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Comment Re:Everyone has right to self defense (Score 1) 179

No, "regulated" when discussing a group of people or a business means "subjected to regulations".

In the days of the Bill of Rights "well regulated" meant operating efficiently, operating at a desired level. How, in part, was that efficiency obtained? By allowing the militia members to possess their own weapons and powder, so a trip to the armory was not necessary.

Don't omit that word "well", it changes the context of regulated and leads one to the wrong definition of the word.

Don't like the watch analogy. Go with air flow. Various devices regulate the flow of air, some of these are named "regulators". For example scuba. The first stage regulator (on the tank) regulates (operates at desired level) the flow of air from about 3,000 PSI to 150 PSI, then a second stage regulator (in your mouth) regulates the flow of air from 150 PSI to ambient (whatever the pressure your lungs are at, varies with depth).

Regulate does not necessarily mean bury in government oversight and paperwork, and preceding it with the word "well" indicates that is the wrong definition to adopt and that a performance related definition applies.

Comment Everyone in "militia" according to federal law (Score 1) 179

And thus, "a well regulated militia. . ." yet I don't see the NRA agreeing every person who owns a gun being regulated in any sense of the word nor claiming the same group is part of a militia and should be called up for training by the government. After all, if you're going to call up a group of people you need to have them registered and that is the last thing the NRA wants despite what the 2nd Amendment says and implies.

Actually the NRA is very much in favor of "regulated" in the 18th century sense that the word in the 2nd amendment means: trained and practiced to the point of being effective. The NRA is the premier organization for firearms safety and proficiency training. They train civilians, law enforcement and the military. This is their primary mission. The political lobbying a secondary mission they feel "forced" into.

Part of the "federal militia" is what is considered "unorganized", no obligation to sign up nor show up for training. This "unorganized militia" may be the legal foundation for conscription. You are being transferred from "unorganized militia" to "active duty reserve" when drafted. Note that various states have similar laws on the books so many able bodied men are technically in a "state militia" as well as a "federal militia". Also note that the National Guard is only **part** of the militia, in the organized part, the unorganized part exists separately, so the 2nd amendment is not solely for the benefit of the National Guard as some would argue.

10 U.S. Code 311 - Militia: composition and classes
(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia are—
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.
https://www.law.cornell.edu/us...

Comment North Dakota - Drone may arrive long before person (Score 1) 179

and that purpose would be much better served by the presence of an actual officer, not a quad copter that took 30 minutes to get to the scene counting setup time and evaluation.

First off I am not advocating armed drones, either lethal or less-than-lethal, I personally think a lot more thought and research needs to be done before deciding to go that route. However it is easy to conceive of a situation where a drone can arrive on scene faster than an officer, note we are talking North Dakota here. Linear distances, or in this case as the drone flies, can be extremely misleading with respect to someone traveling by ground. A drone may be able to arrive on scene much before an officer and do something useful.

Take some of the emotion out of this topic, consider a search and rescue situation. A drone may be able to drop water, a space blanket and a first aid kit to someone long before a rescuer can get to them due to distance and terrain.

Comment Threat to anyone's life (Score 2) 179

If the justification is that the officer fears for their safety, how does an armed drone possibly fit into that logic. Was the suspect threatening the officer from 1/2 mile away?!

Police are not armed merely for self defense. They are expected to stop someone that is threatening to kill or severely injure anyone.

Comment MBAs are not necessarily accountants these days (Score 2) 86

Remembering that COBOL was written so your average 60's MBA could write code, there's a decent chance that COBOL will come back. It's terrifying, but it's much more understandable to the finance types than more modern languages.

In recent years about one third of MBAs are scientists or engineers, including many software developers. So there is a pool of traditional (science and engineering) software developers who are financially literate enough to properly implement financial software. The "accountants" don't have to write the code themselves anymore, and neither do the "scientists" and "engineers", as in the 60s. They probably have not had to do so for many decades.

Plus there are (or were as recently as the 80s) "software development" type degree programs that are enterprise focused rather than science or engineering focused. At one university I am familiar with the school of science had a computer science program, the school of engineering a computer engineering program and the school of business a computer information systems program. The former two were pretty much what one might expect. The later was similar to computer science for the first two years, algorithms and data structures for example, but the later two years were focused more on development of large software projects for large enterprise and government. Cobol was still taught and used. My understanding was that it was uncommon for a school of business to have a "software development" type program.

Comment Re:Unfortunately (Score 2, Informative) 467

And yet the NRA thinks that the "average person" with a firearm is the solution to the problem.

Actually the NRA is the premier advocate of and provider of firearms safety and training, training many firearms and safety instructors as well as private citizens. This is their primary mission. Political advocacy is their secondary mission, one they feel "forced" into.

Comment Every public venue is amateur hour ... (Score 1) 37

Every public distribution channel is amateur hour, open source or commercial. Look at your favorite app store.

That said, while fully acknowledging the shortcomings of many such apps its wrong to be negative about some of the authors. Many are quite literally beginners, working on their first non-trivial program. The fact that they started and finished a non-trivial project puts them in the top echelon of their peers. High marks and congratulations for getting it done, now let me brutally comment on your implementation details, a public peer review of sorts. Learn, keep at it, you will become very good at this.

To a developer honest negative feedback is far more useful than positive feedback. It leads to product improvement. Positive feedback is for marketing blurbs.

Comment Already being done commercially ... (Score 5, Informative) 258

Car repo and bail bondsmen have been doing license plate scanning and logging for a while. Going far beyond what the garbage trucks will do. For example the repo/bond guys in addition to logging while driving down the street they also cruise parking lots of grocery stores, walmart, etc to log plates. There is a huge national database of these logs. Many police departments actually subscribe to this database.

Comment Actually people can scan license plates (Score 3, Insightful) 258

Google was publishing those pictures via street view.

And license plate scanning and logging is something corporations and individuals are allowed to do. Car repo and bail bondsmen have been doing this for a while. Going far beyond what the garbage trucks will do. For example the repo/bond guys in addition to logging while driving down the street they also cruise parking lots of grocery stores, walmart, etc to log plates. There is a huge national database of these logs. Many police departments actually subscribe to this database.

Comment Re:Compatibility is not an unrealistic expectation (Score 1) 314

Things are getting a little confused without the proper context, I've re-inserted the context.

OK, but a developer can't "fix" what is not specified. msoffice formats are not specified so that they can be implemented. So that's not something a oo developer would be able to fix by himself.

Sometimes code's behavior is the documentation.

Yes, that is the definition of undocumented software, when the only documentation is its observed behaviour.

I should have used quotes around "documentation" but the point is that programmers frequently fix things that are observed anomalies and not failures to meet a specification, contrary to the "can't "fix" what is not specified" notion. Or if you want to get overly "corporate" the "specification" in such a case is the "bug report" not a "design document".

Being a government, they can ditch it completely if it makes sense for them. Where I live, there is a law that requires all gov data to be available in open formats, so it's even easier to comply that way.

Successfully reading and interpreting a file is one thing. Rendering its contents is another. The Office Open XML format, .docx, is open: ISO/IEC 29500.

No, it's not open. First, OOXML is a sanctioned standard, but it's not open. For example, there is no open reference implementation, only proprietary binaries. Also, and most importantly, msoffice does not implement OOXML completely. Its small differences are what make compatibility a moving target.

My point is that a standard has more to do with successfully reading, interpreting and writing a file than defining absolute visual layout; and that it is common to have an adhoc heuristic in an implementation to better meet a users intention. For example "is the user trying to define a page break with all those CR/LF's? If I'm near a natural page break maybe I'll ignore a CR/LF or two that goes past the break." Basically it is not uncommon for a specification to leave things at that level implementation dependent. Yes, it would be nice to have a reference implementation to demonstrate such heuristics. But the lack of a reference is no reason not to implement such observed behavior, an observed heuristic. Especially for something related to very basic functionality such as pagination.

So, the second to best solution is to just acknowledge msoffice is not compatible with other software, so either ditch it completely, or keep it completely. Half assed efforts are doomed to fail from the start.

That is a fine strategy if you are not trying to get people to convert to your app. Blowing off a valid user expectation hurts adoption.

But these guys were not trying to get people to convert to anything. Their job was to provide office productivity software for the city personnel.

I'm referring to the FOSS developers. As for the guys providing the FOSS software to users, well that takes us back to my original post: "The town should have had an easy way to report their difficulties to the FOSS developers and the FOSS developers should have been responsive. Such reporting and response is necessary for FOSS adoption."

The hybrid solution was a bad idea, they failed because they tried something that is known not to work. OpenOffice/LibreOffice guys can work on interoperability as much as they want. That doesn't automatically make it viable as a solution for a big organization.

My point is that given FOSS a lack of implemented spreadsheet macros and pagination differences should not have torpedoed a project. These were addressable issues. Perhaps things to be implemented by the developers on their own due to the obvious goal of promoting adoption of their product, perhaps a donation from the town to the developers might have been the most cost effective thing for the town to do, or hiring a contractor to implement and submit the changes, etc. It is FOSS after all, its not supposed to be necessary to take things as they are and live with it.

Comment Re:Compatibility is not an unrealistic expectation (Score 1) 314

That, or you can RTFA.

The problem was unrealistic expectations. They went from an all msoffice operation, to a hybrid one. msoffice is not compatible with anything else. You can migrate away from their formats, but you can't really interoperate with them without a lot of fiddling around. That's costly, and wasn't accounted for in the original planning. Shockingly, it costed time and money.

I did read the article and you are completely mistaken. The problem is OpenOffice's failure at being compatible. If it paginates wrong an OpenOffice developer should fix that. If macros are missing an OpenOffice developer should add those.

OK, but a developer can't "fix" what is not specified. msoffice formats are not specified so that they can be implemented. So that's not something a oo developer would be able to fix by himself.

Sometimes code's behavior is the documentation.

So, the second to best solution is to just acknowledge msoffice is not compatible with other software, so either ditch it completely, or keep it completely. Half assed efforts are doomed to fail from the start.

That is a fine strategy if you are not trying to get people to convert to your app. Blowing off a valid user expectation hurts adoption.

Being a government, they can ditch it completely if it makes sense for them. Where I live, there is a law that requires all gov data to be available in open formats, so it's even easier to comply that way.

Successfully reading and interpreting a file is one thing. Rendering its contents is another. The Office Open XML format, .docx, is open: ISO/IEC 29500.

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

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