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Comment: Re: Unconstitutinal (Score 1) 355

by bzipitidoo (#47700769) Attached to: Rightscorp's New Plan: Hijack Browsers Until Infingers Pay Up

No, that may not work. One way a city and their red light camera operating partner has devised to get around those pesky legal requirements that you get to confront your accuser and that they have to prove you were driving is to change the offense from a moving violation to a mere violation of a city ordinance. Doesn't matter who was driving, the owner gets punished regardless. It's similar to being penalized for not mowing your lawn. Your insurance rates do not go up, you don't get a strike on your driving record.

Making the crime into a violation of a city ordinance makes it harder for them to collect, as it's not as serious. An easy way to deal with an accusation is to refuse to pay. But they've also worked out ways to get you if you try that. Even though it's not a moving violation, somehow, you can't renew your driver's license until you've paid the fine. They can also call on a debt collection agency who will happliy trash your credit rating.

Comment: Re:So.. what? (Score 1) 255

by bzipitidoo (#47627993) Attached to: TEPCO: Nearly All Nuclear Fuel Melted At Fukushima No. 3 Reactor

Don't be so dismissive of Chernobyl and Fukushima as freak, one time events.

The causes you mention are proximate causes. The root cause was human stupidity, recklessness, greed, and folly. That's what sank the Titanic. That's what has caused hundreds of oil spills, including Deepwater Horizon and Exxon Valdez. It's what killed thousands of people in Bhopal. Upon inquiry, over and over we find that the operators had plenty of warnings and plenty of measures they could have taken to avoid problems. They just chose not to heed the warnings. The Titanic didn't have to charge ahead at full speed at night. Didn't have to cut straight through a field of icebergs.

In Fukushima's case, that recklessness manifested as several stupid decisions that saved a little money but made disaster certain if a tsunami struck. They did not build a high enough wall. The engineers knew how high it needed to be and told management, but management overruled or ignored them. Then, they didn't maintain the emergency generators. They skimped on several other measures. The people making these decisions had no business taking such gambles on behalf of the whole world. They were incompetent to understand the true risks they were taking. They had no reason to suppose that a tsunami would never hit, but they behaved as if it wouldn't happen. We would never have allowed such recklessness if we'd known. And that's another thing those fools did-- cover it up. They knew others would not approve of the risks they were taking. They knew. But instead of heeding those very legitimate fears, they denied that they were taking huge risks. They behave like ostriches, sticking their heads in the sand so they couldn't see doom approaching. Then they have the nerve to say that they are blameless and no one could have foreseen that a tsunami could be that big. The only way anyone could think that is by ignoring or dismissing most of knowledge ever recorded and studies ever done on tsunamis. They built for 3.1m and increased to 5.7m, and there had already been 8 tsunamis higher than that in the past century. The 2004 tsunami that hit Sumatra was 24m, and at a few points 30m thanks to funneling effects. They might have even tried a bit of propaganda, bribe someone to cook up bad studies showing that tsunamis are never bigger than some relatively small size.

It will happen again. We do have honest asssessment and reporting in many areas, such as passenger airplanes. Nuclear power could be operated safely. The problem is, will nuclear power be operated safely? Fukushima shows us that it won't. People can't be trusted that far. The continued efforts of TEPCO to downplay the disaster and spin it as not really their fault and also not really so horrific after all shows that they haven't learned their lesson and they still don't take safety seriously enough. Covering their asses seems to be more important than coming clean on matters that imperil the lives of thousands. One example of the spin that nuclear proponents put on the issue is number of deaths. I have pointed out repeatedly that you can't use that alone as a measure of how disastrous an accident was. By that measure, a bad bus crash (Prestonsburg, Kentucky, 27 deaths) could rank as a bigger disaster than a major hurricane (Andrew, 26 direct fatalities).

Would you put those TEPCO bozos in charge of a nuclear plant? I wouldn't.

Comment: Re:Intellectual Property (Score 1) 430

Both. Copyright is monopolistic. Why is it that only one publisher at a time can have the "right" to make copies of works still in copyright? There's no good reason for such restrictions. As an example, anyone can print Sherlock Holmes stories. No need to ask anyone for permission. You might think that means no one can profit from printing them, and so no one does, but that is not the case.

As for better models, one word: patronage. Patronage worked for centuries. It worked for Mozart. You might suppose that means only the wealthy would patronize the arts. In Mozart's day, that was largely the case. But today we can do patronage much, much better. Thanks to vastly superior communication, the public can directly participate in the financing of art and science. That was simply not possible centuries ago. Currently we have Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Humble Bundle.

Patronage can be the mainstay, but it's not all. There's also the advertising and endorsement models. Broadcast radio and TV uses advertising.

Having to get permission to share information is indeed tyranny. Tyranny over our very thoughts. Civilization arose and advanced because we invented and improved ways of sharing knowledge. We created writing systems so we could more easily share knowledge. Sharing is the natural state. It is only relatively recently that a coalition of various small interests have conspired to change the thinking on sharing so that now it's vilified as "piracy". The Gutenberg press was a huge advancement that some, sadly predictably, attempted to suppress. One of the forces attempting to control the press was the Church. They wanted to make sure there were no inaccurate Bibles circulating amongst the people no matter how high their rank, and felt this "need" gave them the right to dictate what printers could print. They helped pioneer the whole idea of copyright, for that purpose. Today, it is unthinkable that anyone could censor the Bible. The Pope himself has no authority to tell printers that they can't print whatever version of the Bible they want.

And today, suppression is happening again with our most recent breakthrough, the Internet. It will eventually end, it's only a question of when. The sooner the better.

Comment: Re:yes, ignore office politics (Score 1) 246

by bzipitidoo (#47591791) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: IT Personnel As Ostriches?

Most answers to these questions are concentrating on the snooping. System admins should not snoop, unless specifically told to do so by someone in authority.

But few are talking about office politics. Do not stick your head in the sand! Listening to the grapevine is not snooping. Learn what's going on the same way everyone else can, by keeping up with how the company's presentation did at the trade show and that sort of thing, not by abusing system administrator privileges to read private email and the like. You have an interest in knowing if the company is about to go bankrupt, be sold, or layoff a whole division. You also want to know if you have enemies and if so, who they are and why they hate and fear you so you can guard yourself. It may be that someone somehow views you as a threat to their job, and they'd like to get you before you get them. Doesn't matter that you aren't a threat, what matters is that they see you that way. You may be able to show them otherwise, and they'll stop trying to plant knives in your back. Or maybe not. There are a lot of sick bastards out there who want power so they can enjoy making others sweat, make their lives hell. You don't want to be surprised by your job being eliminated, and if that's likely, you want to know that with as much advance notice as possible.

Comment: Re:Tool complexity leads to learning the tool (Score 1) 240

by bzipitidoo (#47590341) Attached to: Getting Back To Coding

You're right, I had not heard of node.js. Checking, I see that node.js was released in 2009. An eternity for regular users, but for casual users, really not all that long ago. There is plenty of old documentation out there that should be retired because it's older than node.js and Javascript 1.8.5.

In 2011, the Javascript 1.8.5 release added some sorely needed missing functionality that I used to complain about: Object.keys, and similar functions. The book I had was too old to cover these new features.

Comment: Re:Tool complexity leads to learning the tool (Score 1) 240

by bzipitidoo (#47589781) Attached to: Getting Back To Coding

Although Javascript can be used on the server side, it's not so easy. What do you need to run a Javascript program? A browser. You don't want to have to run a browser on the server. GCC doesn't have a front end for Javascript. You could use Rhino to translate from Javascript to Java, and run that on the server side. Closure compiles Javascript to Javascript. Helpful to make Javascript run faster, not helpful to make it run. There may be some proprietary, commercial tools for compiling or running Javascript.

So, what do I not know about? What tools are there for running Javascript outside a browser? Or, is there some tiny browser like Lynx or Links that can do it?

Comment: Re:Tool complexity leads to learning the tool (Score 1) 240

by bzipitidoo (#47587233) Attached to: Getting Back To Coding

And I have an issue with how needlessly complicated programming is. IDE's? They're a trivial addition to the problem. The problem is the entire ecosystem. For example, why is a tool like Make a language of its own? Why are revision control systems yet another level of complexity about the same as a programming language? Can you be a competent programmer without knowing about those things?

Then there's the nightmare of library code. There is no standardized way to call libraries, and maybe that's impossible, but we could have done better. We have this horrific mess of libraries tied to individual languages, with C/C++ libraries being perhaps the most prevalent. But C doesn't provide enough to make portable libraries. Need that .h file. A programmer may need to know about the informal conventions that were established to deal with name collisions. Some of this has been addressed, with additions such as namespaces. Other languages have wrappers to connect to C libraries, or they have their own libraries, or both.

The web is very messy. Web pages have become jumbled mixes of data and code. There's PHP or Python or Perl on the server side, Javascript on the client side. Why couldn't the same language work in both places? There's Java, sort of. But Java doesn't work on the client side unless the user installs a massive plugin that constantly nags users to keep it updated. Actually, just about any language can be easily used on the server side. One of the exceptions is... Javascript! Then, should browsers run executable code? No Execute has been worked into CPUs, while the web has been flying in the opposite direction.

There is politics involved too. Some Microsoft ""documentation" is actually marketing drivel. And you're always wondering what they're hiding now. Not even they know how big their own API is. Over 60,000 functions, so I've heard.

Comment: ACM doesn't get it on (C) (Score 3, Insightful) 213

by bzipitidoo (#47573407) Attached to: Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM

I am an ACM member, but I'm not happy with it. My biggest complaint about the ACM is their failure to understand why copyright is bad and needs massive reform or abolishment. Instead, they jump in bed, ideologically, with copyright extremists! $100 membership isn't good enough for access to the digital library, have to pay another $100 for that? What a total money grab, locking up knowledge and for what? To coerce membership fees from researchers? Aren't they supposed to be a non-profit organization? The digital library should be public! Freely available to all, including non-members. Some years, CACM has had a "special" issue in the summer devoted to intellectual property issues. Some of those CACM articles are downright shameful in their unquestioned support of the current system, preferring to dive into how to use copyright when they haven't discussed why. It's like the whole fake "teach the controversy" debate between Evolution and Creationism. Any science magazine that dared treat Creationism as if it was valid science would quickly lose all respect and become a laughingstock. But the ACM still soberly talks as if copyright can somehow still work. It's like listening to some cranks say that they can fix the problems with the Theory of Intelligent Design, just have to do more exploration and research.

It's embarrassing. On technological matters, the ACM ought to be one of the most progressive organizations in existence. Instead, they were slow to get on the Internet. Their early websites were garbage nearly devoid of content, seemingly made live only because it was even more embarrassing not to have a website at all! They were late to the party for online renewal of membership. Yes, ACM has done online renewal for years, but they weren't the first to do that, far from it. Now they're going to be late to the death of copyright.

Comment: Re:Changing attitudes, i.e. brainwashing (Score 2) 143

by bzipitidoo (#47507649) Attached to: For Now, UK Online Pirates Will Get 4 Warnings -- And That's It

Sharing is more than easy and natural, it's good. Sharing is so important to civilzations that early ones developed writing systems to facilitate it, and later ones have been improving it ever since. Reading and writing used to be only for the nobility, for the practical reason that educating everyone was more expense than was thought worthwhile, though this was also correctly seen as an excuse not to educate the masses. Words were terribly subversive, best if the people can't read them. The pen is not mightier than the sword if no one can read. Democracies changed that, deciding that 100% literacy was a desirable and nearly obtainable goal.

Now here we are today, and what are our supposedly democratic governments doing? Siding with those who think they have a right to lock away knowledge, those who think the worthy desire to compensate artists justifies all kinds of monstrosities and public expense, and that fair compensation can only be done through Holy Copyright.

Sharing should be encouraged. By everyone.

Comment: Re:user error (Score 1) 710

Er, pegged to the right, I mean. That fridge may have been the least efificient model available in 1995.

I hypermile too. But here again, you'll do better with a better car, rather than sweating to make a bad car do a little better. If we took energy savings seriously, we'd smooth the undersides of our cars for starters. No more of this having the car's guts exposed to the world.

Comment: Re:user error (Score 1) 710

I can't quite match you, but I have our house just under 300kwh in the months with the most pleasant temperatures. There are 3 of us, and it sounds like only 1 of you. You live in a place with a friendlier climate, while I am stuck in north Texas. Last year, we used about 5200kwh. Was hovering around 10000kwh in the 1990s. Improvements in lighting, displays, and A/Cs have made more difference than being an activist about turning things off all the time. However, the biggest saver is being willing to live with greater temperature differences, setting the thermostat to 83 in the summer and 70 in the winter.

I'm looking forward to about a 10% improvement now that we have finally ditched our old fridge. It was made in 1995, and the efficiency of refrigerators was greatly improved starting in 1996. It wasn't even efficient for a 1995 model, being pegged all the way to the left on the energy usage label.

The moon may be smaller than Earth, but it's further away.