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Comment: Re:ADA? (Score 1) 247

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) 169

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) 169

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) 169

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) 169

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.

Comment: Re:FTFY (Score 1) 190

by Creepy (#49529277) Attached to: Microsoft Announces Device Guard For Windows 10

Gatekeeper was never really designed for corporate style use, but to be honest, neither was the mac itself. For that matter, Windows PCs aren't really designed for corporate use, either.

My worry is that it works like Gatekeeper, though. The Windows Store is a hideous mess, especially on the free side - a lot of programs that should be free come up as low voted "lite" versions that do nothing without you paying for the real program. A prime example of this is .7z - the default programs (and there are about 20) are all view only unless you pay their fee and all you get is a touch interface 7zip, a program which you can download and use free on non-touch devices. I got so frustrated finding one that I just gave up and installed 7zip (this was a touch supporting laptop). Uninstalling one of these crapware programs is completely unintuitive to a desktop user, as well (supports the touch paradigm only). I actually had no idea how until my wife got a Windows Nokia phone.

And yes, I think the Windows Store is far worse than the Android store in this respect - way too many "lite" programs or trialware that does little or nothing without you paying for them. With android you usually get advertisement injection with this sort of free program. I'd rather have that than shakedown-ware. For reference, on android I had no problems finding a free .7z extractor (and it compresses, too!). It was the first hit I got and had 4.2 stars (first I got on Windows was 2 stars).

No, I don't mind paying for software, but when the program is free on the same platform just with a different interface I draw the line. Set up a paypal account and ask for donations if you are a poor college student. Be sure to state that you are a poor college student on the download page - I'm a sucker for pity pay donations. My worst fear is a Gatekeeper-like app locking the vast majority of users to some money grubbing bottom feeder developers like people that make money this way. This is capitalism at its worst, profiting off of someone else's creation.

Comment: Re:lol, Rand sucking up to the dorks (Score 1, Troll) 206

The law was written in 1983 and updated a tiny amount in 1986. It was a time before the internet, and was specifically written with ATMs in mind. Even worse, they used one of the most ambiguous and horribly loosely written laws in existence, the Espionage Act of 1917 as the blueprint. This is the same law the US government used to charge Edward Snowden with espionage, which is supposed to be when you give confidential information to foreign governments, not someone that is not supposed to have it (seriously, that is what the law defines as espionage).

So yes, access without authorization makes a lot of sense when used for ATMs. When applied to the internet, it makes using practically any for-profit web site illegal to visit and requires you to use your actual name, not an alias (that is also illegal according to this law - you are misrepresenting yourself).

What did Aaron do? He put public domain documents on the internet that a school was charging something like 10 cents a page for copies. Since this was a "financial transaction," this was a 25 year felony crime according to a law written for ATMs. Not exactly sure how it got to 35 years, as I remember that law was 25 max. Incidentally, I know several people more legitimately charged with that - they were pirates arrested in the 1980s (affiliated with the Super Pirates of Minneapolis and Midwest Pirate's Guild), but most were underage and served no time.

Comment: wish I could... (Score 1) 533

by Creepy (#49505177) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

In a ruling 20+ years ago, my city banned rooftop and "visible from the street" solar panels and all wind turbines in a "nuisance" ruling. That same ruling also bans trash cans visible from the street and having any sort of front yard structure to hide them (these structures are allowed on the side of the house). Living on a corner lot where my backyard is partially visible from the street (I could build a fence, but my backyard is small and would likely block the panel), I cannot legally have solar and they have cited me for trashcans on the side of the house because it is "front facing to the street," even though it is the side of my house.

Comment: Re: For work I use really bad passwords (Score 1) 136

by Creepy (#49479059) Attached to: Cracking Passwords With Statistics

You could also use a system to vary the passwords. I use the last character of the site name (as I stated in a different post), but I've been migrating to a new system in the past couple of years, which is why I didn't care about divulging it. Let's say the new system is the first and last characters of the site (it is not) - I could then have sPa$$w0rdT for the password to Slashdot, and while it is essentially the same, it varies for most of my accounts. One hint - my new system sometimes excludes RSTNLE, AKA the Wheel of Fortune characters, AKA the most popular characters in at least American English, but sometimes does not and knowing when to use them or not is part of the trick. My new system gives me 4 character/number differences and positional differences in every password, so I expect it will be far more secure than my current method and still easy to remember.

Comment: Re: For work I use really bad passwords (Score 1) 136

by Creepy (#49478937) Attached to: Cracking Passwords With Statistics

I have throw-away passwords I sometimes reuse as well, also for sites I need to register on and don't particularly care about (they also get a junk email account I never check). I will vary this password by using a trick - I use the last character in the site name as the first character in the password so it is rarely the same. Still not exactly secure, but easy to remember and varies the password by site. The rest of the password is usually some fantasy character name with flipped calculator/leetspeak letters thrown in with the capital moved to after the first number. For instance, Godwynne would become g0Dwynn3 and BadBrutus would be b7DBrutus. If I was on Slashdot, these would be tg0Dwynn3 or tb7DBrutus.

And yeah, that is for my throw-away passwords. Most of my non-throwaway passwords I doubt could be guessed or hacked through brute force. A keylogger probably won't help (it will be flagged as an unknown program by security scans and set off a security alert), so you'd need to rootkit the machine.

Comment: Re:For work I use really bad passwords (Score 1) 136

by Creepy (#49478655) Attached to: Cracking Passwords With Statistics

That works great if you aren't forced to have 6 characters different, as well. Our rules were 8+ characters, 20x without repeat, 6 char difference in each password, 30 day forced changes, at least one upper case character, and at least one punctuation. Through trial and error, I found the 6 characters different were based on position, so my solution was rotation - Pa$$w0rd becomes a$$w0rdP and then $$w0rdPa, etc. Works for a few months at least, and I only needed to memorize three strings. Never got cracked by the brute force software so far, so it worked for me (and no, my password is not Pa$$w0rd - that is an old joke and not a very good one).

Comment: The almost poetic irony... (Score 2) 332

by Creepy (#49460393) Attached to: California Looks To the Sea For a Drink of Water

Speaking of nuclear, Nixon actually killed off the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment and fired Oak Ridge Laboratory lead Alvin Weinberg because he was advocating ditching the liquid metal fast breeder reactor in favor of the much safer molten salt reactors. Nixon did this to promote building Light Water Reactors in California and protect jobs there rather than delaying them for a new technology to be developed. The ABSOLUTE KICKER is that Weinberg also wanted molten salt reactors because their high heat can be used for desalination (and their ability to scale to small sizes would make them ideal for developing countries that needed desalination as well as some electricity).

Comment: Re:I think we just need to get burned. (Score 2) 332

by Creepy (#49460299) Attached to: California Looks To the Sea For a Drink of Water

I can count Bush's environmental policies on two fingers - banning of incandescent light bulbs (which, honestly, was going to happen eventually) and banning CFC asthma inhalers to support the Montreal Treaty, even though those were one of the tiniest contributors to ozone depletion and seriously impacted asthmatics (for one, it was the only over the counter asthma remedy, for two, the replacement, HFA inhalers, were patented, prescription only, and were only tested on healthy adults in the FDA's "fast track" program, which is the same thing they do to test GMOs, and 3/4 of the manufacturers used an allergen, alcohol, as part of the propellant, so that went over poorly...).

If there's one president I wish had failed to get into office, it's Bush, though Obama has cut it close a few times (both of them have TERRIBLE financial policy, IMO - defund Obamacare? Only the assistance to the poor was unfunded - Bush's Medicare D wasn't funded AT ALL)...

Money is the root of all wealth.