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Comment: Road to Hell (Score 1) 570

by on the 8ball (#38414450) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Most Efficient, Worthwhile Charity?

I suggest reading this book before making any donations:

The Road to Hell: The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity (Michael Maren)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0684828006/ref=oh_o00_s01_i00_details

From the amazon review: "Before you mail another check to Save the Children or join the Peace Corps, read this book. Michael Maren shows that the international aid industry is a big business more concerned with winning its next big government contract than helping needy people."

Comment: Re:SQL too (Score 1) 435

by on the 8ball (#38323944) Attached to: Java Apps Have the Most Flaws, Cobol the Least

The quality of "official" documentation in the PHP manual is laughable. Almost all the useful tips that I have found when looking for answers have been in the user-contributed comments. To say the official docs are "sparse" is being kind. Why give a detailed explanation of the method and its parameters with examples when a short, vague sentence will suffice?

In general, it seems to me that the quality of documentation for open-source software like PHP is pathetic, compared to best practices. I don't know why this is, but it is true. Maybe open-source developers lack an understanding how important documentation is, or maybe they just cannot write clear, helpful explanations and examples, or cannot get out of super-geek mode enough to understand the needs of the average developer who is just looking a quick, useful explanation?

I am an application developer with 40 years experience and have written a ton of docs for software that I wrote. I'm sure not perfect but my docs are a lot more detailed and comprehensive than most of what I see coming out these days. (I know, old geezer complaint, "you damn kids - get off my lawn"!!) Comments welcome (ideally non-snarky and useful ones please)! Flamers just shut up.

Comment: Re:Ideal IDE (Score 1) 255

by on the 8ball (#36729462) Attached to: Stanford CS101 Adopts JavaScript

My CS101 class used MIX (Knuth's artificial assembly language), SNOBOL and LISP.
Warped me forever!
This was far ago in the way-back machine (1968).
All programs were written on punch cards.
You submitted a program and got the results back the next day.
One mistake and you waited another 24 hours for the next test results.
But, it did make me VERY good at reviewing my code before testing it.

Comment: Re:Credibility anyone? (Score 1) 92

by on the 8ball (#35322342) Attached to: PayPal Reinstates Fund For WikiLeaker Manning

Square is a great new low-cost option for ANYONE to accept credit cards, if you have a smart phone.

No minimums, no monthly fees, just sign up, link to your bank account, get their card reader which plugs into the microphone jack of your smart phone, and take credit cards. Swipe fee is 2.75 percent, phone/internet rate is 3.25 percent. Very good option. I just signed up.

Comment: Re:PEBSWAC (Score 2) 482

by on the 8ball (#35147692) Attached to: Drivers Blamed For Out of Control Toyotas - Again

His initial idiot defense attorney failed to present evidence from an insurance company investigator that showed the brakes WERE applied. Also his car had ABS brakes so there would NOT be any skid marks due to how they work. A total shaft job on this poor guy by the local prosecutor who deserves a spot in hell for it.

Then you have the state patrol officer in CA who was unable to stop his Toyota despite all his efforts. As captured by a 911 call during the event.

Also there is a college engineering professor in IL (?) I think, who demo'ed a way that the electronic control board could fail WITHOUT notifying the black box.

Finally, the govt report relies totally on the black box data, but if that was bypassed then all their conclusions are worthless.

Also if this is just due to driver error, why it is only happening mainly on Toyotas? Answer me that!!

Comment: Re:Object of Lust? (Score 1) 181

by on the 8ball (#29776703) Attached to: HTC Dragging Feet On GPL Source Release For "Hero" Phone

For what it is worth, I just got my Hero on Thursday and I love it. I've been on Qwest wireless in Minnesota for years with a very old phone. They are ending their wireless service Oct 31st and forcing everyone to move to Verizon (for whom they are now a reseller/partner), or jump ship to another carrier. I stalled as long as I could to see if Verizon would come out with a phone I liked, since their coverage and service is excellent locally. But they didn't, and when the HTC Hero was released by Sprint on Oct 11th, I ordered one. Thought about the iPhone but I hate AT&T and also don't really like the "our way or the highway" mentality of Apple, much prefer an open platform. Also AT&T seems to be struggling to handle the network traffic and has a lousy service rating locally. I depend on my phone for business use (work from home), so network reliability is critical to me.

From my experience so far, it is not laggy at all, not instantaneous but very acceptable speed when launching apps and running them. There is an "app killer" app that you can download that shows which apps are running and lets you end them. Avoid CPU hogging programs (twitter is one).

The screen shuts off in 30 seconds by default, but there is a setting for that and you can even set it to stay on all the time if you don't care about battery life. The UI works fine and is quite intuitive, I got used to it fast. The keyboard is pretty good considering the small space (works better in landscape mode), and the word completion/correction is excellent. The camera is high res and easy to use, with auto-focus. No flash though. This phone comes with a lot of features, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, SprintTV, email, web browser, and thousands of free apps on the Android marketplace.

For more evaluations and critiques, look up "HTC Hero" in YouTube, there are a number of good videos that show it off. The CNet one is good, also MobilityToday.

Comment: family experience (Score 1) 80

by on the 8ball (#26297189) Attached to: A Robotic Cyberknife To Fight Cancer
My mother-in-law (88 years old) has pancreatic cancer, first diagnosed in January 2008. The Mayo Clinic (in Rochester Minnesota) would not operate because they determined that the cancer had already begun to spread outside the pancreas.

After some research we found the CyberKnife Center in Saint Paul Minnesota and she was treated in early April. The treatment was effective in killing the original tumor and had neglible side effects other than some fatigue and very mild nausea, easily treated with medication.

She was totally pain and symptom free for over six months following the treatment, which gave her a considerable extension of her life with excellent quality of life, compared to the alternatives. Unfortunately the cancer did continue to spread and is now showing up in other parts of her body, and she has only 3-6 months to live. But she (and we her family) are very happy that we did the CyberKnife treatments because of the extra good months that we have had with her.

So, I would recommend this medical technology highly from our experience. While expensive, it is effective, the treatments are not hard on the patient, and the side effects are minimal compared to any other cancer treatment modalities.

I put up my thumb... and it blotted out the planet Earth. -- Neil Armstrong

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