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Comment: Re:So.... (Score 3, Interesting) 67

by wcrowe (#47912499) Attached to: A 16-Year-Old Builds a Device To Convert Breath Into Speech

I don't know. How many words can the average person speak before they pass out? It seems like a similar type of breath control. I just sat here and tried some "Morse code" breathing through my nose and it seems like a perfectly legitimate solution to the problem. With practice, I bet a person could communicate pretty quickly this way.

Comment: Kudos! (Score 1) 67

by wcrowe (#47912445) Attached to: A 16-Year-Old Builds a Device To Convert Breath Into Speech

I congratulate this kid for thinking outside the box. I wonder where he will go from here with his invention?

I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with ALS, and the disease is progressing agressively with him. I hope there is something affordable like this when and if he gets to the point he needs it.

Comment: Re:OMG! (Score 1) 405

by wcrowe (#47884467) Attached to: Microsoft Paid NFL $400 Million To Use Surface, But Announcers Call Them iPads

Well, I am a nerd, and if you will look at my 5-digit id, you will realize that I've probably been one for much longer than you have. But I am not such a nerd that I am so out of touch with current vernacular that I don't realize that iPad is becoming the standard generic term for any brand of tablet, just as band-aid, kleenex, frisbee, etc. have. It's not hilariously funny.

Comment: Re:How does it handle the unexpected? (Score 1) 506

by wcrowe (#47764733) Attached to: California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

Several people have responded to my query, but every answer is a knee-jerk, "how-can-you-be-so-stupid?" type of douchbag answer. Every answer describes a system where:
1. There is a huge infrastructure that the car depends on for information, which is apparently still fully functional after a tornado, hurricane, or earthquake.
2. All other cars are self-driving and connected to some sort of secure and completely trustworthy network.
3. All cars are able to know which parking spaces are restricted and which are not, and how they are restricted ("only customers of Bob's Tacos can park here"), etc.

Conclusion: we have only scratched the surface when it comes to solving the problems with self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are not just around the corner, but are, in fact, decades away. Therefore, it is reasonable to require some sort of steering mechanism on so-called "self-driving" cars.

Comment: How does it handle the unexpected? (Score 4, Insightful) 506

by wcrowe (#47759091) Attached to: California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

I like the idea of a self-driving car, but I still don't understand how the self-driving car finds a parking space, or gets eased into place in the garage for maintenance. How does it find it's way around an unexpected hazard, like a downed limb, or washed-out area of the road? How does the self-driving car know that the road is flooded or otherwise undriveable? How does it know that the power is out at an intersection that normally has traffic lights?

Comment: "Detective" work (Score 2) 548

by wcrowe (#47723185) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

For the most part I have no regrets over my career choice. I liked it 30 years ago, and I still like it now. I sometimes imagine what it would have been like to be an archaeologist, or a writer (other career choices that appealed to me), but that's just daydreaming. What school did not prepare me for was all the "detective" work involved. A lot of my career has been studying data flows, and re-engineering old processes with no documentation. When I was in school, the emphasis was on writing new applications, not bolting stuff onto old ones.

Comment: Re:Asperger syndrome (Score 1) 228

by wcrowe (#47649781) Attached to: What Do You Do When Your Mind-Numbing IT Job Should Be Automated?

Well, I don't think it's time to pass out the pistols yet. There may still be plenty of work available to those with Asperger's. I can sympathize with your situation, but the problem is that you're using the BA as a sort of "seeing eye dog" for your condition, and a lot of companies are finding that they don't want to pay six-digit salaries for "seeing eye dogs".

Comment: Learn business (Score 1) 228

by wcrowe (#47630813) Attached to: What Do You Do When Your Mind-Numbing IT Job Should Be Automated?

I've been in IT for over 30 years and I've seen a lot of changes. My first program was coded onto punch cards and read into the system that way. Nowadays I'm doing some traditional programming and SQL, but also working with some new tools like SAP's Data Services and Dell's Boomi. These newer platforms are very visual in how you hook up your components, yet still offer the flexibility to write special modules in languages like Java or ABAP. This, I think, is the future of programming, where a lot of the repetitive drudgery is taken out of the coding. This will mean changes in how application developers work.

When I first started out, there was less spcialization. The coder was expected to understand the business and to meet with the users to discuss design, and solve problems. In time, so-called "Business Analyst" and "Project Manager" positions were created because not all coders were good at working with users, and many of them have only a vague understanding of how business functions. However, companies are learning that all this specialization overhead is expensive (and perhaps even redundant). Specialized "code-monkeys" will be less in demand. So will "business analysts" who cannot design solutions. The future will belong to those coders who can be good analysts, who understand business, who can deal with users, and still understand how to configure modules and link them together in order to produce applications.

Comment: Re:Yawn (Score 1) 442

by wcrowe (#47615651) Attached to: Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

I don't think it's fair to think of the characters as being mentally handicapped. I've known people like the Sheldon character, including my own nephew, and I even wonder if I hadn't been born in the 60's if even I might have been diagnosed as autistic as a child. At any rate, none of the people I've known who are autistic are any where near as full of themselves as Sheldon Cooper. He is continually reminding everyone around him how much smarter he is and how great he is at everything. His ego is boundless, and in most situations he shows no regard for anyone but himself. That's not mentally handicapped, that's just being an ass.

Comment: Yawn (Score 5, Insightful) 442

by wcrowe (#47609187) Attached to: Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

I don't get the controversy. I like the show. It makes me laugh. I don't care what the actors get paid. It's none of my business. I think the comparisons to "black face" are in error. Poking fun at people because of their behavior is not the same as poking fun at people because of their skin color. It's just a sitcom. They come and go. It hasn't jumped the shark yet (not for me, anyway). When it does I'll probably stop watching. And if CBS should cancel it tomorrow, I won't care. My life does not revolve around characters on a tv show, nor does it revolve around the actors and writers. They're getting $1million per show... yawn.

What hath Bob wrought?