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Comment Danger keys (Score 1) 687 687

I categorize what I consider "danger keys" and have my endless bouts with them. A "danger key" is any key that carries a heavy burden of control over system ("heavy danger") or performance ("light danger").

Heavy danger keys include F1, F3, Escape, Break, and Delete.

Light danger keys include Capslock, F12, Insert, Shift, and Numlock.

Some of these dangers are clearly the fault of system developers at Microsoft. F1 didn't have to be chosen as a key that will slow your system down trying to open up Windows' top-heavy and useless help system. F3 didn't have to be chosen as a key that will slow your system down trying to open up Windows' top-heavy and useless search window. So those don't have to be danger keys, but they are. Whenever I accidentally press one of them I kick myself.

But other keys like Delete are hard to blame anyone for. Delete always means "remove something". If you aren't careful of where your focus is, that "something" could be a valuable file or one character out of a password.

The Break key is a holdover from pre-threaded computing. Windows users don't need it and CLI users probably don't want to ever have to press it, and certainly don't want to press it accidentally.

The Escape key is one I really hate. It's close to a key I actually use a lot, the Tilde/Gravemark. And because its location is more or less considered remote, programmers feel safe in continuing to make it a dangerous key to press. There should never be a key that I can accidentally press that will eliminate all the work I'm trying to do.

Capslock poses a threat to performance. I often type while looking at a paper or book, I'm trained to type quickly and accurately and I don't always look at the screen. There's nothing worse than looking up and seeing reversed case for paragraphs. Luckily I use an editor that has a "reverse case" feature, but it still hurts performance to have to go back and correct the error even with an instant fix like that. It hurts performance even if you catch it when it happens, pause, and click it again to go back.

F12 hurts performance because it is almost always associated with "full-screen view". Not all apps come out of full-screen well behaved. Hell, not all apps go into full-screen well behaved. Some apps lose some functionality in full-screen. Many apps lose important things like menu bars, status bars, and scroll bars. Many apps, when in full-screen, force themselves to be "always on top" which effectively robs you of your ability to change system focus. I prefer apps that put something heavy like full-screen view behind a two-key combination like Alt+Enter. I'd prefer if all programmers adopted the Alt+Enter combo for full-screen, because sometimes full-screen is something I enjoy over-using at certain moments, but it's not something I want to accidentally happen when I'm trying to type simple math or break a sentence with an emdash, or write an underscore.

Insert hurts performance because most text editors allow a single press of Insert to immediately change whether you're in over-write or insert mode. It doesn't get used for much else in my life but I feel like Shift+Insert would be a better match for something like that. I'd prefer Insert did something more like delete does, and insert a space after the carat. I could deal with that -- at the end of my day I'd just select and delete all the built-up trailing space at the end of my document. Most apps these days don't even effectively give you any sign of what mode you're in, so it's not like you have any way of knowing until you see something going horribly wrong. Go ahead and try it right now: hit "insert" and see if your carat changes to give you a visual cue of what mode you're in. It probably doesn't.

I'm also a fan of faint, special characters at the ends of lines showing whether there's a carriage return, a linefeed or both, but we can't have everything.

Shift hurts performance because of one thing and one thing only: "sticky keys". I often hesitate before forming a sentence, so that I don't have to go back and re-write it. And one thing I hate is sitting on the shift key and "BWEEOOP!" here comes Windows' rather light and efficient but still very annoying "ease of access" system menu. I really hate it when it turns "sticky keys" on and then, while in sticky keys mode, puts me through the trouble of having to turn it back off again and to tell it to shut up. It's the whoopie cushion of Windows and I hate it, hate it, hate it. I really hate when I'm on a client's computer and it happens and they go, "what's that? What are you doing? Why'd it go "bweeoop"?" I hate having to fight not to curse.

Numlock hurts performance by the same mechanism as Capslock but for entirely different reasons that are cataclysmic on their own. I often use the number pad for data entry and I also often use the number pad for navigation. I hate that there's a button that will switch me between those two tasks instantaneously that's also right there next to the self same keys you're trying to use.

Now it's not like I'm some Aleister Crowley or L. Ron Hubbard (two men who are mostly known for their amazing typematic rate and low error count) and it's obvious that I'm bitching about mistakes that I am making, clearly oblivious to the cruel but just facts of the physical universe. Never the less, I do make mistakes and when I notice that they're the same mistakes over and over again, I start to get the feeling that maybe the brake pedal shouldn't be on the same side as the gas pedal, or maybe the stop lights shouldn't be green going both directions at the same time, etc. etc. etc.

Submission + - James Bamford Exposes The NSA's 9/11 Cover-Up

Nicola Hahn writes: Back in March of 2000, one of the 9/11 hijackers called Osama bin Laden’s operation center in Yemen from his apartment in San Diego. For some reason the call was never investigated. Former NSA director Michael Hayden, in an interview with Frontline, claimed that the NSA was unable to determine that the phone call had originated from San Diego. He used this same explanation to help justify the bulk phone record collection program that was implemented under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Thanks to James Bamford and a handful of NSA whistleblowers we know that Hayden was lying. The NSA was well aware of the caller’s identity and his location. The fact that intelligence officials didn’t follow up on this raises all sorts of disturbing questions.

Submission + - Could the Slashdot community take control of Slashdot? 10 10

turp182 writes: This is intended to be an idea generation story for how the community itself could purchase and then control Slashdot. If this happened I believe a lot of former users would at least come and take a look, and some of them would participate again.

This is not about improving the site, only about aquiring the site.

First, here's what we know:
1. DHI (Dice) paid $20 million for Slashdot, SourceForce, and Freecode, purchased from Geeknet back in 2012:
2. Slashdot has an Alexa Global Rank of 1,689, obtaining actual traffic numbers require money to see:
3. According to Quantcast, Slashdot has over 250,000 unique monthly views:
4. Per an Arstechnia article, Slashdot Media (Slashdot and Sourceforge) had 2015Q2 revenues of $1.7 million and have expected full year revenues of $15-$16 million (which doesn't make sense given the quarterly number):

Next, things we don't know:
0. Is Slashdot viable without a corporate owner? (the only question that matters)
1. What would DHI (Dice) sell Slashdot for? Would they split it from Sourceforge?
2. What are the hosting and equipment costs?
3. What are the personnel costs (editors, advertising saleforce, etc.)?
4. What other expenses does the site incur (legal for example)?
5. What is Slashdot's portion of the revenue of Slashdot Media?

These questions would need to be answered in order to valuate the site. Getting that info and performing the valuation would require expensive professional services.

What are possible ways we could proceed?

In my opinion, a non-profit organization would be the best route.

Finally, the hard part: Funding. Here are some ideas.

1. Benefactor(s) — It would be very nice to have people with some wealth that could help.
2. Crowdfunding/Kickstarter — I would contribute to such an effort I think a lot of Slashdotters would contribute. I think this would need to be a part of the funding rather than all of it.
3. Grants and Corporate Donations — Slashdot has a wide and varied membership and audience. We regularly see post from people that work at Google, Apple, and Microsoft. And at universities. We are developers (like me), scientists, experts, and also ordinary (also like me). A revived Slashdot could be a corporate cause in the world of tax deductions for companies.
4. ????
5. Profit!

Oh, the last thing: Is this even a relevant conversation?

I can't say. I think timing is the problem, with generating funds and access to financial information (probably won't get this without the funds) being the most critical barriers. Someone will buy the site, we're inside the top 2,000 global sites per info above.

The best solution, I believe, is to find a large corporate "sponsor" willing to help with the initial purchase and to be the recipient of any crowd sourcing funds to help repay them. The key is the site would have to have autonomy as a separate organization. They could have prime advertising space (so we should focus on IBM...) with the goal would be to repay the sponsor in full over time (no interest please?).

The second best is seeking a combination of "legal pledges" from companies/schools/organizations combined with crowdsourcing. This could get access to the necessary financials.

Also problematic, from a time perspective, a group of people would need to be formed to handle organization (managing fundraising/crowdsourcing) and interations with DHI (Dice). All volunteer for sure.

Is this even a relevant conversation? I say it is, I actually love Slashdot; it offers fun, entertaining, and enlightning conversation (I browse above the sewer), and I find the article selection interesting (this gyrates, but I still check a lot).

And to finish, the most critical question: Is Slashdot financially viable as an independent organization?

Submission + - Windows 10 downloads trying to bend the world wide web->

Ammalgam writes: Microsoft has started rolling Windows 10 out in advance of the July 29th launch. With each new geographical region that slips into July 29th, the world wide web strains just a little more. Experts are saying that Microsoft has reserved up to 40 Tbps with all of the key CDNs. This is an INSANE amount of bandwidth. What’s even crazier is that Microsoft may already have consumed over 10 Tbps and they are just getting started. Are you guys seeing the download on your PC yet?
Link to Original Source

Comment Re:15-25 (Score 1) 142 142

The point is that the 100 foot buffer is quickly and effectively erased by the acceptable margin of error. And at airspeed, 100 feet of altitude is quickly gained or dropped.

About your 20-30 feet, how do you expect an aircraft to actually stay within those 10 feet? And by "staying over roads" you do realize that you're not only drastically increasing the likelihood of a life-ending accident, but you're also making it practically impossible to obey the rules? Roadways are very narrow and just a little bit of rudder change or a wind shear will more or less instantly put you off the road. And what kind of turns do you expect the drones to make? If you want them to bank, pull up and stabilize the turn with the rudder you're talking about taking a hell of a lot of energy out of them. They would probably have to increase propeller speed every time they turn, and now you're knocking the hell out of their fuel supply. And because you're robbing them of their ability to fly straight from point A to point B, you're making that same fuel supply take a double hit.

Planes are best left to fly in nice, straight lines and big, sweeping arcs from place to place, not zig-zagging around and trying to make 90-degree turns inside of a 30-foot radius while also maintaining within 10 feet of altitude.

Please get yourself into a flight simulator at least once before talking about something as complex as flight.


Why Your Software Project Is Failing 119 119

An anonymous reader writes: At OSCON this year, Red Hat's Tom Callaway gave a talk entitled "This is Why You Fail: The Avoidable Mistakes Open Source Projects STILL Make." In 2009, Callaway was starting to work on the Chromium project—and to say it wasn't a pleasant experience was the biggest understatement Callaway made in his talk. Callaway said he likes challenges, but he felt buried by the project, and reached a point where he thought he should just quit his work. (Callaway said it's important to note that Chromium's code is not bad code; it's just a lot of code and a lot of code that Google didn't write.) This was making Callaway really frustrated, and people wanted to know what was upsetting him. Callaway wanted to be able to better explain his frustration, so he crafted this list which he called his "Points of Fail."

Comment FYI radio astronomers: Beware dodgy microwave oven (Score 4, Funny) 27 27

It's all well and good to enforce radio silence in the array's general area, but I hope they employ common sense as well. It took one batch of aussie radio astronomers 17 years to figure out that their dodgy microwave oven was causing intermittent interference; hopefully these guys aren't so clueless as to use unshielded electronics in any proximity to the array. Shielding your data centre is great, but it'll be the guy who forgets to turn off his cell phone that messes up your signal.
United States

US House Committee Approves Anti-GMO Labeling Law 446 446

An anonymous reader writes: The House Agriculture Committee approved a measure banning mandatory GMO labeling as well as local efforts to regulate genetically engineered crops. The decision is a major victory for U.S. food companies and other opponents of labeling genetically modified foods. "This... legislation will ensure that Americans have accurate, consistent information about their food rather than a 50 state patchwork of labeling laws that will only prove costly and confusing for consumers, farmers and food manufacturers," said Pamela Bailey, CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), said in a statement.

NASA's New Horizons Focuses On Pluto's Largest Moon Charon 77 77

MarkWhittington writes: New Horizons has already discovered much of what was previously unknown about Pluto, the dwarf planet that is the former ninth planet from the sun. NASA reported that the space probe has also uncovered some of the secrets of Pluto's largest moon, Charon. It has found indications of impact craters on the moon's gray surface as well as a chasm that seems to be bigger than the Grand Canyon on Earth. Charon has a diameter of just 1440 miles. By contrast, Earth has a diameter of 7918 miles.

Comment Re:Reasons I'm not a judge. (Score 2) 331 331

You need to correct behaviors and find out the underlying reasons WHY they are doing the things.

Except that parents have plenty of incentive not to find out, because it's their responsibility and probably their fault.

That only increases the urgency of finding out, if the person is really serious about being a parent. Children are supposed to have a life that's better than ours was; they are not supposed to inherit severe character flaws because we were too cowardly to deal with them.

I do agree, though, that there are lots of self-centered (and often emotionally immature) people who really do fit the description you gave. That something might be uncomfortable, or require some effort, or *gasp* involve admitting that they were wrong and need to change, these things are enough to stop such people from doing the right thing no matter how important it may be, no matter how lasting the consequences are. It's even harder to raise a child and help them become an adult when the parent is not really an adult themselves.

Comment I'm getting 8 hrs, but my body wants 9 - 10 hrs (Score 1) 159 159

I have three little kids, the youngest not yet one year, so I'm unable to get all the sleep I'd like. I make do with about 8 hours a night, sometimes only 6 or 7. But on the very rare occasion that I'm away from the kids, I naturally sleep between 9 and 10 hours (and feel much more awake in the morning.)

Of interest might be my kids' sleep times: 9 hours for the six year old, 10 hours for the four year old, and 7 hours plus multiple naps for the infant.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read.