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Comment: Re:Old cars look better and better. (Score 1) 89

by djbckr (#46458675) Attached to: Volkswagen Chairman: Cars Must Not Become 'Data Monsters'

After owning a Prius(*), I specifically went looking for an old vehicle and found an old, 1988 Jeep Wrangler that I'm in the process of fixing up. You see, you can't fix up or work on a Prius, or most cars these days and I very much missed doing that. The Jeep is carbureted with no computers whatsoever and I'm loving it because I have control over what I want to do with it. This summer, I'm going to make a project out of replacing the dash and user controls with Arduino and Beaglebone controllers and displays. It's going to be so much fun I can hardly stand it. I'll probably put an after-market throttle body fuel injector on at some point to help with the fuel delivery at least.

(*)Note that I didn't buy the Prius for the mileage - rather than I'm a computer geek and I thought it was cool. This Prius did not have the stuff they have now tracking your every move.

Comment: Tough question... (Score 1) 313

by djbckr (#46363865) Attached to: Should programming be a required curriculum in public schools?
It makes sense to have one required class that teaches the basics - logic, loops, and basic algorithms. It has to be basic enough that everyone should be able to follow along and accomplish something trivial, but meaningful. Once this course is complete, then the people that like it can move on to more advanced classes if they want them. The stuff I've seen online (I'm afraid I don't remember what it's called) that Bill Gates and Zuckerberg and those guys are doing is a good first step, but most normal people aren't going to go there on their own.

Comment: More than free speech (Score 1) 457

by djbckr (#46165759) Attached to: Judge Says You Can Warn Others About Speed Traps
I didn't read this specific article, but the Judge made the comment along the lines of: Flashing your lights is a genuine part of driving safely, therefore it shouldn't be restricted or ticketed. Otherwise people might be inclined to not flash their lights when they should.

This judge actually sounds intelligent.

Comment: Back to the old school... (Score 1) 437

by djbckr (#46031449) Attached to: You Might Rent Features & Options On Cars In the Future

The way cars are going these days, I'm only going to buy old cars from now on. In fact, I just bought a 1988 Jeep Wrangler and I love it. I searched for a long time to find something: A) Cheap, B) Not computerized, C) Easy to work on, D) Good condition for its age. Is it sexy? Nope. And I'm ok with that. I waited about 7 months to find it. It popped up on Craigslist one day and I bought it that same day.

I'll grant you that it's not very fuel efficient, but I don't drive that much anyway. And I feel good about being able to yank things apart and customize it where I see fit. Parts will be available for it for as long as I live. I even put a high-beam switch on the floor just because I can. I don't feel bad about scratching it or modifying it. Can you say the same for your current car?

I need to replace the dash. I'm going to replace it a DIY BeagleBone data capture and display system. It'll probably cost about $500 total for all the pieces. That puts my Jeep at $4500 total cost.

Comment: Java >> Scala (Score 4, Interesting) 109

by djbckr (#45966917) Attached to: Oracle Seeking Community Feedback on Java 8 EE Plans
I've been programming in Java since it first came out, and I never had any particular problems with it, other than the fact that it's rather verbose. I've been thinking there must be a way to accomplish the same thing without so much boilerplate code. Then I discovered Scala (which runs on the JVM and can easily integrate with existing Java libraries).

Mind you there are some things about Scala that are kinda weird, like so much optional syntax and type inferencing makes it sometimes hard to read. But I've been finding it a joy for new code I write, almost Java-like but much less verbose, plus you get the functional programming capabilities that Java lacks. Some of the library code that's out there is hard to understand because of the nature of the syntax, but after you study it a bit, it's not too bad.

Comment: Peer Reviewed by the Public (Score 2) 112

by djbckr (#45757115) Attached to: Ford Engineers Test 'Predictive Logic' To Improve Cruise Control
After reading this article (yes, I actually read the article and the deposition) I think automobile software should be reviewed by anybody that wants to review it. Let's face it, the software may be somewhat sophisticated, but it shouldn't be rocket science. Certain algorithms could even be patented for all I care, but the code quality must be reviewed. For those of you that haven't read the deposition from the link above, the upshot is that the expert witness saw horrible software practices being performed in a vacuum - as it were - he couldn't even take a pen and notepad in the room where he could view the software. He had to exit the room, make notes, then come back in after a security screening. This is the worst kind of software, and people are driving with it every day. Until software that has my life in its hands is peer/public reviewed, I'm going to buy only older cars for as long as I can. I sold my Prius after reading the above article.

Comment: Re:Clicker (Score 1) 77

by djbckr (#45427921) Attached to: Skype Is Evaluating Adding Typing Suppression Feature
I've had the pleasure of using a duplicate clicky keyboard for many years. Loved it, but frankly I type so much that the sound was just driving me crazy. I've tried many keyboards - from the MS Natural and everything down to the pathetic Dell keyboards (which I can't believe how bad they are). My new favorite keyboard: The Apple Keyboard. At first, it took a little getting used to, but it didn't take long. And of course it's for a Mac, which I use. But it's quiet, easy, and fast to type on. It doesn't feel flimsy, even though it's quite small/thin. I don't think I'll ever go back to the big clicky keyboard again.

Comment: Re:Shocked That Elop is the Front Runner (Score 1) 183

by djbckr (#45346925) Attached to: Microsoft Narrows Down CEO Shortlist: Elop, Mulally, Bates, Nadella In Mix
It seems a bit premature to dismiss him out-of-hand just because he hasn't led a software company. Yes, I know it's different, but his successes are better than anybody else on the list. Now, saying that, I don't know his leadership style. But if he's a good leader, he'll surround himself with people that know what they are doing and that have mutual trust between Mulally and those he surrounds himself with. That's (one of) the recipes for success.

Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced. - John Keats