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Comment Re:If you want to write a book, just do it (Score 1) 263

Sure, yeah, you could take a few weekend courses and bang out some stuff and possibly even find a job paying decent money. But if you want to move up in the world you need to turn your hack and slash techniques into a refined art. The kind of crap commodity programmers write is the stuff that skilled developers get paid a lot of money cleaning up or just re-implementing. (...) If you want to work in the big leagues on important things, you need to be open to learning some things and respect the craft.

With all possible respect to all the CS experts of the world, that's not what they teach. Finding a good organization of your application that makes structures easy to break down, processes easy to follow and changes easy to implement doesn't involve deep, abstract mathematical formulations with optimal answers. It's about creating functional units (objects, layers, modules, services) with clear responsibilities that abstract away internal details, create well defined and narrow interactions, break up and explain complex logic, that everything behaves like and contains what you'd expect from common language definitions and naming conventions and with sufficient high level documentation that anyone of moderate intelligence can understand what bits need to go where.

Or to put it another way, if you sent the source code through an obfuscator the CS experts would probably be just as happy with the output as the input, after all the algorithms and functionality are all unchanged. It would make it an incomprehensible mess of spaghetti code and "there be dragons" that nobody understand how or why works, but those are practical concerns. The same is error and exception handling, CS is all about correct algorithms that never get called with invalid input or run into any of those practical problems that cause poorly written software to crash, often without leaving behind any useful reason why and if there's any possibility to just fail this and move on.

I think you're onto something about the craft and the art. If you want to make swords for an army it's a craft, if you're making a nobleman's fine blade it's an art. Most of the time what we want is robust craftsmanship, process as many passable swords as possible and discard any failures. Not very glamorous and not very artistic, we're not awarding points for style or elegance but whether the code you've built is a reliable work horse that gets the job done. Or maybe the difference between an institutional chef and a fine dining chef. One is serving a hundred people a good meal, the other can spend forever making a plate of fine art. Both are very different from being a poor chef, but being good at one doesn't really make you good at the other. And CS is the Michelin guide department.

Comment Re:Not a unique situation (Score 2) 94

I bought a PC a while back which the family stopped using because they forgot their password and couldn't get in and it didn't come with media so they could recover it, obviously they never made recovery media but I'm sure lots of people don't — and of those who do, probably very many of them lose it anyway. I recovered the Admin password and ran the recovery on the hidden partition and bingo, back to factory state.

There's a shitload of people buying PCs for no good reason all the time.

Comment Re:He would have been better off ... (Score 4, Insightful) 114

And keep a copy of your stuff on hand before you get fired.

If you were doing it at work on company systems it's probably not "your stuff" anyway, it's probably small utilities he used to make his job easier. If you want to do something for yourself do it on your own time on your own machine, don't use any company resources and try not to do anything that would make them question your loyalty to your day job. Being a consultant or contractor is fine because everyone knows that. Being an employee with a secret double agenda is not.

Comment Re:I think the answer is obvious (Score 1) 246

Reliable is more important than cheap.

You need both for uptake. The average person won't spend more than about $300 for a gadget, and they'd rather spend $100. $300 is a pretty feasible price target for a small printer with one extruder. You could sell it without a heated bed at that price, and tell people to print only in PLA. There is high-temp PLA now which can be annealed in an oven and then handle somewhat higher temperatures, so that would cover most people's needs. Do a delta since it is cheaper to make it stable and avoid backlash, and because it uses only four sensors — ideally three hall for the X Y Z_MAX, and an inductive on the Z_MIN for bed leveling. $300 is not even a challenging price point; it can be even cheaper if you skip a display, which I don't actually think is that useful if you're not installing the printer in a remote location.

Comment Re:Lucky he got off so light (Score 1) 114

Somebody still owns that ISP's assets. Two things, though...

1) Good luck getting $26K from an inmate - at a buck or two a day, twenty-six grand will take a lot longer than two years, and

Assuming he had zero assets before the trial. Any down payment on a mortgage, a car in good shape and you're pretty close.

2) If the courts determined that he only did $26,000.00 worth of damage, I'm guessing this ISP was probably already circling the bowl. After all, if he was solely responsible for breaking this ISP, one would expect a far higher award for damages, regardless of (1), above.

Probably. It could also be that it was easy to prove he did at least $26k worth of damage, he has no more assets and the trustee wants the bankruptcy settled and think the practical value of a higher judgement is zero. Except for when the RIAA/MPAA/BSA want big numbers for PR reasons, they're often willing to settle for what you have.

Comment Re:Stupid (Score 1) 232

Your green option is completely unviable not to mention that it has the same problem that you mentioned yourself, it's similar to petroleum diesel, hello NOx and particulate emissions which are primarily the reason for this ban in the first place.

No. Politics is the reason for this ban in the first place because the NOx is a solved problem with urea injection and the particulate emissions of gasoline are more hazardous and just as prevalent as those from diesel.

Comment Re:How the fuck.... (Score 1) 232

The proliferation of gas at service stations is even higher in Oz than in Europe. I had no problem driving an gas powered Commodore from Perth to Broome, I don't see why trucks would either.
Also the really long haul trucks have much bigger tanks than the traditional ones.

Yes, but for a laden truck the question is whether it's getting high or low single-digit MPGs, so it's still an issue. The energy density of ethanol or propane is arse.

Comment Smart but foolish (Score 3, Funny) 114

You gotta hand it to the guy for negotiating for the rights to the software. He kinda was *TRYING* to do the right thing by making sure he had the proper rights to the software (presumably before he sold it himself). A more unscrupulous man might just have stolen the software and used it to start his own business without any notification at all.

Comment Re:I think the answer is obvious (Score 1) 246

3D printing is still fiddly, complex, error-prone, expensive and slow.

This. We could stop here but let's not, I have more to say as well.

FDM style printers (the cheapest kind) require wrapping your head around calibration, nozzle diameters, temperatures, slices, alignments, supports, bed heating, the properties of PLA / ABS and all the rest. If you're lucky you'll set the printer going and hours later your efforts will yield some crudely finished single colour part. If you're unlucky you'll come back to discover something that has skewed left, warped on its base, or turned into some dante-esque spider's web that has stuck to everything.

#1 thing that should have been done/should be done to improve 3d printer uptake is working automatic bed leveling. AFAICT (and I am about to test this theory) the best way to accomplish this is with an inductive sensor designed for iron, detecting an aluminum print bed. Aluminum is pretty much the best base anyway, since glass can break all to crap while you are removing your print job. Inductive sensors literally cost five bucks and the hardware needed to interface one which isn't already present on e.g. RAMPS literally amounts to a grand total of one voltage divider, aka two resistors. IIRC 10k and 15k are typical, but whatever it takes to get the output signal down to 5v. It doesn't even matter whether you get one which is NO or NC because the software (Marlin, in my case) can detect either type of signal with correct configuration.

The #2 thing that should have been done is more centralized sharing of print temperature settings for materials. After bed leveling, just finding working print settings is the biggest PITA. If you're not buying from someone who gives you some starting values to work with, then you have to go on a web safari quest to figure out where to start.

Way down the list, probably, is eliminating all these stupid microswitches. Hall sensors are more reliable and cost little more. Even if you have to get them on eBay, whole PCBs with a sensor mounted on them are only about twice as expensive as microswitches worth buying.

As for the single-material print job issue, this is the printer I've got, it's reasonably priced and its great sin seems to be a crap auto-leveler. I've got an inductive one in the mail. Deltas take most of the fiddly-ness out of the system at the cost of potentially dropping a hot extruder on your print job if you don't program them correctly. Which all comes back to your point... they should be set up better for the user. I am willing to do all this fooling around to get the thing working but the average user just wants to print and have something come out.

I actually don't think having a crappy-looking single-color print job come out is what keeps most people uninterested in 3d printing at all, though. I think it's really all about the PITA factor. If you offered people a machine which was both cheap and easy to use, they'd jump all over it even if it only had typical resolution and speed and was limited to a couple of materials.

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