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Comment: Re:Please not PDF. A picture's not good either. (Score 1) 263

Restaurant sites are what usability pros show onscreen when they want to get a belly laugh from the audience.

The reason is that restaurants are focused on looks before usability. This leads them to use pictures of text, PDFs, and the hated Flash.

Those technologies range from poor to complete fail when it comes to searchability, mobile adaptability, accessibility, and ability to select and copy/paste text.

So instead the site designer creates a solution supposedly more far more "usable", and rides off into the sunset with a new slide for her presentation. But since no one actually working at the restaurant day-to-day is computer savy or has any time for keyboarding stuff while cooking or waiting on tables, the menu gets way out of date (until some waiter's kid who knows how to use the computer comes by), and the highly usable accessible searchable search result returns a bogus menu from last month.

With a camera feed, the cooks hurriedly wipes 3-eyed fish off the board with his sleeve after throwing the last one on the grill, and no blind person walks over to order one. She calls first.

Google News Sci Tech: Orion zooms around planet, drops into the Pacific; recovery underway - Los Angel->

From feed by feedfeeder

Los Angeles Times

Orion zooms around planet, drops into the Pacific; recovery underway
Los Angeles Times
The Orion spacecraft launched Friday morning from Cape Canaveral in Florida and finished its first test flight by falling gently into the Pacific Ocean, supported by a trio of parachutes. lRelated Orion capsule makes a 'bull's-eye' splashdown in Pacific.
Science|First Flight Test Is Successful for NASA's Orion SpacecraftNew York Times
Orion will reach San Diego SundayU-T San Diego
The Wire: Orion aces test; Carter for defense secretary; gang rape story in doubt ... San Jose Mercury News
13WHAM-TV-MYfoxLUBBOCK.COM-Christian Science Monitor
all 2,000 news articles

Link to Original Source

+ - Angela Merkel calls for end to net neutrality 1

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace (882157) writes "Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing reports:

The German Chancellor — whose party is closely aligned with the telcoms sector — says she wants a two-tier Internet; on the "fast" Internet, carriers will be allowed to slow down access to services that haven't paid bribes for "premium" carriage; on the "regular" Internet, ISPs will just give you the data you ask for.


+ - Intel Invests Billions in Mobile Ambitions->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "The allure of mobile devices has led Intel to take some uncharacteristic moves, partnering with Chinese companies to build some smartphone and tablet chips, and relying on third parties to manufacture those chips. Intel is betting the partnerships will accelerate its business in China, where smartphone shipments are booming. But the company wants to regain complete control over manufacturing, and on Thursday said it was investing $1.6 billion over 15 years in a China plant for mobile chip development and manufacturing."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:History repeats... (Score 1) 190

Absolutely. If only the natives had been more disease resistant and put up a better fight, the area might have developed more on the European model, farms down on some of the best agricultural land in the world, with civilization up in hilltop fortifications to better keep out the looters and marauders. The gold rush might have still brought in a critical mass of crazies though. Silicon castles.

The planet changes sea level up and down by over 100 meters all by itself (and the solar cycles). Humans have migrated miles back and forth with the sea level changes though at least a few ice ages already. They'll just have to figure out how to keep on doing that.

Comment: History repeats... (Score 1) 190

HP tried this during the tech (real estate and traffic) boom of the mid 1980's. Moved a whole bunch of R&D and operations to Roseville and other environs near Sacto. Pretty much for the same reasons.

A failed experiment.

The SF/Silicon Valley area occasionally succeeds because of pure critical mass, it's density of top research universities, tech talent, and crazy people with more money than sense. Very few other "corridors" continue to put that much money into crazy people's ventures.

Comment: Where's the opposing boycott? (Score 2) 1746

by firewood (#46653837) Attached to: Brendan Eich Steps Down As Mozilla CEO

Where's the Conservative movement's boycott of Mozilla for oppressing an employee's exercise of their U.S. 1st Amendment rights, including freedom of political association, freedom of religion, freedom to petition, and freedom of speech (even, or especially, if not "politically correct")... and done on their own private time?

Comment: Re:I agree that programming is not for geeks (Score 1) 317

by firewood (#42541199) Attached to: Better Tools For Programming Literacy

Show me a great artist or architect, and you'll probably also find someone who as a kid made some very primitive and stupid looking (except to parents) scribbles. Take away all their drawing and painting (etc.) implements until someone is old enough for Structured Programming and Algorithms 101, and probably a huge portion of the great artists in the world would have never picked up an interest in the subject during their formative years, or ever after.

Comment: No, it is not out of reach (Score 2) 317

by firewood (#42541081) Attached to: Better Tools For Programming Literacy

Programming at a professional competancy might be out of reach. But programming badly isn't that hard. As in:

10 print "my sister is ugly" : goto 10

Back in the days of the TRS-80, Commodore Pet, Apple II and BBC personal computers (, millions of kids could turn on their personal computer and start typing in Basic right away, usually using stuff copied off of a magazine article... at first. But then they could modify their programs and crash them in a million different ways. That caused learning, and very likely ending up producing a generation of people with much higher basic computer literacy than in the general population than today (not including professional techies).

Don't confuse a professional level of understanding with computer literacy. No one confuses the kid who could (back in the day) (mis)use their chemistry sets to blow things up in their backyard and singe their eyebrows off, with National Medal of Technology prize winners. (Or could you?).

Comment: It's really "good" code. (Score 1) 683

by firewood (#42470699) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can I Explain To a Coworker That He Writes Bad Code?

Nowhere did you say the old guys code didn't work, had serious bugs that weren't being fixed, or was noticeably behind the rest of the team according to the project schedules. Until that happens, and as long as the old guy is solving problems with his skill set, management may well consider your "good coding" criteria to be bad for the company, thus making you, not the old guy, the troublemaker for suggesting changing what works. Businessmen have been burned by too many trendy sounding academic fads, such as all the good coding practices recommended here.

Wait till you can out-code him, solve major problems he can't, and get promoted above him (or he dies or retires). Even if his smelly pile of code crashes and burns, if he can tape it back together faster (running) than you can rewrite it (feature complete), he's the hero, and you're the troublemaker.

Comment: Re:Summary implies that tablets are not a fad (Score 1) 243

by firewood (#42388259) Attached to: Acer Rethinks the "Tablet Bubble," Launching $99 Tablet

I don't see how tablets are any different from netbooks. They're semi-useful devices that have a limited place but are outclassed by more capable machines which have been around for a long time..

Didn't someone at DEC say the same thing about PCs? Those desktop toys must have been just an outclassed passing fad, and real businesses still buy far more capable minicomputers from DEC, Data General, Prime, Tandem, and ...

Oh wait.

Comment: Age is no excuse. (Score 1) 418

by firewood (#41565895) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Am I Too Old To Retrain?

Age isn't the problem. It's just an easy to find excuse.

I know several engineers in their mid to late 50's who completely retrained in the latest mobile development technology (Objective C and iOS or Java and Android or both) and ended up with new jobs or fairly lucrative consulting gigs. It's actually easier for some of the older ones, since they were used to writing code for big complex computers that had a fraction of the memory and were over 100X slower than any recent smartphone, and the kids are already grown and out of the house.

Comment: Maps need to be used to become good (Score 1) 561

by firewood (#41483705) Attached to: Why Apple Replaced iOS Maps

Nowadays, a usable map database has gotten so big and complex that it can made decent only by putting something in the hands of millions of users, letting them (forcing them to) find errors that can only be found by actual field usage, and using that volume of feedback to scale up a competent team; a team that might eventually be able fix a healthy portion of the problems so found. Apple may have put this half-baked map app out now, where millions of people will be stuck using it because they want the exciting new iPhone 5, and are too lazy to use any other map app. Using the feedback contained within millions of complaints deriving from actual mass volume field usage, Apple's map database will eventually evolve to something closer to a Google maps competitor, maybe over the next year or three.

They can't say they are doing this because not enough users want to be unpaid beta testers and/or usage analytics data sources. And it's hard to build a good database without knowing what data is bad.

Comment: Re:Ahem... sorry... (Score 1) 421

by firewood (#38522264) Attached to: Melting Glaciers Cutting Peru Water Supply

We don't need a solution for a world of 5, 6 or 7 billion people, with maybe half of them living in the developed nations.
We need an adaptable, scalable solution for at least 9 billion humans, with at least 7 billion of them living in the developing nations.

Or perhaps we need a way to reduce the human population to the longer term carrying capacity of the planet, which might just be far far below 5 billion... or nature will surely figure out a way to accomplish that for us.

Real Users find the one combination of bizarre input values that shuts down the system for days.