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Comment Hackers and Gearheads (Score 5, Interesting) 649

Is there nothing more American than taking a mass market car and finding another 10 horsepower?
Or making the stereo loud enough to knock down old barns as you drive by?

What if immersing your motherboard in liquid nitrogen for another 3 frames per second were illegal?
Or writing your own operating system could land you in jail?

What have we come to? We need to protect people from doing stupid stuff, but nobody wants to live in a world with only one flavor...

A.

Comment Or even lower... (Score 1) 637

It really depends on what you want to do. If you're trying to wring the last iota of performance out of an algorithm, then understanding TLB misses and cache protocols can be useful. Even accessing RAM can be an order of magnitude faster or slower, depending on what you do. So, maybe a class on microprocessor design?

OTOH, I find that an ability to understand functional programming, recursion and data structures is very useful. They're the sort of things I quiz people on when I'm looking for really strong developers.

Alan

Comment Data sent to airlines (Score 5, Interesting) 217

The Travelocity guy avoided telling the whole story. They do provide relevant information, but if the government has the PNR with all the remarks in it, then it likely came from Travelocity or Sabre.

Travel agencies and 3rd-party web sites, such as Travelocity. put all this encoded stuff into the remarks section of the PNR, it's all that "H-" stuff. When the PNR is sent to the airline, NONE of the remarks are transmitted. The airline doesn't receive your IP address, for example. Seat numbers, phone and contact information are transmitted in Special Service Request (SSR) and/or Other Service Information (OSI) fields. One major exception is that Travelocity and AA share the same PNR when booking AA.

Now, the airlines have to send a whole bunch of data about you to the TSA to get clearance for you to board. Look up Secure Flight / APIS / AQQ and you can learn a little bit about it.

A.

Comment Yes, all about the skills - and attitude! (Score 5, Insightful) 232

One of my colleagues in in his mid-60s, and happily puttering around in modern technologies and adapting what he knows about systems to the latest tools. Writing prototype code in Clojure, using network databases (neo4j), doing interesting data modeling and generally just making stuff happen. He's learning new stuff every day, having fun - and getting to say no to job offers on a regular basis. I've been in this industry for more than 30 years and I'm currently mucking around with Hadoop, cloud computing and a bunch of the new things.

People talk about time to learn, but it's a question about making time. Would you want to visit a doctor that hasn't updated their skills in 20 years?

Alan.

Comment Just don't fly out of Europe (Score 4, Insightful) 144

You might get lucky and get an empty seat. Hint - pick a center seat in the last few rows, these seats suck. However, if you fly into the US or many other countries, they will have received a passenger manifest electronically from the airline. You'll have fun when you get to customs and there's no record of you...

Comment The UAE is not an open society (Score 5, Informative) 107

Don't ever confuse Dubai with an open and modern society. It's a monarchy that needs to hold onto power and does not toerate criticism or free speech of any kind. They walk a fine line between the glamour of business, yet holding onto traditional values and conservatism.

It's also illegal to kiss in public, even for a married couple. People have been arrested, imprisoned and deported for such indecency.

Comment Write your own language! (Score 1) 211

Just get a hold of lex & yaxx, antlr or your favoriate tools and write your own language. You could probabyl abuse Lisp macros anough to do this too. I once worked with a company where the lead programmer had invented Hugh-BOL, and that's what they coded in.

Now, I do admit that a DSL it the best approach from time to time, but there is an limit...

Comment Re:Example: Rotax 912 (Score 1) 366

Yes, these engines are fine on auto fuel, known as MOGAS. The thing we have to be careful about is the ethanol they add to unleaded gas, so we go to a lot of trouble to avoid it.. Alcohol in the fuel can lead to corrosion. And to high food prices, but that's a whole 'nuther story...

"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." -- Richard P. Feynman

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