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Comment Re:The difference is starting us in the face, yet (Score 1) 568

OK. So follow this through logically for a moment.

Engineering - Professional Engineers - is a tightly defined field, and is primarily required by government works. There are standards and specifications to which things must be built, based on known material strengths and capabilities.

If it is exploratory work, it's not engineering, it's science. No PE is going to sign off on "clean room" type materials which haven't been subjected to a battery of tests. The materials available for common structural construction are fairly static and change very, very slowly - it's merely in how they're assembled which really changes, but their properties and interactions are largely static.

Consider how that doesn't apply to software, at all. And even if it did, how exactly are you going to scope the exams for being eligible to design a steering servo's control software? Whereas you need a single PE for a bridge design, sometimes a couple depending on the size of the project, the code for that steering servo is going to be reviewed by a team of software people. It's a very different approach.

Comment Here we go again (Score 3, Interesting) 568

Look, 'software developers' are, to a large part, engineering software. They're making a machine, an engine designed for a specific purpose. I don't personally think MOST 'software engineers' qualify as actual engineers, they're neither bright enough nor especially forward thinking enough. But you're not going to hoist a regulatory body on an industry like software... we don't want it, and it won't help the industry. (Though, that's never stopped government before...)

The fact that so, so many software developers are shitty engineers is besides the point. There are many, many shitty "real" engineers out there, too. The difference is that the damage of a single bad software 'engineer' is negligible compared to the damage of a single bad real world engineer.

Knowing quite a few of both, I would say the biggest mindset difference between a software developer and an engineer is whether they're conservative or liberal. Software developers, for whatever reason, almost invariably seem to be very politically liberal, which I feel is the same mindset reflected in a lot of the disastrous "cleverness" so many developers inflict on people, but also in the ability to write extremely useful tools. Licensed engineers almost always seem to be fundamentally conservative (as are most good systems people), if not necessarily culturally or socially. Now, there are definitely exceptions to those rules, but for the most part they seem to be true - desire for pushing their own ideas, versus desires for order.

Now, there are definitely people in the field who should be called "engineers", though they're typically not developers. They're the ones who are finding design, implementation, or use case issues - and those disciplines almost never fall under an 'engineering' title. (Though, Senior Software Engineers or whatever are often doing this, as well.)

Comment Lazy approach (Score 1) 236

I'm cheap, and always have been, so it's an easy choice. Google has made this immeasurably easier.

There are a number of TVs in the house, and I have this thing called "wifi".

I picked up a couple of the Google Chromecast dongles for $25 each, and they go in the TV. We have Android phones in the house, so we use Chromecast to stream pretty much everything to the TV - Amazon Prime, Netflix, or the local Plex server.

Local media (movies and audio) are kept on a FreeNAS box, and Plex is one of the trivially configured plugins available (through the FreeBSD jail system).

I also have wireless HDMI adapters, so that solves the "I want an extra monitor while I'm working from the living room" problem.

I also have a rooted Wii (with eg. dlna client) and a Blueray/DVD player, so there are alternative means of streaming if an Android phone isn't available... but there are at least 6 in the house...

If I had a stereo to speak of, I'd just use something like the Chromecast Audio dongles for the same functionality (or maybe, this:

Conveniently, all my media is also available through Plex wherever I go with Internet access.

Really, the only limit for full home automation is your budget, at this point. it's trivial to do with ubiquitous home automation kits... My favorite is Ubiquiti brand.

Comment forward looking design (Score 1) 557

The biggest complaint I've had about my homes is that they weren't built in a forward looking fashion.

All of the wiring was designed and installed in a fashion which requires the house to be gutted to upgrade it to code.
Some of the materials used were designed to be replaced or fail (eg. cheap orangeberg sewage utility plumbing), with difficulty in replacing.
No foresight was given to the durability of the structure (eg. having to replace the roof every couple years due to hail) in terms of costly maintenance and time.

So for my list:

* The structure would be a large monolithic dome, for durability.
* The entire structure would be built with 'false walls' between the living space and the exterior wall(s) to allow for easy access to eg. power runs.
* There would be a raised floor, to allow for easy access to...
* Heating, which would be run in a similar fashion as electric, eg. under the floor water heat, provided by eg. pex tubing.
* Since the structure is basically a large faraday cage, fibre would be run to an external structure to allow for outdoor wireless technology expansion.
* Solar would naturally be integrated, with the wiring put in place to allow for future expansion if necessary (both in the utility room via additional capacity on the fuse box, but also at wherever the power is generated). If Google can leave a large amount of their fibre dark to await capacity, I don't see why I can't do this with copper.
* Several additional sub-juncture fuse boxes would be placed throughout the house - one for the kitchen, one for the garage, one for the basement. Just something small. No point in having a purely single-star power topography.
* Solar concentrators windows/lights on the roof would assist by providing light to the house while at the same time powering solar.
* The house would undoubtedly leverage geothermal for power (hopefully) and heating/cooling, as heat exchangers are quite efficient and monolythic domes have notably low energy cost.
* Large windows (where appropriate) would have the newer panes which automatically dim the environment and/or can be used for projection purposes.
* Power outlets would be placed every 5 feet along walls and counters.

For security, I would likely install something like UniFi (ubiquiti) based cameras. I'm a fan of their power control systems as well, so those would also be used for lighting and such. I'd probably also consider using x10, simply because it offers a bit more flexibility and no lock-in.

But then, replacing eg. in-wall power outlets is fairly straightforward.

Comment Re:Sudden? (Score 1) 268

What I'm curious to see: do they have any actual ice sheet data? You know, from this half of the past decade?

Because, yeah, we know this shit already, up until around 2009, it got warm and ice melted. Then it started cooling again. And now, we're passed the 'benchmark lots-of-ice' from the 1970s (the one that's been used for alarmist claims since then about ice sheet levels), according to NASA. There's now markedly more ice in the arctic than ever before*!

* or, at least, since it started to all melt in the 1970s.

Comment Re:Article doesn't answer two biggest questions (Score 1) 108

Exactly my thought.

The review is useless without mention of battery life, frankly. If it's not at least comparable to a Nexus 4, well... I'd hope for significantly more.

I'm mostly concerned with "do I have to put this thing on a charger to just make a phone call every now and then".

Comment does this really surprise anyone? (Score 1) 164

Think about this for a second. Why is this surprising?

I don't know about other people here, but I don't even check my voicemail anymore. Google handles that, and has for years. The voicemail transcription I get through Google Voice is almost always good enough that I can determine who called, what they want, and where to call them back to talk further.

Keep in mind, this is a 'free' service to me, I don't pay anything. Due to the volume of people they do it for, I'm certain they they're trying to meet economies of scale and reducing the overhead. Who do you think funds the storage, equipment, etc. for all of this? Adsense?

And it's no secret that the NSA had early involvement with Google.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 263

The simple (and reasonably inexpensive) thing to do here would be to have a display system, with a large LCD TV. Then update the two (LCD and site) from the same data. It's not perfect, but will be just as 'useable' by the shop.

There are three local bars using this approach for their beers, and a hamburger shop (which has a decidedly static menu). One of the bars went to this approach (from multiple 5'x5' chalk boards on multiple floors) because they had too many beers which changed entirely too often - they'd often be altering the board several times an evening.

(That said, I prefer the chalkboard, but this does address the irritation of the problem you have.)

Comment Re:Expensive (Score 1) 183

I don't know, it seems to me it may be less determinate - people of all ages die, not just the old.

I'm sure that, over several dozen generations, warfare would be somewhat more refined to be less catastrophically destructive. It will be fought other ways. Today, half the world's at war, and it doesn't result in most of the remainder even being aware of it.

Comment Re:Enjoy years of splitting between 5 and 6 (Score 1) 192

The reasons why perl is still (heavily) used is because of several reasons, I think (for good or bad):

1) The only people who can really read the code in an effective fashion are those who wrote it
2) The perl code that was written is immensely featureful/powerful for what it is, and it does its job well.
3) The types of people who work on software are not the same caliber of 'systems' people as the perl people from yester-year
4) Societal linguistic ability, as well as what we are able to appreciate, has somewhat declined (become more terse) in the past 20 years...

Comment Re:yes. Ex: some overuse of punctuation removed (Score 1) 192

That was /is a big part of the appeal to perl 5 for me.

Perhaps this is a bad example, but "five plus five, which is then divided by seven" may be more clear and consistent, but (5+5)/7 is easier to express - and i'ts formulaic, so it's easier for me to remember.

I really don't want to be verbing nouns and nouning verbs to write a regular expression.

Comment Re:Perl lets me do what I want (Score 1) 192

I agree with everything you said. Having said that, however, perl should not be used but for the simplest of things in the professional world... it's simply not maintainable, because its use encourages the "many ways to do it" mentality, and then nobody can grok what over developers have done. It's certainly at least part of the saying "perl is the only thing that can interpret perl" saying.

Comment really? (Score 1) 192

I was actually not aware that Perl 6 was still, actually, being developed as "someone may use this for real".

I, unlike many people, like perl. Please don't get me wrong - I'm not trying to flame here. I personally love perl (5), and I'd say it's the language I'm most comfortable/familiar with. It's what I've used for years when I've needed to write something.

But I fully realize that perl is not preferred by many, if not most, these days. It has been replaced in preference by python for many (most?) sysadmins and devops. Legacy mission critical perl code (second to, perhaps, old PHP) is, in my experience, the most reviled thing out there - not because the language is bad, but because so many truly horrible developers (think: those who work on Enterprise Java now for a living) wrote it - and bad perl is worse than pretty much anything and everything else due to how 'creative' it let people be. Most developers really shouldn't try to be creative; it ends badly for everyone but the developer (should he want a perpetual job maintaining the code).

Perl just isn't used all that much anymore, and you tend to get yelled at for trying to do so. I personally think this is sad: what other scripting language will work (often without having to install much, if anything, to get it working) on everything from Windows, to Linux, to FreeBSD, to AIX, and god knows what else, completely seamlessly (assuming it was only written in perl and did not system() stuff all over the place). BASH and even simple SH scripts will not do this.

Perl was written and adopted in the era when CGI was still common, if not still relatively young - almost 20 years ago. In the interim, other languages have come on (ruby, python) which are more pragmatic if you're dealing with common developers with common tasks, and it's use (as well as the many, many modules available for use have gone out of repair. What's more, perl 6 largely fragmented interest in further maintenance/development of perl.

I'm really not sure what perl 6 has to offer over perl 5, or other languages - it does appear to be quite the paradigm change, from what I recall reading a couple years ago... I wish it well but doubt it'll see much adoption.

Yes, we will be going to OSI, Mars, and Pluto, but not necessarily in that order. -- Jeffrey Honig