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Comment: Re:It isn't only Windows 8 (Score 2) 291

I've never, ever had the severe kinds of problems you mention, and I've been on Ubuntu or its derivatives (most recently Mint) for years and years.

I've seen all sorts of similar stuff. Mind you, it's not as bad as the GP suggests. If you're running Debian testing, you *will* get bit on the ass inevitably. And Ubuntu prompts you to boot more than any other distro largely because the others don't really prompt you to boot at the GUI layer after a kernel update.

I've seen some updates that render a system unbootable (the one that comes to mind was that /dev/hd* to /dev/sd* migration a while back), and there's been some pretty boneheaded small glitches too (Ubuntu recently updated to show a pretty background image at boot rather than the far more useful prompt for my whole-disk decryption password). And things like drivers can be a pain (nvidia graphics and anything involving the name "Broadcom" in particular).

The main difference from Windows, though, is that I've never, *ever* had to solve a Linux distro issue by reformatting. I've had to boot into rescue to edit files, sure, but in over 20 years of running Linux, I've never had to completely nuke a system in order to "save it" from a broken update. In fact, I think the only time I've had to do so was way back when I had to tweak my own storage drivers.

Comment: Deeper experience (Score 1) 637

by c (#47616065) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

I'd trust a programmer who's never dealt with the sorts of problems caused by manual memory allocation (or, even nastier, compiler bugs) about as much as I'd trust a plumber who's never gotten shit on his hands.

It's not that I think garbage collection is bad, but the sorts of bugs caused by memory stomping tend to be some weird non-deterministic stuff which makes you question your sanity and your tools. You have to learn to narrow things down as deep as possible, to trust nothing, question everything, abuse your tools, and occasionally go on some very strange side-trips.

Now, Java can lead you down some strange alleyways (concurrency, for example), but it doesn't even come close.

Comment: e-books? (Score 2) 39

by plcurechax (#47608723) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Tim O'Reilly About a Life Steeped In Technology

What do you see or expect for the future of electronic-centric publishing?

Are e-books going to be dominated by the established publishing companies tendency to try and extend their control over the works of their authors, and their customers, as demonstrated with the limiting of adopting due to DRM, and fear of digital piracy?

Will there be a role for publishers, perhaps as curators and editors (in both senses of the word) of fiction and non-fictional works, separate from that of the retailers?

Will authors be able to find an economically sustainable means of financing their writing (including any necessary research) that can withstand the perils of near-free proliferation of illicit unlicensed digital copies of their works? Or will authors have to have either patrons (sponsors) (e.g. literary awards' prize money) or employers (e.g. academics) who pay them to write, perhaps limiting most content to be "safe" or "salable" topics for the most part.

Comment: Re:"Secret" (Score 1) 390

by plcurechax (#47608453) Attached to: "Secret Serum" Used To Treat Americans With Ebola

It's only "secret" in the sense that almost all pharmaceutical research is completely ignored by the media.

If you dig around you'll find some articles about ZMAPP in no-name low-impact journals like PNAS and Science.

They (the media) mean Mapp Biotech didn't issue a big-name PR firm to issue a press release about this "secret" (pre human trials) treatment, which is how most "science" and "health" news is researched by the media.

Does Mapp even have a publicly traded stock? No mention of ticker symbol, how could they be a real pharmaceutical company without hyping that?

I mean my kids have a NASDAQ Biotech company now, after their lemonade stand was closed down by the IRS for not printing a "forwarding looking disclosure" on their investment prospectus (aka napkins).

Comment: Re:Expert:Ebola Vaccine At Least 50 White People A (Score 1) 390

by plcurechax (#47608293) Attached to: "Secret Serum" Used To Treat Americans With Ebola

As another researcher in the pharma industry: reread your post. Your entire post is only highlighting how poor of a job pharmaceutical companies do at effectively bringing drugs to market, all while adding the inefficiency of a 20% profit margin.

Emphasis added

Notice that said "bringing drugs to markets," not the basic funding for preliminary basic research into the actual discovery and isolation of the basic drug and/or drug interaction, which continues to be funded (95+%) by the federal governments of the G8 nations.

Then being granted a 18 or 20-years monopoly (from patent file date admittedly, not marketing approval date), if you successfully complete the marketing research without killing too many test participants. Although for any "successful" to "blockbuster" drug the entire pre-approval expense including administration and marketing is more than recouped by double in the first year of sales.*

The cited book ($800 Million Pill) is not the only ones to criticize and rebut the $800 million dollar figure which is oft-touted in the media, actually comes from the DiMasi's 2001 paper The price of innovation: new estimates of drug development costs.. Thought even the Wall Street Journal notes "[f]or instance, only $403 million of Dr. DiMasi's $802 million total are actual out-of-pocket expenses. The rest is an estimated cost of capital -- or the return that investing the money at an 11% rate of return would have earned over time." Non-executives-types would call it fudging the numbers.

* The $800 million pill book by Merrill Goozner.

Comment: Re:Expert:Ebola Vaccine At Least 50 White People A (Score 3, Informative) 390

by plcurechax (#47608025) Attached to: "Secret Serum" Used To Treat Americans With Ebola

There is no reason American health programs can not do the same.

Actually there is a law against that."The 2003 Medicare law* prohibits Medicare from negotiating drug prices, setting prices or establishing a uniform list of covered drugs, known as a formulary."

*: full title "Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act"

Comment: Re:UUNET in 1987? (Score 1) 116

by plcurechax (#47607733) Attached to: Barry Shein Founded the First Dialup ISP (Video)

The company I worked for was dialing into UUNET back in 1987/88. Why aren't they considered the first

Because UUnet didn't offer dial-up TCP/IP connectivity (or Inter-networking) back in the 1980's, they offered dial-up UUCP (unix-to-unix-copy) services for Usenet (NetNews) and email (with ! (bang) addresses).

They offered backbone IP access in 1990 via its AlterNet service based on the Wikipedia article you linked.!!...!uunet

Comment: FUD much? (Score 3, Insightful) 409

I know there are brilliant doctors and scientists in Atlanta who handle highly-communicable diseases, but is this such a brilliant idea?

When did Slashdot become home to stupid FUD* spewing dweebs with little or no common sense? The subtitle is "News for Nerds," which would suggest somebody who submits something might have half a clue about what they are talking about (leaving the plebs to pontificate on logical and scientific fallacy or imagine a Beowulf cluster of hot grits ).

I want my Slashdot with nerds filter enabled.

And yes it is an excellent idea, because it gives the CDC a living "test tube" of the actual active Ebola virus, not a sample of infected blood collected, and shipped on ice. Making it ideal for study, and possibly detection of any variant (i.e. mutation) that had not been notice before. Of course, this will likely cost the American doctor his/her life, but such is the risk of fighting an viral outbreak, and the real-world beyond web forums and politicians rambling.

* FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt

Comment: Citing Wikipedia (Score 1) 189

by plcurechax (#47581761) Attached to: An Accidental Wikipedia Hoax


[...] The point being, Wikipedia is not a source of anything, it is the product of a series of sources. So you do not cite Wikipedia, you cite the article it points to.[...]

Careful. While you can use Wikipedia as a meta-index to find references, you can only cite those 3rd-party references if and only if you actually obtain a copy and view the content yourself.

Otherwise you are merely shifting from hoping that the content to Wikipedia is accurate, complete, etc. to hoping that the citations are both a) Real, and b) the Wikipedia content that cites the 3rd-party source, is accurate in its portrayal of the cited work's content.

For example, I could cite the Gutenberg bible (or pick your favorite "lost" historic title found only in the Vatican library) as the reference for the existence of aliens on Earth, and given the rarity and inaccessibility of such a reference, very few, if any Wikipedians have access to counter such citation. And that Douglas Adams ripped off "42" and "the meaning life, the universe, and everything" from Al-Khwarizmi's Hisab al-jabr wÃ(TM)al-muqabala, Kitab al-Jabr wa-l-Muqabala. Not necessarily true, but hard to disprove.

Parkinson's Law: Work expands to fill the time alloted it.