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Comment Snowden or someone else? (Score 5, Insightful) 485

The suggestion that Snowden, in revealing the illegal practises of the US Government is somehow responsible for ISIS carrying out the Paris attack is patently ludicrous.

But perhaps those making the accusations are trying to deflect their own responsibility? ISIS were established, at least originally, by Sunni Muslims from Iraq who had been alienated and excluded from the political process in Iraq. Without the Iraqi invasion ISIS would not exist. Didn't stop there either. In the attempt to supply the Syrian Free Army, which was in fact a number of groups including those who would become ISIS, with weapons and aid the Americans had not only given them fertile ground to harvest, but given them the tractors and machines to till the soil.

And now the Americans complain that Putin is fighting the enemy of Assad; which is ISIS. ISIS for their part took the opportunity to take poorly defended US military equipment in Northern Iraq. Those fighting ISIS in Northern Iraq, the Kurds, have been given little support, and continue to be attacked by US ally Turkey. So how, given the facts on the ground, can the US in all seriousness try to condemn others for assisting ISIS, when without the US they would not exist?

I am not saying the US has made ISIS do what they have. The reprehensible attacks across the world are the behaviours of morally vapid thugs who are totally responsible for their actions. Make no mistake that I have no sympathy for them. But the US cannot wash its hands of the part it has played, once again, in enabling this kind of tyrannical villainy.

Comment Re:More and more abstraction (Score 2) 289

The word 'proper' is a trigger word for me . So lets talk about requirements gathering; what is 'proper' requirements gathering? How much detail do you need to get for it to be good enough?

Requirements are like measuring the perimeter of a country; the shorter your ruler the longer it is, the more curls and crannies you find. And so it is with requirements; the more detail you get into the more you find. But there is a point at which the requirements become the application. There is a point where the process of examination of the problem to find what is needed explores the design, where screens are designed, data structures determined, reports specified.

With agile you realise that development is a process of navigating a virtual space of possible applications. Your strategy is to use evolutionary processes to navigate towards the solution needed based on the fitness function of meeting the users real need. If you go to a user with a blank sheet of paper how can they know what they will need in detail? They don't really know. The process of finding out what they need is design.

With Agile the requirements are limited to statements that the user can express; very high level and general. They are place holders for a more in depth exploration and feedback. And so we get to the most critical aspect: feedback. Without a feedback cycle and iteration the software does not evolve. The waterfall style development processes inevitably turn into ad hoc evolutionary projects. The difference with Agile is that we are honest; we don't try to say we can know more than we do, or have some magical power to get perfect requirements before starting. We put our ego on the shelf and acknowledge that there are no perfect requirements, no perfect designs, no perfect code. We place evolutionary principles such as short iteration cycles, regular user feedback, and unit testing at the centre of our approach,

Comment Re:Keeping up (Score 2) 242

Yeah - this. change, adaptation and innovation are part of the game. Getting stuck in the same position, using the same technology on the same project is boring, unfulfilling and ultimately dangerous for developers. You can't know all the technologies, but you should keep an eye on technology and learn to use the ones that can really be beneficial. Not always easy. But if you are a Cobol programmer you might still be able to learn a living, but it will not be developing exciting new applications. If anything my focus has changed; to value human aspects over technology. Really great things happen when you have the right people with ownership and pride in what they do, working as an effective team. New technology is easy. People are hard.

Comment Re:No. (Score 1) 507

If developers are using Agile as an excuse for skipping QA you are doing it wrong. Agile is not simply breaking a project into mini milestones and working through them. Once again we see people seeing the process as a excuse for failing to think.

So, Agile is about Adaptability. It is about evolution. This means creating a feedback cycle to deliver real verifiable business value every single iteration. If the work doesn't pass QA, if it doesn't actually work, then IT HAS NO VALUE.

Agile is a evolutionary approach in which there is a tight feedback between customer/user and developer, where there is strong feedback and testing again the fitness function of customer expectations.

Comment Re:Perfect security (Score 1) 460

Actually not. Aircraft would not simply follow ATC instruction. They would use TCAS and TAWS to ensure that the aircraft did not fly into terrain or other aircraft. It would also ensure a proper approach and landing. There should be no way to send external commands to an aircraft to cause it to crash. The onboard computers should take the same position as a pilot; responsible for the safety of the passengers. If ATC gave instructions to fly into a mountain to a human pilot they wouldn't do it, and neither should a machine piloted aircraft.

Comment Re:Still photos (Score 1) 447

While this may appear looney at first the reality is that flight control systems usually run the flight anyway. The reason we have pilots relates moe to the voice communications required to interface with ATC these days. Once you have a secure way to communicate between ATC and aircraft digitally you will be able to automate airspace. Suddenly rather than having to allow UAV's into the airspace most aircraft will be a UAV in the sense they have no pilot.
Also, even if you allow the pilot to stay, they should not be able to fly it into terrain. There are TCAS and TAWS systems already of course, but even a simple GPS and Google Earth terrain data would be able to be used to create a flight controller which refuses to fly into terrain. And I don't mean that pilot suicide occurs very much at all; small aircraft often fly into terrain. A cheap, effective, reliable flight control system for small aircraft would be a great advance for safety.
That doesn't mean we take away the ability to manually pilot; just have a backup which will initially advise, then warn, and perhaps even take control to avoid a collision with the ground or other aircraft. This is what will be needed for UAV anyway.

Comment Re:Sense And Avoid development banned by CAA (Score 1) 129

The whole deal with CAA restricting your work is BS. You are free to fly what you like just by flying out of a farmers field more than 4km from a airfield. Does your system even compare to ADS-B? Small Linux computers can easily be used to receive ADS-B, and I expect they will be built into Quads and other hooby size aircraft soon. This way they will be able to avoid traffic long before it gets within 1.5km.
I am confident that CAA understand the issues. They have just released draft legislation which you obviously have not read yet, because if you had you would know that they are introducing a way of applying for permission to operate UAVs outside the hobby provisions. They are also going to remove the hobby references. I suggest you look it up and have a read.
What this new legislation will not do is integrate UAVs into normal airspace, and frankly until there is a reliable sense and avoid this is a position I support. Too many idiots out there who have little or no training flying Quads into controlled airspace. There needs to be real, reliable solutions for sense and avoid and technical enforcement of airspace before we open the integration door.
Frankly your hostile morally superior approach is not helping. The CAA has been very interested in an open conversation, and has listened to the community to come up with some regulations which are moving in the right direction. They have not addressed how to integrate airspace at this point, but they are not at all unreasonable. They are tasked with keeping the flying public safe, that must be the first priority.
I will be working on a proof of concept system which uses passive ADS-B for sense and avoid. This can detect aircraft potentially hundreds of kilometers away with precision. I also plan to extend the geo-fence system to ensure UAVs stays outside of controlled airspace and clear of terrain.

Comment Re:A bit more complicated than that (Score 2) 158

There is a strange middle ground of a sort. I am not invested too much in the outcome. Some people shrink from the fight because victory is impossible. This is the 'pragmitist' who evaluates the probability of success and decides the low chance of success means the goal itself isn't worth the effort. Then there are the optimists who fool themselves that the goal is easier than it is, or who believe that the good guy always wins. This is delusional.

Then there are people who accept the reality: they know the road will be hard, and long, involve personal sacrifice and perhaps suffering. They will not fool themselves about the ease of the goal or the probability of success. In fact in many ways the success or failure is deeply irrelevant because as I said above all we have is our intentions and actions. Do or do not, that is our choice. The outcome is up to fate and should not concern us.

This is what Stockdale meant; that we should not fool ourselves about the ease of the goal; that we should face up to grim reality and conduct ourselves in a way that best reflects on us. Because nothing else matters.

It is this attitude that drove my involvement in the campaign against Software Patents in New Zealand. A campaign that was always one breath away from failure. A campaign that many concluded was doomed to fail. A campaign that despite being passed into law may be swept away by the TPP. But these threats do not worry me because so long as I am prepared to stand up and work for the common good I honour myself regardless of the outcome.

Comment Re:You have control of you. (Score 2, Interesting) 158

I think you have discovered for yourself the way to being content then is not to judge. The control I am talking about is the ability to do as you suggest; to not hold expectations or judgements. The externals are indifferent to you because you have no control over them. The only thing you have control over is your intentions and actions. Therefore the only thing you should be concerned about is how you honour yourself through your actions.

I did not mean control over your physical body; health or the lack of it, while somewhat able to be influenced, is also largely outside you control and ultimately futile. The only thing that can truely be said as your own is your thoughts and actions.

Comment You have control of you. (Score 4, Insightful) 158

'Positive thinking' is essentially the vein hope that the current situation you judge as undesirable will change to something desirable just because you desire it. It fails to recognise that being happy and content can be achieved simply by changing your judgement. You can decide to be content with your life. The truth is that those external things; wealth, health, power and fame, are all fleeting. The only thing you really have control over is you. The solution isn't hoping that things will get better, it is accepting that they won't and pleasantly surprised if they do.

Comment Re:Rational reasons to explore space (Score 1) 267

There is at root no rational reason to do anything. The 'decision' to live is either no decision at all, simply the default for someone already alive with a brain hard wired to survive, or a active decision to live knowing that doing so is fundamentally irrational, but that's okay. Exploration to satiate our desire to know more about the universe, and perhaps more importantly experience more, is perfectly acceptable. Every day we do things that are irrational in that they have no meaning beyond our subjective experience of them. Perhaps only once we have left Earth will we really begin to appreciate how special it is. I believe we have an opportunity to be more; to become citizens of the galaxy. To explore the multitude of worlds our galaxy has to offer.

Comment Re:Left wing hitjob (Score 4, Interesting) 75

Nice way of trying to turn this around. What this has done is expose how these National politicians have gone beyond the normal politics in New Zealand to actually support muck raking and character assasination. It is the kind of politics New Zealanders hate. You see while it isn't perfect we still have a functional democracy, unlike the United States. This 'attack' would have had no impact if the Government had not done anything wrong, but clearly they have. There is now clear evidence of a corporation buying off favour to slander a senior investigator with the cooperation of a senior Minister. The senior Minister appears to have oiled the wheels to get previously restricted information released under the Official Information Act in order to harm a political opponent. Reminds me of the saying - live by the sword, die by the sword.

Comment Air Gap the best (Score 1) 348

The article talks about this being a small local area network. No discussion about it being connected to the Internet. This is the best firewall of all - a physical air gap between you and the rest of the universe. In many respects this is the best security. So what do local firewalls on each box achieve? In this context virtually nothing except CPU overhead. The database server shouldn't be exposing anything but the database port anyway. The client need not expose any endpoint at all. Configure it this way and there is little opportunity for compromise.

Now as a way to protect your internal lan from the evils of the Internet a firewall is a great idea on the edge, but again they provide very little protection running on the internal servers. You can't just sprinkle firewalls over your network and assume security. They are a tool to limit a specific kinds of attack; to insulate your internal network from external bad actors. If you have a office and servers put the servers behind their own firewall.

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing for money.