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Comment Re:Don't buy this (Score 1) 437

Do you have a cat in your house? How well does hang-drying handle pet dander?

The answer pet owners want to know is how does this sonic dryer fare at removing kitty's mess of fibers.

Don't think that pet hair can lodge itself into cloth pretty well? It's amazing what is floating around the air or well hidden in the pattern on a sofa at a pet owner's house during springtime. I don't need to save 35 minutes on a 55 minute cycle once if I have to spend 5 minutes every day lint rolling everything I wear for decades.

At least I can go do something else while the clothes are in the dryer.

Comment Re:Perfect timing (Score 2) 48

Having such a huge wealth of public domain images all together on one seemingly well-designed search engine will be great for finding substitutions.

The images and videoes are searchable by tags. They have really good descriptions that break into keywords well. Lots of images of hardware, astrophotographs, locations, mission patches, buildings and people.

This is a huge resource of labeled images for supervised machine learning. A massive gift to anyone wanting to do image processing.

Comment Re:Lies? (Score 1) 548

Just because the standard for a title where you live is low enough to admit anyone who self-identifies does not mean that other people place a lot of value in their definition of that title.

Depending on where you work there is a very clear line for being an engineer. In many cases Engineer is a protected title with legal obligations.

Only passing the PE as an EIT can you actually call yourself an Engineer in Texas. Even software developers in Texas, USA have to site before the Board of Professional Engineers and pass the Exam to call themselves an Engineer.

You can't just walk in with your freshly minted Software 'Engineering' degree from an ABET certified college program. You have to be a Texas Engineer in Training (EIT) to register to take the PE exam. That is usually having worked under a PE mentor in the capacity you are training for.

This is very similar to other protected titles in other counties like Registered Pharmacist in the UK.

This title caries with it a lot of ethical and legal requirements that most "coders" or "programmers" would not be able to meet just based on the code they write. But such titles carry with it the authority to tell management where they can stick it when they ask for faster, cheaper by cutting corners that are not Salespeople Features.

The biggest lie, just based on the number of empty GitHub Projects is probably "I can do this."

Comment Cargo Cult Metrics without science (Score 1) 234

The Road to Performance Is Littered with Dirty Code Bombs

Unexpected encounters with dirty code will make it very difficult to make a sane prediction.

Dirty code is defined as ' overly complex or highly coupled.' As a programer you are expected to deliver X number of features by Y date. Unless one of those features is 'simple and loosely coupled code' what does that have to do with predicting anything? For performance you don't predict. Experiments are the only thing you have that work: test and change and re-test and un-change and re-test, endlessly. Anything else is voodoo programming, not to insult the pracitioners of Santaria, Vodou or Hoodoo.

How about predicting the schedule? I recall that Steve McConnell once joked that to get better at estimating we need to get better at estimating. (This may have been someone else.) Greg Wilson showed we can do this in programming, and Computer Science in general. We only have to do scientific experimentation with various methods. We throw away what doesn't work (instead of writing pulpy business books to bilk people out of money.) But you'll still have to run a lot of tests to do that, too.

It is not uncommon to see "quick" refactorings eventually taking several months to complete. In these instances, the damage to the credibility and political capital of the responsible team will range from severe to terminal. If only we had a tool to help us identify and measure this risk.

It is my opinion that any refactoring that cannot be done by an automatic program isn't refactoring. The original definition of refactoring is just 'factoring' or re-organizing the code. It is not a re-writing as in an 'several months' effort.

Misuse of a sexy, trendy name from the 90s does not change this. All re-writing suffers the risk of second-system syndrome and not in the throw-one-away sense of prototyping. Do you have a button to press in your IDE to make the change? Do you have in mind a short sed statement, simple awk program, EMACS macros or a on-hand shell scriptlet to do the transformation? If not then you cannot get away from re-thinking the problem. This will require re-design of the solution and re-implementation of the feature. Each of these carries time risk at least as high as the original work.

What if the problem is overly complex or highly coupled? The code may merely be an expression of this. In this case only a paradigm or perspective change by the customer, developer or user can untangle the problem. The computer cannot help you do anything but automate making a mess if the problem is a mess. Changing perspective is often an unbound-in-time problem for human beings. Good luck with estimating completion dates for that.

In fact, we have many ways of measuring and controlling the degree and depth of coupling and complexity of our code. Software metrics can be used to count the occurrences of specific features in our code. The values of these counts do correlate with code quality.

In fact, Greg Wilson showed in his presentation that almost every metric on the market when analyzed showed no better and usually equal predictive power as simple counts of Lines of Code.

The situation in programming is almost as if more code equals more bugs while less code equals less bugs.

This seems obvious and trivial, but this is quite real and has serious implications. One of those is the increasing spread of syntactic sugar in programming languages. Another is the proliferation of VM models that take over more features like threading and memory management over time. This is enabling less skilled programmers to do things that once required lots of skill, training and thought to implement. This also forces certain performance requirements for applications, e.g. the arguably fictitious idea that Java Virtual Machine is bloated and slow so all Java applications must be bloated and slow.

One downside to software metrics is that the huge array of numbers that metrics tools produce can be intimidating to the uninitiated. That said, software metrics can be a powerful tool in our fight for clean code.

But if they are no better than simple counts of Lines of Code, why should the uninitiated bother? If you know that the more you write the more bugs you are going to have, why not seek to write less instead?

They can help us to identify and eliminate dirty code bombs before they are a serious risk to a performance tuning exercise.

The fastest code is that which is never run. The only code without (implementation) bugs is code that doesn't exist. Why is quicksort so quick? Because it does less than other sort algorithms.

This is also, I think, why a lot of great programmers are known for writing either some major tool or a programing language. Rephrase the original problem in a well-matched language or tool's command interface. Then you only have to write a little amount of code. Writing parsers is so well known of a task that many tools exist to process a description of a language into a compiler automatically. The real trick is realizing you need to do this the first time, not the second time around.

This is well covered by the other advice in the Contributions like Unix Tools and Simplicity and Automate.

Comment Re:It's not the highway infrastructure (Score 1) 469

It is funny to note that one of the original - and never met - goals of the original President Eisenhower Federal Highway system was to replace bad city-planned roads to reduce congestion. The ironic fact the system increases congestion it by creating choke points to get on and off it is lost by many.

The real root of the problem is that people are either unwilling or unable to live within a short distance to their workplace. Many large cities were not designed to handle the volume of commuters that we have had for at least 20 years. People live in the suburbs (for a variety of reasons; some due to economics, others due to a desire to live in areas with lower population density), and commute to the city centers to work.

The highway system in the United States is rather unusual. Most countries would design a system to maximize the utility. Lots of high density living near high density employment plus walking, cycling and mass transit. Then minimizing problems like traffic jams by using turnabouts and parallel paths. Instead, the United States highway system was built for the military instead. It was created by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, popularly known as the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act (Public Law 84-627).

Originally this system got raw material from one side of the country to another to manufacture planes, guns, ammo and ships. It was also envisioned as a great lever on the economy. But the immediate social cost of this high-speed bypass was destroying little towns that grew up on existing roads like Highway 66, a road that already crossed the entire country.

But the system was funded at a time when Nuclear War was the next big thing just around the corner. One intention or clear effect is spreading living out into the new suburbs and exurbs to reduce the impact of a nuclear strike on the core of a city. In fact the roads around every major city aren't designed to avoid traffic jams but instead to ensure:

the importance of the Interstate System to evacuation of cities in time of national emergency.

-- the Clay Commission.

This was the time when everyone was told on the brand new TVs that success means 'a steady job, a home out of town, a car, two kids and husband+wife.' That is when they weren't practicing duck and cover.

Where these yahoos intended to put these people fleeting the burning inner cities during war? The imaginary copious amounts of farmland that planners though should be able to support them. Yes, this was during a time when farming was already well on it's way to consolidating into agribusiness.

No, people didn't decide that suddenly the suburbs were the peak of civilization (even if we parody that in the movies.) The citizens of the United States bought a big pile of propaganda. The sad fact is that the people who wrote that propaganda actually believed it was to help them.

The problem can only be solved by reducing the need for people to commute. There are a lot of ways to do this:

Tell that to three generations of management that believe in face-to-face time. Google and other Stack-ranking "Internet Native" companies design their HR system to terminate remote workers or flex workers as fast as they can hire them. Sixty years of white flight, black flight, Mexican-ization, gentrification, urban blights, drug wars, gang wars, the real estate collapse and protectionist nimby laws the problems haven't been solved by staying at home. In places like Irving, California, that are built on the Internet, things got much worse. The demographics keep changing but the work culture and laws didn't.

And the roads? The roads pretty much stayed the same. Literally. As in until you couldn't really drive on them anymore.

Infrastructure's expensive. Someone's gotta pay to make it then someone's gotta pay to keep it up.

Comment Money problems; money solutions (Score 1) 86

Is there a charity that goes to at-risk places like these mining villages and towns then pays the family to put their children into school?

Something Like:

But where I can directly 'employ' a child to go to school and get a report on how well they are doing, a transparency report on what portion of my money is making to the child vs overhead?

If there isn't I think there should be. Can you offer a family more money, food and opportunity to put their child into a small village school than the local miners or child laborers?

If so then you can effectively buy happiness for these kids. Or at least a shot at a childhood while raising the pay of miners who's "tiny slave labor" market now has to compete with the charity.

I think there's a missed marketing opportunity here for Apple. All they are doing is pulling their money away from a toxic situation like child labor which hurts their reputation with people who buy luxury electronics in various shades of grey and white. They could be touting how some of your money for your iThing is being spent on teaching children who would have instead slaved away to build your toy.

Comment Re:I don't like it (Score 1) 185

The free to play web-browser based game Kingdom of Loathing had a web-based IRC chat system long before Slack, Matrix, Gitter, Mattermost, et cetera.

Access to KoL chat requires passing a basic English exam. Several questions are aimed at common grammatical errors (to vs too, their and there and they're).

There is less low quality trolling and a lot less bot spam.

But even with a basic language test you will still have worthless discourse. The spelling might be a bit better, though.

Comment How does KDE compare to Cinnamon? (Score 1) 89

After years of threats, I finally managed to eliminate all the apps that were tying me to a Windows 7 desktop or a Macbook workstation. I've used Linux heavily for years, but never as my desktop OS. It was always my app, web, or build server, and I'd interact with the machine via bash over SSH.

Now that I'm on a Linux desktop, I'm fairly comfortable with Mint's 'Cinnamon' UI, which I understand is a forked version of Gnome 2.

Normally, if I wanted to experiment with a new UI, I'd just dive in, but I'm still in the phase of building my expectations and lists of needs. (Do I really need Sublime or will Gedit suffice? How do I change that default icon for Firefox to one I'm more likely to recognize?)

Does KDE offer me any great advantages over Cinnamon or Gnome? Any of you more experienced desktop aficionados have an opinion you'd care to share with a relative novice?

Comment Re:They forgot compilers (Score 1) 115

I think the reason they didn't mention compilers, and OSes for that matter is that they limited themselves to things that are actually useful for the end user, not what lie behind it.

At one point compilers and OSes were the things used by the end-user. The very definition of an operating system is a kernel, standard library and compiler. This means that for most of its history Microsoft did not actually sell a actual computer operating system by definition. But for many users their computer is just their favorite application. To your accountant the computer is just a means to access email, quickbooks and irs.gov. To your kids the computer is the thing that provides access to disney.com.

The biggest change has been in the users, not so much in what was provided. The typical target user has not been academics or geeks in decades. Applications are targeted at children with no technical skills, busy parents with no technical skills and professionals with absolutely no technical skills. They interface to the computer in their pocket through rote, learned application-centric tasks. Like thumb pressing a share button to tweet a picture of their cat.

Video games are a major component of the history of computing and it is important to include something to represent this industry.

The popular media may want to whitewash history but major improvements in computing like operating systems, networking and personal computers follow two very end-user focused applications of processing power. One is pornography. The other is video games. Ken Thompson developed little project called UNIX based on a system to play a game called Space Travel on a PDP-7. That design seems to have done pretty well. The success of AOL hinged upon their dominance of the online "dating" scene, not so much their free coasters. Modern machine learning algorithms are designed with kernels that run efficiently on PC video cards. The same cards which had their expensive research and development paid for by at home video game enthusiasts craving a few more pixels or FPS.

But to your system administrator you are all equally end-users. Compiler in hand or not.

"The pillars of your bright new world were built by people whose minds are so arcane and alien to you that you will never be able to comprehend exactly how much you rely on the hobbies of dead legends."
-- Lesrahpem "LINUX INSIDE!" (paraphrased) 2009 September 22 03:44 AM

Comment Re:Whoah there (Score 1) 22

But in saying it this way, you're attempting to imply you can provide evidence. And I am simply pointing out that there is no reason to even consider that this is a possibility. Don't tell me you will do it later, because that's irrelevant. It's no different than saying nothing at all, or even saying "I have no evidence" or "I cannot provide evidence." They are all exactly equivalent in the end, except that the other methods do not have the implication that you might actually provide the evidence, despite you not giving us a reason to believe that, so it smacks of dishonesty.

Just say nothing at all, unless you have something to contribute. You'll be better off.

Comment Re:It's the media's fault (Score 1) 22

If not for you, then it's not difficult for anybody.

I make no claims about what is not hard for others. I do assert that most people do not do it, regardless of how hard it is.

In this case blaming the media is just doing the democrats' dirty work ...

Yawn. I am uninterested of your characterizations. Either actually make an argument against what I wrote, or do not. So far, you have not.

We all have the same power to turn our backs. You're not that special.

You are not, in any way, arguing against what I wrote.

In theory humans can make the choice.

Of course they can. So? Again: this, in no way whatsoever, implies that the media is not to blame. It just means that we have the power to ignore their bad behavior. But it's still their bad behavior. They are still to blame for it. Obviously.

Comment Re:Whoah there (Score 1) 22

Incorrect. Page views and the like are cash money.

I meant -- obviously -- there is no journalistic or democratic reason to do it. Everything has a reason.

I don't know of any broadly reported unsourced attacks on Hillary Clinton.

Of course not, you don't read the NYT.

So you have no examples, then. Good to know.

Comment Re:Whoah there (Score 1) 22

I'm not talking about evidence, I'm talking about railgunner's assertion that it's "obvious".

I get that, but the main point is that there's no reason to report it in the first place, because there is no evidence ... regardless of how much you think it might be in line with his character to do it.

Besides, it worked so well on Clinton, can you blame anyone for adopting the tactic?

I don't know of any broadly reported unsourced attacks on Hillary Clinton. Can you give an example? The main attacks I know of on her were based on hacked documents that the DNC and others admitted were genuine; on a report by the FBI that no one called into question on the facts (though admittedly we couldn't verify some of those facts, such as that the information Clinton mishandled was actually classified); and so on.

Comment Re:It's the media's fault (Score 1) 22

The media has 'trained' us?

Yes.

Is it really so hard to turn your back?

Not for me, no. I am one of the very few who actively dismisses any unsourced report.

Where is all this *personal responsibility* that you speak of?

Of course, it is our responsibility to ignore unsourced reports. But that doesn't mean the media isn't responsible for incessantly giving those unsourced reports to us ... obviously.

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