Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Guarantee (Score 2) 716

Actually the builder offers a guarantee that the wall will be built to industry standards.

And to the exact specifications that were provided to him, in writing, at the time he bid for the job.

Try getting a builder to build the wall "just a bit higher" or "just a bit wider" or "just put a window in that patch you've finished already". Not going to happen.

Which is why programming is not the same as construction.

Indeed nobody would hire a builder who's contract stated that they offered no guarantee.

And, likewise, no builder would bit for a job that didn't have EVERYTHING already specified and signed off by a certified architect.

In software it is not possible in practice for someone to write a non-trivial program without any bugs.

The first problem in software is defining what a "bug" is. It's not a feature request. It's not something that was left out of the requirements.

If the employer can provide the same level of documentation for the program that a builder will be provided with then software "bugs" become a lot rarer.

Comment PPL reality check (Score 1) 473

Is current GA activity intrinsically low, or is it low compared to the Good Old Days of the 1950s and 1960s general aviation boom?

Our GA airports are somewhat less than inviting to visitors. There was an editorial/blog in Flying magazine on this subject recently.

Airplanes really are expensive to buy and to operate.

Does anybody learn to fly for fun or for private transportation anymore? Everybody nowadays gets their PPL because it's the prerequisite for everything else. After the novelty wore off I too came to the realization that a PPL was sterile, a dead end, and am now working on my commercial license.


Submission + - Contracept-apps (

eggboard writes: There are a bunch of apps that help women (and their partners) manage fertility, to make it easier to conceive a child. But Natali Morris, the mother of two and planning no more, explains that they can be used for the opposite: contraception through careful measurement of vital statistics. For now, she'd rather avoid devices, hormones, and surgeries, and is using an app instead. It requires commitment and the scientific method, but it's not a quack idea; it conforms with modern knowledge of fertility cycles.

Comment Re:One question (Score 2) 731

Nobody does it like that, though. For instance, Chip+PIN wasn't all done at the same time in the UK - there was a transition period of about a decade (I think the first time I saw a chip in my credit card was a full 7 years before I saw a Chip+PIN reader in a store). There's no reason why the US has to do it all in one big bang either, and the US as a whole is smaller than the EU as a whole in terms of population.

Comment Re:One question (Score 3, Insightful) 731

That isn't a good explanation in this case. The UK (and pretty much every European Union country) for instance had a swipe and sign credit card infrastructure just like the United States decades before the introduction of chip and PIN, yet the UK changed to chip and pin 10 years ago despite having the same infrastructure issue as the US.

Comment Tickets (Score 1) 240

They still use physical tickets in San Francisco? I thought it was supposed to be a high tech centre. All over the world cities are using contactless cards to do this. The Oyster system in London for instance even discourages the use of tickets by making them much more expensive.

Comment Re:It's a simple case of cost (Score 1) 473

You don't have to do it as a job. I work a pretty normal IT job full time, but by making certain sacrifices (such as I've never bought a new car nor have I ever bought a car on credit) I can afford to own my own aircraft (and I live in Europe which is a significantly more expensive place to fly than the United States). I have an antique Auster Autocrat (which cost less than most new cars), and it's the very purity of flying for the joy of it - it's uncomplicated stick and rudder flying and it's simply awesome. I can have the job I like that pays pretty well AND I can go flying places on the weekend on my own schedule.

Comment Re:I abandoned thoughts of getting a pilot's licen (Score 1) 473

I'm in the same (work situation) as you, yet I fly and I do so somewhere that's more expensive to fly than the United States and can afford it. It's about opportunity costs. I have never owned a new car for instance.

I fly not to do more technology (I spend 99% of my waking life tinkering with technology), I fly to get away from technology a bit. The aircraft I own has zero automation, it's an ancient Auster Autocrat (built in 1945) with pretty much the original instruments in it including World War II style gyros. It's good to be away from chittering beeping devices for a while and just look out the window at the awesome scenery. Sure it's ancient, needs lots of tinkering with, and costs a lot. Why is it worth it? I get to look out the window. I'm actually *flying myself*. I learned to fly in 1997 and I've never got tired of it.

The only bit of technology I really like to have in this environment is my iPad running SkyDemon. We have some very complex airspace not far away, and when flying cross country it makes it a bit more pleasant to have a good easy to use GPS.

Comment Re:TSA (Score 1) 473

Depends how you term "longer flight". When I lived in the US, our flying club had a Beech Bonanza which I used to like to fly. It cruises at about 163 knots. I lived in Texas - I could beat the airlines flying up to southern Illinois from south Texas (the Bo had enough range to go from south east TX to southern IL in one go).

Comment Re:The problem is MUCH, much wider ... (Score 1) 473

I live somewhere where fuel is fantastically expensive (in the US people whine about $4 a gallon, but fuel where I live costs the equivalent of nearly $10 a gallon). I have a sensible every day use bike that's fun to ride (BMW F800ST) and requires about the same maintenance as a car (service it every year, make sure it has enough fuel and oil etc). You can bet when you can do 68mpg by riding quietly that the bike tends to get ridden quite a lot...

Comment Re:COST (Score 1) 473

Not even close. I live in a country where GA is much more expensive than it is in the United States, yet I spend a fraction of that amount (even though my aircraft is an antique and needs quite a lot of TLC, and I have to pay a landing fee every time I go to the big airport to get avgas).

Comment Re:Use Class Rank (Score 1) 264

Grading on the curve assumes that all student cohorts are pretty similar, but that some courses/exams are easy and some are hard.

No it doesn't. It's trying to match non-random data-points to a random distribution curve. It says nothing about the difficulty of the exam.

Is it more difficult to roll a 3 on a d6 than it is to roll a 6? Of course not. It's random. But it is more difficult to roll 3d6 and get 18.

Your way assumes that all courses are exactly as hard as each other, but makes no assumptions about the other students.

Why would it need to make any assumptions about other students? Whether I know X is not dependent upon whether you know X. Or even if you do not know X.

A. Take the top 10 coders in the Linux kernel. Now "grade" them on a curve (compared to each other).

B. Now take the 10 worst coders in the world. "Grade" them on a curve (compared to each other).

What does that tell you about the skill levels between the "average" 2.5 people in A and the "exceptional" 4.0 person in B? And THAT is why grading on a curve is a bad idea.

Slashdot Top Deals

We can defeat gravity. The problem is the paperwork involved.