Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - 6 month subscription of Pandora One at 46% off. ×

Comment Re:Ok for a year or two post-graduation (Score 2) 412

The OP described 300 square foot units with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living are, surrounding a shared living area with additional amenities. So, each resident would have their own private space.

This is actually more than some families (2 parents plus 1 or 2 kids - or 1 parent plus 2 or 3 kids) are able to afford.

Looking at the floor plan in TFA, the individual units are similar to some 2 room suites I've been in in hotels - except the hotel suites lacked a kitchen (having only a microwave and a minifridge under the TV in the "living room" part of the suite). The kitchen and bath are tiny. The "open" layout of the kitchen makes it less cramped than the space it occupies otherwise would be, However, the shower stall in the bath looks like it might be too small for 2 people to shower together.

For single people not yet ready to consider having a live-in romantic partner, I think it could work.

As a point of comparison, my girlfriend and I lived in a 400 square foot apartment for 2 years after we graduated from university. As it was more space then we had in the university residence hall, we were comfortable. At the time, our main reason for looking for a bigger place was so we could have a child. We quickly discovered we could buy a 1200 square foot house (plus basement, giving us a total of 1800 square feet) for about the same total monthly cost as renting the apartment.

Comment Re:Neither an Engineer nor a Programmer (Score 1) 568

I call myself a Software Developer. I am generally responsible for the design, construction, and testing of the software I develop. I use a combination of techniques, including frequent testing, to ensure that the software does what I intend.

Some might argue that what I'm doing is Engineering. I don't.

Your job description is basically the same as mine (though my position description also includes "team leader" responsibilities). My employer calls me an engineer. My past employers called me an engineer.

My employer also employs people it calls "Electronics Engineer", "Electrical Engineer", "Mechanical Engineer", "Test Engineer", "Systems Engineer" and a few other "____ Engineer". Despite calling us "engineers", they don't actually treat us as engineers. They just want us to - quickly - create things that work well enough to be salable. If we actually followed the processes they claim they expect us to follow, we'd be taking a month or more to do tasks we are lucky to be given a week to get done.

As for my use of the title "Software Engineer", if I didn't use that in my resume, I would not have gotten my current job, nor any of the previous 2 or 3.

I do have degrees in Electrical/Electronic Engineering and Computer Science. I have even carried out a few software projects as engineering projects. That's not what my employer really wants. It wants, as I said, people to create things that work well enough to be salable. And do so, quickly.

I like the work, I need the work. I need the pay. I will use whatever job title gets me the job and helps me keep it.

Comment Re:Third-party dependencies (Score 1) 291

Or the well-tested library is either proprietary or copylefted and cannot be lawfully combined with a copylefted or proprietary application respectively. This affected me at work when I was looking for transliteration libraries to make addresses in foreign scripts recognizable to the U.S. Postal Service, but the good one that everyone recommended was GPL (not LGPL), and the boss chose that we roll our own rather than make our own application free software.

There is a way around this: Turn the GPL library into a service, then the (proprietary) application can contact the service to perform the conversion and provide the result. Only the service based on the library would need to be GPL.

Using "localhost" (IPv4:, IPv6: ::1), there will be no network traffic involved. If running this on some flavor of Unix (BSD, Linux, Mac OSX, etc), you could use named, Unix domain sockets instead.

This would probably have been less effort to get working than creating your own library.

IANAL, so can't speak to legal matters, but I am aware of many proprietary applications that use GPL services (and vice-versa) everyday. Also, many proprietary applications come with bundled GPL applications/tools. For example, several of the vendor specific compilers I use at work have copies of GNU Make and several other GPL licensed tools included in the package.

Disclaimer: Always ask your intellectual property lawyer about any potential legal issues.

Comment Re:There was a sudden disturbance in the force... (Score 1) 620

Now go ahead and convince me that a) You would definitely be blind now if you weren't wearing glasses then, and then how not wearing glasses would have been a sensible thing for where you were, and.... all the other little bits that might actually give your post some substance.

Acceleration due to gravity. When the shot is fired up, the slowing of it will be much more due to gravity than air resistance. Then as the shot falls, it will increase velocity due to gravity. Even accounting for air resistance, the shot's velocity when it impacts a person on the ground will still be a very significant percentage of the muzzle velocity.

Comment Re:GOTOs in C (Score 1) 497

As JustNiz said, too much code and you're leaking internal logic.


int foo() {
        if (do_stuff() != 0) {
                if (do_more_stuff() != 0) {
                        return SUCCESS;

Comment Re:We need to be harder on them (Score 3, Informative) 822

I understand that the US constitution makes it so, but I don't think this is really a sane thing to do.

The Second Amendment to the US Constitution was put there because the original 13 states had recently won their independence from Briton by an armed uprising against Briton. The founders intended the Second Amendment as a "last resort" of the people to keep the government in check.

Yes, over the past 200+ years, many have argued that the states would protect the people against a too powerful national government. So far, that argument has been successfully countered. It might only be a matter of time before that argument ultimately prevails.

Also, the vast power of the national government effectively moots the Second Amendment.

How come gun ownership is a right but ... access to public health care and decent education in your country are not?

The Ninth Amendment not withstanding, because the US Constitution doesn't mention them. At least not in language today's politicians would recognize. This is exemplified by the debate over whether the Fourth Amendment confers a right to privacy. While the words "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, ...." do not include the word "privacy", the words used do describe privacy. Still, a significant faction argues that the absence of the word "privacy" infers the right is not granted. Except the Ninth Amendment says otherwise. Indeed, the US Constitution was intended to limit the government's power, not grant rights that the founders believed to be inherent and inalienable.

I agree, good health care and education are basic human rights. I would even argue that the Declaration of Independence supports that. Again, not specifically, so the politicians feel free to ignore it as is convenient for them. Indeed, the Declaration of Independence is largely ignored, just as the Ninth Amendment is largely ignored. True the Declaration of Independence is not part of the Constitution, but it is the preeminent founding document of the US. What it says is no less important than the Constitution.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Is there space for open hardware in networking?

beda writes: Open hardware has got much attention with the advent of Raspberry Pi, Arduino and their respective clones. But most of the devices are focused either on tinkerers (Arduino) or most notably multimedia (Raspberry Pi). However, there is not much happening in other areas such as home routers where openness might help improve security and drive progress. Our company (non-profit) is trying to change this with Turris Omnia but we still wander if there is in fact demand for such devices. Is the market large enough and the area cool enough? Are there enough people who would value open hardware running open software even with a higher price tag? Any feedback would be most valued.

Comment Re: Why do they need ANY info? (Score 1) 423

I have friends in the automotive industry, including 2 that work for suppliers of in-vehicle entertainment systems.

The automotive companies isolate entertainment system modules from the rest of the vehicle to minimize legal liability for the operation of modules that are not part of the actual vehicle operation. Basically, they are treated as untrusted. Any vehicle status information gets to the entertainment system via a special gateway module. The information that is relayed is carefully reviewed for potential legal liabilities. The fact that a given signal is required to be available via the OBD port is not sufficient justification for relaying it to the entertainment system.

Even, for example, in vehicles where notification sounds are played through the entertainment system's speakers, the sounds are generated as a secondary function of a vehicle control module and provided to the entertainment system as an audio input. AND the sounds are also emitted by a speaker connected to the module providing the sounds.

Also, in vehicles where "driver information" is presented via the same display used for controlling the entertainment system, the display and it's user controls are part of the Driver Information System, which sends (among other things) commands to the entertainment system and receives (among other things) status from the entertainment system.

Comment Re:Why do they need ANY info? (Score 1) 423

why do they even need to know if the car is in MOTION at all just to play music??

So they can add features that could be distracting to the driver if used while driving the vehicle.

In theory, the entertainment system could use it's own sensors to detect vehicle motion, however, this puts additional legal liability on the entertainment system manufacturer. Also, the legal definition of "vehicle in motion" may differ from the physical definition. For example, any time the transmission is not in "park" might legally be considered as the vehicle being in motion. Simpler and less risky to use information already being determined by another module in the vehicle.

Comment Re:Science Requires Effort (Score 2) 246

When I was a kid, in my school's science classes, we did lots of hands-on stuff. Did we "re-invent the _____". Yes. So what? We learned how to "do science" by doing science ourselves. And I don't mean just mindless following directions. We started with describing things we "discovered" as we went through our days. Then the concept of doing simple tests to learn more about "every day" things. We were even encouraged to figure out how to test things, so were starting to do scientific experiments. Yes, some procedures had to be given to us. And, all the while we were doing this "fun stuff", the teachers managed to slip in lots of background facts. Guess what? We actually remembered - not just the things we did, but the background stuff as well.

Yes, all those facts facts we learned are important to have learned. And yes, we couldn't possibly learn more than a tiny fraction of them purely by hands-on science. By learning them along side the hands on things we did do, we could actually "connect" those facts with the real world. And, therefore, understand them.

Otherwise, they are just items of information to be coughed up on command.

Coughing up formulas from, for example, the "CRC Book of Standard Formulas" may be faster, but if you can't derive the formulas you need, how can you be sure you are using them correctly?

Comment Re:Engineers did the deed (Score 1) 569

Nobody ever said, "go forth and flaunt the law" maybe $Engineer did not even realize what he was doing violated the testing rules.

Ok... read this:

Specifically, VW manufactured and installed software in the electronic control module (ECM) of these vehicles that sensed when the vehicle was being tested for compliance with ....

You are trying to seriosly tell me an engineer responsible for this didn't know exactly what he was doing here? That he could design, impement, and test a clean running profile that was activated when and only when the vehicle thought it was running on a dyno under the conditions of an EPA test?

And that he also had sufficiently large rocks in his head to fail to suspect this would somehow be against the rules?

In one ECM, or across multiple ECMs?

Designing complex machinery, such as cars, is often managed using compartmentalization. The engine control ECM need not have been the only module involved with the cheat.

A single requirements engineer or manager (not all managers are stupid) at VW could have manipulated the requirements for several ECMs. Each piece of the cheat would be innocuous on its own, but together, when interacting with each other, accomplish the cheat.

Comment Re:They knew what they were doing (Score 1) 569

Probably ordered by management but executed and carried out by engineers who damn well knew or should have known

You seem to be assuming the cheat was implemented entirely in the engine controller.

Not all managers are stupid. Some are even very devious. It's very possible that a manager in VW's requirements department could have inserted extra specifications into the requirements of several control modules, each piece of the cheat seemingly benign and reasonable.

Comment Re:This wasn't an engineering decision... (Score 1) 569

Do these engineers have no morals or shame? There's no way you can argue that they didn't understand the impact of what they were tasked with designing.

You are assuming the engineers are seeing more than their little piece of the final product. Complex products are often managed by compartmentalizing the components and sub-assemblies.

Disclosure: I do software for electronic control modules. Not automotive, but I have friends in the auto industry.

Like other complex machinary, cars and trucks can have several electronic control modules (ECM). So a questionable requirements manager could insert extra specifications in the requirements for multiple ECMs to implement a cheat. A devious enough manager could even hide the purpose from the engineers writing the requirements documents.

The engineers designing and implementing the ECMs almost always see only the requirements for the ECM they are responsible for.

For example, the engine controller engineers would not know the message commanding a "special performance mode" was really a "special status" message from another ECM. And that ECM's engineers would not know their module was sending anything other than a special status message. And the test engineers would not know that any of the ECMs they were commanding to "not interfere with out test" was, in turn, "commanding" the engine controller to use a "special performance mode".

This would make Mr Gru proud of his protege at VW.

Were there fewer fools, knaves would starve. - Anonymous