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Comment: With so many streets *NOT* done yet... (Score 1) 40

by nurbles (#43811713) Attached to: Google Takes Street View To the Galapagos Islands

...Google has apparently decided to abandon parts of the world they they find boring in favor of exotic locales.

For example, Google covered most of the primary and a few of the secondary roads in South-Eastern New England. Then they stopped. YEARS ago. I can see every back alley and dirt road in some parts of the world, but nothing except satellite views of places where I grew up (SE New England.) I know New England can be boring, but it is at least as much a part of Google's home country as San Francisco, so why is it so neglected in Google Street View?

I love the exotic locales in Street View, too, but sometimes I just want to show people what the places I grew up looked like.

Comment: Re:Avionics (Score 1) 369

by nurbles (#43273387) Attached to: FAA Pushed To Review Ban On Electronics

Thank you. My contention has always been that, if these devices had ANY possibility of effecting aircraft systems, then the "BAD GUYS" would obviously be ignoring the rules and not only leaving them on, but programming them to screw up aircraft. Frankly, I don't believe the "BAD GUYS" are as stupid as the people propagating this malarkey. Though the "BAD GUYS" might be trying to design purpose built devices that look enough like cell phones, laptops, etc. to that they could be smuggled onto an aircraft and "affect it."

If any of these devices are capable of effecting aircraft systems than NONE OF THEM should EVER be allowed on a plane. (And no plane so susceptible outside RF should be allowed to fly, either.)

Comment: Re:Like houses??? WTF?? (Score 1) 432

by nurbles (#42761657) Attached to: Is 'Brogramming' Killing Requirements Engineering?
If we're looking for truly robust designs, shouldn't software engineering be like spacecraft engineering? Or at least like the engineering done to build things like the SR-71? Automotive engineering is a MUCH better analogy than home building, but there are an awful lot of BAD vehicles not only designed, but actually built, sold and on the roads.

Comment: Re:not worse (Score 1) 89

SCADA systems don't need to be on the internet to get infected. I thought I read that Stuxnet got in via USB drive. If a SCADA system's software is EVER updated/enhanced and/or there is any way to load new software to it, then it can be infected. The infection may require a human agent to infiltrate a facility and physically access a machine, but if there's a network then that only needs to be done once.

Comment: Canaveral? (Score 1) 143

by nurbles (#42480417) Attached to: Legislators: 'Spaceport America Could Become a Ghost Town'

My old boss was always telling me "not to re-invent the wheel" when I was designing and writing my software...

There's a fully functional, well established spaceport about 20 miles from where I live in east central Florida. It seems to be largely unused these days and it has a huge safety range already established as well (i.e. the Atlantic Ocean.) Perhaps those folk should consider moving their operations here instead of building their own.

If they choose to stay there, I wish them better luck than we had lobbying to save Spaceport.Florida.

Comment: Crash during boot (Score 2) 102

by nurbles (#42252467) Attached to: Google Sync Clobbers Chrome Browsers

I'm more surprised that every time I BOOTED Windows there was a Google Chrome crash message box presented. I can assure you that I was never given an option about having Chrome start with Windows and I most definitely did NOT added Chrome to any of my start up stuff. So in addition to showing that actual humans work at Google (well, at least a few) this also exposed the fact that installing Chrome installs something (that may claim to BE Chrome) that normally runs silently every time Windows is started. Maybe some of you knew about it, but it was news to everyone I've asked.

Also, I've been bit by Firefox's sync feature, too, when one of the machines had a problem and trashed all of my settings, bookmarks and add-ons the sync feature decided to propagate THAT to my other machines instead of using sync to fix the broken one. One would think that, if it was smart enough to detect that those things were corrupted, it should have used sync to get good copies, NOT to share the corruption. Heh... Maybe there's an ex or future politician writing code for Firefox, eh?

Comment: Re:MS Surface problems (Score 2, Insightful) 403

- too expensive

Compared to what? a 64GB iPad (3rd generation) is $649 and a 64GB Surface tablet is $699, but the surface comes with a cover that includes a stand and a keyboard AND a customized version of Office. Both will run anything you can find in their App Store -- granted, Apple's has a bit more at the moment, but that could easily change. So, to me, the Surface seems more like a bargain than the iPad.

- too confusing (it's obvious that the iPad won't run Mac OS X apps, it's not obvious that the RT Surface won't run Windows apps)

Obvious to who? When I first saw an iPad I expected it to share apps with a Mac. At least the Surface will do that, since the Win8 desktop can also run things from the App Store. I don't know Apple, so the Mac may be able to access the App Store, too, which would still leave the Surface as a better bargain because of the included extras (heck, it even has a full-sized USB port -- does Apple ever use standard ports or devices?)

- too late

Too late like AMD getting into the PC CPU market? Too late like Android coming out after the iPhone? With the Microsoft behemoth behind it, Surface may stand an actual chance. Unlike the Zune, which no one really wanted to begin with, a significant number of people have been looking/searching/waiting for an alternative to the Apple-dominated tablet market. Personally, I'm happy with my Xoom, but I can easily see the appeal of Surface for large number of people who grew up on Microsoft-based systems.

A bit of disclosure: I dislike Apple because I seem to be incapable of using things without thinking about what I'm doing FIRST and even attempting that makes Apple products much more difficult to use. I dislike Microsoft because, as a developer for [mostly] Microsoft-based software for the past 30 years or so, I've felt my life was controlled by their whims on changing OS and compiler features. I don't like Windows 8 because my desktop is *NOT* a phone or tablet and I think it is wrong to assume all devices benefit from the same interface -- that is just plain dumb thinking.

Comment: Reverse the charges (Score 1) 419

by nurbles (#41566987) Attached to: The Coming Internet Video Crash

To me, the biggest problem with metered network service is that it is billed by how much data the customer receives instead of how much be transmits. This is backwards because it allows a spammer or obnoxious advertiser to transmit a huge video advertisement to the customer AND make that customer PAY for the privilege of suffering through the advertisement!

If, instead, the transmitter was billed for what he ships, then it is up to him to decide if it is worth it for him to pay to send a several megabyte video ad to thousands or millions of people and/or come to some reciprocal agreement with customers to pay for the data sent. Sites like You-Tube, would, of course, need to become pay-per-view sites, but that's what they will be anyway on a metered internet if we're paying for all of the bytes we receive. Sure, the billing system may be complex, but c'mon... look at what we can already do! Don't tell me it cannot be done. And I'd be surprised if some creative genius (quite possibly one of /.'s readers <smile>) will find a way to do it relatively easily.

Comment: Re:Forced upgrade fees are WRONG (Score 1) 405

by nurbles (#41394397) Attached to: Maybe With Help From Google and Adobe, Microsoft Can Kill Windows XP

Most Microsoft customers bought XP on a particular machine, you got an OEM license to run that OS on that hardware

That entire concept is part of my problem. I may buy a tool for a specific job, but when I'm done, I can use that tool again and again until I decide to buy a better one. The operating system is a tool that allows me to use computer hardware. Unless the operating cannot function on new hardware, why should I be required to pay for it a second time, just to continue using what I already bought? I'm sure the record industry salivates every time they hear about this, because I'm certain they would love to be able to require customers to purchase one CD/DVD/BluRay for every device on which it will run (in fact, that is fundamental to the license insanity that services like Netflix must deal with all the time.) Ebook publishers are hoping/trying to lock their stuff down the same way, even to the point of making it difficult (if not impossible) to even lend an ebook to a friend. Even though I write software for a living, I don't believe that requiring a customer to purchase a new license just because their hardware was destroyed in some disaster (or whatever) makes any sense except for plain, unadulterated greed and it is legal because they are large enough to get away with it.

I wonder how long a service like Steam would have lasted if they tied the purchase of each game to a specific piece of hardware...

And claiming that we knew Microsoft's history does not change the fact that we have often no choice but to use Windows due to our customers requirements and/or the fact that specific software we need to use is only available for that platform. But once we have it working, a forced upgrade is wrong. I doubt anything less than a personal visit from a deity will change my belief.

Comment: Re:Forced upgrade fees are WRONG (Score 1) 405

by nurbles (#41385153) Attached to: Maybe With Help From Google and Adobe, Microsoft Can Kill Windows XP

Not just a new motherboard, but if a re-install is needed for any reason, it could well be impossible to get back to the necessary patch/service pack level. That is no longer possible for people who need to use NT4 because none of the update sites allow IE3 (which shipped on NT4) to access them any more, making impossible to get updates even if they were available. The same will be true of the browsers that shipped on your XP install disks.

As for a new motherboard, that may require an entirely new license according to Microsoft (I've called them about this more than once.) To stick with my tool analogy, that's kind of like Craftsman demanding that I buy all new tools (or perhaps new workbench and storage systems FOR my tools) because I've rebuilt my work room after a hurricane. For my computer it was purchasing a replacement motherboard [after a lightning strike] that was as identical as I could find to the original -- but since it wasn't PRECISELY IDENTICAL, Microsoft required me to purchase a new XP license. So, businesses that want to keep running XP should buy up as many IDENTICAL hardware platforms as possible, for use as spares later when the current stuff breaks down, otherwise their licenses are likely to not work on replacement hardware.

Of course, that's given the existing licensing scheme (an appropriately nefarious sounding word, eh?) But we all know Microsoft is a reasonable company and they'll probably make it very easy to reinstall XP on any similar hardware with any license without requiring on line (or telephone) activation so that they don't alienate customers who don't want to pay to upgrade everything they own for Win 7/8 compatibility. Right?

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.