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Comment You have the right idea. (Score 1) 257

Having the OS and all of the tools packaged up as a bootable VMware image is a great idea. It removes all of the issues about how to resurrect it later.

I can't image VMware removing backward compatibility (or failing to have tools to provide the ability to move things forward). Just in case, I see two solutions:

1. Fire up your VM once a year with whatever you are using to run VMware VMs and do a forward-compatibility upgrade if available to be sure you don't fall too far behind.

2. There are cloud providers who want to provide space for your VM. They are likely to have a forward-compatibility plan for their customers, even if those customers are so "lightweight" they are essentially non-paying.

Comment Detecting Drones (Score 4, Insightful) 227

I assume detecting the RF signature of the transmitter controlling the drone is the best way.

Of course there are these problems:

1. There are many signals on the bands used for RC.

2. It is possible to build an autonomous drone.

3. In these days of software defined radio, people can spin up non-off-the-shelf, non-standard radio control systems.

Comment Re:What a guy (Score 1) 389

When someone becomes President, they become privy to information very few people in the world know. I'll guess some of this information guides your decisions, perhaps not to where you would have been before you learned the information.

I'm not saying I agree with any decision which have been made. I'm simply remembering some people know a lot more about these decisions than I (or most members of the press) ever will.

I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I also don't know if the folks who wrote out Constitution had any idea either.

Comment What High School Students Need to Learn (Score 1) 302

...about computers.

Yes, they need to know how to read, write, type, and do math, but this question was about computers.

Students should know how to convert base-10 numbers to binary.

They should understand how to map a character set to binary.

They should understand how to add two numbers in binary and then--time permitting--learn about AND/OR/XOR gates.

They should understand the concepts of CPU/memory/bus/network/storage and transferring data over a wire.

They should understand that a network can be wired or wireless.

They should understand what a cloud computing facility looks like and how their files get to/from it.

After the above, given time, you can teach them enough so they can decide whether or not they want to pursue a degree in computer science. This might include parsing a language by hand, talking about simple algorithms and algorithmic complexity, introduction to the Turing machine and computability, and maybe some simple data structures like arrays and linked lists.

Each of the above concepts can be absorbed and exercised in a week.


p.s. "Computability" was not in my Chrome dictionary. Sheesh!

Comment Who is going to do the Startup? (Score 1) 182

The problem of disappearing personal Web sites has been in the news a couple of times this week.

It seems like an obvious startup to guarantee viability of Web content after death for a fee. It seems pretty straightforward, except...

I assume there will be some law to define. For instance, does the company have the same rights as the deceased when it comes to asking/forcing Facebook to not delete their page/wall.

This sounds like a great business project, and a great career-maker for at least one lawyer.



Submission + - Another Healthcare Radiation Overdose Problem (

bezenek writes: The New York Times has an article about a linear accelerator-driven pinpoint radiation device (this is not a radiation-source driven device, or Gamma Knife) which radiated four people because of incorrectly placed beam-blocking plates. No one has determined how the error occurred, but it may have been avoided by more careful operators or a more carefully engineered system. The company that makes the device had warned users about the possibility of the treatment data being garbled during transfer between multiple computing devices in the treatment pipeline.

I wonder if we will decide to require certification of software engineers the way we do with engineers who design bridges and electrical systems. It will not eliminate all problems like this, but at least we will have some control over who builds these lifesaving and sometimes life-taking devices.ex

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