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Comment: Re:ran ISP built from a BBS in 1996 (Score 1) 618

by Phreakiture (#49146815) Attached to: FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules

In 1996, there was competition in Internet Service, because the ISPs didn't own the local loop; the local loop was owned by a party that was, at the time, disinterested in our transaction: they didn't care if I used Acme, Apex, Brandex or Joe Schmoe for my ISP. Hell, they didn't care if I even had an ISP at all.

By 2000, broadband connections had rolled out. They were irrevocably tied to a given ISP, and that ISP was therefore able to put all but the most resilient of dialup ISPs out of business. It would have been better if they offered connectivity, like the telco before them, and let us pick our ISP, especially if we could now, as then, do it on a whim by choosing a different number to dial.

I don't expect ever to get back to that level of flexibility, but I think the current clusterfuck monopoly is bullshit. Don't cry to me about the plight of the small ISP: you aren't available to me. I have a choice between massive corporation A or massive corporation B, and I'm luckier than most Americans to have that.

Comment: Re:file transfer (Score 1) 450

by Phreakiture (#49143803) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Old PC File Transfer Problem

Laplink might be a good choice. Another good choice, probably faster, would be to try to adapt the hard drive from the old machine to the new machine somehow.

I'm assuming the hard drive is IDE. If that's the case, a USB-ATA adapter would do it, or another choice would be a SATA-ATA adapter.

A third option (and the one I used to transfer files from my Amiga to my PC about 18 years ago) is to fire up a terminal progrom on both the old and new machines and connect them via their serial ports with a null-modem cable (Null modem cables are to serial what a crossover cable is to Ethernet). Then use a file transfer protocol like Zmodem to pass the data across the link. This one's pretty involved, though, so you will probably want to go with this one as a last resort.

Comment: Re:Dubious premise . . . (Score 1) 106

by Phreakiture (#49138939) Attached to: Intel To Rebrand Atom Chips Along Lines of Core Processors

Yeah, I'm actually familiar with the real performance of Atoms, and they aren't actually as bad as all that, but I figured I'd take the opportunity to drop a good laugh line.

I have been using a dual-core Atom-powered PC for several years now to DJ. It's been able to hold its own.

Comment: Re:Is Google a monopoly? (Score 1) 149

by Phreakiture (#49088909) Attached to: Google Faces Anti-Trust Probe In Russia Over Android

Close. It's more accurate to say that the Ford car is going to have Ford tyres on the hub and Ford petrol in the tank, and you can replace the tyres with Michelins and drain the tank and replace the Ford petrol with BP, if that's your preference, but it's a pain in the backside. It could be further complicated by Ford if they wanted to make sure that the tyres had a strange diametre or width and you had to use specific rims on the car because they used some kind of proprietary interlock that would make sure no other rims would fit the car. I've heard that one of the German carmakers does something like this, but I've never confirmed it.

Comment: Re:someone explain for the ignorant (Score 1) 448

by Phreakiture (#49087051) Attached to: Credit Card Fraud Could Peak In 2015 As the US Moves To EMV

They are harder to replicate, but there's more. The card holds a secret key, which it will never divulge, and has the capability of producing a cryptographic signature using that key. As such, a transaction gets signed by the card on your behalf, with enough information included in the signed field that duplicates become obvious, preventing replays, and that alterations become computationally untenable. As such, capturing the information, regardless of whether it is captured in transit or in situ, doesn't give you the ability to commit fraud with the stolen data.

Of course, as long as the magstripes continue to exist and be honoured, you can always go around the system. This will be the case for a few years at least while the transition is made. If data from a chip terminal is successfully intercepted, it will sometimes possible to recover enough to regenerate track 2 from a magnetic card (the only track that is required, and the one that is read by card reader dongles like Square) plus the PIN. That's enough to create and use a functioning magstripe ATM card.

Comment: Re:Ricochet network from way back. (Score 1) 73

by Phreakiture (#49073271) Attached to: Cellphone Start-Ups Handle Calls With Wi-Fi

Phone to phone is theoretically feasible if a mechanism exists to locate the other phone on the Internet, and a mechanism exists to reach it. If one or both phones is behind a NAT gateway (which the probably will both be), then you kind of need the carrier as a rendezvous point.

IPV6 may change the formula a little here, but I am not sure.

Comment: Re:Makes sense to me (Score 1) 411

by Phreakiture (#49037807) Attached to: Your Java Code Is Mostly Fluff, New Research Finds

Hell, just look at "Hello world" in Java to see part of the problem. You have to create a class, then create a method main() within that class, then use a very lengthy absolute path to the method to send out put to the screen (System.out.println()). On top of that, both your method and class definitions require a slew of keywords to prefix them, because the defaults are not useful in this context.

On accessors, I think a lot of that problem is groupthink. "We do it that way because that's the way we do it" is the mindset. Unfortunately, this has been reinforced by various frameworks, toolkits, standards and other accessories.

There are two approaches I have seen in Python, Perl and LISP that are kind of cool (though please don't misconstrue this to be saying that these languages don't have other problems worthy of critique).

One is to overload the accessors, naming the accessor the same as the variable it accesses, and if you call it with an argument, it sets it and returns same; calling it without an argument returns the current value. As an example, if you have a variable 'foo', then instance_variable.foo() would return whatever is currently the value of foo, and instance_variable.foo('bar') would set the value of foo in that instance to 'bar' and also return 'bar' (unless it ends up being massaged by the accessor).

The other is to use a general accessor, often named param() or property() or something the like. It takes one or two arguments; if one, it is the name of the variable to be accessed; if two, the second argument is a value to set. Otherwise, it works the same as in the first approach.

Common LISP (using CLOS) very strongly encourages the first approach, because all you have to do to create a very basic accessor (i.e. one that does not massage or validate) is say that it exists, and it does. You only need to write code for it if you need to do something specific in terms of validation or formatting.

In the end, I am not surprised that Java code is mostly fluff. This stems from a failure of the language to have sane defaults. The good news is that the IDE can write a lot of that for you, but if the IDE can write it, the question remains: why does it need to be written at all?

Comment: I recommend it. (Score 1) 700

by Phreakiture (#48981377) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Pros and Cons of Homeschooling?

I know two families that are homeschooling.

In both of these cases, I find that the kids (five, total, between the two families) are extremely intelligent and show it, because there is no "anti-nerd" peer pressure for them to overcome. They speak clearly in full, complex, articulate sentences, and are not afraid to share their ideas.

On the topic of awkwardness, I don't see it. These kids have no problems speaking with adults on an adult level. Social groups exist for kids outside of school, and you should absolutely encourage your kids to get out of the house and do things.

Now, this is very important: I believe, in the cases of these two families, that a critical part of making this work is that the kids have all been encouraged to speak their minds. Sometimes they will pose a challenge to your existing ideas. When that happens, the correct response is to be open to the possibility that you might be wrong. In one of these families, the kids even got the family to change their religion, because the one they were following had too many inconsistencies. That's a big deal.

If you are inclined to take such challenges as "backtalk" then I don't think this will work for you. Your objective should be to raise children that can think for themselves; if that's not what you want, send them to school where they can learn not to think for far less effort than you could teach them.

Comment: Re:Science... Yah! (Score 1) 958

by Phreakiture (#48968465) Attached to: Science's Biggest Failure: Everything About Diet and Fitness

I have done this. It works.

For bonus points, I was also able to compute my average "Calories I used" value over the period of months from my change in body weight and total intake (I logged everything I ate during this period). Amusingly, the number I got was 2395 kCal, which so close to the USDA estimate of 2400 for adult men as makes no real difference. I had expected it to come in much lower because I am not especially active.

For bonus points, if you, lke me, and like siddesu, choose to use the metric system for this, the computation is easy: Want to lose 1kg/week? Check it: 7 days in a week, and 7700 is nicely divisible by 7. Reduce your intake to 1100 kCal below your burn rate. That, by the way, is about the maximum safe weight loss.

Comment: Re:Boston Representing (Score 1) 397

by Phreakiture (#48917225) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

One of the local weathermen (in the Albany, NY area) was laughing last night over the fact that the four different predictive models they use had thrown four radically different outcomes, ranging from 0.5" to 21" for our area. It isn't even that there was an outlier amongst the models -- the outcomes were fairly evenly distributed. Looking at it right now, it looks like their in-house model, which predicted 0.5-3", was the correct one for this storm.

Now, that said, it generally looked like this was going to be south and east of us, and that NYC was going to get clobbered. It seems to me as though it just went a bit further east than originally anticipated.

"You know, we've won awards for this crap." -- David Letterman