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Comment: Re:Tax (Score 1) 503

by david_thornley (#48933513) Attached to: Apple Posts $18B Quarterly Profit, the Highest By Any Company, Ever

It used to be that, in any discussion of Microsoft software, there would be at least one person saying it was the best thing since sliced peanut butter, while at least one person claimed that it was almost unusable. It looks like this has changed to Apple hardware: you'll find at least one person whose Macs never lasted two years and one who only got rid of them because Apple stopped supporting the CPU ten years ago.

In the meantime, I'm going with the relatively unbiased surveys that consistently put Apple at or near the top for reliability and customer satisfaction.

Comment: Re:Incidentally... (Score 1) 125

by david_thornley (#48933413) Attached to: FCC Prohibits Blocking of Personal Wi-Fi Hotspots

Actually, they write and publish something that resembles an apology in some ways (at least in the US). A real apology acknowledges wrong action (deliberate or accidental) and regret for the action. The usual corporate version of an apology says the corp had good reason to do what it did, and is sorry that anybody had a problem with it.

Comment: Re:Not really. (Score 1) 233

by david_thornley (#48933183) Attached to: Gamma-ray Bursts May Explain Fermi's Paradox

You're making assumptions here. How do we know that humans aren't on the peaceful side of intelligent life-forms?

If we take a look at the developed world, we find that sports and martial arts rarely kill, and ones that cause too much injury get into trouble (consider what's happening to football in the US). Sports involving animals fighting are pretty much banned. Slavery is illegal, and we really haven't managed to eliminate any sort of crime, only reduce it a lot. I don't know what you mean by "very corrupt" here, but around here you can do pretty much anything without bribes. We have laws designed to keep people safe in the workplace, and devote a lot of technology to keeping people safe overall. We have approximately zero population growth. War is normally waged against less developed and more violent societies, being rare against other developed societies.

If you think the way you describe humanity is anywhere near normal for advanced civilizations, then we're on the dove side.

Comment: Re:Beware. Here Be Dragons. (Score 1) 209

by david_thornley (#48932609) Attached to: Serious Network Function Vulnerability Found In Glibc

auto_ptr actually does what it's supposed to do, in terms of memory management. It doesn't play well with other parts of the language. It's deprecated because unique_ptr is at least as good in all ways, and better in some.

You don't really need to understand smart pointer lifecycles in detail; you have to know how to use them and stick to it. Raw pointers never own, so you never create an object using a raw pointer and you never delete a raw pointer. Raw pointers may be passed from function to function, but should never be stored anywhere with a longer lifetime than the function that stores it. To show individual ownership, you use unique_ptr. For shared ownership, use shared_ptr. (If you feel the need to store a raw pointer in some more persistent way, go back and change it to a shared_ptr.)

Finally, use the container template classes when you can, since they handle memory management well.

Do that, and your biggest problem with memory will be leaks when you have circular references.

Comment: Re:Open source code is open for everyone (Score 1) 209

by david_thornley (#48932547) Attached to: Serious Network Function Vulnerability Found In Glibc

Managed languages eliminate C/C++'s largest (and most critical) attack surface.

In the cases you cite, you can get the same safety in C++, and you really should.

First, you use some discipline with pointers. Owning pointers are either unique_ptr or shared_ptr, which eliminates most memory leaks (not those in a circular structure, though), and makes sure that memory is neither double-freed nor used after it is freed.

Second, you never use C-style arrays. Use string and vector instead, and you've eliminated buffer overflows. Use .at() instead of [] (or make your own vector type that makes [] range-checked, as Stroustrup suggests), and you've eliminated wayward memory accesses.

This does require some discipline, but it's mechanical discipline. It doesn't require creativity, and it's easily checked in a code review because it's clear, mechanical, and messing up that discipline requires screwing up on an individual line of code in an obvious way.

Comment: Re: Heartbleed (Score 1) 209

by david_thornley (#48932315) Attached to: Serious Network Function Vulnerability Found In Glibc

First, there have been different court rulings and laws affecting EULAs, so while your "usually unenforceable" may be true, you can't rely on it.

Second, it's real easy to get into trouble in an unclear legal situation, and winning the suit against you may be almost as bad as losing. (The only winning move is not to play.) Many people aren't going to risk that.

Comment: Re:This doesn't sound... sound (Score 1) 323

Destruction of goods can lead to prosperity. In 1939, the US was in a depression. War spending kicked in, and pushed the economy hard. War spending is effectively destruction of goods, lots of them literally and other goods being spent making things that have no civilian use. The US produced tens of thousands of Sherman tanks. Many were literally destroyed, and the remainder were largely surplus that nobody wanted come September 1945.

This caused the US economy to boom. It also built a lot of demand, since most people were working (millions unproductively from an economic point of view), they were getting paid, and there wasn't that much to buy. Despite widespread fear, the economy remained dynamic after the war ended.

It takes special circumstances, but it can work. Economies are complicated, and sane and honest people know that.

Comment: Re: Not their fault (Score 1) 393

by david_thornley (#48928037) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

Wrong. Ball pressure is measured relative to the outside atmosphere, which is about 14.5psi. To use the gas law, we need to consider the difference between 25 psi (the balls as measured) and 27 psi (regulation pressure). Using your figure of 11C, or about 284K, we see that we have about 0.088 psi per kelvin, or an inflation temperature of about 307K, which puts the temperature in the 90s F if they were earlier filled to the minimum allowed pressure. Possible, but unlikely.

Comment: Re:How is this not bribery? (Score 1) 77

by david_thornley (#48927985) Attached to: Comcast Pays Overdue Fees, Offers Freebies For TWC Merger Approval

Offering money to individual people in exchange for favorable actions is bribery. TFS claimed nothing of the sort. Giving money to the city of Minneapolis in exchange for Minneapolis doing certain things is standard negotiations, and there's nothing improper about it.

What's wrong with bribery is that it causes an official to do something that's good for him or her but bad for the city or whatever. It's the old difference between agent incentives and principal incentives, pumped up with gifts. A payment to Mayor Hodges (not that she has much power under the city charter) in exchange for her performing an individual service is proper if there's no other entanglements. A payment to the city in exchange for the city doing certain things is proper, assuming the city decision was made properly. A payment to Hodges in exchange for the city doing certain things is bribery.

Comment: Re:In other words. (Score 1) 77

by david_thornley (#48927875) Attached to: Comcast Pays Overdue Fees, Offers Freebies For TWC Merger Approval

However, there are different people who may be paying for it. If Minneapolis would pay Comcast for seven years for certain services, and Comcast, as part of an agreement, provides the services and absorbs the cost, then it's free to Minneapolis and the Minneapolis taxpayers.

Exactly who pays for it is a matter between Comcast and its victims^Wcustomers. I doubt it will increase cable rates, so Comcast/Greatland is likely to just mark the cost (which is less than what Minneapolis would pay) up as a cost of doing business. Comcast/Greatland stockholders might suffer a bit, but that's not going to bother me.

Comment: Re:Now using TOR after WH threats to invade homes (Score 1) 279

by david_thornley (#48926327) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

Who apologizes to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing or the recent murders in France? In both cases, the authorities either knew the perpetrators were dangerous or had enough information to know. The Russians had warned us about the Boston Marathon bombers (the warning apparently wasn't as effective as it should have been because of different ways of transliterating the Cyrillic alphabet to ours). The French knew to watch out for their terrorists

Whenever I read of an arrest for a terrorist plot that didn't come off, it's uniformly a matter of idiots who were no danger in the first place, and often with an agent provocateur who encouraged them. The arrests are often for conspiracy, without a single illegal action being performed.

Comment: Re:Perhaps one day you will evolve to love males. (Score 1) 279

by david_thornley (#48926227) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

Perhaps one day you will evolve to love males.

This is stupid. There's lots of kinds of love, and there's plenty of reasons why BarbaraHudson would likely not be sexually interested in me. Since I never intended to have sex with her, I don't see why I should care about her sexual orientation.

Religious people are delusional.

People who say that are delusional, in that they think they know that religion is bunk, but in fact there's no evidence either way. Absence of evidence is not decisive evidence of absence. (It's easy to prove that a majority of people have false religious beliefs by consulting a reference work. Christians, Muslims, and none of the above are all minorities, and they all disagree with one another.)

Torture works. Historically proven.

True, but not for everything. Torture is very useful when it comes to coercion. You can get somebody to confess to anything they did, or anything they didn't for that matter. It's not good at finding the truth. It is, however, very useful if you want to band people together for immoral purposes: have each of them torture somebody.

Healthcare is not and cannot be a right because the demand for it is infinite.

That's stupid. First, the demand for healthcare is finite. Since there are a finite number of people, for demand to be infinite it would be possible to spend any number of resources on one person's health care, and I don't see that happening. The potential demand is larger than we can reasonably supply, but that doesn't mean there can't be a right to a reasonable level of medical care.

There continue to be many factual opinions that cannot be freely held and expressed without being persecuted. Thus the need for privacy and anonymity, even if it is only partial.

In certain places, yes. In general, I can't think of any. There are people publicly in favor of legalizing all drugs or having sex with young children. I've publicly asked for research into child pornography to find its actual effects. There are people out there who defend terrorism and terrorists. As long as they don't do anything, they appear to be mostly ignored. As a test, specify an opinion on facts that you think would automatically be persecuted. Then look for it on blogs and Slashdot archives. When you find that, check to see whether and why persecution occurred.

There are situations where it's safer to not express certain opinions, not everywhere. There are societies where I'd just let people think I was Christian rather than correct them, for example.

"Free markets select for winning solutions." -- Eric S. Raymond

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