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Comment: How do we actually know? (Score 2) 203

by Sebastopol (#47874453) Attached to: 5 Million Gmail Passwords Leaked, Google Says No Evidence Of Compromise

I could harvest 5m gmail names from google searches, and then publish them with bogus passwords and create panic. Is there some statistic that says how many of these were real passwords? Because wouldn't it be illegal to use them (accessing another person's account w/o their permission is a crime in the USA).

Seems like it would be easy to manufacture a lot of FUD by making these claims w/o really having any passwords at all, and no one could verify it?

Comment: Re:Big shoes to fill this one has (Score 1) 183

by Sebastopol (#46313849) Attached to: The Ultimate Hopes For the New Cosmos Series

I didn't state my original point clearly enough. If you edited Cosmos to take out Dr. Sagan's lengthy and yawn-inducing monologues about our insignificance in the cosmos, you end up with The Mechanical Universe, which is paced at the speed of top-tier college lecture.

I also don't think it is a problem to match the pace of the lecture with what today's you are accustomed to. When sound was added to cinema in the early 20th century, purists claimed it would ruin the art form. The same thing happened when people actually began to edit with an artistic eye and shots reduced in time from 30-60 seconds to 5-10 (with the advent of new technology). In fact, there was even resistance to technicolor by the French auteurs!

I wouldn't be quick to claim the way I learned, or the way engineers in the 1950's (or 1850's!) learned, or the way you learned is "the one true way." If youth are accustomed to fast-paced editing, then use that form. If you personally don't like it, open a book and learn at your own pace, or launch a Kickstarter. :)

Comment: Re:Big shoes to fill this one has (Score 3, Insightful) 183

by Sebastopol (#46264939) Attached to: The Ultimate Hopes For the New Cosmos Series

When is the last time you watched the original Cosmos? There are a lot--and I mean A LOT--of scenes featuring Carl sitting on a beach or in a meadow looking off into the distance with pontificating voice-overs that kinda ramble. Believe me, I'm 42 and I grew up on that series, but having re-watched it recently, I was surprised at the large spans of near bloviation that adorn the show. I absolutely adore the series, I just think it could have used some tightening up during editing.

Also, I graduated from COSMOS to The Mechanical Universe, which--aside from the haircuts of the classroom--would still feel modern by today's standards.

Comment: Missing the point (Score 0) 325

by Sebastopol (#46015535) Attached to: The Whole Story Behind Low AP CS Exam Stats

Obvious Men's Rights Activist is obvious.

Sure, if there is a problem where people who want to take the CS AP exam and cannot, it should be addressed.

So start a campaign about it, its a great idea.

But when you position it AGAINST studies citing under-representation of minorities in a field that has long been hostile to them, especially women, you're trying to cover it up and become part of the problem.

So yes, please start a campaign to increase CS AP coverage, and please stop trying to marginalize / cover up another legitimate problem in the process. Both need addressing, it is not either / or.

Comment: where's the research (Score 2) 66

by Sebastopol (#45292801) Attached to: Book Review: <em>Stay Awhile and Listen</em>

I realize this is a history of Blizzard, but I find it disappointing when authors write histories of video games and stop at 1990. Diablo didn't set the standard. Wizardry, Ultima, and Might and Magic set the standards for RPGs. Diablo successfully "Michael Bay"d them with 3D and 'splosions and the most robust, practically uncrashable game engines ever seen.

Comment: Byte and National Computer Camps (Score 1) 623

by Sebastopol (#43851009) Attached to: How Did You Learn How To Program?

I started programming Commodore PETs in 1982, in 5th grade. My teachers had ordered a box full of cassette games and I asked me to evaluate all of them and write a paragraph explaining each game. I wanted to know how the games worked so I started reading the BASIC source code. BASIC is so readable that I was writing my own games in about a month. In 6th grade we had a C64 and I started taking a self directed class for BASIC. My parents bought me an Apple //e (a HUGE fight ensued over the cost). That summer I went to National Computer Camps in Connecticut (back then it was at Westminster Prep School) and learned to program 6502 assembly language.

The rest is history. All of my learning was self-directed. There were no programming classes anywhere in my elementary school or the nearby highschool.

I have fond memories of the sound that a Commodore PET makes when you turn it on... *chink chink chink... bzzzzzzt ... POP*

Comment: Re:Why not just 0? (Score 2) 996

Your long list of examples omit something important: data. Those examples simply don't have enough impact to trigger laws. You might not like them, but laws like this aren't written to accommodate your dislikes, laws like this are based on data. If putting on make-up was a significant source of accidents, above DWI or cell-phone usage, it would be on the list. It isn't arbitrary that alcohol and cell phone usage are restricted, they cause the most accidents.

Your code should be more efficient!