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Comment: Re:Excuse me? (Score 2) 344

by Howard Roark (#38307782) Attached to: GM, NHTSA Delayed Volt Warnings To Prop Up Sales

Dude, you obviously haven't studied crash safety.

Let's look look at a famous crash test from the 1970's: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgOxWPGsJNY&feature=endscreen&NR=1

I don't mean to single out the Pinto. It was, in fact , typical of many 1970's cars which had fuel tanks mounted behind the rear axle. Cars today are much safer.

Comment: Excuse me? (Score 1) 344

by Howard Roark (#38307302) Attached to: GM, NHTSA Delayed Volt Warnings To Prop Up Sales

Just where does it say "a minor impact?" For the battery to start a fire, it has to be punctured, and that is no "minor impact." In addition, the fires that occured in the NHTSA test happened days and in one case weeks after the crash test.

Compare this to the infernal fireball that you get seconds after you puncture a gas tank.

The only place a Volt will catch fire is in the scrap yard after it has been totaled provided that some moron didn't discharge the battery before throwing it on the scrap heap.

Comment: Bullshit (Score 4, Informative) 136

by Howard Roark (#36756492) Attached to: Samsung Chromebook Series 5 Review

I've had my Samsung Chromebook for about a week now and I absolutely love it. It brings an immediacy to the 'net that I have never experienced with any other computer. True, it's not good at the "heavy lifting" you often need to perform with a "real" computer, but compared to the utterly pitiful web experience you get with an iPad, it can't be beat.

Comment: I'm afraid I must disagree... (Score 1) 690

by Howard Roark (#24459147) Attached to: How To Fix the Poor Usability of Free Software

While I agree with the author's intent, many of his proposed solutions are in conflict with the basic nature of open source development which largely rejects the notion of up-front design. Most sucessful projects rely on "evolution, not intelligent design."

I do however agree with the author's suggestion of design awards. I think they would have the potential to establish the idea in the community that design (both visual and ergonomic) is just as important as coding prowess. All open source developers want to create popular applications and they want technical recognition for their work. Just as developers recognise the importance of good coding craftsmanship, so too usability needs to become an important technical consideration in evaluating technical quality.

Another approach would be "design makeovers." Within both the GNOME and KDE communities, exist many small projects written by newer developers. A sponsoring organization, for example a Linux magazine, could select a small project and give it a "makeover." This would involve a couple of experienced coders and a designer who would apply (with the cooperation of the original author) a set of fixes to the UI. The final result would then be presented to the public (along with a lot of before and after screen shots) with a detailed explaination of the improvements and their rationale.

While usability and visual design may require talents that do not come naturally to all developers, we have seen (in the case of stronger security design, for example) that the development community is not incapabable of adapting to new standards of technical excellence. All it takes is for the community to be sufficiently concerned about the issue.

People are always available for work in the past tense.

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