Government-Issued Speed-Controlling Devices

Larry Borsato writes about some experimental new devices:

Transport Canada is testing an integrated GPS device that compares your speed to the posted limit of the streets you are driving on. The idea is to make sure that you can’t exceed that posted limit.

You can read more about the device on Engadget.

While I find the technology interesting, I wouldn’t want one of these devices in my car. I just don’t want some centralized authority invading my life like that.

I’ve occasionally wondered whether there is a more effective approach to keeping our roads safe. Here’s my nutty idea: Install a digital video camera on everybody’s dashboard. The camera is set to constantly record everything. Accompanying the camera is a big blue button. When you press the blue button, the camera sends the last five minutes of recorded video to the nearest police station wirelessly for review. If the reviewer agrees that an infraction has occurred, the offending driver is immediately issued a ticket.

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Other Orientations in Computer Programming

Don Box:

I still find myself occasionally having to remind people that objects are at best a means to an end. They aren’t the end unto themselves. Trying to design software only in terms of object-oriented concepts is like trying to speak English without using adjectives or adverbs.

Well said, Don.

I’m glad to see all the hype around object-oriented programming is waning. There are other ways to approach computer programming. If you don’t believe me pick up a copy of Concepts, Techniques, and Models of Computer Programming. It’s worth it. Really.

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The Short Head of Programming Languages

The TIOBE Programming Community index is a list of the 20 most popular programming languages in use today:

The index is updated once a month. The ratings are based on the world-wide availability of skilled engineers, courses and third party vendors. The popular search engines Google, MSN, and Yahoo! are used to calculate the ratings. Observe that the TPC index is not about the best programming language or the language in which most lines of code have been written.

It should come as no surprise that Java, C, and C++ top the list.

Tip of the hat to Ian Landsman.

Wiki Software Flame War

I am the recent beneficiary of new desktop machine at the office, which leaves my old machine available for other experiments.

In another bold step into the 90s, I’m looking into setting it up as an office wiki server.

I’m not at all familiar with any of the Wiki packages and I don’t really know what features I should be looking for, though this comparison of wiki software chart has provided some hints.

One.. Two.. Three… Four… I declare a flame war.

Which wiki software is the best, and why?

It’s Funny…

In one of her rare blog posts, Mandy writes:

The next weekend is then Christmas… this year has certain zipped by, hence why I haven’t spent much time publishing… oh, that and the fact that I would need to beat my hubby over the head with a stick in order to get any significant computer time. 😉 Just kidding dear! 🙂

Heh. I’m reminded of that Homer Simpson quote: it’s funny ’cause it’s true.

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Canadian Liber Government Falls to Vote of Non-Confidence

Mandy just shouted up to me that the Liberals are dead. The opposition parties, led mainly by Steven Harper’s Conservatives, have forced another election with a vote of non-confidence.

What I’m still trying to figure out is why the NDP would vote along with the Conservatives and Bloc on this. Their handful of MPs effectively had the much larger Liberal contigent by the balls. They could have gotten the Liberals to pass virtually any bill they put forward.

Or maybe not. Maybe those NDP pushed too hard, too fast, and Martin decided he’d rather take his chances in another election than spend another year pandering to Layton.

Harper, I’m sure, will be out taking credit for toppling the government, though he really didn’t have much to do with it. What he doesn’t seem to realize is that by taking credit of it now, he is winning the blame of voters when they are forced to trek out the booths in Canada’s coldest month.

And that’s politics as usual, in Canada.

Imaginative Poverty

Dave Pollard asks an intriguing question:

But in a modern, homogeneous society, do we still need imagination? I think it’s possible that in a hierarchical, overcrowded, enormously interdependent society imagination is an evolutionary disadvantage: It breeds dissatisfaction, nonconformity and discontent, and it suffers in an environment of homogeneity and monoculture. Even language, which has been shown to affect the way in which our brains are structured as we grow, drives us to think in linear, traditional, established ways. So I would argue that over the last 30,000 years imagination has been bred out of the human gene pool, and what survives is systematically squelched long before the school system has the chance to inflict further damage on it. Imagination can be frightening, and our society ridicules fearfulness (except of things prescribed by the government, the media and our peer groups as ‘reasonable’ to fear). I think we actually learn not to imagine.

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