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Comment Re:Forfeit all revenues from sales (Score 1) 370

I find it interesting that VW are throwing their software engineers under the bus over this.

This just isn't something that a couple of developers could independently do, unless VW's oversight and change control is absurdly sloppy. It's going to require at least someone involved in the testing telling the software engineers "we have a problem, can you do something to make the car pass in the test cell" - software engineers don't just generally add code like this for fun. One would imagine there would also be code reviews and audit given that engine management system software is now a safety of life issue (think drive-by-wire throttle, which this code would likely touch).

While it's probably true that Cxx level management weren't aware of what was going on, I find it extremely hard to believe that at least some layers of management were not actively involved with this, and people auditing the software were not actively involved in this. If they weren't, and really just a couple of software guys can put code into the engine management system with anyone being the wiser then this is probably worse (and then the Cxx level people definitely carry some of the culpability for allowing such a sloppy regime in safety critical systems).

Comment Re:Maybe (Score 1) 370

Well, no. Where I live an electric car is powered by natural gas (the only generation we have here). In the UK, depending on where you lived, your electric car may be nuclear powered, gas powered, wind powered or coal powered. Coal is on the wane, being replaced by natural gas and wind. If you live in France, your electric car is nuclear powered pretty much all the time (France generates more than 100% of its power needs with nuclear, exporting the balance to neighbouring countries).

Comment Re:Not the total cost! (Score 2) 415

You also have to include the cost to maintain the fossil fuel plants that back up the fossil fuel plants, in the fossil fuel analysis.

The UK National Grid maintains a "spinning reserve". This has to be big enough to cope with a couple of large fossil fuel or nuclear plants going offline suddenly, which does happen from time to time (and there have been blackouts when there was not enough spinning reserve when two power stations went offline - for unrelated reasons - within minutes of each other). From the point of the UK National Grid, nuclear, coal and gas are seen as "intermittent power sources". Sizewell B, one of the largest generators in the country, could go from full capacity to zero in an instant, without any warning, if a problem occurs - and suddenly you're without a terawatt of generating capacity. Wind power on the other hand doesn't suffer this problem, wind generators are small and numerous and the loss of one of them doesn't have that kind of impact since at most they are only about 2MW each. Over the period of the next hour or two, wind is also extremely predictable. The wind doesn't just unexpectedly stop blowing. Also in the UK, it tends to be windiest when power demand is highest, those dull winter days when it's doing horizontal rain and everyone's got the lights on.

Of course you still need an alternative for when the whole country is under a high pressure system and there's not much wind at all. But any power generation system alone isn't a silver bullet, that's why we don't just have solely nuclear, or solely gas, or solely coal, or solely oil - we have a mix of different fuelled generation.

Comment Perl (Score 5, Insightful) 161

I used perl a lot over the years.

comparing it to a compiled language (C, Ada, Fortran, etc) or a web centric (java, java script, php, etc) language is not a good comparison.

when I need something done (and needed more than the shell) and I had to maintain it.
I wrote it in perl.

all sorts of sysadmin widgets.
many are still being used today (15+ years later)
I wrote clean decent code with comments & modules.
finding the cpu & disk hogs, by the day, week & month.
who was running what when the system crashed.
cgi code for low volume web server tasks
updating DNS
queueing outgoing faxes & saving history
rotating log files and saving a limited number of copies.

how much code have you written ? and had it stay running for decades ?
the people that took over my positions when I changed jobs never had a problem updating the code or using it.

Comment Re:If the black cabs have a legal monopoly... (Score 1) 215

But London has had minicabs too for years (these are cabs you can't just hail in the street, you have to phone them to get one) and these are regulated under less onerous regulations than the black cabs. What makes Uber different to any other minicab service that's currently up and running in London? Nothing really, other than you press buttons on your mobile phone's touch screen to order one, instead of talking into your mobile phone's microphone.

Comment Re: They demanded my ID and power bill (Score 1) 232

What is a "real name" in Facebook's definition, anyway? I know many people who are not known by the name printed in their passport. There's two people at the place I work who are not known by the first name their parents gave them and that is printed in their passport. I'd argue the name we know them by is still their "real name" (more so in fact) than the name printed in their passport.

In any case I'd just photoshop mine if they asked.

Comment Re:Facebook SHOULD require real names (Score 4, Informative) 232

I never use my real name online.

I do not harass or abuse people.
                  (excepting lawyers, trolls, politicians, religious nuts, math failures & the RIAA)
No one needs their life judged by the internet community.
Or their identity stolen.

Been on Facebook about 5 years without a real name.
When they demand one, I will just sign up under another non-real alias.
Or discontinue it entirely

Truly simple systems... require infinite testing. -- Norman Augustine