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Comment: Re:Just one more reason (Score 2) 256

by Walter White (#46795109) Attached to: Criminals Using Drones To Find Cannabis Farms and Steal Crops

Come on, I refuse to believe that these entities are actively working to put more people in prison for no good reason. ...
I think it's more likely that private prisons advocate for more prison time, etc. That would be the American thing to do :)

Are you suggesting that money is not a good reason?

  Prison operation is now private and they want to grow the business.

Comment: Re:Anyone know if there are regression tests? (Score 1) 304

by Walter White (#46758247) Attached to: OpenBSD Team Cleaning Up OpenSSL

... Does anyone know how good their test coverage is?

Not obvious to me if by "their" you mean OpenSSL or OpenBSD (*) but it seems to me the answer is "not sufficient." I'm sure it will be enhanced to cover Heartbleed.

(*) OpenSSL, OpenBSD ... phrased that way it sounds like a match made in heaven! ;)

Comment: Re:Trollolololol! (Score 1) 146

by Walter White (#46754325) Attached to: The Best Way To Watch the "Blood Moon" Tonight

What annoys me is that this is happening on a weeknight. Seriously??? Can't anyone think this sort of thing through??? ...

Very poor planning IMO. Whereas we had temps in the 80s a couple days ago it is presently 27F when the eclipse seems to be at totality. Oh well, at least I got to see it and capture some crude images before the clouds moved back in.

Comment: Re:Not long (Score 1) 520

by Walter White (#46320659) Attached to: Netflix Blinks, Will Pay Comcast For Network Access

AFAIK I have Comcast and Netflix. Most of the time when I watch Netflix it wavers between 280SD and 480SD. On a good day I get 720HD. On a bad day - which is all too frequent - I get 240SD. Anything from 280SD and below looks like crap on a modern HDTV.

And yet, at the same time I can run a bandwidth test which shows I get great bandwidth (, local test server.)

I suppose the bottleneck could be beyond the portion of the network between my home and the local server. Or Comcast is throttling Netflix. Either way, Comcast has a vested interest in not solving the problem.

Comment: Re:Motorcycles! (Score 3, Informative) 664

Does it have an automatic transmission, and if not does it have clutch by wire?

Automatic transmissions are common (perhaps universal) on scooters and have been used on motorcycles in the past. The newest BMWs have ability to shift without pulling the clutch lever or reducing the throttle. From "The BMW Gear Shift Assistant Pro, available as a factory option, represents a world first for production motorcycle manufacture. It enables upshifts and downshifts to be made without operation of the clutch or throttle valve in the proper load and rpm speed ranges while riding."

Comment: Re:Motorcycles! (Score 2) 664

No software. No seat belts. No automatic..anything.

You'd have to restrict that to old motorcycles. My '98 has ABS and fuel injection, both of which used programmed electronics. Newer bikes include systems such as CAN Bus, traction control, fly by wire throttles and more. Except for things like air bags, seat belts and bumpers, motorcycles use a lot of technology found in automobiles.

Comment: Code is like literature (Score 1) 240

by Walter White (#46028491) Attached to: Code Is Not Literature

I disagree completely. A program resembles literature on two levels.

First, the code itself uses an extremely rigid grammar to express the requirements of the program. This expression can be simple or complex; clear or muddled. The extent to which the author (in every sense of the term) expresses these clearly and elegantly determines how likely the code is to succeed at its original purpose as well as how easy it will be to maintain.

Secondly, the UI (if present) is also a realization of the ideas behind the program. The clarity with which the ideas are expressed in the UI will have a major impact on the usefulness of the program.

I do not see a fundamental distinction between decoding code and written language. Both are abstract symbols assembled to form constructs and actions according to a set of more or less flexible rules. Many of the higher parts of language such as metaphor also have corresponding aspects in coding. (e.g. patterns.)

And much like with literature which can be written in a multitude of languages, code can likewise be written in a multitude of languages. I think there are more similarities than differences.

Comment: Re:I just hope the GOP does not quit now (Score 1) 215

by Walter White (#46005039) Attached to: Accenture Faces Mid-March Deadline Or 'Disaster'

GOP Quit? Are you kidding? I think they wrote the contract. Who else would use phrases such as 'the entire healthcare reform program is jeopardized.' and 'the entire health insurance industry at risk.' I wonder if somewhere in the document it states 'and people, young and old, will die' as that seems to be the refrain from anyone in the GOP when it comes to the ACA.

Completing the work is likely to be a tall order and I'm sure there will be more rough spots but I hardly think it means the end of the health care industry, health insurance industry or civilization as we know it.

Shoot, the insurance industry owns too much of our government for anything truly bad to happen to them. More likely any rough spots will be used to justify some response that is profitable for the health insurance industry.

Comment: Re:or maybe (Score 1) 732

by Walter White (#45950183) Attached to: If I Had a Hammer

When doctors, who spend 5+ years studying and training, get largely replaced by machines then how long will it take them to retrain into a role that a computer still can't do (biochemist perhaps)?

It will take very little time to train the doctor to sling burgers and fries. That's the crux of the problem.

Work that could be done may be limitless but the willingness of those with money to pay for it is not. You mention biotech as an alternative but who is investing in biotech w/out the possibility of making piles of money? We have problems because pharmaceuticals that lack potential for large profits don't get research $$$. The need is there but the money isn't.

Capitalism does a great job of allocating resources efficiently. It seems to be a lot less effective at distributing wealth when there is a surplus of labor and the increasing level of automation reduces the need for human labor at nearly all levels.

Comment: Boundaries: real vs. legal? (Score 1) 169

by Walter White (#45697579) Attached to: France Broadens Surveillance Powers; Wider Scope Than NSA

Are the French legal guidelines broader than the US legal guidelines. Broader than what the NSA and CIA are known to do? Narrower than what the French are known to do?

Thanks to Snowden we know the US agencies have exceeded their legal boundaries (or at the very least operated in secret to avoid any legal or constitutional challenge.) What is the situation in France WRT their intelligence agencies and their laws.

Comment: And you cannot make phone calls (Score 1) 155

by Walter White (#45692815) Attached to: Indiana State Police Acknowledge Use of Cell Phone Tracking Device

Several weeks ago I was driving from Michigan to Indiana on an interstate highway. Ordinarily my carrier (Verizon) has good coverage along interstate highways and I had a strong signal but was unable to place a call. I tried several times and nothing happened after I dialed the number and pressed the call button until the phone reported something like "unable to place the call - try again later." I wonder if the ISP was monitoring cell phones in the area or if Verizon's equipment was just fubar.

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.