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Comment Wrong question. (Score 1) 312

"Can anyone offer suggestions for how to convince the owner that setting up a test suite is in his own best interest?"

What bullshit. Perhaps the question you should ask is, "How can I determine whether setting up a test suite is in his best interest?" But if you insist on pursuing an answer to your original question, you might want to dedicate some time to other questions, like figuring out how to convince people that humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth together, or that people's astrological signs play an important role in determining their personalities, or that ingesting colloidal silver is a solution to a wide range of health problems.

You are part of the problem.

Comment The fatal flaw... (Score 1) 287

Unless they're somehow collecting at least twice as much light, assuming that the beam splitting is perfectly efficient, then I fail to see how what they're doing really helps, as both of the images (or image streams) are going to wind up being shot at at least twice the ISO that they otherwise would be. That would not be good for sharpness and noise. There better be a large lens collecting light for these cameras.

Comment Re:The best resolution... (Score 4, Interesting) 238

I believe you may be falling prey to what Kurzweil warns about in his response to Meyers: linear thinking. Things go from impossible to inevitable without us much noticing. The bottom of a parabola looks a lot like a horizontal line.

Let's say Kurzweil has been too optimistic about the rate of growth of our understanding of the way the brain works. Assuming the exponent on the rate of growth of our knowledge and technology is greater than one, and assuming that Penrose and Searle are full of it—which they IMO are—and there isn't some mystical quantum mechanical woo-woo that is just as irrational as the Silicon Valley Deepak Chopra mumbo-jumbo that Meyers's crew accuses the Singularity Crows of pedaling, Kurzweil will ultimately be vindicated, even if he—or his cyborg replacement body—is not around to say, "I told you so."


1,400 Megapixel Pan-STARRS Telescope Comes Online 54

ElectricSteve writes "Astronomers in Hawaii have announced they've successfully managed to boot up the Pan-STARRS (Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System) telescope. Working from dusk to dawn every night, Pan-STARRS is able to map one-sixth of the sky each month, allowing astronomers to track all moving objects, calculate their orbits, and identify any potential threats to Earth. There are four Pan-STARRS cameras in total, each capable of capturing around 1.4 billion pixels over a sensor measuring 40 centimeters square. The focal plane of each camera contains an almost complete 64x64 array of CCD devices, each containing approximately 600x600 pixels, for a total resolution of 1.4 gigapixels."

Comment Re:-1 Troll (Score 1) 641

This is a pointless argument over definitions, but since you're attempting to co-opt for your own purposes the definition of a highly valuable piece of definitional real estate, I'm going to bite.

What you describe as "democracy" is not democracy. That everyone has the freedom to take their marbles and go home (i.e. create their own distribution) is not democracy. It's freedom. Freedom and democracy are related in that the latter is often seen as a way of achieving the former.

Democracy denotes a broad range of methods for collective decision making, among them representative and direct democracy.

An open source project is whatever the hell you want it to be. "Whatever the hell you want" is not democracy. That is freedom, to a first order approximation. The organizational and social and economic dynamics of free software vis-a-vis proprietary code are subtle and multilayered and not suited to simplistic reduction to a term like democracy.

Comment Re:Photoshop of a Monochrome Mac? (Score 1) 103

Two-bit would mean four levels; I think you mean one-bit ie. black and white. Regarding the SE vs. Plus, the SE had a newer/bigger ROM in it than the SE; perhaps this was the factor. I don't think the SE had Color QuickDraw in ROM as the SE/30 did, so that probably wasn't the issue.

Comment Re:Apple and Rails (Score 1, Interesting) 197

Yes, but while there may not be right and wrong opinions, opinions can definitely be either thoughtful or stupid. A case in point: Rails likes to give your database tables plural names. This is a stupid opinion. I explained this on #rubyonrails years ago, but it seems that the developers, DHH included, were so enamored with their pluralize method that they didn't want to rip it out and do the sane thing.

It's convention over configuration, not instead of configuration, I read in another comment. Well, I tried to configure Rails to not pluralize table names...and Rails broke. If the pull of tradition and convention is so strong that very few people stray out of the ruts worn into the beaten path, deciding to break with convention means fixing all the latent bugs in the system.

One of the reasons to prefer singular table names is that it improves Rails's interoperability with the applications that either want to supply data to or consume data created by Rails. Web apps do not exist in a vacuum. I was told by DHH that such things were outside the scope of Rails, and therefore those pluralize calls would stay for the rest of eternity. And thus everyone who has their first involvement with relational databases using Rails becomes brain damaged. Hooray for opinionated software?

I soured on Rails early, though I have tried to go back to it on occasion, only to find that the hype still exceeds the reality by a significant factor. I'm very much a right-tool-for-the-job kind of person, but I haven't come across a project where a feature in Rails makes it uniquely suited to the situation over something like Django.

Don't get me wrong, I think Rails gave web development frameworks a much-needed wake-up call. The Java way of doing things circa 2004 was horrible. But Rails has no monopoly on smart developers -- an understatement? -- and smart developers are quick to adopt good ideas.


Music By Natural Selection 164

maccallr writes "The DarwinTunes experiment needs you! Using an evolutionary algorithm and the ears of you the general public, we've been evolving a four bar loop that started out as pretty dismal primordial auditory soup and now after >27k ratings and 200 generations is sounding pretty good. Given that the only ingredients are sine waves, we're impressed. We got some coverage in the New Scientist CultureLab blog but now things have gone quiet and we'd really appreciate some Slashdotter idle time. We recently upped the maximum 'genome size' and we think that the music is already benefiting from the change."
The Almighty Buck

America's Army Games Cost $33 Million Over 10 Years 192

Responding to a Freedom Of Information Act request, the US government has revealed the operating costs of the America's Army game series over the past decade. The total bill comes to $32.8 million, with yearly costs varying from $1.3 million to $5.6 million. "While operating America's Army 3 does involve ongoing expenses, paying the game's original development team isn't one of them. Days after the game launched in June, representatives with the Army confirmed that ties were severed with the Emeryville, California-based team behind the project, and future development efforts were being consolidated at the America's Army program office at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. A decade after its initial foray into the world of gaming, the Army doesn't appear to be withdrawing from the industry anytime soon. In denying other aspects of the FOIA request, the Army stated 'disclosure of this information is likely to cause substantial harm to the Department of the Army's competitive position in the gaming industry.'"

Programmable Quantum Computer Created 132

An anonymous reader writes "A team at NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) used berylium ions, lasers and electrodes to develop a quantum system that performed 160 randomly chosen routines. Other quantum systems to date have only been able to perform single, prescribed tasks. Other researchers say the system could be scaled up. 'The researchers ran each program 900 times. On average, the quantum computer operated accurately 79 percent of the time, the team reported in their paper.'"
PlayStation (Games)

US Air Force Buying Another 2,200 PS3s 144

bleedingpegasus sends word that the US Air Force will be grabbing up 2,200 new PlayStation 3 consoles for research into supercomputing. They already have a cluster made from 336 of the old-style (non-Slim) consoles, which they've used for a variety of purposes, including "processing multiple radar images into higher resolution composite images (known as synthetic aperture radar image formation), high-def video processing, and 'neuromorphic computing.'" According to the Justification Review Document (DOC), "Once the hardware configuration is implemented, software code will be developed in-house for cluster implementation utilizing a Linux-based operating software."

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