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Comment: Re:Cryptography? (Score 2) 165

by WeirdAlchemy (#39797211) Attached to: Travelling Salesman, Thriller Set In a World Where P=NP
He probably made the mistake lots of people make, which is to think "NP hard" is similar to saying "rocket-science hard", where NP is just an adjective describing "hard". People don't realize that "NP-hard" is itself a formal class of problems that is not necessarily equivalent to NP. It's not his fault... its a horribly confusingly named set of concepts.

Comment: Re:Be a Bee! Add polarized contact lenses! (Score 3, Informative) 311

by WeirdAlchemy (#39035507) Attached to: Followup: Ultraviolet Vision After Cataract Surgery
I don't think that's the Haidinger's brush effect -- I believe what you are seeing in the car window is the variability in birefringence from the strain pattern caused by the process of toughening the glass.. From the article:

The strain pattern resulting from tempering can be observed with polarized light or by using a pair of polarizing sun glasses.

Comment: The Doomed Discipline (Score 1) 446

by WeirdAlchemy (#38888015) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Transitioning From 'Hacker' To 'Engineer'?
One of the most eye-opening things I've read is On the cruelty of really teaching computer science by Edsger Dijkstra, one of the old computer science greats. While I don't agree with every point, it's well worth reading, and he has some choice words about software engineering:

"A number of these phenomena have been bundled under the name "Software Engineering". As economics is known as "The Miserable Science", software engineering should be known as "The Doomed Discipline", doomed because it cannot even approach its goal since its goal is self-contradictory. Software engineering, of course, presents itself as another worthy cause, but that is eyewash: if you carefully read its literature and analyse what its devotees actually do, you will discover that software engineering has accepted as its charter 'How to program if you cannot.'"

Comment: Re:Responsibility for content can change (Score 5, Informative) 171

by WeirdAlchemy (#38534128) Attached to: Court Rules Website Immune From Suit For Defamatory Posting
In the link from the last page of the article, RipOffReport provides some rationale for this. They liken it to a court case where a person is sued and found innocent. Despite having received a good verdict, all the paperwork of the lawsuit still exists on permanent public record.

That being said, the original article contains some pretty strongly worded statements from the court indicating that RipOffReport is being a bit shady, but that the court's hands are tied by law. It doesn't seem that way to me from reading RipOffReport's side of things, but then it's worth keeping in mind that the court might know more than we do.

Comment: Re:A classic example... (Score 1) 419

by WeirdAlchemy (#38521154) Attached to: PR Firm Unwisely Tangles With Penny Arcade
This. What he screwed up was directly related to his job. It's more like a truck driver that drops your product, leaves it in the rain, runs over some people on the way to the delivery, takes a five-day pit-stop in Vegas, and then yells at YOU when he finally delivers it late and you complain. You would fire that truck-driver in a heartbeat, and be happy if he never worked as a truck driver again.

Comment: Re:More pressing question (Score 5, Insightful) 360

by WeirdAlchemy (#38365858) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Get Non-Developers To Send Meaningful Bug Reports?
This. In my experience, dealing with bugs is very much a two-way street. If you want users to submit better bug reports, you need to be responsive to them so that they feel like they're getting something out of it. Imagine yourself as a user who takes the time to prepare a nice bug report, then waits a month to see any progress. How much time are you going to spend on your next bug report? Either way you behave, it ends up as a feedback loop -- your choice whether it's a positive of negative one.

Comment: Nicely played with the statistics... (Score 4, Interesting) 463

by WeirdAlchemy (#38348324) Attached to: Many Early Adopters of the Amazon Fire Are Unhappy
Was this article funded by Apple? It's very biased, as demonstrated by the fact that they cite the 22% of people who don't like the Fire rather than the 88% who clearly do. Even if _every_ one of those 22% gave it one star and _every_ one of the other 88% gave it only 4 stars, it's still a 3.75 rating. My wife got one a while back and she loves it. Sure, it's not an iPad, but it's also only $199, and it fits in a good-size pocket. It's a great little tablet for the price of two nice dinners. I sill prefer the real e-ink, but for getting all the additional tablet features, I'd say it's a pretty good compromise. Sure, it could use some improvements, but its the first generation, and it does what its advertised to do. Anyone used to Android should have no problem with it.

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