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Comment: Depends (Score 1) 168

by PotatoHead (#49753963) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?

My early experiences were the old Atari VCS (2600) and VCS stood for video computer system. I was fascinated by the pixels and the idea of a TV being interactive.

I wanted control of the pixels.

Later, in school, I got to work on Apple ][ computers, and those just begged to be programmed. Gaming can initiate the desire, but so can a lot of other computer driven things these days.

It is not prep directly.

Indirectly, games can be prep. For a few friends and I, cracking copy protection got us into 6502 machine and later on, Assembly language. We would use the monitor to see what was going on. Reading the ROM listing told us a lot more.

BASIC is slow, and that too drove learning more. To get the real magic out of the old machines, one has to know stuff. We made games, played them and learned. Utility type programming was good too. One such program generated book reports with just a few picks and keyboard input.

Just playing, unless the game incorporates programming concepts, is not meaningful. The ability of games and other interactive things can spark the desire to build and control.

The latter leads to activities that do serve as prep.

Comment: Re:Thank you - just PR for his presidential run. (Score 4, Interesting) 358

by physicsphairy (#49747457) Attached to: What Was the Effect of Rand Paul's 10-Hour "Filibuster"?

It was never feasible for him to block the bill, so I don't see why details of, e.g, when he did it would be important. The purpose was to raise awareness and I've seen quite a bit of coverage including major political sites like DrudgeReport so I would say whatever his notions were they worked out rather well. If it is a call to the masses then it makes sense to give them time to digest and react (hopefully with a call to their representatives) before the actual bill.

As is, are we under the impression that once in office Rand Paul will abandon the cause? Because if not, as the chief executive he would certain have the ability to direct these agencies differently. Personally, this convinces me he would be committed to doing so.

Comment: Re:call me skeptical (Score 4, Insightful) 190

Well, either he did manage to access the flight controls from the entertainment system, or he didn't.

If he didn't, I don't think the FBI has much of a case.

I don't think that this has anything to do with whether or not the FBI actually has a case. I suspect that this is the federal government sending a message to security researchers that airplanes are off-limits. It's the same reason for the TSA's billions of dollars of security theater - it's not about safety, it's about making people feel like they are safe. If average citizens do not feel safe flying, they won't fly and we won't have an airline industry. This would have a tremendous effect on our economy. If average citizens believe that flight control systems can be hacked by a geek in his/her seat with a laptop, they will not feel safe, and may not fly.

I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist, and I'm not about to start now. However, given the fact that it seems other-worldly outlandish that a security researcher can gain control of any flight controls via the wi-fi entertainment system, I strongly suspect that this is the purpose of the FBI's heavy-handed tactics.

Comment: Re:One small problem (Score 2) 509

by j-turkey (#49638055) Attached to: What To Say When the Police Tell You To Stop Filming Them
Good post, I agree with every point that you've made. However, I'd like to add one thing:

When dealing with the police, avoid being black. This will greatly reduce your chances of being beaten, unlawfully being detained/arrested/searched, or otherwise having your other civil rights violated.

Comment: Re:Americentred worldview (Score 2) 164

If Slashdot's editorial duty is to emphasize news items based on their humanitarian importance, it fails with every article that isn't about death, poverty, slavery, etc. Of course, then it wouldn't be a tech website and we probably wouldn't visit it, so that all is fairly moot. This is about Dan Fredinburg because he was relevant to tech and known in our community (and he's certainly worth remembering as a person as well, regardless of what else is in the news). It's not here because it was the most important thing to happen in the past week.

I think it's on us to give the events in Nepal their due emphasis. Personally, I have donated to Doctors Without Borders, which is sending medical aid. I invite anyone else to do the same, and maybe to bring up the topic with family, friends, and coworkers.

But I am very glad and thank you for remembering the other Nepali. Maybe if we let the editors know that we would like them to setup a donation button or organize something in that vein so we can help out as a community, they would oblige.

Comment: Alternatives to Mendeley (Score 1) 81

Personally I have found Mendeley frustrating to use anyway. Seemed more interested in shiny features than working well. Wasn't very good at maintaining its bibtex file (which could be a problem using it with other programs) and expected you to have digital references only.

JabRef is a great multiplatform reference manager which combines excellently with Docear for writing a paper/thesis/dissertation (Docear lets you organize your references and annotations as part of your outline). I have also found it worth it to run PDF-XChange Viewer under WINE. It is unfortunately not open source but it supports any feature you can think of for annotating PDFs and integrates nicely (with a bit of non-windows setup) with Docear.

Zotero is another great reference manager. I have also heard good things about BibDesk (OS X only).

Comment: Re:How much is his investment in the company makin (Score 3, Informative) 482

by j-turkey (#49486913) Attached to: Seattle CEO Cuts $1 Million Salary To $70K, Raises Employee Salaries
No, that is not tax evasion, I believe that you may be confused about the terminology (or are doing it on purpose for the sake of hyperbole, which is even more unhelpful). This is a case of setting up earnings to be tax advantaged (or tax avoidance), either deliberately or as an advantageous consequence of something that is potentially very good. There is a very real difference (see the article heading where it says "not to be confused with tax avoidance"). One is criminal, the other is sound money management. To put it another way, are you suggesting that you do not take any tax deductions?

Comment: Not sure that TFA is comparing apples to apples (Score 3, Informative) 72

by j-turkey (#49483005) Attached to: Samsung SSD On a Tiny M.2 Stick Is Capable of Read Speeds Over 2GB/sec

...is capable of sequential read and write speeds of 2,260 MB/sec and 1,600 MB/sec respectively. Comparable SATA-based M.2 SSDs typically can only push read/write speeds of 540 MB/sec and 500 MB/sec,

Non-SATA M.2 drives are already on the market. Comparing the newest drive to SATA-based M.2 drives does not help much, I'd rather see it compared to what it supersedes. In this case, I'm more interested in a comparison with a PCIe 3.0 4-lane M.2 SSD drive that doesn't support NVMe. The drive specification for the earlier non-NVMe SM951 is not that far off of that of the new drive. The earlier drive is rated at sequential read and write speeds of 2,150 MB/sec 1,500 MB/sec respectively. Again, not all that far off.

That being said...I'm curious to see the difference that NVMe makes in real-world benchmarks, and where the difference is...especially because I just built a new system with a non-NVMe SM951 SSD. :)

Comment: Re:Interlacing? WTF? (Score 1) 113

by PotatoHead (#49423335) Attached to: Turning the Arduino Uno Into an Apple ][

C64 used a non-sequential scheme that mirrored it's character display.

8 bytes sequential on most machines means a linear series of pixels on the same scan line.

On the C64, those bytes got stacked up to form a character, each byte on a sequential scan line, assuming one starts at a character boundary.

Comment: Re:Personal morality and pandering (Score 1) 653

Last time I checked, Tim Cook was a US citizen so it hardly seems inappropriate to hold your own country to a higher standard than places where you don't actually get a vote. Furthermore it's a little hard to criticize a foreign country for something that your own country is doing. Fix your home first and then you can hold the moral high ground.

This is one of those things which would sound wholly reasonable if you weren't comparing the EXECUTION OF HOMOSEXUALS for being homosexual to whether every smalltime shop is legally compelled to service their weddings. The former is so many orders of magnitude worse that I am amazed we are even making the comparison. Any influence a boycott can have in one of those countries is worth a thousand times what it can have here. In fact boycott or not I offer a decent person should avoid doing business in those countries just because of the sheer moral discomfort of being in any way remotely affiliated with them.

Comment: Re:Although unused, not useful (Score 2) 213

A five ton delivery truck can be quite lethal also. Taking your child to pick something up or leaving them unsupervised while you go to the store creates additional risk. Accidents involving multiple passengers and multiple vehicles compound the lethality of single points of failure. Even if the drone dies unexpectedly, it's going to have significant probability of having a non-lethal descent, being over a building or open terrain, compared to a vehicle which is specifically restricted to an area with other people moving at high velocities. And if these are battery powered or have a clean burning fuel, we can consider the general health effects of reduced pollution as well.

Safety is important, but the setup we have right now is pretty dangerous. I wouldn't suggest missing out on even a moderate improvement by demanding absolute perfection at the start.

Comment: Re:WWJD? (Score 5, Informative) 1168

Jesus, the guy who would always do what you would do.

Despite an oppressive Roman occupation, Jesus never had much to say about the Romans. He outmaneuvered questions designed to embroil him in the local politics. He refused efforts to crown him as king. He refused to defend himself when he stood accused before them.

If I may be so bold as to guess, I would say no, Jesus would not vocally oppose this bill. Nor would he endorse it. Jesus did not see government as a means to achieve his objectives. He taught in the synagogues. He clashed with religious leaders. He went to the oppressed and ministered to them directly. He would not be interested in your politics (or mine). But he would be strongly interested in affecting the compassion, selflessness, humility, and general godliness of the people involved.

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