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Comment: Re:Simple methodology (Score 1) 347

by unimacs (#49143697) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates
Apparently the zealots didn't understand agile very well or they would have been able to answer your questions.

Agile doesn't mean there is no plan. Agile just acknowledges that the larger the set of requirements and the longer the timeline, the less likely it is that those requirements are going to be accurate (or won't change) and that the timeline will be met.

So rather than trying to establish all the requirements up front and then delivering when all those requirements have been completed, the idea is to focus on a minimal set of requirements in each cycle or iteration. Cycles are short, - a month at most. Prioritization is key.

Comment: Re:Missing Basics (Score 1) 248

by unimacs (#49052821) Attached to: Smart Homes Often Dumb, Never Simple

Kid leaves garage door open, stuff gets stolen over night

Kid learns a hard lesson when he is told he has to pay for whatever was stolen (or work it off for free lawn mowing, etc). Kid never does something that stupid again, learns there are "real world consequences" for your actions (or lack of action).

Do you have or have you ever had teenagers? Here is my real world experience: "Learn hard lesson. Do the same stupid thing the next day."

You may be content to trust that a hormone engorged and not fully developed brain will remember to shut the garage door. I'd prefer a little insurance.

As for the rest of your comments, I could quite easily survive on the technology that was around in the 60's when I was born, but I recognize that technology can both make things better and make them worse. I see having the door unlock automatically as I approach with an armful of stuff as a helpful application of technology.

Comment: Re:Missing Basics (Score 1) 248

by unimacs (#49052567) Attached to: Smart Homes Often Dumb, Never Simple
Not taking medications at the right time in the proper dosage is a huge problem for seniors. The blister pack can't flash or sound an alarm when it's past time to take the meds. It can't notify a caretaker/relative/friend if a senior has missed one or more scheduled times. It can't stop someone from taking the morning and lunch time meds together if they are not supposed to but they forgot in the morning.

Went went through this with my mom about 6 years ago. She was starting to suffer from Alzheimer's but we wanted to keep in her own home if possible. At the same time we couldn't have someone with her 24 hours a day.

We had an automated pill dispenser at the time that came with a dialup service that was quite expensive. It was difficult to set up and the notifications had to go through a 3rd party and was not very flexible. Even with those limitations and caveats it was much better then a blister pack. And what is possible today could be so much better.

Actually I see a lot of potential for smart homes to help people lead more independent lives further into their old age.

Comment: Re:Missing Basics (Score 1) 248

by unimacs (#49051715) Attached to: Smart Homes Often Dumb, Never Simple
Kid leaves garage door open, stuff gets stolen over night
A/C comes on while windows/doors are open
I'm on vacation, water leak floods home
Forget to lock doors when leaving house
Forget to turn off lights in an unoccupied room
Walk up to the house with an arm full of stuff and the door is locked
Aging person has lots of medications but frequently forgets to take them or can't remember if they did

All it takes is a little imagination to realize how automation could solve problems and make things more convenient. Usability, expense, data privacy, standards are all issues that need to be tackled but it will happen.

Comment: Re:No (Score 4, Insightful) 289

I could argue that those are different things entirely but instead let's assume that more tolerance and acceptance of people with Aspergers is something that society should move towards. It won't happen overnight. You must manage with the hand that was dealt to you, - not the one you wish you had.

For example I don't have Aspergers but I was very shy as a kid. As a teenaged boy this does not lead to many dates. I used to get upset over the expectation that the boy had to be the one to make the first move. "They can come to me" was my attitude. You can imagine how well that worked.

Eventually rather than lamenting over the way the world operated and that it wasn't fair to people like me, I figured out that with some effort I could learn to be more charming and outgoing, -even with people I didn't know. It's gotten much easier and I'm much more confident, but I'm still envious of the people for whom it seems to be effortless and who apparently thrive on those same social interactions that I find challenging.

Comment: Re:SPEED is the answer (Score 1) 422

by unimacs (#48998947) Attached to: What Happened To the Photography Industry In 2014?
You left off some key words in my post: "I can't imagine that THIS is an inherent advantage...". I was referring to the ability to take multiple pictures in the span of a few seconds, - nothing else.

That was the topic of the post I was responding to.

I don't think sensor size has much to do with it.

Comment: Re:SPEED is the answer (Score 1) 422

by unimacs (#48995319) Attached to: What Happened To the Photography Industry In 2014?

"Even if I'm missing something I can't imagine that this is an inherent advantage to a dedicated camera that improvements in technology won't eliminate." Google "sensor size", "f-stop", "frame rate", "shutter speed", "iso".

Those things have something to do with a smartphone supposedly not being able to take 2 pictures within 10 seconds?

Comment: Re:SPEED is the answer (Score 1) 422

by unimacs (#48993281) Attached to: What Happened To the Photography Industry In 2014?
I'm not sure I understand how this is any harder to achieve with a smart phone. My phone is rarely turned completely off and I can access the camera feature without even unlocking tit. I can easily take 2 pictures within 10 seconds and with burst mode I can get 10 within 1 second.

Even if I'm missing something I can't imagine that this is an inherent advantage to a dedicated camera that improvements in technology won't eliminate.

Comment: Pros and Cons (Score 4, Informative) 700

by unimacs (#48976655) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Pros and Cons of Homeschooling?
We only homeschooled for a year but here's how I see it:

Academics - sky is the limit
Flexible Schedule
Can be tailored to suit the individual child
Have more control over who your kid spends their time with*

Danger of controlling too much of your child's life*
Expense - you've got to provide all your own materials
Have to be careful of materials and programs made available to homeschoolers, - often have a political bent
Takes a lot of time to prepare and execute, - especially as the kids get older

Comment: son was in public & private schools + home sch (Score 1) 700

by unimacs (#48976433) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Pros and Cons of Homeschooling?
He was in public school through second grade. Kindergarten and 1st grade were great. He had awesome teachers. In the 2nd grade he ended up with a teacher in poor health that probably should have retired 5 years prior. It was not a great year and my wife had always wanted to try to homeschool but I was skeptical. So in 3rd grade he stayed at home.

Overall it went pretty well. There are tons of resources available to help however you must pay attention. My wife wanted to send our son to this 2 hour "science club" thing that met a couple of times a week. At first glance it sounded great until I read through all the literature. Turns out the guy taught Intelligent Design. I just about lost it. Some other home schoolers had recommended him to my wife. People homeschool for a variety of reasons but for a fair number it's because they don't like what is taught in public schools. I'm a fairly liberal guy. Hanging around that crowd was a tough thing for me at times and it was a source of tension between my wife and I.

My son is a social kid and he wanted to go back to school after a year. So for 4th grade, we found a private school with a small class size that seemed like a good fit. He was there through 8th grade but we often questioned whether it was worth the money, - especially once he got to middle school. From a math and science perspective he probably would have been better off in a public school.

We have neighbors with a large family that also homeschool. Once the oldest got to be about 12, he wanted to go to a school and the rest of them kind of followed suit once they got older. They're great kids. We know other families too where the results have definitely been more of a mixed bag. With one family in particular the kids are very accomplished in some areas while severely lacking in others, but that may have happened no matter where they went to school.

My take away from all of this is that success can be had in public, private, or home schools but it depends on the schools, the parents, and most of all the kid.

Comment: Re:Minnesota - No Tech Job? Huh? (Score 2) 170

by unimacs (#48973747) Attached to: Study Predicts 9% Drop In Salaries of New CS Grads This Year

The summary conflates "tech jobs" with programming jobs. They aren't the same. The map does nothing to show programming jobs. Only those at "high-tech" companies.

That's true. The report is about "advanced industries". The OP really just screwed up though.

Even that report indicates that Minneapolis/St. Paul ranks 15th in the nation in terms of advanced industry jobs. Not exactly at the top, but definitely "above average" as they say on Prairie Home Companion.

Comment: Re:Khan Acadamy (Score 3, Insightful) 94

by unimacs (#48960275) Attached to: What Happens When the "Sharing Economy" Meets Higher Education
Put Salmon Khan in a classroom with 25 third graders and see how well he does.

I'm not saying you need a degree in education to teach, but different sets of skills are required for different students in different settings. Degree programs prepare teachers to succeed in a variety of situations many of which are more challenging than making videos.

Comment: Re:Please develop for my dying platform! (Score 1) 307

by unimacs (#48877353) Attached to: Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps
Perhaps Developer D created app A for iOS because iOS provides a market and a platform in which app A can succeed. You don't think there was work involved in that?

Clearly iOS came before the apps. I'm not saying that applications haven't contributed to the success of the iPhone but Apple invested a ton of money and time to get something right that other smart phone venders at the time were getting wrong. And Apple's success did not prevent Android from also succeeding even though they don't have the same API. Google embraced some of what Apple did and created their own mobile platform while Blackberry was still in denial.

Comment: Re:Curious... (Score 1) 786

by unimacs (#48851739) Attached to: Michael Mann: Swiftboating Comes To Science

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Here, simple enough even for you. Public CONTROL not ownership, CONTROL over economic decisions is the defining characteristic of socialism.

Obviously this is very important to you and if you want to get the last word in that is fine, I'm done posting after this. But I have to wonder though if you meant to post a link to something else because the first line under the heading "Socialism" in your link says this:

An economic and social theory that seeks to maximize wealth and opportunity for all people through public ownership and control of industries and social services.

Perhaps I do have a simple mind, but "public ownership" would seem to be part of that definition. While the word "control" is also used, it refers to control of industries, not just economic decisions.

Look, if you'd prefer to put countries on scale with "Capitalist" on the right side and "Socialist" on the left, I'd agree that Germany and many Scandinavian are further left than we are. However, if you are going to label them either capitalist or socialist, they are definitely more capitalist. More to my point, any mainstream US Democrat or Republican is definitely to the right of center on the scale.

Committees have become so important nowadays that subcommittees have to be appointed to do the work.