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Comment: This would be a great Slashdot poll (Score 2) 285

by mykepredko (#49075721) Attached to: 1950s Toy That Included Actual Uranium Ore Goes On Display At Museum

Reading all the replies so far, maybe we can have a vote on what's most dangerous:
- Gilbert Atomic Energy Lab.
- Anything by Mainway Toys (SNL)
- Lawn Darts
- Chemistry sets
- Electrical kits
- Bicycles (and motorbikes)
- Scooters
- Archery kits
- etc.

Danger is/should be part of growing up.


Comment: Most dangerous toy, my ass (Score 1) 285

by mykepredko (#49075671) Attached to: 1950s Toy That Included Actual Uranium Ore Goes On Display At Museum


More seriously, I had a friend who had a chemistry set with a few CCs of nitric acid as part of the experiments. I remember my dad first being appalled and then showed us nitrocellulose (Kleenex and nitric acid) and how it was great for magic shows.

It's only fun if you can lose an eye.


Comment: Yes we should but... (Score 5, Interesting) 291

by mykepredko (#49056261) Attached to: Should We Really Try To Teach Everyone To Code?

It needs not to be with the expectation that everybody will become an app developer.

Learning to code provides a person with an opportunity to develop a better understanding of
1. How a sequence of operations is constructed
2. How logic is part of the decision making process
3. How to approach problems in an organized fashion
4. How to communicate, describe and document ideas
5. How to work with others in a collaborative environment

My business (https://www/mimetics.ca) uses robots to teach programming, but it's important to note that not everyone will become a programmer (or develop applications for robots) but the skills learned by creating simple applications are applicable in life and will help then in a multitude of other pursuits.

Saying that people should learn to code because at some point they will probably will have to program an app is counter-productive and will probably create some very negative perceptions about it. Teaching people (kids) programming as a way to develop the soft skills above and give them a taste of it so they can decide whether or not to pursue it as a career is much more effective and positive.


Comment: So how many Sparc Systems does Oracle Run? (Score 4, Interesting) 190

While reading TFA, my big question was if the Sparc has been improved so much, is Oracle using it in their systems?

According to Wikipedia, Oracle has 122k employees; how many of them are running Sparc systems, how many of their internal servers are Sparcs? For a corporation of this size, I would expect, in three months, for them to consume a lot more than the 7k systems that were shipped in the latest quarter.

When I was at IBM, the company was very proud to be its own best customer; is that true for Oracle?


Comment: I wondered about this (Score 2) 23

by mykepredko (#49025845) Attached to: West To East Coast: SpaceX Ready For Extreme Multitasking

I *think* this is the first time ever any space organization has launched and recovered a spacecraft in the same day. Coupled with the operations going on at two different coasts, it's a pretty impressive performance when you think about it.

It certainly demonstrates a lot of depth to the SpaceX organization.

Kudos to Elon Musk, who, as many people have wondered, must either be an alien or a time traveler tasked with putting humanity on the right path for the future.


Comment: Re:How does Microsoft test with USERS? (Score 1) 378

by mykepredko (#48911543) Attached to: Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

Thanx for the reply. I guess my experience is coloured by my working with the Win8.1 BT UIs and having to pair devices through the multiple methods which require multiple screens to reach the pairing UIs as well as how the BT APIs change the state of the desktop for the user (I'm still looking for an API that will allow me to do the discovery, pairing and connection without causing the current application to be lost).

If you have some suggestions on where to look for APIs that allow these operations (as well as I suspect other enumeration tasks) from an application without the user having to reset the application and desktop to where it was - I would be eternally grateful.


Comment: How does Microsoft test with USERS? (Score 4, Interesting) 378

by mykepredko (#48906087) Attached to: Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

Seriously. It seems like Microsoft decides what are the systems that users should be working with and runs from there with no regard to what users are actually working with.

The biggest irony is that they don't seem to understand that the people who will have the biggest problem with what they are throwing out are developers. I can't imagine that Microsoft's own developers are running their own development systems on Windows 8.1 - I wouldn't be surprised if it were a dirty secret within Microsoft that application development takes place on Win7 (and maybe WinXP).

I understand the appeal of having one OS and UI for all devices but a Phone isn't a Tablet which isn't a laptop which isn't a desktop which isn't a server. And if you're a developer, requiring a touch screen hurts your productivity.


Comment: Don't boil the ocean, target specific markets (Score 5, Insightful) 324

by mykepredko (#48868705) Attached to: What Will Google Glass 2.0 Need To Actually Succeed?

There are a number of markets/professions where the Google Glass would be ideal (a big one that I keep reading about is aircraft maintenance, have drawings and manuals available on command in front of the technician's eyes).

Rather than trying to come up with something that is designed for everybody on the planet, figure out who could get the most advantage out of it in the short term and, working with that demographic, develop the hardware, the UI and database operation and work with the users to understand exactly the human factors issues. A number of people indicated that the camera was the problem, but I suspect that there are much deeper issues that need to be addressed.

Once you have become indispensable in one area, others applications will start becoming obvious and the product will seem less "creepy" and intrusive for other areas.


Comment: Stupid Amazon (Score 1) 94

Can't watch the free preview in Canada.

I was going to say that I would think that the novel (my favourite Philip K. Dick novel/story) would probably be best suited for 3-4 episodes? Definitely longer than a feature length film but not so long as a typical 13 episode "premium" season.

The setting would be interesting because I always imagined the USA of the book to be worn out and dust blown. Probably as failed a society as "Blade Runner" but not as dense or monolithic. Hopefully a story that reflects that it takes place just a few years after the end of the war and not in a Sci-Fi future.

Anyway, would love to see it with Ridley Scott at the top of his game,


Comment: Next step - Semiconductors (Score 4, Interesting) 69

by mykepredko (#48464355) Attached to: ISS's 3-D Printer Creates Its First Object In Space

Things will start to get interesting when astronauts can create semiconductors in in space. I believe there are some demonstration technologies using ink-jet printers.

I would imagine it will be a long time before we can see the amazingly tiny devices that can be built on Earth, but I would expect that replacement electronics for communications and actuator drivers should be achievable in fairly short order. I would guess that replacement solar panel segments and power supply components (including batteries) would be on the menu as well.


+ - Sierra Nevada Protest Halts Production Of SpaceX And Boeing Space Taxis->

Submitted by mykepredko
mykepredko (40154) writes "Popular Science reports that Sierra Nevada is protesting it's exclusion from NASA's CCtCap program – and it looks like they’re taking their competitors down with them. Both SpaceX and Boeing have been told to halt production of their NASA-funded space taxis until the space agency resolves a legal protest issued by SNC. Last month, NASA finally announced the winners of its Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) program, an initiative aimed at fostering the development of private spaceflight. The two winning companies, SpaceX and Boeing, received contracts with NASA and a combined sum of $6.8 billion to build and operate their own space taxis, which would ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station starting in 2017."
Link to Original Source

Comment: This a question that Microsoft should answer (Score 4, Informative) 272

by mykepredko (#47482957) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

This week, I got a real WTF when dealing with Microsoft products and the amazing amount of redundancy that is possible in the company.

We have a robot product that we can communicate to using Bluetooth SPP and we are creating an application that can control it remotely. We originally went with a serial interface (after pairing, recording the "com#" of the device and then passing it to our application), this is somewhat cumbersome so we wanted to pair from our app and connect directly (saving the user from doing those operations manually).

Logically, this would be one set of APIs, but it seems there are five depending on the OS - the only ones that are common are for Vista/Win7. I would think that right here there are four teams that are redundant - pick a single, consistent API, add it in Service Packs for all supported OSes and assign one team to the job.

I would expect there are many more examples out there of similar inefficiencies that somebody within Microsoft should be able to answer with the ability to make things easier for developers and make developers available for squishing bugs.

Sorry about the rant, but standard IO interface APIs should be just that, standard.


The longer the title, the less important the job.