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Comment: More nuanced choices would be nice here. (Score 4, Insightful) 437

I'm a parent of four precocious kids in a small college town in the mountains of NC.

We have taxpayer-funded public transportation here. 12 years old and up are allowed to ride the bus alone (to go to the library, etc). Would I let my 7-year old if he were allowed? No. Would I let him go with his 12-year-old brother who has a way to stay in touch with me? Probably.

I don't think the issue here is automotive safety. A fully-automated car should be safe enough for kids to ride in by themselves, or it shouldn't be on the road. I think the bigger concern is, when is it okay to let your kids out in public without supervision? 72% of the people who said flat out "no" did so because they have the impression that parents should be attached to their children at the hip, or because there was no option for, say, 15 and up. Maybe kids should be able to earn the freedom of being out without their parents with good grades above a certain age, etc. The survey sucked. There should have been an option for unlicensed adolescents but not younger children, etc. Parental consent and discretion should be part of the equation as well. We're the ones responsible for our kids, and with that responsibility should come some discretion on our part.

On a side note, I think autonomous cars will reduce the need for us to go out for non-social things. I mean, aside from losing the ability to pick the best produce, I certainly wouldn't mind telling my car to make a run to the grocery store for me. For me, shopping is just time I'd rather spend with my family.

Comment: POS Ready 2009 (Score 1) 860

by infernalC (#46408219) Attached to: Microsoft's Attempt To Convert Users From Windows XP Backfires

POS Ready 2009 *is* Windows XP SP3 with a cheaper license ($99).
If you can get your hands on it, it's supported until 2019. Since end of support is 2019, they should still be providing security updates...
https://www.microsoft.com/wind...
They may be killing XP, but not it's lesser known twin.

Comment: If you have to do it, this is how I would do it (Score 1) 130

by infernalC (#46400291) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Automatically Logging Non-Computerized Equipment Use?

Put bar code labels on everything with the asset identifiers.
Make a simple web app that authenticates to the LDAP server (you don't even have to write the auth part - Apache will handle that for you). The app will have two basic functions: start using asset and stop using asset.
They will touch one function or the other and enter the asset ID to generate a log entry.
Write an iOS native wrapper app for it using UIWebView and ZBar, to let them scan the asset tag using the camera on their phone.
Leave a $170 iPod touch in the lab for anyone who doesn't have an iPhone, so they don't feel left out.
If desired, automate sending nag messages to people who forgot to log stopping the use of something. Give them a way to enter corrections with a web form.
Provide your bean counters with a suitable report, preferably something that exports to their favorite bean counting app's format (I'd probably use the free Crystal Java Runtime just because I know it).

It can be made generic enough to get app store approval.

Done.

Cost to implement: 2 weeks of my time - negotiable.

There is an upside to logging stuff like this besides satisfying the beanies... you also have data to justify new purchase requests.

Comment: She never saw the computer? (Score 1) 94

by infernalC (#44865555) Attached to: How a Grandmother Pioneered a Home Shopping Revolution

That's about the silliest thing I've heard today. A television screen, even in 1984, was probably a computer monitor. Granted it was NTSC, but around that time most televisions were switched over to digital tuners (which are computers).

I mean, I'm a computer programmer, and I spend my day working in Visual Studio, vim, and NetBeans (depending on what I'm doing). By that logic, I never see a computer either, at least not the one I'm working on. I spend most of my day in an RDP session on a retired tradeshow 27" iMac. I have to touch xcode once in a while, but I mostly keep it for the real estate.

Comment: quite a few browsers? (Score 5, Insightful) 246

Animated PNG support is terrible... see:

http://caniuse.com/apng

No IE, no Chrome, Opera dropped it when they went to Webkit, no iPhone, no Android...
looks like it's pretty much only available on 20%ish of desktop browsers and pretty much nothing mobile. You aren't going to get anyone to use it in a public-facing web application yet. Remember the days of "this site looks best in (Internet Explorer/Netscape/whatever)"... let's not do that again.

Maybe if the HTML 5 standard said that conforming user agents have to do this it would put a little more umph behind it. Of course, the standard seems to follow browser development in many cases now, not the other way around.

Comment: I don't (Score 1) 329

by infernalC (#43694539) Attached to: The Days of Cheap, Subsidized Phones May Be Numbered

I'm a QA analyst for a software company. My workplace is saturated with WiFi. My wife has a cheap-but-has-everything-she-wants HTC One V (Android ICS) with prepaid Virgin Moble. I live 0.75 miles from my home, which is also saturated with WiFi. I get by on just an iPod Touch 4, with vTok for calls between me and my wife. We have $7/mo voip service at home for a pseudo-landline, but I bet I could put a client on the iPod if I wanted to.

Comment: Cost Benefit (Score 4, Informative) 736

by infernalC (#42879381) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is It So Hard To Make An Accurate Progress Bar?

Progress bars do not make sequences of actions complete any faster. In fact, they make them slower.

That being said, take for example an installer that must perform the following steps during an upgrade:

0. Figure out how many files need to be replaced.
1. Replace 30 files of varying sizes.
2. Add 10 files.
3. Update a half million rows inn a table with a million rows setting a column to a computed value based on some predicates.
4. Run a third party installation mechanism (MSM?) for a supporting library, etc.

Modern computers are time-sharing systems. Each process that involves computation is at the mercy of the scheduler in the kernel to give it the cycles it needs to complete. That means that even if you measure the time it takes to complete some process, it's not going to be the same a second time, because the installation process doesn't get undivided attention.

Steps 0 - 2 - you're at the mercy of the IO buses, hard disk, antivirus software interfering, etc.
Step 3 - What shape are the database statistics in? How efficiently can you apply the predicates? What does the distribution of the data look like? You can't tell this ahead of time...
Step 4 - Does this third party installer provide you some sort of metrics as it runs?

These are the sorts of problems to be overcome to do an accurate progress bar. In short, they aren't worth overcoming.

Comment: Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (Score 2) 157

by infernalC (#42432531) Attached to: My favorite New Year's celebration:

I celebrate the new year by attending Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

This isn't really "Good-old Gregorian January 1st". When Gregory XIII introduced the new calendar in the 16th century, new year's day was the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ, and that's the way the calendar was until the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council restored the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God to the 1st, which is when it had been celebrated in ancient times since the early councils established the dogma of Theotokos.

So, I think I'd rather say I celebrate the New-Fangled Gregorian January 1st.

Comment: My e-reader killed its own market (Score 1) 333

by infernalC (#42294505) Attached to: Will Tablets Kill Off e-Readers?

I have an iPad2, which I use for all indoor reading with the Kindle and Bluefire apps. I also had, before the iPad2, a Sony PRS-300 and I still use it for outdoor reading. The iPad2 is already bordering obsolete, but the Sony still does what I want. It's only function is e-reading, and I just don't see how, except the battery being too expensive to replace, I would justify replacing it in the next couple years. When we get something like a piece of paper (a killer form factor) for e-readers, I will replace it.

I guess what I'm saying is that the market is declining because people already have them.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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