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Comment: Re:Thanks, Obama (Score 4, Informative) 376

by Creepy (#49783849) Attached to: Obama Asks Congress To Renew 'Patriot Act' Snooping

Um, someone WAS trying to do something about it - Congress actually tried to sneak in an extension - there was a provision in the USA FREEDOM Act that extended section 215 until 2019 (originally it was 2017, and Rand Paul especially objected to tacking on another 2 years). That was passed by the House but defeated in the Senate. Incidentally, Obama was pro USA FREEDOM Act as well (and yes, all those caps are necessary - FREEDOM is a backronym, though I don't remember what it means).

Comment: Re:downgrade attacks... (Score 4, Informative) 71

by Creepy (#49735357) Attached to: 'Logjam' Vulnerability Threatens Encrypted Connections

It actually has more to do with export law - in fact, Clinton's Executive Order transferred control of encryption from the Munition List to the Commerce Control List. Prior to the Clinton updates, the maximum exportable encryption was 40 bits. Part of the reason the change got Clinton's attention is the PGP investigation, where the creator of PGP exported the computer code in a hardback book (free speech) as opposed to in a computer (munitions), allowing it to be scanned and compiled outside of the US. Also the weak foreign encryption export limits were starting to hurt US businesses (mine included at the time - we outsourced all encryption work and worldwide distribution to England, leading to about 20 US workers losing their jobs).

Comment: Re:Whatever... (Score 1) 142

by Creepy (#49691909) Attached to: House Votes To End Spy Agencies' Bulk Collection of Phone Data

Also section 215 is not even dead - if you look at section 705 of the USA Freedom Act:

705.Sunsets
(a)USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005
Section 102(b)(1) of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 (50 U.S.C. 1805 note) is amended by striking June 1, 2015 and inserting December 15, 2019.

(b)Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004
Section 6001(b)(1) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (50 U.S.C. 1801 note) is amended by striking June 1, 2015 and inserting December 15, 2019.

So they just voted to extend the Patriot Act provision for domestic spying instead of letting it die June 1.

I agree - it seems to actually allow more data to be sucked up, too (like VoIP calls) and removes legal responsibility from corporations that give this data to the government.

Comment: Re:My .$02 (Score 1) 507

by Creepy (#49691441) Attached to: Is Agile Development a Failing Concept?

We had this problem handing off code to a traditionally waterfall team. I work in an R&D team, so we get tossed onto new projects every couple of years and have to hand off the code eventually to the core developers and testers that are still organized as waterfall. The transition was not smooth - they basically just crammed waterfall stories into multi-sprint epic stories instead of breaking them down (which is why we're still helping on the project and the release date slipped).

Comment: Re:Right conclusion, wrong reasoning. (Score 1) 507

by Creepy (#49691349) Attached to: Is Agile Development a Failing Concept?

We have a continuous integration testing team; I don't know how a large Agile project can survive without one. So far our Agile client has far less customer bugs than our main client over the same period of time (their first two years vs ours). Ours doesn't have as much functionality yet, however, as we're releasing it in an Agile way (as it is developed).

Comment: Re:Agile. (Score 1) 507

by Creepy (#49691157) Attached to: Is Agile Development a Failing Concept?

Yep - the story should document the feature. If it doesn't, the story isn't complete. We ship our stories straight to our pubs group for documentation if the feature needs documentation, and the story is flagged with "requires documentation" when put on the task stack. If another story adds on to that feature, that goes to pubs to update that feature. If anything, our documentation is better now than it was before, where the developer had to submit a documentation request (which resulted in lots of undocumented features because everyone thought someone else submitted it).

Comment: Re:ADA? (Score 1) 267

by Creepy (#49623471) Attached to: Is It Worth Learning a Little-Known Programming Language?

When I first started looking for a career, COBOL was very common in banks and they recruited heavily for students just out of college (less than 20 years ago) and were willing to give them time to learn the language. As I understand it now, nearly all the COBOL is done at the mainframe/backend and the front-ends are all stuff like ASPs, JSPs, java, etc. I'm guessing the jobs are still there, just a lot less of them.

As for Ada, yeah, it was designed for and used by the US DOD and even required by them until 1997.

My personal rarely used language is Forth, which I learned to hack Open Firmware so I could make my mac boot either Yellow Dog Linux or OS X (installed on separate drives). That saved me a cable swap (boot ordering didn't work so well - the mac always wanted to format the unknown drive), but eventually I just started using XonX and not using the dual boot, and that was similar to my older setup that ran OS 8 on Linux (MacOnLinux). Been 10 years at least, so I doubt I could still program Forth without a refresher.

Comment: Re:The first crappy language I encountered! (Score 1) 171

by Creepy (#49607479) Attached to: Bill Gates Owes His Career To Steven Spielberg's Dad; You May, Too

Woz felt he needed a high level language on his computer, as well as one that could be used to write and play games. The 4k minimum memory on the Apple I and Apple ][ were so the computer could run them in BASIC, even though that made them "100-1000x slower." Woz wrote his own BASIC (based on HP BASIC) from scratch with no knowledge about how to write a compiler, though he did borrow some school papers from his friend Allen Baum. He felt FORTRAN was for engineers and chose BASIC because he wanted regular people to be able to write and run programs in it, and wanted to run the games in a book of 101 games in BASIC (don't know if that is the exact name - something like that). He demo'd Breakout, written in Integer BASIC to Jobs and showed how easy it was to change little things like block color, something that would require a hardware redesign to do in software.

BASIC may suck, but the reason it was chosen was it was a programming language targeting beginners, not engineers (the effing name tells us that - Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code). I too have a lot of disdain for it, but the fact is it was my first programming language and I probably never would have learned to program had I not learned that (and graduated to writing assembler by the time I was 12).

Comment: Re:More like to his own parents (Score 2) 171

by Creepy (#49607399) Attached to: Bill Gates Owes His Career To Steven Spielberg's Dad; You May, Too

GEM was doomed more from Microsoft's exclusive licensing agreements with vendors. That is when I saw it and all other competition to DOS/Windows vanish from the market. GEM was awesome, too, especially compared to early versions of Windows. Microsoft had two extremely crappy versions before anything comparable came out, and they didn't even do that right until the first point release (3.1).

Comment: Re:More like to his own parents (Score 1) 171

by Creepy (#49607367) Attached to: Bill Gates Owes His Career To Steven Spielberg's Dad; You May, Too

Killdall thought the personal computer thing was a fad, so yes, was completely to blame for that.

As for Microsoft's part, you've got to give Gates some credit - not only did he try to negotiate with Killdall, when he did ink a deal with IBM, Microsoft had no OS experience but promised it in a ridiculously short time-frame. That was solved that by licensing an existing DOS and rebranding it. I can also sort of see why IBM would think he could do it, being the first to get BASIC working on Intel processors, the same ones IBM planned to use.

I didn't really see them as shady until they started making exclusive deals with vendors for cheaper software, often bundled software like DOS and Windows (and later Office) for about the same as other vendors were just selling DOS as long as that company signed a deal to sell no other vendor's software.

Comment: Re:Theft (Score 2) 171

by Creepy (#49607265) Attached to: Bill Gates Owes His Career To Steven Spielberg's Dad; You May, Too

Pretty sure Microsoft bought a license from Seattle Computer Products that allowed them to sell DOS under their own brand. That was one reason Killdall wasn't able to sue Microsoft - their lawyers basically redirected any lawsuits to SCP. I recall SCP attempted to pull the license later and sued for something like $60 million and eventually getting just under a million (and Microsoft getting to keep the license).

Most versions of BASIC mimic'd the DEC version, and most wanted to be the first on new platforms. Gates had one of the first versions on Intel processors, for instance. Apple's Integer BASIC (or Game Basic, as Woz called it) was based on HP BASIC, which Woz grabbed from his office at HP, which I've heard was a weird mutant BASIC.

Comment: Re:Four (Score 1) 301

Yep - same here. For me it's:
1 - wireless mouse
2 - HID keycard (how I get into the VPN at work)
3 - data port (charge phone, music recording input)
4 - wireless headset or professional headphones

Of course, the point is moot because I just bought a new laptop last month. I could get by with 3 (the keycard is only necessary to connect to work and then can be unplugged unless I need to hit an HR website, but that also requires me to use IE 8 or lower and I just go in to the office when I need to do that - we have machines specifically for dealing with HR's shitty outdated software).

Comment: jeez, conversion took all of 2 seconds... (Score 1) 172

by Creepy (#49536467) Attached to: I spend most of my time ...

260 meters * ~3.28 m/ft (or 3,28 in some parts of the world) = 853 feet.

I live in the US and work with both US and Europeans, so knowing at least rough conversions is a necessity. When I say it's a little cool at 16 degrees today it makes a big difference when I'm talking to US or Germany - that's like -9C or 61F. It may be confusing because I sometimes jokingly call it balmy when it is freezing.

Logic doesn't apply to the real world. -- Marvin Minsky

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