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Comment: Re:Simple methodology (Score 1) 347

by Digicrat (#49143001) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

And then there's Scotty's Miracle-Worker philosophy:

Kirk: How much refit time before we can take her out again?
Scotty: Eight weeks, sir. But ye don't have eight weeks, so I'll do it for ye in two.
Kirk: Mr. Scott. Have you always multiplied your repair estimates by a factor of four?
Scotty: Certainly, sir. How else can I keep my reputation as a miracle worker?
Kirk: [over the intercom] Your reputation is secure, Scotty.

Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: Look, Mr. Scott, I'd love to explain everything to you, but the Captain wants this spectrographic analysis done by 1300 hours.
[La Forge goes back to work; Scotty follows slowly]
Scotty: Do you mind a little advice? Starfleet captains are like children. They want everything right now and they want it their way. But the secret is to give them only what they need, not what they want.
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: Yeah, well, I told the Captain I'd have this analysis done in an hour.
Scotty: How long will it really take?
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: An hour!
Scotty: Oh, you didn't tell him how long it would *really* take, did ya?
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: Well, of course I did.
Scotty: Oh, laddie. You've got a lot to learn if you want people to think of you as a miracle worker.

Comment: Re:Industrial Revolution (Score 1) 154

The effects of the early years of the Industrial revolution (smog/pollution from early coal plants and unrestricted garbage furnaces) likely had a significantly larger and longer lasting impact on Earth than the first Nuclear detonation did.

If anything, I'd think that the discovery of the light bulb / harnessing of electricity would be a better point to define the start of a new epoch. That corresponds nicely with the time the industrial revolution started having lasting impacts on the environment, and doubly sets (and lights) the stage for the rapid pace of technological evolution to follow.

The only argument I can see for setting it to the first atomic bomb test is that perhaps those radiation markers are more obvious in the geologic record than rise in CO2 gases and pollutants are, but then again a difference of a century is largely irrelevant on the geologic time scale.

Comment: Re:"First Ever Conjoined Satellite Launch" ? (Score 2) 67

by Digicrat (#48388787) Attached to: Boeing Readies For First Ever Conjoined Satellite Launch

Um ... so then what was STEREO? (launched in 2006)

There are pictures of them stacked together

It was even launched from a Boeing Delta II, so they can't claim it was their first conjoined launch. (which caused major launch delays ... due to the Boeing strike, then the batteries in the second stage being de-certified ... then once the strike was over, the Air Force kept cutting in line for launch pads)

Disclaimer : I work for the Solar Data Analysis Center. which operates the STEREO Science Center.

The same is true for the Van Allen Probes (formerly RBSP):

Perhaps this is just the first time that Boeing has stacked two satellites?

Comment: Will logs be 'accidentally lost' after accidents? (Score 1) 151

by Digicrat (#48304589) Attached to: Ford Develops a Way To Monitor Police Driving

There have been 3 times that I've been close to being involved in a major accident with another automobile, and in all 3 cases it was due to 'Police Driving.' Cop cutting across 2 lanes of oncoming 65+mph highway traffic to reach the shoulder, cop deciding not to wait at a light and swerving into the oncoming traffic lane without turning on his siren while I'm making a legal right turn into said lane...

If this system can somehow make cops accountable for their own bad driving (particularly in the event of an accident), it might actually make the roads safer. That is, providing that they upload data live and/or do not put in a hidden feature to irretrievably delete the last 10 minutes of data...

Comment: Re:Its not the CFL/LED (Score 1) 602

by Digicrat (#48003363) Attached to: The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

With LEDs, the entire concept of a traditional light bulb/fixture needs to be re-evaluated. LED strip lights can provide more unique lighting solutions. When the power supplies are kept separate, then it becomes much easier to replace a failed power supply every few years then having to discard the entire light fixture/strip.

In the long term, I wonder whether we'll ever get to the point where houses are wired with dedicated 12V DC lines specifically dedicated to LED lighting and other compatible low-voltage electronics. That would mean a solar panel or batteries could power the lighting for a house directly, or when unavailable a single high-efficiency power supply can do the AC to DC conversion duties for the entire house.

Comment: Re:Hopefully not like their TV remotes... (Score 1) 115

by Digicrat (#47927647) Attached to: Logitech Aims To Control the Smart Home

That internet connection requirement gets you the largest database of remote control presets out there and more importantly everything added in the future. It also expands the database as YOU program custom buttons and functions.

If you can find another remote that you can buy today and know you'll be able to program it for your next set of not yet on the market devices, and the set after that, etc does IR and RF, and can mix and match device buttons and functions without switching button profiles, and still does let you program custom functions like a 3D button, subtitle button, VIA button, DVR button, TV Input, Setup, Menu, etc, etc, etc. And actually manages to provide a better interface at a reasonable price point. I'd love to know.

But thus far, the logitech harmony series is the only thing I've found that actually gets that job done at all and therefore is the best by default.

Agreed. I'd prefer the option for an offline interface, but their remotes are undeniably the best out there.

My only complaint is how newer models of devices at the same price point now support FEWER devices/activities than the older remotes. Memory only gets cheaper over time, and limiting the number of devices per remote is just a greedy way of forcing users to buy more remotes. (I have an older Harmony 520 that supports 12 devices, whereas the newer Harmony's in the same price range only support 8). /rant

Comment: Re:Look past the article's version of the cast ... (Score 1) 181

by Digicrat (#45069317) Attached to: New York Subpoenaed AirBnb For All NYC User Data

There's also a large number of NYers who want their own place but can't find anything affordable. I'm guessing some of those making more money in AirBnb than with legitimate rentals (or re-rentals) may be subject to rent control laws intended to keep prices affordable for tenants.

The city has a housing problem, AirBnb is just one example of its effect. Hotels in the city are (mostly) outrageously priced, as are residential apartments/condos. Nobody can live by themselves in the city unless their (a) loaded or (b) are actually sharing a place with one or more roommates.

I moved out of the city after College, and bought my own house a few years later. If I was still in the city, assuming I was making a similar salary, I'd at best be able to afford a tiny studio apartment. Not one of my friends (who make significantly less than I do) still in the city in comparison have their own place, and for the most part still live at home with their parents. Apparently, NYC is one of the only parts of the country where this is normal today, and that's primarily because its generally the only economical option.

I like the idea of AirBnb, and it's a great service for small towns. For NYC however, there are far bigger problems that require regulation to prevent a service like this from exacerbating the housing situation (not to mention ensuring safety).

Comment: Re:"Financial Sense" (Score 4, Informative) 668

by Digicrat (#45044751) Attached to: Are Shuttered Gov't Sites Actually Saving Money?

I agree that our system is broken, but not necessarily for the reasons you state.

The President does not 'oversee' Congress -- Congress, the Executive, and the Judicial are separate, independent branches of our government. This ensures, among other things, that even if Congress is deadlocked (as it is now), we can't have a situation where there is no government -- like happened in certain European countries recently where they couldn't form a government for months. Of course, that's not to say that guarantees we have a functional government (outside of military)...

The real problem with Congress, particularly in the House, is the two-party system and archaic rules that allow a minority of representatives to block any action even when the other party has sufficient votes to pass a measure.

A primary reason for the two-party system is because of the (gerrymandered) way that all of our representatives are elected from fixed all-or-nothing districts. If multiple seats were elected at once in overlapping districts, with a ranked voting system as seen in parliamentary governments, third parties would have a viable chance of getting elected and disrupting the duopoly.

Comment: Re:Next project - backups! (Score 1) 552

by Digicrat (#44823589) Attached to: SSD Failure Temporarily Halts Linux 3.12 Kernel Work

Or perhaps he'll enhance GIT with a way to automatically sync/push working changes to a remote 'backup' repository or temporary/private branch.

From the description, it sounds like he was in the midst of a large merge. So of course everything on his system is version controlled ... the changes just haven't been committed yet.

Comment: Re:at some point... (Score 1) 827

by Digicrat (#44588591) Attached to: The College-Loan Scandal

That used to be the same here. My Dad attended Brooklyn College back in the day when it was free, and was there when they first started charging a minimal (a few dollars) fee. Tuition has climbed steadily (perhaps exponentially?) since. The reason has little to do with inflation or rising costs of education, but almost entirely due to shrinking state budgets and large state (and national) budget deficits. If it wasn't for good planning on CUNY's part, there was one year when I was in college where tuition would have nearly doubled when the state needed to makeup for a budget shortfall and the college had to dip into its reserves.

It's still possible to get through college without debt (I did), but only if you (or your parents rather) are in a particular financial situation. In other words, your parents are either loaded and can pay cash, or have a low enough income (or were retired in my case) that financial aid kicks in >90% of the costs when you go to a 'reasonably' priced city or state school.

The vast majority of students are out of luck though. Their parents make enough money that they can't qualify for financial aid, but not enough to actually pay for the schooling. The result is small to moderate college debts for local/public colleges, or exorbitant debts if the kid goes to a private school.

Comment: Re:So basically surfing net while taking notes (Score 1) 313

by Digicrat (#44573687) Attached to: Using Laptop To Take Notes Lowers Grades

It all depends on the student, and the class. In my undergrad days, I took notes exclusively on the computer (once I got it sophomore year). In some classes, I would be typing full speed and able to get down everything the professor said nearly word for word. Of course, not only did I type 90+ WPM in those days, but my handwriting has always been such that if I take notes by hand I always have trouble reading it later...

In other classes (mostly basic CS classes), I would type out what they wrote out on the board, or the important things they said, and then spend >90% of the class reading Yahoo! News. Those were the classes that I had both the best notes of the class, and the best grades. Of course, if it wasn't for Yahoo News!, I would have slept/dosed-off through the 10% of lecture that actually contained new and useful information . . .

Now, taking notes on the PC in Math/Science classes where it's difficult to type formulas is a whole other game ... and those were the cases I always reverted to pen and paper.

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."