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Comment: Not always (Score 1) 244

Shaun of the Dead was in a world where zombies were known, but most people were dismissive of it. Of course, that might've also been one of the tipping points to really get zombies into mainstream culture (2004), as many of the movies tended to be rather gruesome things that only appealed to a limited audience.

I want to say that the (excellent) book Ex-Heroes might've had zombies as a known thing as well. Of course, that one's set in a world that also has super heroes (who are fighting against the zombie outbreak).

I can't remember if World War Z (the book, not the movie) had established that zombies were a cultural thing before the outbreak happened ... I want to say that the disease vector was different than your typical zombie movie, and they had called them Z as zombies were the closest thing that they had to relate it to.

Comment: It could be worse... (Score 5, Interesting) 158

I've actually lost count how many megachurches have been built on farm land in Upper Marlboro, MD. I assume the land must be cheap, as we have The First Baptist Church of Glenarden, which was built just 1.2 miles from Riverdale Baptist Church. And it's not to be confused with the First Baptist Church Upper Marlboro, which is about 8 miles away as the crow flies.

All of these are non-profits, so there will likely never be any more tax revenue from them, and unless they also have a school (which Riverdale does), it sits nearly empty for most of the week.

Comment: PDF encryption (Score 4, Informative) 809

by oneiros27 (#49048665) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Portion of Developers Are Bad At What They Do?

I asked another applicant a similar question: "Suppose you wanted to send me a file with very sensitive information, how would you encrypt it in such a way that I would decrypt it?" The person started off by asking me if it was an excel file, a PDF, etc.

You should've answered the person, because then they might've told you that there's an encyption standard for PDF. I use it with my tax-preparer, so that we don't need to deal with other programs that would decrypt the file (and then potentially leave an unencrypted copy lying about).

Excel offers password protection to restrict modifications, it wouldn't surprise me if they offered encryption, too.

So in this case, it might not be that the person sucks at his job ... it might be that you are, because you had a pre-conceived notion of what the answer should be, rather than finding out how that person would handle the problem. It's entirely possible that they could come up with a better solution than yours.

And as for the the question of what proportion are bad ... you have to remember that you're hiring people. The people who really know what they're doing are likely either going to be paid well, or have an established network that they can tap when they need a job. (Rather than answer some random job posting where they don't know if it'll be worse than their past job, and/or have to jump through hoops answering poorly thought up interview questions).

If you mention to your current developers that you're hiring, and they can't manage to find people to refer, that's possibly a sign that none of them would be willing to subject their friends to come work for you. And if that's the case, you might have problems when one of their friends' companies are hiring.

Comment: Homeboys from Outer Space (Score 1) 480

by oneiros27 (#48924013) Attached to: Best 1990s Sci-fi show?

I know that a few people claimed that it was a racist, but if you look at as a sci-fi Black Dynamite (parody of blaxploitation films), it was great.

And besides, all of the cameos that they managed to get ... George Takaaa, James Doohan, Natasha Henstridge, Burt Ward, Gary Coleman, Erik Estrada, etc.

I viewed as being more like the early seasons of Red Dwarf -- a sitcom set in space, rather than being your typical serious sci-fi.

Comment: There are at least 2 types (Score 1) 214

by oneiros27 (#48920079) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?

You have the 'knows how to work efficiently to get the project done as quickly as possible'.

And then you have the 'knows that they'll have to maintain it, and will work to make sure to minimize shortcuts, or document every od trick they used, so that two years later they'll be able to modify it when some new requirement comes along'.

I actually enjoyed doing the first type of programming. These days I see paralized and might be over-designing things because of times that I've gotten stung by not being type #2. (both my own code and other people's)

Comment: real geeks solder? (Score 1) 314

by oneiros27 (#48831911) Attached to: Radio Shack Reported To Be Ready for Bankruptcy Filing

No they don't. Masochists who like trying to figure out how to clip in the heat sink into some crapped board so that they don't blow out their ICs, solder. Or people who have lots of extra time to figure out what they burned out, desolder it, then go back to the store to get a new one solder.

Real geeks wire wrap.

Crimping meant that I could do it without digging out my soldering iron, waiting for it to heat up, etc. It also reduced the risk of a bad solder joint, or a burn. (quite possible, as I had gotten very little sleep over the past few days ... so much so that on the day of the event, I was looking so haggard that I passed out, and then was sent home).

And besides ... you can often solder *after* crimping, if you do a clean job (and use a heat sink). You can't crimp onto a solder-only connection.

I guess what it comes down to is that real geeks know when to solder, and when not to.

Comment: I'm not a wedding DJ, but ... (Score 4, Insightful) 314

by oneiros27 (#48821757) Attached to: Radio Shack Reported To Be Ready for Bankruptcy Filing

I needed some odd audio cables last year, so that I could patch an mp3 player into a PA system. I was thinking that I'd find crimp-on 1/8" ends, and make the cable myself.

I got to the store, and was having trouble finding what I wanted (I found solder-on, but the crimp-on slot was empty), so I thought I'd look at what cables that they had that I could cut up ... and they just happened to have a cable that was 1/8" to bare wires.

The year before, I got a bunch of various cables so that I could patch into a mixing board to record audio from a conference that I was at. I've had other times when I was outfitting a chase vehicle for a solar car race, and they had the parts that I needed to get all of our various antennas on the roof of the van.

So yes, it helps for those 'I really do need it now' situations. In some cases, Guitar Center might have it, but the closest one is more than an hour away, and they wouldn't have had the components to make the specific cable that I needed, and they sure wouldn't have had N-connectors and magnetic antenna mounts.

I hope they can turn it around ... I'd be willing to pay a membership fee just to have them around for when I really need a part.

Comment: Can ISPs send their own notices? (Score 5, Insightful) 73

I apologize for reading the article, but it says that ISPs complained that they didn't like the $5000 fine for not forwarding the messag ... but can they forward it and add their own message?

Something to the effect of 'you should know your rights', with the maximum penalty they could face, how they can fight against it, etc.

If they come up with a boilerplate message, and not something that needs to be customized for each letter being sent, then you're minimized the incremental costs. And I'm guessing that they had plenty of lawyers involved with reviewing the bills as proposed and the law that was finally passed.

I would think the 'we comply with the letter of the law, but not the intent' approach would cheaper & more effective than trying to deal with lobbying politicians who already have their minds made up. (provided you don't do something that might get you sued ... but getting sued and going to court might be better to establish the limits of the law than leaving it to politicians)

If the law's written in such a way as to prevent them from sending a message triggered by the requirement to forward the message, then you send it to *all* of your subscribers.

Comment: or a hand on the weapon. (Score 1) 219

by oneiros27 (#48784133) Attached to: LAPD Orders Body Cams That Will Start Recording When Police Use Tasers

That was my first thought, too ... but then I realized that there's another sign that's even earlier -- a hand on the weapon.

My understanding is that officers are trained to put their hand on their weapon when they feel uneasy about a situation and they might need to use it.

It'd be nice if you could start the recording even earlier (possibly having a buffer that gets written to storage when the weapon is grabbed), but this would *also* give you the times when the officer put his hand on the weapon but *didn't* draw it.

It'd likely have some false positives (officers checking all of their gear), but you'd also be able to tell if you have officers who make it a habit of clutching their weapns all the time ... if you have some that seem to be a little more jumpy, you can turn their cameras to run all the time, and see if they're jumpy for every encounter, or only a subset of the population. (ie, if it looks to be racist).

Comment: IDEs with a concept of 'projects'. (Score 2) 421

by oneiros27 (#48729751) Attached to: What Isn't There an App For?

I'd like one that can easily pick up program states from one PC â" like an IDE session â" and carry them to another PC

If the issue is just location, and not resources (needing to move to a machine w/ more memory, better CPUs for compiling), then you can just use remote desktop technology.

Of course, some IDEs also let you save the state of your project (what files are opened, how the windows are organized, etc), and if they save it to a file, you might be able to move that between systems, but you'd need the files laid out the same on disk so that it'd find everything again. If all of the files are in some version control system, it shouldn't be too difficult.

(I'm a Mac user, so can't comment on PC IDEs ... and I don't really use an 'IDE' per se. I use BBEdit, which is more a text editor with some IDE-like functionality)

Comment: Not quite live theatre ... (Score 1) 400

by oneiros27 (#48724301) Attached to: Box Office 2014: Moviegoing Hits Two-Decade Low

Some movie theatres have been experimenting with streaming.

I went to see the Monty Python reunion live broadcast ... and in a packed theatre, it's a much different experience than watching it from home, even if you have a group of friends over. The company doing it was also advertising that they had operas.

The tickets were more expensive than regular movie tickets, but they were nothing compared to when I saw The Book of Mormon (as it sold out so fast we had to get more expensive tickets). They were more on-par with when I saw Avenue Q at The Red Branch Theatre. (and they're going to be doing it again this summer)

I admit, it's not as cheap as the improv group when I was in college (which many of us went to see every Friday at midnight), but you get some really funny stuff that'd never get made by a big movie studio. I remember seeing signs in DC for a place doing a Harry Potter spoof/synopsis a couple years back. I saw a play in the mid 1990s about lesbian vegetarian cattle rustlers. (I want to say it was named "Steak")

Comment: This isn't new. (Score 2) 73

by oneiros27 (#48653893) Attached to: Problem Solver Beer Tells How Much To Drink To Boost Your Creativity

The engineering fraternity where I did my undergrad had been doing research on this topic since at least the early 1990s, and I suspect since well before that.

My understanding of their procedure was they had a couple of beers the night before ... not so much to have a hang over, and then another beer a couple of hours before the test. ... but I suspect that it's different for each person, as I've seen some amazing code come out of Swedish programmers who were completely wasted. (although, I wouldn't want to be the one to maintain it).

Comment: Turtle Logo! wait, I mean Lua. (Score 1) 107

As you specifically mentioned that your kid's interested in minecraft, see if they'd be interested in ComputerCraft which that lets you build 'turtles' that can be programmed to do things using lua.

You can then give her challenges of increasing difficulty to teach her to break things down into steps, and to build on what she's already learned:

  • Tunneling (note, they come with a pre-defined 'tunnel', but it's really slow)
  • Tunneling through gravel areas
  • Tunneling and refueling as needed.
  • Tunneling and setting torches every 10 blocks
  • Leveling out an area
  • Planting a garden
  • Harvesting the garden
  • De-limbing a tree
  • ...etc

I've done the various tunneling stuff ... I assume the other stuff is possible, but I haven't actually tried them. Note that you need diamond tools to make the various types of turtles, so mining turtles should be first ... but then you have a diamond pick that doesn't wear down.

Documentation is the castor oil of programming. Managers know it must be good because the programmers hate it so much.