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Comment: Another possibility - legal reasons (Score 1) 193

by davidwr (#47756915) Attached to: $75K Prosthetic Arm Is Bricked When Paired iPod Is Stolen

It was intentionally coupled to a specific device for legal/liability reasons related to medical devices.

Having to replace the entire arm is stupid though. Ideally, the arm should be able to be "re-paired" in a doctor's office or at the patient's home by a factory-authorized person such as his doctor or a technician. For legal/liability reasons, this might require replacing a chip but that should be no big deal.

In any case, the only reason I can think of for the arm to have to be replaced is if the company has gone through bankruptcy or is no longer in business, or if the arm has already exceeded its useful life as a medical device and as a result the company no longer supports it. This should not be the case for any adult prosthetic arm new enough to be controlled by an iPod.

Comment: Looks multi-colored to me (Score 1) 175

Camden and a couple other black cities

This image shows it to be a mix of greens, whites, browns, blacks, and a few other colors.

I don't see what the the color of the buildings and pavement/concrete has to do with the city's literacy rate though. Please enlighten me.

Warning: Above message contains satire.

Comment: Corrected story :) or maybe :( (Score 1) 166

by davidwr (#47681733) Attached to: Watch a Cat Video, Get Hacked: the Death of Clear-Text

$FUTURE_DATE: Citizen Lab released new research today on a targeted exploitation technique used by state actors involving "network injection appliances" installed at ISPs and with the possibly-coerced "cooperation" of https: web sites or the companies issuing https: certificates. These devices can target and intercept encrypted YouTube traffic and replace it with malicious code that gives the operator control over the system or installs a surveillance backdoor. One of the researchers writes, "many otherwise well-informed people think they have to do something wrong, or stupid, or insecure to get hacked - like visiting an unencrypted web site, ...many of these commonly held beliefs are not necessarily true." This technique is largely designed for targeted attacks, so it's likely most of us will be safe for now - but just one more reminder to not trust the person on the other end to not cooperate with The Man in the middle. It is unknown how long such attacks have been happening but they might date to 2014 or earlier.

Comment: Re:When every feature undocumented (Score 1) 199

by davidwr (#47677383) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should You Invest In Documentation, Or UX?

Everything you think as being "intuitive" is simply you being used to other software behaving in a similar way, or you expecting some icon to match the behavior / usage of a real-world item it kind of looks like. It's training, whether you realize it or not.

Thank you for making part of my point for me (new readers: see my earlier posts in this chain for context).

If you can depend on your users to have a certain skill - be it reading English, knowing how to use a telephone, knowing how to drive, or knowing how to use a computer with a very similar user interface to yours - then for all practical purposes those behaviors and any obvious variations of them can be considered "intuitive" as far as you and your customers are concerned. To put it another way: When I go buy a brand-new car, I don't have to be taught what to do with the big wheel that is a few inches in front of where I am sitting - I can "intuit" how to use it based on my knowledge of the very similar big wheel in my existing automobile.

Comment: Next sensationalist show: "The Linux Kernel" (Score 1) 103

Next on Discovery, discover how this once-obscure hobbyist "computer program" now runs key parts of the Internet and even the core of that computer-in-your-pocket that you call a telephone. See the dangers as the Discovery Channel uncovers 10 year old bugs in "embedded systems" are ticking time bombs that could destroy the Internet as we know it if they go off. ....

Comment: Re:When every feature undocumented (Score 1) 199

by davidwr (#47672379) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should You Invest In Documentation, Or UX?

Plus, there is no such thing as intuitive GUI

I dunno, I'd say it's fair to call the user interface at most ATMs and credit-card machines intuitive. Granted, some of those user interfaces aren't graphical, but some are.

To put it another way, the learning curve on these things is so shallow that if there's a difference between its shallow learning curve and what you would call an "intuitive GUI" I'm not seeing it.

Comment: How intuitive is it? (Score 1) 199

by davidwr (#47672343) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should You Invest In Documentation, Or UX?

You can skimp on documenting the obvious.

You can delay documenting the obscure, or even leave it undocumented as an "easter egg."

Anything else I would expect to be well-documented OR I would expect the product to say, up front, that its documentation is sparse.

Have you considered making bare-bones documentation in the product and making the full documentation a community-driven project, perhaps a Wiki? Now that the base Wiki software makes it easy to have "pending edits" which are not shown to non-logged-in users, you can do this without as much of a "troll/vandalism" risk as in the past.

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Journal: Sig update 2014-08-14

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Comment: Charging-only cable adapters (Score 3, Interesting) 72

by davidwr (#47670539) Attached to: The Biggest iPhone Security Risk Could Be Connecting One To a Computer

This is one reason why charging-only cables or cable adapters which do not carry the "data lines" should be cheap and just as widely-available and widely-marketed as other USB cables.

Bonus points if they are transparent so the end user can visually verify that the only connected lines are the power and ground lines.


Comment: You want cheaper textbooks? (Score 1) 95

by davidwr (#47670479) Attached to: Student Bookstores Beware, Amazon Comes To Purdue Campus

Except for rapidly-evolving subjects, encourage professors to use "old" textbooks or, whatever the subject matter, encourage professors to use "open source" textbooks when they are available.

If publishers balk at reprinting old textbooks at "old prices," lobby Congress to allow colleges to reprint old textbooks and pay a royalty based on the lowest published price during the book's lifetime.

Under this kind of "book market" most Freshman and Sophomores won't have more than 1 or 2 classes where they have to buy expensive textbooks.

As for the interactive software that increasingly accompanies college textbooks and in many cases is part of the reason they are so expensive - college professors need to decide if the software is cost-effective before recommending it. In some cases, it might be cost-effective but in most cases outside of specialized situations or advanced coursework, it won't be.

Comment: There is a place for the Morse telegraph (Score 3, Interesting) 144

by davidwr (#47670407) Attached to: Telegram Not Dead STOP Alive, Evolving In Japan STOP

The non-wireless Morse telegraph using only 19th-century technology (plus modern conveniences like plastic-insulated wires) is a fun educational tool for places like museums that reflect the era when telegraphy was widely used.

It's also a fun educational tool for children's camps which specialize in either the history of that era or which specialize in STEM and which have a historical component.

The same can be said for semaphore signaling, "hand-crank" telephones, and even "tin can and a string" telephones.

Wireless telegraphy is still used by amateur radio operators and other hobbyists, alongside more modern "digital modes" like packet radio. Because of its very low bandwidth, Morse Code, particularly the computer-controlled "slow code" that is used on very-narrow-bandwidth transmissions in the sub-600KHz bands can typically get a message through in high-noise or low-effective-transmitting-power situations where other methods, such as "phone" (i.e. voice communication) or other digital modes can't.

Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed. -- Francis Bacon