I can handle this one
Else if (too_cold)
69 posts • joined 7 Feb 2010
Else if (too_cold)
As much as I think the chief is lying, I have to say that I've been doing embedded software since the 1980s, and for most of that time I was the only one on God's green Earth who knew what most of the lines of code that I wrote actually did. Sure, we had peer review and SQA and audits, but If I wrote a line of code that turned off the Clean Mode and labeled it with a // Enable Clean Mode comment, then it would make it past the reviewers. Especially if there were pointers involved and maybe an enumeration in the mix. It is hard enough to detect unintentional errors in embedded C code. Finding an obfuscated intentional "error" is pretty unlikely. So, if I were doing embedded code for VW, why would I turn off the emissions controls? Maybe I think that the emissions rules are BS and that our customers deserve a better running car (not my personal opinion, mind you). Maybe I do it so that I earn the respect of my fellow engineers, or so I get to keep my job in a downturn because I am the Diesel Engine Wizard at VW. Embedded software doesn't have to be a black art, but in most organizations it is still practiced within a narrow slice of the organization without much visibility upward.
Sooner or later they are bound to do a PPNN with Scrapple! Please, oh please!
To second the previous post, the important point isn't that they fix that strut for the next flight. The point is to figure out how their processes allowed a defective critical strut to be assembled into the spacecraft in the first place. Whenever you analyse a system failure you look for where your processes let you down. The failure itself is interesting, but you can play whack-a-mole with individual part failures until you go out of business without getting to a reliable product. I would bet that when they re-examine their processes in light of this failure they identify at least a dozen other latent defect parts that were similarly under-spec but ended up close enough to work. These parts will all be corrected along with the "guilty" strut.
One aspect that they might be missing out in California is driving in a snowstorm, especially at night. It really changes everything when most of your vision is filled with an almost opaque wall of snowflakes flowing toward you. I'm not sure exactly how I see where I'm going in the snow. I follow the tire tracks or tail lights ahead of me if there are any. Otherwise I try to distinguish between the drifts and the bar ditch as best as I can. If there are phone poles I try to remember how far away from the road they are. I once had to turn around leaving a small northern plains town in a snow storm because once the phone poles ran out, there was nothing at all to drive by. Another thing that an autonomous car might have trouble with is getting around a break down or accident where someone is directing traffic by hand. I hope that they program the cars to not close off side driveways when approaching a traffic light. The car should stop short and flash the lights to let a car out, not close up the gap and block them in. For some reason, when I read about autonomous cars, I always flash back to the movie Airplane, with Otto the Autopilot.
It is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice.
Until 2038 when the current 112 year olds discover a 32 bit fountain of youth and we kick off another Baby Boom!
There was a rumor a while back of a Think-brand phone out of this. I have to say, if they built one I would find it hard to resist. As long as the phone was matte black with a ThinkPad logo, of course. I'm pretty happy with how Lenovo has held up the quality of the ThinkPad line and they still support the old ones well. Just a week or so ago I had to download Windows 95 drivers so I could run some DOS stuff on an ancient ThinkPad and all the drivers were still available from them. That's long term support!
Does anyone else remember visiting a giant white dome down near Greenwich back in 2000? They had a special theatre set up on the site that showed the time travel film "Blackaddr: Back and Forth". That film treated time travel with just the right amount of irreverence. Ah, the memories! Particularly when Shakespeare gets his comeuppance. By the way, what ever became of the dome? That thing was frickin' huge! Probably a shopping mall now? I'm off to the Google to check.
Amazon collects sales tax for 23 states at the present, including many big ones. To the best of my knowledge the blocking of this bill doesn't undo that situation, it just keeps the present mess in place and lets the remaining states go after Amazon on their own if they wish. I live in one of the five states without sales tax so this is primarily of academic interest to me. I'm not a big fan of sales tax in general because I think it is a regressive way to fund a state.
My definition of blue chip is a large cap company that has survived several long business cycles and which pays dividends. I still see Tesla as a start-up company. That's not to say that you won't make money by buying the stock, but I would question the judgement of any financial analyst that described it as Blue Chip at this point. In my opinion it is still far from a sure thing that the company's profits will grow to meet their valuation in the stock market. Let me tell you about my Nortel "investment" some years back! <groan>
A lot of bandwidth-hogging content such as YouTube is delivered over HTTPS now. Can they cache that?
My optimistic take on the end of XP support is that Microsoft has stopped patching it because they found that after 13 years of removing flaws from the code every Tuesday, the software that remains is simply perfect and no longer needs patching. Consider this, would you feel more comfortable on the maiden flight of a new jetliner as it rolls off the Boeing assembly line (Windows 8.1) or flying into Dallas on one of American Airline's 1980s vintage DC-9s that has been proven with 30 years of six flights a day without crashing (Windows XP). OK, it's a bad analogy because XP crashes, but that's not the point here.
Top and Bottom? What am I missing here? All of my USB ports are oriented with the long direction vertical. Is there a similar join on the Left or Right?
"There are no oil, spark plug or fuel filter changes, no tune-ups and no smog checks needed for an electric car," Musk wrote.
This is literally true but a bit misleading:
From the Tesla website it appears that they charge $600 per year for maintenance.
My internal combustion Ford requires the following maintenance: Oil change, $25 every 7500 miles. Tune up (i.e. Spark Plugs) $100 every 100,000 miles. Fuel filter $50 every 100,000 miles, Smog checks never since OBD-II introduced in the mid 1990s.
Mind you I'm not siding with New Jersey on this, but keep in mind that New Jersey law requires that your car be fueled by a professional petroleum transfer engineer (no self-serve allowed).
I'm not into tape nowadays, but in the 80s and 90s there was nothing more satisfying from a tactile standpoint than threading a nine track tape onto a tape drive with mechanical tensioning, starting the tape on the takeup reel with a couple of spins, then hitting the "Load" button and seeing it balance the loops and find the start of the tape. The most exciting tape of the year was the one that brought back the latest goodies from DECUS of course. A nerd could feel cool walking down the hall in sneakers while spinning the tape reel in hand and catching it after exactly one revolution. Brings tears to my eyes. Jay doesn't know what he is missing.
Please be aware that those of us who shop at Target regularly pronounce the g as a Voiced palato-alveolar sibilant.
I ride the train fairly often, and they allow cellphone use. I have found that a good way to quiet a motor-mouth is to simply show an active interest in their conversation. Open a pad of paper and start taking notes if they don't get the hint. Write down what they say and underline it for full effect. Nod your head in agreement. Toss in an occasional verbal "Amen!" for emphasis.
Have they tried turning it off and on again?
Would it be possible to make the desk more efficient by having you walk/jog inside of a big wheel instead of on a flat surface? This would greatly reduce friction and you could rock it back and forth when you stopped walking/running. Another advantage is that the wheel would clean the cedar chips off your shoes.
I have been disappointed in the reliability of SSDs that I've purchased (not from Apple) over the last five years or so in general. The advertised MTBF is very optimistic, I would say. I think the part I like the least is that they will go from working perfectly to not working at all just like a switch was thrown. In the old spinning drives I usually got a warning in the form of bad sectors as a signal to replace the drive ASAP, but you had time to order a replacement drive and copy your data off in most cases. If the system wasn't so fast booting up with the SSD, I would go back to spinning disks in a minute.
Excuse me? The US visa system discourages travel? How about the UK's exorbitant Air Passenger Duty?
The old rotary dial phone I have hooked up in the basement would score 75 and beat them all based on these criteria. Not bad for 1950's technology. Cognitive Load: 100, Efficiency: 100, User Experience Friction: 100, Customization: 0 (Fail). Average: 75.
If I were designing a cooling system for a spacesuit it would circulate Beer. The alcohol could substitute for iodine as a disinfectant. Then if there was a leak there would be a positive side to the situation and no funny iodine taste. How many liters could one drink (in an emergency, of course), 3, 4, 5? All in an evening's work for most Reg readers, yes? Which brings me to a follow up question, is there currently Beer on the International Space Station? If not, why not? Also, can they smoke indoors or must they step outside? I have to say, this article has piqued my interest in space!
Given that it is a one way trip for the buoyant gas in the balloon (great video of the bursting), why not use Hydrogen? I'm not complaining, mind you, just curious what the trade off is.
As cool as the video is to watch, I can't help rooting for the rocket to straighten up and fly right each time I watch it. In the old days I worked on satellites, and I can say from experience that it is just a terrible feeling when you are in the control room and you realize with horror that half a billion dollars and several years of your life have just turned into scrap metal. At least launch failures like this, with a big ball of fire, leave no doubt. The ones where something goes wrong later in the mission and all you have is telemetry to look at, or maybe no data at all, are even harder, I would say.
Planning any non-trivial trip with the constraints that you have to visit all of your destinations without running out of charge AND also finish up with your original battery pack is an NP-hard problem. I have discovered a truly marvelous proof of this, which this margin is too narrow to contain.
The shuttle wasn't designed to need that much refurbishment between flights, it just happened somewhere betweeen design and reality. I wish Elon all the luck in the world.
If it doesn't comply with DO-160G then it should be stowed for takeoff, landing, and taxi.
My wife ordered a barebones 32GB RT last weekend and it arrived just 5 days later here on the East coast (of the US). It really seems to be a decent unit. Nicely packaged and has lots of expansion ports (compared to her iPad 2 certainly). Windows 8 seems to suit it (as opposed to how 8 seemed on non-touch equipment). You don't need to buy a stand for the RT because the back folds out into a stand. I would say you can skip the expensive keyboard too as a standard Bluetooth keyboard works fine with it. You can tell it is Windows because when you first get connected to the Internet it takes a break to install updates. Having seen the RT close up, I think the product might actually do OK in the market. I'm not praising the RT because I'm a Microsoft fan (I'm a dyed in the wool Linux fan), but because the folks that engineered it and built it deserve a tip of the hat for a competent job.
I've been to Woking and I've seen one of the Martian fighting machines. The other films are based on fiction as far as I know.
I wonder if Ethiopia will seek extradition for the folks at the far end of international VOIP/SKYPE calls. I can see the states going along with that in exchange for the extradition of Ethiopians who "pirate" videos and music.
I'm just curious, why is it that I can have my pick of half a dozen desktop environments on Linux, selecting one at log-on, but each Windows version only offers one desktop? It would seem an obvious advantage for Microsoft to offer choices as well, so why don't they?
Wanda the Fish who has been swimming happily in my Gnome panel for years suddenly was still and floating belly up (not sure a fish has the tits required to go tits-up). When clicked upon, instead of a random fortune, I got a message that the water needed changing. Once into April 2nd, GMT?, she resumed her normal swim. That was scary.
Did he really say/write all those stupid things? He must have been a remarkably annoying fellow to have around. If Hollywood ever films a Sun Tzu biography I'm seeing Rowen Atkinson, Adam Sandler, or maybe Larry the Cable Guy in the role.
I suppose it is too late to reclaim the word Piracy to mean hijacking ships and their cargo? Arrrr!
I would back a permanent blackout of Wikipedia to US IP addresses. It would be interesting to see what evolves in a US-only Internet where content corporations rule. We would still have the Internet to use for shopping and for reading carefully regulated non-infringing official news releases, of course. There will probably even be a US only replacement for Wikipedia that will give more balanced coverage of international topics such as censorship in China. I do love new clothes.
It would be nice (for future reviews) to point out which printers support printing from iOS via AirPrint. With the iPhones and iPads taking over the household, I went for the wireless version of the HP CP1025 to get that capability.
I'm a Linux user, myself, but I've had good results with convincing my friends and family to replace their Windows PCs with products from Apple. I could never get them to keep their Windows systems patched and virus signatures up to date, and I could never stop them from clicking on the most ridiculous attachments. Then there were the drive-by downloads from banner ads. Once they switched to Macs, the problems just went away and did not come back. I can't imagine that they all got smarter. I'm surprised that SANS didn't include a recommendation to stay away from those easily infected Windows boxes as a one-step security solution.
My MacBook is running Windows XP, my Dell Mini 9 is running OS X Snow Leopard, my "designed for Windows Vista" Gateway PC is running Ubuntu Lucid Lynx, and my Nook Color is running Android. If PC makers lock me out, I will just have to switch to Apple hardware to retain the ability to run whatever I want on whatever hardware I purchase.
Back from 1986 to 1991 I worked on the flight software for UARS. The onboard computer was a NASA Standard Spacecraft Computer-1 that I think was made by IBM. It used magnetic core memory, which was great because you could turn one side off for years and when you powered it back up, not a single bit was flipped. Memory words were 18 bits, so we did everything in Octal, not Hexadecimal (since 18 bits made 6 octal digits). The design language was FORTRAN 77. Once we got the FORTRAN running in simulation, we converted it to NSSC-1 assembly language manually (no compiler). Seems to me it ran about 150K instructions per second. UARS was a good satellite and worked for a long time.
If I was Google, I would spend far less money perfecting the autonomous driving part and about five minutes ensuring that searches for "Google Robo Car Accident" produced either zero results or else a full page of sponsored ads for auto insurance.
I would be willing to go along with 64 bit IP addresses, but 128 bits is just plain silly. Can we get an IPv5 that preserves all the stupidity of IPv4 but simply doubles the sizes of the addresses? I'd be willing to bet that we could get away with just 48 bits for the next 20 years or so.
Beer logo because we obviously would need an Internet Draft for this.
OK, ready, set, DOWNVOTE!
Regarding: Why would you use a system like this whereby the vendor issues the keys?
I know you will find this hard to believe, but over here in the USA, we buy automobiles for many tens of thousands of dollars that are keyed by the manufacturer, not the purchaser. Oh, and when we spend half a million for a house, the keys are furnished by the builder.
I would be willing to pay $3 a month (same as Pandora Radio) for reading NYT online. $15 a month seems high to me.
and don't call me Shirley.
A few months back I had reason to climb into one of those really big dumpsters (tossed something in by mistake) and I was shocked to discover that they only weld steps onto the outside. The inside is smooth as glass (and a bit slimy). Thought I was a goner! Fortunately I was able to pile up enough trash to climb out before the trash truck arrived. I'm thinking it likely that the chicken made the same mistake that I did.
I want one to keep my Furbies entertained. That should be a riot to watch!
It is pointless to discuss a new image compression algorithm without side by side (uncompressed / compressed) pictures of Lena for reference.