It seems to me that so-called design reviews are just a box-ticking exercise so that an activity in the management plan can be marked as completed. Nothing really happens until the whole system falls over.
1271 posts • joined 31 Oct 2010
AC has described the ideal case.
In practice, there were repeats of item 1 between items 2 and 3, 3 and 4, etc. Table-thumping customer managements and toadying contractor sales people.
(S)He also omits a necessary step between 1 and 2, namely the software design. The requirements stated what was thought to be required - not always a correct piece of analysis. The software design says how you get there in terms of data structures and algorithms. Once software got past transcribing maths into FORTRAN the SD was essential.
For CPUs, replace software with microcode. This was even more problematical than orthodox code.
Looks to me like a classic case of second-rate techies having become complacent, and having driven away any really bright people.
Management alone will never solve this unless they appoint and fully support a first class techie. Not quibbling over budgets and procedures, but recognising a good technical plan and giving management support to get the budgets, equipments, and staff.
The job of management will be to fight the stifling effects of public service procedures.
The Earth is at 1.5 x 10^8 km from the sun. The area of a sphere of this radius is 2.6 x 10^23 square metres. So 10^23 Watts from the flare is about 0.4W per square metre. The full-on perpendicular energy of normal sunlight is 1.4KW per square metre.
So the energy of such a flare would not be noticed on planet Earth.
The unbeatable feature of COBOL is its support for binary-coded-decimal arithmetic, in which you can represent a billion dollars, or a billion anything, to the nearest cent.
Compare that with the "lousy floating point arithmetic" (*) of the IBM360 single precision, and you realise what the real world thinks is important.
I once used BCD arithmetic on an IBM 1620 computer to calculate PI to 300 places.
*Dijkstra, Structured Programming.
The Solar System is 4.5 billion years old. The universe is 13 bn yrs, the galaxy 12 bn yrs. It is possible to imagine that life arose elsewhere in the galaxy 8 bn yrs ago. Ejected rocks carrying bacteria could move around the galaxy at, say, 20 miles per second, or c/10,000. In 1 bn yrs they would then travel 100,000 light years, the diameter of the galaxy.
So life starting at one point in the galaxy could spread all over. It would not have time, however, to reach the Andromeda galaxy.
This is, of course, the old panspermia hypothesis. Maybe one day we shall be able to test it.
You are so right about proper testing. Two reasons why it will not happen.
1. Testing comes near the end of the project. Given all the overruns in the early stages, there is never enough time to test all the fail cases.
2. If the fail cases are tested, they will show that the design did not consider the fail cases. Probably because the design document did not specify how failures should be treated.
A good example is the transistor. First created in the lab in 1947, it did not become important until the integrated circuits of the late 1960s. But it is based on the quantum physics developed in universities in the 1920s.
So the transistor demonstrates a forty-year gap between basic research and day to day application. Controlled nuclear fusion is taking even longer. Then there is QC.
At least two other people have given my email address instead of their own very similar ones. In the first case I get many emails, including once a request for a job reference for that person. I telephoned the would-be employer and explained the situation, so I hope the sloppy emailer did not get that job. In the second case it was theatre tickets in a remote town. I phoned the theatre, and later the person contacted me and apologised.
I am sure a lot of people have similar problems. "Something should be done", as they say. We have seen the mobile phone system go through several revolutions, and something similar is needed with the Internet. A system created by remote and ineffectual dons is not fit for public and commercial use No, IPV6 is not the answer. Nor are the proposals from the various secular and religious dictatorships of this world.
I was involved with a PDP-11 microprocessor system that ran off a solid-state disk in 1982. But the SSD was volatile, and had to be loaded up from magnetic tape. The system could not boot directly from tape, so we had to type in some magic octal numbers to boot the tape.
In fact there were two tapes: (1) to load a main-memory system to read the second tape, and (2) the image of the SSD. The final stage was to tell the memory system to boot from the newly loaded SSD.
The SSD was impressive: directory listings that normally took ages came out in a few seconds. I called it the "square disk".
Back in my student days, a foreign student told me that in his country they had colour-coded id cards. Life could be difficult if your id was a wrong colour.
Here's how it might work in the UK, or maybe just England in a few years.
* Blue - for the aristocracy (blue-blooded!) or other privileged types;
* Yellow - middle class whingers e.g. liberal democrats;
* Red - Socialist Idlers Party etc.
* White - no evidence against you yet.
During the years I was programming in Coral 66 I had several comment problems.
'comment' comments must end with a semicolon;
But it was easy to omit that terminator, especially if you were used to other programming languages. The result was that the next statement was treated as a comment until its final semicolon. I.e. it was effectively absent. This could cause mysterious problems.
I had a pretty-printer program for Coral that I had written, and it was the pretty-printer which finally revealed the mistake: showing the statement as run-on text at the end of the unterminated comment.
FPTP has the great advantage that you can vote AGAINST someone if you feel that person is unfit for public office. Voting against a wrong person is sometimes more important than any other consideration.
I am glad there will be no more elections for the European Parliament in Britain. They used a scheme in which you had to vote for a party list; so if one candidate in that party was bad you could not vote specifically against that one, but had to decide whether to abandon the whole party.
The Onion is an American satirical rag that normally gives the US Vice-President a hard time. When Joe was Obama's VP he was portrayed as a small time crook who somehow had made it to the White House. But he seemed to take it in good spirit, and after Obama's term came to an end The Onion published what looked like a conciliatory article.
But for some reason the Onion has said hardly a word against Trump's bible-banging VP. I want to know why.
I have read that the albedo of the moon is very low: comparable to coke (the coal product, not the drink). If the moon had an atmosphere and clouds we would see it as many times brighter.
Elsewhere, buried in the article, is the statement that there is a higher concentration of water in the Sahara desert than there on the moon. So the article is PR padding rather than news. They could probably discover a few atoms of gold, or plutonium, there if they tried. Or phosphine, as on Venus.
On most occasions, auto formatting is useful. It is, as ever, the user's fault when it goes wrong.
Ideally, modern schools would teach these things. But that would entail telling the little ones they had got it wrong. Correcting children's work like that is "not done" nowadays. British state education has become a comprehensive disaster.
I find it jolly useful that MS Word can read html files and turn them into docx (or pdf or txt or even odt).
But I agree with you about Outlook: it seems aimed at people who are pretending to be businessmen.
Libre Office Word can even produce and read back what it calls docbook. But other xml software I have says it is well formed but not valid.
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