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Comment Re:Reality is... (Score 1) 189

This is entirely too sensible and therefore has no chance whatsoever of being generally adopted.

Reality is that passwords are a huge usability problem that is exacerbated by trying to treat the user as a programmable system component. Sadly, passwords of practical length/format don't, and probably can't, provide much security. And users, in general, are not reliably programmable.

What's my answer? Don't have one. But what folks are trying to do isn't working and probably can't work.

I think that the situation might be worth worrying about. But what do I know?

Comment Re:Am A Noob Too (Score 3, Insightful) 277

"Think a non-network engineer can do or wants to do any of that stuff?"

Hell, I don't think most folks who could do that stuff have any desire to actually do it for their household gear ... and then deal with the inevitable breakdowns ... especially if some clownshow in Redmond or Shanghai is perpetually sending out broken automatic "firmware" updates to enhance security or "user experience".

Comment Re: In other words.. (Score 1) 221

W95 OSR2 USB support pretty much didn't work at all, ever. It took about five years for USB support in any OS to reach the level of being a crapshoot -- some stuff working flawlessly and other stuff not working at all. After 2002 or so, USB usually worked in Windows. Persuading Unixes to work with USB was a challenge.for another few years after 2002. Not that it couldn't be made to work ... eventually ... if one was patient enough.

Comment Re:In other words.. (Score 1) 221

Personally, I thought Windows peaked along about Win95 OSR2 -- which was actually quite a good OS for 1997. Fast, compact, ran OK with next to no memory and was very reliable. Pretty much all downhill from there I think.

But what does one do for applications? And I should think the lack of USB support that works might be an issue.

Comment Re:Not sure you have a lot of options? (Score 2) 221

If one has PCs in their care that have minimal/no exposure to the internet, is updating them at all advisable? It's clear that Microsoft can't QA their products adequately. And they are hardly alone in that. IMO, that probably makes updates a greater risk than malware.

Frankly the "cloud" is increasingly like an uncharted polar sea full of icebergs and rocks. Turning your navigation over to pilots who are questionably competent and quite possibly on drugs as well may not be a good idea. May be best to sail only close to home and only on days when the visibility is good and the seas calm.

Comment Re:I always use my home as an example (Score 1) 146

"Some places don't even have street names. See Japan ..."

Japan does have a building address system. See But like a lot of things Japanese it's different than what we Westerners are used to. It works. Mail gets delivered. It's computer comprehensible ... probably

Comment Re:I always use my home as an example (Score 1) 146

"The other one is an unfounded and as-yet unsupported belief that autonomous vehicles will eliminate traffic deaths and accidents."

Not eliminate. Reduce.

It's a reasonable expectation I think. Long term, anyway. Autonomous cars probably aren't going to speed, run red lights, try to beat trains to level crossings, etc, etc, etc. Yes, there will be a large number of accidents -- some serious, some fatal -- while the cars learn to recognize open manhole covers, moose, hand lettered signs that say "BRIDGE OUT". But learn they will.

It'll be interesting to see how "Silicon Valley" folks handle a domain where they are successfully sued for the damages caused by their screw-ups. Because they ARE going to be sued. And they are going to lose a lot of those suits. My guess is that they are not going to like it.

Comment Re:A minor ephiphany (Score 1) 349

Well, I'd probably use csv. But few folks outside of IT have any idea what it is. And, in fairness xls does allow formulas and allow plots to be specified. If your journal publishes other kinds of papers besides those dealing with lengthy lists of gene codes, maybe xls is a suitable one-size-fits-all data archive format ... maybe ... I guess ...

Comment A minor ephiphany (Score 5, Insightful) 349

Without diminishing the other comments, it crossed my mind that the issue here is probably not whether Excel was used in the research. It's one of getting backup (supplementary) data into publishable form. That'd occur after the authors(s) had written their paper using their normal toolset for their work and gotten the paper through review. At this point, they are supposed to package up their data in some format dictated by the journal they are publishing in. Apparently .xls is an acceptable format -- which is not irrational. The format is documented and widely supported.

Anyway, the authors are just cleaning up and getting on with their lives -- cleaning the glassware (if any), paying any bills, archiving their data and scripts, returning borrowed equipment, etc. They are going to convert their data to .xls using whatever quick and dirty tool they can find. I doubt they are going to type tens of thousands of genome codes in manually. They'll use some tool they got from a buddy or write something themselves in Perl or Python or whatever scripting language they know. And they'll check the output to make sure that Excel loads it and that it's about the right length and that the first page or so and the last page look reasonable. And off it goes.

I don't think most folks outside of IT (and probably most in IT) are all that aware of Excel's flaky and sometimes bizarre data conversions. And, assuming that there's an unambiguous one to one translation between gene codes and excel mangled gene codes, this probably isn't a big deal. Anyone using the archived data will scratch their heads, maybe ask around, figure out what's happened, fix the data, and get on with THEIR research.

Comment Re:In other news... (Score 1) 349

"...scientists are too fucking stupid to use Excel properly."

So, who, other than you of course, is Excel's target audience?

I can tell you, it's not me.

I'm only willing to fight with Excel/Open Office when I wand to do plots. And that's only because gnuplot is even more obtuse than the spreadsheets.

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