Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Caspian Sea Monster (Score 1) 85

by justfred (#47551163) Attached to: World's Largest Amphibious Aircraft Goes Into Production In China

It's no Caspian Sea Monster.

"It was capable of carrying up to 137 tons (270,000 pounds) of troops and equipment—including as many as six nuclear missiles—at speeds up to 350 MPH as far as 1,080 nmi—albeit only 16 feet off the surface of the water."

Yes, the MD-160 was neither amphibious (it's water-only) or an airplane (it's an Ekranoplan surface-effect vehicle).

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 2) 85

by justfred (#47551077) Attached to: World's Largest Amphibious Aircraft Goes Into Production In China

The allegations against him and the plane were politically motivated; Senator Owen Brewster was "bought" by competitor Juan Trippe of Pan Am.

"In 1947, the Senate War Investigation Committee, led by Maine Senator Owen Brewster. The committee alleged that government funds had been misused in both the XF-11 and Spruce Goose Projects, siting the fact that neither project had resulted in a single aircraft delivered to the Air Force. Hughes maintained that there had been no wrong doing, and that Senator Brewster had taken contributions from Juan Tripp, President of Pan Am, a major competitor of Hughes' TWA. Although the hearings featuring Hughes' testimony electrified the nation, the committee disbanded without making a report."

Comment: We should be purchasing licenses not media. (Score 1) 329

by justfred (#47000411) Attached to: Your Old CD Collection Is Dying

If only we were purchasing a license for the content, and not the media itself, this wouldn't be a problem. Bad disc, or disc got stolen? Pay a nominal fee (50c?) for a new one. Want to sell your license? Find a way to let the DRM allow it. Want to 'rent' or 'pay-per-play' rather than own the media? Use the appropriate license. When new media technology comes out, we should not have to pay to replace our libraries.

Comment: Age and treachery (Score 2) 379

"Age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill"

New programmers may have skills with new software, but they may not have skills and experience with organizational politics, system design, product architecture, code reviews, QA, all the rest of what makes great programmers great.

Comment: Good advice. (Score 1) 228

by justfred (#44926353) Attached to: What I Did During My Summer Vacation: <em>Burning Man</em> Edition

This was a fine article; I'm a long-time burner and I see no problem with your methods (or your posting here!). I can't imagine getting everything I needed into three suitcases; I usually bring a trailer! Hooking up with an existing camp is great advice, also because you've got a built in set of default friends. Hooking up with an art project, like the CORE groups, is even better! Burning Man is best when you become one of the creators, not just one of the consumers.

With one exception, that is still ancient Burner lore: rebar. Don't use rebar. It's hard to get in, hard to get out, and injury-prone. Buy large stakes from Home Depot -the yellow/orange plastic ones - or 12" nails, if they have them. Or buy large spade stakes (10" or so) at the surplus store. And be sure someone in your camp has a small sledge to drive them in (and lever to remove them).

Comment: Knowledge transfer (Score 2) 892

by justfred (#44584943) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When Is It OK To Not Give Notice?

The two-week "knowledge transfer" period can really suck. "We need you to write down everything that you know that we will ever need, and then brain-dump on these other less-qualified people who were never any help before, and won't be any help after you left except to blame you for anything that goes wrong."

If it's not documented well enough that you could walk out today, two weeks won't help.

Comment: If you're afraid of science just buy organic (Score 1) 461

by justfred (#43455505) Attached to: How much I care about GMO food labeling:

GMO-free foods are already labelled. "Certified Organic".

I'm not afraid of GMOs, I believe they tend to be safer than human-modified foods, since they tend to more specifically modify the DNA structure with small-scale changes, rather than the large-scale changes of standard organic methods.

I am a bit afraid of our food supply system, give the lack of faith people have in the FDA and other agencies tasked with regulating what the corporations choose to feed us. Labeling GMOs does not solve this problem, and may in fact be worse than attacking the actual problem.

Comment: Pneumatic Tubes! (Score 1) 372

by justfred (#41796683) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Ideas For a Geek Remodel?

Every house needs a serious series of tubes.

Think of it - you could send a sandwich from the kitchen to the den. You could send the mail from the office to the front door. Route laundry and garbage to their appropriate destinations.

Why send electrons when you can send atoms?

(Example, there are lots of others:)

Comment: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (Score 5, Informative) 700

by justfred (#41635709) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Books Have Had a Significant Impact On Your Life?

Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

This book taught me more about coding (and recursion, and all sorts of other concepts) than any language-specific book I've read. I carried it around for a couple of years, making my way through as I could. Highly recommended.

Comment: Need more conceptual doc (Score 1) 299

by justfred (#41514191) Attached to: WTFM: Write the Freaking Manual

I'm learning to use Twitter Bootstrap, and the documentation is really sparse, so I turn to Google to find me other people's examples of, in my case, how to implement site menus.

The biggest problem I find is companies that jump from "here's how to install the software" to "here's an exhaustive list of all the functions", and a few sample apps, without delving into conceptual issues like architecture or implementation. This is where the O'Reilly style documentation helps, as they step through the product conceptually rather than the functions alphabetically.

Comment: Types of comments (Score 1) 472

by justfred (#41262373) Attached to: Comments On Code Comments?

One issue I rarely see discussed are the different types of comments. Most languages and editors don't seem to differentiate between these common types of comments.

-Standard, inline comments //check for out-of-bounds /* send the user an email
* to let them know they've
* done something wrong
int fritz = 0; //0 indicates no fritz at all

-Autodoc (or autodoc-style) comments, usually in class/function headers - whether or not autodoc is actually used /**
Given foo and bar object, produce woofObject by transmogrification
input foo int
input bar barObject
output woof woofObject
function transmogrifyFooBarToWoof...

-Comment-out - code that is disabled by commenting /* here is some code we don't use anymore, but is here for reference
                    if (whatever) do something;

-Todo comments (I tend to style these with #! or #? in php or //#? in other languages)
#!if the result is negative this will fail
#?should we be bounds-checking

Another annoyance with my editor (Eclipse, in my case, but most others I've tried also have this issue) is that I like to left-align my comment-out and todo comments for visibility - a habit that comes from COBOL, I guess.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.