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Comment Not marines, just passengers (Score 4, Informative) 467

I woke up this morning to all the news stories about the terrorist in the train who was taken down by three passengers. It’s a great story, but I wish the news services would stop referring to “American marines”. First, as far as I can tell, the three central figures were: one guy in the Air Force, one guy in the Oregon national guard, and a Brit who wasn’t a soldier at all. Plus other passengers who were involved, also not soldiers.

Second – more importantly – we need to encourage any bystanders to take down attackers. If you have a train full of hundreds of people, the only right answer is to swarm the lone gunman. If you’re close to him, you’re gonna get shot anyway, so you’d just as well make it count for something. Easy to say from my armchair, of course, but I’d like to think I would react that way in reality as well.

Of course, the SJW press is busily trying to not call him a terrorist, despite the plain evidence that he was, and was even known for his previous involvement with jihadists.

Comment Re:Oh, Christ, here we go... (Score 1) 223

Thank you Lauren. As a guy, it's often a bit dicey to come out and call BS on this (even though I am married to a woman with all sorts of technical credentials).

My take is: the more people point the spotlight as women in tech, the more they scare potential women away. In my experience, people don't want the limelight, at least, not that way. They want to be respected for their skills, not their gender, or skin color, or religion, or whatever.

Comment Not a one-way system (Score 1) 585

Why does the author think it's a one way system? First, let's get this out of the way:

"the golden era when Americans could get a job, keep it, and expect to retire with an adequate pension are over"

That age ended in the 1960s, or maybe even in the 1950s.

"workers are beholden to employers"

Actually, it goes both ways. In the US, afaik two weeks notice is pretty typical, if you get fired. That surely does lead to insecurity. But it goes both ways: you can also leave your job on two weeks notice. With a bit of accumulated vacation, you could effectively be leaving from one day to the next. If you're an important employee, holding critical responsibilities, that leaves your employer in a really shitty position.

Any company in the US could adopt a different model. Just as an example, in much of Europe, you have to be given three months' notice that your employment will be ending. Would that be better? Do note that this goes both ways: if you are unhappy with your job, you cannot just leave. You must also give three months notice, continuing to do you job, and giving your employer a chance to bring in your replacement and arrange for a smooth transition.

Both models have their advantages and disadvantages. Personally, I prefer the European model - it gives more stability. But it does reduce flexibility and mobility, both for companies and employees.

Comment Took a the data real? (Score 3, Insightful) 528

I wonder that the video and data didn't go up immediately. A couple of days is enough to edit the telemetry and video. Maybe they're honest, maybe they're not. However, it seems really unlikely that someone would be massively offended by a drone 70 meters up.

If they were going to file charges against anyone, it was really stupid for the police not to impound the drone as evidence.

Comment Wi-Fi Sense (Score 1) 187

Of all of these data-sharing policies, Wi-Fi Sense is the craziest. How many places out there share their Wi-Fi passwords with selected people? Microsoft makes no effort to get the Wi-Fi owner's permission to share a password.

If one visitor has W10 and 100 contacts, and each of those 100 contacts has another 100 contacts, and each of those... It's not clear just how the password will propagate, but it could well be that sharing with a single W10 use essentially makes the password public. This is not why we set passwords on our Wi-Fi networks.

Comment Is this a generational thing? (Score 2) 307

I wonder who wants street lights, and why. Just as an anecdote: our 70-something neighbor is really proud of the fact that she and her one-time neighbors got the town to install streetlights on our street 30 or 40 years ago. Meanwhile, we - my family and I - find them obnoxiously bright. We'd love to not have street lights. Our street leads nowhere, so there is no pedestrian traffic beyond our few houses. Criminals are unlikely this far out of town, and anyway, most houses have dogs and/or security lights.

All I can figure is: my neighbor's generation grew up in small towns, wanted the feel of civilization, and streetlights are a part of that. Whereas we have lived in the big cities, and want to get away from civilization.

Anyhow, ours are also the kind of streetlight that light up the whole flipping world, instead of just the street. That never many any sense; stupid design by clueless people, bought by an equally clueless town. Our house is 50 meters from the street, and you can almost-but-not-quite read by the damned things.

Comment Airspace rights (Score 1) 1197

It obviously depends on local laws, however: generally speaking you have full rights and control over the airspace immediately above your property. This may be 10 feet, 20 feet, whatever you might reasonably use and/or access from the ground or your buildings. If this drone was ducking under people's patios, then it is a clear trespass into airspace that he and his neighbors have full rights to. Add to trespassing whatever charges apply to "peeping toms".

From it's actions, and from the prompt arrival of the owners, it is also entirely clear that the drone had a camera. The police failure to confiscate the drone for evidence is stupid, as that would be important proof in whatever charges are brought: either the shooting or the trespassing.

I'd have shot it too.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Is your job running? You'd better go catch it!