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Comment: Re:Wow ... (Score 1) 263

The legacy Unix system, was expensive due to the fact that it required high end hardware. NT would run on your consumer PC as well. So Unix systems did work better because of the whole architecture not just the OS.

Nope. It was just worse. When I was in telecoms we tried to build a "router" (big iron) on our own custom hardware, with full vendor support (as in source code if we wanted it), based on windows NT instead of Solaris. (And of course we built the hardware to suit the OS/application. Not the other way around).

Crashed and burned leaving not as much as a flake of soot behind. Couldn't be done. What the Redmond people told us turned out to be simply not true as in "didn't work the way it was documented to work". And nothing much else worked either.

So, building on VAX/VMS worked. Industrial strength. Building on Unix/Solaris (and a few others), worked as well. Also industrial strength. WIndows NT. Not even close.

Today it's based on. You guessed it; Linux.


Comment: Gnome's outstanding interface design? (Score 4, Funny) 177

by lars_stefan_axelsson (#49575309) Attached to: When Enthusiasm For Free Software Turns Ugly

"am I supposed to ignore GNOME's outstanding interface designs?"

Uhh? What? Where's this outstanding interface design, and why haven't they told anyone about it?

Look, we're not ignoring it. They just haven't shown it to us! Please, why keep that a secret and release Gnome 3 shell instead?

Comment: Re:And garbage, construction and sewer workers! (Score 1) 634

by lars_stefan_axelsson (#49575057) Attached to: How To Increase the Number of Female Engineers

Well, many of the US military combat postings are barred to women, but that is changing (slowly), so there is active work going on in putting more women in those specialities.

The pentagon's blanket rule against women in combat postings was only lifted in 2013, so you have to give it some time.

Comment: Re:But why? (Score 1) 634

by lars_stefan_axelsson (#49575031) Attached to: How To Increase the Number of Female Engineers

But those old courses were designed with the same objective of every other course, to attract students.

Uhh? I guess you are on the young side if you think that courses of old were designed with the objective of attracting students. Only thirty years ago let me tell you that courses and programs were designed with the expressed and implied intent that they were what you needed to know and what you thought of it be damned.

The "it has to be fun or else" came much later, with the millennials and gen-Y:ers. We gen X:ers we slogged through, and if we didn't like it, well, there's the door. Don't let it hit you on the way out.

This approach to teaching of course had drawbacks, I'm not saying it didn't. But it also had some advantages, that have fallen by the wayside in the last two decades, that's not something that should be forgotten either.

Comment: Re: But why? (Score 1) 634

by lars_stefan_axelsson (#49575005) Attached to: How To Increase the Number of Female Engineers

I dunno, but I guarantee you that in my college years had we had "Engineering solutions to kill people from orbit", I'd have signed up for that shit in a heartbeat.

Well, we almost had. I remember our main engineering mechanics text being written by a retired admiral in the US coast guard. Many if not most of the problems in the book was of the type "A ship moves forward at ten knots and fires a shell in a 35 deg angle off the bow... etc. etc.

And I do remember the girls complaining that there was too much "rockets and guns", and the boys countering that there wasn't enough. :-)

Comment: Re:Agreed but there is a point (Score 1) 341

by lars_stefan_axelsson (#49529373) Attached to: Study Confirms No Link Between MMR Vaccine and Autism

Varicella immunization, as you point out, wanes after a decade or so (as does tetanus, diphtheria and especially pertussis) and chicken pox is a largely benign illness (although complications do occur). The pediatric community has decided that a nuanced approach to this won't work so it's "everybody gets everything all of the time

That's an interesting difference between countries. In Sweden we don't have much of an anti-vaccer movement, though the mishandling of the bird flu didn't help, so let's say "not yet" at least. However, while we vaccinate children on schedule for most of the above, Varicella is not on the general schedule yet.

The schedule here is, wait and see if you get it, and if you haven't had it by your late teens, then we'll talk immunization. So we're still holding chicken pox play parties, to expose our children at as young an age as is practical (it usually is worse the older you are).

The profession says themselves that given the severity of the disease, you could perhaps make an argument for vaccination on economic grounds; having people stay home from work (on the governments dime) to care for sick children has a non-neglible cost, but from a pure medical perspective they don't feel it's justified, and hence it stays of the recommended list. For now at least.

Comment: Re:Industrial revolution was a disaster... (Score 1) 289

The view that industrial revolution destroyed cheap labor intensive jobs while creating more value added higher paying jobs and more high paying jobs were created than destroyed is a very Euro-centric view.

That's all true, and it's even worse than that. It's not even true from a European perspective. We sent 20% of our population to the US as a direct result of the mechanisation of agriculture. That's two people out of every ten that didn't get those higher paying jobs in Europe as there was "unused" lands across the ocean to take advantage of.

That's not true any more. The US in particular and the rest of the world in general is already taken. The next 20% in Europe are going unemployed at this time, and the next 20% after those will as well.

Comment: Re:don't need to look it up (Score 1) 53

by lars_stefan_axelsson (#49427943) Attached to: Back To the Future: Autonomous Driving In 1995

Earlier boxes had turbo buttons because they could shift back into a nominally PC/PC/XT compatible 4.77mhz (in the case of 8088/8086 boxes) or PC/AT compatible 6 or 8mhz (in the case of 286/386 boxes). It actually had a good reason - many early games were highly dependent on the system's clock speed.

Yes. I remember playing a flight simulator game on my 386 that did assume that you were on a PC/AT for timing. As the game didn't have a "fast forward" mode to cut down on the long flights to/from missions/target the turbo button actually came in handy. However, since that meant that everything went faster you had to be really light on the stick in "turbo" mode or you would end up in a smoking hole in the ground.

In my minds eye the game play was military simulatior grade and graphics was near picture perfect, but neither was probably pretty far from both. I doubt graphics was even 640x480, though it might just have eked over that resolution... :-)

Comment: Re:other stuff matters also? I claim it does (Score 1) 330

One thing I can't for the life of me understand is why the manufacturers don't install an Eberspaecher or similar good old fashioned fuel burning heater for those of us in colder climates.

The fuel consumption is a deciliter per hour or so, so a 5-10 litre tank (2-3 gal) should be plenty, and you could fuel it with bio diesel or similar if you're CO2 averse. It's well known technology that's already available and popular e.g. here in Sweden, so it should be a no-brainer that you don't use precious battery power to make heat in a car.

Comment: Re:Have you actually tried using Rust? (Score 1) 211

by lars_stefan_axelsson (#49415645) Attached to: Rust 1.0 Enters Beta

Indeed. I think these people are so in love with their own genius that they have overlooked that their tool is probably going to do a lot more harm than good. After several decades of research into software reliability and security it is clear that it is not a question of the tools used, although that flawed idea is strong in some academic and industrial quarters. What these people are basically saying is that if you have just the right kind of hammer, then you cannot hurt yourself with it anymore. Of course, that would be a Styrofoam hammer (or similar) that is also completely unfit for its primary purpose. The same is true for programming languages.

Well, having done (some very small part of) that research I think you're over egging your argument. While its true that tool users make the difference, and it's a poor carpenter etc. etc. the fact of the matter is that some tools are more likely to be used correctly in certain situations than others. If you look at the human factors work in e.g. aviation, esp. military aviation, then that becomes apparent. Much thought, research and experience goes into designing the cockpit interface for a fighter pilot, for example, and for good reason. The workload is already overwhelming and one mistake can kill you so anything that makes that mistake less likely is sought after. This has gotten to the point that one sticking point of buying a fighter aircraft from another country is that the interface won't necessarily fit, not your pilots, but your doctrine on how to fight! Your doctrine of course affecting how you train your pilots. (I have a nice reference for that, but unfortunately its in swedish.)

Now, I can't see why the same wouldn't be true of programming languages in spades, as the task is at least as complex, and probably orders of magnitude more complex in many cases as flying an air plane. Now, we basically don't know anything, at least in a structured way, of how a programming language should be designed to best fit certain programming task, but the anecdotal experience is telling (look for example at Ericsson's work with Erlang, experience that matches my own). Put another way, that 'C' should already be "perfect" by random chance is completely unlikely. We both know more about how to implement programming languages today (and hence can make more concessions to the programmer), and know more about programming in general.

Now of course, if you're argument is, to paraphrase the Erlang FAQ, that you can "still mess up an Erlang program by having hour long meetings about the colour of the project napkins" that's of course true. The best rifle doesn't win the fight, if you put it in the hands of untrained troops, especially if you have the worst trucks to take them to the front. BUT, all else being equal, the troops with the best rifles win, not every time, but more often than not. That's what it means to have a better tool, and its generally a worthwhile endeavour.

Comment: Re:Not gonna happen (Score 1) 383

Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954, Brazil 1964, Chile 1973, Argentina 1976, and that's just naming a few of the more egregious ones.

Or was your point that they used the own troops, instead of bribing/cajoling/threatening/funding/organising someone elses? Some people would say that doing your own dirty work is the stand up thing to do, but that's some people...

Comment: Re:Not gonna happen (Score 1) 383

MAD only worked because both sides of the conflict were rational and relatively sane. Iran has no such encumbrance.

Nope. They're sane enough. Turns out you can't stay on top of that game without being of a rational bent. Hell, even Mao Tse Tung of all people got really smart really fast as soon as he got nukes, and he was as inept and crazy as they come. His starving 40 million of his own people to death through sheer incompetence is still the world record, but even so he changed his tune when the realities of nuclear warfare sunk home.

Comment: Re:Cool idea with a problem (Score 1) 226

While that is true, when you actually want to move armour over long distances you actually load them on a train. Next best is a truck, granted, but a modern tank is really a bit too heavy for that to be your primary choice.

You don't drive a tank (or other armoured vehicle) if you can help it. The wear on the vehicle and the fuel consumption is out of this world. What an armoured unit actually does all the time is maintenance, maintenance, and more maintenance. In fact, being at war doesn't change the maintenance requirements that much, as in; they're constantly high all the time, whether someone is shooting at you or not.

Of course, the Russians already have a rail road to Vladivostok, so while a road wouldn't hurt, it'd be an extremely poor choice for moving armour from Europe to eastern Siberia. You'd have to have supply and maintenance depots every few miles just to keep the trucks carrying the tanks working. Tanks are just too damn heavy for anything but rail or sea transport.


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