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Comment MS is the blame (Score 2) 568

In the industrial world where liability exists and is rigorously enforced, engineers who build software and hardware systems are respectable individuals with strict and comprehensive training, theoretical and practical, very worthy of the title and our gratitude in creating and advancing much of the infrastructure that makes our life easier (and in some cases, possible). A former student of mine works in GE's aircraft engine division (which makes the Dreamliner's engines, amongst others): if the effort he puts out guaranteeing that the software that makes such an engine run achieves a better than 99.999% reliability can't be called advanced engineering, then nothing can or ever will.

Microsoft's infamous greediness in the consumer marketplace, OTOH, led the way many years ago to a cheapening in the public perception in what we are entitled to expect from something we pay for. Doesn't do what you wanted it to, or fails when least expected? Well, did you not read the EULA?? It says that's a what it is and you accept it as such. And if you don't like it, well... the software isn't even yours. We just let you use it for a fee, but we decide who can or cannot play with our ball. And since all thisway of doing business has never been challenged in court and concluding with a jurisprudence-establishing jury verdict (all such cases 99.99% of the time end in settlements with no acceptance of guilt or responsibility), things will not change.

Comment And then there's fracking (Score 1) 377

If water demand weren't bad enough, the profitable quest to squeeze the last possible drop of oil/gas from the ground via hydraulic fracturing (fracking) wrecks the whole underground structure that configure the acquifer, not to mention making it totally unfit to drink or use due to contamination. So now the natural underground currents that replentished the groundwater supplies are gone and whatever is left is ruined. Bravo for Capitalism, hope that cheap gas you got in return tastes good, cause it's the only liquid you're gonna get.

Comment Mad Fish Disease? (Score 3, Insightful) 386

Ok, first we had Mad Cow Disease, which proves fatal to humans if you get it. For those too young to remember, it was caused by "enriching" cow feed with ground up sheep offal in order to recicle the waste, increase the protein content of the feed and increase the profit to the farmer. This caused the bugs to get into the cows brains and turn them to mush. Called Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in the cow flavor, Kreutzfeld-Jakobs syndrome in human flavor, basically turns your brains into a bloody sponge full of holes, then you die inevitably, be it cow or human.

Wait for the upcoming Mad Fish Scare. Just remember every time your MacFish stick or burger tastes like shit.

Comment Why water? (Score 3, Informative) 49

Why is it that USA space tech prefers water splashdowns instead of dry land like the Russians and Chinese?

"Softer landings" doesn't quite cut it as a reason, for at the speed of the impact, water is just as hard as terra firma. Then there's the risk of crew drowning and/or craft loss thru sinking. That doesn't occur in dry land.

Comment For how long? (Score 3, Interesting) 405

An item yet unmentioned at the time I post this, is SSD lifetime. The are finite, you know, and probably a lot more finite than a well-protected HDD. The manufacturer states the number of write operations the storage cells can take on average before going kaput, and its up to the controller & OS to "age" them all equally to ensure maximum longevity (thanks, TRIM). This and speed are the main determinants of the cost of the devices and the differentiator between user and server-grade SSDs.

Nowadays with shady outfits jumping onto the SSD bandwagon, we'll see really crappy devices made from rejected storage chips hitting the markets, which will fail prematurely and give the technology a bad rep.

Comment Look South (Score 1) 500

I'm surprised that Mexico's voting system has not been mentioned at all, even though it has received full accreditation by the UN and has been consulted on or copied by many other nations. Just went thru a complete election cycle involving President, Congress and Senate at the Federal level, concurrent with many State Governor, Major. Council and Assembly elections (a total of 629 Federal and 1,461 State and Municipal level posts to elect). This system was further tested and validated by the fact that the sore-loser second place presidential candidate challenged the entire process, from the vote counting all the way to the laws that govern it; all challenges were found to be inconsequential to the result or even total hogwash. Given that there is a registered voter population of 79.5 million, of which 50.1 million voted and the final result was validated by a federal constitutional court, the system as a whole does merit taking into account.

The process began in the planning stage on 7 Oct 2011, proceeded thru the campaigns up to 1 Jul 2012 when voting took place, votes were tallied, totals computed and the process formally ended with the Federal Electoral Tribunal concluding all challenges, declaring the election valid and naming the President-Elect on 5 Sep 2012. More info: Spanish language overview of the 2012 process, or an English language FAQ,

In essence, the system uses paper ballots, direct one-vote-per-voter, simple majority victory, manual tally at the voting station level, computerized processing there forward. Election took place on 1 Jul 2012, 8:00 to 18:00, exit polls available after 19:00, preliminary results at around 4:00 the next day, final valid and legal results on 5 Sep 2012.

Submission + - Most cost-effective code versioning setup for local programming management 1

courcoul writes: Under a new presidency and with the directive to switch over to FOSS and/or local development as much as possible, we would like to take control of our current and growing code base. Ancient RCS, SCCS. CVS. SVN. Some other letter soup?

I would like to ask the great Slashdot Collective for their thoughts, tips and recommendations on setting up such a source code management infrastructure AND getting the coders to accept and use it.

"Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed." -- Robin, The Boy Wonder