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Comment: Re:Change (Score 4, Insightful) 742

by tricorn (#46318615) Attached to: "Microsoft Killed My Pappy"

You're comparing Microsoft Windows to iOS? Why aren't you comparing Windows to OSX?

How locked down was Zune, how locked down is RT, how is it that the PC platform is becoming more locked down than Apple hardware?

We'd be in much better shape in a world where PPC and Alpha desktop computers were competing with ARM for marketshare, with OF still a relevant standard (rather than just having remnants left behind in the Linux kernel), rather than the total hash that's x86, BIOS, MBR, EFI.

The Apple partition map presaged GPT, OF (which Apple embraced) presaged EFI, all of it quite open. A large part of OSX is open source, and the documentation of everything is superb (I remember when the big criticism of MacOS was that you needed THREE VOLUMES of documentation to cover everything! I still have the phonebook version).

Yeah, iOS and iTunes is not very open, I'll give you that.

Comment: Re:Change (Score 2) 742

by tricorn (#46318409) Attached to: "Microsoft Killed My Pappy"

I don't like Microsoft, and I haven't liked them since I saw the price they wanted for their sort program for CP/M.

I will also never forgive Bill Gates for using a backslash as a path separator. Every time I hear someone speak a URL, saying "forward slash" I wince.

Microsoft did so many things that have set back the state of computing. Sure, maybe someone else would have screwed things up just as much, maybe even more, but in this world it's Microsoft's fault.

When the Morris worm was the big news, and the cost estimates were flying, I made the observation that MS had caused MUCH more economic damage, and they did it ON PURPOSE!

Comment: Re:Rules rules rules (Score 4, Insightful) 473

by tricorn (#46215371) Attached to: Ugly Trends Threaten Aviation Industry

Man, I take issue with about 90% of what you say. Yes, there are people who are all rules, but I haven't found them more likely to be in an accident, mostly because they spend so much time worrying about the rules they hardly ever fly. What I did find was that people who didn't take flying seriously were the ones more likely to have problems, regardless of their attitude towards being a stickler for the rules. Now, I knew quite a few of the "old fart" pilots, they were great pilots. They also knew their limits, they knew the rules, and they didn't do stupid things. They weren't good because they ignored the rules, they were able to get away with ignoring SOME of the rules because they understood exactly what the rules were for and when you could bend them. You fly a haphazard traffic pattern with them, though, you'd get your ear chewed off.

My experience with FAA regulations is that most of them are more about common sense than blind obedience to stupid rules. If you read between the lines, most of them say "you can kill yourself, just don't kill anyone else, please." Many of the rest are about protocols, how you and other pilots can co-exist in the same airspace. That's as of 9/11, I pretty much stopped around then when stupid security regulations started coming out, so maybe things have changed.

The most dangerous people are yahoos who think the rules are dumb, they're better than the average pilot, they can get away with it, so why should they bother. People who say "flying is easy, any monkey can do it" tend to be like that. Yeah, the mechanics of flying are pretty straightforward, and most people can learn to do it, however I found that people who took longer to learn tended to be the ones that had the highest flying skills eventually.

If your instructor wasn't constantly testing your situational awareness, asking you what you'd do if something unexpected happened, either you had a poor instructor or you weren't paying attention. That's at least half of what your training is about.

If your plan of action if your elevator gets stuck is to ask your front seat passenger to climb into the back seat - well, I don't think you've really thought it through very well. You're either going to be in an uncontrollable spin well before he gets his seat belt unbuckled or the airplane is controllable and the last thing you want to do is push your CG backwards with limited elevator control. Fail.

Comment: Liability (Score 3, Informative) 473

by tricorn (#46214425) Attached to: Ugly Trends Threaten Aviation Industry

I'm an airplane pilot and glider instructor, I donated my time to the local glider club. I stopped instructing in part because I was concerned about the liability if a student should be in an accident and someone was hurt. Paying for hefty liability insurance wasn't really practical for me, especially as I wasn't getting any income from it. I pretty much gave the whole thing up shortly after 9/11 when the security regulations started to become too intrusive. It was also becoming too expensive, even for gliders, especially as insurance and gas costs increased.

I've trained many students who went on to become pilots, some became airplane pilots from their exposure to aviation in gliders, some became instructors (a few of whom I trained to be instructors). Without instructors, you don't get student pilots. Without student pilots, you don't get new pilots, or new instructors.

Comment: Re:Proof! (Score 3, Insightful) 228

by tricorn (#45823787) Attached to: US Requirement For Software Dev Certification Raises Questions

I remember working on a product produced by a company that proudly trumpeted their Six Sigma certifications. Had a problem with a board that was sold with the explicit feature of being able to do read-modify-write bus cycles on shared memory (each board had a section of on-board memory that could be shared with the other boards across multibus).

Unfortunately, it turned out that the target board would get memory corrupted when you did that (interfered with refresh cycles, I believe it was). Once I figured out that was happening, I contacted the company.

Six Sigma is all about repeatable and documented processes. Well, they documented it all right. They documented that they had no idea what was wrong, that the person who had designed the hardware had retired, and that they had no one there who was qualified to even understand what I was talking about. I guess since the problem with the board was repeatable, that justified their Six Sigma level! They continued selling that board, with the same claim of capability, for several more years.

Ever since then I've had little respect for that type of certification - worried more about the proper process than about the actual results.

Comment: Re:just leave (Score 2) 845

by tricorn (#45565541) Attached to: No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service — and No Google Glass, Either

What makes you think that Google Glass is always recording video, much less sending it somewhere? Even if you record video, it's saved where you want it, not sent automatically to Google.

Most people agree that it should have a clear indicator light that shows when it's recording anything, not sure if they added that in the newer version.

Comment: Re:Not a Glass fan but (Score 1) 845

by tricorn (#45564305) Attached to: No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service — and No Google Glass, Either

It probably won't be too long before head-mounted displays like Google Glass are common as the normal interface you use for your personal wearable computer, currently masquerading as a smart phone. "Augmented Reality" is just one application for such an interface. It will be used for playing music, videos, using the Web, showing you where you are and what's around you; a camera watching you type on a virtual keyboard will be an input method, perhaps along with something like subvocalization pickups.

I don't even own a cell phone, much less Google Glass, but I can see a time when I'd use such an interface (it just isn't good enough yet for me to care). I wouldn't have a problem with a policy that says "please don't wear your head-mounted display in here", but I think it's sort of stupid to have such a rule and not also say "please leave your cell phone turned off and put away" as well. Anything you can do with a Google Glass you can do with a cell phone, you can certainly take videos without it being obvious.

It's a strange idea that the primary purpose for having Google Glass is to take videos of everything you're doing and immediately upload it for everyone to see.

Comment: Re:Of course elevation affects memory (Score 1) 190

by tricorn (#45493413) Attached to: Elevation Plays a Role In Memory Error Rates

An altimeter in an airplane is normally adjusted to show altitude above sea level (although above a certain height, it's set to assume a standard sea level pressure rather than what the current weather is producing). The two terms have very similar meanings, although I think elevation is more often used to refer to a fixed location.

Comment: Re:How hard can that possibly be? (Score 1) 663

by tricorn (#45328361) Attached to: A Math Test That's Rotten To the Common Core

No, you didn't read that. Not sure what's wrong with your reading comprehension, perhaps it's the way you were taught.

The big problem with teaching by rote memorization is that the student often ends up with no idea how to use what they've memorized. Perhaps for some people, memorizing facts, then learning how to apply them, works, but it isn't an optimal method. You would have learned fine if you were taught the concepts, THEN drilled on your times tables.

My experience in teaching is as a flight instructor. It's rather practical, and we have very high-stakes tests. I don't get people to memorize stall speed, best glide speed, etc, before they even understand what they are.

In any case, the "obvious" part was referring to an adult looking at the test, trying to figure out what it's testing without having been exposed to the actual lessons. What's being taught is how to take apart a specific problem and figure out how to solve it, by looking at "the whole" and "the part you know", which is a perfectly reasonable way of looking at subtraction problems. However, the test question is poorly written.

Comment: Re:How hard can that possibly be? (Score 1) 663

by tricorn (#45314013) Attached to: A Math Test That's Rotten To the Common Core

"part I know" is how the concept is being taught, it won't be a confusing concept to the 6-year-old. The confusing part is that the coffee cup with "6" isn't in the same space as 5 pennies. I think I agree, though, that someone who doesn't really understand it yet might do better, simply by keying in on the key phrases and plugging them in to the pattern they've been taught, rather than wondering how you subtract 5 pennies from a coffee cup with the number 6 in it.

"Those who will be able to conquer software will be able to conquer the world." -- Tadahiro Sekimoto, president, NEC Corp.