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Comment: As I Recall (Score 1) 300

by Greyfox (#46797597) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?
Around the time I was going through college, there was an article about scurvy making a comeback because a lot of college students ate Ramen noodles and nothing else. Turns out there's no vitamin C in Ramen.

I used to joke that you had to supplement your Ramen with pop tarts but I checked the nutrition information on those recently and they also have 0% of your RDA of vitamin C. So, I guess you're down to foraging for rose hips or something. And if you're lucky maybe you can kill a squirrel with one of your textbooks...

Comment: It's Not Really Oracle (Score 3, Interesting) 156

by Greyfox (#46784897) Attached to: Oracle Deflects Blame For Troubled Oregon Health Care Site
It's that people think they can drop Oracle on top of a crappy design and that will somehow magically fix it. By the time people get done trying to use brute force, ignorance and massive amounts of IT resources, you may as well have Dbase III on your back end. Oracle might let you get away with a shitty design if your application didn't really need a database, but it's not going to help you that much if what you're trying to do is complicated enough to need one.

Comment: Private Aviation is Surprisingly Approachable (Score 1) 269

Since I started skydiving and hanging out at the grill down at the airport, I've been surprised at how approachable private aviation is. If I wanted another 5 digit hobby, I could wander in to the office at the local airport and start pilot lessons immediately. As it stands,a jump ticket only sets me back about $25. The trip's only one way, but if you're sitting next to the door in the summer time, it's a hell of a view -- they open it at 2000 feet to cool the plane off and close it again at 8000 feet when it starts getting kind of chilly. I was the first out the door for night jumps last July and looking out the open door of the plane on the ride to altitude was one of the more amazing things I've ever got to do in my life.

Comment: It Wasn't That... (Score 2) 1037

by Greyfox (#46674893) Attached to: How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion
I'm pretty sure it was "Catholic School" that's to blame for my atheism. Every time I meet an atheist (you know, down at the Church of Atheism) it's always the same story -- they spent some number of years in a Catholic School. Sometimes it's a little, sometimes it's a lot, but there's always some there. Sure this is anecdotal, but it's common enough that someone could probably get a research paper out of it.

Comment: Re:well that was new... (Score 2) 75

by Greyfox (#46614277) Attached to: <em>Ultima Online</em> Devs Building Player-Run MMORPG
UO very much resembled a MUD. It was also a pretty awesome game until EA took it over and turned it into a WOW-style gear grind and started screwing with the skill balance. It was really the last MMO I've run across where player-crafted gear was the best gear in the game. Even in Eve Online, the best modules drop from rare spawns in low-security space, and although players can now research Tech 2 blueprints, the cartels that control the never-ending ones that were given out in the first couple years of the game have such a price advantage that crafting isn't all that satisfying in the game. At least not to me.

I used to make pretty decent coin in UO selling scrolls, spellbooks and location runes. That and making portals for people. The introduction of the later crap -- PvE-only areas, item insurance that would allow you to bind your best items to you and gear that would affect your stats, all made the game significantly less fun. Not to mention the constant tinkering that was required to try to keep the game balanced in the face of all these changes, so that all the players wouldn't quit in droves. Which they pretty much did anyway.

Comment: Re:I can't believe this was modded up. (Score 1) 144

by Greyfox (#46609299) Attached to: Microsoft Promises Not To Snoop Through Email
1) Encrypt it with the recipient's public key. You know, exactly how encryption always works. If you're writing a client with encryption support, it wouldn't be that hard to hold the public keys on the server and note when they change. Hell, you could just make a space for it on a contact's list. For someone expecting a man in the middle attack, making other arrangements to get a public key ought not to be difficult. The client would just have to copy his private key to all the devices he expects to use the encryption on.

2) I would fucking love for spammers to have to encrypt each message to each person on the list they're trying to send to. You want a spam filter, set your filter to reject unencrypted mail. Boom. Done. Even if they can automate the process, the additional computing and time requirement of encrypting each message to each person's key would substantially raise the cost of sending spam and lower the number of people a spammer could hit in a specific period of time. Since the encryption would (have to) happen the client machine, sending a substantial number of messages would require far more horsepower than just blasting a mail off to a list would.

Comment: After Decades of Wondering What's Wrong (Score 4, Insightful) 391

by Greyfox (#46607343) Attached to: Toward Better Programming
After decades of wondering what's wrong with programming, did you ever stop to think that perhaps the problem... is you? If you don't like programming, why do you do it? I'm a programmer too, and I love it. I love making a thing and turning it on and watching it work as I designed it to. While other programmers wring their hands and wish they had a solution to a problem, I'll just fucking write the solution. I don't understand why they don't. They know the machine can perform the task they need and they know how to make the machine do things, but it never seems to occur to them to put those two things together. And I never, not even ONCE, asked why a playing card representation can't just look like a playing card. This despite having written a couple of playing card libraries.

This guy seems to want an objects actions to be more apparent just from looking at the object, but he chose two rather bad examples. His math formula is as likely to look like gobbledygook to a non-math person as the program is. And the playing card has a fundamental set of rules associated with it that you still have to learn. You look at an ace of spades and you know that's an ace of spades, you know how it ranks in a poker hand, that it can normally be high or low (11 or 1) in blackjack or in a poker hand. But none of these things are obvious by looking at the card. If a person who'd never played cards before looked at it, he wouldn't know anything about it, either.

Comment: That's Nice (Score 3, Interesting) 144

by Greyfox (#46606477) Attached to: Microsoft Promises Not To Snoop Through Email
How about they build an encryption API right into their service? Encrypt the message locally before it ever goes to the network. Oh, they don't want to do that. I see. So Microsoft promises to not read your mail, while retaining the ability to easily do so whenever it's convenient for them. That makes me feel so much better.

Comment: That's Odd (Score 4, Interesting) 455

by Greyfox (#46602937) Attached to: Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees
I'm not a huge Walmart fan, but I'm a bit surprised they don't just bring their own card to the market, then. They wouldn't even have to be terribly competitive, just anally rape you just a little less than the other credit card companies. The money they'd save on transaction fees in their own stores alone would probably more than cover the cost of the venture.

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen