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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.

myke

Comment: Still a ways to go (Score 3, Interesting) 131

I saw an interesting graph in Aviation Week some time ago about the energy density of batteries versus the same mass of hydrocarbon fuel. The article was in relation to the idea of creating (plug-in) hybrid airliners.

The batteries used in the 787 store four orders of magnitude less energy than the equivalent mass of jet fuel.

I'm mentioning this because it looks like these batteries would bring the difference up to three orders of magnitude.

Still a ways to go before batteries can compete against hydrocarbon/fossil fuels.

myke

Comment: You're not alone (Score 5, Informative) 212

by mykepredko (#43884029) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Supporting "Antique" Software?

Hi Timothy,

Unfortunately, you didn't provide a lot of information in your post as to what the problems are.

As people have pointed out, there are a ton of USB to Serial solutions out there so having the modern hardware with the ability to communicate over RS-232 is generally not a problem (although, depending on the connections used, you might want to invest in a RS-232 breakout box and read up on RS-232 handshaking as many of the older devices do use hardware handshaking). I have a few hand wired 9 pin to 25 pin connectors with the CTS-RTS and DSR-DTR pins shorted together as they can simplify your life immeasurably.

In my experience, the biggest problem is retaining floppies & CDs with the original software on them (assuming that the developers are no longer supporting the product/are out of business). If the company is still in business, usually they're pretty good at providing updated software for their products. If they're not in business, then look to see if they were bought out by anybody. Chances are you'll find that the purchaser is still supporting the product, although it may be under another name.

Personally, the biggest issue that I see when I have encountered this type of situation is that the original programs are on floppies. If this is the case, you will need to find somebody with a Windows/95 machine that they're keeping together with spit, bailing wire, gaffer's tape and good intentions - you should be able to copy the program onto a USB key and then burn it on a CD/DVD for more permanent storage.

Once you have the program in a media that you can work with, you may have problems with the installation. You will probably have to create a virtual machine on your PC AND there may be 16 bit programs that you have to convert to 32 bit - here's a great resource that's saved me a couple of times: http://www.reactos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=10988

Finally, Google is your friend. Chances are the answers are out there for your particular equipment.

Good luck!

myke

Comment: The correct answer is ... maybe (Score 1) 170

by mykepredko (#42983815) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Will Cars Eventually Need a Do-Not-Track Option?

Wouldn't the best answer for an individual be based on their driving habits and history?

If you tended to stay at the speed limit (or reasonably above according to traffic), were a defensive driver and were reasonably confident that you wouldn't cause an accident, wouldn't you want tracking on to show that it's the other guys fault?

Depending on your hubris level, the next step is a dashboard camera because clearly you are never going to cause an accident - right?

myke

+ - Elon Musk Lays Out His Evidence That New York Times Tesla Model S Test Drive Was-> 1

Submitted by
mykepredko
mykepredko writes "Tesla Motors CEO and founder Elon Musk definitely isn’t the best guy to try to pull a fast one on. The visionary entrepreneur set Twitter a titter when he claimed earlier this week that New York Times writer John Broder had fudged details about the Tesla Models S car’s range in cold weather, resulting in what he termed a “fake” article. Musk promised evidence, and now he has delivered, via the official Tesla blog."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Bring in your team lead (Score 1) 507

by mykepredko (#42549347) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To React To Coworker Who Says My Code Is Bad?

Interesting question and one I've thought about for a bit since the original question, from the other side came out.

I would say, bring in the team lead as an arbitrator. It's their job to direct the work and (hopefully) develop team members - this guy sounds like he needs a bit of development and level setting.

myke

Comment: We found that broken code was a better test (Score 4, Interesting) 776

by mykepredko (#42544715) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Timed Coding Tests Valuable?

When I was at RIM, we used a broken quick sort method that the candidate was asked to fix. We didn't time how long it took the candidate to implement the fix, but it generally required the candidate to do some research as to what was wrong. One of the team leads created a simple app that tested the performance (ie speed) of the fix.

What was really interesting to me was the number of candidates who refused to do the test (50-60%) because they said it was "beneath them". The big problem was, RIM's HR (OD) that insisted we interview the candidatest that refused to do the test because we were losing potentially half the candidates that were responding to the job applications (this was when RIM was The Place To Be).

The best candidates were the ones that did the test and asked if we had any more. These candidates also tended to produce code that ran sort the fastest.

myke

Comment: Anybody have more details? (Score 3, Interesting) 111

by mykepredko (#42543073) Attached to: Fireflies Bring Us Brighter LEDs

If I understand what was discovered in TFA (and press release noted by Trepidity), the etched scales reduce the internal reflections of the produced light which result in some of the produced light being lost in the structure of the LED and lens.

Does anybody know how much light is actually lost within the LED and lens? The article mentions that the extrated light is increased by 55% which implies that at least a third of the light produced by an LED is lost within the structure - would this be correct?

I would presume that this loss would be influenced by the shape of the LED lens - correct? I seem to remember that pin through hole LEDs are designed with the emitter at the focus of the curved lens to minimize reflected losses BUT this could be a huge advantage for SMT chip LEDs which tyically just have a flat surface for the lens.

Are there other applications in which this can be used as I would think that this could be useful in other applications? I would guess that adding the triangular "roof" structure would make it difficult to focus/direct the light produced by the LED. This would mean that the typical power dispersion patter of a typical LED would be evened out and the light output would be difficult to focus - correct?

myke

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