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Comment: Re:Multiple multi-million dollar satellites. (Score 2) 172 172

Funnily enough at the satellite company I worked for that one time, one of the older guys there mentioned how he almost lost a satellite once by logging in to his own account and issuing a maneuver command to the satellite. Problem was the satellite was expecting times in GMT and got them in MST. Took them days to get it oriented correctly again.

Now the programmers in the audience could probably think of like 10 different specific things that could be coded into the system to prevent that from happening, but this company didn't. Which really isn't too surprising. I asked one of the devs on the ground systems team if the ground systems was using GMT or UTC. His answer was "What's the difference?" I was able to infer from his answer that it was most likely GMT, and that did appear to be the case. Somewhere deep in the bowels of the system there was presumably some piece of code written by an Indian contractor with a math degree adjusting times for leap seconds, but it wasn't in any code that anyone knew about.

The early history of that company read like a Monty Python sketch. The first satellite exploded on the launch pad. The second satellite fell over and then exploded. The third satellite burned down, fell over, exploded and then sank into the swamp. The forth satellite got into orbit and was promptly bricked by sending the wrong version of Windows(!) to it. To be fair they only had to do that because they launched it with the wrong version of Windows(!!) in the first place. One would think that ANY version of Windows would be the wrong version of Windows to shoot into space, but that's why you're not the head of a billion dollar satellite company.

Comment: Crashed the Uni Mainframe Once (Score 1) 172 172

Was curious what an apparently undocumented feature on the login page did. Turns out what it did was crash the mainframe. Go figure. You'd think they'd take that shit off the login page, but apparently no one had ever been so curious as to explore it before. Which says a lot about that uni, now that I think about it. Also, once trash talked a uni in a story on a news blag website. Yeah, those were the days...

Mostly I make my career out of fixing other people's tech mistakes. Which is not something that uni taught me how to do. Man I'm glad I got out of that place before I ran up any significant student debt. Did I mention I trash talked a uni on a news blag website?

Comment: Re:I'm retired now (Score 2) 172 172

I don't have anything nearly that bad - my worst only cost me data. A friend taught me (while I was still learning Linux) a trick, how you could play music with dd by outputting the sound to /dev/dsp. But as I said, I was still learning Linux and hadn't quite gotten all of the device names into my head, and I mixed /dev/dsp up with /dev/sda...

The Almighty Buck

Ask Slashdot: How Much Did Your Biggest Tech Mistake Cost? 172 172

NotQuiteReal writes: What is the most expensive piece of hardware you broke (I fried a $2500 disk drive once, back when 400MB was $2500) or what software bug did you let slip that caused damage? (No comment on the details — but about $20K cost to a client.) Did you lose your job over it? If you worked on the Mars probe that crashed, please try not to be the First Post, that would scare off too many people!

Comment: Re:useful? (Score 1) 105 105

Well, they'll be useful when I decide to start jumping off perfectly good cliffs. If I ever get sick of IT, I could make a better-than-average living packing parachutes or possibly even flying a jump plane. I'd need to go get a pilot's license and a commercial rating for the latter, but demand definitely exceeds supply for skydiving pilots. Just because the majority of people never picks up a skill (Like lockpicking, contact juggling, parquor, etc) doesn't mean those skills aren't useful. They just require some creativity to use to their full potential.

More to the point, the skills I've picked up skydiving are not ones that are going to go away at any point in my life. Even if I quit the sport, I'd still be able to hop into the wind tunnel at any point and fly. Contrast that with the ability to, let's say, run Molten Core. Anyone in a guild who did that during vanilla WoW spent way more time learning how to do that than I did skydiving. Keep in mind that my actual freefall time at the time I got my A license was less than an hour. And that's with wind tunnel time. The hypothetical guild probably spent several times that much time wiping on trash to get to the first boss. Three years later, I'm still building on my skydiving skills. Three years later, the hypothetical guild's shiny purple crap has been obsolete for three expansions and if anyone runs Molten Core anymore, it's 1 or 2 people going for some vanity drop. That's a significantly less rewarding experience, and I know that first-hand.

+ - How much did your biggest "tech" mistake cost?

NotQuiteReal writes: What is the most expensive piece of hardware you broke (I fried a $2500 disk drive once, back when 400MB was $2500) or what software bug did you let slip that caused damage? (No comment on the details — but about $20K cost to a client.)

Did you lose your job over it?

If you worked on the Mars probe that crashed, please try not to be the First Post, that would scare off too many people!

Comment: Re:Does this concern anyone else? (Score 1) 105 105

Heh, yeah. I took up skydiving in 2012 and the progression does feel very much like a video game. Can't advance until you demonstrate proficiency in the current training level yadda yadda. I'm building useful skills, actually have a social life now and am in much better shape than I was before. And my accomplishments are actually meaningful to me. Down sides are it's a pretty expensive hobby and has a higher than average chance of killing me. I'm pretty conservative under canopy, though.

I'm still pretty interested in the VR headset technology. Seems like the Microsoft Holo Lens is what the wearable computing guys really needed for augmented reality a decade and a half or so ago. And I'm looking forward to being able to take an audience along for a jump with a 3D camera. It'll really be much more intense than just watching it on a flat screen on YouTube. Even that's a pretty amazing technology, though. For around $400 someone can give you a window into a world that most people will never see. And they want to see it. Pretty much everyone I talk to about it says skydiving's on their bucket list, but only a tiny percentage of them will ever do so much as a tandem jump.

United States

Wired Cautions Would-Be Drone Photogs on the 4th 56 56

Last year's spectacular but unauthorized you-are-there video from the inside of a fireworks display has probably inspired quite a few people to try getting their own bird's-eye view this year. Wired cautions photographers, though, that many municipalities have specifically banned (and some will be looking for) unauthorized airborne visitors, and that the FAA's guidelines for legal flight are tricky to comply with during a fireworks show. This is both because it's hard to maintain visual contact with a drone amid the dark and smoke of a show, and because of the altitude at which many commercial firework shells burst. In addition, even if a drone photo mission goes under the radar vis-a-vis local authorities, if resulting footage appears on an ad-supported site, like YouTube, the FAA may be a bit more interested than the pilot would like.
Games

Someone Will Die Playing a Game In Virtual Reality 105 105

SlappingOysters writes: Grab It has detailed a hands-on session with horror VR title Kitchen — from Resident Evil creator Capcom — and argues how the physical reaction to the experience could lead to death. The site also believes that classifying VR games will be a challenge and many titles could be banned. Virtual Reality has a big year ahead, with the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus all set to release, while Microsoft is working on the HoloLens, which the site argues adds a further challenge to traditional gaming.

+ - Someone Will Die Playing a Game in Virtual Reality

SlappingOysters writes: Grab It has detailed a hands-on session with horror VR title Kitchen — from Resident Evil creator Capcom — and argues how the physical reaction to the experience could lead to death. The site also believes that classifying VR games will be a challenge and many titles could be banned. Virtual Reality has a big year ahead, with the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus all set to release, while Microsoft is working on the HoloLens, which the site argues adds a further challenge to traditional gaming.
AI

Machine Learning System Detects Emotions and Suicidal Behavior 28 28

An anonymous reader writes with word as reported by The Stack of a new machine learning technology under development at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology "which can identify emotion in text messages and email, such as sarcasm, irony and even antisocial or suicidal thoughts." Computer science student Eden Saig, the system's creator, explains that in text and email messages, many of the non-verbal cues (like facial expression) that we use to interpret language are missing. His software applies semantic analysis to those online communications and tries to figure out their emotional import and context by looking for word patterns (not just more superficial markers like emoticons or explicit labels like "[sarcasm]"), and can theoretically identify clues of threatening or self-destructive behavior.

Comment: Re:Sweden's case won't really matter (Score 1) 128 128

There is one thing where the UK would have had a role even if he hadn't fled bail, in that the UK would have been the EAW "sending state". Under an EAW surrender, the sending state has certain rights and responsibilities - for example, if a request comes for extradition to a third party, it has to not only go through the receiving state's judiciary system, but also the sending state's judiciary system; the receiving state can't just hand off someone that they received under an EAW at will. Which is one of the things that makes the whole thing even more ridiculous - Assange had so much faith in Sweden's independence against the UK (such as their ban on extradition for intelligence crimes and 2006 Swedish special forces raids to shut down the US's rendition flights secretly moving through their territory) that he called it his "shield" and was applying for a residence permit there. But suddenly, practically overnight, Sweden transformed into Evil US Lackeys(TM) when he was accused of rape. So then he went to the UK where he talked about his great respect for their independence and impartiality and promised to abide by whatever rulings their judicial system made. Until he ran out of appeals, wherein the UK also turned into Evil US Lackeys(TM). Funny how he felt just fine walking around freely in both of these countries all this time, having only one of the two countries as barriers against US extradition, but adamantly fought the situation that would make them both be barriers to extradition.

+ - Machine learning system detects emotions and suicidal behavior ->

An anonymous reader writes: A new machine learning technology is being developed by Israeli scientists which can identify emotion in text messages and email, such as sarcasm, irony and even antisocial or suicidal thoughts. The new computerised system, created by Eden Saig a computer science student at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, is described in a paper titled ‘Sentiment Classification of Texts in Social Networks.’ The system works by recognising repeated word patterns and was developed by Saig after he studied a course in artificial intelligence (AI) supervised by Professor Shaul Markovich. Saig explains that voice tone and vocal inflections are so crucial for conveying feelings in verbal communication, while with text and email messages these characteristics are lost – recently encouraging users to illustrate sentiment through superficial smileys or emoticons. Applying machine learning algorithms to popular opinion Facebook pages, Saig was able to use the results to pick out stereotypical habits in social network conversations. “Now, the system can recognise patterns that are either condescending or caring sentiments and can even send a text message to the user if the system thinks the post may be arrogant,” said Saig.
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Competent Authorities (Score 3, Informative) 128 128

Which is, of course, false. AA has accused Assange of lesser sexual crimes, and SW has accused him of rape. There are no counts of rape against Assange concerning AA on the EAW, only three lesser counts (2x molestation and 1x unlawful sexual coersion). There is one count of rape on the EAW (count #4) concerning SW, in line with what the women have accused him of and also in line with what the Svea Court of Appeals has found probable cause for. Both women sought and retained legal representatives who have pushed the case forward for them (initially, both of them retained Claes Borgström, who was the one whose appeal got the closed portion of the investigation re-opened. More recently AA fired Claes because she thought he wasn't doing a good enough of a job with the case and was more focused on self aggrandizement; her new legal representative since started a new push to get Assange handed over to Sweden).

There's a lot more detail on these topics and more here.

The Assange-echo-chamber meme "Neither of the women involved have ever accused Assange of rape" is based on a simple distortion of a key element. SW (the one who the rape charge is concerned) didn't want to have to file charges - she only wanted to force Assange to take a STD test. She didn't want the thing to turn into a giant media circus that basically ruined her life and forced her into hiding from angry Assange fans. But there's a difference between not wanting to file charges and not accusing Assange of rape. She did accuse Assange of rape - first in conversations with her friends while coming to grips with what happened, and then went to the police station, where they told the officer on duty that they wanted advice on how to report a rape (see the statement by Linda Wassgren, the on-duty officer on the 20th). They were then interviewed separately where she described being raped, and after the interview she took a rape kit and sought a legal advocate (getting, ultimately, Claes). Since the leak of the Memoria file (a scummy act on Assange's side, I should add, as it's full of identifying personal details about his accusers and their families that have been used to harrass them - and we know it came from Assange's side because the cover page has a note to Assange's attorney telling him that it's confidential and must not be released), there have been a number of other followup interviews and investigations, and at no point have any objections from AA or SW been recorded. There is absolutely nothing in the record supporting a claim "Neither of the women involved have ever accused Assange of rape". SW has pretty much had to disappear after the event; AA went into hiding for a while but has since resumed taking part in some of the old forums that she used to; last fall she mentioned the case for the first time since the one brief statement she had given to the press after going to the police, mentioning offhand in an unrelated thread that a couple years ago she was the victim of a sex crime and that the perpetrator still hasn't been brought to justice, but rather she's still attacked by his fans for daring to report it. She didn't mention Assange by name, but it's obvious who she was referring to.

Most people who are raped don't want to file charges. They don't want the viscious attacks that come with it and want to shove the event in the past and not have to keep reliving it. A hundred times over when the accused is someone famous who has a lot of loyal fans. But claiming "not wanting to file charges" means "wasn't raped" is a massive distortion.

You're at Witt's End.

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