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Comment: Re:It's more than that (Score 1) 80

by nine-times (#48232077) Attached to: The Problem With Positive Thinking

Yeah, when people start talking about how great positive thinking is, I always think, "Sure, as long as things are going well."

Your mindset is, to some degree, a prediction of the future. For that prediction to be helpful, it needs to be fairly accurate. Now many people will point out that predictions can be self-fulfilling, and a positive expectation is more likely to lead to a positive outcome. It's true. But it can also leave you unprepared for a negative outcome.

I think positivity needs to be measured, constrained, and tempered by a realistic assessment. It's useful to consider the what happens if things don't go well, and prepare for things to go very badly. Perhaps more importantly, I think it's important for us all to understand that different people just seem to have different mindsets, different approaches, and different personalities. Whatever your mindset, it can be helpful to have someone around who is very positive, because they can help to keep us all motivated and moving forward. But it's also very useful to have a pessimist around, who will point out the problems with your plans, force you to confront some uncomfortable truths, and rain on your parade a little bit.

People of all kinds can be useful and valuable, so it's important to not shit all over pessimists all the time. As if they don't have enough to worry about, without y'all treating them like they're useless.

Comment: Building should not be complex. (Score 1) 68

by jd (#48231125) Attached to: Building All the Major Open-Source Web Browsers

There's software for auto-detection of necessary libraries (cmake is probably the best, since it's more portable than autoconf).

If you've the source tree, then you should require one single platform-dependent package containing cmake, gnu make, curl or wget, grep, cut and associated libraries, along with a text file containing a list of dependencies, where to get them and where to put them.

Your build system then scans for everything needed. If you've got it, it uses it. If you don't, it fetches the source, builds it and installs it.

This is not rocket science. Gentoo has been doing something similar for a very long time, so has Perl, so has Cygwin and Cygwin-based packages like OSGEO4W.

Yes, it's slow. Yes, it means the browser maintainer has to have a text editor. Yes, it's going to be as painful and agonizing as installing X11R4 or GateD. I did both. On a 386SX-16. Uphill. Both ways. In the snow. If you can't write your code properly to begin with, get off my lawn!

Comment: Re:50 euro fee for a 20 euro refund (Score 1) 260

by jd (#48231067) Attached to: Italian Supreme Court Bans the 'Microsoft Tax'

No problem. Since they require that, you get contractor rates. Plus per diem for the travel. The petrol and wear-and-tear on your car to Germany will be tax-deductable. The remainder of expenses can be billed to the vendor. You send them the estimate in advance, then when they refuse (which they will, because it'll be a hell of a lot more than the cost of a Windows license and probably not too far from the cost of the computer in its entirety if you choose the right places to stay), sue the bastards for breech of contract.

Would you win? Probably not, but the cost of the lawsuit would be a hell of a lot more than the cost of your expenses sheet. That would put them in an interesting position. If they win, they lose. Hey, corporations have been doing this for centuries, it's about time geeks had a go. It seems to be a very profitable racket.

Comment: Re:The ACLU is busy with real rights violations (Score 1) 224

by CanHasDIY (#48229005) Attached to: CHP Officers Steal, Forward Nude Pictures From Arrestee Smartphones

Like the time the ACLU fought for the KKK's right to protest on the courthouse steps? Or rather, are you making a snap judgement based on a preconceived notion you got not from your own research into the organization, but from some media outlet?

My guess, the latter.

Comment: Re:Computers: They can respond fast -and- slow (Score 1) 207

by nine-times (#48228233) Attached to: Passwords: Too Much and Not Enough

They're talking about a different problem. If hackers get ahold of the password hashes, then restricting the rate of login attempts on the server itself won't help. That's where that "100,000,000,000,000" number comes from. I believe it's saying that's how strong the password needs to be to withstand a brute force attack when an attacker has gotten ahold of the table containing encrypted passwords. That's why it says:

System administrators "should stop worrying about getting users to create strong passwords and should focus instead on properly securing password databases and detecting leaks when they happen."

However, that seems like a short-term solution when there's a better long-term solution that's pretty obvious, which doesn't require relying on system administrators to secure password databases. If we stopped using passwords and used public key encryption instead, then websites wouldn't have your password, so they wouldn't be able to leak it.

It's an obvious solution. We know how to do it; the technology isn't new. We won't do it, though, because we don't care about security and we're unwilling to develop new standards. The companies who could push new standards forward are more interested in maintaining walled gardens.

Comment: Re:Automated digesting (Score 1) 172

by nine-times (#48228197) Attached to: Google Announces Inbox, a New Take On Email Organization

I don't see how a mail client can discriminate between an email from my aunt and a message resulting from, say, an error in a cron job execution

Well then you're not the person to figure the problem out. It should actually be fairly easy to discriminate between an email from your aunt and a cron job error. Leave that problem to someone who does see how it can be done.

The point is that there is something wrong in how advertising is conceived and carried out.

I see. So let's just round up all people everywhere and control how they send email, since that'll be easy. Why even apply existing techniques for analyzing text to improve existing email filtering/sorting tools in email clients, when it's so much easier to control human behavior?

Comment: Re:What is critical thinking? (Score 1) 512

by nine-times (#48227015) Attached to: Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

That's all well and good when you're working in a big mindless factory, and your hired to churn out widgets on a quota system. The problem is, often enough I'm looking to hire someone with a little more brains. I want someone who's going to bring some ideas to the table, who's going to think outside the box. I want them to speak up, and there isn't anything like, "I'm going to steal your ideas and present them as my own, and take credit." It's not a big mindless factory that would allow it. If you can come up with a way to save the business money, you're probably going to get a bonus and/or promotion at some time soon, because you're doing good work.

Now arguably a situation like that is a rarity, but part of the problem is, even when you're in that situation, it can be hard to find good people to work that way. It can be hard enough to find people who will do a job when you set out simple instructions to follow. It's much harder to find someone who has enough judgement to know when to follow the instructions, and when not to. When you can find someone like that, it's worth something extra.

Now I understand the desire to get a good job with nice, clear-cut responsibilities-- churn out 500 widgets, and if you do that, you get paid, and it's all that simple. Not all jobs are like that. Especially working for smaller companies, sometimes it boils down to, "I'm just trying to make my company successful. If you can just get done what I need to get done, I'll keep you around. But if you can help me figure out how to improve things, then I'll be trying to figure out how to keep you happy, because that's hard to find."

Comment: Re:symbols, caps, numbers (Score 1) 549

by nine-times (#48224885) Attached to: Password Security: Why the Horse Battery Staple Is Not Correct

You're off-topic. You're right that password-reuse is probably a bigger security threat than having a super-secure password. Of course, to some extent that assumes that you have a reasonably strong password to begin with, that you have basic brute-force protection (e.g. timeout/lock after too many failed login attempts), and/or that you're not being specifically targeted. Because if I really want to get access into your email account specifically, and you have no protection from brute-force attacks, then suddenly password complexity becomes a very big issue.

But setting that all aside, we weren't really rating the level of importance of various security exploits. We were just talking about what constitutes a "strong password".

If you want to talk about the reality of hacks, I might put weak security questions ahead of password reuse, and social engineering above all of them. For a lot of people, you can call them up, tell them that you're calling form Microsoft because their computer has a virus, and get them to install remote-administration and keyloggers on their own computers. It won't fool everyone, but apparently it's not a small problem.

Comment: Re:Want Critical Thinking? Fix the Public Schools (Score 1) 512

by nine-times (#48224785) Attached to: Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

Wrong, poor people could afford education out of pocket...

Oh, good. I thought that there were still poor people who had trouble paying rent and buying groceries. I didn't realize that everyone have thousands of dollars (~$10,000 per year per child) of disposable income floating around.

Comment: What "employers"? (Score 1) 512

by nine-times (#48224735) Attached to: Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

...employers are getting a little bit worried that U.S. schools aren't teaching students the necessary critical-thinking skills to actually succeed...

And which employers are those?

Whenever a journalist writes something like this, I assume it means that they asked one or two people who are in some way connected with hiring people, "Are you concerned that U.S. schools might not be teaching students enough critical-thinking skills?" and those people respond, "Um... yeah, sure. I'm concerned about that, I guess."

Could we get a little bit of analysis, please? Is there any attempt to asses the critical-thinking skills and compare current recent-graduates to the recent-graduates of the past? Do you have any statistics or trends that you can cite? Do you have any method of guessing whether the problem is that the students lack critical-thinking, or whether the problem is that the hiring managers only believe that they lack the skills? Maybe a survey of the opinions of hiring managers over time, to show a trend of whether their opinion has been changing?

Or to take a step back and ask more generally, do you have anything other than off-hand anecdotal statements from a handful of random people who I've never heard of, and who I have no reason to value their opinion?

I don't necessarily disagree with the conclusions of the article, but it seems like a pretty empty piece of journalism.

Comment: Re:Want Critical Thinking? Fix the Public Schools (Score 1) 512

by nine-times (#48224599) Attached to: Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

Fix the public schools by shutting them the fuck down, stopping the theft of money from the people that they could otherwise channel their resources

Right, and fuck poor people who can't afford to send their children to school. Those poor kids are worthless, and we shouldn't bother trying to educate them. It's far better for our society to keep those people poor and hopeless, without any potential for a better future.

In fact, let's just go and make sure that only millionaires are allowed to learn how to read. We need a good, rubust underclass of virtual slaves that we can order around and screw over with impunity. Otherwise, if I can't fuck over everyone else, what's the point of being rich? Am I right, or am I right?

Comment: Re:What is critical thinking? (Score 4, Insightful) 512

by nine-times (#48224505) Attached to: Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

It's a good question, but I don't share your dismissal that it's just, "criticizing the establishment just because it's the establishment."

As someone with experience hiring/managing/firing people, I think there is something to the criticism that our schools don't prepare people for the need of critical thinking in the "real world", and it's a criticism that I've made many times. As I see it, it's very common to see workers in the position of having been given instructions on how to deal with a problem, and then encountering a situation where those instructions don't apply. How does the worker respond?

In my experience, very often the worker will just follow the instructions anyway, even if they notice that they're doing something that makes no sense and will obviously cause problems. A fair amount of the time-- again, at least in my experience-- workers will follow the instructions up until a point, figure out that they can't proceed, and then do some other things that also don't make sense, and then pretend that they've finished the job. Every once in a while, if someone is smart, they'll stop and ask for further guidance, but that's rare because nobody likes to admit that they don't know the answer. Even more rarely, someone will actually come up with a comprehensive solution that actually solves the problem.

And really, all that is just one symptom. Another symptom is the extent to which people will come to work, do exactly what they've been asked to do, and nothing more. Often, there's no curiosity about the role that they're playing within the company, about how their role could be expanded or refined, or somehow changed. Even the better employees are generally those who just follow instructions, and those people rarely seem to grasp why they were provided those specific instructions, let alone figure out a better set of instructions for themselves. And if they had come up with a better solution, they rarely suggest it to their boss.

So what is "critical thinking" in this context? I think it involves "problem solving", which might be no less vague. It involves a sort of curiosity, to want to know what's actually going on, and why those things are going on. I'm not sure what else...

But school often doesn't prepare us for that. We're trained to sit down, shut up, do exactly what we're told and no more. Don't ask questions. Don't imagine that you might be able to come up with a better solution. Just do what you're told, and don't think too much about it.

This is a good time to punt work.