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Comment: What human rights groups? (Score 4, Insightful) 118

by VGR (#34647592) Attached to: Study Finds DDoS Attacks Threaten Human Rights

Um, what human rights groups are being assaulted by DDoS attacks? The article mentions only a few groups, and the closest things to human rights groups in that list are a Vietnamese environmental protest group and a Russian independent newspaper. And honestly, I can think of a dozen things off the top of my head that could get a group DDoS'd when dealing with Russia.

So I went and skimmed the actual report discussed by the article. (No, I didn't read all 66 pages of it.) It doesn't seem to reference any groups other than those mentioned in the article.

I have no doubt that DDoS attacks can be a threat to human rights sites, but so far I don't see any.

And I am having a hard time avoiding the conclusion that the article is deliberately conflating the pro-WikiLeaks attacks with attacks on "human rights."

Comment: Re:Maybe people living in the rural US need a real (Score 3, Interesting) 604

by VGR (#34621580) Attached to: Al Franken Makes a Case For Net Neutrality

As someone who lives in a rural area, allow me to explain how I and everyone around me views the situation.

You are correct. Living in a rural area comes with trade-offs. Everyone, and I mean everyone, who lives out here understands that.

For water, we must pay for a well and a pump. For heat, we must pay for propane tanks to be regularly refilled. For trash, we must drive our own refuse to a dumpster facility, as there is no pickup. After a snow, our roads get plowed last if at all, so we use our own vehicles and equipment to do it sooner. For television, we pay for satellite or make do with rabbit ears.

For Internet, we're willing to pay for the wires to be extended to our area.

Oh, wait, we can't. We don't even have the option of paying for the last mile (well, last several miles).

I guess what I'm saying is, your welfare-queen image of rural residents is wrong. We accept that we have to pay more for a lot of things. We don't want subsidies or charity. I and most people around me would be happy to pay the extra cost.

Currently, I pay for a wireless broadband service. I get about 3 Mbps each way. It's decent but I'm sure I would do more (more work, more video chat, more Google Earth browsing, etc.) if we had Fios. But it's clear we never will. (Before the wireless service was available, I had satellite Internet, which is so bad I wouldn't wish it on anyone.)

Comment: Re:Oh please you old windbag (Score 1) 604

by VGR (#34620758) Attached to: Al Franken Makes a Case For Net Neutrality
You are naive or deliberately acting the fool.

Access to information is what elevates us above cavemen. The net may be full of filth but it's also full of real information, even vital information—on geography, health, science, and even entertainment. The more time I spend in rural areas, the more I am awed by the sad paucity of information available to people who actually would like to learn about the world outside their town. Increasing numbers of critical documents are available online. Broadband affects quality of life and encourages growth of business.

Now, if you'd said "someone might not get his WoW fix, oh noes" I probably would have agreed with you.

Comment: Re:Just one problem: Windows 7 is no touch OS. (Score 1, Interesting) 188

by VGR (#34554578) Attached to: MS Hypes Win7 Tablets For CES — Again

Why haven't MS developed a touch-based shell for Windows 7?

I'm convinced Microsoft hasn't done it for the simple reason that they aren't capable of doing it.

The root of this is Microsoft's business model for the past 15 to 20 years: Do things on the cheap and release the result as a major new product. Usually this means a trivial amount of additional development on an existing product which is then released as a brand new product. Regardless, the model is tiny costs, big revenue.

Whenever Microsoft has attempted to create something from scratch, the result has been failure. I don't want to bother trying to list them all, but Vista is an obvious and fairly recent example.

I don't think they have the ability to create any product from the ground up. Most of their products have been acquisitions. I even remember an interview a while back in which a Microsoft exec used the phrase "innovation through acquisition" ... which a Google search shows has since become a common expression.

Yes, yes, I know there are a lot of intelligent people working there. But the ability to solve riddles in interviews isn't a replacement for knowledge about streamlined architecture or user interface design. Those intelligent people could become masters of those things, but I don't think Microsoft's culture encourages that.

Comment: Re:Maintaining code by others are always a nightma (Score 1) 394

by VGR (#34475128) Attached to: Programming Mistakes To Avoid

I've taken over Java progress where everything was OOP'ed into hell (as in a bazillion classes more than was needed for the application)

I certainly have sympathy for you; I've taken over many code bases which were maintenance nightmares.

But I have to take exception (no pun intended) with your above statement. What you took over was not OOP in any way.

OO is not "do all the same crap but do it using copious amounts of inheritance."

I've seen people do what you describe---using an insane mount of classes---and it's abominable, but please don't pin that on OO. The whole point of OO is to minimize the need for looking through code, by making each class simple and opaque with a well-defined contract, so it can be treated like a black box as much as possible.

Most people who venture into OO just do all sharing of data and/or functionality via inheritance. I blame most CS curricula for this, as CS has taught for many decades that languages are all the same and just impose a few different syntax rules on what should be the same logic. Thus, most CS students see inheritance just another syntactic tool, and they are eager to make excessive use of it so they can feel like they're doing things the "Java way" (or .Net way, etc.).

And to try to be a little on topic: the article is quite correct that Java's new question-mark gimmick (the implicit null check) is one of the worst things to happen to software reliability in the last ten years.

Comment: Re:Dogs are very smart (Score 1) 716

by VGR (#34321394) Attached to: Oxford Scientists Say Dogs Are Smarter Than Cats

Too bad you don't love humans half as much as you love dogs. Perhaps when our alien overlords stop by looking for food, you can offer yourself up as a tasty treat. Damn humanity and all those evil things we've done to dogs. . . like CREATE THEM. What could be more evil and sadistic than hurting a dog? Gee, it couldn't be genocide or torture or rape or dumping millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. . .

I think you've just provided ample evidence of why someone might love dogs more than humans.

I don't see where hesaigo is claiming no act is more evil than hurting a dog. It seems you filled that part in, in order to attack this pet issue (no pun intended) you're carrying around. I think that is what is commonly termed a "strawman."

But, since you mention it: yes, genocide and torture of humans is worse, because humans are capable of distrust and are capable of fighting back, while most dogs will do neither.

The greatest moral perversion of this age, aside from egoism, is the "animal rights" whackos who prioritize the wellbeing of animals over that of human beings. Those who equate the value of life with the ability to suffer, such as Peter Singer. Dogs are dumb, the fact that they have a broad range of emotions doesn't change that. They're our slaves, both physically and mentally bread to be so. A dog not enslaved to humanity is a wolf, hyena, or fox.

If both you and a dog were in a burning building, I'm one of many people who would save the dog first, and depending on my mood, I might or might not go back to rescue you and your bible. People like Singer aren't just valuing life based on whether it can suffer, but rather on all the same criteria used to judge human life except species itself.

No one is putting human life above nonhuman life. Some people are simply suggesting they're equal, that a life should be valued based on the merits of its personality and contributions. If your objection is that some parts of your bible claim otherwise, you probably already realize that it had a lot of claims of inequality which have mostly been dismantled in modern society.

P.S. Hyenas are not canines.

Comment: Re:And how many humans are killed by dogs? (Score 1) 716

by VGR (#34320784) Attached to: Oxford Scientists Say Dogs Are Smarter Than Cats

More people are killed by dogs then wild animals AROUND the ENTIRE world.

Your kitten? Wouldn't hurt a fly... oh okay, maybe a fly but nothing else... except mice... and spiders... but you are perfectly safe... unless it can find a way to kill you without leaving a trace.

That is some serious FUD.

First of all, there is not a single puppy on earth who will hurt a human being. Not one.

Second of all, take just ten seconds to think about it and you will realize that dog attacks are more common than wild animal attacks because people are in the company of dogs far more than they are in the company of wild animals. And it doesn't help that many people train dogs to be weapons.

Further, it's actually fairly difficult to get attacked by a wild animal. Most of them want to be left alone and will flee from humans.

I'm not claiming dogs are more intelligent (or less intelligent) than cats; I'm just correcting your misinformation. I actually like the company of both.

Or were you toilet trained by your mom rubbing your nose in it?

I hope that's hypothetical. If you think that's a real, legitimate method of training dogs, you have no business being around them.

Comment: Accessibility (Score 1) 108

by VGR (#34286034) Attached to: Like Democracy, the Web Needs To Be Defended

Says Mr. Lee:

The Web should be usable by people with disabilities.

If Slashdot is any indication, 95% of web developers will assume they are expected to write multiple versions of each HTML page and will practically riot in the streets before honoring accessibility.

The only solution I can offer is to create some sort of Web author certification. Nothing grand, just something that at least indicates the holder has retained the salient parts of the HTML 4.01 and CSS 2.1 specs. Like accessibility.

Comment: Patience (Score 1) 854

by VGR (#34029188) Attached to: Are Games Getting Easier?
From the article:

You, the player, spend on average €60 or $60, depending on which side of the pond you are on ...

I thought everyone knew by now that paying $60 for a game is foolish. Very few games are so good that they are worth buying as soon as they come out. Most games are half that price after only a month or two, and a third that price after six months.

Sometimes the price drop is bizarre. I remember seeing unopened retail boxes of Bioshock for $5 in regular stores, only a year after Bioshock had come out! Yet, somehow, "gems" like Family Feud Home Edition continue to clog up the shelves for $20 each....

Comment: Re:Back in the days (Score 4, Insightful) 124

by VGR (#33989846) Attached to: Where Are the Original PC Programmers Now?

Don't blame outsourcing, blame having 20 years experience and still being a code-monkey. Your job should be "business analyst" by now - yeah, cringe at the title, but the point is to apply that experience towards requirements analysis and planning, and let the kids waste time in actual IDEs.

You are a major part of the problem. What I see in your words is that all developers are identical to entry-level code monkeys. In your mind, someone who spends decades becoming an excellent software engineer is worthless; the only worthwhile use of his time would have been learning to be a manager.

This is the real reason managers are so willing to outsource: they think everyone who can make code compile is equivalent, whether their experience is one month or twenty years. In the context of that belief, it makes sense to send the labor overseas.

I'll admit, though, that any engineer who's no better than he was twenty years ago has only himself to blame. (And I've met at least one who fits that description.)

Comment: Re:I predict more are going to jump ship from Micr (Score 1) 480

by VGR (#33900336) Attached to: Microsoft Admits OpenOffice.org Is a Contender

There are literally hundreds of reasons that the ribbon is superior to menus. Perhaps many of those reasons don't apply to you, or you are simply stubborn and don't want to learn something new. There are of course reasons why the menus are better than ribbons, but too many people act like it's all or nothing... That either Ribbons are better or menus are better, for everyone. Period. What's worse, most people argue reasons that aren't even true, like there being no keyboard shortcuts or that they're different keyboard shortcuts than they used to be. Or that the ribbon takes up more space (which it doesn't, especially if you auto-hide it)

I would be inclined to agree with your argument (well, not the "hundreds of reasons" part), if not for the fact that Office 2007 does not give users the choice. Any user interface programmer knows it would be trivially easy to allow switching between the ribbon and a menu bar. But Microsoft has deliberately kept that capability out. There used to be a Knowledge Base article that flat-out stated "you can't switch from the ribbon to a menu bar, and we did it that way on purpose." But I can't find the article anymore.

A good user interface satisfies all (major) user groups. It's usually not that difficult.

But, here's a few examples.

Menus are hard for people without fine motor control to use. If you are old, disabled, or simply not very well coordinated, ribbons will be much easier to use than trying to make your mouse follow the narrow paths that make submenus show up.

You have heard of the mile high menu bar, yes? It's true larger buttons are better than smaller buttons, especially for people with impaired motor skills. This actually suggests not that ribbons are easier to use than menus, but that they are easier to use than the tiny little toolbar buttons on the vast sea of Office toolbars.

The menus have become monstrous, with more and more features being added to apps, it's harder and harder to find the items you're looking for. The ribbon allows better organization, and "context sensitivity".

Yeah. That's not the fault of menus, that's the fault of the designers' inability to effectively organize the functions of the application. Rather than spend the effort to actually organize things, they tried "Personalized menus" (the visual equivalent of sweeping things under the rug) and when that failed, well, we got ribbons.

The ribbon is far more intuitive to new users.

The ribbon scales to your screen, making buttons smaller if you have less room and changing various other sizes.

I haven't seen any evidence, or even anecdotes, that suggests it's more intuitive. What I have seen is a few decades of accumulated observations that report that a consistent and stable user interface is crucial. Users can't build a pattern of behavior, much less muscle memory, if the controls are moving around all the time. It's like trying to become a touch-typist when the keyboard wants to rearrange itself based on the words you've recently entered.

I have also seen a few decades of accumulated observations that users should be able to list or otherwise examine all of the functionality available to them. That's why it's better to disable or gray out controls than to remove them. The user can't try out a function if he doesn't know it exists because he never saw it in passing while navigating for other functions.

In fact, it's counterintuitive, because it's trying to second-guess the user's wishes by "smartly" showing the "needed" controls. I would have thought Microsoft learned its lesson regarding second-guessing the user with an amateur attempt at AI, after the debacle that was automatic outline numbering in Word 97.

The ribbon provides live previews of changes before you apply them.

That is genuinely useful. What does it have to do with ribbons? It certainly doesn't replace any aspect of a menu bar. It could easily be its own panel or window.

Etc.. etc.. etc.. The ribbon is a net win if you give it a chance. Most people that argue against it have not given it a chance.

Forgive me, but this sounds like yet another "Windows/Microsoft product X is okay once you get used to it" statement. It's a true statement, but that doesn't mean the software is good. It just means one can learn to tolerate it.

Comment: The Google lawsuit (Score 5, Interesting) 337

by VGR (#33729104) Attached to: Father of Java, James Gosling Unloads
Mr. Gosling feels the Google lawsuit is just Oracle's noticing an opportunity to squeeze money out of Google:

James Gosling: ...I'm sure they were looking at the license fees they were getting from Microsoft. Microsoft .NET just smears over a huge pile of Sun patents. When they did the .NET design, they basically cut and pasted from the Java spec. The way that they did CLR, you know they swizzled the way the instruction set went but the way this thing really operated, they exercised essentially no creativity when coming up with .NET. They've done some things since then that have been kind of good but as part of the various court cases we ended up with this rather odd patent deal with them that involved them paying us fairly tasty amounts of money. And I'm sure that the lawyers looked at the Microsoft numbers and said, yeah I want that from Google

I actually did not know, until today, that Microsoft was paying a Java patent license fee for .NET's design.

Just before he said the above, he said this, which is probably obvious to many people, but I found it poignant all the same:

James Gosling: With Oracle it doesn't have to make sense, it just has to make money.

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