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Comment: Re:Ok, several aspects to this. (Score 1) 496

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48044453) Attached to: The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

First, guns don't protect, never have, never will.

The first eight of your 457 word wall of text shows you're so out of touch with reality that there's no point in reading the rest.

The primary function of guns in private hands is to protect those who carry them. They do that exceptionally well. In criminal attacks, resistance with gun is the most effective way to avoid injury or death. It's substantially more effective than the second best - knuckling under completely - and beats the pants off everything else, from running away, to trying to talk your way out, to resisting with bare hands or other tools. (Resisting with knife is about the worst.)

Research on self-defense is hard, because faiures leave tracks in crime stats while successes usually don't (and often leave the self-defended victim with an incentive to keep quiet about it). Nevertheless, even the first well-run projects were able to put a lower bound of guns preventing or aborting more than six times as many crimes as they aid in committing.

In private hands they're safer than police, too. A defense-with-gun is usually effected by no more than brandishing or occasionally getting off a round in the general direction of the perp. But of those instances where a victim or a policeman shoots someone believed to be a perpetrator, the cop is over 5 1/2 times as likely to erroneously shoot an innocent than an armed private citizen.

My family has substantial personal experience with armed self defense. For just a few examples on my wife's side: In college she was accosted by the rapist in the window, who was dressed in just running shoes and a dirty knife. Fortunately there was a hunting rifle behind the bed: She actually had to go as far as cocking it before he stopped trying to get her to drop it and jumped back out the window - apparently to take it out on another girl a few blocks away, with over 130 cuts while raping her. Her mother defended self and family against a Klan attack with a pistol. (Her granddad was caught away from his gun, though, and had to do his anti-Klan defense with a hammer.) Then there was the aunt, the uncle, ...

At the larger scale it's hard to argue with the fact that the US, founded in a revolution (by religious nut with guns) against their self-admitted "legitimate government" and with over half the adult civilian population armed, has now gone over two centuries without a substantial attack from abroad and only one major internal war, while Europe continues to suffer from genocidal wars, often with multi-million body counts. (With the exception of Switzerland, of course: Every adult citizen there is armed and has had military training. Even World Wars go around them.)

It's also hard to argue with the fact that the US is multi-ethnic, and the common denominator of each of its ethnic groups is that their members' murder victimization rate is substantially less than that of contemporary members of the same ethnic group still residing in their land of origin.

As for resisting an oppressive regime if push comes to shove: We have experiences like "The Battle of Athens" just after WWII, and the documented question from Nixon to a thnk-tank about what would happen if he suspended the presidential election. (Answer: That would precipitate an armed rebellion, and the population was well enough armed that it would succeed.) Uprisings aren't always successful and small or UNarmed uprisings are often put down, sometimes with lots of deaths. (Witness the Bonus Marchers' Massacre.) But recent decades of world politics have shown how effective a popular uprising can be, against even a coalition of world powers and superpowers.

If it came to that in the US, you can expect a substantial amount of the military (especially retirees) to be on the side of the people, along with lots of military equipment raided from armories. (You can see that now in the Middle East. The big difference between Al Queda and ISIS/ISIL is that the latter has bunch of colonels and other line officers, force-retired and blocked from normal politics in the wake of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and overthrow of the Ba'athists - along with a lot of seized military arms. The former is a bunch of terrorists, the latter has a substantial army.

Comment: Re: Here's the solution (Score 1) 404

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48043543) Attached to: Will Windows 10 Finally Address OS Decay?

Operating systems like Unix, Linux, MacOS, Solaris, etc. don't have a registry,...

True, and clearly a win.

...and don't have any significant "OS Decay".

ROFLMAO. IME, the only thing more painful than maintaining a Windows system over the long term is maintaining a *nix system over the long term.

Let's consider Linux. First, you probably get to choose between a stable or a not stable version of your distro. Choose stable and you're OK as long as you don't need to run any software released in the last 3 years and you're OK with being forced to upgrade the whole OS after maybe 2 years anyway (which will quite possibly trash your entire machine to the point of not being able to boot, or at least breaking minor features like RAID arrays, assuming you actually managed to configure one of those properly in the first place after your distro's "user friendly" installer messed it up completely). Alternatively, choose unstable if you want to run more recent software but don't mind stuff breaking all the time instead of every couple of years on a schedule.

Either way, if you want anything that hasn't got into your distribution's package management system yet, you're almost invariably forced into compiling your own software and manually installing it with makefiles. Those might, if you're really lucky, also offer a make uninstall option that actually does cleanly uninstall. That might, if you're even luckier, still work six months later, as long as no-one inadvertently installed a new version of the manually compiled code over the top to "upgrade" it, or just ran make distclean without thinking leaving you with no idea what make uninstall should have done. In any case, Linux is going to enforce absolutely no system hygiene at any point in this process.

OS X is of course doing much better with a similar foundation, as anyone who has spoken the words "Apple" and "shellshock" in the same sentence over the past few days can testify. Or at least, they'll be able to testify, just as soon as they've finished wiping and reinstalling their botnetted systems, because the patch everyone else had within hours only arrived for Apple gear several days later and long after exploits were widely found in the wild.

You're absolutely right that we should be able to install many programs and uninstall them with no lingering effects. But the idea that the registry is the only thing preventing that on Windows or that *nix systems do better is crazy. The only reason *nix systems don't break more often is that the only people running them are geeks and professionals, and those kinds of people are less likely to install random junk and more willing to dive in and fix internals when stuff goes wrong.

Comment: Re: Here's the solution (Score 2) 404

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48043469) Attached to: Will Windows 10 Finally Address OS Decay?

Except there wasn't. Well, there was. A bit. Sometimes. Naturally, this half-baked approach actually made the problems worse.

Even today and with native Windows applications, many aren't very well behaved in following the "standards" here, because Microsoft did such a terrible job of promoting good practices.

Anything that isn't a native Windows application -- including almost every darling of the open source world, for a start -- probably ignores not only the application data directory but also the program files directories and insists on spewing its crap all over your filesystem and environment. Oh, and $DEITY help you if you need to do anything with Cygwin, and $CHORUS_OF_DEITIES help you if you have more than one ported application that requires Cygwin.

It is telling that you can't even schedule a backup of the "official" place to store documents without considerable effort, because Windows itself sets up so many links that most backup tools can't handle them.

And that's before you get idiots like the Chrome team at Google who think it's clever to install executable software in your data directory in order to deliberately circumvent Windows' normal security model, just so their auto-updater can do things it shouldn't without anything silly like troubling the user for permission. I'm always a little surprised that Microsoft hasn't, with considerable and legitimate justification, flagged Chrome's installer/updater software as malware and automatically removed it at some point.

On the bright side, if Microsoft can actually manage to produce an operating system with a sensible filesystem structure and application installation/update/uninstallation tools that actually enforce that structure, they might yet salvage the Windows brand and convince significant parts of their potential market to upgrade again.

Comment: Re: Here's the solution (Score 1) 404

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48043379) Attached to: Will Windows 10 Finally Address OS Decay?

You just have to know what you're doing.

You can make Windows systems run crap-free and full speed again as well, by cleaning out all the obscure registry entries and system services and automatic updaters and cached thingies and temporary wotsits. You just have to know what you're doing.

Also, as with the part of the Linux strategy you forgot to mention, you have to be willing to spend forever doing it, because the tools provided as standard are just about hopeless.

Comment: My story with Epic (Score 1) 225

by rjh (#48041475) Attached to: Back To Faxes: Doctors Can't Exchange Digital Medical Records

Some years ago after being laid off from one programming job, my old CS prof from college suggested I stop by to interview with the Epic recruiter who was visiting the campus. I was told to block out about four hours time, and that it would be a very in-depth technical interview. It turned out to be nothing of the sort: it was maybe ten minutes of talk with a human being, and hours and hours of filling out a badly-written "technical exam". Allegedly it involved seeing how well the taker could think about programming languages and programming language concepts by giving us a toy language to write a parser and compiler for, but ... holy toledo, was it a stinker.

First, the language was defined in plain English. There was no BNF. When ambiguities of English occurred (as they always do), the Epic rep was unable to give any resolution as to what the language was supposed to do. My protest of, "Well, if you don't know what it's supposed to do, how can you expect me to write a parser or compiler for it?" fell on deaf ears.

Second, certain mathematical operations were supposed to be supported ... but the language was vague: they were supposed to have their "conventional" meanings. But some mathematical operators are defined sort of vaguely: for instance, it's not really well-defined mathematically what the modulo of two negative numbers are. As a result, different programming languages tend to implement it differently. (For instance, C++03 says it's implementation-dependent, while C++11 has a strict policy on it.) How did they want the modulus operator implemented? They had no idea.

Ultimately, when it came to writing a parser and compiler for their toy language I decided to do it the right way as opposed to their way. Instead of having an ad-hoc thing, I turned the exam over and started writing a formal BNF and lex/yacc rules on the back of the pages. I took the full four hours to do the technical exam, turned it in, told them that my work was on the *back* of the exam and not the front, and walked out.

Six weeks later, not having heard a thing from Epic, I sent them a politely-worded email saying, "If I'm going to spend four hours on a Saturday on an interview for Epic, I would appreciate the courtesy of being told whether I would be receiving a job offer or not."

A week after that I received a one-line email: "We regret to say that we're going with other candidates."

Anyway. That's my experience with Epic. Take it for whatever it's worth. I didn't think much of their interview process, and they sure didn't think much of me.

Comment: Re:And many, many more (Score 1) 824

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48040355) Attached to: David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

I think maybe you read more into my post than was really there. For example, I never suggested we supply all drinks in pints, only milk and beer, because those are what most people are familiar with. Obviously we could sell, say, a half-litre of milk instead of a pint, but what benefit would that actually bring? Every child in the UK grows up knowing how much a pint of milk is, and every shop sells milk in pints, so changing units (and, realistically, slightly changing the familiar volumes as well) seems like a solution in search of a problem to me.

Comment: Re:And many, many more (Score 1) 824

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48040245) Attached to: David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

Except that in this country, almost literally everyone uses that system, and what the metricists are arguing for is the "standard" that almost literally no-one uses.

Losing the Mars mission was very unfortunate, but not nearly as unfortunate as seeing, say, an extra hundred people dying on the roads the year after speed limits changed.

I wonder, do you think we self-absorbed holdouts should drive on the right as well?

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.