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Comment: Re:Sad, isn't it? (Score 3, Insightful) 213

by arotenbe (#30892038) Attached to: Australian ISPs To Disconnect Botnet "Zombies"

Pardon me, but isn't protection against security breaches the OPERATING SYSTEM'S JOB???

Partially, but it isn't the operating system's job to stop the user from being an idiot. If you want to run executables from suspicious websites, that's your right. And if the rest of the world wants a device to stab you in the face over the internet, that's their right, too.

Comment: Re:Reality closer to SciFi, SciFi != Fantasy (Score 2, Interesting) 479

by arotenbe (#30188226) Attached to: Has Sci-Fi Run Out of Steam?

The giant corporations are winning. Ask people if they think it more likely that genetic research will result in exciting new medical treatments or be used by enormous health insurance companies to deny coverage.

What people think is not the same as reality. In the U.S. at least, using genetic information to deny insurance coverage is illegal. Of course, people will believe what they want to believe, which just emphasizes the GP's point. I'm sure plenty of my beliefs are wrong, too.

Comment: Re:salesman speak (Score 1) 183

by arotenbe (#29572741) Attached to: "Time Telescope" Could Boost Fibre-Optic Communications

But "cloud computing" is a long-distant descendant of the "client server" model. They aren't the same thing anymore than a nuclear bomb is just "a really strong TNT bomb".

If "cloud computing" is so different from the client-server model (with the server being provided by someone else), then surely you can name some differences between the two models.


Comment: Re:I long for the day... (Score 1) 501

by arotenbe (#29559287) Attached to: AU Government To Build "Unhackable" Netbooks

A government with tech experience is not a nice thing.

I disagree. If all governments understood technology, then they would understand...

  • ... why censorship of information is impossible.
  • ... why software should not--and cannot--be regulated.
  • ... why copyrights and patents are entirely artificial constructs, not sacred property rights.

The problem we have now is that governments know technology exists but don't understand it.

Comment: Re:Maybe not as bad as we might expect? (Score 1) 286

by arotenbe (#29268145) Attached to: Texting Toddlers, How Young is Too Young?

Kind of a thread jack / off topic. But, have you looked into a montessori school? It introduces children into learning in a fun way and adapts to tasks and styles of learnign that the child enjoys.

While we're offtopic, here's an anecdote. I know that the plural of anecdote isn't data, and certainly the singular isn't, but...

When I was a kid, my parents put me in a private Montessori school because I was bored out of my skull with a regular school. Less than two years later, we changed to homeschooling. I was literally coming home every day crying because I was so miserable. I don't know if the school actually followed Montessori principles, but they claimed to and it was horrible. It was literally just like the traditional school system, but with "hands on" activities and ten times the busywork. The last straw was when they tried to get me to do a science project that involved dropping parachutes from a second-story balcony three hundred times for "accuracy".

Comment: Re:Me too! (Score 1) 162

by arotenbe (#28897509) Attached to: Games That Design Themselves

In nicer languages than C that have exceptions, you often also have try...finally blocks, where you can guarantee that your cleanup code will be called, even if you call some function which calls exit(). Essentially, it gives you nice atomic/transactional operations, at every level of code you want them at.

At least in Java, System.exit() calls the shutdown hooks and then kills every thread without mercy. To quote the excellent book Java Puzzlers, which had this as one of its puzzles: "the presence of a finally clause does not give a thread special permission to continue executing". In fact, you can read this this puzzle in the sample chapter on their website.

Comment: Re:DMCA (Score 3, Insightful) 95

by arotenbe (#28487601) Attached to: Another Question Of Search Engine Legality and Infringement

10 years ago the US Congress had the foresight to pass the DMCA which protects search engines, ISP caches, and similar technologies from this kind of nonsense. Too bad other nations haven't followed the USA's lead in this respect.

Indeed, while lots of people on Slashdot hate the DMCA for its lack of penalties for abusive takedown notices, the protection for search engines and the like is definitely necessary for the internet to continue in the form we know it today.

Comment: Re:Um, finishing? (Score 1) 183

by arotenbe (#28160559) Attached to: The Psychology of Collection and Hoarding In Games

Now, I never played Mario 64, but in most games there are stars or flags or some other widget scattered all over the place, and collecting them is completely tangential to the plot. A normal play through might have you find 20% of them. But some people then go back to find every last one. Those are the sort of people being discussed here.

In fact, I would argue that Mario 64 is a terrible example. You need more than half the stars to finish the game (unless you're tool assisted). Also, they aren't just random achievements--all the stars except the 100-coin and 8-red-coin ones are completely original.

Comment: Re:True story (Score 2, Insightful) 731

by arotenbe (#27769351) Attached to: Old-School Coding Techniques You May Not Miss

Even more puzzling to me is how someone could decide to use a data structure without understanding its behavior (and without at least checking the Java APIs or simply Googling).

Easy. They learned that they should use *insert class here* in Intro to Programming 1 or 2 and never thought about it again since then. Horrendous overuse of StringBuilders is probably the most common example of this, but it can apply to just about anything.

"Pull the trigger and you're garbage." -- Lady Blue