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Comment Re:Becaue you aren't offering to do the work. (Score 2) 388

> Software upgrades often come with changes to the UI which often require that the user relearn how to use their software

And the old software and interfaces will go on needing to be supported. There's an amusing old XKCD cartoon about this.

Comment Re:Anything except coding (Score 1) 149

> In my experience what makes developers unhappy is having to write documentation, perform testing and fixing bugs.

I suspect those are factors that make _poor_ developers unhappy. For good developers, and admins, many of us find writing good documentation to be an invaluable tool that helps people actually use our work. For those of us who've come back to a project after 3, 5, or even 15 years, it's invaluable. For me, the act of documenting helps me think about why I'm making certain choices, and provide a trail for others to avoid the same pitfalls.

cakkegw also commented:

> No, what makes me sad is asking a colleague for the script he wrote that automates some task, and discovering that there's not a single line of comments in it

What's making me sad lately is asking a project member for the tools they wrote that automate some task, finally getting them to put the tools in source control, and discovering that not only is there no documentation, the tools do not report errors, they've not been working correctly, and the tools already exist in much more stable and documented form in some open source project. It's coupled with the same engineer or group handwaving their way around the project, refusing to use stable upstream tools and instead using the latest unstable and untested tools that corrupt the original data without notice.

I had the opportunity several years ago to review some of the code used for a major genetic analysis project. I was horrified, but unsurprised, at the lack of error checking. I was also horrified at the internal documentation that was in direct conflict with what the code actually did. I'm afraid the details are under NDA, but it was not cheap to clean it up and re-run all the analysis. I dread to think how much research money and effort the bad data analysis wsted.

Comment Re:You're right (Score 2) 44

> WTF... really? A tricorder is "just" about do-able with the tech we have now, its a first step,

Considering that most of the physics is not feasible, I suspect you're quite confused about "what is doable". Difficult if not impossible factors include:

1) Enormous stored information about numerous engineering and medical subjects to correctly identify the measured results.
2) Measurement of physical structures and energy throughout the electromagnetic spectrum, probing of remote mechanical, organic, and chemical systems without applying significant energy that would distort the system and without any destructive analysis.
3) Isolated measurement and mapping of local weather and environments internal sensors, without communicating with a larger network of devices that might provide more interpretable data.
4) The ability to differentiate biologically and without physical tissue sampling between alien races that are, nonetheless, mostly the same species since they can successfully breed.

The list goes on. One of the critical missing factors is the ability to make detailed chemical analysis without taking a sample. _Nothing_ today can do that, and there is no sign of any technology in modern research that can. Even spectral analysis without exposing the subject to a well defined light source such as a laser is limited by the overlap of the responses of similar complex spectral responses that obscure spectral response without purified samples.

Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 230

> The primary antisocial aspect of smoking is the risk of cancer from second hand smoke.

The secondary aspects are also problematic. I've acquaintances with asthma, and at my age, acquaintances with emphysema and with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Many of those cases were due to smoking, but fewer and fewer as time progresses and smoking has fallen out of favor. I still meet some, as I age and run into other people as old or older than myself, and I've been able to see their lives as easier without smoke in the workplace or on the streets.

Comment Re:Regulation (Score 1) 168

> Uber is losing money. Hand over fist.

It's irrelevant to the management who are collecting salaries and collecting options. The options may not be worth a lot to rank and file employees, but when the company is finally bankrupted or sold off, those can still turn a tidy profit for managers. I saw this done by various manipulative means in the dotcom era.

Comment Re:More proof that drivers are employees (Score 2) 168

> Pretty sure the driver can take any route they (or the passenger) like. Which is probably why Uber is padding the up front cost.

As best I can tell, Uber and Lyft and other services monitor the routes _actually_ taken by the drivers quite closely. It's part of how they aggregate data about shortcuts, blocked roads, and other useful mapping informaiton.

I've not seen this with Lyft, which I've used extensively for the last few years. Can other Slashdot readers confirm that they're seeing the route they're being driven does not match the route they were shown when they contacted Uber?

Comment Re: Two questions (Score 2) 111

For small scale, "one time use filters", you can simply distill the water by boiling it. It's the industrial scale "water our crops", "provide drinking water for a community", or "provide water for industry" that require large scale systems and for which the maintenance cost and energy cost of known, stable techniques like evaporation make it impractical.

Comment Re:While the intent was good... (Score 1) 115

They download the disks, once, as needed. I've downloaded cracked versions of games I purchased, in order to play them with an ISO image rather than a hardware locked CD or DVD on a system that didn't _have_ a DVD drive. I've similarly downloaded DVD images of movies I bought, in order to play them in the country I happened to be in at the moment.

Comment Re:What was the old license model? (Score 1) 110

You can't safely relicense without negotiating the new license with the copyright holders.

The "advertising clause" embedded in the existing OpenSSL license does present an awkward confusion for LibreSSL. I'm curious to see if this is partly an attempt to clarify the licensing for LibreSSL and for commercial forks, for whom the advertising clause can be difficult to explain to clients.

Comment Re:On a 20 year old project, (Score 4, Insightful) 110

It's why the FSF is so very careful that the GPL grants licenses to existing users, and are transitive so that changes are _also_ under GPL and free for publication and modificaiton. It's also why various "you must advertise our name on this software" or "you may not make any changes to this software" have repeatedly proven confusing and dangerous to use.

Comment Re:What was the old license model? (Score 1) 110

It was a dual license. One of the licenses was unique to OpenSSL. LibreSSL is no better in this sense, and seems to have the exact OpenSSL license, as listed here:


The Apache license has been more portable and more acceptable to many developers and software publishers. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out.

Comment Re:Using Javascript (Score 1) 139

The risk of "have its value automatically replaced with null or empty or undefined" for on-the-fly variables may be addressed in Erlang. Are you saying that Erlang avoids the risk of _overwriting_ desired data with a separate write to the variable with the same name by a different procedure added by a different developer? Unless all functions are local, or all scoping is local, then I find that quite difficult to believe. It's also quite expensive in system resources when function calls occur.

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