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Comment It's irrelevent in the Real World (Score 1) 198

And I mean the real world of sensational news stories and public expectations.

Take, for example, air bags. I don't think anyone would argue that air bags have saved thousands of lives and prevented much more serious injury. But we have just seen defects that resulted in a small number of lost lives and injuries result in sensational press stories, CEOs getting grilled by Congress and massive recalls. The "we caused less damage" argument won't cut it in the long run. In the end, the argument that wins is "We've done everything we can do and we didn't make any mistakes".

Engineers working on autonomous driving cars had better start asking questions like this:

Are all of the critical sensors and computers doing three way voting so they can continue to work in the event of a failure?

Are the remaining systems at least two way voting or using some other sort of error detection?

Are all of the actuators fault tolerant? Braking systems should be fully duplicated. Steering actuators should be triple redundant so that even if one fails in a hard over mode the other two can compensate.

Comment Re:PSA: on "fingerprint scanners" (Score 1) 432

They don't work if you use a sanding block for a few hours without gloves on. And then don't work a few weeks after the prints are relearned and the skin grows back...

But that said, I have seen postings that somebody with an ordinary person's resources has figured out how photograph your fingerprints and make it work; so, it isn't that hard.

Comment Fault Tolerant? (Score 1) 186

I wonder how many of those actuators will be fault tolerant. I can't seem to find any information on the web, but if the auto industry is up to their usual tricks, they won't be. Not until a failed steering motor causes a massive fatal head-on on the Interstate.

They are probably still counting on the driver grabbing noticing there is a problem in 1/10th of a second, grabbing the steering wheel and fighting against a motor that is running at full torque because of the failure :-)

And we haven't even started talking about software bugs...

Comment The Other Reason (Score 1) 562

I at least partly agree with Mark Zuckerberg to the extent in that nobody should lose their job over their political beliefs -- at least if they don't interfere with the ability to do the job. That caveat gets trickier when the person is in a leadership position.

There is another issue in play here: In my opinion: Believing anything Donald Trump says shows a serious lack of judgement.

Comment Re:Old sometimes better than new (Score 1) 60

The 8" (and 5 1/4") floppies were very fragile mechanically, but reliable if you were careful with them. Writing on them with a ballpoint pen or pencil would ruin them. Likewise, there was no cover for the media access hole when they were out of the drive; so, it was easy to contaminate them.

Comment Re:Oh yeah this'll be good. (Score 1) 274

3.5 mm headphone jacks are not solid. I've had three phones and one broken headphone jack and I rarely used it.

It is possible to make that style connector solid, but that only ones I have seen are the 1/4" ones made for the phone company 100 years ago and patch bays for recording studios (also long out of production).

AFIK, nobody has ever made a sturdy 3.5mm phone jack. And that might be on purpose: If the jack was strong, the PC board would end up getting broken.

The basic problem is that the phone plug is basically a big lever that sooner or later gets used to tear the jack apart.

The lightning plugs could be designed to break before the jacks do: But I'll bet they aren't -- why make it easier to break the cable instead of the expensive phone. :-)

Comment Re:Universities aren't completely honest either (Score 1) 420

Not to mention that your typical college student is not really ready to learn about group work and collaboration until you can ask the all important question: "Do you want to get paid?" :-)

And there is the issue of how to grade students when they have collaborated. Unless you have a course on collaboration...

Comment Re:Hacking (Score 1) 231

Hate to break this to you, but if he wins, we will be required by law to provide most of that information. To be in public service, you have to list everyone you have had significant business dealings with over the last three years. Actually, I take that back, you have to list everyone and every thing you have received income from. You don't heave to report who you have paid.

Comment Re:Lots of places use COBOL (Score 1) 217

Universities almost never taught COBOL. It was considered passé long before colleges ever started teaching computer science. Academics were definitely making fun of it by the mid '70s. One of the classic ways of hazing a new hire back in the early 80's was to leave a COBOL manual on their chair when they went to lunch on their first day.

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