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Comment: Re:It's research (Score 1) 282

by Red Herring (#49145163) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

CSB: In the [very large] company I work for, there are two very different groups of programmers. There are the programmers that are EEs, working on products that happen to contain software components, and there are CS programmers. The thought process difference between them is, in general, quite stark.

The EE-background SW folks look at the SW task, spend (an often unreasonable amount of) upfront time to study the project, map it out, and then provide a schedule that pretty much matches what the reality ends up being, and get the product (of which SW is a component) out the door on time. And the code they write is crappy, unmaintainable, crap that does exactly what it's supposed to, no more, no less, and they are famous for rejecting any RCR that will break schedule. Engineering management loves them.

The CS-background folks (who cluster in a different group) will provide a poorly though out schedule quickly, and then immediately start missing deadlines. The code they write will be exquisite, maintainable, and it will have every feature and new hotness that anyone comes up with. Sales and marketing loves them, because they can sell whatever they want and promise anything to the customer, but it often misses the market window.

Moral: "Engineering SW" and "CS" mindsets are, in my company, quite different. Just because a CS-type tells you they can't provide a schedule, or the schedule is bunk, doesn't mean it's not possible to provide a schedule for a SW project. You're probably just asking the wrong kind of person. That may be OK, or not, depending on what you're building and what your project is.

Comment: Re:Well someone has to do it (Score 1) 282

by Red Herring (#49145135) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

No, "computer science" (in the real sense) is a creative process.

Engineering is applying what you know to solve a specific problem to get a product out the door on a known schedule, and a known cost, and known quality. If you want to be "creative", perhaps engineering is not for you. There is a real, important difference.

Structural engineers know this.
Chemical engineers know this.
Process engineers know this.
Mechanical engineers know this.
Electrical engineers know this.
Traffic engineers know this.
And yes, computer engineers know this as well.

If you don't know this...

Comment: Useful Slashdot video? No way... (Score 2) 38

by Red Herring (#48612975) Attached to: Attorney Yasir Billoo Explains NDA Law (Video)

Wow, a Slashdot video that I actually found useful, interesting, relevant to the site, and not a slashvertisement. A very pleasant surprise, and thanks to Yasir for his time and insight.

Timothy, though... c'mon, man... pay a few bucks for a backdrop and a reasonable microphone and step up the game a little, rather than looking like a teenager hiding from your parents in your bedroom... even a few bucks for a laptop stand or a cheap video camera so we don't get the camera-is-sitting-on-my-desk-nasal-shot. Some reasonable lighting, etc., is step two. It's not hard.

Comment: Re:Let's push it further! (Score 1) 421

by Red Herring (#47895393) Attached to: Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy

But there are systems available that don't bundle Windows... Macs, Chromebooks, and others. Yet despite that the Italian courts still said that someone who chose to buy a system that bundled Windows was eligible for a refund.

So, by that logic, just because there are desktops doesn't mean that I shouldn't get a refund for my unused keyboard/display.

Comment: Let's push it further! (Score 1) 421

by Red Herring (#47890471) Attached to: Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy

I hate the keyboards that come with laptops. I have a perfectly good USB keyboard that I always use. Why do manufactures insist on bundligna crappy chicklet keyboard on the hardware? I want a refund for the keyboard, since I never use it.

My laptop is also plugged into an external monitor (the 11" display is useless), so why am I forced to pay for a display?

Why should the "I don't like part of what I'm buying so I want my money back" argument be limited to software?

Comment: Where? (Score 3, Insightful) 89

by Red Herring (#47461785) Attached to: Harvesting Energy From Humidity

At ~1pW/cm^2, a 50x50cm verision of this will provide about 30mWh in 12 hours. Tiny cell phone battery. Heck, a tiny lithium coin cell will provide ~150mWh.

For contrast, a typical solar cell will give 130W/m^2 (-ish), so a 0.25m^2 solar cell will provide ~33W, while the sun shines, obviously.

I'm not sure where exactly on Earth is sufficiently "remote", dark, moist, and unreachable that this makes sense. (Yes, I though of that, but it's really uncomfortable to fit a camping cooler there...)

Comment: Re:$30,000 per year (Score 1) 1040

by Red Herring (#47157977) Attached to: Seattle Approves $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage

While the libertarian in me agrees with you, the realist in me sees some problems with the argument. The problem with letting those who made the choices pay the piper is that usually, I (taxpayer me) still end up paying, and usually much much more, in the long run. The person who had kids who couldn't afford them usually cannot care well for them, which tends to lead to disadvantaged kids with no/minimal education, which leads to higher crime, more poverty, and a higher burden in the future.

The libertarian in me despises the idea of nationalizing most of health care, but I'll end up paying more if everyone without a job goes to the emergency room and I pay (much) more because of it.

If we can't find a way to help people afford houses, then they lose the houses, and I end up paying more property taxes to support the streets, water, and other things I like to have. And then we get Detroit.

In the end, I've decided that the "best thing for me" is to help other people screw me less... which means figuring out how to help them help themselves, not leaving them until they're a burden. I disagree with many of the tactics we use to achieve it, but leaving everyone who made a bad choice to flounder in the sewer costs me more in the long run.

Comment: Re:Not so late to the game (Score 1) 411

by Red Herring (#47149681) Attached to: Apple WWDC 2014: Tim Cook Unveils Yosemite


“DROPOUT JEEP is a software implant for the Apple iPhone that utilizes modular mission applications to provide specific SIGINT functionality. This functionality includes the ability to remotely push/pull files from the device. SMS retrieval, contact list retrieval, voicemail, geolocation, hot mic, camera capture, cell tower location, etc. Command, control and data exfiltration can occur over SMS messaging or a GPRS data connection. All communications with the implant will be covert and encrypted.”

Comment: "Independent" discovery? (Score 5, Interesting) 62

by Red Herring (#46751463) Attached to: Heartbleed Disclosure Timeline Revealed

> Google discovered Heartbleed on or before March 21 and notified OpenSSL on April 1. Other key dates include Finnish security testing firm Codenomicon discovering the flaw independently of Google at 23:30 PDT, April 2.

Doesn't it seem strange that the flaw has existed for a long, long time (years?) but Codenomicon happens to find it less than a day after Google notified OpenSSL, and, per the article, "some infrastructure providers under embargo"? That just seems... unlikely. Not impossible, but it kind of makes you wonder who is leaking information...

Comment: Google is keeping all the IP... (Score 3, Informative) 172

by Red Herring (#46104759) Attached to: Google Sells Motorola Mobility To Lenovo For $2.91 Billion

Considering the $4.5B that the Rockstar group paid for ~4000 mobile-related patents, and that Google is keeping the "Vast Majority" of the Motorola patents, the bulk of the price difference may well be in the IP.

A quick google didn't quickly give me a number for how many patents Google is keeping, but if Lenovo is getting about 2000 patents, and that is not the "Vast Majority", then there are a LOT of patents.

I gotta get me some more patents.


Google Tackles Health 115

Posted by Soulskill
from the as-long-as-you-don't-mind-having-sponsored-cells dept.
Google has announced the formation of a new company called Calico, which aims to promote health and fight aging. Larry Page said, "That’s a lot different from what Google does today. And you’re right. But as we explained in our first letter to shareholders, there’s tremendous potential for technology more generally to improve people’s lives. So don’t be surprised if we invest in projects that seem strange or speculative compared with our existing Internet businesses." He expanded upon this in an interview with Time: "I'm not proposing that we spend all of our money on those kinds of speculative things. But we should be spending a commensurate amount with what normal types of companies spend on research and development, and spend it on things that are a little more long-term and a little more ambitious than people normally would. More like moon shots." The new company's CEO will be Arthur Levinson, who is currently the chairman of Apple and biotech company Genentech. Apple CEO Tim Cook said, "For too many of our friends and family, life has been cut short or the quality of their life is too often lacking. Art is one of the crazy ones who thinks it doesn't have to be this way."

It is not best to swap horses while crossing the river. -- Abraham Lincoln