Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Comment: Technology can make things obvious (Score 1) 180

To me one of my pet peeves with patents is that often people are patenting the obvious even though patents are supposed to be non-obvious. So if say the em-drive were to be brought to market as a high efficiency thruster it makes sense to give a patent to the brilliant inventors. It doesn't make any sense to give a patent to the person who puts it into an airplane, or space-craft, or a toy, or anything that would obviously be made better by having a thrustless thruster in it.

To me the same roughly applies to music. When new genres of music come out and new musical technologies arrive If someone composes an entire piece then they should be granted some copywrite over their entire song. But a single riff or other short distinctive part should not be copywritten. And there are many examples of where one artist would manage to sue another because there was some underlying musical aspect that had been "copied".

But even at this point it makes no sense that people can't play games with early Beatles songs. Why can't the "transformative" aspect that is protecting that instagram rippoff artist apply to some rapper who wants to redo Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds?

But in the interm I have a suggestion. That only an original artist unencumbered by contract can own a copyright for real any length of time? That minimally we end the ability of a corporation to own a copyright pretty well indefinitely as they do now. Make it like patents.If a corporation owns a copyright then they get 20 year and then lose it.

The beauty of this would be that things like Star Wars and Star Trek would now be going public domain and that would be cool. Does anyone here have any genuine hope that Disney Star Wars is going to be anything but a mixture of eye-candy and pablum?

Comment: Ding dong the witch is dead!!! (Score 1) 209

by EmperorOfCanada (#49805897) Attached to: The Patriot Act May Be Dead For Good
This kind of privacy stuff needs to be enshrined in the constitution. Otherwise they will just keep wailing away at our privacy rights until we have none.

There will be more attacks, and they won't be preventable with the greatest of rights violations. If someone wants to mount an attack against the US they are like water or they are stupid. The water will get through any holes (and there are always holes). Or they are really stupid and are easy to catch.

But with each attack they point to it and say, "Look if we could nibble away just a few more rights this would all be preventable and we can keep you safe."

What everyone forgets is that to hand a group of secretive paranoid people such powers is to invite a whole different kind of attack. A far worse attack that comes from the inside.

I would much rather a bi-annual pathetic attack, along with a deca-annual successful attack than to give petty (and they are petty) bureaucrats such powers.

Comment: I think one drug dealer texted another... (Score 1) 361

by EmperorOfCanada (#49804453) Attached to: Silk Road Founder Ross Ulbricht Sentenced To Life In Prison
We should arrest the creators of texts, emails, facebook, google, and definitely that Mr Bell and his infernal telephone contraption. They all facilitated drug deals. Now that I think of it TCP/IP probably only exists because the dealers were frustrated with lost UDP packets.

Plus where this guy seems to have made drug dealing even safer we should maybe reexamine the laws that throw this guy into a hole, yet leave the bankers cosy in their mansions. As while I have heard that this guy was a douchnozzle there are many bankers who ruined the lives of literally millions.

Comment: Nets (Score 1) 225

by EmperorOfCanada (#49795881) Attached to: Why Detecting Drones Is a Tough Gig
I see a point where nets will go up for a while(probably after an attack). But they will be so ugly that there will be relentless pressure to take them down. Then they will have "pop-up" nets. But they won't work and the nets will go up one more time.

Then some genius will come up with a solution and the nets will go away.

But we are all taking about little quadcopters and whatnot. But there are many many types of contraptions that will come along with drone technology. Gliders, missiles, planes, darts, parachutes, combos; so fly then crawl.

Just like the stupid war on terror. The real key is not to fight the war but to prevent the causes of the war in the first place. There will always be a few nutcases so there isn't much that can be done there. But if there were to ever be regular attacks then you are doing something wrong at a much higher level.

Comment: Re:Early recognition of greatness (Score 1) 417

by EmperorOfCanada (#49787319) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?
Yes I normally hate the reposte of "Citation please" I don't have something specific off the top of my head but there is the whole story of there being no people in North America before Clovis. If I understand correctly the evidence mounted and mounted against a specific history of the first peoples of North America but few dared to publish, which was both difficult and damaging to one's career. Then the roadblocks went away and woosh everybody published pretty much what everybody agreed had actually happened.

From what I gather this pretty much is the classic: Science proceeds one funeral at a time.
I won't specifically mention which plane crash but I personally know a researcher who basically bounced around the room in joy when a plane crashed and killed a number of people in his field. He summed it up with, "Some innocents died today but orders of magnitude more more will live because of the removal of some very senior roadblocks that died on that plane."

The media reported it as a great loss to that field of science.

Comment: C++ is so broad as to render this question useless (Score 3, Insightful) 335

by EmperorOfCanada (#49784501) Attached to: How Much C++ Should You Know For an Entry-Level C++ Job?
This would be like how much English do you need to get a job at an English speaking company?

If the domain of the programming is really specific such as financial machine learning, or embedded systems then a tiny handful of fizzbuzz tests would be enough as the core questions would all be about the domain knowledge. But if the job involves pushing C++ right out to its limits where the company has occasionally made contributions to LLVM or GCC then maybe the minimum knowledge would be that of a C++ god.

But the simple reality is that the surface area of C++ and its applications is so large that as long as the programmer had demonstrated that they can deliver in one area of C++ and are capable of learning whatever SDKs or specifics that you use I would not be too torn up to hire a programmer who knew little of the local company's subset of C++ used.

I personally have delivered C++ applications for embedded systems, mobile, and desktop. Yet it would take me very little time to write a (apparently) simple test that I would fail. Then I could point to myself and say, "Ha ha you don't even know these basics, you fool!"

For instance what is the keyword "compl" used for? Answer: it is a replacement for the ~
Why would you want to use compl other than having a broken tilde key? Answer: Because some systems don't have a ~ but do need to compile C++.

Plus if you were to quiz me on after I had been maintaining some other systems in Objective-C/Javascript/Python/PHP/SQL you could probably catch me up on all kinds of little stupid things where I would muddle the languages together. So just asking me the string function for reversing a string, upper/lower case, or other trivial things. I could end up looking like a real boob even though I could point to the hundreds or many thousands of times that I had used that construct/function/keyword in C++.

So, I am a huge fan of talking over some code that was created by the person and then seeing a quick fizzbuzz test or two to make sure they aren't full of crap. After that it would be to talk about projects that are at least similar to the project in question.

That all said; I wouldn't even be terribly offended if someone didn't even have much C++ experience as long as they could show that not only did they have mastery of one of the languages similar to C++ such as Java, javascript, or even even PHP; but that they had a proven ability to have quickly mastered a new language in the past. On this last note I would find it odd that an aspiring hard core programmer hadn't solidly encountered C or C++ in the past.

Comment: Early recognition of greatness (Score 3, Interesting) 417

by EmperorOfCanada (#49774399) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?
I have witnessed way too many brilliant, and I mean off the scale brilliant graduate students who are forced to pretty much credit their work to some 60+ year old very tenured professor because he is the only one who can get access to the money. But worse than that I see the same off the scale brilliant students being told that they are wrong wrong wrong. Not because they are wrong but because when they are shown to be correct it will upend the research and conclusions that entire careers were built upon.

I find that many senior professors/scientists never really accomplished anything and simply became experts in an established field further establishing that field. They are threatened by anyone who comes along and shakes the tree which might cause a few of their most rotten fruit to fall. But they are also threatened that if recognized that a truly great young scientist will come along and "steal" all the grant money that is rightfully theirs because of their seniority.

There are the rare senior scientists who encourage new and radical thinking along with making sure that credit is properly assigned (first name) but pretty much without exception these are scientists who accomplished something in their day.

I find a very common song sung by these terrible scientists is that all science is now to be done by groups. Yes groups are often required to conclusively put something new to bed but almost without exception great science had some key crack opened by some one person(or two) thinking way outside the box; not merely going through a checklist.

I have long thought that one of the reasons that so many great scientists are a bit autistic is that only this way can they ignore the continuous social pressure to conform to the groupthink that the lesser scientist would prefer they would. Whereas the more social but less capable scientists are the ones who can rise to the top on little or no accomplishments and cajole and structure the system so as to provide them with a huge cut of the grant money.

Comment: Who's AI (Score 1) 416

by EmperorOfCanada (#49765269) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI
The key in all this is who's AI? The AI of google? AI of the NSA? AI of some hedgefund? AI of some brilliant but disturbed scientist who was rejected from Harvard? AI of some brilliant guy at a game company?

There are many people working with adaptive systems that have a wide variety of problems. Many might even scoff that they are working on AI. But the critical point is when any one of these systems is flexible and adaptive enough to start improving the fundamentals of how it works. Once that magical point is crossed the system will grow way beyond the wildest dreams of its creator.

Comment: Maybe in the past (Score 1) 170

by EmperorOfCanada (#49753587) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?
When I was young getting a video game literally involved programming it. That pretty much was as much of a trial by fire as possible. Then after that getting commercial games generally involved piracy that was really really hard and later it involved hardware tweaking and noodling with that stupid config.sys crap to get the machine just so.

So popping a disk into an XBox or downloading content just isn't the same. Although I would be willing to bet that through xbox mods, xbox fixing, and cellphone repairs that there are a whole bunch of electrical engineers being born.

I would say that for those potential CS/engineers out there that the arduino type direction will be more fruitful.

Comment: Re:WTF (Score 1) 531

In a word, Yes. Plus the major ISPs in Canada pretty much have been caught doing traffic shaping, injections, and handing stuff over to the police willy nilly.

My VPN has not. Plus an hour after they are caught I will be switching VPNs along with about 1 million of their other customers. A typical VPN customer is going to be more sophisticated plus very concerned with privacy and very prone to reacting quickly and negatively to this sort of thing.

Therefore it would probably be priority number one to maintain our privacy even over a high quality service as I suspect if they sent me a letter saying, "We will be dropping speeds by 10% because we feel that we had to increase our crypto to something next gen." that most customers would nod and say, "Good."

Comment: WTF (Score 3, Interesting) 531

How can they be respecting my privacy seeing that such a feature would require that they have access to my browsing history. Even if (in theory) they aren't downloading my browsing history and it is my browser making the requests they can deduce what sites I must be browsing to request such "suggestions."

So if I mostly go to sites that involve sex with bowls of pasta and my browser were to request suggestions involving bowls of pasta porn it isn't much of stretch for them to guess what kind of sites I go to.

This shit pisses me off. I already use a VPN to keep my ISP from this sort of interference. Now it is my damn browser ratting on me.

How about a big fat no. Firefox already has a dropping market share and now it will drop by at least one more(me).

Just to be clear as to how much I value my privacy and don't want tracking. I use a VM for all services that I log into that goes through a separate VPN. Thus my day to day surfing is 100% separate from anything that has any logins. So any cookies/IP address that facebook, google, etc might have handed to me aren't available during my general web surfing.

I break zero laws yet I still want nobody tracking me as is my right.

Excessive login or logout messages are a sure sign of senility.