lin and Larry Pardey book. You'll finish all three before the America's Cup race is over, and you'll know more about sailing than watching every second of the America's Cup races.

Comment: Re:We should build software like we build software (Score 1) 432

by rho (#42763529) Attached to: Is 'Brogramming' Killing Requirements Engineering?

It's actually fairly common for construction projects to run into changes. While nobody requests to turn a shed into a skyscraper, large changes that touch many disciplines occur quite regularly.

The difference between AEC and programming projects is a long history and legal framework that deals with these changes. Projects are given a budget, and that budget is often paid out at milestones--design development, 95%, construction documents, etc. If the owner requests a substantial change, or if a change is required because of unknowable circumstances, the budget is either revised or the work is value-engineered to fit--and this reality is reflected in the contract signed at the beginning.

The problem with programming projects is that there are not very many really good programmers, and programming is not suited to throwing more warm bodies at the problem. AEC is plate spinning, while programming is juggling. You can hire a bunch of folks to help keep the plates spinning, but you can't just send in somebody to help juggle.

Comment: Re:Comment-free programming (Score 1) 399

by rho (#42600633) Attached to: <em>Doom 3</em> Source Code: Beautiful

Auto-documentation is good stuff nowadays. Everything changes so much, and so quickly, that enforced documentation standards lead to better understanding of the underlying API or intent.

(As an example, why is PHP so popular? It's not because it's beautiful, or elegant. It is, however, very accessible, largely due to good documentation.)

Good comments--that are not prescriptive for whatever autodoc tool you use--are invaluable, but bad or marginal ones do more harm than good, especially in interpreted languages. You can condense 4 lines of comments into a 22-character, well-constructed function call/local variable and accomplish the same goal.

Comment: Re:Just require activation (Score 1) 167

by rho (#41058763) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Using a Sandbox To Deal With Spambots?

For extra points you could probably modify the registration process in all kinds of manners which would confound an automated and replay attacks. Chances are that for the average forum it would be sufficient that no script would even bother to defeat it and would simply move onto softer targets.

This is the answer, more or less. For small-to-middling forums, reducing spam is pretty easy. A few volunteers to delete the ones that get through suffices for the rest.

It breaks down to 1) keep out easy drive-by spammers, which means registration with a valid email address and some kind of barrier to detour the smarter bots (ReCaptcha and the like); 2) filter posts through Akismet or similar method; 3) have a community large enough and engaged enough to want to zero out spam posts.

The third step is the hardest, and has nothing to do with spam posts.

Comment: Who decides what information I care about? (Score 1) 256

by DunbarTheInept (#34260484) Attached to: Emergency Broadcast System Coming To Cell Phones

Do I get to register preferences about what messages I will want to receive, or will some wanker with authority decide that for me? The last thing I want is for the person who decides which messages are important being of the same mindset as the nimrod who thought passengers at an airport need to be reminded every 5 minutes exactly what the list of banned items on airplanes are - again and again and again and again while you wait for your flight. (What's really dumb about that recorded TSA message is that it interrupts other PA messages that are NOT repetitive and thus should have higher priority. What's more important - the message that is identical to the one you heard 5 minutes ago and will hear again 5 minutes from now, or the message that's unique and you'll only hear once? You should never stifle the one-off message with the repeated one, and yet that's what airports do. (I just returned from a trip where I heard my name on the PA trying to tell me something and it got interrupted like this and I never found out what it was about until it was too late. It turns out I had gotten a standby slot on a flight, but missed the chance because the PA system was designed by morons who think recorded repeated messages take precedence.))

Anyway, I don't want the same sort of moron deciding what messages come to my phone (or worse yet, which ones are allowed to interrupt a phone call) without my say-so.

Comment: No sympathy from this old-time slashdotter. (Score 1) 470

by DunbarTheInept (#34066638) Attached to: IE6 Addiction Inhibits Windows 7 Migrations

No sympathy here. They get what they deserve. These are the myopic idiots that didn't care about the detrimental effects of vendor-tie-ins when they were hurting OTHERs with this garbage. They get no sympathy from me now that it's come full circle to bit themselves in the ass.

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British Pizza Chain To Install Cones of Silence 122

Posted by samzenpus
from the sound-of-silence dept.
itwbennett writes "British pizza chain Pizza Express is installing iPod docks and soundproof domes in booths of their new iPizzeria stores. 'The idea is that you can plug in your iPod and play whatever music you like without disturbing other diners,' says blogger Peter Smith. 'But I'm sure it'd work for talking about government secrets and other spy stuff, too.'"

Be careful when a loop exits to the same place from side and bottom.

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