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Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 38

by gstoddart (#49621335) Attached to: How the NSA Converts Spoken Words Into Searchable Text

Why? Over most of history spying has saved lives more than taken them.
I find it so odd that people on Slashdot sing the praises of the "Codebreakers" of WWII but are shocked and freaked out that they are still around today.

In WWI the amount of communications done by ordinary citizens was much smaller.

Now it's a completely indiscriminate thing which says "we're going to spy on everybody just in case".

This is outrageous, and essentially amounts to general warrants and saying "you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide".

Sorry, but no, fascist assholes who want to right to spy on everybody without warrant, probable cause, or oversight ... these people should be hanged.

Fuck them all if that's what they want to do.

Comment: Re:Correction (Score 1) 30

You know, if Prenda is going to present complete fiction for their justification for their illegal bullshit ... I think it's highly appropriate the court does something similar.

From everything I have seen in the coverage, Prenda is a shady bunch of douchebag lawyers who are sending out false notices for copyrights they don't own or represent, and demanding money.

They can claim all they want to be a legitimate business, but that appears to be a complete lie.

Honestly, unless the judge is somehow failing in his legal duties, his choice of metaphor is largely irrelevant.

Basically Prenda is exactly what the judge says they are ... a law firm practicing extortion through misrepresentation and intimidation. I don't care if he makes Sponge Bob references and long as these clowns get shut down.

Comment: Re:Why the fuck is mobile browsing so bad? (Score 1) 38

Yeah, no kidding. I can't tell you how many web pages slavishly stick to their pre-defined widths because some hack of a designer thought it looked pretty.

Which means you horizontally scroll on small screens, and on large screens you see acres of unused space.

So much web design is utter crap ... but mobile browsing is utterly pointless. Because it turns into "here, let us forward you to a different link which doesn't have any actual content, won't show you the link you just followed, and has no mechanism to find the link you just followed."

Honestly, I don't know why most places bother with a mobile version of their website if it's just going to be a steaming turd which doesn't show any useful information.

Comment: Re:Hmmm Tasty Whale Tongue (Score 1) 38

Well, honestly though, how's your Icelandic? And do you know for a fact that their apostrophes and their accents are different?

I have certainly heard about some Icelandic 'delicacies' of some rotted/fermented fish which has a very ammonia flavor which nobody but Icelanders will eat.

You may think it's an absurd product, but I'm betting some guy in Iceland is going "mmmm ... smoked whale ball beer".

Comment: Make them drink it ... (Score 4, Insightful) 143

I think any PR person, CEO, and other mouthpiece who says this stuff is perfectly safe should be forced to drink it. Daily. For a year. Their family included.

If the PR clowns are going to claim it's safe, put their money where there mouth is. If they refuse to drink it, assume they're lying and feed them to bears.

Hold these guys to some standard of truth instead of their accustomed truthiness, and see what they do.

I'm so tired of these "think tanks" who are nothing more than paid shills who spout this crap just to obfuscate the truth -- it's no different than the tobacco lobby did. It's slimy and dishonest, and should carry a huge penalty.

Comment: Re:Agree about U curve, disagree with the rest (Score 2) 250

by gstoddart (#49620047) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

Well, arguably being the fastest at writing code doesn't mean any of it is actually good.

I once worked with a guy who could crank out massive quantities of code. It made for some pretty amazing proof-of-concept and demo stuff -- but it was utterly unusable in the real world because it was, overall, really badly written code.

It didn't have any robustness. It made stupid architectural decisions. It made unfounded and unsupportable assumptions. It had an awful lot of hardcoded magic because he only solved one use case.

It impressed the heck out of the VPs and the customers who said "oooh, gotta get me some of that". But in trying to turn any of it into production level code, by the time you started trying to fix the glaring holes, remove the things which just simply couldn't work in the real world, and take out some of the shortcuts and voodoo -- there was very often nothing workable left.

This was coupled with the fact that he couldn't/wouldn't debug his own code, couldn't/wouldn't go in and make even simple modifications to it without breaking it, and had quite likely moved onto something else new and shiny and couldn't be persuaded to actually fix or maintain previous projects.

He left a wake of crap code and demos, but almost nothing which could be used in the real world. Which means everyone around him started saying "look, if you want to use the super awesome code he wrote, go ahead, but leave me out of it unless you can get him to complete what he started and not leave us with a half-finished demo which can't be made real, we're not supporting the shit he leaves behind him".

Everyone else considered him a nightmare, because while he was prolific and wrote cool looking things ... it was all smoke and mirrors, which covered about 2% of the functionality and 75% of the sales demo.

I was glad when I transferred to another group and he was someone else's problem. Though, I did notice the carnage of sales people and clients who bought into the bullshit and thought they were getting something real only to find it had an awful lot of "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain".

I hope he was a very unusual case, but he was an absolutely prolific coder, who wrote absolutely terrible code.

Comment: Re:Hmmm ... (Score 1) 250

by gstoddart (#49619857) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

Right, but then we're back to "among the group of people who are already programmers" ... which in no way refutes the oft-cited observation that among people learning to program there's a very distinct double-tassel distribution.

Within the group of people already called programmers, yes, there's going to be variation -- I've certainly known a few who crank out reams of code, which can sometimes make for a good prototype, but which often had to be completely scrapped to turn it into releasable code.

But I've also known a couple who barely seemed to know how to do anything and did everything as if they'd just looked it up in a first year programming book (or from the internet).

I honestly can't tell you how those people turned out in the long run, because we didn't those ones around long enough. They'd bluffed their way past the person interviewing them, but by the time they were on the job, their technical skills just weren't there.

It just seems like he's refuting the idea of a bi-modal distribution by only talking about people who are already programmers, instead of the general population -- which is an entirely different thing.

Comment: Hmmm ... (Score 4, Insightful) 250

by gstoddart (#49619723) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

Now, I don't have stats to back this up ... but many moons ago I was told by numerous profs that programming/CS had pretty much always been the bi-modal distribution, and one of them even showed me the graphs of previous years of first year programming courses to back it up.

I have seen an academic paper discussing the bi-modal distribution.

So, is he saying "among people who are programmers there isn't a bi-modal distribution", or is he saying "among people learning to program there isn't a bi-modal distribution"?

Essentially he has no statistics to back his claims, and seems to be saying that "among people who are already programmers there's all kinds" -- which is FAR different from refuting the observation in academia that people learning programming are most definitely showing a bi-modal distribution.

This sounds like he's talking from his 'feels' instead of from his 'facts'.

Comment: Started to remove apps ... (Score 1) 65

I've been forced to start removing apps from my phone.

I have an older Android phone, and don't have (or want) a data plan.

A while ago, when I got voicemail and the the notification for it, I'd get a text message from my ISP saying that something on my phone was trying to connect to the internet.

Basically some app I had had decided that it needed to notify someone when I got a phone message, but it failed because I didn't have a data plan.

Then I started removing apps and testing, and eventually got it pared down enough that it didn't happen.

Basically most apps are written by greedy bastards who don't give a crap about your privacy and your security. And if Google won't give me fine grain control to say "I don't care if *you* want to connect to the internet" and disable it, then I'm simply not going to trust the apps.

It has gotten to the point where I have to assume most software is actually hostile to me. If ti can't pass the airplane mode test, it generally gets deleted.

I would definitely install this app, and use it to identify shady apps which need to be deleted.

Comment: Re:Reality (Score 1) 60

by gstoddart (#49617971) Attached to: Accessibility In Linux Is Good (But Could Be Much Better)

Fine, you have given a statistic on the Linux Kernel.

Now, show me a stat for "most OSS developers" across not just the Linux kernel. And then we're probably back to what I said in the first place.

Because, you'll notice, I never said Linux. I said OSS. My view isn't dated, yours is incomplete.

And there's a crapton more OSS code on the interwebs than just the Linux kernel. It may not be as influential, but it is far more plentiful.

And it's definitely not "product", it's "hobby".

Comment: Re:Looks like the prophet's gunmen (Score 1) 1003

by gstoddart (#49614551) Attached to: Two Gunman Killed Outside "Draw the Prophet" Event In Texas

What, you mean like the crazy Christians who have been attacking abortion clinics like the Army of God?

Sorry, but moronic Christians have every bit as much capacity for violence as moronic Muslims. Stupid and crazy isn't dependent on a specific religion.

So take your own stupid, shove it up your ass, and fuck off. Because there most certainly are examples of violence perpetuated by Christians.

And you can bet your ass that if an atheist set up the "Holy Mary Mother of God Gangbang" ... some crazy bastard is going to lose his shit and do something insane.

Comment: Re:Article is total bilge water (Score 1) 167

by gstoddart (#49614409) Attached to: Why Scientists Love 'Lord of the Rings'

You're not understanding what I am saying.

I am NOT saying Tolkien invented all of those things. I am saying, in the context of the fantasy genre, in which all of these things co-exist and have a specific relationship with one another ... that template is 100% based on Tolkien.

At which point, people will write scenarios which are kind of mostly similar to what Tolkien wrote .. or they consciously reject Tolkien and then go against what he laid out.

But if you write something which has humans, elves, dwarves, wizards and these other elements ... you do it either in homage to (ie being consistent with), or in opposition to (ie being explicitly different to) what Tolkien wrote.

What you can't do is whip up a story involving these elements without Tolkien being an underlying influence -- either as something you accept or reject.

But what we consider the modern fantasy genre simply cannot exist without Tolkien as a reference point. Because it was the first time these things all existed together.

Tolkien most assuredly did not invent literature, or the epic saga, or many many other things. What he did do it put together a coherent world in which all of these creatures and things coexist ... and thereafter all things which are rooted in this kind of world are all forever judged as being relative to Tolkien.

Comment: Re:Tolkien overexposure (Score 1) 167

by gstoddart (#49614257) Attached to: Why Scientists Love 'Lord of the Rings'

Or, alternatively, because I think people saying LoTR was about socialism, or the left/right, or whatever -- to be largely bullshit by academics making claims about Tolkien which may or may not be founded in reality.

It's like art people sitting around discussing the metaphysical and cultural significance of a can of shit. I find most of this stuff to be something you could generate by algorithm, which means I tend to view it as meaningless drivel and fluff.

Comment: Re:Plot Hole (Score 1) 167

by gstoddart (#49614073) Attached to: Why Scientists Love 'Lord of the Rings'

Hmmm .. it isn't not not true because we can't not retroactively make it not untrue by leveraging bad grammar and sophistry to decree that it was true when it may well have not have been at the time we said it wasn't?

You shouldn't not don't write sentences which aren't like that, unless you don't not want people to not understand you. ;-)

Comment: Re:Plot Hole (Score 1) 167

by gstoddart (#49613925) Attached to: Why Scientists Love 'Lord of the Rings'

Honesty, the nerd tendency to reject the statement "but at the end of the day we know we're rationalizing it" is sad, pathetic, hilarious, and fascinating.

This is collective hand-wringing about the mechanics of the good guys and the bad guys, and how to make everything self consistent.

The collective wedgie which seems required by this scenario would be completely epic.

Please, do carry on. This shit is funny. All I can think of is Comic Book Guy saying "it clearly shows here that the fell beasts are autonomous, and capable of performing mayhem without oversight, and your lack of understanding demonstrated you clearly haven't fully read Smith's treatise on the metaphysical nature of non-Elven magic".

Do the ladies swoon over this stuff? Because my wife won't stop laughing at me. ;-)

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