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Comment: Not today's games (Score 1) 135

by Etherwalk (#49755879) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?

When I started with computers, I had to bust my ass to get any time with any machine at all and there was nobody around with information or guidance or knowledge.

The first thing I did wasn't play video games. I learned about BBSes. I learned telephony, phreaking, networking. I learned BBS software. I learned people. I built a BBS. I built a multi-node BBS. Then I moved on to writing engines for websites to do things I needed (like financial transactions, databases, etc).

I started with computers around the age of twelve and didn't really get into video games a bit until my twenties and a lot until my thirties.

Meanwhile, I have seen kids in the last fifteen years primarily use the computer for porn, video games, and social networking... and that's all they do. Not once do they give two shits worth of thought about how things work or why they work or to start taking things apart and looking under the hood. Kids are raised as consumers of content; not creators. In fact, they are punished for being creators. Inventors. Discoverers. Hackers.

Most of today's games don't have the same design. They're not really presenting you with intellectual puzzles for the most part, so much as advancing to the next level. You aren't having to figure out how not to be eaten by a grue, and even mazes are rare in today's games--things that require real use of thought or memory or other mental ability rather than just reaching for the next reward.

Comment: Not true (Score 2) 130

by Etherwalk (#49755847) Attached to: WSJ Crowdsources Investigation of Hillary Clinton Emails

And except for AM radio conservatives, nobody gives a shit about Benghazi.

You would think so, but evidently not. If nobody cared, the State Department wouldn't time the release for take-out-the-trash Friday (the day when you get the least news cycle result). Instead, the timing points to an obviously politically motivated timing utterly inappropriate to a theoretically neutral unit of government.

Comment: Contesting arrest (Score 1) 174

by Etherwalk (#49753693) Attached to: DNA On Pizza Crust Leads To Quadruple Murder Suspect

Running from the law is a crime. Just as resisting arrest is a crime.

Although rather absurdly you can be arrested with "resisting arrest" being your only charge, meaning that you're guilty of not wanting to be arrested for no crime whatsoever?

Because it's not legal to contest illegal or erroneous arrests by physically resisting them. It's legal to contest them by pleading not guilty or by negotiating to get the charges dropped. It's also legal to sue the ass of the cop who arrested you.

Comment: Machine learning? (Score 2, Insightful) 174

by Etherwalk (#49748689) Attached to: DNA On Pizza Crust Leads To Quadruple Murder Suspect

A small percentage of African slaves were brought to the USA.

From fewer than 400,000 slaves came over 37 Million.

The USA's reward for being a minor player in the trade and allowing its slaves to greatly increase in number is everlasting pay-back.

Are these crazy comments a product of naive machine learning algorithms?

Or code used for illicit communications?

Any ideas?

Comment: Re:Quite the Opposite (Score 2) 259

by Etherwalk (#49747521) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Career Advice For an Aging Perl Developer?

It's like having someone in charge of you that doesn't even know how to do your job (on a conceptual level or otherwise). Why are they my manager or supervisor?

Because they have other skill-sets or experience you lack, at least if they were properly promoted.

A boss who doesn't know how to do your job but who trusts you when you say what you can or can't do or has an understanding of what you can or can't do can still be your boss in a useful way. If you're running a sports stadium, you don't have to know how to drive the Zamboni or run the concession stand, you have to know how to interface with the people responsible for them, as well as with the owners, etc...

Comment: PR Stunt (Score 4, Interesting) 339

by Etherwalk (#49747433) Attached to: What Was the Effect of Rand Paul's 10-Hour "Filibuster"?

While I applaud Paul, Wyden, and the other Senators who have pledged to do everything in their power to block the spying-allowed version of this renewal; Sen. Paul's "filibuster" was pure PR stunt for his presidential campaign. It was during the discussion of a completely unrelated bill, and wasn't even an official filibuster.

Populism works by incentivizing politicians to do PR stunts drawing attention to issues people care about. This PR Stunt is much more important than 90% of Senate Business anyway.

Comment: Re:Force his hand..."Sue me! Sooner than later..." (Score 4, Informative) 368

by Etherwalk (#49747279) Attached to: Student Photographer Threatened With Suspension For Sports Photos

they couldn't possibly hope to recover the $100k+ in legal fees.

$100,000? That's just a tiny bit inflated. My legal fees for two felonies were slightly more than $5,000. It's not going to cost six digits to get judicial relief in a circumstance like this. It probably doesn't even get the lawsuit stage, a demand letter sent to the school district and reviewed by their attorney would probably suffice. "Yeah, we're going to lose this one. Wipe the student's record clean, tell him you're sorry, and move on."

There's plenty of stupidity in the American legal system to make fun of without making stuff up.

Were they felonies where you confessed guilt or that were fairly routine? 100K might be a bit inflated, but not necessarily if you were to go all the way to trial... you have civil discovery costs on both sides and over 4000 photos, plus electronics experts on posting, plus the cost of motion practice, plus trial time, plus appeals. It really depends who you get to do the case, but it could certainly go to $30K pretty easily, and $100K under certain circumstances.

That being said, it's likely 5K before settlement.

Comment: No punishment (Score 1) 368

by Etherwalk (#49747183) Attached to: Student Photographer Threatened With Suspension For Sports Photos

As a former troublemaker, I never understood how suspension is a punishment. I considered a three day vacation from school to be supreme good fortune.

It's not punishment for the kid. At the most it's punishment for the parent that makes a good parent make the kid see sense.

I got detention once in high school and it was just ridiculous. They didn't make you *do* anything, you just hung out in the Cafeteria for a few minutes and could read or do your work or whatever you wanted. They should have been at least making us mop up or something.

Comment: Re:Force his hand..."Sue me! Sooner than later..." (Score 5, Informative) 368

by Shakrai (#49746761) Attached to: Student Photographer Threatened With Suspension For Sports Photos

they couldn't possibly hope to recover the $100k+ in legal fees.

$100,000? That's just a tiny bit inflated. My legal fees for two felonies were slightly more than $5,000. It's not going to cost six digits to get judicial relief in a circumstance like this. It probably doesn't even get the lawsuit stage, a demand letter sent to the school district and reviewed by their attorney would probably suffice. "Yeah, we're going to lose this one. Wipe the student's record clean, tell him you're sorry, and move on."

There's plenty of stupidity in the American legal system to make fun of without making stuff up.

Comment: Re:Seems obvious now (Score 4, Insightful) 214

well, they were just concerned that people are really, really, really stupid.

which is fair. I mean, look at youtube now. full of newage idiots babbling about how we're moving to a new age and all that stuff. luckily the people who believe in that kind of crap and conspiracy theories about the government suppressing information about crystals usually just stick to their homes(and to scamming money out of other idiots, seriously, look at any youtube channel about newage/conspiracy stuff. if they have more than 2 hours of content they want to sell you something, even if they're babbling about the end of the monetary system).

This. It seems really stupid to think that these shows will lead someone down those roads--notably, if these shows will, so will almost anything. But sometimes people are really, really stupid. See, e.g.: anti-vaxxer movement. There probably actually *should* be a government conspiracy to silent the anti-vaxxer movement because it presents a serious threat to public health.

We could call the conspiracy the "NIH" and ask it to do "peer-reviewed research." :)

But a good propaganda machine designed to promote research over stupid ideas that threaten public safety, scary as it is, might actually be called for on occasion... be a bit transparent about it, but still.

Comment: Been Done (Score 2) 74

by Etherwalk (#49741459) Attached to: New Chrome Extension Uses Sound To Share URLs Between Devices

Sounds like a way to hack a computer with audio. Even the isolated can be gotten.

I have a vague recollection of reading about an acoustic attack to get around airgapping, but don't remember if it was theoretical at the time.

In college a friend of mine implemented "TCP Over Voice" for a project in his operating systems course. Another friend who had perfect pitch sang a dollar sign to the computer...

Comment: Ridiculous (Score 4, Insightful) 29

by Etherwalk (#49741099) Attached to: Simple Flaw Exposed Data On Millions of Charter Internet Customers

This is Security 101 stuff... as in, you read a good book on security and you know simple header changes should never be enough to reveal data of another customer. IIRC David LeBlanc's book mentioned a story where he pointed out the problem for a bank once...

Fundamentally security for most companies is still a "don't invest unless we get caught not investing" type of expense. Like landlords who don't worry about providing... electricity...

"An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of code." -- an anonymous programmer

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