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Comment: Re:try SLASH (Score 1) 57

by MikeTheGreat (#48028333) Attached to: How To Find the Right Open Source Project To Get Involved With

No worries on the search - I embedded the link to the slashdot stories AND quoted it above :)

I agree that the 24 bit counter was incomprehensible. Apparently it's a standard choice in MySQL, though, which explains why it's an issue - one can just pick 'mediumint' and bam - 24 bit integer.

I'm mystified as to why one would want to do that - does MySQL actually pack the integers in such a way as to use those extra 8 bits for something else? On a 32 bit machine you're going to need to either ignore (zero-pack) those extra 8 bits or else extract whatever you put there before every operation (addition, comparison, etc) that you do.

Anyways - those were good times :)

Comment: Re:try SLASH (Score 1) 57

by MikeTheGreat (#48025009) Attached to: How To Find the Right Open Source Project To Get Involved With

16 bits? Dude, that's ridiculous.

Ok, just so everyone else on slashdot will stop laughing at us I looked it up:

http://slashdot.org/story/06/1...

From TFS:

Last night we crossed over 16,777,216 comments in the database. The wise amongst you might note that this number is 2^24, or in MySQLese an unsigned mediumint. Unfortunately, like 5 years ago we changed our primary keys in the comment table to unsigned int (32 bits, or 4.1 billion) but neglected to change the index that handles parents. We're awesome! Fixing is a simple ALTER TABLE statement... but on a table that is 16 million rows long, our system will take 3+ hours to do it, during which time there can be no posting. So today, we're disabling threading and will enable it again later tonight. Sorry for the inconvenience. We shall flog ourselves appropriately. Update: 11/10 12:52 GMT by J : It's fixed.

There we go - a 24 bit index caused the crash :)

Comment: Re:Watson is not AI (Score 1) 161

by MikeTheGreat (#47660313) Attached to: New Watson-Style AI Called Viv Seeks To Be the First 'Global Brain'

Back in college I had a professor who said that he was glad he didn't work in AI. Asked to explain further, he said that the definition of "intelligent" is pretty much "a machine can't do it", so as soon as you've got a program that can do something everyone else immediately says "Huh! I always thought that needed intelligence. I guess not!" He then illustrated his opinion by saying that it had previously been thought that you needed intelligence to take the derivative of something, until someone wrote a program to do it.

Obviously, it was an informal, off-the-cuff, and mostly tongue-in-cheek comment, but there's definitely some truth there too.

Comment: Why Slashvertisments always hit Betteridge's law? (Score 1) 164

by MikeTheGreat (#46919435) Attached to: Is Montana the Next Big Data Hub?

Whenever someone Slashvertises something on /. with a post whose title is a question then (at least) one of us always brings up Betteridge's Law Of Headlines. If not directly, then indirectly (like this).

So why do they keep doing it? I gotta believe that if someone's paying for it that at least one customer would follow up with the results at least one time (and send feedback to whichever company/-ies slashvertise for them)

(Yes, my subject should be "Why do Slashvertisements...", but I ran out of characters :) )

Comment: Why was this ever a good idea? (Score 1) 338

by MikeTheGreat (#46875209) Attached to: How the USPS Killed Digital Mail

Can someone help me understand why anyone ever thought the 'digitize your mail' thing is a good idea? I mean, if you want to send/receive digital messages, you've already got a cornucopia of options - email, IM, Facebook messages, etc, etc, etc. You can 'scan' stuff yourself by snapping pix with your smartphone, etc. So if you want digital transmission of information you've got that right now, today, without having to go through the extra step of writing/printing it all out on paper and then going to the post office.

Conversely, if I've chosen USPS it's because I don't want stuff digitized. When my young kid makes something Amazingly Awesome for the grandparents I want that physical object delivered to them. Sure, it's an 8.5" x 11" piece of paper with (mostly) scribbles on it, but when the grandparents see that my kid has finally learned how to write their names out it'll melt their hearts, then go straight onto the fridge door.

Even people posting here seem to be mostly talking about ways to remove junk snail mail, not the Incredible Awesomeness of Outbox.

So, remind me again - how is this anything other than a terrible plan that died a well-deserved death?

</rant>
Ok, I feel better now :)

But on a serious note - I would really love some insight about why transforming the USPS into the world's largest scanning service seems like a good idea.

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