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Comment: Depends (Score 1) 76

by PotatoHead (#49753963) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?

My early experiences were the old Atari VCS (2600) and VCS stood for video computer system. I was fascinated by the pixels and the idea of a TV being interactive.

I wanted control of the pixels.

Later, in school, I got to work on Apple ][ computers, and those just begged to be programmed. Gaming can initiate the desire, but so can a lot of other computer driven things these days.

It is not prep directly.

Indirectly, games can be prep. For a few friends and I, cracking copy protection got us into 6502 machine and later on, Assembly language. We would use the monitor to see what was going on. Reading the ROM listing told us a lot more.

BASIC is slow, and that too drove learning more. To get the real magic out of the old machines, one has to know stuff. We made games, played them and learned. Utility type programming was good too. One such program generated book reports with just a few picks and keyboard input.

Just playing, unless the game incorporates programming concepts, is not meaningful. The ability of games and other interactive things can spark the desire to build and control.

The latter leads to activities that do serve as prep.

Comment: Re:Absolutely (Score 1) 76

by stephanruby (#49753691) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?

Not to be a downer, but when I was a Teaching Assistant for a Computer Science class, the students that told me they wanted to do computer science because they loved computers games were usually the first ones to drop out.

Not that Computer Science equals programming. It certainly does not. Computer Science is generally more focused on the science part anyway, not on the programming itself. So I'm not saying that people who love computer games don't become great game programmers themselves. I'm just saying that based on my own biased and subjective experience, I've come to find that gamers didn't make great Computer Science students at all.

Comment: Re: bye (Score 3, Interesting) 393

by Kjella (#49753343) Attached to: Ads Based On Browsing History Are Coming To All Firefox Users

I don't think you have to come up with that many conspiracy theories, Mozilla's "problem" is that they won. They broke Microsoft's monopoly, made HTML/CSS properly standardized and together with KHTML/WebKit/Blink some 80% use an open source renderer though many use it in a closed source binary. Microsoft would be laughed at if they tried any new proprietary extensions and for the rest the implementation details are all in the open.

I'm talking of the unwanted UI changes. Then there were the release frequency changes that broke extensions every release for a long time. Then there were more unwanted UI changes, cumulating in the despised Australis UI. Then there was the switch to Yahoo for searches. There were the grid advertisements. Then there was the mandatory HTTPS proposal. Now there's this nonsense. All of this is being done when there are still many bugs to fix, some of them existing for years.

Their problem can be summed up in two words: "Now what?" and it turns out they didn't really have any other goal in common than slaying the dragon and now the dragon's dead. Some UX designers get to make an art project. Some cowboy coders thinks more releases is better. Some will do anything to get away from the reliance on their biggest competitor. Some security nuts get to go overboard. Some want to go after Android/Chrome OS with Firefox OS, but this time they're not competing against proprietary and neglected shovelware and barking up a tree Ubuntu has made essentially no progress on.

Let's face it, Mozilla mainly won because Microsoft was trying to keep the web from competing with local applications so they could sell Windows licenses, they got to the head of the pack and grinded it to a halt. They didn't want to compete, they wanted to put a spanner in the works for as long as possible. It annoyed many and gave Firefox enormous amounts of goodwill even when it didn't work properly, out of spite for Microsoft people kept using it and pushing for sites to support it. They don't have a clue on how to compete with someone that puts up a fight, which is their second biggest problem.

Comment: Re:Please, no. (Score 1) 106

by stephanruby (#49753295) Attached to: The Body Cam Hacker Who Schooled the Police

Want body cam footage? Or a mug shot? Or an arrest history? Get a subpoena, and it better be relevant.

No, don't make it that complicated.

At the very least, allow me (or my lawyer, or my surviving family members) to request footage where I am the one being video-recorded. This should actually be easy to initially automate as well (if the officer actually took down my details, or my license plate number, to run a check on it). The time of the lookup should give us the identity of the police officer (or possibly partnering police officer) who did the lookup. From there allow me to make a follow-up request in case the body-cam footage points to other officers coming on the scene with their own body-cams or dash-cams, or in case I believe some other footage is missing.

After all, this is the primary reason we want the police to wear body-cams. Do not believe the false dichotomy played up by the police PR spinning machine. The police actually loves receiving requests from third parties for Terabytes/Petabytes of information. This is a form of project of scope-creep that can only slow down the wide-scale adoption of mandatory body-cams in the US and/or possibly cripple the initial intent of those body-cams by allowing the police officer/department to become the editors of those videos themselves.

Comment: Re:Math (Score 1) 159

by Kjella (#49752733) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

An asteroid may kill a lot of people, but it will not cause global extinction. No asteroid strike has ever completely wiped out life on earth.

Isn't that argument a bit like "I plan to live forever, so far so good"? After all, if it did wipe out all life well then we'd be dead so obviously it hasn't happened yet. Some large extinction event seem to happen once every 50-100 million years, what does a once in a billion year event look like? Ceres, the biggest object in the asteroid belt is about a million times bigger (10^20 kg vs 10^14 kg) than the dino killer. That one isn't going anywhere, but there's clearly quite a few potential total extinction candidates if they came to intersect with Earth's orbit.

Comment: Pot, meet kettle (Score 2) 159

by Kjella (#49752453) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

Excessive hyperbole is silly, yes...

Each year that passes sees roughly a 0.0000005% chance of a species-threatening asteroid coming our way, while real threatsâS - âSenvironmental, medical and political (i.e., war)âS -âScould literally wipe us off the face of the Earth in the blink of an eye.

Global warming is a sloooooooooooooooooow process and even if you burned every bit of coal and oil you wouldn't make Canada into Sahara, it's hardly an extinction level event. A modern day pandemic could presumably kill millions, but it's hardly an existential threat to the human race. Same goes for total thermonuclear war, there's be a lot of direct deaths and many more indirects deads from nuclear winter and starvation but not enough to wipe us out.

Tsar Bomba (most powerful nuke): 50 MT
Chicxulub asteroid (dino killer): 100,000,000 MT

We're not even remotely in the same league. The odds are small that it happens tomorrow but in terms of "worst case" asteroids have everything us humans can come up with beat by far.

Comment: Re:How could you protect against this? (Score 1) 136

I can only come up with the obvious client-side encryption, but will the network as a whole still be able to use the data as it's supposed to (in this case; find adult friends)?

This. It seems sexual preferences, age and location is rather essential for the service they provide and email, well how else are they going to notify you that someone has taken an interest in you or that you got a reply? You can't ask a doctor to not work with medical data, there's of course good and poor security but at the end of the day if there's a total system compromise you're screwed.

How could you protect against this?

Best practice seems to be as follows:
1. Public facing server makes web service call to locked down proxy server.
2. Proxy server validates every request thoroughly, everything that looks even remotely funny is rejected.
3. Proxy server queries stored procedure in locked down database, no SELECT * for you.
4. The results are serialized back to XML and sent to the public facing server for display.

A lot of work if you want to do it right, but you get a fairly good barrier to a total breach from the outside. Of course they could compromise your web server and start harvesting data, but you should have some sort of tripwire system for that with audits and logs checking for abnormal activity.

The other way in is of course from your network, if they can compromise someone on the inside with database access or developers to plant vulnerabilities that'll go into the production system. But that's usually a much tougher route and really no different from breaking into any other secure network.

Comment: Re:Rich Family Dies, World At Peril!!! (Score 1) 159

by JudgeFurious (#49751471) Attached to: DNA On Pizza Crust Leads To Quadruple Murder Suspect
There's actually nothing degrading about a handout. Nothing at all. I get so sick of hearing this bullshit. If there was no "subsistence and degrading handout" people who think it's degrading would be complaining that there wasn't even a system in place to provide these people with even a subsistence level handout. What's degrading is being satisfied with a handout. Coming to expect the handout and refusing to work hard to improve your lot in life is degrading and people bring that on themselves all the time. Before you take me to task for anything understand that I grew up as poor as anyone in the United States you can point to. Go ahead and find an example and I can most likely match them or put them to shame. My family lost everything when I was growing up and the one thing we didn't do was lay down and accept a handout. My mom refused food stamps when we could have used them. She never went on welfare and she only accepted unemployment grudgingly. She beat the fucking bushes for work and never gave up. My brother is the first person in my family to get a college degree and he did it working full time paying his way as he went. I have literally gone to work with a broken back (wasn't aware of it at the time). Fuck the poor who spend their lives crying about what they don't have and how unfair it is. Everything they could ask for is there for the taking in the US if they will just get up on their feet and work for it.

Comment: Re:FAQ (Score 1) 130

by squiggleslash (#49750009) Attached to: Pre-Orders Start For Neo900 Open Source Phone

From what people are writing here, there are multiple definitions of "perfectly well". Someone in an above thread complains that capacitive screens require only the lightest touch, ensuring that they make mistakes when trying to use their fingernail to accurately press a specific pixel.

That, to me, says that the N900 and Neo900 do not have "touch" sensitive displays, they require pressure. I'm finding it improbable (and I'm willing to be proven wrong, but I'm increasingly sceptical as this videophilesque discussion continues) that the usual range of gestures we've come to know and, yes, love, are going to work nearly as well on that type of screen.

If I'm wrong and a light tap will always work, and a swipe will never be broken up into multiple gestures or ignored altogether, and so on, then I'd be delighted, albeit surprised the technology isn't being used anywhere else.

Comment: Re:Quite the Opposite (Score 1) 254

by Kjella (#49749133) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Career Advice For an Aging Perl Developer?

I could go on an on about the differences between an Engineer, a Tech, a Manager, and a Team lead. It sounds like what you are looking for in a manager is really a team lead position.

Formally, you could be right. Informally, both the team leader and manager hat usually end up on the same person, even if he lacks one title or the other. If you haven't got a team lead it's pretty obvious, if you do have a team lead then in my experience the manager does the HR/administrative bits and leave the actual work management to the team lead or the project manager if you work on a project.

For example, with no formal title I basically had the responsibility to:
1) Execute the actual project
2) Delegate as possible to the two juniors
3) Support the two juniors
4) Train the two juniors

Sure, there was a project manager dealing with the contract and formal contact with the client. There was a manager dealing with formal HR bits. But I felt I was a bit project manager, a bit team lead, a bit manager and a bit mentor all at once. It was a constant prioritization between:

1) What must I do to get the project done?
2) What can I delegate to free up my time?
3) What should I delegate to teach them?
4) What should we walk through together?

When you're in practice managing 100% of their time, you get all the hats whether you want to or not.

Comment: Re:FAQ (Score 1) 130

by squiggleslash (#49748049) Attached to: Pre-Orders Start For Neo900 Open Source Phone

I'm going to be honest, the more I read this discussion, the move I'm thrown back to old "debates" between advocates of rear projection and plasma TVs, and LCDs, all bemoaning the rise of the latter against such superior technologies as a TV that can only be viewed from one angle (and then not all at the same time), or a TV that requires all 4:3 content be shown in stretch-o-vision to avoid temporary burn-in issues. "But LCDs have a tiny bit of light visible when they're supposed to be black!" screams the videophiles, apparently oblivious to the fact that normal people rarely watch TV in rooms with no ambient light.

The resistive screen they're describing is clearly inferior to capacitive when applied to real world applications. Nobody in their right mind uses their cellphone to "paint" pictures. But everyone uses it to dial numbers, browse websites, and other activities that require a finger, or two, rather than a stylus.

But, hey, for the 0.01% of users who do actually use their cellphones more as an easel than a phone, I guess it might be useful.

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