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Comment: Re:Not in Canada (Score 1) 145

by A.Gideon (#29711969) Attached to: Kindle Finally Ready For Global Distribution
Does the Sony require a Microsoft or Apple environment on a PC? I'm Linux-only, and - as far as I've been able to tell - the Sony is a non-starter for me because the only way to buy is by using their special software. Even if I did have a Microsoft or Apple PC, I'd be frightened of Sony's "special software" given their rootkit history. So: Am I wrong? Is there a way to purchase for the Sony w/o requiring a Microsoft or Apple PC environment? Thanks...Andrew

Comment: Re:However.... (Score 2, Insightful) 175

by A.Gideon (#28695751) Attached to: UK, Not North Korea, Is Source of DDoS Attacks

You can't spoof an IP thru a router you don't control.

It depends upon what you mean. You *can* send a package with a forged source IP through a router you don't control. It requires that nothing filter on the "bad" source IP (which is still far too common, from what I've read). This also would never get a successful TCP connection; you could send a SYN this way but the ACK would never get back to you (it would be sent to the forged source instead).

But this can be enough for a DOS.

Honestly, though, I'm not sure how important source IP spoofing is nowadays. There are so many MSFT machines participating in one more more zombie armies that spoofing would seem to add little value. The attacks really are coming from all over.

Comment: Re:55% say they are Democrats (Score 3, Insightful) 670

by A.Gideon (#28660213) Attached to: Study Highlights Gap Between Views of Scientists and the Public

...Whether it is caused by humans or not, it doesn't really seem to matter. Let's focus on making this place a nice place to live. Clean air, clean water, clean land. These are things no one is going to argue with. Let's start making this a better world for you and for me.

Seems like a no-brainer, no? But that's pretty much the topic here: no brainers.

Honestly, though, I see the failure of American thinking as far more of a problem than Global Warming. The latter can do a lot of damage to the environment to which we're used. But, aside from our own perspective, so what? A few cities get flooded? We might care, but the Earth won't.

On the other hand, we need clear and decent thinking - analysis, reason, etc. - to deal with this issue. And the next. And the next. Maybe Global Warming is the fault of humans this time. The next problem might not be. But that doesn't mean that we don't have to deal with it.

Dealing, though, is where we'll fail if we cannot apply science and engineering to design and implement rationally chosen solutions. And our schools are not churning out people trained in rational and critical thinking, much less scientists and engineers.

There's too much political advantage to be had in keeping people ignorant and backward, I fear, for schools to ever receive the long-term correction that is likely required.

Comment: Re:Its not rocket surgery... (Score 1) 865

by A.Gideon (#28556661) Attached to: Staying In Shape vs. a Busy IT Job Schedule?

My experience: I've been doing Taekwondo now for perhaps 20 months. Before this, I'd tried exercise programs, but nothing stuck as well. The reason: I do this with family and - apart from that - it's fun! I find that I exercise outside class because that's become fun too, in a way that it never did when it was "just exercise".

This brought me down an inch or so at the waste. Then, weight watchers brought me down a few more includes over just a few weeks.

Both really are important.

For the blocks of time when work doesn't permit much else, there are plenty of exercizes that can be done at work. Isometrics. Get an exercise band; many of these can easily be done at or near a desk or in a corner somewhere. Perhaps even small weights for arm work at the desk (though this is one I've not done myself (yet)).

It would be a big help if coworkers can get involved too, as this makes it easier to do at work and it also adds to the motivation.

Comment: Re:Could they possibly... (Score 2, Insightful) 162

by A.Gideon (#28161247) Attached to: Time Warner ToS Changes Could Mean Tiered Pricing, Throttling

This is absurd. What in your mind constitutes an "abuser" of a service that is advertised as unlimited?

Right. That's what this is all about. Some of the connectivity providers are being caught out, selling more bandwidth than they have. Rather than shifting into an honesty mode, they're trying to classify those that actually make use of what they've bought as "abusers". It's as if a restaurant were to complain of the abuse of those patrons that ate their entire meal.

They lied before because there wasn't enough demand for them to be caught. That's changed, and their dishonest ways have been exposed.

Comment: Re:Why is Verbosity Bad? (Score 1) 491

In general, I agree with the disagreement. The ability to replace Some::Package::someFunction() with someFunction() saves the writer time, but it costs time later. The reader needs to do more work to determine from where the function comes, for example.

And since there are typically many readers but only one [original] writer, the time of the reader is more valuable.

The points about name clashes and such are also good.

On the other hand, what happens when some maintainer wants to replace Some::Package::someFunction() with Some::Other::Package::someFunction()? Multiple points in the code to be changed vs. one point? Recall that each change adds a potential bug.

A compromise:
      $f = Some::Package->new();
      $f->someFunction();

might make sense if someFunction() is used repeatedly. But even this is imperfect, in that the new() may be sufficiently distant from the ->someFunction() that it's not a lot better than "use" in terms of readability. But at least it avoids namespace conflicts.

Engineering: The Art of Tradeoffs.

Comment: Re:Why is Verbosity Bad? (Score 2, Insightful) 491

There's "verbosity" and there's "verbosity".

One form - which is I think how the original article used it - is that individual statements accomplish little work. For example, they move a byte into a particular location in contrast to languages which have statements that do things like apply filters to lists' content. These are languages which require verbosity on the part of the author to accomplish work.

These are more work to write because one must break tasks down further. They're also more work to read because the reader must assimilate a greater number of statements to grasp the work being performed from a higher level perspective.

Another form of verbosity is intended to provide additional context for subsequent readers of code. APL can provide the counter-example of this, where code can be so terse that the original intent is lost.

Too many still forget that the time of the reader of the code is more valuable that the time of the writer in most cases, for the simple reason that there's one writer but many readers (including the writer him/herself a few days/weeks/months/years later *grin*). Making code that's easier to read is important for maintenance and extension.

That kind of verbosity is a Good Thing.

Comment: Re:Flyin Cars (Score 2, Interesting) 499

by A.Gideon (#28158791) Attached to: Why Our "Amazing" Science Fiction Future Fizzled

Where are you getting that from?

Even after the most severe snowstorms, you'd be able to fly over the snow sooner than the roads would be ploughed.

-jcr

Just guessing, but...

Small aircraft are vulnerable to icing. During a snow storm, this is actually not an issue. But you don't want to be in wet clouds or rain with the temperature anywhere near 0c.

At greater cost de-icing is available. But even high-end systems can be overcome by a sufficient rate of accumulation.

Then there's the simple matter of wind and turbulence. Stuff about which cars don't care make life uncomfortable or dangerous for pilots. Is the usual automobile driver going to know the penalty in runway length caused by a 5kt tailwind?

Autopilots are great...until they fail. Or a sensor clogs. Or the alternator trips.

We'll have flying cars eventually, I suspect. But we're not likely to own many. They'll be taxis in the near future. Even once automation is sufficiently safe, they'll still be more efficient as a public utility than everyone owning one.

Comment: Re:Ignoratio Elenchi (Score 1) 369

by A.Gideon (#27946469) Attached to: Scientists Create RNA From Primordial Soup

I think the point is that you're taking the exam all your life, but you only get to see the grade after you're dead.

That seems ridiculously unfair to me, so add this to the list of reasons why - even if there is a God - he or she or it is on his/her/its own.

Of course, if there are make-up exams I might change my mind *laugh*.

The number of computer scientists in a room is inversely proportional to the number of bugs in their code.

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