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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.

Comment: Just what we need, clean drinking water (Score 1) 303

by justfred (#40510813) Attached to: Making Saltwater Drinkable With Graphene

This sounds like it could be revolutionary - lack of fresh or clean water is one of the world's biggest problems. I'm assuming pathogens are larger than a molecule of water? Wonder what the cost would be, if it would be cheap enough to just churn out sheets of the stuff, or custom-made filters. The biggest problems aside from production would be clogging/cleaning and accidental contamination of the output stream.

Comment: Don't substitute user testing for QA (Score 1) 360

by justfred (#38371292) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Get Non-Developers To Send Meaningful Bug Reports?

Hire actual QA to report and process bugs. Put at least one of the QA people on the project of processing user emails into bug/enhancement/etc.

User testing is great - it's a wonderful way to observe how end-users might interact with the product. But it isn't the same as QA - professional, systematic defect testing, reporting, analysis.

I'm a developer. Most of the time QA annoys me with issues like "if you enter more than 256 characters into the name field, what should happen?" and "If I'm in IE6 and I use the back button then repeatedly click submit, I get an error." These are usually things no user will ever encounter, but they're also things that should be tracked and checked, at least to be sure they don't corrupt the database or hang the system if the one user in 10,000 (usually a hacker "having fun") does try them.

Comment: On the street (Score 1) 173

by justfred (#38250752) Attached to: After 6 Years, Aptera Motors Is No More

I live in Carlsbad, CA, where one of their facilities is, I've seen them (or maybe just one) driving down El Camino now and then. Looks like a disembodied small aircraft fuselage. Seems utterly un-crash-worthy. Very pretty, not very practical.

I remember when (last year) they were turned down for government assistance, because they had three wheels not four; wondered why they didn't just drag a bicycle wheel so they'd qualify.

Hoping to go by their offices next week and see if there's any evidence of getting rid of stuff.

Comment: Phone and Bluetooth keyboard (Score 1) 425

by justfred (#38063406) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's a Good Tablet/App Combination For Note-Taking?

This doesn't fit most of your critieria ("handwriting" being the most obvious, but also textbook storage), but it's what I've used and it works great for me.

iPhone (or any smartphone)
Bluetooth keyboard (I use Apple's)

Evernote automatically uploads content to its cloud so you can edit and use from your computer without having to sync.

All you have to buy/carry in your purse is the keyboard - I'd chose a usable one that's a bit larger, like the Apple, rather than a small one that's harder to type on, since the main point will be to type notes quickly. Apple's keyboard is $70 or so, but compared to buying a barely usable netbook, I think it's worth it. Batteries in the kb last forever.

You could use a tablet instead but I find the iPhone screen big enough to read what I'm typing, which is enough.

Another benefit of the phone, is less temptation to multi-task.

Personally, I put the keyboard about a foot in front of me, with the phone in between me and the keyboard - easier to see, works better for touch-typing, less distracting to others I'm listening to.

I dislike handwritten notes, because they're barely legible and non-searchable.

"Lead us in a few words of silent prayer." -- Bill Peterson, former Houston Oiler football coach