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Comment: Re:Kids don't understand sparse arrays (Score 1) 126 126

That wikipedia article is horrible.

You know the nice thing about Wikipedia? When you find poorly written or factually incorrect articles you can actually do something about it instead of just whining about it on an unrelated website.

Comment: Re:Craptastic Summary (Score 1) 126 126

Read the article? There is no article. There are six tweets (numbered and linked individually), a graph with data sets helpfully labeled "1", "2", "3", "4", and "5" but no other description, and a PDF of the test questions. And some comment about students not understanding the concept of "sparse arrays", but since the term is completely defined in the test materials I can only assume the real concern is that students can't be bothered to read the "unimportant" introductory material before trying to answer the actual test questions.

Comment: Mmmm... Clothes... (Score 1) 81 81

They were then instructed to press certain keys when images of things like fruits and clothes would appear, indicating a "go." But for images of calorie-dense foods (chips and cake, for example) they were instructed not to do anything, indicating a "stop" action.

It's great that I no longer want to eat chips and cake, but now I've got one hell of a craving to eat a cardigan sweater!

Comment: Re:How is this news for nerds? (Score 2) 1074 1074

I've got to hang with Theaetetus here. I'm all for poly marriages, but existing inheritance, tax, insurance, etc. laws don't handle more than two people well. Gay marriage doesn't run up against any existing law except the one that says "no gay marriage". You don't have to change anything else when you say, "You know all those laws about a man and woman being married? Yeah, they apply to two dudes or two chicks, too." To include polys you have to redefine how inheritance is divided, how taxes are paid, who's eligible for insurance, etc. etc.

There also need to be new laws for situations that just can't occur in a two-person marriage. For example, what happens when one person wants out of a poly group? With a two-person marriage, a divorce necessarily means the end of a marriage. With a poly group one person leaving is not necessarily the end. What about when one person is unwillingly pushed out of a poly group? Or if the group fissures into two or more sub-groups? What happens if a child of someone in the group turns 18, should they be allowed to marry into the group? Does it make a difference if the child is adopted and not the biological offspring of any existing group member? If members can be added and removed, what are the implications of a continuous marriage that can outlive all of its individual members?

The laws could be changed to make poly unions work. The laws should be changed to make poly unions work. It's just that there are a lot of things that need to be examined for that to happen. It's not just a case of going from "two people of opposite sex" to "any two people". It's a serious qualitative change that will require qualitative changes to the law. Personally I'd love to see a serious proposal to change the laws in question and allow poly marriage. I think we could borrow from laws governing corporations to put something solid together. But I'm not a lawyer. I'll let someone else do the work. I'll vote for the result, to be sure, but I'm not going to kid myself that it's just a matter of adding "or more" between the words "two" and "people".

Comment: Re:"Win Prize" (Score 1) 171 171

It's a bit of an odd prize, because all they did was suggest an idea. No working prototype or anything like that, just "wouldn't it be good if..."

Courtesy of The Big Bang Theory....

Leonard: Jimmy, I'm kind of curious why you wanted to see me.
Jimmy: Okay, here it is. I have this great money-making idea. I just need a gear head to get it to the finish line.
Leonard: What's the idea?
Jimmy: This is just between us, right?
Leonard: Right.
Jimmy: Okay. What do you think about a pair of glasses that makes any movie you want into 3D?
Raj: That sounds amazing. First movie I'm watching, Annie.
Howard: How exactly would these glasses work?
Jimmy: How the hell should I know? That's why I need a nerd.

Comment: Re:Knowledge (Score 1) 312 312

The notification is mostly a courtesy to the sheriff. Once the booms start, people are going to call the sheriff saying, "Things are going boom out here!" If you've notified them they can just say, "Yeah, Bob Smith's out making holes in his yard, he should be done by sunset." Otherwise they have to find the location of the booms and pay a visit to make sure it's just some guy on his own property and not some guy blowing up someone *else's* property for shits and giggles.

I say this having been on the receiving end of such visits more than once. (Sometimes when you notify them they drive out anyway, but that's mostly because they're bored and like to see stuff blowing up as much as anyone else.)

Comment: Follow the script (Score 1) 479 479

The tech support script is there for one reason -- to let the higher-tier support staff who have actual problem solving skills work on actual problems without wasting their time on people who need just need to be told that the "any" key isn't literally a key. It does this by letting people of lesser ability handle the easy stuff and -- this is key -- letting the upper tier know that the easy stuff has already been checked.

"But I've already checked the easy stuff. It's plugged in, I have tcpdump output, I can prove that it's an actual problem!" Maybe, maybe not. Think of it as an input validation problem. A web server should never implicitly trust what the browser sends, right? It's poor practice to let the browser do all the input validation and blindly accept it. The script is the tech support input validation step. You say you're an advanced user who's tried everything easy, but how does tech support know that? Just like 90% of drivers think they're above average, 90% of geeks think they're above making stupid mistakes. The very fact that you're quibbling over the terminology of "modem" vs. "router" makes be believe that you're someone with an over-inflated sense of their own abilities.

Let them run through the script. It's tedious. It's frustrating. But it does tend to check the stupid "is it plugged in stuff" that even the most tech-savvy can sometimes forget. When they ask you to do stuff, actually do it. Don't just say, "Okay, I'm rebooting now" while you sit and play Cookie Clicker for five minutes pretending to do it because you "know" that's not the problem. You might get surprised and find that your problem isn't as exotic and unique as you thought it was, or that your list of "everything" to try doesn't really include everything.(*)

And if you do get to the end of the script without fixing it, the upper tier support person will have reasonable confidence that you do indeed have a non-trivial problem.

(*) Personal anecdote: My wife's laptop had a flaky USB port. After checking all the easy stuff I got on the phone with tech support. "Turn off the computer, remove the battery, and hold the power button down for 60 seconds." What? That's ridiculous! There's no way that'll fix it! But I did it anyway. Guess what? It started working, and has worked flawlessly since then.

Comment: Re:That's not all (Score 1) 336 336

I'd rather not get painted as a victim, because I feel pretty fortunate.

That's called "Stockholm Syndrome". Call me if you need help. If you can't talk because someone else is in your dingy little cubicle just pretend like you're ordering pizza and I'll know.

Seriously, I was in the video game industry for a few years back in the mid 90s. I worked at one place that was great, another that was absolutely freakin' miserable. Strangely both had roughly the same hours and pay; the difference was in the people. The first place was full of people who loved what they were doing and management that more or less supported them at it. The second place had the morale of a slave galley and a management to match.

And the headline "Stress is driving developers away" was old news even then.

Comment: Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (Score 2) 221 221

First: What the fuck is a "Technologist?" Personally, I reffer to myself as a Pornomancer, but what that means outside of my secret closet in the basement, I'm not sure.

You're right, you should question who is saying this. Lauren has been around forever, editor of the Privacy Digest and frequent contributor to the Risks Digest. He has street cred in the world of privacy activism. Personally I don't always agree with what he has to say (I find him somewhat alarmist) but he's certainly earned my respect over the decades. He's not just some schmuck with a blog and an axe to grind. (FWIW I've never met the man, I just know him from his writings.)

Comment: Re:Strategy (Score 1) 218 218

I've been saying this for 14 years now. Want to shove the final knife in America? Send a suicide bomber to blow up a long, crowded security checkpoint at an airport. You'll completely shut down air travel while we try to figure out how to secure the by-definition insecure side of the checkpoint. Better, send guys to multiple airports, and if you have any left send a few to sports stadiums and other places with moronic security bottlenecks. You'll see the US collectively wetting ourselves to shred the Constitution in the name of safety.

That this hasn't happened yet tells me that either the terrorists are really, really dumb or that maybe, just maybe, there really isn't an army of turban-clad boogeymen just waiting to pounce.

Comment: Words fail me, so I'll paraphrase... (Score 1) 227 227

Dear Slashdot,

I have a sweet high-paying job that might not last forever. Rather than risk losing it at some unknown time in the future and having to take a pay cut with a new job, should I just switch careers now and guarantee that I take a huge pay cut right away? PS., I'm barely scraping by now. I couldn't possibly support my family on less than the almost quarter million a year that I'm making now.

As of next Thursday, UNIX will be flushed in favor of TOPS-10. Please update your programs.

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