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Comment: Re:Still... (Score 1) 193

by Daltorak (#47710183) Attached to: C++14 Is Set In Stone

Interestingly, Visual Studio got C99 library support [] last year. I'm mentioning this because the C support in VS has mostly been a desert scene with tumbleweeds passing by. I'm not sure how close VS is to full C99 support and what pieces are possibly missing. Does anyone know?

Microsoft's VC++ team blog provides details on conformance to C99, C++11 and C++14 on a regular basis. Here's a recent one:

The TL;DR: their C99 support is complete except for tgmath.h (though they do have ctgmath from C++11). VS2013's printf is also missing some format specifiers though that has been resolved for VS "14". Apparently they had to rewrite their 1980s-era implementation of printf from scratch to get this finished...... not exactly a trivial job. A couple of other minor things are missing too.

Comment: This article has a ton of problems (Score 2) 479

by Daltorak (#45110839) Attached to: Charlie Stross: Why Microsoft Word Must Die

First of all, if you're trying to make a statement of how a product must "die" due to transgressions from the 1980s, that's plain ridiculous. Someone who committed a drugs offence during the Reagan administration shouldn't be denied a job opportunity in the fall of 2013. Right? Let's pass judgments in the current state of things, not what we had to deal with 20 years ago.

Second -- the whole technical argument being made seems to revolve around the idea that mixing "control code" and "style sheets" in a single format is bad. I've got quite a bit of past experience in writing software that builds doc files (the binary ones) and I can state with great certainty that this is NOT how Word works. Everything is a style, whether explicitly or implicitly by combining styles with direct formatting, and every style is able to be (and usually is) inherited from a parent style. You don't have to explicitly define the combined styles, and in more recent versions of Word they've made it much clearer that that's what is happening. (IMO Word 2007 is the first version where they actually got the UI right)

A lot of people are confused by all this because older versions of Word favoured UI simplicity over structurally beautiful documents. A lot of that has to do with trying to convince WordPerfect users to come over to Word..... anyone remember the complaints that everyone had in the 1990s about how Word didn't have a "Reveal Codes" function like WordPerfect? Yeah, that's because THERE ARE NO CODES like the author of TFA claims.

Third -- the Word style system is remarkably similar to HTML + CSS. It's hierarchical layout with the ability to override anything at any time. Presentation and content are "ideally" totally separate, and you can certainly work this way in Word if you are disciplined, but nothing at all stops you from saying "yeah I -know- this block of text is 14pt but I want this one word to be 12pt."

The author also drills pretty hard on the point that the format of Word documents has changed from one version to the next. Well, yeah....they added features like Table Styles and List Styles in Word 2002. Surely nobody is expecting documents that utilize this really helpful feature to older versions of Word..... right? This is no great's just a case of adding new features. Switching to the XML-based document format and standardizing the format with Ecma and ISO has definitely helped settle the format down, but if a word processor doesn't support a feature in a newer version of the document format, well.....tough shit. I don't hear anybody bitching about how Firefox 3.6 doesn't fully implement CSS3, accordingly people shouldn't bitch about how Word 2000 doesn't implement features new to Word 2010!

One last thing: I'm posting this to debunk some mythology and refute the author's claims, but I'm not defending the old-school Office document format....yeah, it was driven by a very 1990s need to be fast on old 286s etc. (same reason Windows 3.0 APIs lacked a lot of bounds checking, BTW) and the format is a proprietary file system unto itself (doc files always come in sizes of multiples of 8192 bytes because that was the size of a block of data regardless of its content). But those times are long gone now. We should have a great appreciation for the people who worked really hard on decoding all this ten years ago and published some good Perl modules on CPAN.... I've read all that source code and it is insane. And we should have an appreciation for those who pushed Microsoft to go "open" with their Office formats. Openness was pushed into Office without users even realizing it, which is good for everyone.

Comment: Re:A Mature Local Machine Product vs Immature Clou (Score 5, Informative) 346

by Daltorak (#42401719) Attached to: Google Docs Vs. Microsoft Word: an Even Matchup?

it has features that fit any conceivable needs

Speak for yourself. I use Google Docs for lots of things, where Word simply does not fit. For ex:

1. Daily time-sheets of my team members with details of work done, and time spent, with status.

2. Project progress of my department; which plugs into the that of the entire division.


3. A taxi dispatch system uses Google docs to find out current location, availability, status etc using Google docs. Word is totally unusable in such scenarios.

Wait, what? Are you talking about the ability to do real-time collaborative editing of Word documents here?

Word (and Excel, and Onenote) has this already, and has for a few years now. It's part of the Skydrive integration. Documents are stored "in the cloud" but you get a local copy, too, for disconnected editing. Any machine (or phone, yes even iPhones and Androids) connected to Skydrive gets the synced up copies too). Version history (up to 25 versions anyway) are stored. Hell, even the OS X versions of Word and Excel support real-time collaborative editing. You don't even need Office installed.... the web app versions of Office 2013 are free.

In short -- Microsoft has real-time editing of an Excel document by someone using a native app on Windows, a native app on OS X, and someone using Chrome on a Linux system. Your uses cases are supported just fine.

Comment: Re:Oh, boy! (Score 1) 99

by Daltorak (#41964007) Attached to: The Shumway Open SWF Runtime Project

Having experienced just how slowly pdf.js renders documents longer than a page or two - I can't WAIT to see how well implementing swf in javascript goes!

Implementing SWF in Javascript can't possibly be more complicated than implementing A Javascript x86 emulator that boots into Linux and can run gcc .... could it?

Comment: Re:Not replace, but maybe work with. (Score 1) 388

by Daltorak (#41874983) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Samba4 a Viable Alternative To Active Directory?

I don't think you can replace Active Directory for things like Group Policy, etc.

Strictly speaking, Group Policy and user settings management stuff is not "Active Directory". It is a layer on top of Active Directory, which was originally called IntelliMirror but now just goes by the name Group Policy. All "Active Directory" gives you is a scalable authentication layer based on DNS and Kerberos with some interesting hierarchy features, the ability to "trust" other AD organizations to varying degrees, as well as a schema-based object system that anyone can expand on. AD objects can represent any kind of "thing" you have in your organization.

If you had the resources, you could probably build a complete OS X or Linux-based user and computer settings management system, on top of Active Directory, without actually doing things the "Windows way". As long as the operating system/desktop environment supports a way of storing and protecting settings that a user can access but not change, then you're good to go. (This is the one thing the Registry has going for it -- you can secure individual settings, whereas with other operating systems, you can only apply security at the file level.)

Comment: The only non-productive comments in your code.... (Score 2) 186

by Daltorak (#41650423) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dedicating Code?

.... should be positive ones. Inside jokes, cultural references, maybe a rewritten song lyric, or something else that lightens up the task of writing production-quality code.
(e.g. a class in our code base, for instance, has a function called YoDawg() whose responsibility is to recursively instantiate itself.)

Keeping your work life separate from your personal life is extremely important. You should not be bringing your grief into your professional work. We've all lost parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins, friends, past lovers, former co-workers, and some of us even lose our spouses and children. It's really f-ing difficult to deal with, even years afterwards. If we all brought that grief into our professional lives, we'd all be professionally miserable. It's not healthy, and it's not fair to others who don't share your grief.

Comment: Re:Services (Score 4, Informative) 306

by Daltorak (#37647578) Attached to: Windows 8 To Reduce Memory Footprint

> it will also let services start on a trigger and stop when needed instead of running all the time.


Although I have to wonder, why are "services" treated differently than other programs, in this context or any other? Does it have any positive effect?

First of all, it's worth noting that Service trigger events shipped with Windows 7.... they're just making better use of this capability in Windows 8. (This is a common flaw with Microsoft's development process for Windows.... they include some really smart new APIs but then take another 5 years to start really using them thoroughly in Windows itself.)

But to your main question -- why are services different from other programs? A service is actually a regular program, with one exception -- it hooks into the operating system to receive events telling it to pause, continue or stop its operation.

Why do this? Management. You don't want 20 different programs with 20 different ways of starting & stopping them.

A feature the Windows Service Control Manager offers is the ability to run your service in a single pooled process alongside other services that require roughly the same privileges on the system. You can see this at work in the Windows 7 task manager -- go to the Services tab and sort the list by PID. If you ever wondered what "svchost.exe" is on a Windows system, or why there are several running on your system, each under different user accounts...... there you go.

Comment: Re:Why not Safari as well as Chrome? (Score 1) 110

by Daltorak (#36026234) Attached to: Chrome, IE To Allow Users To Delete Flash Cookies

It's the same base engine, isn't it? What about the non-google Chromium? Will it work with Adobe to erase cookies?

This isn't a "base engine" issue -- it's a browser UI issue. Each browser needs to offer an API hook to plugins that allow them to say, "hey, call this function when the user has requested their browsing history be deleted!" So, the way you phrased your last question is backwards -- Adobe must work with browser capabilities, not the other way around.

In the case of IE8 and later, this is a one-function COM interface that gets passed a single flags parameter indicating what types of objects should be deleted. Pretty simple stuff..... why it took Adobe more than two years to implement this obvious little capability is beyond me.

I haven't been able to find an equivalent in Firefox 4's NPAPI documentation, but it may exist. If it doesn't now, it will soon -- it's a really obvious feature to have.

Also, for what it's worth, the Flash local storage is global to your user profile, not local to the browser.... so asking Chrome to delete your browser history will mean Flash cookies are deleted in all other browsers.

Comment: Re:Okay, here's a question ... (Score 4, Informative) 305

by Daltorak (#34653778) Attached to: New IE Zero Day

Microsoft has released a notice about a new zero day attack against Internet Explorer.

And this is noteworthy why? How many Slashdotters use Internet Explorer for anything other than the occasional WindowsUpdate in XP? This may be News for Nerds, but it hardly matters. Everyone here knows very well that Internet Explorer is too dangerous for general Web use. That Microsoft is suffering yet another security failure doesn't really elicit much interest from me, I must say.

Weeellllll, that's the stereotype, sure, but the on-the-ground reality paints a different picture.

Surely you've noticed that Firefox 3.6 is up to its 13th point release since January,and #14 is just around the corner. The first Secunia security advisory for this browser was issued within weeks of its initial release, and there now have been 11 in total, covering 85 separate vulnerabilities in Firefox 3.6. Look at SA42517 for an example, which was published two weeks ago. In that one advistory alone, 13 different security bugs are addressed, covering a wide variety of attack vectors like large Javascript arrays and large parameters to document.write(). And when you look at the fixes made in source control to patch these bugs, you sometimes scratch your head and wonder, how the fuck did they miss that when coding it?

But the problem with Firefox is worse than that. On Windows and Mac OS X, users are prompted over and over again to install these point updates. It requires elevation to Administrator privileges, and it requires restarting the browser. I see people routinely ignoring these updates because it'd interrupt what they're doing..... and the web server logs I have access to are a mishmash of Firefox browser versions.

This is a browser with 25% of the worldwide marketshare -- more than any version of Internet Explorer save for version 8.

So.... how about Google Chrome, you say? Their patching setup is far superior (that's why I use it), but it's not like the browser is any better-written. Just this month there have already been eighteen disclosed security vulnerabilities. And that's only slightly worse than average for a month in Chrome land. There are actually a number of Google Chrome bugs which are marked as only affecting the Linux version, too. Look at CVE-2010-4041 for an example of what I mean.

What I'm trying to say here is this -- Internet Explorer's security profile isn't significantly different than the other major vendors. They all have poorly-coded browsers that focused on packing the features in, without taking due consideration to the safety of the code they're writing. If you want to single out Microsoft for criticism, let's talk about the fact that they take so long to get these fixes out, and that reboots are often required to get the patches in place. That's where Firefox and especially Chrome are ahead.

Comment: Re:Cannot find MS malwares (Score 1) 175

by Daltorak (#34608916) Attached to: Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 Released

What happens is that the MS's Messenger installer and windows updates will sneakily replace your firefox's default search engine with bing instead of Google.

[citation needed]

I recently installed Live Messenger and am fully up to date with Windows Updates, but my Firefox search engine is still Google. It's never changed. Heck, Bing doesn't even show up as a search engine in Firefox!

Comment: Re:beta Apples to outdated Oranges (Score 1) 205

by Daltorak (#34567468) Attached to: NSS Labs Browser Report Says IE Is the Best, Google Disagrees

I think you missed the other important part: "Also, the version of Chrome that NSS says all this about is two major versions behind the current stable release, while the version of IE they say is better is the current beta release."

A more relevant comparison would be IE 8 to Chrome 8 (current generally release version of both version), or IE 9 to Chrome 9 (current publicly available pre-release version of each browser.)

Perhaps someone should do a similar comparison, but using Chrome 9 and IE 6, instead...

It's quite clear from the study that Chrome 6 was the most recent full release of the browser when these tests were performed in September. Don't forget that Google Chrome is on a six-week major release schedule. If the argument is that Google has made significant improvements in their defenses against socially-engineered attacks in the last three months, then okay, the study is no longer relevant. But have they done this? I haven't heard anything along those lines.

Comment: Tailgating and bird-watching (Score 4, Interesting) 754

by Daltorak (#34447366) Attached to: Rear-View Cameras On Cars Could Become Mandatory In the US

I can think of one good use for rear-view cameras... dealing with tailgaters! Imagine being able to record some video of some primo dickbag in his BMW X5, angrily following five feet behind you at 50mph because you aren't willing to go significantly above the speed limit for him. The computer's technology can measure how far away the other car is and overlay it on the screen. Then, hit a button on your dashboard, it sends the video (with a capture of his license plate, if he's got one) off to the police and they mail him a ticket. If enough people catch the same person doing it, fuck'im, take his license away and force him to take the bus.

On a more cheerful note, there is another use that Jeremy Clarkson recently suggested on Top Gear -- looking at pretty girls in the car behind you while sitting at a traffic light. Lech-o-matic!

Comment: Re:This is going to be hellish in 5 years (Score 0) 282

by Daltorak (#34076450) Attached to: CRTC To Allow Usage-Based Billing

This is like charging $1 per 1.44mb , very soon this arbitrary measurement will hamper innovation and Canada as a whole will suffer.

So if I understand your exaggeration correctly, you think Canada, as a country, will suffer "as a whole" because customers who download between 81 and 300 GB a month will be billed $22.50 extra a month?

(That's what TFA says, but the Slashdot summary didn't)

$22.50 is lunch money at Harvey's for a couple of days, or one hour of pay for a halfway-decent engineer. It also buys you 300GB of consumer-grade DSL bandwidth, which is a sustained 21 megabytes of transfer per minute for the whole month. That's 340 kilobytes per second -- two-thirds of what is physically possible on Bell Canada's 5 megabit maximum DSL connections.

How many people do you really think are out there pushing their consumer-grade DSL connections around that hard, and are in the business of R&D and innovation (as opposed to, say, downloading movie torrents), but can't afford to pay for it? And how will their being forced to pay a tiiiiny bit more every month make the country "suffer"? Do you really, honestly believe that people are going to give up pursuing interesting projects in Canada just because their heavily-utilised 5 megabit consumer-grade DSL service got more expensive?

Dude, seriously, get a grip.

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.