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Comment: Games (Doom) helped me into an IT career (Score 3, Informative) 167

by t0qer (#49753467) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?

So it was 1993. My friends and I all loved video games, consoles, etc. In '92 we had all gotten hooked on Wolfenstien, and most of us already had computers cobbled together from things begged, borrowed and stolen. We spent days tweaking our config.sys and autoexec.bats to get the most of what little ram we had. (himem.sys, load TSR high) Then Doom came out.

We started doing dial up games almost immediately. Then one day one of our friends tells us about LANNING a game. We all bought into it, getting 3c509c's? Ahh those days, magelink for transferring maps, loading ipxodi, lots of fun. "WHO UNPLUGGED THE TERMINATOR?"

From there a lot of us went to tech support for the then blossoming ISP industry, and from that we went on to desktop support, and bigger and greater things. I owe my career to video games.

Comment: It is worth it. (Score 1) 267

by t0qer (#49622257) Attached to: Is It Worth Learning a Little-Known Programming Language?

They might not be programming languages per se, but I've spent a lot of time with autohotkey, NSIS, apple applescript and the like. The one thing all of these have in common is quick, clean looking applications with a narrow degree of focus; automation and deployment.

I've done some pretty nice tricks with them, mostly from a IT side of things. I've done a few applications with autohotkey. One startup I worked at couldn't really customize their helpdesk system, but wanted more info from tickets. I made a nice little app that took it from editing a txt file, to a few tabs of checkboxes, radio buttons, etc that would copy the answers to the clipboard.

Automator has helped me tons, especially when creating apple accounts. I started with a script I found, and I've been customizing it for our own needs within the company. We have a few services that only have a web interface to administrate them. Using the appleIDautomator script as a base, I've been able to tweak it to set these up as well.

Finally did an active directory rollout a few weeks back and needed to bundle meraki, bit9, and forsit's profile migrator. Bundled all 3 setups in NSIS. I've done even better installers than that with NSIS. I took a 7 server JBOSS application, bundled mysql, apache, etc and made an installer that even did CRC checks on the files post install. Meh, it did all kinds of crazy stuff, changed the machine name, added entries to the hosts file. It cut the install time down from 40 hours to 4.

Comment: Re:Is SONY breaking the law with this "defense"? (Score 5, Insightful) 190

by Artifakt (#48578701) Attached to: Sony Reportedly Is Using Cyber-Attacks To Keep Leaked Files From Spreading

If there are any legitmate files hosted on those servers Sony's hired guns are DOSing, a "second amendment analogy" means Sony just fired back at both their opponents and some innocent bystanders. How about that, posters defending Sony's right to use such tactics - does that right include unlimited collateral damage to random bystanders? If sony isn't breaking the law, then does that make the law right even if innocents get caught in the 'crossfire'?

Comment: Re:Please (Score 2) 416

by Artifakt (#48575037) Attached to: MIT Removes Online Physics Lectures and Courses By Walter Lewin

I'm far from sure this is just about protecting the public image of MIT or saving face. It's hardly outside the realm of possibility that MIT gets some economic benefits from having those videos on Youtube and has a contract with the professor that passes some of them on to him. For example, the videos are probably calculated in MITs taxes each year as an IP asset, and that makes some of the costs of producing them part of research credits and such that affect MITs filings for years after they are made.Actions such as giving things to the community create real good will, and something called goodwill for taxes, and while both will be reduced if some people find the misbehavior disturbing enough to offset the normal good feelings towards MIT this produces, the impact on the tax version is a real economic consequence.
      I think we are looking at a borderline case, particularly if this is just a single incident of online harrassment. Like where two 16 year olds send naughty photos of themsleves to each other and then a prosecutor says it's technically distribution of pedophilic images and we should immediately try both participants as adults. This situation at least technically counts as triggering a lot of consequences, now should it trigger all of them without any to whether it's really serious enough for that whole automatic process to be just? Or is that what we mean by zero tolerance - borderline cases all trigger maximum consequences.

Comment: Re:Watson is a scientist (Score 1) 235

by Artifakt (#48567251) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Medal Will Be Returned To Him

Actually, I think there are some good, sound, scientific reasons that intelligence differences along racial lines are not genetic (at least in major part). Simplest among these is that there is as much evolutionary pressure from problems such as tropical diseases as there is from survival during an ice age, or similar factors that are invoked to "scientifially "explain these differences.
          In general, Science frequently uses Occam's Razor in one of its classic forms "It is vain to explain with more what can be explained with fewer". Explanations that somehow give special weight to the selection pressures that supposedly improved European or Asian migrants and treat the human evolutionary period like Africa was some sort of peaceful paradise where people had no reason not to stay jolly, dumb and lazy, are perfect examples of needless and counter-scientific complexity.
        These are usually offered with pseudo-scientific claims that somehow attacks by diseases or parasites or large predators on the African proto-human population, are not sustained at the right frequency, or in some exact way that was needed, and only survival against one particular stressor caused evolutionary pressure. Sometimes these get very elaborate, with claims that only one thing, such as glaciers, produced the precise combination of stressors needed to trigger evolution - wars, for example, didn't count as an evolutionary driver, unless they were wars against a distinct species offshoot such as the Neandertals, or diseases didn't count because they didn't happen on a yearly cycle like glacial advances, etc. That's special pleading, not science.

With that said Watson did something very good for many people. I'll respect that even where I think he's wrong about something, and even where I might dismiss all somebody's other opinions otherwise.

Comment: Re:Of course and duuuuuhhh. . . (Score 1) 417

by Artifakt (#48566347) Attached to: AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

That's one of Iain M. Banks' "The Culture" novels. Understandable though, it's very easy to get Iain M. Banks and Iain Banks confused, since they even lived in the same city at the time of their unfortunate deaths from similar diseases.

Still, how can The Player of Games be the greatest when one of its sequels is The Hydrogen Sonata?

Comment: Re:programming (Score 1) 417

by Artifakt (#48566057) Attached to: AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

People are probably going to claim that the AI can be programmed to avoid jeopardizing the economic interests of its owner to take care of such things. The problem with that is, such AI puts humans at risk, not because the AI itself will act against them, but the persons owning the AI will become more inclined to harm their fellow humans if those humans don't come with the useful feature of putting their owner's interests above self preservation. Having smart slaves with no sense of self may be possible some day, and even desirable for some applications, but what will it enable sociopaths to do?
          In some ways, AI without self identity is like a gun that automatically sends out press releases saying the target had a history of thuggish behavior and was charging at the gun owner. The things that could replace self identity are often things society has other problems with, such as fanatical devotion to a cause.

Comment: Re:How about a straight answer? (Score 0) 329

by Artifakt (#48562263) Attached to: Warmer Pacific Ocean Could Release Millions of Tons of Methane

Maybe, but there are reasons not to just go by the first thing you find on Wikipedia, and you've found a great example.

First, what's pretty definite about the Permian Extinction is that a really big meteor hit near Chicxulub, in the gullf of Mexico, at the right time to contribute to it. What's called the K-Pg boundry Iridium layer supports this.
Second, there's real doubt the big rock from space was enough to cause the known extinctions all by itself, so something else, such as Methane Clathrate release happening about the same time might be needed to explain some of it. That's two mights - we might need to consider more factors, and methane might be one. You're adding a third might, that the Methane might be a key factor, which I take to mean you think it's bigger than most, but not necessarily all of the suggested other factors.. There's lots of other possible factors, such as which continents were recently reconnected by land bridges after aeons of isolation at the time, or what did the evolution of flowering plants contribute, if anything. If you're right, Methane release is more significant than most such possibilities, but that's a long chain of mights, only as strong as its weakest might. .

I'll give you a countervailing wiki entry:
The part about the Deccan Traps gives an alternative source for tremendous amounts of Carbon with a source which could change isotope ratios. Also, while I don't think the meteor itself could have had enough Carbon in its composition to make much difference, it is a known fact that stuff from elsewhere in the solar system can have different isotopic ratios. In fact that's one of the things the recent cometary probe lander was supposed to measure, so I supposes somebody ought to do a few back of the envelope calculations to really rule that possibility out.

In the sciences, we are now uniquely priviledged to sit side by side with the giants on whose shoulders we stand. -- Gerald Holton