Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Verbosity is easy? (Score 3, Interesting) 394

by bwwatr (#49743031) Attached to: The Reason For Java's Staying Power: It's Easy To Read
I agree with this guy. Java forces you to acknowledge and address subtle differences between different types of objects. Yes, sometimes code is overly verbose, but overly compact code that does a lot of "magic" for you, is far worse. I unfortunately work in PHP a lot, and you can pretty much treat any value as any type and usually get away with it, until you suddenly don't. Strong typing and an IDE that whacks you with a stick every time you forget it, is far preferable, even if your code is a few lines longer.

Comment: Re:Sort of redundant (Score 5, Insightful) 113

This is a common, but flawed, response to many types of privacy invasion. The thing is, scale matters. The aggregation of lots of data that could otherwise only be had by exerting effort (following someone, staking out a home, etc.) reduces the level of effort required to infringe someone's privacy, and greatly increases the chances that someone's privacy will be infringed. This is why forcing cops to get warrants is considered a good part of the justice system, while the mass "perusal" of aggregated information is considered bad (for privacy).

Comment: Re:Should be confidential/private (Score 1) 301

by bwwatr (#48367879) Attached to: Police Body Cam Privacy Exploitation
As has already been pointed out, however, what about cases where a police officer is inside your home, responding to a break-in? Do you want footage of the tour of the out/in-side of your home on YouTube? Do you want the toughest moments of the lives of decent people chronicled for everyone to watch? Let me draw a parallel from a world I know - Canada's health care system. It is publicly paid for, like the police, and as such, records and information "belong to the people". However, when I call an ambulance, that record is considered confidential, and requests from the public for access must be justified. A process exists for releasing those documents, and patient privacy is a major component of it. I don't see why, with a police encounter, it couldn't work similarly. Yes, the risks are higher, since police sometimes like to hide things, but involving a neutral third party whose access can't be overridden by police, could mitigate those.

Comment: Re:Of course we can (Score 1) 140

by bwwatr (#47911961) Attached to: If We Can't Kill Cancer, Can We Control It?
Depends on semantics. By some definitions, you could say an accident/trauma isn't medical, while a heart attack is. I've certainly heard the word used that way. In any case, I think the point was: (i) consider aging to be a medical process, (ii) eliminate all medical reasons for death, (iii) it'd take an average of 650 years for a lethal accident to find you. Kind of a neat exercise.

Comment: Separate SKUs? (Score 1) 681

It's long been a common complaint that Microsoft has too many SKUs for each version of Windows, and I agree. Vista went way too far on that, and if we ignore "RT", Win 8 was more a reasonable Home/Pro/Enterprise - and I don't know if they had upgrade/oem/retail sub-varieties. It's surely the wrong approach to divide up the functionality by SKU here. Instead, why can't Windows look at the hardware and make educated guesses as to the default behaviors, and then let users customize? Ballmer liked to criticize Google for developing multiple operating systems instead of a single strategic platform, but Microsoft is famous for this crap.

Long-Lasting Enzyme Chews Up Cocaine 73

Posted by timothy
from the sadly-enzymes-have-no-gums dept.
MTorrice (2611475) writes "Despite cocaine's undeniable destructiveness, there are no antidotes for overdoses or medications to fight addiction that directly neutralize cocaine's powerful effects. A natural bacterial enzyme, cocaine esterase, could help by chopping up cocaine in the bloodstream. But the enzyme is unstable in the body, losing activity too quickly to be a viable treatment. Now, using computational design, researchers tweaked the enzyme (full paper, PDF) to simultaneously increase stability and catalytic efficiency. Mice injected with the engineered enzyme survive daily lethal doses of cocaine for an average of 94 hours."

Comment: Re:Thanks for the tip! (Score 1) 448

by bwwatr (#47306493) Attached to: $500k "Energy-Harvesting" Kickstarter Scam Unfolding Right Now
I remember building a crystal radio when I was a kid - using just the energy from the radio broadcast, the earpiece played audio loud enough to hear. Does that however, mean that I could build something with a miniscule antenna coil, able to store enough energy to transmit Bluetooth and blare a 95 dB piezo? That'd be up to the experts to decide, but it looks like the answer is a big fat "no".

Comment: Re:Common sense (Score 2) 358

by bwwatr (#47306379) Attached to: Florida Man Faces $48k Fine For Jamming Drivers' Cellphones
I wasn't arguing that he was in the right, even if I got a kick out of what he did. Vigilantism deserves to be punished. I was arguing, however, that if you're going to be a criminal, at least be smart about it. Driving around all day blasting illegal EM noise is just as stupid as robbing a bank without a mask on. I suppose we're fortunate that so many criminals aren't smart.

Comment: Common sense (Score 1) 358

by bwwatr (#47306145) Attached to: Florida Man Faces $48k Fine For Jamming Drivers' Cellphones
If you wanted to do this without getting caught, keep the jammer turned off but within reach. When you see a driver on their phone, run the jammer for just long enough to drop their call. May also be wise to do this sparingly, and not on a daily commute route. This guy was asking to get caught.

Comment: Re:Bitrot not the fault of filesystem (Score 1) 396

by bwwatr (#47246795) Attached to: One Developer's Experience With Real Life Bitrot Under HFS+
Not really. Hardware RAID5 uses a parity disk to allow sectors to be read when an unrecoverable read error (URE) occurs on one of the member disks. RAID6 will allow unrecoverable errors to happen on two member disks. But in cases where the member disk doesn't encounter a read error, but instead happily reads back a block of data with a flipped bit, RAID isn't going to help you. ZFS/Btrfs would have helped you though.

Comment: Re:Every Other OS (Score 1) 516

by bwwatr (#47155325) Attached to: Microsoft Won't Bring Back the Start Menu Until 2015
I think it's because they are in an "innovate - iterate" cycle, and they are incompetent at getting things right the first time they try them. Partly due to their own shortsightedness, and sometimes due to third party hardware and software vendors

95 - innovate - was seen as a good release when it came out, because innovation was needed - but in reality, it was a steaming pile of unreliability
98 - iterate - improved stability from 95 - was a good OS (by the time we got SE anyway)
{ ME - innovate - sucked major ass for no good reason
{ 2000 - innovate - good release but lack of drivers and compatibility held it back
XP - iterated on 2000, bringing it into the home, and probably their most successful product ever
Vista - innovate - new kernel and driver model - sucky reception, basically due to the ecosystem not being ready for the changes
7 - iterated on Vista - home run, straight out of the park - they didn't try to do anything too shocking here, just delivered a good product
8 - innovate - let's re-write the book on UI - flop
9 - iterate on 8 - I actually expect it to be a good release

/my theory

Comment: Re:Wrong focus for your anger (Score 2) 194

by bwwatr (#47008319) Attached to: Orca Identified As 103 Years Old
The staff are probably just trained to repeat SeaWorld's official stance on Orca lifespan, outlined here: Sounds like they'll need to update their figures now that this granny's been found. Follow the menus to read the rest of the "care" / Blackfish rebuttal section of their web site and decide for yourself.

Comment: Re:A new law in not what is needed (Score 1) 519

by bwwatr (#46427837) Attached to: Massachusetts Court Says 'Upskirt' Photos Are Legal
Following the law literally and blindly is the only fair way to have laws. If laws were followed in a fuzzy and highly interpretive manner, would you not have even more examples of sports jock heroes getting away with rape, even more black people being found guilty disproportionately, creepy guys on a sex registry getting convicted while a pretty white girl with a tough luck story gets a jury's sympathy, even more police abusing and twisting laws to pick and choose who goes down, etc. It's just as bad as laws that everyone breaks routinely, so stop being thoroughly enforced. It just opens up an avenue to selectively charge people with something when you don't like them. In a biased world filled with people with their own ideas of justice, morality and carrying their own prejudices. The law is the framework we have to achieve fairness and consistency.

Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. - Isaac Asimov