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Comment: Re:whoosh! (Score 2) 150

The idea behind the "increase power" and "repeat as necessary" parts was that if you increase power *enough*, you'll end up with line-of-sight, even if you didn't have it to start with.

I am glad someone got the joke. I considered talking about two modes of operation ("line of sight mode" and "make line of sight mode") instead of error correction algorithms, but I thought the error correction thing was more subtle and humorous. I guess it was too subtle. I don't plan on quitting my day job.

Comment: Open, but will it run? (Score 2) 525

by Nkwe (#48370037) Attached to: Microsoft To Open Source<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET and Take It Cross-Platform
In concept making the .NET framework open source sounds cool. But, does making it open source mean that I can make a change to the framework, recompile it, distribute the binary framework along with my dependent application, and expect that someone else can just install my version of the framework and be good? Or does it mean that if I want to distribute a modified framework, I have to go through some sort of code signing process in order to allow it to run on someone else's computer? What would this signing process look like? In addition the assembly loader in .NET makes certain assumptions about version numbers of assemblies. It will be interesting to see how it works when due to multiple development paths, core assembly version numbers are not necessarily sequential / increasing over time.

Comment: Re:One of the first things I checked (Score 1) 108

by Nkwe (#48314333) Attached to: Gigabit Internet Connections Make Property Values Rise

Security and safety of my children came first, of course. Can the home(s) I'm looking at be connected to high-speed internet service was near the top of the list though. I have access to Cox and FiOS up to 150Mb, which meets my needs for the immediate future. Gigabit would be nice to have though...

When I purchased my house, I wrote availability of high speed Internet into the contract. This was 10 years ago at a time when the phone company would not tell you in advance if a particular address has DSL service available; the only way to know for sure was to put in an install order. My real estate agent whined that I couldn't put that in an offer, but I said, "Yes, I can. It is a contract and I can put in anything I want." I put it into the contract, ordered the DSL service, and once the DSL was turned up (which it did), the deal was done. Fiber has since come to my area so life is even better now.

Point of all this is that in my case, high speed Internet had a huge impact on the property value to me. No Internet means the property value is zero in my mind. Sounds like I am not alone.

Comment: Re:So they got their reservation using deception? (Score 2) 1007

by Nkwe (#48243075) Attached to: Creationism Conference at Michigan State University Stirs Unease

Or, are you saying that the crazy homeless guy on the street may in fact be making a valid point and we should give him equal time?

The crazy homeless guy on the street gets his "equal" time in proportion to his audience and the reception of his message from his audience. He has (and generally receives) the right to stand on the street corner and express his point (within reasonable civility constraints). While his point may or may not actually be valid, society in general has voted that it is not valid (because he is called crazy and is standing on the street corner and not in a lecture hall or in a more formal public venue.) The only real difference from an opinion expressed by a crazy on the street corner, a creationist at a university lecture, and published peer reviewed scientist is the size and caliber of the audience - in general "society's" opinion or "vote" on the message.

This discussion here on slashdot and the controversy on campus about this particular conference are part of the process of society reviewing the opinion of creation. While I personally don't believe in creation, at least not in the last ten thousand years / biblical sense, I am fine with civil discussion and debate of the topic on a university campus. That being said, it does need to be a civil discussion and there must be room for debate.

Comment: Re:What for? (Score 1) 79

by Nkwe (#48188175) Attached to: Barometers In iPhones Mean More Crowdsourcing In Weather Forecasts

I know my android device has a barometer, but I can't seem to figure out why. Sure it's kind of neat to be able to see the pressure graphed over time, but I don't think it's a big selling point on devices. Is it just a side effect of some other hardware that makes it easy to implement or something?

Accurate altitude detection? GPS altitude isn't that accurate (at least on cheap consumer level GPS receivers). I have a hand-held Garmin GPS targeted at hiking and it has a barometer built in for more accurate altitude. Perhaps phones are adding them for the same reason.

Comment: Re:Next steps (Score 1) 252

by Nkwe (#48109303) Attached to: Lego Ends Shell Partnership Under Greenpeace Pressure

  • * No little plastic cows, because global warming.
  • * No jet airplanes, because they pollute so much.
  • * Nothing related to Japan, because whaling.
  • * No circus sets because poor animals.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

Good, but not for the reasons listed. I always thought Legos were better before all the "special" bricks and items. "Better" as in better for the imagination. Some of the sets these days are almost entirely custom pieces that are not useful for building things other than the picture on the box.

Get your special pieces off my lawn.

Comment: Re:SamKnows from the FCC (Score 2) 294

by Nkwe (#48105677) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: An Accurate Broadband Speed Test?

Thank you for mentioning that. I am a FIOS customer in the Washington, D.C. area. I regularly interact with remote machines at my employer in North Carolina. I have the Verizon FIOS 25/15 plan. During normal business hours, it works great. But starting in the late afternoon, usually around 5-6 pm every night, round trip times go to crap.


Have you experienced this kind of problem, and did it change after you installed your samknows box? Thanks...

I am in the Portland, Oregon area. When FIOS first came to the area it was put in by Verizon. Since then they have sold the assets to Frontier, who now runs my FIOS. My experience has been that I have always gotten full speed from my FIOS connection under both Verizon and Frontier and both before and after the SamKnows box was installed. I haven't seen a change in behavior. Note that I have had my FIOS service since 2007 and participated in SamKnows since 2010. The public NetFlix related complaints with Verizon FIOS are relatively recent, so I don't know if my continuing good performance is due to me now being on Frontier, the SamKnows box, or just good luck. I am also on a business FIOS connection (to get static IPs), so that may help as well. I have had excellent customer service with both Verizon and Frontier over the life of my FIOS connection.

Comment: Re:SamKnows from the FCC (Score 1) 294

by Nkwe (#48105067) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: An Accurate Broadband Speed Test?

I'm doing this because I'd like to think it helps the FCC keep the ISPs honest.

It probably also helps to ensure that *your* connection gets priority...

I have one of the boxes as well and ensuring that my ISP is motivated to give me good service was part of the reason I put it in. I also think that it is a good idea to have a FCC based performance monitoring infrastructure out there. While I don't think the program is monitoring user's activity, I am a bit on the paranoid side, so I don't run all my traffic through the box (which is a supported configuration.)

As an aside, I am on FIOS and according to the FCC monitor box, I almost always get my advertised speed. My gut feeling with day to day operation of my connection is that the FCC box is giving me real numbers.

Comment: Re:Or how about... (Score 1) 95

by Nkwe (#48068733) Attached to: Only Two States Have Rules To Prevent Cheating On Computerized Tests

Just yesterday I was chatting with a student in a programming class. She was complaining that she got in trouble for using language features that were "not taught yet" in the class. And this is exactly why the United States is falling behind in science and technology compared to other countries, because people are punished for self-education and innovation within our "education system"

What if the point of the lesson was to solve the problem within a set of constraints? While I am not fond of our education system's apparent drive to the least common denominator, I don't think this example is a good one to support the argument of the United States "falling behind".

For argument's sake, let's say that the lesson was to sort some data and the class had not yet covered the language's (or standard library) sort function. If the student used the built-in sort function instead of implementing the sort algorithm by hand, the student would not be demonstrating that they had learned the algorithm or understood the fundamentals of sorting. In addition, if the real requirement was to implement a sort that would run in other environments that don't have built-in sort, "being creative" and using out of scope features, would be a fail.

An exceptional student would have done the lesson the proper way (as instructed and within the constraints given), and in addition provided an alternate solution using the extended or not yet taught language features. This would demonstrate understanding of the solution with both the constraints given and what would be possible if the constraints were not in place.

Pohl's law: Nothing is so good that somebody, somewhere, will not hate it.