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Comment: Re: In Progress (Score 1) 106

by Praeluceo (#47225061) Attached to: Portland Edges Closer To Google Fiber

Yeah, I live very close to RA and we have Frontier FiOS. $105/month for symmetrical 35 Mb/s business class fiber with a static IP. We've never had any issues with speed or Frontier (or Verizon FiOS before them). It makes me feel for everyone stuck on Comcast or dial-up, but 3 of our last 4 residences in the Portland metro area all had fiber, so I'm not sure where in Portland people are living that doesn't have fiber. Did Verizon only run it to the suburbs and skip downtown?

Databases

Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names 773

Posted by timothy
from the can't-we-stick-to-slashdot-user-ids? dept.
Jamie points out this interesting article about how hard it is for programmers to get names right. Since software ultimately is used by and for humans, and we humans are pretty tightly linked to our names (whatever the language, spelling, or orthography), this is a big deal. This piece notes some of the ways that names get mishandled, and suggests rules of thumb (in the form of anti-suggestions) to encourage programmers to handle names more gracefully.

Comment: Re:Mistake (Score 1) 479

by Praeluceo (#32473694) Attached to: Malfunction Costs Couple $11 Million Slot Machine Jackpot

Uhh, I hate to break it to you, but it's a slot machine. It -is- a scam. Lottery games should be played for entertainment purposes only and not investment. The same sort of entertainment you get from going to an arcade for hours on end: the thrill of pushing the buttons on the screen/controller.

They pay out a fixed percent, and the lottery commissions work extremely hard to ensure that the percentage is perfect. I can't imagine a casino being any less stringent, or being more fair, than a government-run lottery commission. On the flip side, most of those lottery machines run Linux, and watching a dmesg scroll across one of their screens is quite enjoyable, especially when you enter its test mode and play the ogg files on it that make up the background tracks, or watch the game load a series of png graphic sprites. That "Walk Like An Egyptian" song sure does get stuck in your head after a few hours of it though.

Australia

Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Has Passport Confiscated 197

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the no-more-colbert-for-you dept.
Taco Cowboy writes "The Australian founder of the whistleblower website Wikileaks had his passport confiscated by police when he arrived in Melbourne last week. While Assange has made himself particularly unpopular with the US military by publishing video of attacks on civilians in Iraq, he's been something of a thorn in the side for the Australian government too. Last year, Wikileaks published a list of websites which were to be banned under the government's proposed Internet filter. While the aim of the filter is to block extreme pornography and the like, the blacklist included a number of more prosaic sites such as those of a travel company and a dentist.
Math

MATLAB Can't Manipulate 64-Bit Integers 334

Posted by kdawson
from the does-not-compute dept.
An anonymous reader writes "MATLAB, an important package of mathematical software heavily used in industry and academia, has had support for 64-bit machines for several years now. However, the MATLAB developers still haven't gotten around to implementing even basic arithmetic operations for 64-bit integers. Attempting to add, divide, subtract, or multiply two 64-bit integers will result in an error message saying that the corresponding method does not exist. As one commentator put it, 'What is the point of having numerical data types that can't be manipulated?'" The post notes that the free MATLAB clone GNU Octave deals with 64-bit integers just fine.

Comment: Re:Duno why floppies never improved (Score 1) 505

by Praeluceo (#32049882) Attached to: I last bought 3.5" floppy disks ...

The floppy did grow a bit, it was just too little, too late. Don't you remember the Superdisk LS-120 Zipdisk killer? It was a whole 20 MB bigger than an Iomega Zip100, and then Zip released their Zip250. So awesome I almost switched back from Zip because it was backward compatible with regular 1.44 MB floppies. Sadly, it was too late, I replaced my Zip drive with a 4x CD-RW as the Zip250s were coming out. Later the Zip 750 came out which beat out my 640 MB CDs but at too great a cost. I was almost sorry to see both those magnetic technologies react too slowly to optical media. Sure they had Jazz drives that offered gigabyte storage, but optical had won due to lower costs and nearly ubiquitous compatibility.

Now we see the wheel rotating again where Flash media is a better deal than optical media, and opitcs are reacting too slowly to electronic media. I mean, even if every PC had a blu-ray player, and blu-ray disks were only $5 each, I think at this point people would prefer the small form-factor, reliability, and reusability of their microSDHC cards in USB readers and Lexar Jumpdrives.

Advertising

Paper Manufacturer Launches "Print More" Campaign 446

Posted by kdawson
from the try-origami dept.
innocent_white_lamb writes "Domtar, a major North American paper manufacturer, has launched an advertising campaign to encourage people to print more documents on paper. Domtar CEO John Williams opposes campaigns by other companies asking employees to be responsible with what they print. 'Young people really are not printers. When was the last time your children demanded a printer?' Mr. Williams said ... 'We've got to do some work about having them believe and feel that printing isn't a sort of environmental negative.' The industry expects that, absent this campaign, paper demand will decrease by 4% annually. Williams's comments did not go down well in some environmental circles."
Medicine

The World's First Full Face Transplant 193

Posted by Soulskill
from the mpaa-sues-for-copyright-infringement dept.
Dave Knott writes "A thirty-member Spanish medical team has achieved the world's first full face transplant. There have been ten previous similar operations, but this is claimed to be the first total transplant, replacing all of the face including some bones. The unnamed recipient originally injured himself in a shooting accident, and received the entire facial skin and muscles — including cheekbones, nose, lips and teeth — of a donor. The complex operation involved extraction of the donor's face, followed by removal of the jaw, nose, cheeks and parts of the eye cavities. Then the medical team took all of the donor face's soft tissue, including musculature, veins and nerves. In order to transplant the face, the medical team has to connect four jugular veins, extract bones and join all the musculature and blood vessels. The recipient has had a chance to see himself in the mirror, and is reportedly satisfied with the results. It is unknown whether he now looks more like John Travolta or Nicolas Cage." The pictures and videos in the linked articles are all computer-generated at this point, so the squeamish need not worry.
Government

Library of Congress To Archive All Public Tweets 171

Posted by timothy
from the he-ain't-heavy-he's-less-than-140-chars dept.
After the recent announcement that Groklaw will be archived at the Library of Congress, mjn writes with word that the push to archive more digital content continues: "The US Library of Congress announced a deal with Twitter to archive all public tweets, dating back to Twitter's inception in March 2006. More details at their blog. No word yet on precisely what will be done with the collection, but besides entering your friends' important updates on the quality of breakfast into the permanent archival record, the deal may improve access for researchers wanting to analyze and mine Twitter's giant database."
Communications

FCC's Broadband Plan May Cost You Money 318

Posted by kdawson
from the one-hand-giveth dept.
At ten minutes past midnight the FCC released their National Broadband Plan. Judging by the available coverage, few reporters spent the night poring over it. The BBC at least posted something in the morning hours, but it quotes Enderle, so that gives you some idea of its sourcing. Business Week notes the plan's cool (not to say frigid) reception among broadcasters. Dave Burstein of FastNet News did some real digging. His take as of 4:00 am Eastern time is that the plan will cost most Americans money, and won't provide much if any relief to the poor. We'll see many more details and nuances emerge over the day. Update: 03/16 19:53 GMT by KD : The FCC plan (PDF) is here.
Communications

Comcast Launches First Public US Trial of DNSSEC 100

Posted by kdawson
from the am-who-i-am-because-i-say-so dept.
cryan7755 and netbuzz both sent along a NetworkWorld story on Comcast's public test deployment of DNSSEC. Here is the company's blog post announcing the trial. "Comcast this morning announced what is believed to be the first public test deployment of DNS Security Extensions. The company says it has deployed DNSSEC throughout its nationwide network and will immediately make validating servers available to customers. In addition, Comcast said it would digitally sign all of its own domain names using DNSSEC by early next year. 'There is often talk about a chicken-and-egg sort of problem with DNSSEC. People don’t want to sign their own domains with DNSSEC until people are validating signatures,' says Jason Livingood, Executive Director of Internet Systems Engineering at Comcast. 'We want to explain how we as an ISP have a roadmap for validating signatures with DNSSEC.'"

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