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Comment: WTF? (Score 1) 178

by LostMyBeaver (#49391627) Attached to: UK Forces Microsoft To Adopt Open Document Standards
first of all, I get annoyed every time that Word bugs me with the question of whether I'd rather use ODF or OOXML... I always choose Microsoft's format as it doesn't really give me anything I didn't have before to use ODF.

Second, ODF is a dog with flees. Unless two or more word processors actually support the same feature sets, it doesn't actually support a standard format beyond very very basic functionality. Different word processors (or other office products) regularly differentiate themselves from each other by adding multiple awesome features. So, if Microsoft were to standardize on ODF, it would need to add all the features required to support all their extensions. Just as other office products do the same. I've used many features in ODF word processors that just don't work in other ODF word processors.

I simply don't see how half-assed support of OOXML in other office packages is any worse than their half assed support for ODF.

Comment: Holy Sheep Testicles Batman! (Score 1) 298

by LostMyBeaver (#49359515) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes Some Code Particularly Good?
Can you honestly expect to get a worthwhile answer to this question on Slashdot?

Wouldn't it have been better to ask people to link Git repositories with examples of good, clean code instead? Better yet, make a site which allows people to link a repository instead and explain why that code is either good or bad. Let people vote as well.

I can show you massive portions of the Linux kernel tree which is both good and bad. Good because it's functional, tested and works well. Bad because it was ransacked by the spaghetti monster. Want a great example?

This code is fantastic because it is rock solid and has been tested to death. It's even relatively clean, but while some people can actually use it, maintaining it would be nightmarish due to lack of documentation. It's documentation isn't entirely awful, and I really wouldn't say "replace it because it's not pretty", but it's code is simply not pretty.

It also has to be handled with care. It makes assumptions that the parameters passed are proper. Used improperly, it can cause overflows. There's no real error handling or bounds checking. It's not what I would personally call "secure code".

But it's great code all the same.... if called from a function which ensures what is passed is valid.

Comment: Re:No more 1 year update cicle, but... (Score 1) 307

hahaha!!! Yesterday, I just bought a thunderbolt docking station for my 4-5 year old MacBook Air since I can't see the point in buying a new MacBook Air... they cost so damn much that I'd rather spend $400 on a dock than $1000 on a new MacBook which isn't actually any faster for what I'll use it for.

I do buy a new Surface Pro each time one comes out.. mainly because I like when they make it thinner and lighter. I'm pretty excited about what will probably be announced next. I can feel a fanless, ventless Core i7 at 1.5lbs coming. Give me a thunderbolt 2 port as well and I think I can go 5-10 years without something new.

Comment: Blessing and a curse? (Score 3, Interesting) 573

by LostMyBeaver (#49311817) Attached to: Greenpeace Co-Founder Declares Himself a Climate Change Skeptic
I'm sure there are people here far more knowledgeable about politics, science and other topics than I. I however am moderately versed in all these things and I specialize in cause and effect both mathematically as well as sociologically as a hobby.

1) I'm glad he came forward as a "semi-credible" skeptic. It's time we get someone "on the other side" who will attempt to use gray matter to ponder the mysteries of global warming. Of course, he's a political activist and therefore probably has burned up most of his gray matter and left holes by now, but he poses questions that need to be addressed.

2) Has anyone noticed that there's probably twice as many global warming skeptics that don't even know what it means, but side with the "Right" because they would die before siding with the "Left". I know people who believe strongly that it's Jesus's will that we have this issue and therefore when eggheaded lefties contradict that, it must be gods will to disagree. There need to be people trying to actually ask and answer questions who don't think in terms of "If we evolved from the monkeys why are there still monkey then?".

3) People will side with this guy. He's an egghead they agree with. Let's raise him up as a major scientific leader. Let's not bash him or attack him. Let's reason with him and show his new groupies that we don't have to make this a political left and right thing. It can be more reasonable than that. This is something that should rise above political interests and be delt with.

4) I am not a climate change skeptic.... I believe that since the beginning of time, there has never been a constant climate. I believe it's always changing. I believe we're hellbent on proving that we were right all along and that this chemical or that one must be the specific reason for the climate change. I am inclined to agree with the research I've read in the direction that suggests that CO2 is in fact the primary cause. I however also believe that it seems a little too easy and too obvious. I'm thinking ... somehow when there's just that much CO2 rushing up to suffocate us, it feels like a reaction to something we're not looking for. I don't like the idea of trying to scrub the CO2 down without first checking to see, do we need to CO2 to protect us against something else? Was CO2 the lesser of two evils?

5) We have far bigger problems than CO2 right now. We have things like fracking. Don't get me wrong... global warming is very very very dangerous... but I see drinking water as being far more important short term. Do I think we should stop working on climate change? NO!!! We need to address this. We should have trillions of dollars of tax money going into fixing this. But we need to get the damn research done to prove that intentionally attacking the Earth's mantle and intentionally destabilizing it by intentionally cracking it to force it to bleed oil has to stop. I have never in my life dreamed of anything that sounds so impressively stupid as this. The U.S. is in a damn near perpetual clean water shortage in areas where 50+ million people live and now we're destroying even more clean water reserves. This is clearly a problem we can address and we don't. Why the hell isn't fracking a major item on the presidential election agenda?

I think I love this guy. I am so happy he's there and now let's use him for all he's worth. Let's stop attacking him and instead talk with him. Maybe his believers who have raised him to messianic status will follow him because they finally have "a credible scientist" to listen to. Let's educate him so he can educate his people.

Let's lead by example, not by insult.

Comment: Re:NASA missing a date is not news (Score 1) 59

by LostMyBeaver (#49307147) Attached to: Report: NASA May Miss SLS Launch Deadline

NASA is an awesome organization, but the political requirements they have which seem to be congressional mandates to pump good money after bad into hogs like Lockheed, Grumman, Harris, etc... is their greatest failure.

I have tried many times to find any records of successful projects from the companies building the SLS. Not once have they ever come close to deadline or within 100% of their original budget. They appear to habitually underbid on contracts to win them. They then appear to invest heavily in posturing for more money. Then when lawsuits fly, they provide massive golden parachutes and eventually start work understaffed and without the right people. What few projects they actually complete are often rubbish.

I don't always agree with Elon Musk. His choice to poison the planet with lithium waste and intentionally not focusing on a better method of lowering the cost of recycling lithium pisses me off. I grew up with a fear of the beach because of toxic and medical waste washed ashore because assholes like him chose the easier path. But, NASA needs to help build more companies like his. Companies the say "If you give us $100 million, we'll do the same as those big guys need $5 billion for".

Even better, try to build dreams. There are probably 1 million+ highly skilled and experienced hackers and engineers here that would happily work a 2-4 year stint making new space tech if we had any idea where to apply.

How about a massive maker fair where mad scientists and creative geniuses gather to present ideas. Once a day for two weeks, a group walks the floor, evaluates projects and cancels some and move those engineers to other teams which made the cut. At the end, give 5-10 teams a development budget of $10 million and 6 months wages. Call them back and the teams who show something that actually works will be granted funds and contracts.

There are so many better ways to work than how NASA does.

Comment: Random number generator? (Score 1) 1089

by LostMyBeaver (#49299521) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US
Wouldn't it be better just to spin a roulette wheel?

I don't see how, given the information provided us we can actually make an intelligent and informed decision as to who is better qualified to hold a job position we ourselves don't understand we can choose correctly.

From my experience, campaigns are little more that bitch slap matches similar in nature to a WWF interview with someone talking a lot of smack. We're really only assembling a team of gray haired wrinkle warriors who can battle with words against the other team.

It's hopeless.

Comment: Methodology, not language (Score 1) 757

by LostMyBeaver (#49231907) Attached to: Was Linus Torvalds Right About C++ Being So Wrong?
A long time ago,I read a book about object oriented programming in x86 assembler. In fact, if I needed to code assembler today, I would use those methods.

I code in C# these days because I'm too old to spend 2 years writing pretty C or C++ code to do what I can don in a month with a modern language and library.

I code very similar in C, C++ Assembler and C#. I use the same algorithms and patterns. I just write much cleaner code much faster.

I have little respect for people who talk about optimization and don't employ garbage collection to run structured cleanup during idle cycles.

Comment: You've already failed miserably (Score 3, Interesting) 215

You haven't identified the problem you're trying to solve. At least you made a huge mistake of asking here since you're asking for opinions from an extremely opinionated community without taking the time to actually identify what it is that you're actually having problems with. It seems you just haven't even bothered thinking about it.

1) Are you trying to teach CS to children? Is this the goal? Have you considered asking whether people with legitimate pedagogical sciences experience and studies have identified methods of teaching children topics of this type?

2) Are you asking if there are other tested methods of teaching children computer science which have proven effective that can be adapted to the tool you want to use?

3) Are you in love with a certain tool and while it has almost no practical value to anyone else, you considered it might be a great way to teach kids and now you want to see how you can justify the existence of such a tool (which should simple be, it was fun to make) by trying to use it in CS education of children because "Hey back in the 80's I used AppleSoft Basic and learned from that!"

4) Have you stopped for a minute to decide whether you're narrowing your scope so much by choosing a specific tool and language that your first goal should have been "How do I teach kids CS?" and then "Are there any learning platforms already available for this?" and then "What are the benefits of making a new learning platform using a language like BASIC when the rest of the world, using well funded pedagogical studies have chosen alternative approaches?"

5) Why are you trying to choose a language as a tool. You want to teach principles and things like linked lists and design patterns just are damn near impossible to implement in your language. Any form of real math is also shit in BASIC. Yes, we managed to do these things back when a PASCAL compiler cost $400 and a cheese burger cost $2 and BASIC was free. We have moved on.

6) What are you actually hoping to teach with BASIC? Are you trying to teach them how to draw a line on a screen? Are you trying to teach them to do math? Teach them to do something more applied? What kind of tasks do you actually plan on teaching them? Did you honestly put any thought into this at all.

I know I'm tearing you up here, but I hope you'll consider it tough love. You're trying to mess with children's minds. This is more than just a fun toy... you need to consider the implications of things like "If I teach them BASIC today, will it actually assist in building interest in kids that otherwise would have never programmed or will it chase off the kids who thought it might be fun but were scared to try and now will never try again because it was too nerdy."

There are people who spend decades researching how to introduce topics like this into schools. They don't just say "Hey wouldn't it be great if we made them play with this for a bit!". These people instead are educated not only as engineers but as school teachers. Most of them have at least one masters and one bachelors and they think in terms of "How can we most productively introduce a topic like programming and CS to children" and then they research it with teachers, parents and children.

I think you are very cool for being interested in getting involved.... I hope I gave you some food for thought and I really hope you take your ambitions further and accomplish your goals... once you figure out what they are.

Comment: Agreed!!! (Score 1) 161

by LostMyBeaver (#49209615) Attached to: Why It's Almost Impossible To Teach a Robot To Do Your Laundry
I was thinking the same thing.

In addition, I was thinking that if you're going to use a robot to do the laundry, then it would make more sense to make a laundry system condusive the abilities of the robot. Also, I was thinking that a robot doesn't have to have human limitations such as two arms. Instead, it can have more limbs which can assist in the process.

1) Opening and closing the door.. I would imagine that this would be done by the machine, not by the robot.
2) Sorting the laundry. While it's certainly optimal if we could use specialized tags to identify the clothing, it can be tricky. Mens' clothing would be easy since sticking an RFid on a tag could be done easily enough, but women's garments which tend to be much closer to the skin can be problematic. So the robot would in fact have to be able to sort using vision. This is acceptable. If the robot were to lay the garments on a table and properly lay them out, then patterns can be recognized. In addition, choosing which mode to use should be pretty simple as the weight of the garment relative to its size should be an effective means of doing this.
3) Operating the machine... like the door, it's a matter of having a machine that the robot can speak with.
4) folding the laundry. This is difficult for one particular reason. It's because clothing is often left in an unknown state. My daughter for example has never once in her life actually put her pants in the hamper without them being inside-out. The robot would need to lay out the article and then appropriately invert the garment. I as a human have trouble at times identifying with certain garments which way is which. I'm pretty sure a routine of "Place the garments unable to be properly identified in a pile. Wait for the user to assist in teaching the robot what should be done with it next time. To be fair, this is not a robot problem, my wife and I do this with each other as well. Women's clothing can be a major problem as well. H&M for example recently sold a kind of "over dress" which is kind of like a fishnet garment. I tried folding this once.. my fingers kept getting stuck in the holes. This would kill a robot haha
5) Choosing how to fold each garment.... When in doubt, ask Sheldon Cooper. He has a nifty device which can apparently fold anything. A robot should manage quite ok with that. For hanging garments, I assume it would take effort, but it can be done.

I think the article wasn't bad. It points out the obvious problem that when operating with fabric, there is so much entropy involved that a laundry robot can be amazingly difficult to make. That said, difficult is not impossible and therefore, I would say that while it might take a massive investment to produce a robot of such intelligence, it would also be a huge step towards revolutionizing the garment production industry. So I'm sure it would be worth while to a company like Foxconn to invest heavily in such a machine.

Comment: Re:on *average* (Score 2) 247

by LostMyBeaver (#49177759) Attached to: Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality
The paper itself is a crap read to begin with. It's just screaming for a Fox News headline model like this. I think Slashdot really summarized itwbennet summarized it pretty well.

I read a bit of it looking for actual meaningful numbers, but it was clear to me that none of the people involved or focused worked on multi-million line projects. I am almost choking on my tongue thinking "Imagine the code quality of a web browser if the code wasn't regularly refactored to reduce the number of possible bugs?

Every single thing test they ran and used as proof, I can personally contradict from experience being part of implementing CSS 3 in a browser. There are thousands of contexts in CSS alone where it is business critical to refactor.

Ma Bell is a mean mother!