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Comment My $5 million bug (Score 2) 377 377

We were writing a Unix program to parse transactions from some specialized terminals that read customer invoices and the checks that accompanied them, writing the transactions to digital tape to carry over to the mainframe system. During testing our tapes were compared to tapes generated by the legacy IBM system. Our team lead got a call from the customer liaison *early* on morning saying "Do you realize one of your batches was 5 MILLION DOLLARS SHORT - yes, she was shouting. Turns out that the $5 million transaction was the largest we'd ever tested with so far. All others were less than $999,999. It was my bug - I'd put the sign nybl (half a byte) on top of the most-significant digit of the packed-decimal payment-amount field on the test tape, dropping that digit from the field. Trivial fix - I had just been auditing the relevant code the previous day.

Comment Re:The same way you prove any other department hea (Score 1) 331 331

Something that I did as a manager was to have an HR person that everyone trusted be the recipient of anonymous evaluations. Can't remember who made up the questionnaire - I think that I and the HR person collaborated. Then HR summarized the results and I had some good info.
I think that every manager's review process should include such a subordinate evaluation. You may be able to "manage up" and keep a good reputation with your bosses, but it's hard IMO to fool your subordinates.

Comment Re:Typical (Score 1) 379 379

This (potentially) builds on your relationship with Bob and has the potential to improve both it and the storage system. AND, it may be that you've picked up subliminal signs that Bob is unhappy and may leave, so BACK IT UP first. Then do the above, and you're covered. Unless you already have a regular, tested, backup process. Oh, Bob runs it? ... Trouble.

Comment Daniel Keyes Moran (Score 2) 1130 1130

He's a rollicking adventure writer and can be very funny as well. All his works to date are on fsand.com as e-books. Here's an excerpt from "AI Wars - the Big Boost" Trent the protagonist speaking to his boss, Melissa:
Trent: Listen,” he said in a confidential voice, “you tell the Elite Commander everything is under control, and he’s not to worry.”
Melissa: “ ‘Everything’s under control, and he’s not to worry.’ ”
Trent: “Exactly. We like the hardware, and the hardware likes us. We have mutual respect and admiration.”
Melissa: She stared at him. “You have mutual respect and admiration. With the hardware.
And this has trimmed seventy-seven days off your completion estimates.”
Trent: "And the new people, of course."

Get the omnibus edition to have all of them.
No, I didn't get paid for this endorsement.

Comment Re:Iridium? (Score 1) 244 244

The picture in the original article is incorrect. Here's an accurate drawing of an Iridium satellite. I speak from first-hand knowledge, having seen one in a lab at Lockheed in Sunnyvale, CA. http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=17e53224-a6f9-458b-8e74-7b4943acbede Great tech, IMO!
Software

The Final Release of Apache HTTP Server 1.3 104 104

Kyle Hamilton writes "The Apache Software Foundation and the Apache HTTP Server Project are pleased to announce the release of version 1.3.42 of the Apache HTTP Server ('Apache'). This release is intended as the final release of version 1.3 of the Apache HTTP Server, which has reached end of life status There will be no more full releases of Apache HTTP Server 1.3. However, critical security updates may be made available."
Image

"Tube Map" Created For the Milky Way 142 142

astroengine writes "Assuming you had an interstellar spaceship, how would you navigate around the galaxy? For starters, you'd probably need a map. But there's billions of stars out there — how complex would that map need to be? Actually, Samuel Arbesman, a research fellow from Harvard, has come up with a fun solution. He created the 'Milky Way Transit Authority (MWTA),' a simple transit system in the style of the iconic London Underground 'Tube Map.' (Travel Tip: Don't spend too much time loitering around the station at Carina, there's some demolition work underway.)"
Science

Why Time Flies By As You Get Older 252 252

Ant notes a piece up on WBUR Boston addressing theories to explain the universal human experience that time seems to pass faster as you get older. Here's the 9-minute audio (MP3). Several explanations are tried out: that brains lay down more information for novel experiences; that the "clock" for nerve impulses in aging brains runs slower; and that each interval of time represents a diminishing fraction of life as we age.
Science

Using Infrared Cameras To Find Tastiness of Beef 108 108

JoshuaInNippon writes "Might we one day be able to use our cell phone cameras to pick out the best piece of meat on display at the market? Some Japanese researchers seem to hope so. A team of scientists is using infrared camera technology to try and determine the tastiest slices of high-grade Japanese beef. The researchers believe that the levels of Oleic acid found within the beef strongly affect the beef's tenderness, smell, and overall taste. The infrared camera can be tuned to pick out the Oleic acid levels through a whole slab, a process that would be impossible to do with the human eye. While the accuracy is still relatively low — a taste test this month resulted in only 60% of participants preferring beef that was believed to have had a higher level of Oleic acid — the researchers hope to fine tune the process for market testing by next year."
Image

Seinfeld's Good Samaritan Law Now Reality? 735 735

e3m4n writes "The fictitious 'good samaritan' law from the final episode of Seinfeld (the one that landed them in jail for a year) appears to be headed toward reality for California residents after the house passed this bill. There are some differences, such as direct action is not required, but the concept of guilt by association for not doing the right thing is still on the face of the bill."
Image

US Grants Home Schooling German Family Political Asylum 1324 1324

A US judge has granted political asylum to a family who said they fled Germany to avoid persecution for home schooling their children. Uwe Romeike and his wife, Hannelore, moved to Tennessee after German authorities fined them for keeping their children out of school and sent police to escort them to classes. Mike Connelly, attorney for the Home School Legal Defence Association, argued the case. He says, "Home schoolers in Germany are a particular social group, which is one of the protected grounds under the asylum law. This judge looked at the evidence, he heard their testimony, and he felt that the way Germany is treating home schoolers is wrong. The rights being violated here are basic human rights."
Earth

Dinosaur Feather Color Discovered 219 219

anzha writes "Do you remember being a kid and told we'd never know what colors the dinosaurs were? For at least some, that's no longer true. Scientists working in the UK and China have closely examined the fossils of multiple theropods and actually found the colors and patterns that were present in the fossilized proto-feathers. So far, the answer is orange, black and white in banded and other patterns. The work also thoroughly thrashes the idea that fossils might not be feathers, but collagen fibers instead. If this holds up, Birds Are Dinosaurs. Period. And colorful!"
Image

Political Affiliation Can Be Differentiated By Appearance 262 262

quaith writes "It's not the way they dress, but the appearance of their face. A study published in PLoS One by Nicholas O. Rule and Nalini Ambady of Tufts University used closely cropped greyscale photos of people's faces, standardized for size. Undergrads were asked to categorize each person as either a Democrat or Republican. In the first study, students were able to differentiate Republican from Democrat senate candidates. In the second, students were able to differentiate the political affiliation of other college students. Accuracy in both studies was about 60% — not perfect, but way better than chance."
Networking

Nmap 5.20 Released 36 36

ruphus13 writes "Nmap has a new release out, and it's a major one. It includes a GUI front-end called Zenmap, and, according to the post, 'Network admins will no doubt be excited to learn that Nmap is now ready to identify Snow Leopard systems, Android Linux smartphones, and Chumbies, among other OSes that Nmap can now identify. This release also brings an additional 31 Nmap Scripting Engine scripts, bringing the total collection up to 80 pre-written scripts for Nmap. The scripts include X11 access checks to see if X.org on a system allows remote access, a script to retrieve and print an SSL certificate, and a script designed to see whether a host is serving malware. Nmap also comes with netcat and Ndiff. Source code and binaries are available from the Nmap site, including RPMs for x86 and x86_64 systems, and binaries for Windows and Mac OS X. '"

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