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Comment: Re:Is this News? (Score 5, Insightful) 271

by Pedrito (#42303941) Attached to: Cox Comm. Injects Code Into Web Traffic To Announce Email Outage
No, not like this. At least I've never seen it before. This is intrusive. I've had it show up in my browser at least 3 times in the past couple of hours and it's about a service I don't even use. I don't care if their e-mail is out. I don't use their e-mail. I don't want this stuff and there ought to be a simple way to opt out.

Comment: Re:It's (Score 1) 296

by Pedrito (#33852312) Attached to: 10/10/10 — a Nice Day To Celebrate the Meaning of Life
My wife is very pregnant and started having contractions at 11:00pm Friday night. We went to the ER last night because the pain had really gotten unbearable (my wife is quite tough, so if she couldn't take the pain, it must have been excruciating). They sent us back home, but we're scheduled to go to the hospital at 5:00pm tonight where they'll give her prostaglandins to "ripen" the cervix. The plan was originally to induce Monday morning, but given that she's been in labor for about 36 hours now, the prostaglandins will likely be all she needs.

Since we determined the expected date (10/4/10), I've been hoping for a 10/10/10 birth (almost entirely because in binary it's 42) and I just may get my wish. Not that any of that matters a bit to me right now. The only thing that really matters to me is that my wife and baby are healthy and doing well. Fortunately she's been able to sleep a bit (she wakes for the contractions, but immediately goes back to sleep). But let's face it, it'll be a cool birthdate if she comes out before midnight!

Comment: True, but... (Score 2, Insightful) 66

by Pedrito (#33754370) Attached to: Scientists Stack Up New Genes For Height
While I have no doubt it's true that a large number of genes contribute to height, it's very likely there are a handful of genes that have a significantly larger effect than the rest. It's a simple matter of statistics. If you have 100 genes that all have, more or less, the same small contribution, then there would be exceedingly few people who were over 6' and the distribution of heights would be most people very close to the same height and only a handful of outliers. You also wouldn't have unusual heights being very heritable (which they are). There must be just a few genes that have a much more significant effect than others.

Comment: If you're only going to learn one... (Score 2, Informative) 403

by Pedrito (#33699258) Attached to: Should I Learn To Program iOS Or Android Devices?
If you're only going to learn one, go Android. Java is reusable in other environments and frankly, it's just easier.

My personal opinion is that Objective C is pretty tedious and annoying. The syntax is ugly and non-intuitive. Again, this is my personal opinion. But having done years of C, C++, C#, I find it bizarre that Objective C syntax is non-obvious. Not that it is particularly complex, but if you know C++, Java and C# seem pretty obvious, whereas Objective C is just very different in syntax.

Finally, Java is platform agnostic. Objective C has few platforms that it's good for and you have to buy Apple hardware to build iPhone apps which to me is plain stupid and I think in the long run, it's going to be one of the things to hurt the iPhone.

Just my own opinions based on my experience with both. I sat down and immediately started writing Android apps using the SDK and simulator with no previous Java experience. Even after several days of playing with existing iPhone apps, I had difficulty even following what was happening in the code, understanding the stuff I was seeing in the watch windows, and figuring out exactly what the various syntactical crap meant.

Comment: Stupid developers (Score 1) 167

by Pedrito (#33616480) Attached to: Stuxnet Worm Infected Industrial Control Systems
Developers; Listen up! NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER have a default password in apps you build. The setup should ask for a password if one is needed and the app should not install without one! What is so hard about this? It boggles my mind that things as important as routers, database servers and industrial equipment control software would install with default passwords! Why does that not raise red flags in developers' minds the second it pops into them?

Comment: Electronic dictionaries? (Score 1) 870

by Pedrito (#33568780) Attached to: Preventing Networked Gizmo Use During Exams?
What non-native English speaking foreign student doesn't have an English to "insert foreign language here" treeware dictionary? Tell them to use that instead. I got by just fine with one when I was living abroad. Not to mention, they tend to be more accurate than most of the online translation dictionaries I've used.

As for calculators, when I took chemistry, physical chemistry and other classes that used math, we were allowed a calculator. It could be one of the advanced programmable graphing ones, or it could be a basic one. Either would have been fine for those exams and I imagine they'll be fine for yours. Students are generally responsible for providing their own. If you'd like to throw in some cheapo simple ones to supplement that for the students who might not have one (what student taking physics doesn't have at least a basic calculator?), you're certainly welcome to, but I wouldn't expect that from a professor.

I wouldn't go too far out of your way and I wouldn't bend over backwards to accommodate them. You're the professor. You set the rules.

The things I've mentioned above have been pretty standard in universities for at least a few decades. I'm guessing this isn't advanced physics and I'm pretty sure basic physics hasn't changed drastically in the past few decades, so no reason you should have to accommodate the latest and greatest tech.

Comment: Many Universes Anyone? (Score 1) 421

by Pedrito (#33023892) Attached to: The Possibility of Paradox-Free Time Travel
It seems to me that the multiverse itself gets one around the grandfather paradox. Granted, it's as theoretical as time travel itself, but still... Go back in time, poof, a new branch of the universe breaks off. The branch where you went back in time (which, of course, is now spawning an endless number of branches itself). Now everything you do affects the branch you're on and not the branch you left from. Paradox-free time travel.

Comment: Neuroscience (Score 3, Interesting) 150

by Pedrito (#32943894) Attached to: Cool, Science-y Masters Programs For Software Devs?
In the past few years, I've become very interested in neuroscience and I've read and studied a great deal about it. Unfortunately, the local universities don't have a neuroscience specialty, so a PhD is out of the question unless I relocate.

Computer science and neuroscience really go hand-in-hand these days. There's a great deal of research being done from the modeling of just ion channels to the modeling of entire cells, to the modeling of large-scale brain structures.

My personal belief is that software, based on neuroscience principles, will become an important area of software development for writing intelligent systems. Systems that can effectively recognize voices, faces, or interpret language, etc, are natural targets. Imagine a stock picking system that reads news stories and factors in emotional content into its picks (after all, let's face it, since the internet made stock-trading more accessible, emotion plays much heavier into the market). Systems could be designed that could monitor financial transactions to find and identify novel types of fraud. In astronomy, because of the number and quality of images coming in, one could create systems that could intelligently view the volumes of images and identify and catalog new objects.

Really, it's an area that's wide open to possibilities. But to understand how to properly piece together the types of artificial neural circuits to accomplish this kind of functionality, one would need a fairly good understanding of how the various circuits in a human brain connect and interact and how they are used to process information (we already understand a tremendous amount about this and we're learning more all the time). Really, neuroscience seems to me to be the new computer science. It's where some of the most amazing advances are being made in science today, in my opinion.

But it is just my opinion and there are lots of other possibilities. I'm definitely enthusiastic about this..

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson