Popular Mechanics has a tremendously interesting article based on a recent book that provided transcripts of the black box recordings of this flight as it went down over the Atlantic Ocean.
For someone who is not a pilot, but has read something about it, it seems hard to believe that a professional pilot of any level of experience would keep pulling back on the stick through a number of minutes of a stall alarm. Nifty flight simulator programs teach you that much. In the comfort of your own home. With nothing but virtual skill on the line.
Well, maybe not so much. I think this is an excellent illustration of how hard it is for us to change course when things are going wrong. We stick with familiar habits and look for obvious solutions. The greater the pressure, the more likely (as the article notes) we are to cling to the familiar.
Perhaps there’s a lesson for all us non-pilots in this. Besides not saying something you haven’t had to do yourself is simple, perhaps we all have habits of mind that we might need to work on if we’re going to be up to responding to a fast moving world.
Linux.com reports on the progress in just under a year of The Ada Initiative, which has this mission:
“A world in which women are equal and welcome participants in open technology, open data, and open culture. We want women writing free software, women editing Wikipedia, women creating the Internet and women shaping the future of global society.”
This was the first I had heard of this initiative. It looks like a commendable set of goals.
SmartPlanet has a list of the 25 worst passwords of 2011. It’s good to read the comments as well.
Computer people tend to make the error of thinking that any password that’s hard to guess is good, and the harder the better. But the fact is that people tend to write down passwords that are hard to remember. I’ve often gotten the “how did you guess?” look of awe from a client when I log directly into their machine. They think I pulled some sort of magic, when I’m actually reading their password off a note they left near the monitor.
If you can come up with a combination of letters, symbols, and numbers, involving both upper and lower case that you can remember well, then it’s good. But you might have to back off a bit so you can remember it rather than making it available near your workstation.
Dennis Ritchie, the ‘R’ in K&R so familiar to any C programmer, has passed away.
I learned C fairly early, though I passed on to C++ as well. I haven’t done any work in C for some time, but my copy of K&R is well-worn.
(HT: Greg Laden)
Posted in C++
Tagged C, Dennis Ritchie
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There’s an interesting article in Bloomsberg BusinessWeek titled Amazon, the Company that Ate the World. The title may seem just a bit over the top, but the content is interesting. I enjoyed the commentary on Amazon.com‘s business strategy.
I admit to some concern as companies like Apple and now even Google try to lock up the markets. Amazon has been guilty of this as well, but I think the best defense is the fact that multiple companies, all major players, are trying for this goal.
Face it! We pretty much all want the services that can only be provided by these larger companies. We can’t expect them not to want to dominate their markets. Each of them have done so by providing something that people want, and doing it well.
I look forward to seeing how the ebook reader and tablet game plays out. Personally, I’m much more interested in Android than any of Apple’s products, but since I haven’t put down hard cash yet (I’m still using a rather inadequate convertible tablet with many faults), I’m not yet fully committed.
For what it’s worth (very little), the key to a tablet for me would be having VNC for remote control. If I have internet and can hook up to my office PC, I’m a happy man. And since that’s available for both Android and iOS, how can I be truly disappointed?
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Every day I scan around 500 headlines from news services and blog posts. Of these, I will likely take action on around 30 or 40, and many of those will be standard ones that I put into various tags to display on my own blogs. I am unlikely to read more than five or six.
As I was doing this the other day, I realized how important this could be for some of my clients. We tend to spend most of our time writing content, and then slap a label on it. But that label could make the difference between getting your content read and having it ignored.
There are two mistakes to be avoided:
- The dull headline. This one gets missed. If your title reads “What I did today” I’m unlikely to look further.
- The inaccurate headline. This one gets me to open your post and read it, but when I get there, I’m annoyed, because it doesn’t contain the information your headline suggested it would. Thus I remove you from my feed reader.
I’m not a master of headlines, though I’ve written a few that I think were good. But you don’t need award winning headlines; just interesting and accurate ones.
So declared Clifford Stoll in a 1995 Newsweek article, now reproduced by The Daily Beast. There was actually a time when I thought the internet was for specialists, but I soon realized the error of my ways. (HT: The Agitator)
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I was mildly, but not seriously, annoyed to hear that HP is dropping its WebOS products, the Pre based phone and HP TouchPad. As a relatively satisfied owner of a Palm Pixi, that means my phone and OS are orphaned, but I’m guessing the odds were that I’d be on an Android phone after my next purchase.
I got my Pixi free just for renewing my contract, and since I had no intention of leaving my carrier in any case, that was no loss. I get another good rebate this coming February, and I’ll be looking at that time.
On the plus side, WebOS was quite easy to use and showed some promise if development had moved forward. It was weak on app availability. The hope was that HP would improve in that area, but such support never materialized.
I’m not surprised the TouchPad flopped—look at the competition. HP would have needed to provide a much better app availability at the start and also market it in some way that would truly distinguish it—positively, of course!—from the various Android offerings and of course the iPad.
A year or so ago I tried to order Pizza via a company’s web site. About a half hour after I started, I gave up on getting what I wanted into the order and got on the phone. The web site was beautiful, but it was hard to get from here to there.
Thus I got a kick out of the Slate article, Restaurant websites: Why are the so awful?. There are much worse restaurant web sites than the one I experienced!
People want to use your web site much more than they want to experience multimedia.