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Comment: Re:And what good would it do? (Score 3, Insightful) 431

by Tom (#49369385) Attached to: Why the Final Moments Inside a Cockpit Are Heard But Not Seen

If this guy was suffering from depression, no background checks or security measures would have filtered him out. Depression is a civilisation disease, caused by the fucked-up society we have created around ourselves, the non-stop pressure, the endless competition, the constant message that you're not good enough that everyone is sending to everyone else. The artificial fear for survival that our governments create to drive wages down and create the economic pressure that corporations than exploit to get people to work under conditions that our parents would've scoffed at.

The solution is not in more pressure, the solution is in making a society that is made for human beings, not for robots, stock markets, the goddess of economic growth or any of the other crazy things that we're sacrificing millions of lives to.

Comment: Re:Conditional recording (Score 1) 431

by Tom (#49366917) Attached to: Why the Final Moments Inside a Cockpit Are Heard But Not Seen

There could be streaming capability to the ground

Because never in the history of the world has any such capability been abused.

In the case of Germanwings, ground control would have been able to see what's going on once they detected the loss of altitude.

And then do what about it? Collectively praying that FSM picks up the plane with his tentacles?

t stifles me that in 2015, a young troubled copilot can end 150 lives in a way that can easily be prevented with simple technology.

Technology is not a panacea. Add one thing to make flying more safe (locked cockpit doors), create another problem without which a catastrophy could have been prevented (locked cockpit door).

Something I learnt in my first leadership position: When someone has an idea, ask them about the downsides and potential issues. If they can't think of any, they haven't thought it through enough.

Comment: Re:And what good would it do? (Score 1) 431

by Tom (#49366877) Attached to: Why the Final Moments Inside a Cockpit Are Heard But Not Seen

Follow the money. Who is asking for video cameras?

The last thing you would have seen would have been a smug face and a victory sign. Maybe not in this crash, but in the next. That, my friend, is headlines material. That's a breaking story right there. That picture is worth a hundred times its weight in gold, even if you print it on the most heavy paper you can find.

Comment: Re:Ikea (Score 3, Funny) 68

by Tom (#49364081) Attached to: Ikea Refugee Shelter Entering Production

That's a meme, but also a lie. As IT people especially, we can take a big hint from IKEA in this regards. Their documentation is short, mostly visual, always step-by-step and gives the user exactly the information he needs, with none of the unimportant blabla that many blow up many other documentations from the necessary 3 pages to the actual 30.

If the instructions for Windows were made by IKEA, thousands of IT support people would be out of jobs because users could actually do simple tasks by themselves.

Comment: Re:Ikea good points (Score 1) 68

by Tom (#49364073) Attached to: Ikea Refugee Shelter Entering Production

And don;t forget to put a price on convenience: instead of waiting 4-8 weeks for your new stuff, you get to take it home and use it right away


When my girlfriend moved in, we needed some new furniture. The huge wardrobe took three weeks to be delivered, and then one more week to exchange an (important) part that was broken in transport.

We both dislike IKEA a lot, but we went there to buy some dressers. Half of what they have on offer is trash and the other half ugly, but we went home with two pieces of the one dresser that's not a shame to have in your bedroom. Because we didn't want to have her clothes in luggage and bags waiting for furniture to be delivered. It's not the 16th century anymore where people had to go into the forest to chop down trees every time they wanted to have a table.

Comment: bullshit (Score 1) 261

by Tom (#49352371) Attached to: Generate Memorizable Passphrases That Even the NSA Can't Guess

This is total bullshit, and dangerous at that.

Firstly, a lot of software out there still has password length limits, sometimes silently discarding additional characters. You will still need ordinary passwords now and then.

Secondly, no normal human will type a five, six or more words passphrase every time they want to unlock their screen. They will do it for three days while they're hyped on how secure they are now, and then it'll become something they hate, and then they'll change it back to "123".

Thirdly, this is a bit more tricky, the real world security of almost every password scheme I've come across in 15 years of IT security experience is several orders of magnitude lower than the mathematical assumption. Because we consistently forget to take the human factor into account. Maybe some extreme nerds will actually follow this guideline, more normal people will discard words they can't remember for words they can, change things "a little" for convenience, and generally sabotage the whole system without even realizing it. It's the same as with passwords, all over again. Yes, on paper, a password has on the order of 10^16 possible combinations. But in reality, taking into account how people actually choose passwords (even ignoring the whole "password" and "123456" problem!) the actual diversity is more on the order of 10^9. Same here. You think using dice removes the human factor. omg do you underestimate humans!

Comment: yes, they are (Score 1) 159

by Tom (#49348935) Attached to: Many Password Strength Meters Are Downright Weak, Researchers Say

In fact, they're ridiculous. I've given a couple presentations on password strength, and password meters are to password strength what the TSA is for air travel security - a better-than-nothing baseline approach that is mostly for show.

The problem is that we have nothing better to offer at this time, even though most security experts agree that passwords are a solution whose time is over.

Comment: ethics (Score 2) 176

by Tom (#49348881) Attached to: German Auto Firms Face Roadblock In Testing Driverless Car Software

For example when faced with the decision to crash into a pedestrian or another vehicle carrying a family, it would be a challenge for a self-driving car to follow the same moral reasoning a human would in the situation

Or maybe it would follow better moral reasoning. Ours is not perfect, it's just whatever evolution came up with that gave us the best species survival rates. That doesn't mean it's really the most ethical solution.
For example, in a post-feminist society, let's assume for arguments sake that gender discrimination has been overcome, wouldn't we also do away with "women and children first" - which is a suitable survival approach in a species fighting for survival in the african prairie, but hardly for the dominant species that already is overpopulated.

Comment: Re:Animal House (Score 4, Insightful) 764

by Tom (#49318303) Attached to: A Software Project Full of "Male Anatomy" Jokes Causes Controversy

There is no right to create a hostile working environment for women.

You are right. There's no reason to make boob-grabbing a sport at work, or install under-table cameras and post the up-skirt shots in the Intranet. There's no reason to announce publicly the menstruation periods of every girl in the office, or enforce a dresscode that ignores female anatomy. Definitely sex should not be a condition for promotion, and meetings should not start with blowjob requests, made in order of beauty to the attending women. Likewise, putting a single toilet for women into the basement while having men toilets everywhere.

Oh wait, you were talking about a software joke project on some random Internet site that nobody is forced to visit or even know about? Yeah, that definitely is the dictionary case for "hostile working environment".

the entire back office being papered over with pinups

That's absolutely the same as a random Internet site that nobody... why am I wasting my time here, a monkey would see the difference.

Comment: cry baby (Score 1) 764

by Tom (#49318261) Attached to: A Software Project Full of "Male Anatomy" Jokes Causes Controversy

Let's live in a perfectly politically correct world where our jokes, every sentence we speak and every message we write is controlled by the thought police.

And I say that as someone who was bullied at school. But here's the point: There's harassment, which has a victim and there's jokes about a class the size of half the worlds population and either you are incredibly insecure or unbelievably egomaniac to consider yourself the individual target.

Every real woman I've met in my life laughs about jokes that ridicule women in general the same way that I laugh about jokes where guys in general are the target. These jokes are funny exactly because they contain a piece of truth.

Everything, taken to extremes, is evil. That includes feminism, no-harassment policies and political correctness. No, wait. That last one is evil from the start.

Comment: Re:simple opinion (Score 1) 320

by Tom (#49304685) Attached to: Why I Choose PostgreSQL Over MySQL/MariaDB

Firstly, the general feeling that Postgres is engineered and designed and not cobbled together.

Secondly, support for non-trivial SQL is just a lot better. For a forum or simple application, MySQL is fine by language, but if you get into the more tricky SQL, it will fail you much sooner.

Thirdly, schemas, views, stored procedures the whole environment around the tables is so much more refined and powerful. Not that it's easy to say "MySQL cannot do this" - there's usually some hack or roundabout way in which it can do it, but in Postgres you don't need the hacks.

And it seems to me that it's so much clearer and better to do serials and foreign keys and all that. In MySQL it always felt to me like everything that's not trivial was added on, by someone else than the last feature. Postgres is just much more consistent in its approach.

Oh yes, and it does GIS. And blobs (properly). And UTF (properly). I just feel a lot more comfortable throwing everything at it and not thinking "will it handle it?" all the time.

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. -- John Muir