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Comment: Re:C/C++ (Score 1) 247

by cerberusti (#46440177) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's New In Legacy Languages?

Just something to consider:

Positions in which you are expected to be using C / C++ are usually senior positions with other responsibilities as well (although this does depend a bit upon what you are actually doing, C and C++ are used across more industries than most languages.)

Usually you fill that kind of position through your network of business contacts, or with someone internal who is working on something else, but you think can handle it. I would consider it a bad idea to fill it from random job boards.

Comment: Re:no way the biggest hosts (Score 3, Interesting) 76

by cerberusti (#45968243) Attached to: Amazon and GoDaddy Are the Biggest Malware Hosters

Amazon does control spam to at least some extent. They sent me an e-mail asking about it when one of the servers I have there started sending e-mail.

They asked me to describe my use case and set a new limit on outgoing messages.

Serving malware is probably difficult to do much about. I doubt they can directly scan servers for it (for a variety of reasons) and it would be difficult to distinguish from normal web traffic (especially if encrypted.) This probably means they need to wait for a problem before they can do something about it.

I suppose they could require more information about their customers, or include a waiting period on servers... but nobody does that, and in my opinion it would be unreasonable to require it of them.

Comment: Re:RE (Score 3, Informative) 365

by cerberusti (#45747835) Attached to: How To Avoid a Scramble For the Moon and Its Resources

To reach orbit you need to be able to generate enough force to lift your craft above the bulk of the atmosphere and put on enough speed to obtain orbital velocity.

Once you are there drag will be minimal, and even small propulsive forces will add up over time to get you escape velocity. Gravitational forces will not stop you from doing this as long as you overcome whatever the atmospheric friction is (if gravity is very strong, you just take longer to put on the speed to escape from orbit.)

The basic principle of ejecting matter with more energy is sound, but the devices we have which can do this tend to be heavy with low thrust, so using an ion drive to escape the atmosphere and hit orbital velocity is beyond our capabilities at the moment.

This is really more a matter of producing a lot of energy quickly (and not melting whatever we are using to push mass out at a high rate with high energy.)

I do expect that we will get better at this over time, chemical energy is just very easy in comparison.

Comment: Re:Destabalized orbit? (Score 2) 365

by cerberusti (#45747189) Attached to: How To Avoid a Scramble For the Moon and Its Resources

Good examples!

Since you went so far as to list tidal acceleration, I thought I would engage in a bit of pedantry though:

Jupiter is massive enough that the barycenter of the Sun - Jupiter system is not inside the sun. It would be more accurate to say they orbit each other (although the point they orbit it is very close to the sun.)

The real answer:

The moon is massive enough that both the earth and moon orbit a point barely within the earth. Removing half the mass would change the point they orbit, and therefore the orbital altitude of the moon. Orbital speed depends upon orbital altitude, so keeping the same velocity and removing half the mass would indeed make the moon drift away from the earth (very slowly.)

Comment: Re:Destabalized orbit? (Score 2) 365

by cerberusti (#45746325) Attached to: How To Avoid a Scramble For the Moon and Its Resources

Simply removing mass would not change the orbit.

What matters is the direction you blast it off (as well as how much mass, and with how much force.)

If we did somehow figure out how to exert enough force to substantially affect the orbital velocity of the moon (which is what matters) we would probably be able to balance launch points such that it would maintain the same orbit.

Comment: Re:I can confirm this. (Score 1) 118

by cerberusti (#44372915) Attached to: Software Development Employment Rises 45% In 10 Years

I almost wrote up a similar response, but thought there was a good chance this was either trolling or sarcasm. There is also a good chance he is serious.

It is somewhat easy to staff up on web developers, even good ones if you pay somewhat well.

Finding a decent C programmer is far from easy. I am likely about to open a position for one... with a 6 month lead time before we will really need them. One of the things on my to do list this week is to justify that time frame to our investors, but I really think it may be too short to fill it in time (not a huge problem as this is a startup exiting that phase, and it is mostly that I am ready to come up with a new project, pitch it, and move on to that.)

A degree may get you an interview for a junior programming position, but it will not get you a job. I usually consider it equivalent to about a year of experience.

Many of the best programmers I know do not have a degree, or have one in an unrelated field. Something like a masters in mathematics and five years of C experience is worth real money, a BS in computer science and a year of PHP is not.

Comment: Re:Dram (Score 1) 114

by cerberusti (#43344627) Attached to: 3D DRAM Spec Published

It matters a great deal, and making sure burst transfers are effective is not always possible.

I do high performance calculations for a living. Knowing in advance what you will need in the future is a somewhat hard problem (and the basis of most modern optimization.)

The difference between main memory and cache is vast, if you can predict what you need far enough in advance to load it into cache that helps quite a bit, but realize that normally at best you are loading 4x what you really will need (which is the nature of trying to predict it so far ahead of time you are not able to calculate what you will really need.)

If you want to contest that, how much memory do you have in cache compared to your data set of a few terabytes? Multiple cores are usually a loss in performance if you even try, most real world problem are not possible to run in parallel once you hit the easy optimizations (which mask latency for the most part at the expense of a large amount of cache memory.)

Most of the harder problems I have run into could scale across multiple cores (or CPUs) if it was designed that way, but the run time would always be worse than a solution which assumed that it will always run on one core (introducing synchronization points kills it.)

Latency is essentially everything in most applications which are optimized (most are not, it costs too much.) The recent trend of simply including more CPUs is essentially an acknowledgement that computers have almost hit their limit in terms of the number of sequential calculations they can run over time.

If you are assuming that your application will become faster as time goes on you already lost. In most cases this cannot happen unless the original implementation was highly suboptimal (such as... you used Java or C# instead of C, or your C code is terrible.)

Comment: Basics only (Score 1) 293

by cerberusti (#42631607) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Anti-Theft Devices For Luggage?

Bring only basic items.

Clothing, toothbrush, toothpaste, and maybe a charger for the basic prepaid cellphone you picked up before you left.

Anything else is an invitation to theft, and you should consider it potentially lost before you leave. If you decide it is more important to bring your Ipad than leave it home so be it, but the potential cost to you is the cost of the device.

If your employer sends you, request a travel laptop. These are disposable, and it comes at no cost to you.

No technology will really prevent theft, especially since anything which will prevent access is also a potential threat to our friendly government, and can be impounded for a very long time.

So... travel light.

Comment: Re:Personal Anecdote FWIW (Score 1) 144

by cerberusti (#42600061) Attached to: CES: Can a Gyroscope Ball Really Cure Wrist Pain? (Video)


Get a full range of motion in your wrist as often as possible. About every 20 minutes I move my wrists to their full extent in all directions, move all finger joints to theirs (crack your knuckles both ways...) and touch each finger to each other one.

This only takes a few seconds to do with some practice.

Nearly zero problems after 20 years, it seems to work for everyone I have suggested it to.

I type very quickly, and both my leisure and day job require much typing. The pain goes away if you lubricate your joints and strengthen your muscles regularly.

It probably helps to be in good physical shape with adequate blood flow.

Comment: Re:Richard Stallman's Right to Read is Coming True (Score 2) 465

by cerberusti (#42497593) Attached to: Death of Printed Books May Have Been Exaggerated

I bought a kindle for my girlfriend quite a while ago, and have used their store many times (one of the early models, and she is an avid reader.)

Your assertions are factually incorrect with regards to amazon (no idea about other vendors.) This is not a case of it changing over time either, the below has been true since the introduction of the kindle, and remains true to this day.

1) Not all e-books are DRM restricted.

Amazon offers many books which are out of copyright for free (which has probably led to a significant savings over time for me, as she likes to read the classics, and I would otherwise end up buying these in paper form.) Small publishers and self published works are also in many cases DRM free. We have purchased several of these from amazon as well, so they obviously exist.

2) Books from sources other than amazon can be loaded onto the kindle.

We have purchased several self published books directly from the author and loaded them onto the kindle, so these also obviously exist. I will also point out that various libraries lend current e-books which work on the kindle (including our local library.) It is free to borrow these, although it is time limited as with any other book checked out from a library.

The below includes some speculation, so it is not necessarily factual... but is most likely correct:

I seriously doubt the companies you listed conspired with publishers to "keep all the savings for themselves." The far more likely scenario is that these companies entered into an agreement with publishers who owned the sole publication rights to works they wished to carry in their store, so that they could... you know... carry it in their store. I am sure that amazon wants to make money on these as well, but I can hardly fault them for that (I also do not work unless I can make money from that work.)

One of the conditions was likely that they include DRM, and so they did. I am not obligated to purchase these if I do not wish to, and could in fact only purchase DRM free books for use with the kindle (from amazon or another store.) This would limit the selection of modern books, but it could be done (many could even be borrowed from the library... if we wanted to wait in line, as with any other popular physical book.)

There are some complaints to make here, but they are best leveled against the appropriate party. In this case publishers who are watching their industry collapse, and do not wish to embrace the changes our modern age brings. I do not believe amazon deserves this criticism however, and in fact think they deserve much credit for essentially creating the market.

I have no affiliation with amazon other than as a customer, and do not own their stock (I probably would, but their current valuation is hard to swallow.)

Comment: Glad I declined to do that project (Score 1) 222

by cerberusti (#42477571) Attached to: Are Programmers Responsible For the Actions of Their Clients?

Reading this article is kind of wild... I was approached to do a very similar project at around the time he would have written this software.

I refused it.

That decision cost me at the time. I nearly lost my job over it, annoyed everyone involved, and the company lost what had been a fairly profitable client (who referred it to us, and looked bad when I rejected it.)

He may not have known that he was likely to get into trouble over it, but that means he was not duly diligent. If I recall correctly the arguments against my stance that this was not legal were as follows:

1) Advertisements were running on TV for this type of gambling (I produced a letter the DOJ was circulating to advertisers at the time stating in no uncertain terms that they consider it illegal.)
2) It was not a US company, and it was ok to write it for them since they are not bound by US law (I argued that I am a US citizen, and am subject to US law regardless.)
3) The company would get into trouble, not me personally (I argued that this was possibly criminal, and they could pierce the veil over it.)
4) It was not my job to decide this, and I should basically just shut up and do it... or there would be consequences.

Everyone was very pushy about this. The direct payment would have been large, and it came with some ownership (likely a very substantial amount of money.) When I refused I got into a very serious argument with my boss.

This lasted about a week, and included having to join a couple of conference calls where I was yelled at for not being a team player, was told I was sabotaging the company, and that maybe I was not worth having around after all. I was also told that they would provide a poor reference if asked, and would make sure I lost the referring client (who I did lose over it.)

I still calmly refused, and eventually ended the conversations with "At the end of the day I either write this software or not. I will not, and you are now wasting your time in trying to change my mind."

I qualified my refusal with the conditions under which I would write it: which included either a license by a US based gaming commission which I believed covered what they wanted to do, or a letter of opinion from the DOJ that this did not violate the law. Neither of these applied, and so my refusal stood.

I am now very glad I decided not to do that project.

Currently I work as a CTO (obviously not at that company.) Product development is under my control, and a non-trivial part of the job is to consider the legal implications of what we do (legal usually reports to the CTO for a reason.)

Liability in software is the same as it is in any other industry, despite the fact that overhead is lower than most. If you produce a product you specifically know will be used for illegal purposes you can very much be held liable (in that case allowing US citizens to place bets on sporting events over the internet.)

If the primary use is legal and you make some effort to curtail illegal activity, it is generally not an issue. In this case he either knew or should have known that the primary use was not legal. His case is weak, and it likely would be better for him personally to take the plea bargain.

Money is the root of all wealth.