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Comment: Re:Just don't .... (Score 1) 698

My condolences to you and your family.

I lost my dad when I was about the same age as your daughter. That was a long time ago, but I still wonder occasionally what it would have been like to have a father during those formative years. Rest assured your daughter will retain all of her good memories with you. I think writing down your thoughts for her, especially about turning points in life is a good idea, and making videos is, too. But the important thing to resolve from my experience is something work out with your wife. Kids need role models. After your daughter works her way through the trauma of your loss, I think she will seek someone to give her perspective since you will not be there for her, even if she is not consciously doing so. By no means am I suggesting your wife go out and "get a male role model" for her, but rather actively seek the opportunity to find one for your daughter. Maybe the "Big Brothers Big Sisters" program would be a good place to start when the time is right, or maybe another approach. I am sure you have discussed this sort of thing with your wife by now, but I looking back, having someone to go to in the absence of a parent makes a big difference after the loss. I would also archive this /. post for her so that she can see it someday. It will tell her something about the community that you are part of, and that will tell her more about you, too.

Comment: Stick cards in your spokes (Score 2) 823

by Strudelkugel (#48877175) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

Guess it's the geek in me, but when I think of all the noise being generated I think "Why is this energy going into sound instead of the wheels?" Sure, when I was a kid we all thought it was cool to flip the air filter covers and get glass packs, but now I think it is like sticking cards in your bicycle spokes. This is especially true now that I have had a chance to drive a Tesla: No vibration, or excess sound, just smooth power going right where you want it. Put your foot in it, and you are pushed back in your seat with very little noise. Driving a Tesla, or any decent electric is almost a transcendental experience after driving ICE cars. I read a review by someone who said Rolls Royce has to come out with an electric car because the experience is so much better. Of course electric cars are dangerously quiet for pedestrians, so a noise maker at low speeds is legit. Audi has been busy making interesting concept sounds for their electric vehicles.

Comment: Re:Train the trainer. (Score 1) 200

..."Let's teach more Americans to code. (Even the President is learning!)."



Is it just me or does this mean the market for coders has topped out? It's like the "Time magazine cover indicator" for the stock market: When you see a cover that says "Stocks, how high can they go!", sell! When the cover says, "Stocks, no hope in sight...", buy!

With all of the political people talking about coding, it must be sign of some sort of market top in the industry. I also think it's true that coding is for people who like it for it's own sake, not just because someone says "that's where the jobs are." The people who have coding jobs are able to provide value because they are self-motivated and often self-taught as they progress in their careers. The political types don't get this, which is strange since they would probably be the first to say that no one in politics gets ahead without a lot of individual initiative.

Comment: Re:Awful. Insulted my intelligence. (Score 1) 98

Saw the interview, too. I think there is a quid-pro-quo with Charlie Rose and Hollywood: He does a certain number of interviews with people who make less than stellar movies, shall we say, but that allows him to arrange interviews with people from Hollywood who might otherwise say no. I have don't problem with the trade and on occasion even the people involved with the movies no one is going to watch are interesting. Alec Baldwin actually talked about this during one interview. He said "Of course we (he and the other actors on the show) are making the rounds to promote the movie, but at least we like talking to you." Pretty open about what was going on, but this it was Alec Baldwin after all...

There are two reasons I would like to see "Blackhat": The cinematography and Tang Wei. I'm curious to see how Tang Wei is in an American movie after she was blacklisted in China. She seems likes a capable actor so I would like to see her get new opportunities.

As for Chris Hemsworth, I thought he was good in "Rush". The movie was quite enjoyable and had plenty of interesting technical details for the geek audience. Maybe Ron Howard will make a movie about hacking. I think he would do a good job of it.

Comment: Re:Routers? (Score 1) 360

by Strudelkugel (#48656625) Attached to: North Korean Internet Is Down

... They have only one neighbor who they share a land border with who will talk with them, so they likely don't really have a way to set up a redundant second route.

Two countries, they share a short border area with Russia

Makes for interesting questions: Do they have fiber running through Russia, too? Did China decide to shut down the NK internet? If NK has a connection through Russia, did they go along with the idea? Or did the US or someone else do something to the internal NK infrastructure? All of the above assumes the NK blackout is not the decision of the NK government.

Comment: Re:I see nothing exciting here (Score 1) 390

by Strudelkugel (#48481001) Attached to: First Star War Episode 7 Trailer Released

But none of that really tells us much about the movie itself; it could just as well be a teaser for Disney's toy catalog for next Christmas.

In other words, ff you get an advance copy of the catalog, you will know what is in the movie.

To this day I don't understand how Lucas could make something as good as "American Graffiti" and an entire collection as mediocre as "Star Wars", other than using them to sell toys. If it wasn't for Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and James Earl Jones in the original movie, my guess is that it would have flopped. It's sort of surprising to me that so many people with technical backgrounds like the SW series, given all of the science the movies completely disregard:

  • Sound in space
  • Spacecraft that make banked turns in a vacuum
  • Breathable atmosphere almost everywhere
  • No variation in gravity on different planets
  • Humans flying spacecraft while AI sits in the back seat
  • Humans aiming and shooting weapons while AI sits in the back seat
  • Large formations of spacecraft in close proximity even though they can move at hyper-light speed
  • etc, etc

The SW franchise strikes me as a series of repackaged westerns with WWII themes and an abundance of special effects. I like sci-fi that leaves you wondering about possibilities you never thought of before. I don't know why Hollywood has such a hard time with sci-fi given the example of "2001, A Space Odyssey". Not that 2001 was such a great movie given how disjointed it was, but the weightlessness, lack of sound in space, and of course the impossibility of understanding HALs AI made those sequences very alien and intriguing. (Martin Scorsese's comment that Dave Bowman shutting down HAL was actually a murder scene made the question of AI even more interesting.) "Terminator", "Predator", and "Alien" were all better, IMHO. I think all of the Philip K. Dick derived movies were better than SW, too. When it comes to SW, the stories leave little or nothing to the imagination, the antithesis of what good sci-fi should do. But then again, the movies are really just ads for toys and promotions at Burger King. In that regard, they make a lot of money so I will not argue with them as a business proposition. Now "Get off my lawn!"

+ - The bane of restaurants - Smartphones->

Submitted by Strudelkugel
Strudelkugel (594414) writes "A restaurant in Manhattan compared video from 2004 and 2014 to see why service was slower than before. A few observations listed in the article:
Customers walk in.
They gets seated and are given menus, out of 45 customers 3 request to be seated elsewhere.
Customers on average spend 8 minutes before closing the menu to show they are ready to order...
Customers walk in.
Customers get seated and is given menus, out of 45 customers 18 requested to be seated elsewhere.
Before even opening the menu they take their phones out, some are taking photos while others are simply doing something else on their phone (sorry we have no clue what they are doing and do not monitor customer WIFI activity)."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Still stuck in an analogue thinking pattern (Score 1) 216

by Strudelkugel (#46984789) Attached to: GM Sees a Market For $5/Day Dedicated In-Car Internet
Given all that we know about GM, can someone explain (aside from the obvious political reasons / TBTF), why this company was bailed out? Romney was correct, it should have been allowed to go bankrupt. In addition, the taxpayer still had to eat a $10 billion loss. GM management was incompetent to the core. This idea is yet another example of it for all of the reasons you list and more.

Comment: Re:It's just corruption (Score 4, Insightful) 143

by Strudelkugel (#46955255) Attached to: How Dumb Policies Scare Tech Giants Away From Federal Projects

Actually it's a bit different from what you describe. The government loads contracts with all kinds of deliverables beyond the actual product being requested, such as documentation that never reflects reality since there is never enough time to do all of it and deliver a product. Everyone knows it won't be read anyway.As often as not these things distract the contractors. Then there are the process mandates and contract requirements that employ large numbers of people who are all busy checking checkboxes. All of this is done to prevent failures, but obviously the failures occur anyway. Part of this is often because the government tries to create a Facebook or Google in a couple of years, but also because the regulatory environment designed to prevent failure is so complicated critical information can be lost or obscured. It's not that the "accountable ones" are not held to account because they work for government, it's more the case that the contract complexity almost makes it impossible to determine who really is accountable.

Obviously when you don't really know who is accountable for something you don't know who to ask for reliable information, so people start making assumptions. "You want escalators, not elevators? But the contract says vertical lift system. We interpreted that to as..."

Comment: Been there (Score 4, Interesting) 274

by Strudelkugel (#46914975) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Joining a Startup As an Older Programmer?

I was involved in a startup in my 40s. It ultimately failed, but I learned lessons that will hopefully be valuable to you to. What you describe sounds like a dream job for most people. As long as you get it, I don't think you have to be concerned at all about being older than the others. They will appreciate the times when someone comes up with a bad idea that looks good, but you can say "I've seen this before, here's what happened..." - as long as you are right. Even better will be the times when someone has an unproven idea and you can say, "I remember a couple of times when one of our developers had an off the wall idea that we all wondered about, but it was appealing enough that we went with it anyway and it worked." As for the hours, there will be 20 and 30 somethings who will go on 24+ hour coding binges. Did you do that when you were in your 20s? Do you think you would be productive doing it? Does management expect you to disrupt your family life? It's hard to believe a company that has grown to have 300 employees would have leadership that expects all of their employees to destroy their personal life. If they do, the company won't be the success everyone hopes for anyway. (Well, the founders might walk away with a lot of money before it implodes, but you won't. You have to assess that risk.)

The great thing about a good startup is the chance it offers to to new kinds of work and see it succeed in the marketplace. This can be really exciting. It's possible that you might have a similar opportunity in a large company but the odds are very low since you will be separated from the product or service by layers of management and bureaucratic rules. Yes you will get a steady paycheck, but it will never compare with the huge win you can get at a startup and the satisfaction of knowing you had a direct role in the success. You can also ask yourself if the startup role will make you a better developer. If the company fails, will you have improved your technical knowledge so that you are still valuable to other companies? In an established company it's more likely that you will just be a code monkey whose skills slowly evaporate without you realizing it, although you don't sound like the kind of person who would let that happen. If OTOH, the company you work for is run by PHBs who are forcing you to work on obsolete stuff, you have to leave anyway. Some large companies do have great jobs, though, but I don't think you would be looking if you were really happy where you are.

From your description of the job and given that you don't sound like the Get Off My Lawn type, I would suggest that you join the startup if they make you an offer that is reasonable.

Comment: Re:Switching from Mercedes to Tesla after $12K bil (Score 2, Interesting) 360

by Strudelkugel (#46784073) Attached to: Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential"

I sympathize. I have a similar story about my former Benz. At 70K miles I had repair problem with the motor. MB's fault really, had to have been set up wrong at the factory. Cost of repair was about $7K. They put in $2K, but I had to fork over the rest. I will never buy another Benz. I have owned several cars. None ever had a catastrophic failure at 70K miles. Of course the dealers will tell you that is why you should buy an extended warranty. My response is the policy and its renewal fee would have been about as much, so it would have been worthless to me. After I decided to get rid of the Benz, I was quite tempted to buy a Model S after driving one. Ultimately I thought I would wait until they add a few features I like that are available on other cars. When the warranty is about to expire on the new car I will buy the Tesla.

It's also worth noting what a huge difference there is when buying a car from a dealership and a Tesla from the store. I think 99% of us share the opinion that buying a car from a dealership is the most insulting retail experience there is. Dealers know it but don't care since the franchise laws protect them from reasonable market forces. No wonder they are all trying to stop Tesla from selling direct to consumers. But car dealers are not the only industry that plays the regulatory game. Just one of the worst abusers.

Comment: Re:Armor (Score 2) 330

by Strudelkugel (#46478675) Attached to: What If the Next Presidential Limo Was a Tesla?

Actually electric motors power the biggest machines I can think of, such as draglines, railroad locomotives and ships. The Presidential limo is not designed for a high speed getaway, it is really an armored personnel carrier with a nice paint job. It also doesn't have to go very far. The only time a limo had to go very "fast" was after an assassination attempt, but remember that it has a police escort that will clear all other traffic ahead of it. In JFK's case, speed would have been irrelevant, and in Reagan's case, they still had to drive through Washington D.C. streets which were more of a speed limitation than the limo itself. In addition, there is always an ambulance following the motorcade, so the POTUS would be transferred to it for a medical emergency. (This didn't happen for Reagan since he was shot right next to the limo. His Secret Service agent pushed him in after noticing blood and made the decision to go to the ER immediately.)

Four independent electric motors might actually give the limo more mobility than a single ICE, since all four would have to be knocked out to immobilize the car. They would also be lighter than the ICE. As for power, they could always charge up an electric limo using the APU on board AF1, or just carry additional battery packs. Another option would be to put a turbine generator in the car if extra range were needed, but I seriously doubt the POTUS will ever take a road trip in the limo. Truman might have done it for fun since he liked driving so much, but that was a different time.

+ - IBM Sees Growing Enterprise Demand for Windows Phone->

Submitted by Strudelkugel
Strudelkugel (594414) writes ""Actual end user momentum is trailing business interest," Szafranski said. "IT likes Microsoft and likes Windows. They've made a lot of investment in things like Active Directory and Exchange and as a result they have a lot of interest in seeing Windows Phone used by employees. I don't think anyone is going to be all Windows on mobile, but enterprises do want it and I think they have a strong opportunity when it comes to the enterprise side of purchase decisions.""
Link to Original Source

The tao that can be tar(1)ed is not the entire Tao. The path that can be specified is not the Full Path.