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+ - Yet another government software failure, nominated for award

Submitted by belmolis
belmolis (702863) writes "The Victoria Times-Colonist reports that British Columbia spent C$182 million on a new case management system for social services, whose system was so bad that in 2012 Judge Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Special Representative for Children and Youth, issued a public safety warning. According to a report by the Auditor General, the system only performs 1/3 of the functions of the systems it is intended to replace and fails to protect private information or monitor inappropriate usage. The defective system was nominated by its managers for the Premier's Award for Innovation and Excellence in the Civil Service."

Comment: Re:THIS is a "golden age"? Yikes. (Score 1) 66

by UnknownSoldier (#49383219) Attached to: We're In a Golden Age of Star Trek Webseries Right Now

I found it be hit-or-miss.

Star Trek Continues is decent -- it embodies the spirit of TOS. They even got Marina Sirtis and Michael Dorn to play the voice of the computer.

But I agree about the others. Holy crap is "Starship Exeter: The Tressaurian Intersection" ever terrible!! i.e. Having Spock being replaced with a woman trying not to portray any emotion when her eyebrows give her away is god awful.

+ - Systemd Devs Fork Linux Kernel-> 3

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Now it appears as though the systemd developers have found a solution to kernel compatibility problems and a way to extend their philosophy of placing all key operating system components in one repository. According to Ivan Gotyaovich, one of the developers working on systemd, the project intends to maintain its own fork of the Linux kernel. "There are problems, problems in collaboration, problems with compatibility across versions. Forking the kernel gives us control over these issues, gives us control over almost all key parts of the stack.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Internet Explorer website wont work with Windows-> 3

Submitted by Anne Thwacks
Anne Thwacks (531696) writes "The British Government web site for applying for for a licence to be a security guard requires a plugin providing Internet Explorer emulation on Firefox to login and apply for a licence. It wont work with Firefox without the add-on, but it also wont work with Internet Explorer! (I tried Win XP and Win7 Professional). The error message says "you have more than one browser window open on the same internet connection". I didn't. and "to avoid this problem, close your browser and reopen it". I did. No change. I tried three different computers, with three different OSes.
Still no change.
I contacted their tech support and they said "Yes ... a lot of users complain about this. We have known about it since September, and are working on a fix! Meanwhile, we have instructions on how to use the "Fire IE" plugin to get round the problem". Eventually, I got this to work on Win7pro. (The plugin will not work on Linux). The instructions require a very old version of the plugin, and a bit of trial and error is needed to get it to work with the current one.

How can a government department concerned with security not get this sort of thing right?

Besides a massive amount of bribery and corruption, what could explain how the designers of the web site can't fix a chronic useability problem after 6 months?"

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Compactness and Readability (Score 1) 296

by UnknownSoldier (#49358587) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes Some Code Particularly Good?

> What the hell is this?

The 8th entry is set to zero so that the test can verify the table was initialized properly.

> 4))

> Why is there a block comment at the beginning that does nothing.

For alignment of CRC32_REVERSE, CRC32_VERIFY, CRC32_Table since /. fucks up formatting.

> and what the hell does that trailing comment mean?

The comments lists entries [0] and [1]. The first 8 entries are these :
i.e. 0x00000000, 0x77073096, 0xee0e612c, 0x990951ba, 0x076dc419, 0x706af48f, 0xe963a535, 0x9e6495a3,

Whenever you generate a table it is always helpful to list _expected_ values so someone can _verify_ them with _actual_ values.

+ - Amazon Requires Non-Compete Agreements...For Warehouse Workers

Submitted by Rick Zeman
Rick Zeman (15628) writes "Amazon, perhaps historically only second to NewEgg in the IT nerdling's online shopping heart, not only has treated their warehouse workers to appalling working condtions, but they're also making them sign a non-compete agreement for the privilege. Excerpt from the agreement:
During employment and for 18 months after the Separation Date, Employee will not, directly or indirectly, whether on Employee’s own behalf or on behalf of any other entity (for example, as an employee, agent, partner, or consultant), engage in or support the development, manufacture, marketing, or sale of any product or service that competes or is intended to compete with any product or service sold, offered, or otherwise provided by Amazon (or intended to be sold, offered, or otherwise provided by Amazon in the future)...."

Comment: Compactness and Readability (Score -1, Flamebait) 296

by UnknownSoldier (#49356351) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes Some Code Particularly Good?

Let's let at the clusterfuck of Boost's CRC code
1109 lines of over-engineered C++ crap for a simple CRC32 function!?!?

Now compare that to these simple 27 lines of C/C++ code.

#include <stdint.h>
const uint32_t CRC32_REVERSE = 0xEDB88320; // reverse = shift right
const uint32_t CRC32_VERIFY = 0xCBF43926; // "123456789" -> 0xCBF43926
/* */ uint32_t CRC32_Table[256] = { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0 }; // i.e. 0x00000000, 0x77073096,
void crc32_init()
  for( short byte = 0; byte < 256; byte++ )
      uint32_t crc = (uint32_t) byte;
      for( char bit = 0; bit < 8; bit++ )
          if( crc & 1 ) crc = (crc >> 1) ^ CRC32_REVERSE; // reverse/reflected Form
          else /* = 0*/ crc = (crc >> 1);
      CRC32_Table[ byte ] = crc;
  if( CRC32_Table[8] != (CRC32_REVERSE >> 4))
      printf("ERROR: CRC32 Table not initialized properly!\n");
uint32_t crc32_buffer( const char *pData, uint32_t nLength )
  uint32_t crc = (uint32_t) -1 ; // Optimization: crc = CRC32_INIT;
  while( nLength-- > 0 )
      crc = CRC32_Table[ (crc ^ *pData++) & 0xFF ] ^ (crc >> 8);
  return ~crc; // Optimization: crc ^= CRC32_DONE

Typical bloated code solves some theoretical "general purpose" solution. Good code does one thing well:

It communicates clearly what it is trying to do.

_When_ was the last time you actually needed a different CRC function from the standard 32-bit one?

+ - Did Neurons Evolve Twice?->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "When Leonid Moroz, a neuroscientist at the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience in St. Augustine, Fla., first began studying comb jellies, he was puzzled. He knew the primitive sea creatures had nerve cells — responsible, among other things, for orchestrating the darting of their tentacles and the beat of their iridescent cilia. But those neurons appeared to be invisible. The dyes that scientists typically use to stain and study those cells simply didn’t work. The comb jellies’ neural anatomy was like nothing else he had ever encountered.

After years of study, he thinks he knows why. According to traditional evolutionary biology, neurons evolved just once, hundreds of millions of years ago, likely after sea sponges branched off the evolutionary tree. But Moroz thinks it happened twice — once in ancestors of comb jellies, which split off at around the same time as sea sponges, and once in the animals that gave rise to jellyfish and all subsequent animals, including us. He cites as evidence the fact that comb jellies have a relatively alien neural system, employing different chemicals and architecture from our own. “When we look at the genome and other information, we see not only different grammar but a different alphabet,” Moroz said."

Link to Original Source

Nothing in progression can rest on its original plan. We may as well think of rocking a grown man in the cradle of an infant. -- Edmund Burke