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Comment: Demographic change? Marketeers? Bean counters? (Score 5, Insightful) 88

by bradley13 (#49823539) Attached to: Enter the Polls! Now On the Front Page

Either the demographic of /. has suddenly changed, or Dice isn't terribly interested in what users want. Moving the polls to the front page is gratuitous at best. Actually, it makes the polls harder to find. I would say it reduces their usefulness, only they never were useful, only entertaining.

Someone else commented on the video section. I have trouble imagining anyone on /. wanting to watch videos on this site. Am I wrong? Hmmm......just because I'm writing this comment, I went and looked at three random videos: one with 0 comments, one with 25 and one with 29. So a few people, but nothing compared to the normal stories.

Then the apparent conflict of interest demonstrated by the delayed SourceForge articles. The whole Beta mess that just won't die.

I think recognize the symptoms, because I've seen similar things happen elsewhere. This is what happens when the marketeers and bean counters take over a small company. The marketeers want to try out all their fancy ideas, without actually bothering to understand what their actual customers actually want. We need tweets? Social media? How about Vine? Look, pretty! One bling-filled idea after the next, while the users wander away to SoylentNews, PipeDot, or wherever. Meanwhile, the bean counters are only interested in short-term results; the phrase "long term" isn't even in their vocabulary. So they give the marketeers free reign, in hopes of getting those quarterly numbers up. Certainly the concept of a money-spinner that doesn't need changed never enters the minds of either group.

Dice killed SourceForge years ago with crapware - this latest is just tossing dirt on the coffin. I suppose they've sucked some short-term cash out of it, but it's long-term value is now essentially zero. Looks like /. is following along nicely...

Comment: Most criminals are dumb (Score 3, Insightful) 313

What you're saying is that most criminals are dumb, and that's why security manages to catch them. Smart criminals are unlikely to get caught.

If we accept that as true, and if we are willing to accept that life is never totally risk free, then all of TSA and Homeland Security could be abolished. Then the rest of the world could also stop complying with the idiotic restrictions (liquids, etc.) initiated by the US.

Anyway, there is absolutely no evidence that security today is any better than it was pre-9/11. Without the security theater, we would save such huge amounts of time. I still remember fondly being able to show up at the airport 30 minutes before flight departure, show my ticket, walk onto the airplane. That's the way is was, and the way it should be again.

Comment: Um...210k? And 3 months? (Score 4, Insightful) 227

Sorry, I know this is going to sound "holier than thou", but it's still true: high cost area or not, if you can't live more than 3 months without a salary - and you're pulling down 210k (US$, right?) - then your first efforts need to go into a hard look at your financial priorities. With that salary, you ought to be able to put quite a bit aside - it certainly shouldn't be hand-to-mouth anymore. Even in a high-cost area, that's all true.

Brief aside: I assume you are in the US, where there is a lot of peer pressure to buy some awful McMansion that stresses your salary. This is a societal problem and one worth resisting. Even with 3 kids, you do not need 5000 square feet of house. Get a smaller, comfortable place to live and put you money somewhere more useful. If you're married, obviously your spouse needs to agree with this...

As for moving to networking, it all depends on how good you actually are. If you are worth 210k/year, then you are not easily replaceable. OTOH, if you have the feeling that you landed in the gravy by accident, because you aren't actually worth that kind of salary, then maybe you do want to change...

Comment: Is he right for the wrong reasons? (Score 1) 306

I'm unconvinced by all of these initiatives to teach programming to kids. And I say this as the father of a teen who is already a pretty darned good programmer - precisely because I see how unusual it is.

Coding is fun stuff, but really, what's important here is the ability to create models (abstraction) and the ability to do structured problem solving. If you teach these skills with coding, you introduce a lot of overhead in the form of language syntax, compilation problems, libraries, IDEs, and other stuff. For kids who like messing with computers, that's fine, but for everyone else, it just adds a bunch of irrelevant sources of frustration.

You would be better off omitting the overhead and concentrating on the modelling and the problem solving. Make them enjoyable, by including plenty of riddles, logic puzzles and the like. For most kids, that will be a lot more fun than fighting with syntax errors.

+ - Sourceforge hijacks GIMP For Windows project, adds malware to downloads->

Submitted by David Gerard
David Gerard writes: SourceForge has taken over control of the GIMP for Windows SF project and is now distributing an adware/malwared installer for GIMP. They also locked out the maintainer, Jernej Simoni. Sourceforge claims it was "abandoned" and they're providing a service by "mirroring" the original, though it's unclear how much value malware adds for the end user, rather than for SF. (This comes two years after SF claiming its malware was just "misunderstood".) Since being busted, SF is now serving an .exe that matches that at the official download site. Other projects recently hijacked by SF include many Apache projects (Allura, Derby, Directory Studio, the Apache HTTP server, Hadoop, OpenOffice, Solr, and Subversion); Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird, and FireFTP; Evolution and Open-Xchange; Drupal and WordPress; Eclipse, Aptana, Komodo, MonoDevelop, and NetBeans; VLC, Audacious, Banshee.fm, Helix, and Tomahawk media players; and many others.
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Maybe someday we'll know why we invaded iraq (Score 1) 231

by bradley13 (#49757213) Attached to: WSJ Crowdsources Investigation of Hillary Clinton Emails

I agree with your comments about the Iraq war (see my other comment below), but I disagree with brushing off Benghazi. Both major parties in the US are corrupt. The fact that one party has done evil is no justification for excusing evil by the other party. Benghazi, in terms of the number of deaths, was small compared to the various wars. Note, however, that Obama's administration carried on with those wars, with Guantanamo, and with lots of other lovely things.

The reason Benghazi is currently important is that it appears to be characteristic behavior for a major presidential candidate: Hillary Clinton is a narcissist, and likely a sociopath. What she wants is more important than a few corpses (Benghazi), or than federal statutes and regulations (email server). Anyone who wasn't a member of the innermost circle would have gone down in flames for actions like these. She has that support, or perhaps she knows where other people's indiscretions lie, so she is untouchable.

Someone of her apparent character (or lack thereof) as president of the world's largest military power? Shudder...

Comment: Um, no... (Score 1) 231

by bradley13 (#49757135) Attached to: WSJ Crowdsources Investigation of Hillary Clinton Emails

"WTF are you talking about? EVERY nation's intelligence service agreed that Saddam was working to obtain nuclear weapons, and everybody ALREADY KNEW that he had chemical weapons"

Um, no. I live in Switzerland, and based on the European news at the time it was completely clear that Saddam had nothing left. He may have wanted such weapons, but what he had left was a shell-game he was playing with UN inspectors, with empty shells.

When Bush announced the Iraq attack, and I told my family back in the US that he should be impeached for telling such blatant lies, they were shocked. They totally bought into those slick PowerPoint slides from Colin Powell. That was the moment it became clear to me that the US (and their lapdop the UK) had determined that they wanted to attack Iraq, and had run internal propaganda campaigns to support this.

Apparently the deception holds to this day...comes from getting your news only from within your local country, which is pretty typical for both the US and the UK.

Comment: Yes, and that's why lambdas are a bad idea (Score 2) 414

by bradley13 (#49743317) Attached to: The Reason For Java's Staying Power: It's Easy To Read

Yes, Java is pretty easy to read. It contains all the standard control structures, and not a lot more. Aside from inheritance (which, by now, pretty much all developers understand), there isn't a lot of hidden functionality: See the code, understand what it does.

This is one reason that I object to the introduction of Lambda's in Java 8. Lambdas belong in functional languages, where they make sense in the context of the language. Java is not functional, so lambdas break the paradigm. Moreover, they are unfamiliar to most developers, and they are cryptic in a way that hides functionality.

Comment: "Theft" of trade secrets? Huh? (Score 4, Interesting) 100

by bradley13 (#49734579) Attached to: US Levels Espionage Charges Against 6 Chinese Nationals

Back when I learned about this stuff, companies basically had two options to protect their technology: patents and trade secrets.

- If you file for a patent, the theory is that you tell the whole world how it works, but get the exclusive right to produce it yourself, or license it to others. Yes, the patent system has problems, but that's theory. This is supposed to help technology advance, because you can build on other people's work.

- If you go with a trade secret (think: the secret recipe for Coca Cola), that means that you don't want to publish the information, so you receive no protection from the government. Protecting the secret is up to you; if someone steals it, that's your problem. This lack of protection is deliberate, providing motivation for filing patents and publishing information.

What I didn't know is that in 1996, the government passed the Economic Espionage Act. This essentially grants government protection to trade secrets, not only by criminalizing their theft (but that is likely a criminal act anyway), but also by criminalizing the use of the trade secrets by another company.

Of course, the act also explicitly exempts the government; the government can spy on you as much as it wants.

The act also funds the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. You've gotta admire the US Congress - they never miss an opportunity to include pork.

Comment: Unenforceable laws (Score 4, Interesting) 55

by bradley13 (#49725611) Attached to: Swedish Court Orders Seizure of Pirate Bay Domains

It's been said before, but: when a law is essentially impossible to enforce, the problem is with the law. The ease with which digitized goods can be copied is an indication that copyright probably should not apply to them.

I actually believe (naively?) that this would not cost individual authors and musicians anything at all. I choose to by music and books from artists that I like, because I want them to continue creating.

Likely, it would affect the big companies, like Disney. They would have to find new ways to monetize their assets, and might have to create new mascots more often than every hundred years. The worlds tiniest violin...

Comment: Strange profession (Score 1) 615

by bradley13 (#49706675) Attached to: The Economic Consequences of Self-Driving Trucks

If you step back a bit and think about it, truck driving is kind of a strange profession. The long distance truck driver is actually, really essential for in-city driving and for unexpected events (like breakdowns). But the vast majority of their time is spent on the highway, and staying in a lane on a highway, likely convoying with other trucks, requires no human skill whatsoever.

The first phase will be for the AI to take over for this time, requiring the driver to be in the cab "on call" on a few minute notice. This is similar to the situation where trucks go onto trains, and the driver have nothing to do until it's time to unload. However, among truck drivers, even this is met with massive resistance. Perhaps they genuinely enjoy sitting behind the wheel for hours at a time? Or is it just that they see the writing on the wall, because the second phase will be to eliminate their jobs?

But truck driving - on the highway - is a low skill job. Free people to do something else. Seems like a great concept, but what about those people who currently have no other skills? Buggy whip makers all over again...

Comment: Wow, thank you (Score 3, Interesting) 613

by bradley13 (#49696953) Attached to: A Plan On How To Stop Sexism In Science

Thank you for your comment. I've been saying much the same thing for - it seems like - forever. But it's one thing coming from a guy (even though my wife is in tech, and agrees with all of this), and entirely another coming from a woman.

"there are sexist men out there"

I would put it even more generally: There are jerks out there. Men and women both. That is, unfortunately, just the way life is...

"You can have equality - a notion that assumes women are capable of all the things that men are, including handling their own problems - or you can have the notion that women are somehow handicapped and need gentler handling. Pick one."

This. Exactly this.

Comment: Impossible situation (Score 2) 57

This "right to be forgotten" is impossible!

First, the government required private companies to take action, without any recompense. Few if any companies will invest time and effort in something that only costs them money. Note: it's not only Google (though they are always mentioned) - this applies to all search engines.

Second, the entire concept is flawed: It only requires search engines to remove the links; it does not require the source material to be deleted. Take, for example, the original case that caused all of this: a Spanish businessman who filed for bankruptcy two decades ago. His claim - likely correct - is that this ancient bankruptcy still causes him problems today. Fair enough - is the Spanish government willing to expunge their records? And require all Spanish newspapers to delete their articles? No?

If the academics want transparency, they should be willing to finance that transparency: pay Google to help run the requests the way they want them managed. And Bing. And DuckDuckGo. And IXquick. And all of the others. Alternatively, they could invest their energies in getting this abominable legal situation corrected: Either there is no "right to be forgotten" or else it should apply to the source data. The current situation is beyond stupid...

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972