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Comment: $8 million robots (Score 1) 33

by rho (#44713993) Attached to: The Augmented Reality America's Cup

The last meaningful America's Cup races were held in the late '80s. Somebody squinted hard enough at the 12-meter rules and entered a multi-hull. Now it's just a matter of who spends the most money on a carbon fiber boat with a wing sail. This is a sailing race of fundamentally unseaworthy vessels. It would be literally be safer to cross an ocean in a dinghy than in one of these monstrosities.

Come September, do yourself a favor. Watch Deep Water on Netflix. Read any book on Ernest Shackleton. Read any Lin and Larry Pardey book. You'll finish all three before the America's Cup race is over, and you'll know more about sailing than watching every second of the America's Cup races.

Comment: Re:We should build software like we build software (Score 1) 432

by rho (#42763529) Attached to: Is 'Brogramming' Killing Requirements Engineering?

It's actually fairly common for construction projects to run into changes. While nobody requests to turn a shed into a skyscraper, large changes that touch many disciplines occur quite regularly.

The difference between AEC and programming projects is a long history and legal framework that deals with these changes. Projects are given a budget, and that budget is often paid out at milestones--design development, 95%, construction documents, etc. If the owner requests a substantial change, or if a change is required because of unknowable circumstances, the budget is either revised or the work is value-engineered to fit--and this reality is reflected in the contract signed at the beginning.

The problem with programming projects is that there are not very many really good programmers, and programming is not suited to throwing more warm bodies at the problem. AEC is plate spinning, while programming is juggling. You can hire a bunch of folks to help keep the plates spinning, but you can't just send in somebody to help juggle.

Comment: Re:Comment-free programming (Score 1) 399

by rho (#42600633) Attached to: <em>Doom 3</em> Source Code: Beautiful

Auto-documentation is good stuff nowadays. Everything changes so much, and so quickly, that enforced documentation standards lead to better understanding of the underlying API or intent.

(As an example, why is PHP so popular? It's not because it's beautiful, or elegant. It is, however, very accessible, largely due to good documentation.)

Good comments--that are not prescriptive for whatever autodoc tool you use--are invaluable, but bad or marginal ones do more harm than good, especially in interpreted languages. You can condense 4 lines of comments into a 22-character, well-constructed function call/local variable and accomplish the same goal.

Comment: Re:Just require activation (Score 1) 167

by rho (#41058763) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Using a Sandbox To Deal With Spambots?

For extra points you could probably modify the registration process in all kinds of manners which would confound an automated and replay attacks. Chances are that for the average forum it would be sufficient that no script would even bother to defeat it and would simply move onto softer targets.

This is the answer, more or less. For small-to-middling forums, reducing spam is pretty easy. A few volunteers to delete the ones that get through suffices for the rest.

It breaks down to 1) keep out easy drive-by spammers, which means registration with a valid email address and some kind of barrier to detour the smarter bots (ReCaptcha and the like); 2) filter posts through Akismet or similar method; 3) have a community large enough and engaged enough to want to zero out spam posts.

The third step is the hardest, and has nothing to do with spam posts.

Comment: Stained glass (Score 1) 321

by jms (#40407899) Attached to: Give me a solder gun, and I can produce ...

Missing option: Stained glass windows. I can do very nice electronic soldering, but it's whether you can solder 1" wide lead came with a 250 watt Hexacon iron with a 5/8" tip that separates the men from the boys. Hexacon makes bigger ones. I think they're for soldering together battleships or something. Recent accomplishment: Rebuilding all the leaded glass windows in the Yale University Art Gallery.

Comment: Re:Tower of Babel (Score 3, Insightful) 309

by jms (#38518360) Attached to: Recent Discovery Contains Oldest Depiction of the Tower of Babel

At any rate, whatever meaningful socialism there was in Hitler or in Nazism was wiped out ... during the Night of the Long Knives.

Whatever meaningful socialism there was in _______ was wiped out during ________

1) the USSR / Stalin's purges
2) communist China / Mao's purges
3) Cuba / Castro's purges

and on and on.

Socialism / Communism isn't a way of running a society. It is a method used to disrupt and destroy a society. The nuances and differences between socialism, communism and Progressivism are as meaningless as the nuances and differences between the effects of different types of nuclear weapons on a city. Socialism, Communism and Progressivism are a means to achieving totalitarianism, no more, no less.

Comment: Windows 2000 (Score 1) 417

by jms (#37632748) Attached to: I typically run Windows ...

I used Windows 2000 until a few weeks ago. Rock stable. Ran everything I wanted. I just recently built up a new system (Phenom II X6 1100T / 8GB / SSD) to replace my Athlon XP 2000 system and bit the bullet and put Windows 7 on it. I got a 12 year run out of Windows 2000. Not too shabby.
 

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