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Comment Re:Who supports it (Score 1) 60 60

As someone who has written in at least a dozen languages, I do not understand arguments that "python is easier to read" at all. The way python wants to use indentation to indicate blocks of code is much more difficult to read for anything of modest complexity. With standard tab widths it wastes too much screen space, and with smaller tab widths it becomes impossible to follow moderately complex code. There's a reason why almost every other language on the planet has some sort of block delimiters.

Also, python tends to be slow. I'm not sure how much of this is inherent to the language, and how much is how people use it. What I can say is that in real world experience python seems to be "too slow" for the task about twice as often as perl, and I have seen numerous examples of python tasks recoded into both C and perl to make them faster.

Python's main win seems to be that it is easy to learn. I'm afraid many of the reasons why also make it slow.

Comment Re:Will the training really matter? No. (Score 1) 388 388

It's an easy problem to solve, not that we will. High school level teachers should get one year of paid training every 5-8 years. That is, perhaps teach for 5 years, then attend a full years worth of classes at a university in their field, then go back to teaching. Paid, at their regular salary. That's how you get teachers who are current, interested, and properly trained. Will most of the country go for it? No. Cries of paid vacation, and do it on your own time. Then they will complain teachers are undertrained and haven't kept up.

Comment Re:Take it from a big FreeBSD fan... (Score 1) 267 267

Ok, I'll bite. m:tier, a two-person company worth about 100,000 Pounds Sterling, that has been around for 6 years is your poster child? A company that has a single reference on its web site for a, and I quote:

We have been using the M:Tier CompliantBSD complete Desktop and Office solution since 2008 to provide an extremely secure and stable environment for up to 350 users across diverse geographical locations.

And somehow you want us to believe this is evidence that BSD is competitive on the desktop with over a billion Windows installations, or 66 million Macs in use?

I think you just proved my point. When everyone else has thought about what to run and made their decision, a billion chose Windows, 66 million chose a Mac, and a few hundred chose OpenBSD. OpenBSD has so few users, it has trouble keeping the lights on, literally.

There is a fleetingly small number of companies with BSD on the desktop, virtually all are involved with supporting BSD in the data center (including m:tier), and they all involve a very small number of folks.

Comment Re:Easiest way... (Score 4, Informative) 267 267

a focus on usability and mass appeal over flexibility and choice.

Let's parse that, because there's a lot packed in that small fragment.

focus on usability, so your complaint is that a vendor is spending a lot of time and effort making the software easy to use? Huh?

mass appeal, it's somehow a negative if the best option available is something everyone likes? Or turned around, it can only be a good option if a lot of people hate it? Huh?

over flexibility and choice, in what? In software? On a Mac you can open up a terminal window and ./configure;make;make install pretty much any open source software I've ever seen. I think you'll be hard pressed to find any software that runs on FreeBSD that does not run on a Mac. Exactly how is a Mac limiting your choice of software? Perhaps you mean they only allow specific things in their App store? That's kind of like complaining that Ford limits your choice of tires by only selling Firestone in the service department. Maybe you mean in hardware? Except you can run any operating system you like on it. Plenty of people have installed Windows or even FreeBSD onto Apple hardware, it works just fine. You can throw out all of OS X if you want and still use the hardware. Now true, you can't do the opposite and run OS X on hardware of your choosing, so I'll give you that is a small limitation. But in the end what difference does that make.

You were drawn to linux to play. We've all gone through a phase where we tested 10 different window managers just to see what each could do. Linux, FreeBSD make that easy. It's fun. Other than a couple of guys at RedHat, I can't think of anyone who gets paid to do that though. Your job description probably doesn't include testing every software alternative in Linux.

Comment Take it from a big FreeBSD fan... (Score 3, Interesting) 267 267

You don't want to use BSD on the desktop.

I'm not saying you can't, all the usual stuff is in FreeBSD ports, there are distributions like PC-BSD that attempt to be good for desktops out of the box. If you really want to make it happen, you can. I've watched many Linux and FreeBSD folks spend countless hours making their desktops work.

Even going to a hard core sysadmin conference, you're going to see a sea of Mac's, some folks even using Windows, and a smattering of the hard core on Linux desktops. Why? To work with other people in their company or at other companies they need Skype, or WebEx to work. They need Excel to open the quotation for hardware, and flash player to view some mandatory training. They want resource browsing that just works so they can print to a printer in the office.

The reason BSD is great in the data center is lots of people use it for that. It's a network effect. You're standing on the shoulders of other folks. It's the same reason Windows and OS X dominate the user desktop market, the software you need just works on them, someone else has made it work. If I told you to replace all of your data center servers with Windows 8 boxes you'd probably laugh at me, and yet the opposite question does not provoke the same response!

So if you want to, try. It can be done, with much blood, sweat, and tears. You might find that fun, if so enjoy! You might work for a small enough company or even just yourself where you can mandate BSD, and LibreOffice and be happy. If so, you are extremely lucky. Otherwise as a long term, die hard, FreeBSD supporter I can tell you from 20+ years experience, you're going to just frustrate yourself.

Comment All it takes is one data breach. (Score 1) 631 631

One data breach of a CurrentC retailer such that bad guys can debt someone's account, followed by the subsequent "sorry, the money's gone and you have no fraud protection" will be the end of it. After the national news skewering no consumer will trust such a system ever again, and retailers will have lost all hope of getting around credit cards. Given how often data is breached these days, I give it about 3 months after the system rolls out. 12 tops.

Comment Re:Only because they're stupid. (Score 1) 435 435

Using it for bombings. What's so different from sending an autodrive vehicle to someplace with a bomb in it as opposed to sending a regular vehicle with a bomb and then leaving it before it blows, or even having some ignorant stooge drive it for you? After all, it's not like you can make the autodrive violate it's programming and plow through a crowd or into a mall. If you really wanted to do that, you could just rig a normal car up with remote controls. It's not that hard or expensive, they do it a lot on mythbusters, so it's not a strange concept to most people either.

I'm afraid you're not being very creative. The threat isn't one car with one bomb, because you can always find a single bomber. The threat here is fleets of cars, possibly hacked remotely, perhaps in coordination with other attacks. For instance many government buildings have strict security on which cars can get inside the perimeter. A latent trojan in the car firmware might not activate until after it was inside the security perimeter. Or if someone could find a way to take over a fleet of semi-trucks they may be able to convince them to all drive down a perfectly ordinary street -- at the same time a marathon is being held. It's the same tactics being used with botnets on the internet, but this time with real things that pose life-threatening dangers.

Comment Re:Not a rule (Score 1) 199 199

Another reply has already pointed out the "navigable airspace" limitation. The specific FAA rule is FAR Part 91.119 Minimum Safe Altitudes. Basically 500 feet everywhere, and 1,000 feet over "populated areas".

Back in 1981 the FAA addressed RC operators with Advisory Circular 91-57. It requires RC operators stay under 400', remain in line of sight, and coordinate with an airport if they are within 3 miles of the airport (which is where planes may be under those minimums due to take offs and landings.

This set of rules basically insures vertical separation of RC operators and "real" planes. It's worked for over 30 years, quite nicely. In fact the FAA is quite happy with this for "drone" (really RC quadcopter) operators. Buy one, fly it over your house within the rules, take a video and post it on YouTube for your "hobby" and the FAA is perfectly ok with it, and won't give you a hard time.

Rather, the FAA is drawing a different line here. They have a long history of distinguishing between commercial and private operations, and have different regulations for both. They have generally held in the past that "all commercial operators must be licensed", which in the context of real planes makes perfect sense. But with these new quadcopters this rule has gone screwy. If you take the same video from the last paragraph and provide it to your realtor to help sell your house, suddenly you are a "commercial" operator and can't operate without an FAA License, and oh by the way they have no procedure to license RC operators right now so you can't get one, but you can ask for a one off waver, it may be approved in a few months.

And that's what is stupid here. If it's a RC device, operated by a human, under 400' and in line of site, they should stay out of it. Commercial or hobby shouldn't matter.

Comment Re:Unsafe at any speed (above 100 MPH)... (Score 3, Informative) 443 443

I think I can help you out.

It's actually a rather common, and well studied occurrence. For instance here's a 70 MPH into a tree car split in half. Many cars have had extremely weak side impact designs for years. It's also one of the hardest things to protect against since there is no crumple zone on the side to absorb energy, unlike the front and back.

I bet across the country there are multiple cars split in half every single day, many from hitting narrow objects like light poles at relatively modest speeds, like 45MPH.

Comment Not a phone, but... (Score 2) 259 259

The latest iPad Air made some news in the tech circles when it came out for it's 4G capabilities. It was the first time Apple was able to use 100% identical hardware for AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile. In fact, baring some stupidity in provisioning departments, it's possible to buy one, get SIM's from the other three, and have a 4-provider iPad in the US.

The specs:

UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1900 MHz)
LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26)

Based on my reading at the time, due to the power and antenna requirements there were no phones that had the same laundry list of 4G bands. Of course that was ~1 year ago now, and time moves pretty fast in the mobile world. The reason I post this though is the iPad Air makes a killer 4G hotspot, 24 hours of battery life with the screen off. Maybe a 3G world phone and an iPad Air for high speed data are a viable solution? The iPad also is sold unlocked from Apple, no extra charge. Phones will likely have carrier locking issues.

Comment Let's see why... (Score 5, Insightful) 164 164

  1. Well known Celebrity, check.
  2. Celebrity actually cares about, and is involved in the cause, check.
  3. The cause is to help children, puppies, or other small cute things everyone likes, check.
  4. The cause promises to make the future a better place, check.
  5. Makes a large group of people sentimental for the past, check.
  6. Rewards appeal to people with money, check. [Come on, geeks like Star Trek, geeks make good money.]
  7. Kick off carefully coordinated to multiple popular internet web sites, check.
  8. Asked for a modest amount of money compared to what they actually want to accomplish, check.

It was a kick-starter wet dream. When I saw the initial post I said "He'll have the money in 48 hours tops". Apparently I overestimated by about 4x!

Comment Re:OpenBSD's Fork Is The Answer (Score 1) 113 113

We need a GNU/SSL fork too. GPL forever!

It exists, and is called GnuTLS. All the developers I've worked with who've looked at it and OpenSSL say it is worse than OpenSSL, although I don't remember the particulars of why. Feel free to support it if you prefer a GNU alternative.

Comment Re:Militia, then vs now (Score 1) 1633 1633

See my other reply, but largely your rights are only absolute in to the extent they don't infringe on others rights. For instance your free speech rights can't come at the expense of someone else's free speech rights. The movie theatre example is the classic one from law school, it's illegal, and not free speech to yell "fire" in a movie theatre because it causes a panic and injures others. If the theater is empty, go right ahead.

In the case of the FCC, their jurisdiction is only over "the commons", that is the broadcast spectrum. If a station wants to use the commons, that is send a radio signal out that everyone can listen to, they have to get a license to use that spectrum and because it goes to "everyone" they have to abide by a common set of rules. It's a Tragedy of the Commons situation, one person/company/entity can't take more than their fare share of a common resource.

By contrast, "cable TV" is a private enterprise, not using the common broadcast spectrum, and paid for by individual subscribers. That's why you can get PPV porn, HBO can swear all they want, and so on. The FCC can't control what they do, because they are not using the commons.

I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated. -- Poul Anderson