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Comment How should a computer behave? (Score 2) 603

I can't help wondering just how could a piece of code, which presumable didn't test its' input data for validity before acting on it, become part of a modern jet's onboard software suit?"

I'm surprised there are people who think that we have the technology to program computers to make decisions about how to control things like airplanes better then a human being.

Computers excel at solving mathematical problems with definitive inputs and outputs, but our attempts to translate the problem of controlling an airplane, or an organism, into a simple circuit...will necessarily be limiting.

They can only test that the computer program will behave as expected, but there is no test to prove that the behavior we attempted to implement is actually a "good" way to behave under all circumstances.

Comment Unexpected consequences (Score 2) 252

While I am ALL for bombarding our sometimes misguided, uninformed or overzealous congressmen with public opinion...I have a fear that giving people the ability to set up automated calling in this fashion would just overwhelm their call centers to the point where they just stop picking up the phone and listening to the public at all.

Comment What if it CAN't be fixed? (Score 2) 754

The concept of publicizing security flaws makes some semblance of sense in the security world, but when it comes to viruses that could wipe out 50% of the world's population...because patches can be easily made and distributed rapidly over the internet.

When it comes to vaccines, that is NOT the case. It could take years, decades, or possibly never to create a vaccine..or the only vaccines might be too expensive or difficult to distribute on the scale that is necessary.

With a population of over 7 billion, not ALL rational people, not ALL happy people, I'm sure there are some individuals out there sick enough to want to destroy the human race. By reducing that barrier to entry to...perhaps...little more than the $20 it costs to purchase an online becomes an immediate death sentence for billions of people.

So shut the f* up about your ultra forward thinking concept of sharing info on how to kill us all, you sadist.

Comment Re:Log NAT Translations (Score 1) 346

Anybody could keep a log of their downloads and then simply delete the infringing files from the log before presenting it into evidence. This does not prove or even give credence to your defense, but the fact that you kept such meticulous logs shows that you had a reasonable suspicion that you might be brought into court for something...which makes you look even more guilty than before.

Comment Computer science is mostly math (Score 1) 583

What's the difference between a computer scientist and a programmer?
Typically, the computer scientist is great at math but can't program, and the programmer is great at programming but stinks at math.

Unfortunately computer science has become a bit too broad to have an easy definition, however, the one thing that almost every hot field of computer science has in common is a heavy reliance on math. For example, to name just a few,
- natural language processing (predicate logic, probability...)
- computer graphics (projective geometry and numerical optimization)
- computer vision (projective geometry, advanced linear algebra, numerical optimization)
- computer security (aka cryptology, modular arithmetic)
- quantum computing (you don't even want to know)

Comment Don't fight the system (Score 2) 465

You are correct that it is pointless to delete things twice. However you are wasting your time and defeating the purpose of the system by emptying your recycle bin.

Unless you are running some ancient relic of a home desktop, storage space should hardly be an issue. When deleting extremely large files they bypass the recycle bin and are directly there is no need to pedantically empty it. As you noted, it is a waste of user time to do so.

However I can't tell you how many times I have found occasion to desire something that was previously deleted...perhaps months ago. Sometimes we make stupid decisions. Sometimes when going through and cleaning up files we accidentally delete the newer version and leave the older version. Sometimes when working ona project we make changes that later on don't end up working out so well and we decide we want to roll back to a later date. There are countless unpredictable reasons why we may want to retrieve a previously deleted file.

The correct way to use the recycle bin is to delete things and then forget about them. If you ever need that space, which you won't, you can manually empty it. Until that time, it is a waste of your time to empty it, and will probably come back to bite you someday when you realize it was a providing a function that's actually useful.

I think anyone who swears theyve never needed to recover a deleted file is either full of it or has a bad memory.

Comment a good home backup strategy (Score 2) 680

I use three hard drives in my main computer. One small drive for the OS and installed applications, a second large drive to store my media (1 TB is sufficient for me), and a third drive to hold backups. Differential backups are automatically made for WIP data on a nightly schedule, everything else is automatically done on a weekly schedule.

Every few years I pull the hard drive and wrap it in some bubble wrap, package it into a cardboard box with the date on the outside and give it to my parents to store in their attic as a fallback.

The total cost of this operation comes down to about $100 every three years.

Comment Unexpected outcomes of research (Score 1) 760

Good research is usually applicable in other places as well. For example, this "frivolous" research such as understanding sound might translate into advances in sonar or sonic weapons or sonic manipulation, and "frivolous" research into soccer player dynamics could translate into better AI for robotic warriors, UAV's, etc. People researching pointless game theory for making Checkers AI can translate into improvements in AI such as robots that can play Jeopardy or outsmart opponents on the battlefield. Even completely unrelated things can be useful when there are mathematical or computational similarities that aren't obvious at the surface. For example, the problem of moving a jointed arm is essentially identical to the problem of reconstructing a 3D camera, and it might be solved using a technique that was originally invented as a path-finding algorithm for a soccer player. If you only fund research specifically related to, say, military designs, then these happy accidental discoveries wouldn't happen so much and fewer people would be interested in doing research in 1 particular area that is deemed "worthy."

Comment Re:No backup? WTH? (Score 1) 222

To quote a Mozy user,

"Gregory had mentioned that there is a 5mbps upload speed cap. In my experience, it’s much lower than that. The fastest I have seen uploads are around 1.8mbps or so. So maybe a 2mbps upload cap. "

I currently have about 1 TB of material that needs to be backed up. That will take 48.5 days to make the initial backup using Mozy...or about 2 hours to backup to another HDD. Honestly I think most people acquire or create new data faster than you could upload with a continuous stream...not to mention that if your upload pipe was 100% filled all the time, it would congest your ability to download or use the internet in any useful way.

Of course, backups are useless if you only make them once, so I want to do a backup about once a week. Guess which option I use??

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