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Comment: Re:Why flash and not microSD? (Score 3, Insightful) 50

by petes_PoV (#47547883) Attached to: A Router-Based Dev Board That Isn't a Router
MicroSD required mechanical connectors to the device and is a great deal more expensive that flash - in a very price-sensitive market. Given that an IoT thing could find its way into any environment, the last thing you want is for its operation to be dependent on the correct operation of nasty, cheap (and they *would* have to be cheap for comparable production costs) connectors and uSD cards of variable quality - that are outside your control.

Far better to have everything firmly and permanently attached to the board. Why solder in a connector whan it's just as easy (and takes the same amount of board space) to solder in flash instead. That way you don't get the blame when an idiot user "recycles" an old uSD card and blabs all over the internet how crap and unreliable your product is, as their card keeps corrupting.

RPi got it completely wrong in this respect. You don't hear of corrupted software & kernels on all the cards that use flash. If it's more "difficult" for noobs to use, then that's no bad thing either as it discourages those who are lacking in the clue department. This is not meant to be a plaything for children.

Comment: Re:The price you pay (Score 2) 368

by petes_PoV (#47518333) Attached to: 'Just Let Me Code!'

Such checks can be inserted without going beyond a few hundred lines of code

And then the next guy writes their own set of checks, which work slightly differently and check different things and in a different order. So both of you have spent time writing essentially, the same thing. - And maybe even spent even longer testing it and occasionally documenting it too. OK, maybe that last one''s a stretch. Nobody bothers to document "simple" programs, since we all know the code IS the documentation and any good programmer can work out what is going on (are they still teaching that garbage?)

And then when there's a change to the data formats, or a migration to a new environment, instead of swapping out one library of standard code - every single soddin' "simple" program has to be checked, re-tested and debugged.

So no. People who are still doing this sort of thing, even though the industry has been suffering from their intellectual laziness for decades, shouldn't be allowed to develop commercial code.

Comment: The price you pay (Score 4, Insightful) 368

by petes_PoV (#47518131) Attached to: 'Just Let Me Code!'

The simple programs of a few hundred lines of C++ long ago disappeared from my experience

I think the reason is, that people who pay for software have been bitten by "simple" programs too often.

With a simple program: one where you open a file, do some stuff and produce an output - that always supposes that everything works as it's expected to. It assumes the input file has the expected name, that it contains the expected data and that the format is what you expect. It also assumes that the data will fall nicely within the bounds of "sensible" values, and that the output can be written as the coder expects.

However, real-world data is never as neat as we plan for (especially when there is a deadline). There can be missing values, changed formats, some data is floating point or fixed and DATES. Can the "simple" code deal with DD-MM-YY and DD-MM-YYYY or even some people who randomly swap that day / month / year field order, or use names for months - or slip leap years into the fields.

Basically, with the "simple" libraries that most of us use, there is a fundamental lack of robustness. Our code works with data we expect, but coughs a brick with something unusual - or from a changed specification.

And then there's the security angle. There's always a security angle

These are the factors that have made "coding" a complex business. Simply because the simple coding models we use to knock out a couple of hundred lines of code with, have shown themselves up to be wrong, limited an unreliable.

Comment: Re:A worldwide contest ... but only in English (Score 2) 127

by petes_PoV (#47446499) Attached to: Public To Vote On Names For Exoplanets
But it's not about majorities (or minorities, come to that). it's about inclusivity.

If you're going to hold a "world wide" contest, then to not care enough to provide even a few of the most popular non-english languages, seems parochial, if not downright ignorant. You'd think that among all the IAU members, some individuals would have sufficient command of some other languages to be able to offer some alternative translations.

Or did it simply bot occur to the IAU that there may be a few billion non-english speakers who might like an chance to name a planet (not exacly science, is it) with an equal voice to their western counterparts.

Comment: A worldwide contest ... but only in English (Score 3, Insightful) 127

by petes_PoV (#47446279) Attached to: Public To Vote On Names For Exoplanets
You go to the IAU website and it's written in english. No language selections for non-english speakers. (Even does better than this). What does the "I" in IAU stand for, again?

You go to the website - same deal.

You read the rules and all submissions (max 250 words) must be in english, too.

Given that this is about astronomical objects that are so far away, to them The Earth doesn't even register as a blip. Therefore to limit the naming process to one single earthly language seems like an extraordinary limitation. Especially when you consider that so many stars have Arabic names - couldn't we be a bit more inclusive?

Comment: To answer the question (Score 1) 183

by petes_PoV (#47422859) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Dedicated Low Power Embedded Dev System Choice?

Look at the Olimex range of boards.
I've been using these for a year or two and found them to fit the bill nicely.

There are single and dual core boards, with / without embedded flash memory (or micro-SD card slots) and they'll run Debian (or other) Linux They have a lot on on board peripherals and pinouts for their own range of LCD screens - though I use an HDMI monitor for simplicity. The power supply will accept anything from 6 - 16 Volts from a phone-charger type PSU and you can even plug in a LiPo for backup.

I'll stop there before someone accuses me of advertising (I'm not, and I have no connection to the company). But as a last point, they are also pretty cheap.

Comment: Re:Example (Score 2) 75

by petes_PoV (#47382159) Attached to: Duolingo is a Free, Crowdsourced Language Learning App (Video)

someone who is not familiar with words having different modes

The problem is, that if you don't know these basic constructs in your native language then you're not really fluent in it. You might think you can speak it fluently - but you're not well enough educated if you lack the basic rules.

Sadly this is very common: just look at all the internet content that confuses they're, their and there. Or mistakes "have" for "of" in written form.

Perhaps Duolingo should have a qualification test to screen out people who weren't paying attention at school (as all these topics are taught, in every english-speaking school) and it could sign them up for a remedial english class, instead.

Comment: Cat and mouse (Score 1) 239

by petes_PoV (#47372159) Attached to: Following EU Ruling, BBC Article Excluded From Google Searches

So the guy had an old article removed.
The journalist then writes a *new* article, commenting on the removal of the old article
The guy then requires the *new* article gets delisted, too. So the journalist ....

And so it continues until one party or the other gets bored, dies, or realises that all these article, this MOUNTAIN of articles are all still available (and increasing in number) on other search engines and that since new articles can be submitted faster than old ones taken down (and presumably the guy is paying a service to issue take-downs on his behalf) he's paying money and achieving the opposite of what was intended.

Comment: Re:Ethical Responsibility (Score 1) 130

by petes_PoV (#47345017) Attached to: In 2012, Facebook Altered Content To Tweak Readers' Emotions

Facebook deliberately did it, to see the effects. Manipulating people is never ethically right.

And yet there are individuals who do exactly the same thing every day. I would suggest that there are also organisations that make a positive decision to post content to change the emotions of their readers: whether to make them happy (and possibly tie that happy feeling to the website's message - religious, political, cultural), or angry or apathetic.

Just like every advertisement we see is designed to manipulate our emotions, websites do it all the time for gain, so to have FB do the same is neither new nor unacceptable. It could even be argued that since they had nothing to gain (materially or financially) that their motivations were more benign that those sites or advertisements that manipulate our emotions for their own gain.

Line Printer paper is strongest at the perforations.