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Comment: Re:It seems like squeegeeing is the wrong approach (Score 2) 203

by eldavojohn (#48386159) Attached to: Window Washing a Skyscraper Is Beyond a Robot's Reach

For a human, using a sponge and squeegee combo is probably the most effective way to clean a window. For a robot, I would imagine that the answer is something more like a pressure washer, with a hood which covers the work area and reclaims the wash water. The water would then be filtered and reused until the particulate count rose too high, at which point it would be flushed and replaced with fresh. A sheeting additive would be used to cause the water to run off without spotting.

This probably wouldn't replace human window washing entirely, but it seems like it has the potential to replace at least some of the washes.

I've often wondered if anyone has ever tried a project to make a building which washes itself, using a robot designed for the building, and a building designed for the robot. I can imagine many problems with such a project without even undertaking it, mostly related to critters taking up residence in the mechanisms and/or tracks, but if it operated continuously that might well eliminate some of those objections. A universal window washing robot has a more complicated task than such a device would.

Did you even read the article? You'll find it discusses how the old World Trade Center Towers had built in devices that were made specifically for the building that would automatically go up and down cleaning it. The only problem was they missed the corners and creases of each pane and the rich people at the top of the building didn't want the grimy borders to their new expensive view of NYC.

It sounds like you have a lot of ideas for building a nice big heavy expensive machine that moves up and down a building. Burst forth and implement your idea, I think you'll find that the the weight, the power and the water feed to these devices will push you towards what has already been implemented and did not do a satisfactory job. Humans had to follow up behind the built in robots to clean spots they had missed.

It's funny, I read articles on Slashdot about how AI is the one thing that threatens man. And we can't even implement AI and pattern recognition to replace a window washer -- oh the incongruity!

Comment: Your Thoughts and Use of Post Processing? (Score 3) 35

So I'm not too knowledgeable on photography but one thing I'm aware of is that professional photographers do a lot of post processing. To the point of Adobe Lightroom or higher being so mandatory with DSLRs that they sometimes package it with lenses (especially the ones that distort like a wide angle lens). Do you post process your photos? To what extent? How do you feel about people who use advanced techniques like even adding color to their photos? For example, I came across this photo which was odd to me because I've been to that place and it's beautiful but not like in that photo -- it doesn't need fake pink clouds to be beautiful. It would seem to me a shame to have a tree live 2,000 years and then a human uses a fish eye lens on its knotted trunk to make it seem more old and gnarled and then later adjusts the darkness of the sky to give it a Halloween feel, etc. And then since that's the most artistic shot of it, that's how we remember it.

Comment: Be the Change You Wish to See in the World (Score 5, Interesting) 438

by eldavojohn (#48352337) Attached to: The Students Who Feel They Have the Right To Cheat
When I was younger and I first came across this quote by Mahatma Gandhi:

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

I always thought it was bizarrely tautological. If you wish something to be different and you personally can make a choice for it under your control to be different, then you make the correct choice. For example, I don't throw a soda can out the window of my car while complaining about pollution on the highway. Other people obviously don't care but I control the drop in the bucket I'm responsible for and I make the ethical choice.

But as I got older, I actually found and still find people that think they should be forced to do it the right way even while complaining about the abuse. Case in point, a friend in the medical profession was actually complaining about tax dodges while setting up his own backdoor Roth IRA. When I asked him about abusing the very rules he was decrying, he simply shrugged and said he doesn't make the rules he just follows them. He acknowledged it's shady as hell but pretty much felt like his hands were tied.

It was deeply troubling ... I get a similar feeling about this article. I understand it is sometimes harder to play by ethical rules than legal rules when everyone around you is benefiting from misconduct but ... it seems this is yet another example of the caste system thriving in India. It's simply stupefying on the "My dad is Li Gang" level.

Comment: Self Censorship in Your Industry (Score 1) 58

by eldavojohn (#48310787) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Warren Ellis a Question
I've never really enjoyed main stream comics but the imprints that dodge the archaic Comics Code have pulled me in with various titles -- some of yours even. According to your wikipedia page you left Hellblazer after DC refused to print a controversial comic of yours in such an imprint:

He left that series when DC announced, following the Columbine High School massacre, that it would not publish "Shoot", a Hellblazer story about school shootings, although the story had been written and illustrated prior to the Columbine massacre.

Is this common in comic books/graphic novels? Have you experienced this elsewhere in your career? Do you feel that DC and other big publishers are too afraid of another Fredric Wertham to toe the line?

Comment: China's Complete Supply Chain (Score 5, Interesting) 62

Recently this year the WTO ruled against China's practices in the rare earth market but some pundits have stated that this ruling doesn't matter because China controls the whole supply chain of rare earths. Would you care to comment on the efficacy of the WTO's ruling? Can you explain what part of the supply chain the US is missing? For example, we're missing mines but if we had mines we're missing refineries but if we had them we're missing ... etc. What throughput of each mineral in our domestic supply chain would we need to put the US government at ease?

Comment: The True Cost of Various Environmental Laws? (Score 5, Interesting) 62

The minerals themselves aren't necessarily rare in an absolute sense, but they're expensive to extract.) The most economically viable deposits are found in China, and rising prices for them as exports to the U.S., the EU, and Japan have raised political hackles. (At the same time, those rising prices have spurred exploration and reexamination of known deposits off the coast of Japan, in the midwestern U.S., and elsewhere.

My understanding revolves around only the crudest idea about modern mining methods and the resulting tailings & water usage they often employ. I assume that in China, they get around these costs by just damaging the environment (like dumping tailings where ever instead of having dedicated settling and filtering ponds). Could you give us some back of the envelope calculations (they could be percentages or additional yearly operating costs) of what these environmental regulations mean for mining operations in the United States versus China? There's an awful lot of talk on Slashdot and other news sites about how cost prohibitive the EPA makes business in America but I've never seen an expert in the industry actually talk hard numbers. Any ballpark estimates would be greatly appreciated. In your experience, are any of these laws and regulations less or more effective than others?

Comment: What Does Systemd Mean to Me? (Score 5, Funny) 928

by eldavojohn (#48276995) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can You Say Something Nice About Systemd?
"What Does Systemd Mean to Me?"
By
eldavojohn

Systemd has a nice ring to it. The way the syllables roll off my tongue pleases me greatly. It could be the title of a great anime series. It could even be the lost name of an ancient forgotten god-king. It might even be the name I give my first born. It sounds much more authoritative and genuine than sysvinit or upstart or inetd. For instance from my non-technical fourth grade perspective this is what I interpret the others to mean:
  • sysvinit - A cheap knockoff of systemd. Sounds sort of like a sexually transmitted disease phase like syphilis virus initialization.
  • upstart - Sounds like you don't know what the hell is going on. "This young upstart" ... leave it to the pros, greenhorn. Leave it to systemd.
  • inetd - What are we, fishing here? You netted? You netted what? At least tell us what you netted. Is it a record breaking fish? Also, nice try with the cheap 'd' knockoff at the end. Leave it to the originals. Leave it to ... systemd.

Contrary to your base assumptions, systemd does not actually boot faster on my Pentium II (Intel inside) system. I just like the way it sounds.

  • Personal Experience - I actually stood up at dinner last night and slammed my fist down on the table and yelled at my wife that "WE WILL ONLY USE SYSTEMD IN THIS HOUSE FROM NOW ON" and I flung her iPad against the wall, shattering it. And then I got down on my knees in tears -- having seen the light -- and swore fealty to systemd.
  • Working Examples - Three nights ago I stole away into the night across town to the Olafsen's house (a predominantly Norwegian family) and (being predominantly of Swedish descent myself) spray painted on the front of their new home: "SYSTEMD BOOT HOME" in blood red paint. This was a Nice Thing in a "never forget" sorta way. I then got down on my knees in tears and applied the spray paint liberally to my upper lip -- the same condition in which I write this post for you, dear reader.
  • Links to Supporting Documentation - [1]

Comment: Designed in US, Built in EU, Filled in Iraq (Score 5, Informative) 376

by eldavojohn (#48153407) Attached to: Pentagon Reportedly Hushed Up Chemical Weapons Finds In Iraq
The summary seems to have left out the most interesting tidbit:

According to the Times, the reports were embarrassing for the Pentagon because, in five of the six incidents in which troops were wounded by chemical agents, the munitions appeared to have been "designed in the US, manufactured in Europe and filled in chemical agent production lines built in Iraq by Western companies".

Where were they found? Next to the plants set up by Western companies that filled them in Iraq, of course. Who has control of those plants now? Why, ISIS of course. Don't worry, though, the people who thought it was better we didn't know about these things are assuring us that all those weapons were hurriedly destroyed.

Comment: What Is Your Relationship with Microsoft & Ora (Score 5, Interesting) 187

You were a valuable unbiased source of information on software patents and patent litigation. Particularly the German court's struggle with them. However it came to light -- in a rather surprising way -- that you were paid or possibly employed by Microsoft and Oracle. I have heard much about this and it often casts a negative light on your blogging but I would like to hear your side of these relationships. I can conceivably understand how you could accept money that furthers your ideals but it is difficult to comprehend how I can be assured this does not influence your writing, position, selected details and bias. Are you able to lay my concerns to rest?

Comment: Where Do These Stats Come From? (Score 1, Informative) 546

by eldavojohn (#47819359) Attached to: Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

Nearly half of the software developers in the United States do not have a college degree. Many never even graduated from high school.

What? I pored over the article and the US BLS link in it to find the source of these statements. Aside from a pull quote that appears as an image in the article but isn't even in the article itself and is unattributed, could someone find me the source of this statistic?

Because I'm a software developer in the United States with a Masters of Science in Computer Science. All of my coworkers have at least a bachelor's degree in one field or another. And my undergrad very much so started with a sink-or-swim weed out course in Scheme and then another in Java. Yes, they were both easy if you already knew how to code but ... this article almost sounds like it's written by someone with no field experience. Granted that's a low sample set, I'd like to know where the other half of us are. Everyone keep in mind that a Computer Science degree is a relatively new thing and there very well may be elderly coders doing a great job without technically a degree in computer science.

The only way I can see the misconception spreading is that people who use Wix to drag and drop a WYSIWYG site (for you older readers that's like FrontPage meets Geocities) erroneously consider themselves "software developers".

Comment: Canv.as Decommissioned (Score 3, Insightful) 220

by eldavojohn (#47807697) Attached to: Interview: Ask Christopher "moot" Poole About 4chan and Social Media
Canvas (site, not the HTML5 element) and DrawQuest were killed earlier this year. I used it briefly in its beta form and thought it was a neat idea. Any chance you could elaborate on why it was shut down? The e-mail I got was brief and vague -- were you facing copyright issues? Monetization problems? Image space issues? Care to spill your lessons learned?

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken

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