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Comment Re:Flaws? That's one way of putting it... (Score 1) 38

A programming session is started by pairing the programmer and the pacemaker with a wand that requires 10cm proximity (this provides the security key).

How is the distance verified? Is it merely a matter of signal strength, or do they actually measure response times and signal trip times?

If signal strength is the only criterion, all an attacker needs is a powerful transmitter and a sensitive receiver.

Comment Re:employee improvement plan (Score 1) 388

Why? Why is simply firing someone a better solution than giving them exactly what they are doing wrong and what they need to change if they want to keep their job?

Simple: The person about to be fired has already demonstrated that they failed to perform their duties. If you hire a new person, you get the change of hiring someone who can do things right the first time. If not, you're not worse off than before.

Comment Re:What the? (Score 2) 110

I know weight and volume are at a premium on such craft but a barometric sensor (even one capable of operating in Mars's rarefied atmosphere, is the size of a thumbnail and weighs just a fraction of a gram.

Even one that works at the velocity encountered during atmospheric entries?

Sounds like you're suggesting putting a Pitot tube on a space probe ...

Comment Re:I am not ashamed of my code. (Score 1) 280

readable and maintainable code is somewhat overemphasized these days.

Well, in my line of work I've realized there is a fair chance of products coming back to bite me for a couple of years after they are released. Making the code maintainable is a sanity issue, since I'm the one who will be doing the maintenance if necessary.

PS - assembler is quite "debuggable"

Yes, if you stick to a few simple rules (like avoiding overly long functions and such), and if you use an architecture with an assembly dialect that's easy to understand (which wasn't the case in this project - delayed execution, pipelining and features like zero-overhead-looping might make the processor very well suited to certain tasks, but the resulting assembly is very hard to understand).

In fact, the assembly dialect spoken by that particular DSP is so full of unusual things that the compiler only used about 40% of the instruction set.

Comment Re:This is not so new (Score 1) 280

And it was testing that failed back then.

In that particular case, it wasn't just testing.

The bug could have been caught by someone reviewing the code, if the manufacturer had spent the money.

The bug could have been caught during testing ... maybe (there was some randomness involved).

The bug could have been caught after the first reports from users about erratic behavior of the device came in.

Comment I am not ashamed of my code. (Score 1) 280

However, my very first commercial project ended up an ugly glob of assembly with a little bit of C mixed in, which I hopefully will never have to look at again in my life.

The product sold almost a million times and didn't cause any deaths, to my knowledge.

My ability to produce readable, maintainable and debuggable code have improved signficantly since then.

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The means-and-ends moralists, or non-doers, always end up on their ends without any means. -- Saul Alinsky