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Comment: Re:Rational reasons to explore space (Score 1) 267

by Hairy1 (#48014871) Attached to: Could We Abort a Manned Mission To Mars?

There is at root no rational reason to do anything. The 'decision' to live is either no decision at all, simply the default for someone already alive with a brain hard wired to survive, or a active decision to live knowing that doing so is fundamentally irrational, but that's okay. Exploration to satiate our desire to know more about the universe, and perhaps more importantly experience more, is perfectly acceptable. Every day we do things that are irrational in that they have no meaning beyond our subjective experience of them. Perhaps only once we have left Earth will we really begin to appreciate how special it is. I believe we have an opportunity to be more; to become citizens of the galaxy. To explore the multitude of worlds our galaxy has to offer.

Comment: Re:Left wing hitjob (Score 4, Interesting) 75

by Hairy1 (#47801549) Attached to: Hacker Disrupts New Zealand Election Campaign

Nice way of trying to turn this around. What this has done is expose how these National politicians have gone beyond the normal politics in New Zealand to actually support muck raking and character assasination. It is the kind of politics New Zealanders hate. You see while it isn't perfect we still have a functional democracy, unlike the United States. This 'attack' would have had no impact if the Government had not done anything wrong, but clearly they have. There is now clear evidence of a corporation buying off favour to slander a senior investigator with the cooperation of a senior Minister. The senior Minister appears to have oiled the wheels to get previously restricted information released under the Official Information Act in order to harm a political opponent. Reminds me of the saying - live by the sword, die by the sword.

Comment: Air Gap the best (Score 1) 348

The article talks about this being a small local area network. No discussion about it being connected to the Internet. This is the best firewall of all - a physical air gap between you and the rest of the universe. In many respects this is the best security. So what do local firewalls on each box achieve? In this context virtually nothing except CPU overhead. The database server shouldn't be exposing anything but the database port anyway. The client need not expose any endpoint at all. Configure it this way and there is little opportunity for compromise.

Now as a way to protect your internal lan from the evils of the Internet a firewall is a great idea on the edge, but again they provide very little protection running on the internal servers. You can't just sprinkle firewalls over your network and assume security. They are a tool to limit a specific kinds of attack; to insulate your internal network from external bad actors. If you have a office and servers put the servers behind their own firewall.

Comment: Re:Pandora's Box (or Jar if you will) Is Already O (Score 1) 268

by Hairy1 (#47343725) Attached to: That Toy Is Now a Drone

I'm just waiting for someone to get hold of one of those lethal lead projectile machines and use it to kill someone. Oh wait - that happens tens of thousands of times every year in the US. Guns are designed only to kill things, yet are given away when you open a new bank account*, no problem there. But if there is even a potential for the possibility of harm - in complete absence of any real actual harm - and we are outright banning it?

Oh - I'm a big fan of responsible use and using technology to ensure that these things don't enter restricted airspace. Most Quads have GPS these days, and it would be mind blowingly easy to program them with TMA airspace so that they simply cannot be flown into controlled airspace.

Comment: Re:For the last time, he is no hero (Score 2) 519

He could have simply shut up and lived the good life while being complicit in the spying machine that has rendered the freedoms of the US a joke. The real criminals have got away without a scratch and the spying continues without restriction or modification. Obama has betrayed the spirit and law of the Constitution, as did Bush. Unlimited power corrupts.

Comment: Pennies from Heaven (Score 1) 1037

by Hairy1 (#46681515) Attached to: How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion

This is perhaps a great time to address the charitable status of religion. A new Kickstarter project has just begun to produce a full length documentary on the tax benefits that religions receive. It is called 'Pennies from Heaven'. This is a professional production that we hope will receive airtime on public television as well as on the net. A trailer for the documentary can be found below:

Comment: Your next car will be a bike. (Score 1) 180

by Hairy1 (#46373025) Attached to: Your Next Car's Electronics Will Likely Be Connected By Ethernet

News flash; we are coming to the end of the petrochemical age. We are very much at peak oil, and the way down will only see rising fuel costs. Buying a Hybrid may be more economic and efficient, but ultimately our whole way of life will be challenged. Get used to the idea that soon we will not have the pervasive availability of cheap fuel. Get on your bike.

Comment: Re:Lame (Score 1) 108

by Hairy1 (#46306795) Attached to: Sochi Drones Are Shooting the Olympics, Not Terrorists

Perhaps the biggest reasons quadcopters will not be used by terrorists relates to the fact they are TERRIBLE weapon delivery systems. They have virtually no payload capability, meaning you would be lucky to get a hand grenade on them. A person with a backpack can carry far more and gain entry to places where attacks could occur. A mid range car could carry a far larger device, and is faster,
No doubt Quadcopters will be employed for evil at some point, just like cars are, but we should not allow irrational fear to override the larger good they could do. What we do need is sensible regulation and new technology to ensure separation between air traffic.

Comment: Design vs Building (Score 1) 716

by Hairy1 (#46223605) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should Developers Fix Bugs They Cause On Their Own Time?

Building something to a existing design is a reasonably mechanical process. There is the issue of workmanship, but assuming it is a quality builder the building will be completed and stand correctly. If however a building was not designed correctly and collapsed due to a design failure you would not blame the builder. Designers make their 'mistakes' while designing. It is a process of exploration.

Software development is not at all like the mechanical construction according to an existing design. It IS design. You are bound to go down false paths and blind allys. The design process is one that involved exploration through the space I call 'AppLand' - the state space that is represented by all possible computer programs. Computer programming is about navigating through this space. Sometimes you make a wrong turn and end up on the bank of a river. You need to build a bridge or walk downstream a little to find one.

However, there is a matter of quality; that you should implement quality assurance based on unit tests, code review, functional testing and stringent disciplines to ensure that released software is fit for purpose. You can't avoid making mistakes and rework in the development process, you are exploring the state space; but you can make sure you don't end up in the brambles and thorns; that is finding yourself somewhere where the program just doesn't work.

I've been writing my book "Exploring Appland" for about ten year now...

Comment: You can't know... (Score 1) 284

by Hairy1 (#45835325) Attached to: Apple Denies Helping NSA Subvert iPhone

The problem with these denials is that they would say the same thing regardless of whether or not they have collaborated. There is no way to verify the truth. What we do know is that the Government is capable and willing to force these companies to lie or face criminal prosecution. They are intimidating people into immoral treasonous behaviour or face prison. It isn't Apples fault that they are put in this situation; they are in the same boat as all the other US companies.

Of course, the US is far from the only country with intel programs. They are however in the best position to do so, and have budgets that are more than the GDP of small countries (perhaps not so small). Considering the staggering cost of the NSA and its woeful record in terms of actionable intel it may have possibly, maybe, been a better idea to spend it on say space exploration that would get us off this rock.

It is hard to believe the reputation of the US could get lower than under Bush... but it seems I underestimated the ability of the US Administration to stuff up. Good ole United States, has the best politicians money can buy. So you want 'Change'? Who you gonna vote for now?

Comment: Re:The US creates more than the rest combined (Score 3, Informative) 152

by Hairy1 (#45463537) Attached to: How Perl and R Reveal the United States' Isolation In the TPP Negotiations

It isn't like its the wild west out there; we already have strong copyright legislation. What the TPPA is seeking is corporate control over the ability to exclude people from the internet at will, with no judicial oversight. To a large extent it already does; I dared to critique the Business Software Allience on YouTube and my account was closed. No comeback here - to challenge it I would need to agree to defending myself in California. Unless you are a U.S citizen there is no fair use or free speech on YouTube, Facebook, Google, Yahoo etc. You are there at their pleasure, and easily ejected.

The TPPA seeks to extend this power to your local ISP; to actually cut you off from the net totally if you are saying things they don't like.

It isn't about protecting works, it is about controlling the channel. The Internet was a danger to corporate control of how people got their entertainment and information. They are now getting the people back under control, subservient to their masters like they should be. The thing is that most are happy with having their entertainment and information fed to them, told what they should be angry about.

The risk to Hollywood isn't that we will steal their content - it is that we will discover their content is gilt covered crap, and that we can beginb to express ourselves without getting one hundred million dollars from a VC. What the RIAA and MPAA care about is making sue that they control the music we listen to and the movies we watch.

That is the focus of the TPPA. Control.

Comment: Quality or Quantity (Score 2) 361

by Hairy1 (#45402545) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Communication Skills For Programmers?

I think you have to first ask what is required here; whether it is simply the quantity of communication, or rather the quality. The team and communication skills of developers are more correlated with success than technical skills. Communication means being able to effectively transmit what you are thinking and understand what others are saying. Perhaps you should ask your co-workers what aspects of your communication they have difficulty with. Is it that you are unclear, or do you not communicate with those you should? Are you really listening to people; by which I mean actually taking onboard what people say? The "needless communication" phrase indicates a certain degree of hostility towards communication. Obviously you should not have 'needless' communications, but clearly your workmates believe there are issues impacting your effectiveness.

Comment: Re:All coders start that way (Score 1) 204

by Hairy1 (#45303285) Attached to: Larry Page and Sergey Brin Are Lousy Coders

How about this for a reason to write easy to understand code: Its faster. Writing easy to understand code means - get this - its easy to understand it. This means that defects become more obvious and easier to fix. Highly coupled monolithic balls of mud written by developers with an inflated opinion of their own skills are usually the source of intractible defects. Easy to understand code is the sign of an organised mind.

The IQ of the group is the lowest IQ of a member of the group divided by the number of people in the group.