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Comment: We don't need no stinkin' testing (Score 4, Funny) 337

by petes_PoV (#49799071) Attached to: Crowdfunded, Solar-powered Spacecraft Goes Silent

when some bug like this makes it through testing

Testing? what testing? If it compiles, it works. Every hacker knows this.

I have to say, when I read that the spacecraft ran Linux and had died, I naturally assumed that someone had left the auto-update enabled and it was busy trying to apply about 50 million kernel patches.

Comment: A massive exaggeration - author should be ashamed (Score 1) 396

The "story" is merely a leaked email that the project exists.

There is no information about what its remit is (past looking at the consequences of a BRexit). There is no information about the project's findings - as there haven't been any and there is nothing about what recommendations or actions would / could / should be taken.

In the end this is just a piece of sensationalism and I greatly resent the author of this /. piece hyping it up far beyond any factual basis.

Comment: Sensaltionalism (Score 3, Insightful) 71

by petes_PoV (#49724237) Attached to: UK Criminals Use Drones To Case Burglary Prospects
When you read the story it comes down to one report from someone who suspected that someone was using a drone for this purpose. Everything else in the article is FUD, inaccuracy, scare-mongering and supposition (and possibly impressionable people watching too many crime / caper movies).

This is strikingly similar in tone to the stories circulating a few years ago that anyone taking photos of buildings in public places was (obviously!) a terrorist.

Comment: Patently impossible (Score 1) 287

by petes_PoV (#49717979) Attached to: The Auto Industry May Mimic the 1980s PC Industry
The reason IBM "lost its throne" is because it either didn't have the inclination to patent every single little aspect of the PC hardware (making clones impossible) or it had the foresight and wisdom to not go down that route.

With computerised, self-driving cars there will never be a standard that everyone across the industry adopts unless one manufacturer becomes dominant in the field (just be dint of numbers that would probably be a chinese company) or the auto makers take a similar stance and forgo patent protect and allow everyone to use the best available software, processes and hardware systems.

Comment: Re:OSS needs technical writers more than coders (Score 1) 244

by petes_PoV (#49690105) Attached to: RTFM? How To Write a Manual Worth Reading

It isn't hard to write good documentation. It just takes time.

Good documentation IS hard. That's why there is so little of it.

The biggest problem is that so many FOSS coders can't think of anyone apart from themselves and only care about the fun part - not all the stuff that needs professionalism. They are unable to put themselves in the position of another human being, approaching their "baby" and they have no comprehension, whatsoever, of the assumptions they are making or what they tacitly expect the reader to already know.

As an example, there are many - maybe even the majority - of FOSS websites where the entry page has no explanation at all of what the program / app actually does. Instead of a simple description of: "FlungerMunger is a tool to help Mungers do their flunging", it contains news about what's changed in the new Beta version, or lists of bug-fixes and doesn't even bother mentioning what platforms the software runs on or who would possibly want to use it.

Far too many developers assume that once the source code is tossed over the wall to the user community, the job is done. In fact that is usually the simplest, most trivial part of producing successful software. The hard part which takes the self-discipline is beating that code into a usable state: a job that sometimes the FOSS distros will pick up - but mostly never gets done at all.

Comment: Part learned, part personality (Score 1) 425

by petes_PoV (#49619971) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

it [programming ability] is just a bunch of skills that can be learned

That is partly true. However to be a great programmer you need the right mindset, experience and maturity. A great programmer isn't one who knocks out the most lines of "code" in a day - any fool can do that or someone who writes mind-bogglingly complicated structures (all fools do that on a daily basis - and seem to take pride in it). No a great programmer is the one who can get to the nub of a programming problem and solve it in a robust and clear way and then describe succinctly why that is the best approach.

Sadly most of industry today subscribes to the "rock star" mentality - not just in code hackers, but in most walks.

Comment: Re:Gamechanger (Score 2, Informative) 514

by petes_PoV (#49592733) Attached to: Tesla Announces Home Battery System

since AC is the biggest consumer of residential power

This is a huge (and for the vast majority of the world: incorrect) assumption. Down here at 40N the peak winter solar incidence is 1 third of the summer peak (10 MJ/m/day cf. about 30 in June / July) but with decently built houses that are designed for the climate there is no need for cooling during the summer months.

Comment: In my field (Score 1) 220

by petes_PoV (#49410893) Attached to: How would you rate your programming skills?
Pretty good. Good enough to earn my pay and probably good enough to earn a fair bit more.

However, take me into one of the hundreds of OTHER fields of programming skill: database, gaming, AI, graphics or most of the others and I wouldn't even register a flicker. In short there's no such thing as "programming skill" once you get past beginner.

Comment: It's already been done (Score 1) 226

by petes_PoV (#49344165) Attached to: Russian Official Proposes Road That Could Connect London To NYC

it would be better to build, oh I don't know...a train line instead?

There is a 16,000 mile train link from China to Spain. It takes 4 months for goods to arrive and they are subject to extremes of weather that make a lot of shipments impractical. It's also slower and more expensive than sending goods by sea. Any fixed link is going to be subject to delays, breakdowns, politics and difficulty in "overtaking" slower vehicles ahead of you.

It sounds like a neat idea, but we've already got better solutions: depending on whether you want speed or low cost.

Comment: Re:Stupid question (Score 1) 667

by petes_PoV (#49264513) Attached to: Why There Is No Such Thing as 'Proper English'

the Brits have the final word on what is true and "proper" English

The "traditional" view was that proper English is the grammar, pronunciation and maybe even the dialect used by BBC newsreaders. This doesn't really stand anymore, as there are many more regional (british english) dialects on national TV than were encouraged in the past.

However I can see the confusion as the word for "American" in the american language is "English". That is the language that most of the world learns as english, not "british" english.

Comment: Re:Those without a timeline will be at an advantag (Score 1) 209

and anybody who's mining this site already knows everything I think

No. Everybody can access some pseudo-anonymous content that may be from one or more actual humans who have access to an account called "meta-monkey". Similarly, one, some or all of those humans could contribute to other pseudonyms and might post completely different views, opinions and personal information. We'd never know if there was a 1-to-1 relationship from a person to a "handle", a 1-to-many to other handles or a many-to-1 for a group contribution.

Even using a "real name" is meaningless. Last time I googled, there were over 35,000 people with my name just in my country. You need a helluva lot more information (and it must be true information) before you can create a high-quality link between a single individual and an online presence.

Neckties strangle clear thinking. -- Lin Yutang