Thursday, May 25, 2006

Leaving in Bugs

Great news today: Kenneth Lay and Jeff Skilling were found guilty on many counts of conspiracy and many other things. They'll probably be in jail for the rest of their life, which still wouldn't compensate for all the lives their greed ruined. What I want to talk about today is how software manufacturers leave bugs in their code. I bet you never realized that they're sometimes left in on purpose. People made a big deal when all these known defects were left in the Core architecture. Why wouldn't you squash them all? As the Guardian brings up quite appropriately, you have to consider severity, frequency of appearance, cost to fix (time literally is money since you have to pay your engineers), and risk. I think that risk is a pretty big factor, because I think all programmers have at some point experienced other things falling apart because they changed something to fix one bug. When you're working on a big project, this can more easily happen and it's typically harder to detect since you're not expecting it. There's a fine line between a bell or whistle and a necessary change, and even finer between a mundane detail and a critical problem. So when you curse your favorite software vendor because you experience a crash, just realize that it's pretty hard to achieve perfection, and you may never have that piece of software if they didn't leave certain bugs uncorrected.

Apple has trademarked the name Mac Pro now in two countries, leading Internet geeks to wonder if this will be the name of the PowerMac's successor since Jobs made it clear that he was doing away with the "Power" name across the board. I think they may just be trademarking it to keep others from using it to make their own knockoff and pass it off as a Mac, but maybe they do have something under wraps yet. John Dvorak is still taking potshots at Apple, but this time for their alliance with Nike. I can see the point he brings up about Jobs trying to create all these labels and brands, but I think he takes it a little too far. This Nike thing is a pretty small potato, and I'm sure that it was Nike's idea that Apple just decided they might as well profit off of. Nintendo told Famitsu that its Wii would be sold in Japan for the equivalent of about $223 USD, which of course makes us jump for joy that they may be selling it for possibly somewhere around that (more likely $249). Click to enlargeI hope they'll spill the beans soon enough. Meanwhile, we just keep speculating on what they're keeping from us regarding the Wiimote since some think that it'll have a mic, which may mean VoIP support as well. This is just hearsay though, and we still don't know if the Wiimote has more to hide, though it has been hinted that there is more to it. A bunch of networks have filed a lawsuit against Cablevision for their new remote DVR service where they basically store your recordings on their own DVR up to 80 GB for $10 rather than have you get the fancy hardware for it. I think the networks may be confusing it, because I don't think they're actually streaming it competitively to their original broadcasts any more than TiVo does. Lastly, you may remember all the hub-bub being made about sloppy thermal paste on MacBook Pros, but it turns out that the nerds were wrong: it really was the firmware all along (hence the mysterious patch Apple released last week for it). O'Reily's disassembled a MacBook Pro and found out from their experiments that the improvement many were getting was probably because of a disconnected heat pipe, not the thermal paste.

There's very little worthwhile movie news to report today. Another Southland Tales clip has sprung up, and Krysta (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is centerstage in this one, as well. She actually looks hotter now than before. The Miami Vice site has unveiled some new TV spots, but it's not much that we haven't already seen. Still, I like the style Mann is going for, even though he tries a little too hard. Lastly, MTV Overdrive has a trailer for My Super-Ex Girlfriend, but it's one of those trailers that pretty much runs through 90% of the plot in those three minutes. A friend of mine saw it and said it wasn't half bad, but I still think it's weird that Uma is doing such a worthless project.

Now for 3x Thursday:

1. Do natural disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes, blizzards, tsunamis) worry you? Why/why not?
Kind of, but I've been blessed to not fall under their wrath. I've been in a couple of nasty floods before, but I don't think I was in serious danger in either one.

2. Where you live, which natural disaster are you most prone to? Does it make you want to move somewhere else? Why/Why not?
Floods, but it doesn't make me want to move away. What makes me want to leave Houston is how crappy it is of a city! As for Austin, I don't think it's really prone to any kind of natural disaster.

3. Have you ever been affected by an Act of Nature? If so, do tell!
Like I said, a couple of bad floods. In one, I was just at home all day. In the other, it took my bus over two hours to get me home (I live like 5 miles away from school). It sucked to lose all that homework time and to just be stuck in a bus for that long, but at least we made it out alright.

Bonus Question: Which natural disaster do you find the most fascinating (cause hey, they are!)? Why?
Earthquakes because they show how alive the Earth still is geologically!

I'm going to go see my cousins tomorrow, so no clue whether or not I'll be able to post tomorrow night. Don't be surprise if it gets delayed to Saturday morning though.

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