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Comment If it ain't broken (for you) (Score 4, Informative) 220

For many site owners, Flash isn't really broken - their video / audio players, animations, interactive displays and games work with enough users that they don't feel pressured to do them over again. Even video sites that support mobile browsers by serving HTML5 video and direct links to the .mp4 keep their Flash players alive in the full pages.

Comment Re:The *real* reason (Score 4, Interesting) 213

Interestingly, the Dice pieces linked close like this:


I’m obviously not a fan of formal certification. While many jobs require one or more, lots of tech pros have forged perfectly fine careers without them. Don’t let the complicated world of certificates impede you from pursuing what you want.


Certifications Only Prove One Thing

Malik’s supervisor, who worked his way up through the tech-industry ranks for 20 years without ever earning a certification, asked him how a career powered by certifications compares to one built primarily on real-life experience. Malik said anyone can pass a test given enough time to prepare for it; but that being said, certifications allow you to apply and interview for a role from a position of strength.

The answer of whether or not to certify is more nuanced than a simple yes or no. Take Sarin, for instance, who suggests companies look for employee traits that can be encouraged or cultivated beyond what they might learn as part of the test-taking process, even as they encourage employees to earn certifications while on the job.

What ultimately matters is if the candidate’s opinions about certifications align with those of the hiring manager. But with certification requirements not exactly going away, why not play it safe and take on the extra effort? If you guess wrong and skip getting the certification, you could lose out to the person who passed the test.

And the non-Dice article is the one that recommends some certifications.

But of course the actual content shouldn't get in the way of a good rant.

Comment Re:Oh, PLEASE no... (Score 4, Informative) 107

From T(rather brief)FA:

The “encounter program” includes software to prohibit the very type of automated safe mode that New Horizons executed Saturday afternoon.

“Encounter mode short-circuits the on board intelligent autopilot so that if something goes wrong, instead of calling home for help, which is what most spacecraft do and what New Horizons does during cruise flight, it will just stay on the timeline. It will try to fix the problem, but it will rejoin the timeline because if it ‘went fetal,’ as we say, if it just called home for help, it could miss the flyby,” New Horizons lead scientist Alan Stern told Discovery News before Saturday’s problem.

Comment Re:Uh oh...Batman becomes real? (Score 1) 40

Turning smartphones into sonar devices to monitor movements. I'm torn between "this is really cool!" and "these people are so full of shit and just trying to publish something to get tenure!"

I wonder how they solve the problems of directional discrimination without multiple microphones? How can they tell what direction a response comes from, with only one mic?

They don't, and they don't need to. Think of the ultrasound motion sensors in car / room alarms: if you emit chirps inside a closed volume they'll bounce off everything solid, and the pattern received at any point depends on everything inside, so you'll know if something moves. If you can keep track of the changes, you know if it's moving rhythmically and at what rate. Using multiple frequencies makes it more sensitive to changes, roughly speaking.

And how do they intend to make this work on multiple phones, for that matter...with their vast differences in both microphone and speaker setups? I'm really skeptical of this.

They also talk about using ultrasonic frequencies...which I also doubt most phones can actually produce.

Again, no need. Put on some earplugs, or stick your head in a box, and you'll still recognize the beat of your favourite song in drastically altered acoustical conditions. The app is not measuring the transfer function to compare against some carefully calibrated curve, but the changes that tell it that something's moving, and with some smart processing it can tell apart your respiratory movements from the cat wandering in. A second person in the room might throw it off, though.

They also talk about using ultrasonic frequencies...which I also doubt most phones can actually produce.

This is the part that got me wondering. A cursory Google search gave me plots like this and this for the speaker and this one for the mic (yeah, condenser microphones have a pretty good range). So for this particular bit my answer is "feasible, and effectively inaudible if you're over 30".

Comment Re:The statement (Score 1) 351

You may love it, but for others it is absolutely horrendous! The problem arises when you have an intranet, and wish to go to internal websites.

Um, I'm behind a proxy and apparently for single-word queries it launches a search ahead of time. Meanwhile:

  • * if the word resolves to a hostname, Firefox asks me "Did you mean to go to 'foo'? [Yes, take me to 'foo'] / [No, thanks].
    • - if I say Yes it sets browser.fixup.domainwhitelist.foo = true and the prompt is suppressed the next time I enter this word.
    • - if I say No the prompt closes and I'm left at the search it already did. Nothing is changed.
  • * if it doesn't resolve, no prompt is shown (though the proxy might still process it since it will try to resolve the name on its own).

  It should wait for my answer before attempting a search. Queries with a whitespace before the/any "/" first result in a search because that can't possibly be a valid URL.

Time to check Bugzilla.

Mommy, what happens to your files when you die?