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Comment: Re: What the heck has happened to the West ? (Score 1) 132

by Beltway Prophet (#45568211) Attached to: Indian Mars Probe Successfully Enters Sun-Centric Orbit
Um, so: Curiosity? Multiple orders of magnitude more sophisticated hardware. Not to mention we are still -- simultaneously -- running Opportunity! More competition in space is a good thing for everyone, though, so long as we're not completely redundant in our efforts.

Comment: Bug Report (Score 1) 69

by Beltway Prophet (#43674407) Attached to: Israeli Singer Publishes a Song In Hebrew — and Perl

The programmer appears to be confusing the 'eq' and '==' operators; the 'eq' operator in Perl is used for string comparison, while == is used for numerical comparison. The result of using '==' on two strings, e.g. "M" == "F" will always be true, in the sense that 0 == 0. The 'eq' operator *can* be used to test whether 1 == 1, but will report that "1.0" does not equal "1".


$ perl -e 'print "M" == "F", "\n";'

Recommend developing a battery of tests using Test::More to verify the author's assumptions.

Comment: They Also Charge for SMS on Mi-Fi (Score 2, Interesting) 178

by Beltway Prophet (#30336264) Attached to: FCC Inquires About Controversial Verizon Fees
I've had a Mi-Fi (dedicated 3G Wi-Fi access point) from Verizon since the summer. Works great (trouble-free video conferencing from rural Virginia!), but there are consistently charges for SMS messages "received" -- which are not from anyone I know -- given that there's no way to retrieve them, seems kinda disingenuous.

Comment: I don't often *reboot* but I do *boot* every day (Score 1) 596

by Beltway Prophet (#27920885) Attached to: How often do you reboot your primary computer?
I turn my computer off every night. It's good for it. It's good for the planet. Of course, all my code editing sessions are running inside screen on a server downstairs that we never turn off, so arguably I'm the schmuck wasting power using two computers all day and leaving one of them on all night.
User Journal

Journal: Dell Power Edge 2950 Plays April Fools on ThinkGeek

Journal by Beltway Prophet

Setting: Jacob finally gets to sleep at 5:15 this morning after 22 hours of uptime leading up to April Fools' Day at ThinkGeek HQ. Two hours later, his company phone starts making its "alert" sound.


PHONE: Bleem!

SUPEREGO: Uh-oh! Somewhere, a server's in trouble!

JACOB opens eyes, looks at phone

PHONE: Bleem!

ID: I don't hear anything.

ID sings tonelessly: lalalala

PHONE: Bleem!

Comment: Time for the Next Science Fiction Channel (Score 1) 798

by Beltway Prophet (#27216727) Attached to: Sci Fi Channel Becoming Less Geek-Centric "SyFy"

I'm sorry that today isn't April 1st. I remember signing a petition to get the Sci-Fi channel carried by our local cable operator way back in the early 1990s. It's sad that they don't want to stick with us geeks who helped get them started.

Abandoning their niche isn't the way to gain ground, they should be bettering their niche instead. With the budget they currently spend on the CG equivalent of rubber monster movies, they could hire real SF writers to create high-quality Science Fiction -- less frequently than the crap, sure, but it would build an audience. Imagine two BSG series and no weekly monster movie. I think that's a win-win.

Seems like it's too late now. The old Sci-Fi is dead. Long live the new Sci-Fi (pass the petition, willya?).

Comment: Re:Administrators only (Score 1) 90

by Beltway Prophet (#26921869) Attached to: Rogue Anti-Malware Pushes Fake PCMag Review
Yup. I did this for my family when they first hooked their Windows PCs up to a persistent network; they don't have a password on the admin account, but they all know not to run programs there; they only use it if they can't install an app under their user accounts. It's been over a decade now, and no virus or malware issues. The only really annoying thing was that they started with XP home, and I had to configure their file perms with cacls and its bevy of ugly switches. *barf*

Comment: Re:Nope. Never. (Score 1) 395

by Beltway Prophet (#26620045) Attached to: Daemon

I do think Stephenson "gets it" but Cryptonomicon is less technically impressive after you notice how much of it was a fictionalization of David Kahn's excellent non-fiction work, The Codebreakers. Read them one after the other and you'll see what I mean.

Stephenson's one of my favorite authors; I've felt a compulsion to read passages from his books aloud to friends and family on many occasions. He has some bad habits, like the way his last chapters tend to splice all the loose ends together (no matter how insignificant) in the last chapter in a usually unsatisfying meltdown. FWIW, Anathem's ending is better than that -- and if you're interested in words and their origins, you shouldn't listen to the detractors, the vocabulary is part of the fun.

Comment: Re:Battlestar analogies (Score 1) 799

by Beltway Prophet (#26565827) Attached to: Battlestar Galactica's Last Days

Uh, Israel has large minorities of non-Jews. It's not a pure culture, and it doesn't herd people (though it does keep them out). Compare with the Muslim theocracies nearby (most of which *used* to have minority populations, especially of Zoroastrians and Jews in Persia (Iran)). See who you think is really doing the ethnic cleansing.

Comment: iGala Already Exists -- $239 (Score 4, Interesting) 259

by Beltway Prophet (#26516945) Attached to: Second Prototype of the $200 Open Source Tablet

Well, I know that by posting this I officially brand myself as a corporate shill, but here's a device that runs Linux, has a touch screen, has an open API, and already exists and can be yours for $239:

And you can use it as a picture frame out of the box. =)

The other line moves faster.