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Comment: Women in competitive gaming (Score 1) 962

by 8086 (#47514407) Attached to: The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry
Even outside of the extreme examples, women have a tough time in the competitive gaming scene and are immediately written off when they show the slightest bit of incompetence. For example, take Pyrion flax and Sheever from the Dota 2 competitive scene. Pyrion is arguably worse than Sheever (he himself would probably admit that), but he is given more airtime and taken more seriously. Here's a video that shows blatant sexism among Dota 2 casters:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...
I can't seem to find the video, but on day 3 of the Dota 2 TI4 championship (in the C9 vs VG match), there's a point where Sheever tries to say something about the lineups but is interrupted by other casters three times in a row. She ends up getting to say nothing before the game starts.

I don't think there's much that can be done to get women equal and fair treatment in gaming and computer-related fields, but I'm almost certain the situation will improve itself over time as more women participate. In the meantime, we just have to try to not be such dicks to the outliers and to not look at people through the lenses of gender, race and nationality.

Comment: Re:Have to channel the old Hedberg (Score 1) 625

by 8086 (#47332629) Attached to: EU's Top Court May Define Obesity As a Disability

"Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic! Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupus! One of those two doesn't sound right."

There are a number of STDs that people get yelled at, too. But your point is well taken. Until recently, alcoholics were considered to just have weak character and were very badly mistreated. Recognizing addiction as a disease helped to change that stigma. Like alcoholics, for many, obesity is not a simple matter of mind over matter and a lack of willpower.

I partly agree with you. Morbid obesity that renders a person dysfunctional should be considered a bona fide disease. Ideally, the government should provide free proper rehabilitation for anyone morbidly obese to recover. But, the line should not be drawn at the BMI mark for Obese (which is what is implied), and here's why:
1. It would encourage indulgence by rewarding it, and lead to possible misuse.
2. It would increase hostility in the workplace against the Obese.
3. As as someone who almost touched the Obese line himself once, I think my weight and how I look is none of your business, or that of anyone that I engage with on a professional or social basis. Many people would be offended by being offered the Obesity benefit based on bad hair days. I don't think most Obese people want another possible label that just about anyone can throw at them.
Yelling is not the best cure, but not yelling also has major downsides. Sometimes people need to be alerted.

Comment: we live in interesting times (Score 2) 52

by 8086 (#43172289) Attached to: US Vulnerability Database Yanked Over Malware Infestation
Apart from the great irony of this incident, it is also a sign of things to come in cyber security and the computer industry in general. It seems we're at a point of time when you don't have to be stupid and/or high-visibility in order to get hacked, most contemporary software is ill-equipped to deal with the rising security threat, and even security service providers cannot be fully trusted. Hopefully this translates to more employment for us geeks and opportunities to build all the security features and plug up all the holes like we always wanted to but couldn't spare the time for.

Comment: Cuba libre (Score 1) 121

by 8086 (#42349449) Attached to: The Mark Cuban Chair To Eliminate Stupid Patents
Mark Cuban is an accidental billionaire with a lot of attitude and an itchy twitter finger. His smarts are debatable, but his chutzpah is not. In this instance, however, I agree with him.

Judge Posner who ruled on an Apple v Samsung case agrees with a lot of us here: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/10/judge-decries-excessive-copyright-and-software-patent-protections/ . It's time the USPTO did something drastic about frivolous patents and patent trolling. The problem cannot go away with major systemic change, and because of the complexity of laws involved, you can't just make reforms such as "ban all patent trolls" willy-nilly. The patent trolls will just reincarnate as software company holding companies or some other type of legal entity that bends the rules.

What needs to happen are major changes to the patent examination process itself. Very few people know that when looking for prior art, patent examiners don't use Google or even the Internet to do their research. They do searches in a few official patent/scientific databases in order to make their opinions about prior art. The patent applicant and his attorney can provide USPTO with references from the Internet to prove their point and those are read over by the examiner, but otherwise the examiner has their hands tied.

If the examiner wants to deny a patent application, he/she has to move mountains and prove without a doubt that the invention is not patentable. Patent attorneys are persistent leech-like creatures who will keep appealing any such decisions using any possible argument for as long as possible. Every time a patent attorney argues and disproves a patent examiner's decision, the examiner looks stupid in front of his peers. So, by default, the path of least resistance for the patent examiner is to just keep on awarding patents based on the limited knowledge of USPTO's databases.

I know this from working as a software patent litigation expert.
Linux

+ - Raspberry Pi To Cross The Ocean In Autonomous Boat->

Submitted by lukehopewell1
lukehopewell1 (1855440) writes "The Raspberry Pi is a triumph in computing, and it's now set to become a triumph in robotics as one developer plans to build a model boat around it and sail it across the Atlantic Ocean, completely unmanned.

It's codenamed "FishPi" and will see a model boat sail across the Atlantic all by itself save for a camera, GPS module, compass and solar panels. It's only a proof of concept right now, but if this guy set it up on Kickstarter and offered a live stream of the crossing, I'd be opening my wallet."

Link to Original Source

+ - "Flame" didn't take a nation state to develop->

Submitted by mrheckman
mrheckman (939480) writes "Security researcher Todd Heberlein shows how easy it is to create AV-evading viruses:
http://www.netsq.com/Podcasts/Data/2012/GlowingEmbers/ (HTML5 video)

"Flame is the latest high profile cyber espionage attack, and two things stand out about it: how long it has been around without being noticed and its size and breadth of capabilities. This has led to a lot of handwringing in the anti-virus community and computer security community in general. One explanation given for the fact that such capable malware could have gone so long without being noticed is that it was developed by a nation state with huge budgets. Glowing Embers sets out to show that this is not the case. A single person in a single week can accomplish many of the things Flame can all while evading anti-virus software. ""

Link to Original Source
Google

+ - Master your online search skills with the Power Searching with Google course->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "It seems that Google wants to help you become a power searcher and get better answers from the service. Today the search engine giant announced that they are rolling out a new free online video course called “Power Searching with Google” that was built to teach end-users best practices and various tricks to get the most out of the search experience."
Link to Original Source

Comment: why not 4G? (Score 1) 134

by 8086 (#39352719) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Has the Best 3G Coverage In California and Nevada?
You should bring aboard one of these (http://nyconvergence.com/2012/03/ny-marketing-firm-uses-homeless-for-sxsw-wifi-beacons.html) homeless people and you'll have 4G internet. You won't need as much internet on the trip, either: with a homeless companion you can sing "spanish ladies" for miles, share stories about the down-low in whichever city they're from, and food, as you find the best dumpster diving joints on the interstate.

Comment: not true (Score 5, Interesting) 231

by 8086 (#33431898) Attached to: Why Microsoft Is Being Nicer To Open Source
I don't know about the whole BRIC, but I've been practicing computer science for 13 years in India and haven't seen a single person use Linux as a desktop OS. Even as a server OS, people usually go for Windows instead of Linux, web servers being an exception. Most people just pirate MS products if they can't afford them. My two cents: MS realizes that people use mixed UNIX/Linux-Windows environments and that they're not going to gain any more market share by bashing open source, since it has 'arrived'. What they are trying to do is show interoperability with open source software, so that you buy Windows because it won't hate your Linux machines. Also, like everyone else, they're trying to build 'community' around the Windows programming environment, because that's where they've been lacking so far. ASP is losing to PHP because a lot more free code is available that can be quickly and lazily deployed. Another reason why this might be happening is because younger people who have grown up with open source software are now working at MS and they probably want to change the evil MS image.

Comment: More of a software problem (Score 1) 104

by 8086 (#33114138) Attached to: Negroponte Offers OLPC Technology For India's $35 Tablet
What the Indian government needs to do is come up with a linux distro that will run on old discarded hardware and contain educational applications. A lot of the costs involved in building a new computer platform are redundant when there are already a bajillion old discarded PCs that one can buy for around $35. One thing Indians and most developing nations are good at is fixing up junk and making it useful. A government supplied distro that comes with educational videos, sounds and images, a local copy of wikipedia, and a simple platform that the masses can use for writing applications such as a grain price monitor, and a usable UI written in hindi (and later on in regional languages) can go a long way in achieving their aims.
The government already owns BSNL which has a huge cellphone network throughout the country, and they can start a low-speed internet plan (available only to those with a ration card). They can collaborate with someone in China (say huawei) to manufacture PCI cards and USB dongles that can use the GSM network for data.

The problem is not hardware as much as it is software and content. If you were to subsidize and hand a netbook to every child and poor person in the world today, you couldn't expect them to use it for educational or professional benefits. They'll just log on to facebook and watch Justin Bieber videos. Just recently we heard a story about how computer use does not correlate with higher grades in developed nations. What makes people think it would be any different for a developing country?

As a middle class schoolkid in India, I would've been delighted if there was something else apart from just black and white books that I could learn from. Instead of just reading about concepts, it would've been cool if I had access to simple videos of what an atom probably looks like and speeches delivered by mahatma gandhi. Or a simple geometry application in which you can draw circles and triangles to learn about them without wasting paper.
What India can do is get together a big enough team of developers, schoolteachers and social workers to write applications and compile content for this $35 computer, integrate it into an OS distribution that will run on any x86 processor above the 486 and is portable to other platforms, and then get NGOs to install this on old machines and deliver them to the poor. When they run out of old machines to use, then, maybe they can come up with a cheap x86 or ARM based laptop that has a cheap screen, a keyboard and a pointing device and can run this OS.
My point is that there are greater educational returns for the government of India in spending money in compiling a good software distribution and getting the masses involved early instead of starting another Simputer project that leads to nothing.
To those who do not believe a computer can be made for $35, I'd point to the cheap-ass Nokia 1000 series phones that are the mainstay of the cellphone revolution. These devices can still run simple applications such as games and e-wallets, etc., play MP3s, and some can even read flash memory cards. If one could just write some applications for them and increase the screen size, bingo.

Comment: bullshit (Score 1) 193

by 8086 (#32830336) Attached to: Student Wants Science To Name 'Hella' Big Number
"Hella" seems derived from hell and that would give the spelling of this huge number a negative connotation. Numbers are numbers, they should not have any connotation. That Groucho Harpo proposal has the same problem, it has a happy connotation. Not everyone would like to hear something like: there are Hella stars in the galaxy, or, I'm sorry to report but you earned Harpo dollars this month.

"I have more information in one place than anybody in the world." -- Jerry Pournelle, an absurd notion, apparently about the BIX BBS

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