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Comment May finally be time to abandon ship... (Score 3, Informative) 116 116

As Dice transforms /. into yet another random site (video section, meaningless pictures attached to articles, and now social media buttons), it become clear that I am no longer part of their target audience. I hate those crappy social media share buttons - they're nothing but trackers in another form.

Hello Soylent

Comment Lack of moons = no vulcanism? (Score 2) 45 45

Maybe I'm out of date here, but I thought there was general agreement that moonless planets would just quietly cool from the outside in. No plate tectonics or vulcanism, because there are no tides to stir things up.

Since TFA writes "These observations are close to the limits of the spacecraft’s capabilities and it was extremely difficult to make these detections", maybe this should be taken with a large grain of salt?

Comment Getting carried away? (Score 1) 164 164

I know bits are cheap, but...really?. Font designers have to actually implement the characters - specifying hundreds of clipart characters seems kind of ridiculous. Design by committee, where no one ever says "no".

Unicode is beginning to remind me too much of CSS3, where they let the specification blow up beyond all reason - making it essentially impossible for anyone to ever have a fully compliant implementation.

Comment Data validation is part of life (Score 1) 1067 1067

Validating external data is Programming 101. If you receive a value that cannot be zero, and you cannot absolutely trust the source, then you must check. Data validation is tiresome, but it's part of life.

Defining the result to be zero is incorrect, and will introduce an unknowable number of follow-on problems.

For those who may not be aware, when working with floating point values (as opposed to integers), division by zero is just fine. The IEEE standard defines the answer as infinity, which is a valid value. In some applications, this is a perfectly fine result.

Comment How can this work? (Score 1) 86 86

How does this work with backups? I have trouble believing that they flush their backups after three months. In which case an FOI request ought to require them to pull the files from backup. Which ought to mean that they've only massively increased the cost of complying with the requests.

Anyway, if you use email seriously, it becomes an important part of your files on projects, etc.. I regularly references emails that are a couple of years old. If people can't rely on email for long-term storage, then they will print stuff out and file it - so the information will still be available.

Comment The ruling is pretty scary (IANAL) (Score 1) 401 401

The ruling (linked in TFA) is conveniently written in English. It is pretty scary stuff, but IANAL - any professionals out there want to comment?

First of all, the comments made to the article in question "were vulgar in form; they were humiliating and defamatory and impaired L.’s honour, dignity and reputation. The comments went beyond justified criticism and amounted to simple insults."

Here is one of the more egregious comments: "What are you whining for, knock this bastard down once and for all [.] In future the other ones ... will know what they risk, even they will only have one little life.". Others were just name calling.

This is where the European Charter of Human Rights gets it wrong, because it allows exceptions to freedom of expression for a huge array of possible reasons. In this case, presumably, "for the protection of the reputation...of others". Seems to me, if you can outlaw simple insults, and vague threats, you can outlaw essentially anything.

In any case, the case was appealed all the way to the ECHR. While the ECHR says some of the right words in their appendix - they're all worried about censorship - none of that has any legal relevance. The core of the actual ruling:

"Based on the concrete assessment of the above aspects, taking into account the reasoning of the Supreme Court in the present case, in particular the extreme nature of the comments in question, the fact that the comments were posted in reaction to an article published by the applicant company on its professionally managed news portal run on a commercial basis, the insufficiency of the measures taken by the applicant company to remove without delay after publication comments amounting to hate speech and speech inciting violence and to ensure a realistic prospect of the authors of such comments being held liable, and the moderate sanction imposed on the applicant company, the Court finds that the domestic courts’ imposition of liability on the applicant company was based on relevant and sufficient grounds"

tl;dr: The news company should have pro-actively moderated comments and immediately - without any court case being required - removed the illegal comments. The court then goes on to express hope that this does not introduce a new reign of censorship, but that is exactly what is may do.

Comment Lawyers are a protected class? (Score 1) 75 75

Lawyers apparently look out for each other, and judges are lawyers. They have managed to avoid paying these sanctions for more than two years, have not been disbarred, have not been sent to jail, nothing. Any bets on what would have happened to a non-lawyer who tried these shenanigans?

Comment You can't, and that's the problem (Score 4, Interesting) 172 172

That's the problem: you can't shut down a SourceForge project. If you try - if your project is popular enough - they will "provide a service to the community" by mirroring your new project page. With ads. And malware.

They've found a way to abuse open source. Precisely because it is open source, they can create a mirror. The only thing that will stop them is publicity - like this has been receiving. I assume that most techies stopped going to SF a year or two ago, when they started with the malware wrappers. Anyone who wasn't put off by that, will surely now be put off.

I would actually prefer that people not all go to GitHub - it's already getting too big and too influential. Bigness seems to inevitably lead to evilness, sooner or later. It would be better to spread hosting around on many different services. We then just need a couple of central directories that say where a particular project's homepage is. If a directory turns evil, that's easier to replace than a whole hosting service.

Comment Two problems with this article (Score 4, Informative) 639 639

There are three problems with this article:

First and foremost, this result is achieved with "corrected commercial ship temperature data", " corrected ship-to-buoy calibrations", and other adjustments. However, I don't see any information on where we can go to examine their adjustment techniques.

Second, the statements at the end of the article make it plain that the goal of the authors is to show even more warming. This is not a neutral investigation, but an investigation with a desired outcome.

Finally, with their new adjustments, they claim to have established a warming rate of around 0.1 degree/decade, and they also say that this is what the warming was from 1950 to 1999. Oddly, they then claim that this is "more than twice the IPCC's estimate". Now that's just weird. The IPCC never predicted so little warming. The IPCC originally predicted ten times that amount, or around 4 to 5 degrees per century (See page xxii, figure 8 in the IPCC report); later reports did revise that down, but never by an order of magnitude.

So: we have people massaging data again, but they are also apparently trying to massage history. Credibility? Somewhere around zero.

Comment Demographic change? Marketeers? Bean counters? (Score 5, Insightful) 150 150

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) 357 357

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) 227 227

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) 306 306

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.

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

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

The F-15 Eagle: If it's up, we'll shoot it down. If it's down, we'll blow it up. -- A McDonnel-Douglas ad from a few years ago