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Comment Re:Pointless (Score 1) 199

A lot of secondary railroads all over Europe are not electrified, and that's where these diesel-powered Lint-trains show up. So that's the target market for these trains, not the main railroads.

And as said by others, there's a big problem with the fluctuations in energy output from wind and solar, especially in Germany. Instead of just throwing the energy away (like they do now), they could just as well use it to create hydrogen, even if it only has 50% efficiency.

That's why they're targeting the German market with this train.


Google Glass User Fights Speeding Ticket, Saying She's Defending the Future 464

Nerval's Lobster writes "A California software developer dubbed an explorer by Google and a scofflaw by the California Highway Patrol appeared in court to fight over the purpose and usage of wearable electronics. Cecilia Abadie denies she was doing 80 mph in a 65 mph zone when she was pulled over by the CHP Oct. 29 of last year, but proudly admits wearing her early edition of Google's Google Glass augmented-reality goggles. She just doesn't agree with the CHP's contention that Google Glass is a television. Abadie, who works at virtual-reality sports software developer Full Swing Golf and was one of the first 'explorers' chosen by Google as early testers of Google Glass before they were released, wears the goggles for as long as 12 hours per day, using them both as a way to pull email, driving directions and other information into her view and to push pictures, Tweets, updates and other information out to professional and social networks in a process she describes as 'living in transparency.' The California Highway Patrol, unfortunately for Abadie, considered wearing Google Glass to be the same as watching television while driving. One of the two citations Abadie was given was for speeding; the other was for 'driving with a monitor visible in violation of California Vehicle Code 27602.' Fighting that perception in court is 'a big responsibility for me and also for the judge who is going to interpret a very old law compared with how fast technology is changing,' Abadie told the Associated Press for a Jan. 16 story." A court commissioner in San Diego dismissed the Google Glass ticket, saying he could find no evidence that the device was in use while Abadie was driving.

Comment If it ain't broken... (Score 4, Informative) 160

It's still alive and kicking here in the Netherlands, known as Teletekst. Every journalist wants to be on page 101.

There's even a web-interface and an iPhone app for it, which is a no-nonsense, clutter-free, low-bandwidth source of news, weather, stocks and sport results. I can't live without it :)


I must say that I rarely use it on my tv anymore. Which is kind of funny, because nowadays it's still trapped inside the low-tech interface of the 70s although it's mostly used on devices so advanced that even the big visionaries of that age couldn't even dream about it.

Is it nostalgia? Or more like the Stockholm Syndrome? Or does it just hit a sweet spot of usability and simplicity?

Comment What if... (Score 4, Insightful) 136

What if Agile is better suited for other tasks than software development? I think Agile is an elegant way of approaching some kinds of creativity, but it just doesn't seem to work for most aspects of software-development.

Making radio shows is more of an iterative kind of creativity with lots of loosely-coupled ingredients where throwing away an item and replacing it with another won't destroy the whole format, so you can start off with a format, broadcast it, and add/remove items as you go.

Software is completely different. You create it once and after the first release you have to support it for eternity. Every new addition adds another layer of complexity, you can't just remove a feature without breaking other things or add a feature without duplicating functionality. For every iteration you'll need an overview and a deep knowledge of the whole system.

Comment Re:Good thing is... (Score 1) 228

[quote] but lets just wait how happy they will be when the telcos change strategy (e.g. higher fees and data caps) to get their investments back.

With the current scheme, the users who still use sms pay for the too cheap data plans of others. And the majority with low/occasional data usage pay for the minority that use 2+GB per month. That's not very fair. Prices will rise, bandwith caps will be tightened, but I'd rather pay a fair price than being robbed by insane sms rates, roaming charges and blocked services.

Comment Good thing is... (Score 2) 228

This idea comes frome one of the most corporate-friendly governments the country has had in a long time. The three ruling parties are all right-wing:
1. VVD: liberal, capitalist, pro privatization of state-run companies;
2. CDA: christian democrats. They're the initiators of this law;
3. PVV: anti-muslim, anti-immigration, populist. Not really part of the government, but they promised to agree on most things (except for their anti-Muslim stance).

The opposing parties are labour, socialist, environmentalist, liberal and two small christian parties.

I can't imagine why any of those parties would vote against this law (except for one or two small ones), so I would be very, very surprised if this law won't be passed.

Comment work pc = scrap heap (Score 1) 498

Since work pc's mostly are more than one generation older than enthusiast's pc's, it might even be feasible to give your own written-off (and unsellable) hardware a second life at work. At home I upgraded my 22" Samsung monitor to a 24" monitor, while my boss still mandates a 19" screen (because 1280x1024 is the target resolution for our product). I brought my 22" screen and a cheap dual-head graphics board to work so now I have 22" for Visual Studio and 19" for Outlook/internet/testing/comparing. Works like a charm while only costing me about 25 euros (for the gpu), which is a lot cheaper than the hassle of getting a work-provided second monitor.

Comment So basically... (Score 1) 200

...if the government doesn't like you, all they have to do is dig into your activities to find something illegal and use that as a reason to disable your ID-card and transform you into a second-rate citizen?

I'm sure they won't do this the first ten years, or at least until everyone is used to having a chip inside their bodies, but once the chip is the only way to be part of society, they can do whatever they want. And that's scary.

Comment it matters a lot (Score 4, Insightful) 545

Touch typists generally use more verbose variable names and more comments, because it's much more natural for them to type a lot of words. This makes their code a lot more readable, which saves money in the end since a *lot* of the cost of software is in maintenance and the only performance factor that really counts is not cpu cycles, memory usage or bandwith utilization, but euros, dollars, rupees, yens or whatever your legal tender is. The programmer's time is (one of) the most costly aspect(s) of software development. A crufty codebase is much easier to read and maintian with comments *really* explaining fixes and variable names explaining what they're used for. I see so much code with comments like '// Issue #24654' or variable names like 'i' or 'j' in functions that span more than 50 lines (or whatever fits in one screen).

Of course there's more than typing speed involved in making maintainable code and I'm sure there are non touch typists who force themselves to make their code readable, but being able to type fast without thinking helps a lot.

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