* Posts by bombastic bob

5178 posts • joined 1 May 2015

'We think autonomous coding is a very real thing' – GitHub CEO imagines a future without programmers

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: COBOL again?

Thinking of COBOL...

I never met Grace Hopper but I saw her once [may have saluted her], a 4-striper [at the time] and rather skinny elderly lady who had a bit of a smile on her face. It was in Orlando at the NTC in the early 80's, near her office actually...

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: haven't we been here before ?

"Ah yes, COBOL meant the PHB class and users write their own code, then SQL meant management could directly query business data followed by the great white hopes of VB and Delphi. "

don't forget "Forest and Trees". that was an interesting thing. It died, like similar things. I think MS Access may have killed it.

And one more point: SKYNET programmed itself, didn't it?

Icon, because, SKYNET mention.

Visual Studio Team Services having some 'performance issues'

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: RegEx

"sometimes they aren't [ok] and you need to check."

on a DEVELOPMENT server. With a mirror of the production database(s). And a good simulation of realistic activity. for at least 2 or 3 days prior to updating the production server(s), with automated test suites or interns or students or dedicated testers who will report problems immediately and even TRY to produce them.

(the choir says "amen" right?)

bombastic bob Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Worth repeating



"if you have a problem and you use Microsoft to solve it, you now have a royal fuck load of problems."


how's that?

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: New Feature

"There is this nifty new idea some are using."

yeah, and some of them set up DEVELOPMENT servers to test things on, before moving them to production. but you'll need TESTERS to evaluate it properly, or maybe make everyone at Micro-shaft use the DEVELOPMENT server to help work out the bugs...

'master' and 'develop' branches on github. do a merge when you know it works, cross your fingers, hold onto your ass, and hope you didn't break something. And do it at zero-dark-thirty when few people are actually using it [so you don't cause massive outages]. And then TEST the damn thing, to make sure you didn't break it.

yeah, "standard operating procedure" for competent IT people, right?

"Facepalm" icon for how dumb MS was for putting this on the production server without testing it properly, first.

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: VS2017 Community Edition is a POS

and, "the cloud" is HIGHLY overrated.

If you want to clloud-collaborate, use github. It doesn't require a bloated IDE.

Kotlin's killin' Java among Android devs

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Open source

"What would a closed source language be?"

In some ways, Java. but only because Oracle owns everything about it, and dictates what people can do to it. But there's OpenJDK, so it's not entirely "closed". You do not have to use Oracle's JVM or JDK.

That being said, the only thing I really hate about Java is the LACK of "unsigned integer" types. Yeah. They arrogantly leave that out, deliberately. It makes certain things *difficult* in Java. but when you're doing device control, or reading binary data from a device with 64-bit unsigned integers and bit flags to go with them, it becomes a bit tedious, ya know?

yeah, rather short-sighted of them, isn't it?

I only use Java for 'droid anyway, and only because it's easier at the moment...

bombastic bob Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: Thank Allah, Thank Buddha, Thank Jehovah

"he language has lagged behind other languages such as C#."

that comparison to C-pound [the language that makes me want to VOMIT] earned you a DOWN vote.

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Android & Java

"vast majority of Android apps out there are written in either C# or C++"

C++ sounds fine, but C-pound? EEEEeeeeewwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!

/me can't find a vomit icon. I'll use this instead.

It's 2017... And Windows PCs can be pwned via DNS, webpages, Office docs, fonts – and some TPM keys are fscked too

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: "if computers had totally separate data and executable storage"

"AMD even removed the feature in x64"

you sure about that? I'm pretty certain that x64 has executable and non-executable page flags...

edit: found this quote on wikipedia

"The No-Execute bit or NX bit (bit 63 of the page table entry) allows the operating system to specify which pages of virtual address space can contain executable code and which cannot. An attempt to execute code from a page tagged "no execute" will result in a memory access violation, similar to an attempt to write to a read-only page. This should make it more difficult for malicious code to take control of the system via "buffer overrun" or "unchecked buffer" attacks. A similar feature has been available on x86 processors since the 80286 as an attribute of segment descriptors; however, this works only on an entire segment at a time."


thought so

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Who designed this then?

"if computers had totally separate data and executable storage this wouldn't be a problem"

harvard architecture. common for microcontrollers.

in the x86 world, proper memory management would prevent writing anything that's executable. there are flags for that. I guess Win-10-nic isn't using them enough.

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Who designed this then?

"How the hell did you design an OS that lets programmers embed code in a FONT?"

you stupidly make font files DLL's with an executable section that runs on load...

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: The NeverEnding Story Continues...

"wonder if we’ll still be patching Windows security issues in the year 802,701 A.D."

WIn-10-nic, the Morlock version

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Old vs New Bugs

"I get the feeling that they do not test as thoroughly as they used to."

they don't test at all. they fired their testing staff 2 years ago, during the insider program for Win-10-nic. They're entirely relying on 'insiders' and people who get the first run of patches. that's why there are forced updates, to make SURE they get their patches tested by the unfortunate saps who risk bricking their new, shiny machines that came with Win-10-nic.

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: 2XXX

"They survive on desktops on the strength of their ability to run programs from a decade or so ago"

for now. Until they decide to abandon Win32 support and go "UWP only".

just wait. they'll do it. they've got their foot targeted, and are ready to pull the trigger...

Got a software development and deployment story?

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Got a software development and deployment story?

I've sort of taken over a project's web side because my predecessor essentially did a "rage quit" when it became painfully obvious that he was obstructing me, getting nothing done, and wouldn't even help when asked a simple, direct question. His typical answers were in the form of an 'RTFM', with condescension topping. I started getting involved when it was obvious that I was the one that needed to make certain security-related modifications [including adding new tables and columns in the database]. Being a Django system it was WAY more complicated than it needed to be, and all written in Python.

Once 'predecessor' was no longer passive-aggressively obstructing, I put a 'C' program in place of a bunch of inefficient python code and reduce calculation time [on every upload] from >2 minutes down to about 10 seconds [on average]. The old code was causing server timeouts on large data files. And EVERY web developer HATED the idea of using a C program [particularly "that guy"]. There were a boatload of unfixed bugs, unusable admin screens, and "just plain wrong" data being displayed, and every time I test something I find a whole new pile of nitty/irritating bugs that have gone unfixed, like, forever (including one I fixed recently, which was causing an infinite loop on the server, but only when done with the 'rent-a-server', not with the code I have loaded locally - grrr...).

My focus has been on integrating the web side with what's going on with the firmware and phone application. After having modified all of these [for that purpose], I supopse I own them ALL now. No biggee, I need the cash, and now there's plenty for me to do. But the irritations of Django (and the poorly written code) have made it a LOT less fun...

Worst thing about this: my predecessor apparently HATED comments in the code. He objected when I mentioned that I was commenting my changes with my name in the comment, in particular so that _I_ could find where I'd touched things. He complained, said something about it messing up the code [to have COMMENTS???], with respect to cosmetic issues I think, and my response was "NOT NEGOTIABLE".

I'm just glad the bureaucracy didn't go with what HE wanted, though he DID try to backstab me [it took months before "the right person" would let me have the user/pass to the production server so I could update it]. no complaints since then - many bugs fixed, people can get their work done without bugs in the way, etc. and the web site doesn't have "the old logos" on it.

How many times can Microsoft kill Mobile?

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Clusterfcuk

" Mobile is not only the future, in fact it’s here now. Wake up you daft knobheads, or maybe don’t bother because it’s probably already far too late."

Actually, the only way mobile will TRULY be "the future" is when the 'mobile devices' become 'persocoms' (obligatory 'Chobits' reference) or maybe a robot like THIS one.

seriously, hand-held is so "noughties"! heh.

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: How many times can Microsoft kill Mobile?

Yes. Micro-shaft should KILL windows phone TO DEATH. Except by then, it will become UNDEAD. Kinda like this:


bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Any hope, a silver lining

"I really, really doubt that MS will do a 'U' turn of such magnitude and get rid of METRO/Tiles etc."

It's probably too late to stop the Titanic from hitting the iceberg, yeah. "All back emergency" followed by 30 seconds of frantic propeller noise going "churn, churn, churn, churn" because momentum equals mass times velocity and kinetic energy equals velocity SQUARED times mass, and so it takes a SHIPload of energy to un-do all of that momentum by adding "negative kinetic energy" to stop a Titanic, freight train, or Micro-shaft...

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: I disagree.

"The all-powerful Windows team wanted Windows everywhere, including places that it didn't belong"

And then, DUMB THE INTERFACE DOWN so that everyone is equally *MEDIOCRE*. Like certain political philosophies that demand "equal outcomes".

troll icon because, previous comment. heh.

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Nothing follows

"The only thing they could possibly have a go at is a UWP runner on iOS and Android, and that would fail too."

That's because UWP itself is _FAIL_.

Is _ANYONE_ *SERIOUSLY* targeting UWP these days? One, maybe two people that ARE NOT owned by Micro-shaft?

Either Micro-shaft will COMPLETELY nuke themselves into oblivion by ABANDONING Win32 API support (basically invalidating all 'other toolkits' and legacy applications), or they'll see the light and quietly let it die like they did with Silverlight and a few other things...

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Microsoft is trying very hard to kill itself.

Well, if Belfiore admits that WinPhone is essentially DYING, I wonder how long it will be before he admits THESE things [that he so proudly announced] will ALSO die:

a) spyware - " So the system is going to give us a 'smart suggestion' for an app in the store that is going to be one that's suitable for ~me~."

b) adware - "on the client we know which apps you're launching, and which apps you're installing, and so we're able to communicate with the store and bring down suggestions that are personalized for ~you~"

c) his focus on "universal windows platform" ==> UWP

(the quotes are from his (in)famous speech at a developer's conference during the insider program for win-10-nic, where he revealed the adware, spyware, and other plans as if they were *GOOD* things)

And - Mr. Belf**ck-you-all-e - how about getting rid of that 2D FLATSO FLUGLY THE METRO CRAP-INTERFACE too.

In other words, go back to 7, the way it was before "Ape" was released. Apply the back-end fixes and anything that makes the system faster, but LEAVE THE @#$% &$*# !}{% INTERFACE THE WAY IT WAS this time!

And _NO_ forced updates, either.

Microsoft's foray into phones was a bumbling, half-hearted fiasco, and Nadella always knew it

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Awwww shut up and quit your whining.

"That strategy assumes that app developers are rational actors. It is not a safe assumption to make."

From what I can tell, "best and brightest" may NOT actually be working on phone applications (surprise! not...). Sure, you'll find exceptions, especially for niche thingies that do remote device control or data collection or manage banking or inventory databases from the client end. "scan the bar code" "read the credit card" etc.. Otherwise, it's (probably) nearly-all just the same kind of garbage you normally see flooding the "CRapp stores".

I've done a couple of "clever things" with Android, including one that controlled an Arduino that controlled equipment - the Android application was the front-end GUI, using bluetooth. Those kind of "specialized" things will always have clever developers building them to go along with their hardware, and "look, there's a phone application" - watch window blinds move up/down, TV turns on/off, maybe even with a timer when you're gone. That kind of thing.

Otherwise, it's apparently a lot like "web development" these days. You know, like using JQuery and Node.js to make yourself look like you're elite, when it's really just n00b-level stuff... especially when a SIMPLE style sheet or table would make the web site look more appealing than "all that".

same with phone applications. I'm not impressed.

One of these days someone may come up with something that's truly interesting, innovative, and not just "a fad". well, software in the 80's was kinda like that, too. Eventually it became something worth paying for. But $100 for something that looks like some geek wrote in an afternoon? No. Just no.

and ads just make the situation WORSE.

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: get a foothold in the market - money talks

"Certainly the appstore did the platform no favours."

you mean CRAPPstore (and that's the point, yeah)

Moon trumps Mars in new US space policy

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Policy for Future American Leadership in Space

"indicative of a deeply rooted feeling of insecurity and paranoia in the American psyche."

No. Think of it as part of "Make America Great Again". We used to lead everyone in things like this. The reasons why we do NOT do so now stem from "globalism", socialism, and various policies that stifle the private sector.

Besides, so many technologies sprung from the space program in the 1960's, we oughta just do it for that reason alone... [except for those who want to 'hold back our technological development' 'for our own good', this should be perceived as a GOOD thing!]

What I see being different is the role of the PRIVATE sector, this time around. Trump kept saying 'commercial interests' and so I bet that's what he's thinking. I think it's an EXCELLENT idea, and it can begin with the licensing of even MORE private space stuff.

As for Elon's Mars trip - interesting, but the reason _I_ would want to go to Mars would be to ESCAPE the SOCIALISM. Problem with Elon's plan, is that he'll have SOCIALISM ARRIVE BEFORE WE GET THERE.

Is that a bulge in your pocket or... do you have an iPhone 8+? Apple's batteries look swell

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Wrong Swelling

FYI - regarding battery swelling...

it's caused by the buildup of H2 gas inside the LiPo battery casing which is typically a somewhat soft material. There are a couple of things that can cause it:

1. mechanical damage, particularly during assembly

2. serious undervoltage with excess current being drawn over a long period of time.

The 1st is a production issue, fixable by swapping out the battery. The 2nd is a design issue, NOT fixable without re-doing the circuit board.

You can mitigate '2' by keeping your unused phone on the charger all of the time.

The reason it happens has to do with the chemistry of an LiPo battery. If you discharge it too much, the polymer breaks down and releases hydrogen.

LiPo batteries can self-discharge, so don't expect a charge to last more than a couple of month because of that. Additionally, if there is undervolt protection circuitry in the phone, it will draw a small amount of curent regardless of the state of the internal protection switch.

I recently designed such a circuit for a system where the entire circuit board + battery is potted in plastic, meaning you can't change the battery [it's waterproof though]. the batteries were having swelling problems. This was generically solved by an EXTREMELY low current battery undervolt cutout circuit, which draws only 10 microamps [or so] in the 'cutoff' state. It leverages a few other things to limit the current and the number of components.

/me takes a bow for the miraculous electronics engineering, a truly 'clever' hack, heh.

In the mean time, you STILL get trickle discharging of the LiPo, but you also get self-discharging. 10 microamps is about what a typical self-discharge is, and you can generally leave a LiPo on a shelf and let it self-discharge and not have it swell up like a pillow, even it it reaches zero volts. [it may still happen but from what I can tell, it's much much less frequent].

On the other hand, if you draw as little as 100 microamps from one of the smaller batteries [it may be more for a larger one], they tend to swell up like pillows once discharged down to 0V, and will do so within a month of being discharged, more often than not. So you can't just set it on a shelf unless your undervolt protection totally cuts off the battery [or gets trickle current down to about 10 microamps].

I've got on battery I've fully discharged at the ~10 microamp rate, and then re-charged, a few times. It's lasted for MONTHS this way, no apparent ill effects. It's as flat as a pancake, like it's supposed to be.

So I'd say Apple's problem is PROBABLY on the circuit board, and retro-fixing that is basically impossible, unless they can wire in an undervolt circuit between the battery and the circuit board somehow. Good luck fitting it in the case. I bet it's really *tight* in there.

/me withholds a comment involving a cherry

Mattel's Internet-of-kiddies'-Things Aristotle canned before release

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Teddy Bears

Harry Harrison - also wrote a book "Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers" in which the introduction of cheddar cheese into a particle beam experiment accidentally created a type of warp drive. Laughing and facepalming your way to the end, even past the rapid-fire handwaving section that miraculously ties up all of the loose ends, you get a nice 'surprise' about the 2 protagonists. At least, that's how I remember it...


bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: an “AI to help raise your child”.

raise your child into WHAT?

Considering what the gummint schools are ALREADY doing [look at millenials - then look again - yeah] I think it can only get worse if a toymaking company manipulates children into consuming more of their goods or something... [yeah that will NEVER happen, right?]

post-edit-comment - if this edit window font weren't so @#$% small I wouldn't miss the typos I have to correct all of the time... it didn't USED to be that way...

SCARY SPICE: Pumpkin air freshener sparks school evacuation

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: It wasn't an unfortunate concentration of Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes?

"High Fructose sugar at that"

or just a bottle of corn syrup

Microsoft silently fixes security holes in Windows 10 – dumps Win 7, 8 out in the cold

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: People in glass houses.....

"lost count how many times I've had to clean, repair or rebuild a Windows computer due to some sort of infection"

and I assume anti-virus was COMPLETELY worthless in these cases?

I suggest preventative measures. I call it "safe surfing". It's not that hard, and protects against nearly all infections. Seriously.

0. Avoid web surfing with a Microshaft OS. If that's not possible, at the very LEAST, make sure that the login you use is _NOT_ configured as 'Administrator'. Or do you LIKE re-building the entire system instead of JUST that one user? [yes this HAS happened to someone I asked to do this, and I was able to fix it pretty fast because it was a non-priv user]

1. never connect directly to the internet from a windows machine if you can possibly avoid it (always use a NAT firewall).

2. make sure your EXTERNAL firewall blocks EVERY listening port that shows up in a 'netstat -n' report for IPv6, if you have IPv6 configured. If you don't that's fine. If you do and do NOT have an external firewall, I suggest disabling IPv6 on all windows machines, just to be safe.

3. Use a non-Microshaft browser. Make sure you can use a plugin like 'NoScript' on Firefox. Use the plugin for as MUCH as you can. If web sites bitch at you and won't let you see the content, reject them and go elsewhere.

4. NEVER view (or even preview) an e-mail in HTML form. EVAR. And don't use 'Virus Outbreak' aka 'MS Outlook'.

5. ALWAYS _DISABLE_ UPNP, at the router, on your computer, etc.. If you need it to set something up, remove the internet from your WAN port, set the thing up, and put THEN the internet back where it was. UPnP is one of the BIGGEST potential security craters. It allows an attacker to open up arbitrary listening ports through a firewall.

6. NEVER "download this to view the content"

7. NEVER click on a popup window's buttons (when generated by internet content). Always close the window using the 'close' button in the top corner of the non-client area of the window. With the exception of ONE SPECIFIC GWX popup in the past, THIS should be safer.

Anyway, it's like operationally putting a condom on your computer. And the bit about NEVER viewing e-mail in HTML format is EXTREMELY important. HTML e-mail is irritating, anyway.

(scrolling this far down in the topic, I wonder if anyone will read this beyond looking for all of my posts to downvote them like a bunch of howler monkeys flinging poo might do if they could)

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Gnome for Windows

"So why didn't they take advantage of it at W8 time, TIFKAM for mobiles and keep the W7 interface for desktops?"

because, Microshaft. because, "one windows for all". Because, "take it or we shove it into an orifice without using anything to make the process more bearable"

It's THAT very arrogance whot dun it.

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Wine to the rescue

If Wine worked as a general solution, I'd probably install it. but there are TOO many problems with it, even still, from what I read online anyway. Hang out in a Linux newsgroup and you'll see what I mean. The few people who ask about setting up Wine for XXX and whatnot. If they're lucky, someone came up with the right hacks to do it. THAT is NOT a "solution" for most people who use Windows because of Windows applications.

Otherwise, Wine COULD be "the solution" for use of XP applications beyond the 'extended support' period, like Windows for Warships or ATM machines, etc. etc..

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Gnome for Windows

In the past, I simply asked for an OPTION to go with 3D skeomorphic instead of 2D FLATSO. They ignoed me. AND they ignored everyone ELSE who wanted that, too.

No, Micro-shaft obvious *FEELS* that they know best what you need, and will MAKE you take it, even if they have to SHOVE IT UP YOUR AS DOWN YOUR THROAT!

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Wake-up call

"Microsoft I believe have looked at their customers and recognized that the percentage that refuse to jump when ordered and have a clue are a liability."

Many of whom will purchase (or set up) a non-windows computer for their children, parents, grandparents, etc. just so THEY aren't being called upon for supporting that abortion-OS known as "Windows 10".

And then, when novice users begin to realize, they too will abandon Win-10-nic.

bombastic bob Silver badge

"if only the idiots at Microsoft gave Windows 10 a GUI suited for productivity use."

They're all a bunch of CHILDREN who feel instead of think, and it's THEIR turn now, and they have bought into the idea that MIcro-shaft must drag the world with them over the cilff. Because THEY know better. I think it's become a religious cult or something. Wouldn't surprise me, since Ballmer is a socialist, and Nadella might actually be a COMMUNIST. I suspected Micro-shaft was acting like an oppressive gummint back during the "insider" program, and it kept getting worse, etc.. They forgot that we are "customers". Instead, we're "the masses" or even "minions" to them.

So yeah, the "4 inch" crowd [see everything through a 4 inch phone screen] doesn't understand desktop computing. Those millennial CHILDREN couldn't write a proper GUI desktop if they were given the source code for one, and were then told to simply implement it (you know, like XP's or 7's GUI that we all thought was pretty good or at least acceptable).

I still can't figure out why THIS person *FELT* that 2D FLATSO TIFKAM interfaces were so much BETTER than 7's or XP's... especially when it was the 3D Skeomorphic interface of Windows 3.0 that MADE! MICROSOFT! SO! SUCCESSFUL! IN! THE! FIRST! PLACE!!!

bombastic bob Silver badge

"Quite a lot of security issues are fixed in the upstream Linux kernel without a word about their security impact."

Some examples dipped in truth sauce, if you don't mind. I don't believe you.

[I did read about ONE kernel vulnerability in El Reg within the last week or so. It certainly did not get fixed "without a word". In fact, there were a LOT of words, including some security notices.]

I'd say this goes into the "just because you say so does not make it true" bin. I've seen plenty of THOSE that poke at Linux, attempting to say it's "as bad as windows" and "look at all of the security problems" and other FUD. Sounds like something Ballmer would say [no, wait, he DID say!].

In any case, it has been my observation that most of the security problems in Linux have very little to do with the kernel, and a LOT to do with some of the applications running on it. Some of those applications/libaries may even have windows versions (especially media players and browsers).

And the problems with the "[cr]app store" applications with built-in security nightmares is the app store's fault, not Linux [even though Android OS _is_ a type of Linux].

bombastic bob Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Perhaps money will talk louder:

I would upvote you except the upvote count sits at 42, and, well, I don't want t spoil it.

What does the Moon 4bn years ago and Yahoo! towers this week have in common? Both had an awful atmosphere

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Fly me to the Moon

well, since you're already "gone political" consider this: We stopped going to the moon in the 70's due to budget problems, CAUSED by LBJ's "Great Society". If it hadn't been for THAT, we'd be colonizing MARS by now!!!

Google touts Babel Fish-esque in-ear real-time translators. And the usual computer stuff

bombastic bob Silver badge

"Words like "by", "on", "in", "with" are often given the wrong contextual meaning."

yeah, English and its plethora of prepositions and their subtleties. Some lingos only have one or just a few. 'En' in spanish, is one example. How do you translate English to Spanish so that context fixes it? "It's in the box" = "Está en la caja." "no, it's not ON the box, it's IN the box" "No, no está en la caja. Está EN la caja." Yeah that'll help.

On a related note, I can think of 10 ways to say "I" in Japanese, each with its own implications, some of which might insult people if you do it wrong, or might make you sound disingenuous, or immature, or arrogant [and I'm just learning the lingo for fun, and am not an expert]. Similarly a number of ways to say 'you', some of which might carry different implications depending on the dialect people use, or who says it ['anata' vs 'omae' for example]. How do you program a translator for this? You really can't, unless the translator can read minds...

bombastic bob Silver badge

"So as to gauge the Assistants virtual eyes out."

that'd be 'gouge'. but yours is funnier. Or is there a correct UK spelling that uses 'a' that I'm unaware of?

/me stares at an eye-gouging gauge

found this, too: http://grammarist.com/spelling/gage-gauge-and-gouge/

again, yours was funnier

bombastic bob Silver badge

"Marvin The Paranoid Android would have been a better voice to use"

sadly, his voice actor [in the movie, anyway] is no longer available for that role...

(otherwise, it'd be AWESOME!)

US Senate stamps the gas pedal on law to flood America's streets with self-driving cars

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: If all thats required.............

"they benefit the massive reduction of transport costs for goods and services"

Sorry, one of the biggest costs involved in trucking is FUEL, and then maintenance [brakes, tires, etc.]. Wages are a part, but it's much smaller than you might think.

Independent truckers make a profit, sure, but it's a fair bet that half of their revenue is burned up by the engine in order to deliver the stuff. If a trucker earns the equivalent of $50/hour in profit (probably not likely, just using this number for example), his fuel burn rate could be nearly the same [particularly on long haul]. 5mpg might be consdered very very good mileage for an 18 wheeler. At $3/gallon and 60mph [both a bit unrealistic in places like California], that's at least $36 in fuel per hour for "straight and flat". Factor in some hills, stops [and waiting] at weigh stations, plus the truck's maintenance costs [which are the same for robo-drivers] and it's not so much of a savings any more...

And since fuel is much more expensive on your end of the pond, my numbers for "middle america" are a 'best case' scenario. It's a fair bet that fuel costs in EU and UK are considerably higher than this.

THEN, consider that the truck drivers are likely to load and unload their OWN trucks. Having extra people on the dock to handle the loading/unloading of robo-truck might not be so economical. There'd be several employees there, working in bursts, and coking/joking/smoking the rest of the time.

Overall, I think robo-truck would be "a wash".

One more thing - for REALLY long hauls, freight trains are typically used. They stack them with pre-loaded truck trailers. So the trucks bring the trailers to the rail yards, or within the state the rail yards serve. The trains then take things everywhere else. In some cases, the 'trailer' is a shipping container with wheels and a hitch bolted on. So they're already being really efficient, if you think about it.

And the driver's wage isn't all that much, when you look at everything.

[I think I'd rather have a skilled driver anyway especially for traveling in mountainous areas]

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Just a thought

"If a car driving in another lane parallel to me veers into my lane due to inattention or lack of perception, I can make various signals"

middle finger? "Read my binary - 00100 00100" [in a convertible, this is most effective]

Seriously, I would think the robo car wouldn't have this problem, because its on-board sensors would detect you. But that brings up a possibility of "how do we know they're working properly". A self-test would need to be part of the system in order to make sure they continue to work properly.

At some point, maybe YOUR car will auto-detect the 'veering' and tell the other car about it, or take evasive action on its own [announcing to surrounding cars what it's about to do]. Just a thought.

Still good to think of these problems. Hopefully the engineers working on robo-cars already have.

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: It's those evil lawyers

yes, libertarians just want as few laws as possible, certainly NOT the "cluster-FEEL" that we often get, nor the "anarchy" that libertarians are claimed to want.

I'm a libertarian, and I recognize the need for laws. You just don't want to go too far with them, that's all.

Example: recent shooting in Nevada. The bodies hadn't even assumed ambient temperature before Demo-rat politicians were out SCREAMING about "gun control" [like THAT would have helped]. It's typical of the left (and sometimes the extreme right) to "leave NO tragedy UNEXPLOITED politically".

So after ONE major accident involving a robot driver, "gummint MUST regulate". Well, be very careful applying the regulations, because gummint generally does NOT know excrement from shoe polish about ANY kind of tech [I'm sure most people agree with this] and the LAST thing we need is GUMMINT sticking their gummy little digits into the business of engineers and scientists, catering at random to whatever political WHIM is popular these days, and with the #1 motive of "getting elected" being behind EVERY law and regulation they excrete.

That of course doesn't mean that gummint should NOT regulate. I think reasonable limits, such as certification tests, minimal safety standards, and the *kinds* of hoops that a new drug has to go through to be approved, would make sense. So maybe there's the equivalent of 'FDA' approving self-driving cars, to make sure that human lives are protected, both inside AND outside of the vehicle. THAT kind of thing.

That, and the "I already mentioned them" liability laws, as an additional incentive to get it RIGHT. Similar laws already exist for U.S. cars (to prevent exploding gas tanks, for one). So yeah, just a bit more of "that", specifically related to robo-cars, and we're good to go.

"light touch" when done properly will MAXIMIZE the industry's opportunity. People will be more confident in the new tech, and gummint wouldn't be in the way [or requiring corrupt kick-backs under the table].

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: It's those evil lawyers

"Government regulations by themselves won't be sufficient."

re: "evil lawyers"

That's the other side of what gummint can actually do RIGHT in a 'soft touch' kind of way, to make sure the liability laws are adequate. And then the blood-sucking lawyers will take care of the rest. Sadly, that's how it has to work.

bombastic bob Silver badge

"I foresee a marked increase in the sort of accidents typified by the recent Tesla fatality."

I suppose that accident WOULD have been avoided by a human driver? And how many accidents are avoided by ROBOT drivers by comparison?

You have to tell both sides of THAT story. Or, it would be another case for: "Oh my FEELING GOD, there was ONE DAMN ACCIDENT with ROBOT CARS, harumph harumph, let's REGULATE the CRAP out of them now!"

Gummint "gums things up". There is a point at which SOME intervention is good, like setting minimum standards, liability laws, and [in the case of interstate commerce] allowing auto-drive cars to cross state lines in the USA. Beyond the "light touch", you do NOT want big GUMMINT sticking its fingers into everything and mandating things that are ridiculous or politically motivated. I'd hate to see a requirement to have an electric car to get a self-driving car, for example, with all of the implications as to WHY some gummints might try to FORCE that up our as down our throats...

Mozilla extends, and ends, Firefox support for Windows XP and Vista

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Will 52 ESR continue working?

it's still open source, last I checked, so an enterprising software dev COULD make any necessary patches/changes to appropriate files and then compile for the older OSs. That assumes "they" have the gall to actually mark the manifest as "7 or later" or use an unsupported API function that's only available in 7 or later... [and at some point, 10 or later, if they keep THIS up]

(but I think if you mark the manifest '7 or later' it may still run on XP, but maybe not Vista - I'd have to check)

But if they do it right, they're just covering their asses with respect to "having to support" XP or Vista. And the EXE will still run.

/me points out: Vista is MUCH better than 10. PCs that came with Vista on them STILL RUN. People who have such Vista PCs CANNOT BUY 7 FOR THEM [easily]. And MANY PEOPLE do NOT WANT Win-10-nic. So they stick with what they have.

2019: The year that Microsoft quits Surface hardware

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: History

"They enjoy shafting people and piss their pants laughing as suckers buy into the next creation."

all snark aside I doubt it's THAT bad. I'd just blame the usual incompetence and "bubble world" thinking.

They're trying to out-Apple Apple. It ain't working.

The *BIGGEST* problem with Surface is the 2D FLATSO Win-10-nic. If they'd just go back to a Windows-7 or Windows-XP UI, I think people would *LOVE* it!!!

But you know, they've invested SO much in the 2D FLATSO "the metro" UWP fiasco, that changing direction NOW would cause too many people (including HER) to admit they were WRONG in the process, such that it just ain't gonna happen. Dammit.

Abandoning Surface might still happen though.

Micro-shaft: Acting like Communists since the early noughties i.e. "You will take it or we shove it in anyway, because one size fits all, everyone is the same, you can't be different" and "We know best what's best for you, the proletariat" [yeah nothing like top-down dictating instead of 'customer knows best']

Mainframes are hip now! Compuware fires its dev environment into cloud

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: Mainframes ARE slow.

"I/O of a mainframe is superior"

that's the rumor, yeah. I have to wonder if that's stll the case for PCIe SSDs, a multi-GBit network backbone for talking between the blades, and other "fast things" built into a rack o' blades, running VM-based cloudy tasks.

Or is the mainframe's data throughput better than a storage device directly plugged into a PCIe slot? [or whatever new tech has come down the pike and I haven't heard of it yet - it has been a while since I scoped out bleeding-edge hardware]

bombastic bob Silver badge

Re: But, but, but ...

"Mainframes ARE cloud computing!"

in theory, yeah. That's if you consider a bunch of rack mounts running cloudy VM tasks with load balancing and replication and other related "cloudy management" things, then the entire 'rack' becomes "a mainframe".

Sort of.

/me wonders about special VMs to run COBOL programs

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