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Comment Variable record format? (Score 2) 36

Is that referring to data stored on a magnetic tape using varying record lengths? This used to be pretty common. The first record would be a text file telling you how the rest of the tape was formatted (although sometimes that descriptive "record" was a separate piece of paper attached to the spool).

Ah, those were the days, having to load reel-to-reel tapes by hand, hard drives the size of washing machines...

Comment Re:Why is this a problem? (Score 1) 242

My former newspaper's former comment system was (loosely) tied to your actual newspaper subscription - it's possible that's the case here as well.

As an aside - the reason the Tacoma News Tribune is my "former" newspaper is actually slightly related to this topic. They also had a perceived issue with online commenters behaving badly. Their solution was to move to a comment system that requires Facebook authentication. At that point I'd been a print subscriber for over 20 years, but I ended my subscription. Ahead of the switchover, I had an email exchange with Karen Petersen, who runs the paper. I told her companies like Facebook were exactly what newspapers needed to keep an eye on, and that there were plenty of other discussion board products (e.g. Disqus) that would accomplish what she felt needed to be done. It was pretty obvious she was just parroting back some sales pitch someone had given her when she replied ("we need to require real names to prevent abuse, and Facebook will accomplish that") - it wasn't surprising, but it was disappointing.

It was probably for the best anyway. They were already becoming less and less of a real newspaper, filling more and more space with entertainment twaddle, and, even when they did cover actual news, the stories kept getting shorter and were mostly devoid of real content. It was pretty obvious they weren't thinking about what their remaining subscribers wanted - they were following some consultant's advice about "attracting the kids" or whatnot.

Comment Sports commentaries? (Score 1) 39

I can't speak to cricket, but I watch a fair bit of American football and (especially) baseball. A good bit of the commentary seems to have very little to do with what's actually happening on the screen - so I'm not sure whether analyzing that will help or hurt! Perhaps adding a pre-filter so anything said by the "color guy" is blanked out before import would be beneficial.

Submission + - DARPA wants early warning system for power-grid cyberattacks (

coondoggie writes: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is looking to bolster the nation’s grid defenses with a system called Rapid Attack Detection, Isolation and Characterization (RADICS) that will detect and automatically respond to cyber-attacks on US critical infrastructure.

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