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Journal: Windows 8.1 is a great tablet operating system and is better than Android 6

Journal by squiggleslash

Unfortunately third party support for it sucks. It's the AmigaOS of tablet operating systems, kinda sorta. Hey, Microsoft, have you heard of this new, 30 year old, technology called MVC? Developers love it, and it makes it relatively easy to produce frameworks that allow completely different user interfaces that use entirely different paradigms to be targeted by the same application. There's another company that makes both desktop and tablet operating systems (ironically, currently not merged though apparently from the same code base) that supports MVC quite heavily. Can't remember their name though...

It'd be nice for a FOSS equivalent of the "Tablet + Desktop" system Microsoft is doing, vs "Let's try to create a merged interface that sucks" approach of Ubuntu and GNOME. I would have been very happy with a Ubuntu for Android system, but Ubuntu and Google never seemed to go anywhere with that one.

User Journal

Journal: Controversy 8

Journal by squiggleslash

So...

systemd - think it's a good idea. init sucks. init scripts suck. I mean, have you ever written one? Something that uses cgroups to track and manage daemons seems an unbelievably great idea.

Slashdot Beta - For as long as I can remember, Slashdot's commenting system has been broken. Now they're trying to fix it. Not perfect, but seems in line with what others are doing successfully. If they can get it feature complete, it'll definitely be an improvement.

xfinitywifi - What a great idea! Comcast, you guys need to provide those of us who don't rent your routers with a free box that, without interrupting our networks, provides an xfinitywifi connection. Costs nothing, provides a huge amount of roaming Wifi coverage, it's a great idea.

Eich? He was a dick. People had concerns about his ability to work with a diverse group, his response was to insult everyone with concerns rather than address them. He was not CEO material.

Pax Dickinson? Honestly, I think he was stitched up and shouldn't have been fired/pushed/whatever. Buuuttt.... he's now associating himself with GG, so screw him.

Not trolling (mostly) but I do seem to be at odds with most of Slashdot these days.

User Journal

Journal: Saints Row 4

Journal by squiggleslash

Really enjoying it. I got it for $15 on Steam a few days ago, a day or two before they dropped the price to $5. Yeah. $5. *sigh* Well $15 was a good price.

Anyway, if you liked 3 (loved it myself), you'll almost certainly like 4. However there's some controversy over SR1/2 and SR3, as the game changed significantly between 2 and 3. My friend who doesn't care for 3 for that reason still loves 4, so read into that whatever you want.

What is it? Well, it's a big open-world thing. SR3 was a "take over the city from hostile gangs" thing that was incredibly over the top and funny. SR4... many of the same concepts, but you're now in a simulation of a city, and you're also the President, but still a gang leader, but you have superpowers, and it's still over the top and hilarious. There's a lot of references to other games/media and there's some meta stuff in there too. I thought on reading the synopsis that it wouldn't work, but it really does. Said friend who doesn't like SR3 described it as the best superhero game out there.

Probably worth playing SR3 before SR4, but otherwise a big thumbs up.

User Journal

Journal: MSS Code Factory 1.11.12558 Service Pack 6: It is done!

Journal by msobkow

Service Pack 6 provides move up/down functionality for the Chains for all of the supported databases. Note that the RAM storage does not support Chains or complex object deletes at all -- it's intended for high volume read/update/delete data, such as the call record information for an Asterisk or FreeSwitch PBX system, or the internals of MSS Code Factory itself.

There are some critical bugs fixed with Service Pack 6, including cache integrity bugs that were discovered during testing of the move up/down functionality.

With this release, I think I'm pretty much done with MSS Code Factory 1.11. I can't think of any more functions I'd want to add that I have experience with. Sure I could implement proper login security with hashing algorithms, a JEE server to receive and respond to X(ml)Msg requests, and polish the prototype GUI some more, but that's really not my forte. I spent 30 years as a back end database programmer, tuning servers and wringing every last bit of performance out of database engines that I could.

MSS Code Factory 1.11 now incorporates everything I ever learned about making an RDBMS sing and dance. It provides all the functionality points that I was ever asked to deliver to a front end application programming team, and does it all automagically from a Business Application Model.

It's been 18 years of long hours working on this project to get to this point. The idea was around even longer (I came up with the concept way back in 1987, before I'd even had any experience with data modelling tools.)

Service Pack 6 is, in essence, my life's work. My magnum opus. I have climbed my mountain, and the view is great.

http://msscodefactory.sourceforge.net

User Journal

Journal: The GamerGate aftermath: the positives 6

Journal by squiggleslash

Must be miserable being a female gamedev right now, but I think there are genuinely some long term positives that may come out of this - none of which, I admit, are as positive as what might have happened if a powerful minority of men weren't complete bastards.

1. Men know it's happening now.

Call it projection, call it being blind to the obvious, but if anyone had come to me in August and told me how a sizable proportion of men absolutely hate women with a passion, with the abuse being entirely one-way, I would have nodded but not understood, because I like to think there's good in everyone. I would have poo-poo'd the more extreme examples of "one or two bad apples". Now I understand. Reading prominent GamerGate figureheads writing articles like "How to rape a woman and get away with it" or "How to break a woman" (no direct links but more information on this anti-misogyny site: http://wehuntedthemammoth.com/) is eye opening for those of us sheltered behind a general assumption of human decency in most people, even the ones we see as sexist. Yes, I've worked with at least one obviously sexist co-worker. No, I thought this was just mommy issues and that the guy was OK underneath. I don't think I'd treat him the same way now.

I had no idea the situation was this bad. I had no idea such evil attracted support from such a large and diverse group of people. I know better now. I have some idea of what to say to my daughter - when she's a little older, obviously - to ensure she can defend herself when the time comes. I know what to look out for from colleagues and "friends." I know what to tell friends who deny that the situation exists.

2. More women are speaking up, and being heard

GamerGate isn't happening because misogynists are slut-shaming a female gamedev who produced a game that wasn't to their liking, it's happening because women - and men - are rallying behind her. The superficial "Actually it's about ethics in gaming journalism" trope exists because those who attempted to intimidate said gamedev out of gaming found themselves the target of an overwhelmingly negative press, with large numbers of developers and other people in the gaming industry, especially women, standing up and saying stop.

It would be nice to go further and claim that this is universal, that women are exclusively looking at GamerGate as a chance to stand up and be heard, but alas, Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu, and others are reporting that they're talking to many women devs who have headed in the other direction, seeing GamerGate as a reason to want out and to leave. This is terrible.

3. Related issues are receiving more attention.

That video with the women being cat-called, followed, and generally harassed, while walking through New York? Would that really have gone viral in a different environment?

Meanwhile, I wonder how many men have actually sat down and forced themselves to watch Anita Sarkeesian's videos on tropes in video games (caution: part six is actually fairly hard to watch), simply because of the controversy over the last few months? I know I did. It's hard to believe more coverage of this kind of constructive, concrete, criticism cannot lead to both less sexism in video games, and stronger, more original, video games in future.

4. Final thought

I'm not saying GamerGate is good or has been positive. It hasn't. We can choose to build in the ashes, or we can get angry about the loss of the city we once had. Or we can do both. I think I'm feeling both right now.

User Journal

Journal: On posting anonymously 14

Journal by squiggleslash

...as opposed to pseudonymously.

I'm finding it easier to post 100% honestly when I post AC on at least one subject at the moment. Why? Well, because if I post pseudonymously then I risk inflaming the wrath of an extremely nutty group, and I really don't have the time or patience or stomach for the kind of harassment I'd expect if I piss that group off.

I say this because it's a counterpoint to some of the stuff that's been said recently, especially in response to, for example, GamerGate and related Tech Sexism controversies, where many are of the opinion that anonymity has little value, encouraging the lowest forms of life to crawl out and make terrible attacks (such as death threats) without fearing the repercussions.

I have some sympathy with the position, but I also think linking identities to comments can severely limit people's ability to comment on things that genuinely bother them when there's a degree of mob like behavior by some on the opposing side of the issue in question.

Accountability is a force of moderation, but accountability cannot be the only means by which commentary is moderated, merely a significant but not insurmountable factor.

Update: This seems relevant ;-)

User Journal

Journal: MSS Code Factory 1.11 Service Pack 1 released

Journal by msobkow

MSS Code Factory is a model-to-code development tool that provides Java 7 using JDBC and stored procedures for DB/2 LUW, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, and Sybase ASE.

Service Pack 1 corrects defects in the manufactured database schema installation scripts, the core Java ORM objects, the stored procedures, and the JDBC layer. It also adds in the production of an XML messaging based communications framework for doing client-server or web development (you have to code the transport layer, but the message parsers and processing are provided.)

Service Pack 1 also provides a prototype Swing GUI that can be used as-is for performing demos and walkthroughs of a business application model for users, rather than counting on users to understand ERD or UML diagrams. The prototype is entirely factory and interface based, so it can form the basis of a custom user interface by either subclassing the manufactured GUI components produced, or by replacing them wholesale with JInternalFrame and JPanel instances as appropriate (the only requirement is that they implement the interfaces specified by the manufactured objects.)

The source code for the project is hosted at github, but the main project is on SourceForge at http://msscodefactory.sourceforge.net.

The project has been under research and development since Java 1.1 was released in 1997, with the past two years focusing on the 1.11 release.

GNU is Not Unix

Journal: systemd 1

Journal by squiggleslash

Having read up on it, I don't think systemd is a bad idea. I rather like:

1. Doing away with shell scripts with huge amounts of redundant, and frequently badly written, garbage to manage starting and stopping system services.
2. Using cgroups to properly isolate, contain, and track system services.
3. Centralizing the services concept so it's network aware, rather than a separate inetd server

The major criticisms seem to be "I don't like change/I understand shell scripts" (well, true to a certain extent, but I don't think the current situation was particularly good), XML configuration (reportedly, having seen it, but yeah, XML sucks), and the developers are rude, arrogant, and assholish, which I assume means that the critics are also boycotting Linux and half a dozen other FOSS projects...

I think criticisms 1 and 2 are valid concerns and are essentially the same concern expressed twice. My belief is that there's much to be said for making configuration files as simple as possible, and to avoid manual configuration where possible. Hopefully that's what the systemd developers believe too.

Crime

Journal: What they want you to think 6

Journal by squiggleslash

So... Brown was going to college in a few days, but he decided to rob a store beforehand because that's what undergrads do or something. But they found dope in his system, which also proves that in addition to being a violent "thug" (though not one armed with the prerequesite cola and skittles) he was also a drugged out maniac. And the store refused to call 911 because, uh, not sure, but there's probably a bad reason for it. So later when a cop happened to find him jaywalking it was probably OK to ki... no, that's too strong a word, put him to sleep, because thug.

So here's white currently suburban (and British urban anyway, so that doesn't count) me thinking none of this makes sense even if you're trying to tug at any prejudices of mine.

One problem is that Brown being on dope explains the robbery and why the store didn't feel any strong inclination to call 911. Kinda. Well, based on an experience of mine anyway. Thing is, about 25 years ago I'm buying a cheese and onion sandwich from a newsagent in Oxford. In walks a (white, FWIW) man who is obviously stoned. Student probably. Tries to find something to eat, and then has an argument with the store owner who (1) wants him to wait until he's finished serving me and (2) wants him to pay. "Dope fiend" (heh) then loses his temper, swears, makes a lot of comments that sound like a Slashdotter moaning about having to buy music (except about groceries not music), upends a small rack of merchandise near the door, and leaves the store.

Store owner is pissed, but sees no need to call 999. This guy isn't a real threat to anyone. The damage is slight. The situation may resolve itself once the would-be customer sobers up anyway.

Of course, follow this line of reasoning and Brown isn't a thug (I keep emphasizing that word, you know why...) but someone with temporarily poor judgement who was, by default, in a more mellow frame of mind despite appearances at the store.

Which, while I wasn't there, is certainly consistent not with Brown somehow being threatening to the officer that killed him, but initially (while there was no threat) likely to mouth of, and then when the situation turned threatening, more than a little paranoid and likely compliant with the (justifiably, as it turned out) scary cop: that is to say, I think despite the Ferguson police trying to smear Brown as a doped up thug, everything is consistent with the eyewitness accounts that say otherwise.

A few days before going to college Brown, apparently, smoked dope, leading to a series of events where a cop thought he could get away with executing him. Even replacing the more mellow attitude of British police with their authoritarian and mildly corrupt American counterparts, I don't think my white fellow shopper 20 years ago would ever have been shot if caught jaywalking afterwards. Given not merely the attempt to smear Brown, but the type of smear used, which seems to be used all too often, I think he was shot because certain elements in the US, and apparently many are in law enforcement, believe blacks belong to a less human class than the rest of us.

First Person Shooters (Games)

Journal: Videogames and sexism 2

Journal by squiggleslash

Read this: Guardian: From Lara Croft to Bayonetta: what is a 'strong female character'?

I'm kinda baffled by it to be honest. Leaving aside it deals with three female characters, the character it lauds is a poor example of anything, and the character it kinda sweeps under the rug has hidden virtues the author is too shortsighted to notice.

Lara Croft (original)

Lara Croft is perhaps the most famous woman in gaming. Since the original Tomb Raider arrived in 1996, the character has attracted criticism for her physical appearance â" so when the most recent release in the series gave her a realistically proportioned body, the new Lara was praised as a more relatable hero. Removing the over-sized breasts and teeny, tiny waist is apparently all that was needed for the character to evolve from sex object to admirable âoesurvivorâ.

I played a few original TR games, and quite honestly, "physical appearance" is the only aspect of Croft that's dubious. The character is independent, physically strong, smart, quick, and so on. It could be argued that she has "princess" style origins, being born into wealth/power, but she's not a princess in any other sense. She uses the resource at her disposal to her advantage, but she's working hard to get something better. If stereotypical teenage males are drawn into the games by seeing a hottie with large whatevers, said male then experiences a character who makes for quite a good role model. He won't be left with a "Women are toys to be objectified" view.

The counter to that, I guess, is that appearances might put off gamers not attracted to HwLWs, which is a perfectly reasonable complaint, but peripheral to the story the writer writes. The writer is trying to find examples of "strong women" in video games, and pretty much ignores this example, because she's top heavy.

Lara Croft (rebooted)

While Bayonetta fully embraces her sexuality, in the Tomb Raider reboot, Lara fades into her grueling, grey surroundings (...) Lara Croft has had to change to fit into the âoestrong female characterâ role, whereas Bayonetta whips it into submission and makes no apology for her love of lipstick, high heels or, indeed, herself.(...) For all the praise of Laraâ(TM)s growth throughout Tomb Raider, that maturation process is arguably nothing more than a jarring graduation from doubting, guilt-ridden girlhood into lean, mean, psychopathy. Her first kill is supposed to devastate us as it apparently devastates Lara but, almost immediately, weâ(TM)re thrust back into a game which rewards us for killing. Lara is a character who is even uncomfortable in her own story. (...) But within games and wider media, the âoesurvivorâ is a tired trope, women are survivors where men are heroes; they overcome rather than succeed.

I can kind of agree with all of this, survivor is a tired trope and one I've parodied in the past multiple times between pretty much every TV show since the original TV version of Nikita has insisted on portraying heroines-who-sometimes-have-to-use-violence in that way. I'm not sure whether the worst was the 2000s version of Bionic Woman, where the heroine felt obliged to be upset and complain constantly about the fact she'd been the successful recipient of experimental life-saving completely-positive-in-every-way prosthetics, or T:SCC which is just went on for ages with "Miserable Sarah".

But at the same time, what does that have to do with anything? If a male were in the same boat (figuratively), would they act significantly differently? We get miserable if we manage to claw ourselves out of a disaster but are still in danger too, I suspect at any rate.

Bayonetta

Despite appearances, Bayonetta rarely panders to the imagined male audience. Yes, sheâ(TM)s ridiculously proportioned and scantily clad for most of the game, but far from being an object, she is portrayed as having complete autonomy and control over her body and femininity. (...) Bayonetta (...) makes no apology for her love of lipstick, high heels or, indeed, herself. Everything about Bayonetta is determined by her womanhood and femininity, yet she remains dominant throughout: during the course of the game she spanks angels, submits them to humiliating torture attacks and transforms into a panther, clad with painted red claws and gold jewellery. Bayonetta is a powerful woman, she is not powerful in spite of being a woman (...) a truly empowering woman whoâ(TM)s unapologetically feminine, sexual and confident. Dismissed by many as an objectified fantasy, she is a woman without compromise who refuses to be ashamed of her body, who in one sequence giggles seductively as she grasps the pulsating heart of a heaven-sent deity and asks: âoeDo you want to touch me?â

I'm a little puzzled as to how this character is in any way a positive example of a "strong woman" archetype if, as the author breathlessly appears to claim, her greatest strengths are largely limited to some kind of violent version of being flirty and manipulative.

Moreover, if her powers revolve around her sexual effects on the compatible gender, does this not presume that that compatible gender is, in fact, the common controller of power and her oppressor? And does it suggest that the right approach to becoming strong is regularly flashing your boobs to distract someone who isn't doing what you want them to do?

I'm struggling with this one to be honest. If this view of the world is right, then prostitution is a liberating profession, and having skills suited to leadership roles the world needs are nothing compared to the ability to have a boss who's easily caught off guard because he's physically attracted to you.

Unmentioned

Despite the title, the article mentions three characters, quickly dispatches with the only one of any worth, and then avoids bringing up any more. The thesis seems to be survivor bad (well, OK, I guess), looks are important, and strong women are best when they're distracting men by being all sexy and stuff.

I think that's an awful, awful, idea. I don't think my daughter is going to become President, the first person on Mars, or the leader of the largest gang in South Florida controlling 74% of the American cocaine trade, with that attitude.

User Journal

Journal: 24/192 Audio Redux

Journal by msobkow

A while back I put my laptop into forced 24bit/192kHz output mode in order to be able to play some Grateful Dead tracks that were recorded in that format. I've left it at that setting on the Windows 7 laptop because it plays back lower resolution audio just fine.

In fact, it seems to upsample lower resolution audio rather nicely. So while CDs and MP3s still are far from as clean sounding as the Grateful Dead tracks, the upsampling prevents "digital fatigue" and sounds more "musical" than 44.1 Hz output does on my Linux box. So I find myself spending more and more time listening to my music under headphones plugged into the laptop (a rather nice set of Sony noise cancelling full-cup headphones that cost nearly $300 15 years ago -- a gift from good friends.)

For the life of me, I do not understand people who claim they can't hear the difference between 44.1 audio and higher resolutions. They must be deaf. The difference is obvious as night and day, if you know what to listen for.

User Journal

Journal: MSS Code Factory 1.11 has been released to production

Journal by msobkow

This day had to come eventually. It was just a matter of patience, persistence, and time.

Today I released MSS Code Factory 1.11 to production.

This is the first time I've ever released a piece of software because I honestly believe it's ready to be released rather than because some marketing/sales rep or management had set an arbitrary delivery date.

This release was 4 years in development. The project itself was started 18 years ago.

But my baby has all grown up, and it's time to send her out the door into the wild, wild world.

If I were to die today, I'd die knowing I accomplished something with my life.

This has been the mountain I had to climb; the ocean I had to sail; the desert I had to cross. It has been my mission ever since I first conceived of the idea of manufacturing code by reversing the logic of a compiler/parser way back in my University days.

For those of you who are programmers, please download and play.

http://msscodefactory.sourceforge.net/

By the way, as a side effect of the testing and validation of MSS Code Factory itself, I produced CFUniverse, a conglomerate business application model project that is nearly 14,000,000 lines of source code. To put that in perspective, the biggest project I ever worked on was about 1.5 million lines, coded by a team of over 150 developers over a 3 year period. Were you to print out CFUniverse at 100 lines per page, double-sided, you'd need 5 cases of paper plus another 20 reams to do it.

I'd love to dump that sucker on someone's desk for a code review!

User Journal

Journal: 2+ port router+asterisk server? 14

Journal by drinkypoo

I need a new system on which to run asterisk, bonus points if I don't have to configure it from scratch. I'd like to spend less than $200 (ideally I'd pick up something used if necessary for $100) but I have storage devices available, whether CF, SD, USB, or what have you. It can have wireless, but it doesn't have to because I have a routerboard for that. I have found my pogoplugs to be unreliable at best.

User Journal

Journal: MSS Code Factory 1.11 is almost done

Journal by msobkow

Within the next week or few, I should be releasing MSS Code Factory 1.11 to production.

1.11 has been a 4 year effort, kickstarted by some rule sets from previous versions of the tool. Each of the earlier versions encountered problems which sent me back to the drawing board to resolve the issues I encountered, going so far as to migrate the core engine code to C# at one point, and then back to Java again, all in an effort to clean up the last bugs in the core technology (the effort was successful, but it was a good two years of my time to do it.)

As I write this, I realize that it's been roughly 18 years since I created the 1.0 version of MSS Code Factory using Java JDK 1.0. I've believed in the "write once, run anywhere" philosophy since day one, and bought into the "Network Is The Computer" concept as well. Hence my decision to focus the efforts of MSS Code Factory on Java, rather than diverging into other languages such as C# or C++ (although there is absolutely no reason I couldn't produce code for those languages, sharing the same database models and stored procedures that the Java code relies on.)

18 years.

My precious is almost an adult.

Just a few more weeks of database script testing, more to find and correct issues with the Business Application Models than with any expectation of long-term problems with the database installation scripts as manufactured by the tool.

At the point of release as a side-effect of testing, I'll have created CFUniverse 2.0. A mammoth general purpose database/schema/application comprising 366 tables and nearly 14,000,000 lines of source code.

Top that, 'ya slackers!

fortune: cpu time/usefulness ratio too high -- core dumped.

Working...