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Comment: Re:Bad idea (Score 5, Insightful) 538

by pla (#49174751) Attached to: Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial
As I've said before, if he's really this stand up guy, why did he run? IF he really had good and legal reasons to do what he did, take it to court and face the music.

I know, right? Like how the Sons of Liberty didn't disguise themselves as Indians before dumping a load of tea into Boston Harbor, and then when done, turned themselves in to the nearest British garrison? We need more heroes like those fine, upstanding, nametag-wearing gentlemen.


if you break the law to make your point that the law is unjust you should stand ready to be arrested, imprisoned and tried in court for what you choose to do.

"Ready to be" doesn't mean adopting a Gump level of naivete and making it easy for the government to remove you from the public view. By him fleeing the country (and seeking asylum in a country we traditionally mock for their lack of an open and fair government, no less), we continue to discuss Snowden's actions years later. If he had stuck around, we would all have forgotten about him as soon as the next weekly scandal distracted the media.

Comment: Re:Please stop. (Score 1) 232

by pla (#49174071) Attached to: Gritty 'Power Rangers' Short Is Not Fair Use
I admittedly don't usually look at the submitter. If the FP gets my attention, I'll click through to read the rest of the submission, and, maybe, even TFAs where appropriate.

In Bennett's case, I have to admit he has become a truly master-level troll, in that he has learned to write an opening paragraph that gets my attention but doesn't give away his essential Bennett-ness. By the third paragraph, though, I usually catch on, stop reading there, and just write the obligatory "fuck Bennett" post.

Comment: Re:c++? (Score 1) 373

by pla (#49173363) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Which Classic OOP Compiled Language: Objective-C Or C++?
You make it sound like having a non-stupid, modern string class is a monstrosity that needs 16 cores to run.

You can split a string in any language. If you want to write in C++, write in C++. If you want to write in VB.Net, write in VB.Net.

C++ doesn't need to look like VB.Net just because you don't like the syntax.

Comment: Blood For the Blood God! (Score 1) 64

by mekkab (#49173287) Attached to: Games Workshop At 40: How They Brought D&D To Britain
And by 'Blood', I of course mean Money. ;) Those minis were not cheap. But Adeptus Titanicus was like a watered down Battletech, but in a good way. You spent more time playing and less time nose deep in rule books. And the mythos! They went deep and wide. A few years ago I was playing Blood Bowl online (soo much easier when the computer does the math for you) and last summer I got the Space Hulk video game for a song on steam (it's literally just the board game in your computer. Terrible video game, but awesome online game simulator).

I hope they stick around for a while longer.

Comment: History lesson for you non-technicals. (Score 1) 487

by Medievalist (#49173231) Attached to: Why We Should Stop Hiding File-Name Extensions

File extensions were originally something that humans put on files to tell each other what they were. Around 1974, for example, I might have a file called "phlist.txt" on an PDP-11 and my cow-orkers would know that was a phone list in raw ASCII format. The OS did not care, labels were for humans. If you wanted to tell the OS to execute a program, you typed "run filename" and if it wasn't an executable you'd get an error message.

Then unix and friends came along, and put an "executable bit" in the metadata for each file, so that you didn't have to type "run" any more. If you typed the name of a file, and it had the executable bit set, the system treated that as if you'd run it. Saved some ink on the teletype, don't you know.

Well, 8-bit micro computers running CP/M and DOS came along, and they sort of half-assed the concept. They still didn't have very much metadata on files, but the extensions .exe and... hmmm... something else I forget right now... were designated as "special". If you typed a word that the system did not recognize, it would look for a file with that name followed by .exe, and try to execute it.

But then Apple came along and built resource forks into their file system metadata, so they were able to associate information about what applications and/or utilities were used to create a file, and give some recommendations on what should be done if a user simply clicked the file. A really significant advance for filesystems, at least in theory.

Now, Microsoft wanted to make people believe that their OS and file system were as capable as the early Apple Macintoshes (pre-OSX) so they faked up a sort of back-alley version of the resource fork using file extensions. They were already checking for that .exe extension anyway, so most of the infrastructure to do this was already in place, they just jammed some hacks in to generalize the mechanism for all file extensions. And then they hid the extensions, so that to a clueless end-user it looked exactly like an Apple mac - you clicked on a file named "phone list" and the phone list application opened up.

This hare-brained scheme doesn't really work like Apple's, of course, because instead of including extra information about the file in the file metadata, instead they have built a separate list of file "types", designated by extension, and actions to associate with those types. In terms of the required slashdot car analogy, this is the difference between having the name of your state or country blazoned on your license plate, or having a giant book where you can look up the number of a car's license and see what state the car was registered in. Obviously the latter is inefficient and scales poorly as well as being fundamentally less capable and having no consistency across individual machines. Using the Apple method, if someone gives me a file with a resource fork, I get the resource metadata with the file. Using the Microsoft method, somebody gives me a file and maybe - if I'm lucky, and have the same applications installed - I will have the same resources associated with the file extension that the person giving me the file had on their machine.

But people who grew up after all this was invented can rarely see how stupid this all is, and always has been. It's like the idiocy of having the label of the volume MFD being the same as the subfolder separator character - nearly all of you young folks think that actually makes sense, in the same way that people brought up in the Westboro Baptist Church think raving bigotry makes sense. You've been conditioned to accept it.

This is only one of several giant steps backwards in computer technology. We used to have automatic file versioning but now programmers are so thoroughly conditioned they don't even seem capable of understanding why that was so awesome.

Now get off my damn lawn, you whippersnappers!

Comment: Re:Good luck with that. (Score 1) 487

by pla (#49172515) Attached to: Why We Should Stop Hiding File-Name Extensions
Did you?

Why, I did! Thanks for asking!

"The "mystery" is that nowhere in your code does it mention the word "split".


It's still a stupid argument, because any problem you can solve with a free and common library is not a real problem.

Well, I have to agree with the "stupid" part, insofar as if you can't figure out how to parse a simple delimited string without pulling in multi-MB frameworks, you have no place writing code. Beyond that, though, the whole conversation amounts to a holy war. Do you prefer Emacs or Vi? Top or bottom? Allah or Jesus? Pointy end or round end?


But to get back on topic - Do you prefer extensions or icons? Correct answer: "Why not both?"

Comment: "WILL" be too fragmented? (Score 1) 127

by pla (#49172411) Attached to: Will you be using a mobile payment system?
Google Wallet / Android Pay. Apple Pay. CurrentC. Samsung Pay.

Competition works well when all players adhere to certain standards. It doesn't work well when everyone does their damnedest to lock out the competition.

Personally, I find Samsung's announcement the most interesting so far; because while Google and Apple require the clearly unreasonable expectation that merchants won't actively disable NFC on their card readers, Samsung plans to work with existing card-swipe readers.

That should lead to an interesting legal showdown, eventually, because CurrentC forces exclusivity terms on their retailers, while retailers can't block Samsung's approach as easily as they could Google and Apple's.

Comment: Good luck with that. (Score 2) 487

by pla (#49171629) Attached to: Why We Should Stop Hiding File-Name Extensions
it might be time to admit that users need to understand, embrace and responsibly use the only plain-text, obvious indicator of what a file actually is.

Oh man, good one! You had me going until that line. Beautiful!

I just responded in another thread where actual programmers argued about whether or not it counts as "confusing" to split a delimited string without actually using the name "split" for the method that does the work.

And you want to try to get the average end user to understand the difference between ".XLS", ".XLSX", and ".XLSX.EXE"?

May as well swing for the fences, I suppose.

Comment: Re:c++? (Score 2) 373

by pla (#49171491) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Which Classic OOP Compiled Language: Objective-C Or C++?
Three includes! Two methods! A loop! Six lines! And he didn't call it "George" like you would have!

...vs pulling in a massive amount of overhead with something like Boost or QT, complete with their own huge list of dependencies... For a program that may well do nothing more than parse a CSV file.

"What if" if needs to work on UTF-16? No, wrong question by a wide margin - What if it doesn't? Do you always use a CNC to cut a 2x4 in half, just because you have access to one? What if you have 5/4 lumber? What if you have cellular PVC? What if you have rebar? All valid questions - And all completely irrelevant if you just need to cut a 2x4 in half.

We can all agree that building some not-strictly-required flexibility into our code generally counts as a good thing, that will frequently save us time and effort down the road. We don't need to build a tilt-a-whirl for someone that wants a tire-swing, though.

Comment: Re:Just because they call it pedo doesn't mean it (Score 1) 197

They reported a hosted site where you sign on to exchange child porn. If accurate, that's a good thing for them to go after.

"Hosted" still doesn't mean "knew it existed". It just means that it happened to live on their servers.

For a rare non-car analogy, my GMail account "hosts" thousands of attachments I've received over the years, many encrypted (I don't send personal info through any third party in cleartext). Anyone who "knows the password" can get in and view them. Some of them, I've even shared from my GDrive, so someone doesn't even need to know my password, just have a valid GMail account.

How does that materially differ from the situation in TFA, other than in the nature of the content (which Google has no way to check)?

Comment: Re:Viewing Launches (Score 1) 22

by Bruce Perens (#49166815) Attached to: SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches Dual Satellite Mission

With luck, they'll start incorporating our radio transceivers. I hear that SpaceX flies with several USRPs now, so that's not completely unrealistic. That might be as close as I can get. Anyone who can get me a base invitation, though, would be greatly appreciated and I'd be happy to do some entertaining speeches while there. I need a base invite for Vandenberg, too. I got in to the official viewing site for the first try of the last launch (and that scrubbed too), but this next one is on Pad 6.

Comment: Re:Zombies versus Predators (Score 1) 244

I personally have never killed anything larger than a bug in my life; I suspect a lot of other people haven't either. I've never had to, because there have always been other people who are willing to do those unpleasant tasks for me, in exchange for modest amounts of money.

You're safe; I'm sure in our dystopian zombie future, the phones will still need sanitizing.

Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.

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