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Comment: Re:Crime? (Score 1) 397

The major issue being you'd have to be near a deployment center, I imagine the only Amazon deployment centers in Canada are in Toronto and Ottawa.

Initially that will be true. But its possible that as this develops, the drones could take off and deliver from the shipping container that is travelling down the highway. IOW, you would be having a mobile (mini) warehouse that gets close enough to whereever you are to have the drones complete the delivery over the last few miles. After delivery, the drones would return back to the new location of the truck, which has continued down the highway....

Comment: Re:I just stick to Tomcat (Score 1) 40

Its generally the complexity of the requirements that makes something big or small. You're right - cost may not mean "big". For example, specialist skills like SAP or the latest buzzword technology can drive up the cost because its costs more to staff those developers. In general though, the more complex the requirements, the more it costs to develop the application.

Comment: Re:I just stick to Tomcat (Score 1) 40

Building an application server requires a different skillset and mindset than building an application does. Being a specialist in a product / technology is a wonderful achievement, and will make you very good at implementing designs. However, putting together the design and looking at the bigger pictures and making sure that the system works well together, and addresses maintainability, scalability, performance constraints, and reliability concerns requires the mindset and skill of an architect. Most small projects don't require an architect. When you get work at an enterprise level - when building an application costs (development costs only - not deployment, hosting, or operational costs) million+ dollars, you need an architect, and thats where an exclusively specialist team often doesn't deliver what the customer needs.

To draw an analogy, one can have a jam session with a handful of musicians, without requiring a conductor. But if you have hundreds of musicians (like an orchestra does), a conductor is required to deliver a quality performance.

Why is this relevant to your post? Simply put, it is easy to work without EJB's or other aspects of JEE and implement everything a servlet container. But when it gets to big applications, and you are architecting an application, JEE makes it so much easier to deliver quality.

Comment: re: organic food vs non-organic (Score 1) 387

by Kenneth Stephen (#42937237) Attached to: Laser Intended For Mars Used To Detect "Honey Laundering"

There was a great episode of Bullshit which focussed on the organic food vs non-organic food topic. It turns out that most of the (superior) taste difference that people claim for organic food is psychological. For a single banana cut into half, if one piece is labelled "organic" and the other is not, people would report a better taste for the "organic" half. Now granted that Penn & Teller weren't producing a scientifically peer reviewed experiment, it still is an interesting data point. For my part, I don't see any difference whatsoever between organic and non-organic, other than that the organic stuff seems to spoil faster.

Comment: Re:China, don't get ahead of yourself. (Score 1) 481

by Kenneth Stephen (#37266998) Attached to: Chinese Want To Capture an Asteroid

Yes, the view looks great through those rose-tinted glasses. I did all those unsafe things you mentioned, but there is a big difference between doing all those things and what the Chinese are proposing. The only one who took the risk was me. If I screwed up, only I suffered. The consequences of failure in this grand scheme being concocted are not limited to China alone, and if we all take the risk, then we should all have a say in this endeavor, and we should all benefit from it.

This is somewhat like the BP oil spill. The spill may have occurred outside of US territorial waters, but it sure as hell impacted the US. And the US will certainly want a say in what oil companies do when drilling offshore, because of the fiasco we witnessed.

Comment: Re:Could someone clarify this (Score 3, Interesting) 179

by Kenneth Stephen (#36938554) Attached to: SFPD Arrests Suspect In Airbnb Rental Trashing

Yes, Airbnb is a service that doesn't provide any value (why do they exist, again?), but thats not the problem here. Even if they did provide verification of the renter, it would still be stupid to rent out ones apartment exposing private and personal information to some stranger. In this case, the landlord realized that her identity was at risk because the place had been comprehensively trashed. A smarter thief would have simply noted down all the personal data would letting the landlord suspect anything. And because the identity theft using this data could happen many months later, it would be difficult to pin this down to a specific renter.

There is no escaping the fact that landlords like this need a reality check. Maybe the world is filled with people who do and want to do the right thing, but why would you take a risk like this assuming that no bad apples would come in contact with you?

Comment: Re:This is a new idea? (Score 1) 253

by Kenneth Stephen (#36864828) Attached to: 'The Code Has Already Been Written'

Maybe this is your experience, having come from working on applications that serve mom and pop shops, but don't assume that your experience is the same as everyone else's. Mine is the opposite of yours. Most applications are engineered for maintainability and very often, when compromises are made in shipping things out the door, it is often the function points that are left on the floor, rather than shipping function points backed by unmaintainable code.

The only exceptions to this that I have seen have been in shops which are so small that the development team lacks an architect who can enforce this discipline, and you have a team consisting of prima donnas. I'm not saying that small teams can't deliver good code. Just that most of the screwups that I've seen come from small teams operating without any discipline (and they typically lack the discipline because they think they are small enough to operate in that mode).

Comment: Re:To hear the Kiwi version of events. . . (Score 3, Informative) 178

by Kenneth Stephen (#36279404) Attached to: Martin Jetpack Climbs 5000 Feet Above Sea Level

You are mostly correct, though you didn't mention the key word: control system. The patent that the Wright Brothers file was not for the shape of the plane, or the engine they used, but for the control systems that let them control the pitch, yaw, and roll of the aircraft. Indeed, controlling the aircraft in stable flight by defining parameters like pitch, yaw, and roll was a key insight of theirs. All their competitors weren't able to achieve stable flight because they were still guessing their way around how to keep their aircraft up and steady, and didn't really have a solution that let them control the aircraft.

Comment: Re:So much new and yet nothing new (Score 2) 449

by Kenneth Stephen (#36269126) Attached to: Flight 447 'Black Box' Decoded

With respect to your comment that this is a logical fallacy - its not so. The pitot tubes have been for the past two years the #1 reason put forward as the cause - by a wide margin. There have been no alternative theories so widely championed. Go back through the news articles and see for yourself. If you find that too difficult, you can use the wikipedia page on this disaster (look at the page history).

And if one did flip this around, one would be wrong. The characteristic of a common failure mechanism is that it is common. As such, it gets addressed by virtue of its repeated occurrence during repeated tests. If it does not occur frequently, then it simply isn't common.

I don't understand what you are trying to say here. You seem to be conceding that this was a commonly occurring failure, and don't dispute that this wasn't fixed (i.e it was ignored), so why am I wrong?

Comment: So much new and yet nothing new (Score 2) 449

by Kenneth Stephen (#36268630) Attached to: Flight 447 'Black Box' Decoded

What seems to be remarkable is that the trigger to the catastrophe has indeed been revealed to be the pitot tubes - something that was suspected very soon after the flight went down. To a layman like me, it is amazing that without the benefit of all the data that has been recovered from the flight data recorders, experts were able to get so close to the mark.

Now, one could flip this around and also say that given that so many observers were able to so accurately get to the initial trigger for the failure in the absence of hard data, it must mean that this was a really common failure mechanism that should occurred in the field only as a result of the problem being repeatedly ignored.

It is a triumph of technology that the flight data recorder survived under such extreme conditions for so long. It was a triumph of technology, that it was located and retrieved from such an extreme location. Surely, a species with such (magical?) technical expertise could have expended the effort into preventing such a failure?

Comment: Re:I can't find it (Score 1) 354

by Kenneth Stephen (#36002440) Attached to: Man Unknowingly Tweets the Osama Raid

This location makes more sense. According to other sources, the intersection of Awami road and Kakul road (the spot where it says "PMA Kakul") is approximately where the helicopter went down. This would make it in the flight path to / from the Afghan border, rather than the swing-around-and attack from the South implied by the other location.

Comment: Re:Holy fuck. It makes Eclipse and VS feel fast. (Score 1) 121

by Kenneth Stephen (#35827776) Attached to: Maqetta: Open Source HTML5 Editor From IBM

The dojo library undeservedly is rather unknown...

Quite the contrary, it is deservedly unknown. Have you tried to do programming with Dojo? The documentation is terrible. You can never figure out how to accomplish even the most trivial of tasks if you even wander an inch off the beaten path shown in the examples. Ever heard of the phrase "An undocumented feature is a feature that doesn't exist"? By that token, Dojo is the javascript framework that has the least set of features.

I also have a problem with the way the library is structured - it is painfully hard to extend the library. For example, one of the "dijits" provided is a tree widget. Instead of a "normal" node, I wanted to extend the widget by having each non-leaf tree node be a checkbox, but doing this turns out to involve putting out huge chunks of code.

There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman? -- Woody Allen