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Comment Re:Closed Ecosystem (Score 1) 85 85

they totally messed up on the whole android build/deploy/update system.

From what I understand, a significant chunk of the problem with mobile device "longevity" is that closed source drivers for the SoC's used in phones are typically provided by chipset vendors, and if the driver model used by the O/S ever changes then the SoC vendor needs to provide a newer set of drivers. Which they aren't going to do when they are no longer selling the chipsets.

Comment Re:Swift (Score 1) 338 338

Still, I have no problems with the efforts to make programming easier. Anything that helps will not only make it easier for novices, but will also aid professional programmers.

Sometimes that's true. Sometimes, the things that make it easier for novices get in the way of the pros and often necessitate workarounds.

Granted, sometimes the pros are just being stuck-in-the-mud reactive twits. You gotta take it case by case.

Security

Video Veteran IT Journalist Worries That Online Privacy May Not Exist (Video) 43 43

Tom Henderson is a long-time observer of the IT scene, complete with scowl and grey goatee. And cynicism. Tom is a world-class cynic, no doubt about it. Why? Cover enterprise IT security and other computing topics long enough for big-time industry publications like ITWorld and its IDG brethren, and you too may start to think that no matter what you do, your systems will always have (virtual) welcome mats in front of them, inviting crackers to come in and have a high old time with your data.

Note: Alert readers have probably noticed that we talked with Tom about cloud security back in March. Another good interview, worth seeing (or reading).

Comment Re:I AM AMAZED! (Score 1) 12 12

Re additive technology: You're right. This is why I don't care much about the people who "make guns" with their 3-D printers. Some of them make lower receiver units because that's the legal definition of a "gun" even though in my eye's it's kind of like making the driver's door frame on a car and claiming you made a car because that's where the VIN goes.

To make a gun or anything else that needs to contain strong forces, I'll join TWX and put my faith in old-fashioned, non-groovy tools like milling machines, lathes, and drill presses. Yay, subtractive technology!

(Not knocking the 3-D print people - Fun stuff, no question.)

Hardware Hacking

Video You3dit is Working to Help Crowdsource 3D Design and Printing (Video) 12 12

The example you3dit (You 3D It) person Chris McCoy uses in this video is a prosthetic hand they wanted to make because one of their people lost fingers in a construction accident. Instead of drawing up plans for a new hand, they searched online -- and found enablingthefuture.org, which is all about making 3-D printed prosthetic hands. Using a predesigned hand was obviously much simpler than starting from scratch, and was totally in line with the Open Source "Why reinvent the wheel?" philosophy.

So you3dit helps make 3-D printed items of one sort or another, and can either print them for you at their place or help you find someone local to help with the printing, assuming you can't do it yourself. As you might expect, they did a Kickstarter project. It was for a product called Raver Rings. Unlike many Kickstarter projects we mention on Slashdot, this one didn't fly. In fact, it only got $2,275 in pledges against a $10,000 goal. No matter. There are many other useful things the you3dit community can make -- or help you make -- without Kickstarter.

Comment Re:But don't equate coding with comp-sci (Score 1) 132 132

I'd use Watson as a great example of how deep learning systems won't make coding go away too soon. From the Wikipedia entry:

Watson uses IBM's DeepQA software and the Apache UIMA (Unstructured Information Management Architecture) framework. The system was written in various languages, including Java, C++, and Prolog, and runs on the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 operating system using Apache Hadoop framework to provide distributed computing.

Any guesses as to how many lines of code and development hours are behind that stack? How about a guess as to how long it'll be before Watson is able to make useful contributions to a significant part of that software stack? Is it worth thinking about the hardware stack, or the effort put into curating the database?

Watson is, basically, a sophisticated search engine built upon a massive mountain of human effort.

Experience says that the more complex systems become and the more ubiquitously they're deployed, the more you need people who can build them, expand them, bend them and glue them into place. It doesn't seem to follow a curve like agriculture where productivity can continuously increase while labour contracts. It probably will turn that way, eventually, but I don't expect to be around for it.

Comment Re:But don't equate coding with comp-sci (Score 1) 132 132

Coding is likely to be obsolete in a few years - replaced by deep learning systems as those systems increase in capability, and so the last thing we should do is steer kids away from math and toward coding.

One of my computer science profs said that, pretty much word for word, when I suggested I wasn't interested in grad school. Except at the time "CASE" was the big buzzword.

From the rate of progress I've seen with these "make coding obsolete" initiatives, I expect I'll be well retired before that happens. And, even if they get something working, there's still going to be a job market for coders in gluing all these deep learning systems together.

Comment Re:Morse Code (Score 1) 617 617

Oh, wait, you didn't need to pass a test for that.

I'm just trying to think how that would have been possible. I think back then there was a medical exception you could plead for. I didn't. I passed the 20 WPM test fair and square and got K6BP as a vanity call, long before there was any way to get that call without passing a 20 WPM test.

Unfortunately, ARRL did fight to keep those code speeds in place, and to keep code requirements, for the last several decades that I know of and probably continuously since 1936. Of course there was all of the regulation around incentive licensing, where code speeds were given a primary role. Just a few years ago, they sent Rod Stafford to the final IARU meeting on the code issue with one mission: preventing an international vote for removal of S25.5 . They lost.

I am not blaming this on ARRL staff and officers. Many of them have privately told me of their support, including some directors and their First VP, now SK. It's the membership that has been the problem.

I am having a lot of trouble believing the government agency and NGO thing, as well. I talked with some corporate emergency managers as part of my opposition to the encryption proceeding (we won that too, by the way, and I dragged an unwilling ARRL, who had said they would not comment, into the fight). Big hospitals, etc.

What I got from the corporate folks was that their management was resistant to using Radio Amateurs regardless of what the law was. Not that they were chomping at the bit waiting to be able to carry HIPAA-protected emergency information via encrypted Amateur radio. Indeed, if you read the encryption proceeding, public agencies and corporations hardly commented at all. That point was made very clearly in FCC's statement - the agencies that were theorized by Amateurs to want encryption didn't show any interest in the proceeding.

So, I am having trouble believing that the federal agency and NGO thing is real because of that.

Open Source

Video Meet OpenDaylight Project Executive Director Neela Jacques (Video) 14 14

The OpenDaylight Project works on Software Defined Networking. Their website says, "Software Defined Networking (SDN) separates the control plane from the data plane within the network, allowing the intelligence and state of the network to be managed centrally while abstracting the complexity of the underlying physical network." Another quote: it's the "largest software-defined networking Open Source project to date." The project started in 2013. It now has an impressive group of corporate networking heavyweights as sponsors and about 460 developers working on it. Their latest release, Lithium, came out earlier this month, and development efforts are accelerating, not slowing down, because as cloud use becomes more prevalent, so does SDN, which is an obvious "hand-in-glove" fit for virtualized computing.

Today's interview is with OpenDaylight Project Executive Director Nicolas "Neela" Jacques, who has held this position since the project was not much more than a gleam in (parent) Linux Foundation's eye. This is one of the more important Linux Foundation collaborative software projects, even if it's not as well known to the public as some of the foundation's other efforts, including -- of course -- GNU/Linux itself.

Real programmers don't bring brown-bag lunches. If the vending machine doesn't sell it, they don't eat it. Vending machines don't sell quiche.

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