* Posts by Eric O'Brien

8 posts • joined 8 Mar 2007

Coders are creatives too: Where's our love?...

Eric O'Brien

As many others

"No amount of training will *ever* get them beyond the basics. They just don't think the right way. They have learned it, but not understood it." ... I fear that a good percentage of the people of any "profession" might be described that way. Medical Doctors, Auto Mechanics, Psychologists, Massage Therapists, Dentists, Plumbers... a large portion of any group like that does fail to "have the necessary vital spark" for the discipline they've ended up practicing. You might not even notice the dimness until you've gone through a number of normal (mediocre) folks and then happened on someone whose level of skill stands out dramatically. Wow!


Beware of Macs in enterprise, security consultants say

Eric O'Brien

What if no Mac Server?

Is the weakness specifically in Mac OS *Server?*

That is, will things be OK if you have hundreds, or thousands, of Macintosh machines but NO Macintosh servers?


I saw aliens at Roswell, claims dead PR man

Eric O'Brien

LOTS of creatures here "look like us" :)

Earlier, LaeMi Qian wrote "Humanoid aliens? Again? ... What proportion of creatures on this planet resemble us physically?"

Completely skipping over the Roswell story here... but depending how you look at things, MANY creatures on Earth "resemble" humans (or us, them). For example, bilateral symmetry is pretty popular. A "face" is pretty common also (mouth, eyes, scent-detecting orifice...) Four limbs is a hot configuration also. (Mind you, most of us trot around on all of them at once...) Humans and zebras are actually very similar!

The "tube" design, where nutrition goes in the "front" end and waste exits from the "back" end is also a well-established approach.

Mind you, most vegetation and a lot of sea life don't fit the pattern. Indeed, we don't match well with starfish or carrots. However, neither of them are busy at work changing their environment. Making and launching space probes and such.

Snakes have a head, face, mouth, eyes, nose, ears... but lacking a way to reshape the world around them (and enough brains), they remain animals.

I don't know what an alien WOULD reasonably look like, but if the creature could not manipulate its environment, it's not likely they'd get into space at all!

If humans never made it, would a zebra have been the first Earth being on the Moon? Not likely, because with hoofs you do not build an industrial society.

I happen to suspect that whales and dolphins are VERY intelligent. But due to their physical "configuration" its not likely that THEY will be building space ships soon either.

So, while aliens that supposedly crashed on Earth would most likely NOT look like humans, they probably would look more like humans than starfish. Evolution-wise, you need to ask what is the benefit of radial, as opposed to bilateral symmetry. Many plants have radial symmetry. But they aren't building space ships either (at least, I haven't heard so).

An alien that is a "blob" is unlikely too: the same problem arises... how did they develop an industrial society? I could allow six legs rather than four, or something that normally uses all its limbs for moving around.

. . .

Hey everybody! Read some science fiction and get back to us. :)


Microsoft demos mind-bending photo app

Eric O'Brien

Very cool, but not really from MS

This is indeed very cool.

However, the technology (and technologists) appear to simply have been purchased by Microsoft. Buying someone else's innovation does not make the purchaser, themselves, innovative.

Other problem: the technology demo, at least, requires a minimum of Windows XP and (I think) IE 7. Oh: AND a really gnarly video card/GPU thingy. It won't work on my two year old vanilla Dell system.

My Macintosh is probably fast enough and the video card in it is probably up to snuff, but THIS computer won't work because... it's a Macintosh!

I don't too much mind the need for a powerful video processor... gee there are lots of things zipping around the screen in that demo! But the requirement of a Windows OS, running Internet Explorer suggests to me that development efforts are SEVERELY short-sighted.

What proprietary, closed, Windows OS/IE-embedded technologies are being relied on here? If you BEGIN building such awesome thing by relying on "special" features of Windows and the MS Browser, ever moving beyond that is going to be very difficult.


Microsoft waves in Minority Report-style computing era

Eric O'Brien

Vacuous demo there

I couldn't stand to watch the videos more than once but didn't the voice over say something like "live in a world of leisure where entertainment is king!" Yuck!

There were a couple of interesting things in there but what they showed over and over and over was moving, rotating and scaling photos. Have they nothing more interesting to show?

Anyone who finds the MS demos exciting, should most certainly take a look at "the real thing" at http://www.perceptivepixel.com/ -- there is FAR more conceptual depth shown there. And there are far more interface concepts than "drag with a finger instead of with a mouse." There are several examples of manipulating 3D structures, as well as using multiple fingers on both hands and having TWO people working at the same screen... either on their own objects or TOGETHER with the other person.


German cops will track G8 crusties by their smell

Eric O'Brien

Seems easy to monkey wrench

I don't support destructive protests, but this "scent bank" idea plus all the dog training must be costing quite a bit. And it seems the plan might so easily be disrupted...

What happens if everyone who thinks [dawn raids, very subtle] they might have, umm... been sniffed, trades 3 weeks of their dirty clothes with a number of grandmotherly protesters? Or collects 50 pairs of unwashed socks and distributes them for people to tie around their belts?

I wonder how much a radical shift in diet for a week, plus shaving all your hair (old scent in that, presumably) plus living in a different location for that week would change one's scent?

All the protesters dust their pants with cayenne pepper? Would a snort of that put a dog's nose out of commission for a few hours/days?

And so forth.


Lyrid meteors to sear Sunday's skies

Eric O'Brien


You perhaps allude to... Day of the Triffids?



Adobe edits the development cycle

Eric O'Brien

Same number of features?

"Some people feared this would mean fewer features. That hasn't been the case." I don't know how one might actually *count* features, but as an end-user of Photoshop I find the feature set of the upcoming CS3 to be pretty thin.

And this with a cycle time that's at least 30% longer moving from CS2 to CS3 than from CS to CS2. I count it to be about 24 months vs. 18 months.

There are plenty of possibilities for new features... it's not like there is "nothing more to do." I can only hope that this new approach to development will give us CS4 in 12 months, AND with some significant new features. :)

I wonder if the increase in the cycle time isn't because Adobe has gone to the "Suite" concept -- for each version of Creative Suite, aren't they aiming to rev ALL the products in the Suite? Products that are completed early must wait for which ever one takes the longest, right?