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Comment: Re:Not surprising (Score 1) 503

by Jeremi (#47761167) Attached to: California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

There are plenty of not so time critical scenarios where some sort of manual override is needed and those aren't going to go away even when we trust the software to do all the driving

No worries -- to handle those scenarios, we'll download the app and steer the car using our phone. Bluetooth FTW!

Comment: Re:Hmmm ... (Score 1) 194

by Jeremi (#47756671) Attached to: $75K Prosthetic Arm Is Bricked When Paired iPod Is Stolen

Between companies using 10 year old Linux kernels, to having unpatchable systems, or just having really bad understandings of security, I've come to conclude this is the norm.

... and a hacked prosthetic arm is the worst possible kind of security breach -- the hackers could literally hold your neck for ransom.

Comment: Re:Bets on first use (Score 2) 233

by Jeremi (#47756487) Attached to: California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

Besides, weren't there apps that do this that folks could purchase of their own free will?

There are, but the feature doesn't work as a theft deterrent unless almost everybody has it. If only a few people have it, thieves will steal phones anyway, because the likelihood is they can resell most of the phones they steal. If/when we get to the point where almost all phones auto-brick after they are stolen, cell-phone thieves will lose their profit incentive and move on to something else.

Comment: Re:Oh really? (Score 1, Interesting) 190

I'd be amazed if it was.
My experience is that OpenOffice has less features but they work better. They (OO) also seem to be to be more interested in MS compatibility than LO is. I find that particular fork rather regrettable but Oracle would never have divested themselves of OpenOffice if they had not seen themselves becoming irrelevant.

Comment: Re:What's the point? (Score 1) 507

by Jeremi (#47745607) Attached to: If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

So if we do something in C++ then there's an added 50% "C++ Tax" just to find the 500,000 memory leaks and such.

Just wanted to say that if you are careful to use a smart-pointer class (e.g. shared_ptr) rather than raw C-style pointers to hold dynamically allocated objects, 99% of your memory leaks (and other object-lifetime-managment related problems) will "magically" go away -- and without the overhead or random execution-pauses seen in languages that rely on a garbage collector.

Comment: Re:Adding Politics to Engineering Decisions (Score 1) 172

by Jeremi (#47734605) Attached to: Google Wants To Test Driverless Cars In a Simulation

Would 2014 America hold up seat belt installation for ten years just to make sure they are totally, exactly, 100% safe?

Really, you're don't see the difference in added risk between (a computer taking over sole responsibility for the control of a 2500-pound, 65-mile-an-hour car, in all possible traffic conditions), and (adding a strip of reinforced fabric to the cockpit)?

When was the last time your seat belt stopped working due to a buffer overrun? Contrariwise, when was the last time your home computer did something wrong or unexpected?

Comment: Re:Time to build a cruise missile and send it over (Score 1) 134

by Jeremi (#47734523) Attached to: Finding an ISIS Training Camp Using Google Earth

And remember their bible demands the murder of the Infidel there is no well maybe it can be read this way or that way. It black and white demands it.

First of all, [citation needed].

How does one fight against someone following their religion and teaching?

Did you know that the Christian Bible also "black and white demands" that anyone caught working on a Sunday be put to death? (citation). And yet somehow we don't see a lot of killings of Sabbath-breakers. So most clearly people can distinguish between the applicable and non-applicable parts of their holy texts. (Those who cannot we call "fundamentalists", and they are the problem; not every religious person in the world)

Comment: Re:Pick a different job. (Score 1) 548

Do you understand the benefits of a union?

A union is most beneficial when workers are easily replaceable -- because if management can replace worker A with worker B without a lot of overhead, management can (and usually will) use that to drive salaries down, approaching the lowest salary that they can find at least one worker to accept.

The trick in programming is to make sure you are not so easily replaceable -- if the company knows that it would take 6-12 months to get a new hire up to your level of productivity, they will not be so quick to "value engineer" your salary and benefits. Then you don't really need a union to stand up for you, because you have leverage to stand up for yourself. (The right way to do this is to know the company's software inside and out; the wrong way would be to make the software so convoluted that only you can understand it... ;))

Comment: Re:NIMBYs? Crackpots? (Score 1) 519

by Jeremi (#47712307) Attached to: Solar Plant Sets Birds On Fire As They Fly Overhead

According to the gov, 33% total efficiency for coal.

Of course if you take into account the energy expenditure it will take to pull the excess CO2 and other chemicals back out of the atmosphere, that number goes down a bit.

(Impractical to do, and therefore will never be done, you say? Okay, take into account the costs of living with a permanently impacted atmosphere, instead)

Comment: Re:CONSIDER THE ETHICS (Score 1) 133

by Jeremi (#47709541) Attached to: FarmBot: an Open Source Automated Farming Machine

Keep in mind, a cheap solution would be a threat for most the worlds farmers, who are not high tech like the ones in the 1st world nations.

The world's small farmers are already being driven out of business by automated mass-production farming that their labor-intensive, small-scale methods can't compete with, and that they can't afford to replicate. Cheap, easy-to-use small-scale automation could allow them to grow food more cheaply, making them more competitive, not less. I doubt that any of them enjoy doing back-breaking field labor for 10 hours a day for very little compensation; why wouldn't they want a robot that could do the tedious labor for them?

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner