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Comment: I like FreeMind (Score 4, Insightful) 97

by I cant believe its n (#41535515) Attached to: Mind Maps: the Poor Man's Design Tool
I like FreeMind (mentioned in the DrDobbs article). Of course I knew about mind maps before, but the ability to export a perfectly formated map as Pdf, HTML and in various image formats is great. I think I'll be using this instead of paper in the future. I've tried various UML design tools in the past, but they all require that you have already made some of the decisions beforehand.

I think UML is a great way of describing a system once you have made all major decisions, but whenever I need to think about a new project, I have always prefered pen and paper. I'll seriously give FreeMind a go now.

Comment: Re:But GOTO is a NONO (Score 1) 307

by I cant believe its n (#41234179) Attached to: Estonia To Teach Programming In Schools From Age 6
I see no problem with function/method-local GOTOs. The two main problems I see with the GOTOs of christmas past are:

1. Jumping to a label which is just a number / has no meaning to the developer. GOTO niceNameDescribingWhatIsDoneByCodeFollowingTheLabel removes this problem.
2. Non-local jumping preserves the callers stackframe, but when actually writing the callee code, some of your "locals" are defined in the caller.
Mars

Curiosity Starts Driving 35

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-run-over-any-cats dept.
littlesparkvt tips news that the Curiosity Mars rover began driving today at Bradbury Landing in Gale Crater. The rover rolled forward about 4.5 meters, then stopped, rotated 120 degrees, and rolled another 2.5 meters. The article has a picture of the rover's tracks in the Martian dust, and you can browse the image gallery or raw image feed for more. Matt Heverly, the rover's lead driver, confirmed that the mobility system is functioning perfectly in the lead-up to its first major land trek. "Curiosity will spend several more days of working beside Bradbury Landing, performing instrument checks and studying the surroundings, before embarking toward its first driving destination approximately 1,300 feet (400 meters) to the east-southeast." Reader redletterdave adds news that NASA has released an enhanced video of Curiosity's descent from space, which is pretty cool to watch. There was also some minor bad news yesterday; one of the wind speed sensors on the REMS weather instruments was permanently damaged during landing. Emily Lakdawalla explains,"The reason there were two is that it helped triangulate wind speed and also improve accuracy of wind speed measurements when one of the booms is aimed windward or leeward. So the quality of the wind speed data will be harmed, but there will still be wind speed data."
Power

+ - 3D solar towers offer up to 20 times more power output than flat solar panels-> 1

Submitted by cylonlover
cylonlover (1921924) writes "While we’ve seen the development of solar cell technologies that employ nanoscale 3D structures to trap light and increase the amount of solar energy absorbed, MIT researchers have now used 3D on the macro scale to achieve power output that is up to 20 times greater than traditional fixed flat solar panels with the same base area. The approach developed by the researchers involves extending the solar cells upwards in a three-dimensional tower or cube configuration to enable them to better capture the sun's rays when it is lower on the horizon."
Link to Original Source
The Military

Nuclear Truckers Haul Warheads Across US 461

Posted by Soulskill
from the why-can't-the-history-channel-make-a-show-about-that dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "As you weave through interstate traffic, you're unlikely to notice a plain-looking Peterbilt tractor-trailer or have any idea that inside the cab an armed federal agent operates a host of electronic countermeasures to keep outsiders from accessing his heavily armored cargo: a nuclear warhead. Adam Weinstein writes that the Office of Secure Transportation (OST) employs nearly 600 couriers to move bombs, weapon components, radioactive metals for research, and fuel for Navy ships and submarines between a variety of labs, reactors and military bases. Hiding nukes in plain sight and rolling them through major metropolitan centers raises a slew of security and environmental concerns, from theft to terrorist attack to radioactive spills. 'Any time you put nuclear weapons and materials on the highway, you create security risks,' says Tom Clements, a nuclear security watchdog for Friends of the Earth. For security, cabs are fitted with custom composite armor and lightweight armored glass, a redundant communications system that links the convoys to a monitoring center in Albuquerque, and the driver has the ability to disable the truck so it can't be moved or opened. The OST hires military veterans, particularly ex-special-operations forces (PDF), who are trained in close-quarters battle, tactical shooting, physical fitness, and shifting smoothly through the gears of a tractor-trailer. But accidents happen. In 1996, a driver flipped his trailer on a two-lane Nebraska hill road after a freak ice storm, sending authorities scrambling to secure its payload of two nuclear bombs; and in 2003, two trucks operated by private contractors had rollover accidents in Montana and Tennessee while hauling uranium hexafluoride, a compound used to enrich reactor and bomb fuel."
Facebook

Moglen: Facebook Is a Man-In-The-Middle Attack 376

Posted by Soulskill
from the can-we-blame-alice-and-bob-for-this dept.
jfruh writes "In an email exchange with privacy blogger Dan Tynan, Columbia law professor Eben Moglen referred to Facebook as a 'man in the middle attack' — that is, a service that intercepts communication between two parties and uses it for its own nefarious purposes. He said, 'The point is that by sharing with our actual friends through a web intermediary who can store and mine everything, we harm people by destroying their privacy for them. It's not the sharing that's bad, it's the technological design of giving it all to someone in the middle. That is at once outstandingly stupid and overwhelmingly dangerous.' Tynan is a critic of Facebook, but he thinks Moglen is overstating the case."
Space

Sunspot Tosses Plasma Cloud Toward Earth 94

Posted by Soulskill
from the how-inconsiderate dept.
parallel_prankster writes "The Washington Post reports that a huge sunspot unleashed a blob of charged plasma Thursday that space weather watchers predict will blast past the Earth on Sunday. Satellite operators and power companies are keeping a close eye on the incoming cloud, which could distort the Earth's magnetic field and disrupt radio communications, especially at higher latitudes. The huge blob of charged gas spotted by NASA satellites is speeding toward Earth at more than 2 million mph. The most damaging solar discharges, which are very rare, can move at speeds more than twice that fast. Here's a more detailed article with some animation."

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