Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Why the hate for VB (Score 1) 123

by careysub (#49515663) Attached to: Swift Tops List of Most-Loved Languages and Tech

...Almost always, a goto statement indicates sloppy design on the part of the coder. I think I have only come across one instance in my professional life where a goto was actually not a bad option (maybe even the best, or least worst option). And I've been coding for around 30 years now. Also, there is a reason why coders almost instantly fell in love with the object-oriented paradigm. Almost overnight, it cleaned up a lot of code. Granted, it is not a perfect paradigm, but it does seem to work well in a surprising number of cases. Just sayin'.

Structured programming constructs already did the heavy lifting on the Curse of the Go-To, a decade before OO languages became generally available.

But yes, with exceptions available (handling error breakouts in otherwise clean logic) the last reason to use a go to died.

Comment: Re:/farthermost/ (Score 1) 74

Stretch it to 2015 and throw in a bit of smoothing. It appears that "farthermost" and "furthermost" track each other in usage over a period of over two centuries, with furthermost always being more popular, and with both being in decline since 1920. Until 2000. Then the usages turn upward. We are an era of "further/farthermost" renaissance!

Comment: I don't know what it is but I know what it costs (Score 1) 586

by goodmanj (#49513697) Attached to: William Shatner Proposes $30 Billion Water Pipeline To California

Just for future reference, if you find yourself in a position of authority and someone comes to you with a solution to your pressing problem, and he doesn't know exactly what the solution is or how to make it happen, but he knows exactly how much it costs? You throw that guy out on the street, because that guy is at best a con artist, at worst utterly clueless. (Yes, in that order.)

Comment: Re:Idiotic (Score 1) 555

Indeed. I used to be a budget analyst for the state legislature in my state, and the cost for the various procedures that are followed in the event the prosecutor is asking for a death sentence runs about a million dollars. The extra costs cover a very thorough audit of the process, from initial investigation through final sentencing, and the costs of the appeals up through several levels of courts. State prison costs run about $35K per year per inmate, so that million dollars would cover almost 30 years of incarceration. The entire legal process from beginning to end typically takes ten years, so the state will pay for 10 years incarceration in addition to the million.

The death sentence is seldom sought. We do have one case in progress now where the prosecutor is seeking the death sentence; the accused killed 12 and injured 70 in a mass shooting. I can fairly safely say that the accused did it, as he offered, through his attorney, to plead guilty if the sentence was life without parole. After almost three years, the case has reached jury selection. The trial will be a travesty of dueling experts arguing over whether the accused was insane at the time or not. I figure there's a fair chance the verdict will be not guilty by reason of insanity, and he'll still get life without parole despite all the bills the prosecutor is racking up.

Comment: Re:energy needed (Score 1) 159

by DerekLyons (#49511475) Attached to: ISS Could Be Fitted With Lasers To Shoot Down Space Junk

Once momentum of the object has slowed below orbital speed, it should fall towards earth and burn up in the atmosphere.

Slowing it below orbital speed just makes the whole problem 100x harder due to the vastly increased amount of time you need to hold the laser steady on target. All you actually need to do is get the periapsis down to around 200-300km, and atmospheric drag will do the rest.

Tracking should not be that hard as radar aimed weapons have been around for many years.

Tracking isn't the problem - aiming the laser at, and holding it steady on, the target is the problem.

Comment: Alright then.. (Score 0) 168

by DerekLyons (#49511261) Attached to: Assange Talk Spurs UK Judges To Boycott Legal Conference

notice how they aren't publishing leaks of any kind of quality for the last several years.

They helped Snowden get out of the US and then from Hong Kong to Russia, and then helped him to stay there with his girlfriend. That was only June 2013, so clearly they have been doing some very useful work in the "last several years".

Nice try, but sorry, no. The grandparent discussed "quality material", not aiding fugitives. Taking a quick glance at Wikipedia, it looks like they stopped releasing anything of note around 2013.

Wikileaks can only leak what people give to them. You can't really blame them for not releasing more stuff, since it's not like they write it themselves.

Which raises the question, why aren't people giving them stuff anymore? Certainly part of it is tinfoil hat paranoia (justified or no) - but I suspect a large part of it is Assange's hijacking Wikileaks to serve as a platform for his ego and fallout from the internal political battles back in 2010 or so.

Comment: Re:you don't want their actions. (Score 1) 92

by ScentCone (#49511175) Attached to: D-Link Apologizes For Router Security

A complete disregard for the customers because there is ZERO penalty for producing a shitty product.

Do you purchase their products? Will you in the future? Will you be recommending their products to any people or businesses that you know? Will you be praising or condemning them in venues like this?

What penalty did you have mind beyond them losing sales?

Should we criminalize imperfect software? Let's see some of your code.

Comment: Re:Ummm, no. Just no. (Score 1) 586

by DerekLyons (#49511173) Attached to: William Shatner Proposes $30 Billion Water Pipeline To California

I was about to say much the same thing... Just because we [residents of the Puget Sound Basin] don't live in a dried brown wasteland like California, that doesn't mean we don't have problems of our own. We've had a series of drier than normal summers (low groundwater recharge), and last winter was (as your link shows) extraordinarily dry (less water coming into the rivers and resevoirs).

Here's a picture I took roughly two years ago showing the normal snowpack on the Olympics around this time of year. (That snow normally persists well into May or June.) But, if you look at this webcam, you can see the much smaller pack we have this year. If you look at The Brothers (just left of center in my picture, almost to the left hand side of the webcam), the difference is particularly stark.

Comment: Re:Power (Score 1) 159

by DerekLyons (#49510927) Attached to: ISS Could Be Fitted With Lasers To Shoot Down Space Junk

Can you just put enough laser energy on to it to perturb it out of orbit without ablating/vaporizing material?

In theory, yes. Light does exert pressure on objects.... In practice, the pressure is so infinitesimally small that's is much easier* to go the ablation/vaporization route.

That being said, this device isn't actually useful other than as a proof-of-concept ISS's altitude (400km) is low enough that debris is eventually slowed and de-orbited by atmospheric drag, and the 100km range isn't enough to reach the altitude (600km+) where 90% of the long lived junk resides.

* For certain values of "easier", in reality it's not very easy at all.

Comment: Nothing has changed (Score 1) 74

by DerekLyons (#49508565) Attached to: Facebook Working To Weed Out Fake Likes

From TFS: "In the early days of brands on Facebook, it was crucial for companies to garner as many "likes" as possible to boost their image".

It's still like that, except with individual posts rather than pages. If a post doesn't get enough 'likes', 90% of the people following that page will never see it unless they've gone to the trouble of turning notifications on or the page owner has ponied up the bucks to 'boost' the page.

Comment: Re:It doesn't work that way. (Score 1) 113

by DerekLyons (#49500315) Attached to: An Engineering Analysis of the Falcon 9 First Stage Landing Failure

what we're saying is that arranging for velocity AND position to be 'null' at the same time is harder than simply arranging for velocity to be null and position to be +/- 100m(or so).

I understand what you're saying - but as with my previously reply, you don't grasp the problem.
The appearance of the vehicle "working hard at the last second" during the first attempt was a consequence of running out of hydraulic fluid - and would have occurred regardless of the size of the target. The appearance of the vehicle "working hard at the last second" during the last attempt was a consequence of the throttle valve not operating to spec - and would have occurred regardless of the size of the target.
From the point of view of the final landing sequence it's not all that much easier to arrange for velocity to be null and position to be +/- 100m than it is to arrange the same +/- 1m. Selecting a landing point occurs at a relatively high altitude (and on a, relatively speaking, relaxed timeline) and final trim starts around a kilometer or so up (AIUI). From there, jittering the variables (burn time and timing, gimbal angles, and throttle settings) a tiny amount one way or another to maintain targeting isn't a substantial burden (on the software or the hardware) compared to the much larger problem of nulling your velocities.

You're talking about some kind of articulated arm (which can survive being essentially inside rocket exhaust)

I think you're picturing something different. I'm picturing something pretty big that comes in from the sides, staying well away from the exhaust.

That just makes an already heavy, complex, and expensive system even heavier, more complex, and more expensive than I envisioned.

"I've seen it. It's rubbish." -- Marvin the Paranoid Android