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Comment: Re: Look at this one... (Score 1) 154

by jddj (#47681209) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Recliner For a Software Developer?

God, I love my BarcaLounger Craftsman II. It's beautiful and comfy. Probably awful for my back, but as a chair to flop with a laptop, wonderful.

The tall-ish wooden arms make it crap for noodling on a guitar, and the arms slope, so no good for a place to put a soda. You'll want a side table. You`ll have to improvise a place for an outlet strip, but hell, if it's a laptop, you need to exercise the battery for maximum working life anyway, right? Or attach the outlet to the side table and leave your georgeous chair unscathed.

There are knockoffs of this chair, that look just like it, but aren't nearly as comfy. I know: I wanted to buy a knockoff 'cuz it was convenient, would ship with the rest of our furniture, but no, had to go back for the real thing, haven't regretted it for a minute.

If the family ever comes apart, we'll negotiate for most everything in the house, but not this chair. it's coming with me.

It's part of the "Woodland Reserve" collection in "Vintage Reserve" on BarcaLounger's very 1990s-looking web site, http://www.barcalounger.com/

Comment: I have to record calls for a living... (Score 5, Informative) 368

by jddj (#47654629) Attached to: Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

I do stakeholder and user interviews, and may not be able to predict what telephony equipment I'll find at a site.

I realize you're asking for a smartphone or VOIP app, but what I've come to rely on is the JK Audio QuickTap: http://www.jkaudio.com/quickta... - it can record both sides from virtually ANY corded-handset phone. Sounds great, it's a passive device, so no batteries, no AC, it's little and comes with the adapters you need for a pocket recorder (like the Olympus recorder I use, but works with a PC/Mac input as well...).

This works nearly anyplace, and sounds great. Whatever you do, DO NOT try the Radio Shack device for cheap cheap that claims to do the same thing. The Radio Shack device has a little switch on it. Position 1 is "Suck", and Position 2 is "Suck Differently". You buy this thing and you've hosed yourself.

Full disc: I don't sell these, have no ownership, employment or other stake with JK Audio: they just make tools that work when I desperately need 'em to, and I love 'em.

Comment: Cisco? (Score 1) 194

by jddj (#47593685) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Bulletproof Video Conferencing For Alzheimers Home?

Cisco has been working hard to productize video conferencing, and has hardware and software solutions for it, from telepresence suites down to desk phones with screens, as well as applications.

Don't know all about the fit and price, but probably worth a look: might beat a duct-taped solution where no onsite maintenance is required.

Comment: Just gotta say: Hong Kong's MTR is ROCKTACULAR! (Score 1) 162

by jddj (#47401245) Attached to: The AI Boss That Deploys Hong Kong's Subway Engineers

Nicest subway system I've been on anyplace, bar none. A continuous amazement, built at scale. Many thoughtful design tips (f.e. your subway card can be used to pay at the nearby 7-11 (yes, a real 7-11), and you don't get held up at the turnstile when your balance is too low to get out ('cause you have an on-card deposit)).

If they're using this Expert System to help make it rock so hard, good on 'em. The USA could take a NUMBER of pointers from this thing.

Comment: Re:Look at Mural.ly and Boardthing (Score 1) 143

by jddj (#47371181) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Replacing Paper With Tablets For Design Meetings?

(Replying to myself, yeah, I know...).

Should also point out that my research was around remote collaboration.

If you're all in the same room BY ALL MEANS USE PAPER!!!! Check out Leah Buley's work on Sketchboarding, and check out Design Studio Methodology.

There's absolutely NO reason to use remote/online collab tools over paper if you're all in the same place. You're closing off the cheapest and most flexible channel for a starter.

Comment: Re:Look at Mural.ly and Boardthing (Score 2) 143

by jddj (#47371117) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Replacing Paper With Tablets For Design Meetings?

In my 60 products, looked at these, and they're very nice, but they're expensive fixed-point solutions. Not the right thing for a home office, f.e. unless you're loaded.

Boardthing, Mural.ly and a few other applications will remember what you've done while nobody's logged in. Think of them as a little like Pintrest for business, but with design tools built in.

Comment: Re:Look at Mural.ly and Boardthing (Score 1) 143

by jddj (#47370985) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Replacing Paper With Tablets For Design Meetings?

Full Disc: I've taken a workshop with Dave Gray, who's driving Boardthing. I'd love it to be dominant. But it's not quite there yet.

I don't have any financial part in Mural.ly. Not even a paying customer yet - trying to get it moving in my business.

I'm enthusiastic because I looked at 60+ tools and was disappointed often. Spent $300 of company money on some hardware that didn't work out. Mural.ly isn't perfect, doesn't do all I'd like (would like interactive whiteboarding, f.e.), but it's the best compromise I've found.

Don't have a dog in the hunt financially.

Comment: Look at Mural.ly and Boardthing (Score 2) 143

by jddj (#47370315) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Replacing Paper With Tablets For Design Meetings?

Boardthing is very exciting, but just coming along now. Mural.ly will let you collaboratively sketchboard, and has good mobile coverage on iOS and Android.

Have spent a lot of time researching collaborative sketching for design, and it's a real mess. There are some great collaborative whiteboards, but they're not evenly good on tablet and desktop, iOS and Android. Some need special ports. Some have presence and video/chat capability, but again, not evenly implemented everywhere.

Mural.ly would be my first stop, after a lot of research.

Comment: Lincoln at '64 World's Fair (Score 1) 97

by jddj (#47295969) Attached to: How Disney Built and Programmed an Animatronic President

I saw Lincoln at the Fair, and my 5-year-old self was amazed. I knew it was a machine, as I had been told, but...how on earth could it move and stand just like a person? It was breathtaking!

Over the years, I've wondered at roboticists having trouble mimicking human motion, or Asimo falling over. My first thought was always "Really? How hard can it be if they could do it in '64?"

Of course, with the passage of time, I've learned about the difference between a recorded demonstration and the ability to do arbitrary kinds of work, begun to realize the power management needs and controlled environment constraints that let them pull it off, but 50 years later, it remains a high-water mark for me in the simulation of human motion onstage.

I recently visited Kennedy Space Center, and enjoyed the (sorta) animatronic presentation on the moon landings, but the astronaut is a stationary stuffed suit. They spent their budget on putting a model LM down onstage, not the figure's motion. The seams show.

BTW, my 5-year-old self also straightened out a docent at the Fair. Seems this clown was telling people the X-15 launched like a rocket and landed like a plane. I'd just built the Revell B-52 with the X-15 under the wing, and knew better. Indignantly straightened his ass out. Hmmph!

Comment: Re:Minimal Competence (Score 1) 466

by jddj (#46991217) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Minimum Programming Competence In Order To Get a Job?

If you're interested in coding, you should think about it as a career. If you're interested in coding beautifully, maybe not.

Though it's true, I've met a bunch of not-all-there programmers, part of the issue with code quality is that they don't have the luxury of forever refactoring.

Once a feature is done, the lid has to get slammed on it and nailed shut. If there's a bug that shows up during a warranty period, it might get fixed, but that won't involve a refactoring.

If a bug that's not a critical issue shows up outside of warranty, it gets put on the QC backlog, to be fixed...never. (One bug not considered critical by a team I once worked on: the mobile site won't let anyone who shows up with a mobile device log in. Has lasted > 1 year and still broken).

The factors that push the "finish it quick and never touch it again if you can help it" behavior are mainly aggressive schedules, and a desire to get home a little after 5PM.

Some of the best programmers I know work the vampire shift, drive their wife and kids nuts with it. But they don't work next to me in an enterprise.

If you're young, you can burn through the night, as I'd have done before the wife and kids (and to be sure, all my coding is hobby stuff, and I'm picky and refactor forever). Now, married, mortgaged and spawned, I have to pull 15 minutes together at a time to immerse myself before someone needs snot wiped or the house fixed. That or baffle my in-laws by coding like a madman and doing _nothing_else_ throughout the Thanksgiving weekend.

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.

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