Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 25% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY25". ×

Comment Re: Linus rants about EVERYTHING (Score 4, Informative) 576

I have to agree. I was ready to read a melodramatic rant over slightly new semantics, but I instead found a completely justified and reasonable criticism of horribly unreadable (and kind of broken) code. With some extra swearing thrown in for Linusness.

Remember, coders, if you're doing anything with code that will be used by others or reused by you, readability is crucial. I'm not talking about comments unless the code itself needs to be less readable (e.g. Performance in a hot spot). I mean the code itself.

And, by code that others may use or you may re-use, I mean all code.

Comment Aaron Sorkin should get a kickback... (Score 1) 413

This sounds a lot like the line from The American President regarding "White House Resolution 455" (an energy bill reducing fossil fuel emissions), which is, "It is, by far, the most aggressive stride ever taken in the fight to reverse the effects of global warming..."

"...single most important step that America has ever made in the fight against global climate change..." begins to sound hilariously similar 20 years later.

Note that I know nothing about the material elements of this speech or bill. I just think that the speechwriting language is eerily similar.

Comment Re: Drone It (Score 1) 843

Sadly, the speed of light makes latency a problem, wireless communication can be tough in some environments, and... have you seen the security protocols used in day-to-day military applications?

Yes, we're going to drone it, but drones aren't a perfect answer. Now, carrier airships with drone fleets deployed in flight?

StarCraft, baby. Let's do it.

Comment Re: And It's Illegal to Videotape Police (Score 1) 489

It was a law on the books in several states, at least indirectly. In Illinois, it was explicit enhancement of eavesdropping to a class 3 felony when used against certain protected parties (police, states attorneys, etc.). In California, it was application of wiretapping dual consent laws.

These laws were leveraged by police to harass, and even charge, citizens recording public actions by law enforcement. I'm not sure about every state, but it was struck down in the courts in Illinois.

In NYC, the NYPD used the existence of an ancient (pull out antenna) cell phone hidden gun to make the claim that they were within their rights to fire on citizens with cell phones, as cell phones constituted a "legitimate threat". That is, at the very least, a law enforcement officer using intimidation to enforce an unlawful (and unconstitutional) order. Armed and threatening the use of lethal force is textbook assault. These forceful (mis)applications of police-protecting laws need to be remedied by clear enshrinement of the protection of public documentation as fundamental to free speech.

The truth, in public, should stand at the front of the line of forms of speech that should remain free.

Comment Re:We've already seen the alternative to regulatio (Score 3, Interesting) 93


There have been allegations of sexual assault and kidnapping, both of which aren't particularly good news. Uber's early responses were poor (e.g. not doing anything), but the most recent sexual assault has resulted in a suspended driver.

I agree that taxi lobbying has been disturbingly effective over time, resulting in diminished service quality, high prices, and licensing conditions that favor taxi dispatch companies rather than taxi drivers. These artificially restricted markets have effectively created environments ripe for disruptive alternatives.

That said, what Uber is doing with Uber X is typically illegal. For instance, in California, vehicles transporting fewer than 15 passengers one-way on a hire basis are required to file for a TCP P permit. The filing fee is $1000, and renewal is $100 every three years. Additional liability insurance (typically for $750k for Uber-type vehicles) is also required, as is controlled substance testing (drug, alcohol).

So when you got in Uber Black cars back in the early days (when that was the only type of Uber), you hopped into the vehicle of a state-licensed driver with an investment in the profession. These days, when you hop into an Uber X, it's a less consistent experience. Sometimes it's a lost out-of-towner. Sometimes there are groceries in the trunk (not a joke). Sometimes the drivers are dangerously sleepy/incompetent/distracted.

Oddly, one impact I've noticed in Uber X cities is that the Uber Black drivers have toned down the limo aspect. Most Uber Black drivers that I encounter don't wear suits, supply water or mints, help with bags, or make an effort to stop accurately. The overwhelming majority of drivers that I talk with have dropped non-uber commitments (e.g. airport runs for known contacts), so it's probably just part of the evolution of the service.

Back on point, the "entitled Valley logic" point is, at the very least, founded in the evidence of a company knowingly profiting from poor enforcement of local/regional laws and deferral of responsibility to "private contractors" (stretching the envelope of the IRS definition of a contractor).

Code first and ask lawyers later (or never) is more the hallmark of San Francisco than the Valley/South-bay, but it feels like a fair point. I'm a fan of Uber, but I can take a reasoned view of the organization and its actions.

Comment Re: Here's the solution (Score 1) 577

I'll have to be the "arguably" part of this one. Junk is left on Macs, and a lot of settings and special folders can screw you pretty hard on a Mac. From plist files to Library litter to temporary files to /usr/bin linkages to /Developer folders, there are plenty of gotchas, secret handshakes, and areas where you can screw yourself or removal of an app can screw you. I don't know about you, but my user/Library folder on my machine is 38GB out of 256GB on this Mac, and if I delete all of the applications on this machine, that crap will still be there.

Same thing goes for my Linux machine. Cleanup and maintenance are tough problems to solve completely. iPhones and Androids serve as pretty solid rethinks of this (though they can also suffer from some rot), but I haven't used a desktop/laptop OS yet that doesn't rot over time without solid maintenance. For me, I'm looking at about 20% of my local storage on my two Library folders. Making .app folders skips out on any sort of cleanup responsibility, and 20% isn't chump change to me.

Comment Re: Expert?? (Score 1) 442

Read up on (or chat with) auto designers. Material choice absolutely plays a role in what shapes are possible. Steel body panels are generally made via sequences of stampings, and complex compound curves and fine intersecting forms are very difficult to do in steel. This is why Audi talked up their engineering around hydroforming and welding. It enabled new forms in metal that weren't achievable previously. Auto designers have a love/hate relationship with the engineers, as they both enable and snuff out good designs.

Carbon fiber cloth let's you do more, and carbon composite castings allow for pretty insane shapes more reproduceably. This guy may be talking out of his ass, but the assertion that composites enable more aerodynamic design flexibility is in line with industry expert statements.

Comment Re: I know you're trying to be funny, but... (Score 1) 739

I'm not missing anything. I think there is a balance between abusive language and professionalism to be had, and nothing in his incensed email steps over the line. Would I write it? No, but I wouldn't quit over it either.

It takes time to be measured and restrained, and the party that never snaps at someone doesn't have the hidden backstop of snapping to keep things in line. People should want to avoid disappointing Linus, and negative reinforcement matters.

It can't be all carrot. There has to be a stick.

What happens when you only stick to professionalism? I've worked in a couple of companies that stuck to professional communication only and strongly frowned upon brutal honesty. Guess what? They're inefficient, bloated, bureaucratic messes that allow horrible engineers to get by (or even ahead). Have I learned to play in that environment? Sure, but it's a losing formula.

Likely couples, teams should learn how to fight. If they don't, passive aggressive sniping and collective failure are almost certain.

Comment Re: I know you're trying to be funny, but... (Score 3, Insightful) 739

Sorry, but in an environment driven by praise and scorn more than money, this type of feedback is not only effective, but also probably essential. The absolute sharpest development environment I've ever worked in (in 16 years as a professional programmer) was an environment of harsh, ultra critical abuse and genuine unadulterated excitement and praise on success.

Linus verbally abuses people who shit out bad code because it reduces the likelihood that others will shit out bad code. He also cares about the code base and tool chain and expects others to do the same or get out of the sandbox.

In an environment where people can't be fired, this type of political play is all that exists. Growing up in an environment of complete terror of sloppiness mixed with genuine comraderie was the single best thing for my growth as an engineer that I have ever experienced.

In an environment of people who can take it, it works. An environment of people who need only positive reinforcement or carefully metered criticism is one that will almost certainly produce shitty code and operate inefficiently.

Besides, head-dropped sloth? That shit is just funny. If that is too much for you, good luck in the real world.

C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]