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Comment: Re:No problem. (Score 1) 126

by Chelloveck (#48684845) Attached to: Google and Apple Weaseling Out of "Do Not Track"
Looks interesting. I installed it and turned off Ad-Block Plus and Ghostery to let the badger do its thing. The first issue I see is that it requires a training period to identify what's tracking you. I'm not sure I can survive the sewer that is the unfiltered Internet long enough for it to identify trackers....

Comment: Anyone here qualified to comment? (Score 5, Interesting) 190

by Chelloveck (#48675693) Attached to: MIT Unifies Web Development In Single, Speedy New Language

I'd really like to hear from someone outside of academia who thinks this is useful. I've been programming in C-like languages ever since I graduated college 25 years ago, but my degree is in EE, not CS. The language definition is complete gibberish to me, containing solid pages of a mathematical notation that I've never before seen. Likewise, I have a very hard time following the demo code. I don't really feel qualified to evaluate it.

I do see some red flags, though. First, since the language spec is given in such an abstract notation I have a feeling that it's going to be very difficult for code monkeys like me to refer back to. I normally reach for the language spec or the official docs when I have a question, but neither are going to do me any good here. Similarly, the tutorial starts out by describing the similarities and differences between Ur and ML or Haskell. That'd be a lot more useful if I'd ever used either of those two languages. The tutorial is incomplete, and what's there never describes Ur on its own without comparing it to the other languages.

Second, the trivial demos look like some PHP variant, while the complicated demos are, well... Complicated. "Hello, World" simply returns a chunk of what appears to be free-form XML; some others return a chunk of XML with a few embedded Ur statements, similar to PHP. The SQL demos show embedded SQL statements. Are the XML and SQL chunks syntactically part of the Ur language thus checked for well-formedness, or are they just free-form text which get minimally processed to substitute variables before they're emitted? Or is there something else fundamental going on here that I'm missing completely due to my lack of familiarity with functional programming?

Third, the official web site looks like something out of 1995. That's not necessarily a bad thing. It is clean and functional, just really, really utilitarian. I assume the site is done in Ur/Web, and it's clear that the author of the language learned HTML back when Mosaic was the hot new browser. Is the utilitarian look just how the author or site designer does things, or is it baked into the language? How hard would it be to implement something that looks modern? In the same vein it looks like Ur/Web produces xhtml as its output, and it looks like Ur/Web pretty much relies on well-formed XML embedded in the Ur source code. Will it have access to any of the new goodies in HTML5? Or is it going to be obsolete before the first Dummies book can be written?

So if there's anyone here who does real-world web development and has the academic chops to evaluate Ur/Web for what it is, would you please post a summary for us code-troglodytes?

Comment: Re:Limited Theatrical Release (Score 2) 176

by Chelloveck (#48662593) Attached to: Sony: 'The Interview' Will Have a Limited Theatrical Release
"Wait a minute... If we don't do a theatrical release before the end of the year, this thing can't get nominated for an Oscar! Quick, call up some rinkydink art houses, let's get this nominated for 'Most courageous expression of free speech in the face of a terrorist threat'! Because God knows it's not going to get nominated for the writing or acting."

Comment: Re:To hide the bad service regular people get? (Score 1) 128

He called and said "We've broken flash on both Macs and can't watch youtube videos now. I've installed it twice on your mom's Mac but it didn't help."

Could be a lot worse. I emailed my mom a screenshot and she replied, "How did you do that?" I wrote back saying, "I have a Mac and don't know how to do it on a PC like you have, but if you Google 'windows screenshot' you'll find something that will tell you." Two days later I get a call: "I did what you said and now my computer runs slow and has all these strange windows and icons everywhere and my email doesn't work." "What did you do, mom?" "I Googled what you said. Then one of those sites told me my computer had a virus and I clicked a button to clean it."

This was my mom so I helped her, but this is a good example of why I'd rather have burning bamboo shoved underneath my fingernails than work tier 1 tech support.

Comment: How about an armband phone case? (Score 1) 230

by Chelloveck (#48638037) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Can I Really Do With a Smart Watch?

Have you considered an armband-style case for your phone? It straps the phone to your body pretty much as if it were a watch. You'd have to remember to take your phone out of your pocket and put it in the case when you suit up, but I assume you'd have the same problem remembering to remove a watch and put it back on over your suit.

Comment: Re:These idiots remain idiotic (Score 1) 388

by Chelloveck (#48620813) Attached to: Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS

That "shadow" system you speak of could in fact be the catalyst we've all been waiting for to push the majority into IPv6 space.

The majority would never even notice if,, or any similar site were to vanish from the official root servers. The majority simply don't use such sites. The minority who do fall into two groups: People who casually download a show every now and then, and people who are hardcore into the whole pirating scene. The hardcore people will simply change DNS providers and use one the MPAA can't touch. And the casual downloaders would only be mildly inconvenienced until somebody puts out a DNS-switcher browser plugin that dynamically picks DNS providers the way FoxyProxy dynamically picks proxy servers.

That said, IPv6 probably would solve this problem. It solves a lot of problems that people don't actually have.

Comment: Re:As with all space missions: (Score 1) 200

by Chelloveck (#48618753) Attached to: NASA Study Proposes Airships, Cloud Cities For Venus Exploration

A circumnavigation of Venus would test our ability to function in deep space, to enter a planet's gravitational influence, to create robust shielding for the higher radiation at Venus's relatively close proximity to the sun, to devise zero-g strategies for long-duration flights -- all of which would bolster us for an even longer journey to Mars.

We've already done most of those things. Function in deep space? We've sent many successful probes all over the place, adding a human payload doesn't change the physics. Enter a planet's gravitational influence? Ditto. Create robust shielding? We need to figure that one out before leaving the Earth-Moon system, and test it on a probe before committing people to it. Devise zero-g strategies for long duration flights? Been working on it ever since Skylab, no need to even leave Earth orbit to study the effects.

None of these things require or even benefit from using Venus as a target, nor does Venus make a good testbed for missions elsewhere. With the Moon or Mars, the problems on the surface are very similar to the problems on the journey: Low pressure, low gravity, exposure to radiation. With Venus the problems are exactly the opposite of those on the journey. High pressure, high heat, corrosive atmosphere. Venus is a pressure cooker full of sulfuric acid. That makes Venus a lousy analog of anywhere else in the solar system, with the possible exception of Io. If we're going to spend the effort on surviving Venus there has to be some reason for it that's unique to that planet. "Practice" ain't it.

Comment: Re:Does the job still get done? (Score 3, Interesting) 679

by Chelloveck (#48618237) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

I actually think we're at the point where we can start to do this. There's enough wealth to give everyone a living-wage stipend without requiring that they have a job. Enough to cover food, shelter, clothing, and health care so no one ever has to worry about starving or freezing to death, but not enough for a lot of luxuries. To get more, a person needs to work at one of the jobs that automation can't yet do. As automation improves and is capable of taking over more, the line between "necessities" and "luxuries" will shift until, at the extreme when automation can do everything, everything will be classified as "necessity".

There will be people who just don't want to work and are satisfied with the basic stipend. That's fine. I think that most people want to do some sort of job, though. They may not want to the job they have, or may not want to work as much as they currently do, but in general I think people like to have a sense that they're doing something useful. People will find a way to make some luxury money with their hobbies and by doing the things they like to do.

But who will do the dirty work? Who will be the garbage collectors, the janitors, etc? I have a feeling that the current wage structure will be turned on its head. If no one has to do the dirty, dangerous jobs in order to eat we'll have to increase the wages to create the incentive. The person who cleans the toilets might end up getting paid more than the middle manager in the cushy office. This extremely socialist society might finally achieve the free-market ideal in the labor market by giving everyone the ability to say, "Screw it. I'm not getting paid enough for this bullshit."

Yeah, the devil's in the details. This scheme has a hell of a lot of details to work out, and even in the best case I can't see any politically feasible way to get from here to there. I anticipate that we're going to have a very nasty time of it as the pool of workers grows and the pool of jobs shrinks, until the culture grows out of the "Why should I work to pay for them to be lazy?" mentality.

Comment: I know those words, but that song makes no sense. (Score 1) 244

by Chelloveck (#48577505) Attached to: Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy: The Science of Misheard Song Lyrics

I had a bunch of third-generation copies of cassettes (yes, *cassettes*, dammit!) of Blue Oyster Cult albums back in high school. Never could figure out the damned lyrics. They *sounded* like "mistress of the salmon salt", and "the queenly flux, eternal light", but they couldn't be. Those phrases and most of the others I thought I heard made no sense. But try as I might I couldn't twist the sounds into anything coherent.

Then they invented the Internet, and I could look up the lyrics online.


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