Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:NASA needs to get it's act together (Score 1) 107

by JoeMerchant (#47770773) Attached to: Eye Problems From Space Affect At Least 21 NASA Astronauts

You need a big radius, otherwise you'll get a "Gravitron" effect (an amusement park ride)... fluid in the inner ear spins in funny ways, much worse for motion sickness than zero G.

An idea posted above, a big rope with a counterweight (or maybe two sides of the station, attached by a tether), could do it, but docking will become.... challenging (and we know what happened to Challenger.)

Comment: Re:What can be done about this? (Score 1) 107

by JoeMerchant (#47770757) Attached to: Eye Problems From Space Affect At Least 21 NASA Astronauts

Spin the current space station and you'll have a whole bunch of shiny chunks of metal flying away from each other, and no atmosphere inside.

The present design isn't made to withstand even 1/3g loading - maybe a new space station design could handle it, but not the one we've got.

Comment: Re:What's the point? (Score 2) 507

by JoeMerchant (#47746905) Attached to: If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

You might be surprised, my first medical app on Qt was targeted to OS-X, for a whole year, but as Director of Software Development, I chose Qt to hedge my bets against the day that OS-X got thrown under the bus for "business reasons." And, yes, especially in 2006, the Qt App was still in Carbon, while Cocoa was what all the cool Objective C kids were doing that week - and our in-house OS-X champion threw a hissy fit about it. Nobody else cared - it was a good looking app, just not quite up to the minute with latest OS-X styles.

So, two things happened by mid-2007. One, Qt updated to use Cocoa, and 95% of the OS-X champion's complaints about the app were solved for us by the trolls - zero code changes required by us. Two, the suits decided that we were merging our design efforts with a larger project that was Windows based, so OS-X did get thrown under the bus, as predicted. It took about 8 man hours to convert our Qt App from one that was written on OS-X, exclusively for OS-X, never tested on anything but OS-X, to running identically on Windows - and 7 of those man hours were wrapped up in converting OpenGL code....

I'm in medical now, and the primary target is Linux - but lots of use cases call for operation under Windows too....

Comment: Re:What's the point? (Score 2) 507

by JoeMerchant (#47746545) Attached to: If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

I suppose it depends on your target market. I've written mostly for medical and military, and they never had complaints about Qt's ui. Even did a server based app with no UI, and Qt still made sense as the library because of the cross-platform requirements - lots of shared memory and other stuff is "wrapped up" and platform details handled by the library. I guess I've always been in small enough companies that "outsourcing to the trolls" was the better option - we'd never have delivered anything cross-platform if we had to hire multiple teams for implementation on each.

Comment: Re:What's the point? (Score 1) 507

by JoeMerchant (#47746527) Attached to: If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

One thing I have learned to love about QObjects is their family tree and how it (mostly) garbage collects for you, when you use them properly. I really like the fact that my objects clean up their entire child structure as soon as they go out of scope - without a bunch of delete code required.

But, yeah, a testing team with valgrind will usually find a bunch of (trivial) "leaks" in my code, too - I'm talking about single objects that are created once and not destroyed before exit - technically, I don't call those leaks, but valgrind does.

Comment: Re:What's the point? (Score 1) 507

by JoeMerchant (#47743929) Attached to: If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

Gotta throw my perennial plug in for Qt/C++ for portability. As long as your target is desktop only, Qt is super portable, mature, and relatively complete.

Yes, they are just starting to get into serious mobile support, and I notice a lot of the "completeness" suffering as this transition takes place (old libs like QFtp are now "an exercise for the programmer" to port and include in Qt5 based projects.)

We had a Qt vs Python vs VB/Excel contest once - effort was roughly similar between the three to really do the job at hand, VB only won because the start and end point for the data was in Excel. The thing I find about most language comparisons comes down to "where is it socially acceptable to cut corners?" The scripting languages are very oriented toward the quick and dirty, zero error checking, zero declaration, zero structure programming - and if that's what you want, great. C++ enforces declarations and type checking on you - which, if you're doing anything of size, you actually do want. By the time you beef up a Python script to handle the edge and error cases and do all the stuff that the C++ program is probably doing at default level, then the Python isn't so quick or slick anymore.

Comment: Re:They always told me I was so smart... (Score 3, Interesting) 243

by JoeMerchant (#47737301) Attached to: It's Dumb To Tell Kids They're Smart

I also figured out that intelligence was a liability, and I've still seen very few environments where that wasn't true, and all of those only well after childhood.

Intelligence isn't a liability. Trying to tell other people they are wrong all the time is a liability. Telling people, "I am smarter than you, so you are wrong" is a liability.

You don't have to tell people you are smarter directly. I spooked the hell out of a girlfriend who had a crazy 3 on 5 off (with other kinks in the pattern) schedule because, after 2 weeks, I had it figured out and when we were making plans for something next week, I told her when she was working and when she was free: "how'd you know that?" "Well, you're working tomorrow and it's time for the 4 week long break..." "I only know my schedule by looking it up..." "Oh...."

People who perceive you are smarter (whether you are, or not) will often treat you as a threat.

Icahn has called CEOs the survivors of the corporate world, but says it's the "survival of the unfittest": "[The CEO] would never have anyone underneath him as his assistant that's brighter than he is because that might constitute a threat. So therefore, with many exceptions, we have CEO's becoming dumber and dumber and dumber."

Comment: Re:But is it really plankton? (Score 4, Interesting) 117

by JoeMerchant (#47709071) Attached to: Scientists Find Traces of Sea Plankton On ISS Surface

Well, the cargo ship is one possibility, but when you consider the scale of the oceans and just how close the ISS is to them: if the Pacific Ocean were a sheet of Letter sized paper, the ISS would be zipping along 1/4" above it, and the ISS has been skimming along near the Earth's surface like this for years and years.

Now, think about hurricanes, typhoons, winter storms, and everything else that violently churns the ocean surface - aerosolizing some tiny fraction of it, but still including billions upon billions of plankton that go for a flight every year. Most fall back into the ocean, but some inevitably fly quite high....

What would be amazing to me is if these sea-launched plankton could actually hitch a ride on the passing ISS without getting lethally damaged in the transition. I suppose that on their scale, hitting a wall moving hundreds of miles per hour might not be as disruptive as it is for larger, multicellular organisms.

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis