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Comment: Re:Why would you want to not let people change it? (Score 1) 355

by Mathonwy (#33503262) Attached to: Stanford's Authoritative Alternative To Wikipedia

Actually, I see it less as "rejection of truth by authority" and more "acceptance of the existence of more than one authority". I'm fine with accepting an authority if that one authority is infallible and willing to keep any pages under their care updated constantly. If not though, I'd appreciate being able to have someone say "actually, section 6.23 is no longer wholly accurate..." and make appropriate corrections.

I'll concede though that wikipedia may not have as good a handle on edit wars as I was thinking when I wrote up the post. I confess I was thinking more about factual articles about relatively non-controversial things. (The chemical properties of Strontium, or biographical details of HP Lovecraft or whatever.) For controversial things, I'll admit, it can be a little spottier.

Comment: Why would you want to not let people change it? (Score 1) 355

by Mathonwy (#33501620) Attached to: Stanford's Authoritative Alternative To Wikipedia

If you are a young academic, who might spend six months preparing a great article on Thomas Aquinas, you're not going to publish in a place where anyone can come along and change this

For some reason, this line really bugs me. Maybe it depends on what your goal is? If your goal is to provide the most up-to-date, complete reference, then heck yes, I would say, you SHOULD put it somewhere that other people can change it. In case they have anything to add to what you wrote, or in case there are any things you wrote that need correcting. (And assuming that you have at least some degree of trust that they will do so in good faith and not just delete/vandalize your work I guess.)

The only reasons I can think that you would want to write something in a way that DOESN'T allow people to modify it is if you either a) are 100% certain that what you have written is completely accurate and definitive and will require no maintenance, b) are more worried about having "your" version up and public than having the "most correct" version up, or c) don't trust the people who might do edits, or the moderation system.

All of these seem like pretty petty reasons except C though. (a reeks of hubris, and b seems like the wrong goal.) And wikipedia HAS a pretty good handle on C, all things considered. It seems like the biggest danger of this is that the update process becomes too much work (either because you have to wait for 120 people to review it, or because those 120 people get bogged down by review oversight requests) and that the encyclopedia becomes out of date.

It will be interesting to see how this works out for them though. If they find a model that works, then more power to them?

Comment: Re:EVE is the dickhead MMO (Score 1) 620

by Mathonwy (#33198720) Attached to: <em>EVE</em> Player Loses $1,200 Worth of Game Time In-Game

All the EVE advcotes will boast about how they aren't pussies, and how they love risk and a challenge. But they only love risk and challenge when they are heavily favored to win. What do they do when a stronger force shows up? They run away. God forbid they actually fight something that might beat them. Of course, this is the 'intelligent' thing to do in EVE, so you can't fault them.

So you're saying that retreating when you're outmatched, and doing everything you can to make sure you win a conflict before you commit to it, are only "intelligent" in the context of a game that you claim is broken?

Out of curiosity, how would you rate this guy?

Comment: Re:Let's look at this differently ... (Score 1) 218

by Mathonwy (#33118644) Attached to: NAMCO Takes Down Student <em>Pac-man</em> Project

I would argue yes, actually!

Because maybe I'm projecting here, but I think that in the heart of most computer programmer nerds is the memory of how they started programming. So automatically the kid gets some slack, just because most us immediately think "haha, that reminds me of the time I tried to make _____ in BASIC, god my version sucked. Taught me to program though...."

So while I have some trouble imagining a scenario where a budding programmer accidentally violates the GPL or something, I think at the very least that many slashdot readers would be more inclined to say "wow, smart cookie of a kid!" and kindly tell him/her what they did wrong, rather than send a threatening legal letter.

Or at least that's how I hope it would go down?

Comment: Re:Two sides to this issue (Score 1) 569

by Mathonwy (#32997408) Attached to: Why Designers Hate Crowdsourcing

Heh. That reminds me of a story I read once. (glancing around the googles, it looks like it is all over the place in various forms) It is basically the same as the picasso story in your link.

The short version:

Man has boiler problems. Boiler isn't working.

Plumber shows up. Plumber pokes around for about 15 minutes, and finally takes out a hammer, and carefully taps a specific spot in the pipes. Water starts flowing again. Hooray!

Later, the bill shows up. It is several hundred dollars. The person being billed is a little upset at this, since the plumber only spent 15 minutes on it. They say so, and demand to know why 15 minutes of the plumbers time are worth a couple hundred.

The plumber nods, and sends back an updated invoice. It reads:

15 minutes of tapping on pipes: $20
Knowing where to tap: $180

Comment: Re:Incredible (Score 1) 957

by Mathonwy (#32693268) Attached to: The worst I've ever been in trouble w/ the law ...

I've had my shirt ripped, my face slammed into the pavement, and the cop refused to read me my rights because he said it was a felony. I was then hauled off to jail. My car was towed which I had to pay for.

All just for being in a car similar to the one used to hold up a convenience store in the same area.

All charges were dropped, but I still had to spend 2 nights and all day Sunday in jail since they wouldn't release me without seeing a judge.

I am white just in case you were wondering. Sometimes cops are just dicks.

Are you implying that the cops would somehow be less of dicks if you were not white?

Comment: Re:Just as much right? (Score 1) 402

by Mathonwy (#32619626) Attached to: Tornado Scientists Butt Heads With Storm Chasers

That cuts both ways. Reckless endangerment? I don't see anything about science in the wikipedia article, so one could reasonably make the claim that the storm chasers are endangering the scientists just as much as the other way around. Bottom line is that they're both in a dangerous, yet public environment, for reasons that they see as legitimate.

Also, I take exception with this line:

  Anyone else who isn't contributing to the scientific body of knowledge has no right or need to be there

There is a lot wrong with it! For example: Who decides what is a "legitimate" contribution? It also seems to spectacularly fail the "general case" test. I. e. Unless you have a good reason why storms are magic "science only zones", what's your logic for why it wouldn't it apply to non-storm locations? Does it apply to other roads? State parks? Local corner delis?

Comment: Re:Battery usage of Flash (Score 1) 850

by Mathonwy (#32118622) Attached to: Flash Is Not a Right

Again though - if they want to say "your app shall not consume more than ## battery units per ## time unit" then fine. if that outlaws most flash apps, that's fine too.

then
a) it should also outlaw things that aren't flash that have the same problem
b) if I DO make a flash/java/unity/whatever program that doesn't have this problem, then apple should be fine with it.

Comment: It's not that Flash in particular is a right... (Score 4, Interesting) 850

by Mathonwy (#32114208) Attached to: Flash Is Not a Right

I don't think the problem is that apple is trampling someone's "rights". I think it is more that apple is just continuing to act like a dick. (Whcih shouldn't be a surprise, since the dickery of Steve Jobs is well documented.)

I can't speak for others, but my personal beef is that apple is putting restrictions on the development process instead of the result.

I have ZERO problem if they want to put restrictions on the result. "Your binary must adhere to these rules, and behave thusly." That's fine.

I take great exception if they say how I can make it though. Saying "you can't use these tools" is silly. They shouldn't care what tools are used. To me, saying "you can't submit anything that was written in flash" makes exactly as much sense as saying "You can't submit anything that wasn't written by someone with blond hair."

(And yes, I'm equally insensed about Java, Unity, or anything else, as I am about Flash.)

Also I'm mostly annoyed by the obvious hippocracy that it shows on the part of apple. (Which again, really shouldn't surprise me by now, but meh.) Because as countless people have already pointed out, it basically outlaws a very large percentage of stuff that is already in the app store. No one REALLY expects apple to come down too hard on the non-flash things here. They are basically just issuing a law that makes it so EVERYONE who uses any kind of middleware is illegal, so they can pick and choose their enforcement to suit their whims. The app store approval process already has a wide reputation for capriousness. They already pick and choose apps to ban inconsistently, frequently refuse to provide reasons, and refuse to provide any real recourse, or point of contact. This is only going to make this problem worse.

So yeah. I don't get mad at apple because I feel I have some "right" to use flash in particular. But I do feel that I have a "right" to develop using whatever tools I see fit, whether they be Adobe's products, or blond-haired employees, and that apple should get out of my business, and only concern themselves with my product.

Comment: Re:ok... (Score 2, Insightful) 409

by Mathonwy (#31159110) Attached to: Aussie Attorney General Says Gamers Are Scarier Than Biker Gangs

"He was later forced to apologise. The animal was not a cat, the incident happened at another location and bikies weren't involved."

Wait, what?!

"Oops, my bad, it was a cow, not a cat. And it wasn't at my house, it was at the local Burger King. And I guess it was just a family of 4, not bikers. But it looked so delicious that I was understandably confused!"

Comment: Re:Do the studies apply? (Score 1) 394

by Mathonwy (#30799704) Attached to: Programming With Proportional Fonts?

If your editor supports elastic tabstops, then you can use them, but then your code will look weird in something like viewvc or any editor that doesn't. This is why our coding conventions say you should use tabs for indenting and spaces for alignment. A tab is a semantic 'indent by one level' character, while a space is an 'advance the cursor by one character width' character. To have this work in a proportional font, you'd need to redefine space to mean 'advance the cursor by the width of the character directly above'. This is not impossible, but it would require a bit of hacking in the layout engine.

Of course if you did that, the code would look REALLY REALLY WEIRD when viewed on anyone else's computer. If you're going for readable, maintainable code, this is probably not that great an idea. If your goal is code that is only easy to read on your computer in your specific editor though, then this is probably a great start.

Comment: Re:Who said it was anti-technology? (Score 1) 870

by Mathonwy (#30574202) Attached to: Anti-Technology Themes in James Cameron's <em>Avatar</em>

Actually, it [rightfully claimed land] means, "someone who makes use of land that no other has claimed, and claims it as his own." A right is not a deed of ownership, but a freedom of action. Your right to a piece of land is indicated by your utilization of that land - for living, for growing food, whatever. So a small group of people can't claim, "We own Antarctica!", just because they happened to land there. They can justifiably claim to own the section of the continent on which they inhabit and grow food.

Wait, so you're saying that I can own land (even if other people are using it) if I just show up and start farming it? So whoever farmed it last (or "uses" it) rightfully owns it?

A couple of obvious problems jump out with this definition...

#1 - What if I want to use the land for something other than farming. Can't I use it as a park or nature preserve? If so, how would you "know"?

#2 - What's to stop me from showing up on land you think you own, and farming/mining it? If I show up on your doorstep with a packet of seeds, do I now own your house?

Your idea of "rightful ownership" seems to have some problems...

Comment: Re:Adobe Flash security is extremely disappointing (Score 2, Insightful) 286

by Mathonwy (#28859893) Attached to: 92% of Windows PCs Vulnerable To Zero-Day Attacks On Flash

Silverlight doesn't have any reported issues since not enough people use it for the bad guys to bother investing resources in finding its vulnerabilities. It's related to the same "macs don't get viruses" argument that was floated around right up until the point that macs became popular enough for virus writers to bother with them.

From Sharp minds come... pointed heads. -- Bryan Sparrowhawk

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