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Re: OT (Complexity makes for a) Desperate situation

Joel Rees wrote:
In fairness, computers are now so complex that it is almost inevitable that some unforeseen circumstances will arise. Not that this has any relevance to the problem I've just had, but I don't feel that it is possible, today, for any systems designers to be absolutely sure that nothing odd could happen.
Umm, not so. I recall my "software engineers" complaining that
their software/firmware could not anticipate every possible
circumstance. I would point out to them that "Your code is going to
do *something* in every circumstance. What it does can either
be something you *chose* for it to do, a *considered* decision,
or it can be something you simply *let* it do, *without*
any consideration. Which do you prefer to have to support?"

These days, all the "complex interactions" are pretty much due
to intelligent devices with uCs running firmware. If it does
something weird, then that's just some firmware writer being
in a certain sense "lazy".

I would say that depends on the definition of lazy. It's kind of like
professors who stand up in the intro to compilers class and say, "A good
compiler could completely do away with the need for a program stack." In
the ideal, yes, but ideal processors have infinite memory and run at
infinite speed.

Sure, there are plenty of lazy engineers, programmers, and techs, and
plenty of impatient project managers, and plenty of sales personnel only
too happy to promise impossible delivery dates, etc., but there are also
problems that are difficult to solve, and testing can definitely be part
of that class of problems, particularly when the machine being built has
to deal with humans fumbling around.

I don't think anyone has yet found a solution to the general class of
NP-complete problems.

Solution found, ignore it. ;-) I sort of like Rush for this one:
If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.

Actually in the work I do we deal with access lists. we have to
block some and let other through or we allow some and block the
rest. My programming is typically that way also. Sort of:
if(a) {
  # Good
} else if (!a) {
  # Bad
} else {
  # HUH?!!!

Deal with what you know and decide if everything else is
an error. Sometimes there is nothing you can do with the
error. But at least post something, a screen message or
a log entry. Then at least you have the option to fix it
in a later release.

Oh, BTW, my favorite environment involves processors
with RAM up to 256 bytes. I'm going pop one into an
old industrial UPS to bring it up to date.

Linux Home Automation         Neil Cherry       ncherry linuxha com
http://www.linuxha.com/                         Main site
http://linuxha.blogspot.com/                    My HA Blog
http://home.comcast.net/~ncherry/               Backup site

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