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Comment: Incompatible with some situations (Score 1) 128

by spaceyhackerlady (#49150119) Attached to: Can the Guitar Games Market Be Resurrected?

I live in an apartment and a couple of years ago my neighbours bought Guitar Hero or something similar. They played with it for about two days. Then they stopped (and sold the hardware) when the building management gave them an ultimatum over the number of noise complaints they had received.

...laura

Comment: Spock made me who I am today (Score 4, Interesting) 354

by spaceyhackerlady (#49148721) Attached to: Leonard Nimoy Dies At 83

This one hits close to home.

As a child in the late 1960s I was inspired to my present technical life and career by two major influences: Project Apollo and Star Trek. I thought Spock had the coolest job in the universe. He played with techie stuff and figured stuff out. I wanted that sort of job too. And I got it.

...laura

Comment: Re:Use recursion when the problem is recursive (Score 1) 252

by spaceyhackerlady (#49018529) Attached to: AP Test's Recursion Examples: An Exercise In Awkwardness

Yes, they did.

In another job interview I was asked to write a program to generate prime numbers. I clarified a couple of requirements ("is memory usage an issue?"), and implemented the Sieve of Eratosthenes. It works, you know why it works, any idiot can read the code and understand it, and if testing shows you need something better (in some sense), you know where to start.

...laura

Comment: Use recursion when the problem is recursive (Score 1) 252

by spaceyhackerlady (#49015017) Attached to: AP Test's Recursion Examples: An Exercise In Awkwardness

Regardless of the final implementation, there are problems where the simplest, clearest solution is a recursive one. You type it in to the computer as fast as you can type, it compiles and runs correctly the first time, and then, if you need to change it, you have a place to start.

On a job interview some years ago I was asked to write C code to reverse a string. I wrote it recursively: interchange the first and last elements, then reverse what's inside.

They liked my creativity. I got the job. :-)

...laura

Comment: ST:TNG (Score 1) 480

by spaceyhackerlady (#48908911) Attached to: Best 1990s Sci-fi show?

Star Trek: The Next Generation was generally well-done, with interesting charcerters and only a few clunker episodes.

I found Deep Space 9 an interesting concept let down by unimaginative writing.

I found Voyager unwatchable. Janeway came across as an affirmative action bureaucrat. A Captain is a monarch, not a bureaucrat. Patrick Stewart had played Shakespearean kings, and played Picard the same way. It worked. What Janeway needed was a good desk.

Sliders was a really interesting premise that ran out of steam. The same story every week. Yawn.

The X Files also started out well and also ran out of steam, descending in to torture porn.

Didn't watch any of the others, so no comment.

...laura

Comment: Terminology, please! (Score 2) 392

There is strong encryption, and there is unbreakable encryption. They are not necessarily the same thing.

Strong encryption is theoretically breakable, but it is not computationally feasible to do so. What is computationally feasible changes with time. Look at how key-length standards for RSA have changed, for example.

One-time pad encryption, on the other hand, is not breakable. It doesn't matter how much computer power you throw at it: if you don't have the key, you can't read the message.

...laura

Comment: If they don't work... (Score 1) 464

If progressives don't work, don't use them. They're not for everybody.

I bit the bullet last time I got new glasses and got progressives. My requirement was well-defined: I'm near-sighted, wear glasses when I need them (driving, flying) but with age I was experiencing eyestrain trying to read charts during flights, particularly at night. At first I found I was moving my head around a lot to find the sweet spot, but now that I've figured that out, I'm fine.

I don't use glasses for computer stuff. Set the monitor distance and resolution right, and wipe the nose prints off every now and then. :-)

...laura

Comment: Whose problem is this, anyway? (Score 1) 349

The airlines exploit their customers with stupidly complicated fare structures and somebody finds a way for customers to exploit the airlines. This is a problem?

You don't need computers or web sites for this. Some years ago I moved from B.C. to Ontario. The travel agent (yes, it was a few years ago...) sold me a round-trip ticket from Vancouver to Toronto at a fraction of the cost of a one-way ticket. I didn't use the return leg. Is Air Canada going to sue me?

...laura

Comment: Re:I can see them too... (Score 1) 104

I live in Antigua, 17N, we just did a star gazing night out and all the stars mentioned in the article are quite visible.

I've observed from Costa Rica, at 10 degrees north, and the bulk of the southern hemisphere goodies are indeed observable. By a pleasant coincidence, the prime observing season for the Centaurus/Carina Milky Way (February to April) coincides with the dry season in much of the country. The Large Magellanic Cloud, however, is down in the murk from Costa Rica. The Small Magellanic Cloud and 47 Tucanae are worse. If you want to really observe the Magellanic Clouds you need a southern hemisphere location.

Many equatorial telescope mounts don't like being in the tropics either. I've played with the leg lengths on my G-11, and once tried putting a fork mount (an old 8" Celestron SCT) together backwards, in effect aligning it for -10 degrees south instead of 10 degrees north. It almost worked...

...laura

Comment: Been there, done that (Score 3, Interesting) 104

Heading south is a very good thing for astronomers to do. It's like visiting another planet: lots of new stars and stuff, and the familiar constellations are all upside down.

I've observed from Australia, New Zealand and the Cook Islands. My first view of the Eta Carinae region was from St. Kilda Beach in Melbourne. My first view of the Magellanic Clouds was from a highway rest area just south of Echuca, Victoria. One night at a motel in Forbes, NSW, I needed the bathroom in the wee hours and padded out to have a look. I knew the Sagittarius Milky Way would be out at that time of the night, but I couldn't find it at first. It was directly overhead.

Of course I went to Parkes. A nerd's gotta do what a nerd's gotta do. :-)

I'm watching Top Gear in Patagonia, and while Argentina has better scenery, Australia has better weather. And much better roads.

...laura

Comment: Positives and negatives (Score 1) 286

by spaceyhackerlady (#48677505) Attached to: At 40, a person is ...

I feel here are positives and negatives to being older.

The positive is a depth of experience. An inherent patience to work through problems, looking for the right answer. My boss can - and does - tell me "Laura, figure out XYZ and see if we can use it in our company." This will keep me busy for extended periods.

While it's not strictly age-related, I find many "younger" companies have views on work/life balance that are incompatible with my own. I do not eat, live and breathe my work. When I go on vacation I go, and make damned sure I'm out of cellphone coverage when I do.

Also, many "younger" companies have messages I do not believe in. A prime example is local media darlings HootSuite. Since I don't buy the problem, I can't be part of its "solution".

...laura

The Tao is like a glob pattern: used but never used up. It is like the extern void: filled with infinite possibilities.

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