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Comment: Re:Canonical swirling down to irrelevance. (Score 1) 354

by Kessler (#43078507) Attached to: Canonical Announces Mir: A New Display Server Not On X11 Or Wayland

And yet the times Pacman has broken my system (sometimes pretty severely), a quick search of the forums and a half hour of manual tinkering was all it took to set it right again. I had Apt wedge my Ubuntu VM this weekend (ran out of disk space mid-update) and it took over two hours of manual tinkering to get it fixed.

Comment: Re: Performance (Score 2) 311

by Kessler (#42927021) Attached to: NetBSD To Support Kernel Development In Lua Scripting

Actually, the human brain can do it quite a bit better. This is just a myth people have embraced to justify never using assembly. The only real difficulty for humans is on Intel architectures where you have to deal with the machine conversion of legacy CISC instructions to the actual microinstructions executed by the processor core. On a proper RISC machine, I've yet to see a compiler that can out optimize a human.

If you want a valid arguments against assembly try portability or programmer productivity.

Comment: Look into Mobile MVNOs (Score 1) 246

by Kessler (#42717127) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Pay-as-You-Go Plan For Text and Voice Only?

If the device can send texts and uses a SIM then odds are it's a GSM device. That means in the US you're likely to be best served by T-Mobile or AT&T's networks. You'll need to find out what frequency bands the device supports as that may force you onto one or the other. Aside from that, any of the Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) that sell service on AT&T or T-Mobile are viable candidates. They'll sell you a pre-paid SIM card without a phone that will provide voice and SMS access. Wikipedia will help get you started: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_mobile_virtual_network_operators

I'll be switching to AirVoice Wireless once my AT&T contract ends next month. For $10/mo you can get a plan that lets you spend the $10 at a rate of $0.04/min voice and $0.02/msg SMS.

Comment: Re:Not Books: Classes and Ass Kissing (Score 1) 700

by Kessler (#41640445) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Books Have Had a Significant Impact On Your Life?

Mod this up!

Asking the question "I'm an underachiever, what can I read to change this" is a bit like asking "I'm overweight, what can I read to get fit".

Work with your manager to define a concrete plan (with measurable goals and milestones) that will lead to your next promotion or a transfer to a management role. This will likely require spending time beyond your core working hours (probably working with a mentor), so you're not going to have time to read anything that isn't part of your career advancement plan.

If your company can't facilitate that approach, then use your "book reading time" to find a new job.

Comment: Re:Well, it's sorta like this (Score 1) 1276

by Kessler (#39249659) Attached to: Scientists Say People Aren't Smart Enough For Democracy To Flourish

This is why many decisions should be left to markets instead of central planning. When the trillion dollars of research grants come from people *choosing* to invest their own money, they will endeavor to get educated in order to minimize the risk to their investment. When it's people voting for how to invest someone else's money (or electing someone to make that decision for them), there's far less incentive to make the effort necessary to make an informed decision.

Comment: Re:falsely blaming the user (Score 1) 345

by Kessler (#31392114) Attached to: Toyota's Engineering Process and the General Public

Commercial and military pilots spend hours upon hours training in simulators to handle failure scenarios. Look at all the failure contingency training NASA puts astronauts through. Yet here in the US, any idiot who can pass an eye test and answer a few basic questions about traffic laws can get a license to operate a motor vehicle.

How many drivers will instinctively reach for the parking brake if the brake pedal fails? How may will reach for neutral if the accelerator sticks? How many have even the vaguest notion how to handle a skid or a blow out? How many have their vehicle fully inspected at least annually?

Bottom line is, stuff breaks. Maybe it's defective by design, maybe it wears out, maybe it has to deal with a combination of events no one ever predicted. If there are things you could do to prepare for these contingencies but you chose not to, who is really responsible for the results?

Comment: Re:He is looking at it wrong... (Score 1) 750

by Kessler (#31287930) Attached to: Should I Take Toyota's Software Update?

When the two pedals work at the same time, it can result in pretty horrible accidents.

Help me understand this. At 60 MPH a typical 3600 lb sedan has nearly 590 KJoules of kinetic energy. The brakes are capable of bringing said car to a stop in 4.5 seconds or less which is the equivalent of about 170 horsepower. Granted that may not be enough to overcome both the engine AND momentum of a car with a stuck accelerator, but it is enough to bring the acceleration to pretty near zero while one pops the transmission into neutral and steers the car safely out of harm's way.

I've experienced a stuck throttle (due to failure in the mechanical linkage ... no car is completely immune) and as far as "things likely to cause a horrible accident", that one doesn't even make the list.

Comment: Re:Very good question. (Score 1) 460

by Kessler (#30942912) Attached to: 2 Displays and 2 Workspaces With Linux and X?

Awesome WM will do *exactly* what the OP wants. However the OP also insisted on a "classical" window manager. Though Awesome can behave a bit like a classical window manager (floating window mode is, in fact, now the default behavior), the result would be unsatisfying. Trying to manage two screens with nine virtual desktops each by dragging things around with a pointing device is insane. Awesome's keyboard shortcuts for window management make that task vastly more efficient for those willing to invest a little effort in climbing over the learning curve.

Comment: Re:Offline is less important than real-time update (Score 2, Informative) 300

by Kessler (#30854568) Attached to: Nokia To Make GPS Navigation Free On Smartphones

Ovi Maps does real-time online map downloads just fine, along with real-time online traffic updates, weather, events, location sharing, etc. However, by allowing you to store maps on the memory card (a few gig can cover the US and most of Europe) you aren't *forced* to be online to use it. Handy for those treks into more rural areas (where 3G coverage, not to mention road signs, is a luxury and offline nav becomes really beneficial). Also nice when you're off-network and don't want to pay crazy data roaming charges.

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