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Comment Re:When guns are outlawed... (Score 3, Interesting) 52

Eh, it's kind of like your Android phone not making root readily available. It's there to protect the unwashed masses from themselves. Serious hobbyists (or bad actors) don't have much difficulty getting around the restrictions. I don't think anyone seriously thinks that "geofencing" software will keep a terrorist from flying a drone into restricted airspace. What it will do is keep the "hold my beer and watch this!" crowd from flying their drone into the glide path of a 747.

Comment Re:Remember when the Internet was uncontrolled? (Score 2) 107

remember, Facebook != Internet

It is to many people, particularly those that came of age after the internet went mainstream, as well as those that are older and less technically adept.

Like it or hate it, Facebook is the Internet to a lot of people. Try having a brick and mortar business these days without a presence on Facebook. There are countless people that will go looking for something on Facebook long before they think of a simple Google search. Why do you think Google has invested so much effort into social media despite their many failures? They're terrified of people like this.

At the rate things are going the "dark web" isn't going to be warez, criminals, and black hats; it's going to be anything that's not on Facebook and Twitter.

Comment Re:Remember when the Internet was uncontrolled? (Score 2) 107

The EU isn't a defensive alliance; that's what NATO is for and Turkey is already a NATO member. One that's keeping us from forming a coherent policy against ISIS, incidentally, since our natural allies in the region and only proven effective anti-ISIS force happen to be Turkey's sworn enemy.

Comment Remember when the Internet was uncontrolled? (Score 5, Insightful) 107

When USENET, IRC, and other mediums that were hard to censor were the rule rather than the exception? Now the "go to" places are all for profit enterprises, Facebook, Twitter, Google, et. al. They may profess to follow Western ideals, they may even actually believe in them, but when push comes to shove they'll always do what's necessary to enrich the bottom line.

As an aside, I wonder why the EU is hesitant to consider admitting Turkey? Or why the United States insists on advocating in favor of such a course of action.

Comment Hardware bugs (Score 1) 266

A colleague and I once found a hardware bug that affected ~2000 motorola modems that we were using for a (1990's) mobile app. The problem was the modem became "emotionally attached" to the first tower it found and refused to talk to any other tower even when its original partner was well out of range and other towers were within easy reach. Tough one to crack for a couple of software guys, took a couple of weeks and a trip to Queensland.

Comment Turn them all off, see who screams. (Score 1) 266

Yes, early days of MSVC (v1.52 on win 3.1 IIRC) was one of my most memorable bugs. It appeared in a new release of our app where a counter was incrementing by 2's and severely screwing up a job dispatch system servicing 6000 telco workers. Running the code in the debugger we watched as the counter jumped by two as we stepped thru a single line i++ statement. Sure enough when we opened it up in assembly we found an extra INC op? I rebuilt to binary using the same build tag and environment, the bug disappeared? It wasn't a particularly difficult bug to fix, but the fact that we couldn't reproduce it from source and never found a better explanation than "cosmic ray" or "Microsoft, pfft", is why it has stuck in my mind for 20yrs.

Disclaimer: I currently manage a large and ancient cvs repository, over the last decade or so I have constructed and maintained an automated build system for about a dozen active projects and a couple of dozen legacy versions that services a team of 25-30 devs plus offshore subcontractors. I have had similar head banging moments wrt compiler optimizations. What I have learned from those experiences is that optimisation often has no noticeable impact on the end customer, so unless a developer can convince me that a specific optimization is critical to an application's performance, I always have them turned off and ask our devs to do likewise.

Comment "Madam, we ate them" (Score 4, Insightful) 96

David Attenborough tells a wonderful story about his early days at the BBC. He had bought two pack horses on location for 30 shillings because he could not find a guide who had enough of their own horses to service the crew. When he was done with the horses he gave them away (to the guide I assume). Back in London he got a call from the BBC accounting office querying the two horses on his expense claim. The accountant was demanding to know where the horses were located because they were now "BBC property" and would appear as such in an audit. Attenborough responded with "Madam, we ate them", which as it turned out were the magic accounting words that turn an asset into a consumable.

The moral of the story is; if you are ever on safari and need to claim some pack mules, either bring them back with you or describe them as "breakfast" on the expense claim..

Comment Re:I'm not fooled (Score 4, Funny) 96

Depending on where you live the law usually makes room for justifiable assault, even justifiable homicide but the bar for "justifiable" is set usually quite high.

Anecdotal example: My brother-in-law arrived at the scene of an accident near his home, a car full of young guys had run a red light and t-boned his wife's car, fortunately nobody was hurt and the incident was caught on a red light camera. He approached the cop who was talking to the other driver and then without any warning 'king-hit' the other driver square in the face. The young man fell on his arse and started bleeding. Apparently he had been telling the cop how the "stupid old slut" in the other car had caused the accident. The cop's response was brilliant, he said something like - "I heard what he said, but you can't do that in front of me. Again".

Like punning, programming is a play on words.