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Comment: Re:or credibility of the government (Score 1) 120

by Animats (#47587597) Attached to: The CIA Does Las Vegas

It presented a compelling case that the normal, large-scale warfare fought by organized armies which was the norm for most of the 20th century was obsolete in large part because the major powers, and the U.S. in particular, couldn't be beaten in that kind of war. The focus, then, had shifted to much smaller types of attacks frequently carried out by insurgents who were only loosely affiliated.

Many pundits have written that. It's been a subject of intense debate in military circles, and you can read some of the debate in publications like Parameters, the U.S. Army War College journal. Worth remembering, though, is that insurgency is an early phase of a conflict. If the insurgency succeeds, the conflict becomes territorial and more conventional. That happened in Vietnam (the final offensive against South Vietnam involved hundreds of tanks), and it's happening now as ISIL moves from an insurgency to a nation-state. Ukraine is more of a proxy war, but it's about territory. Remember that Russia has already taken over Crimea.

Most of the potential wars in East Asia are straight nation-state conflicts. Taiwan/China, N.Korea/S.Korea, and China/Japan have no insurgent components.


Comparison: Linux Text Editors 243

Posted by Soulskill
from the put-your-swords-down dept.
jrepin writes: Mayank Sharma of Linux Voices tests and compares five text editors for Linux, none of which are named Emacs or Vim. The contenders are Gedit, Kate, Sublime Text, UltraEdit, and jEdit. Why use a fancy text editor? Sharma says, "They can highlight syntax and auto-indent code just as effortlessly as they can spellcheck documents. You can use them to record macros and manage code snippets just as easily as you can copy/paste plain text. Some simple text editors even exceed their design goals thanks to plugins that infuse them with capabilities to rival text-centric apps from other genres. They can take on the duties of a source code editor and even an Integrated Development Environment."

Comment: Re:What's changed? (Score 2) 150

The fact that your municipality is almost certainly using COTS software is actually a plus in this case, even more so if the software is being operated by an outside third party; they're unlikely to have a horse in the race and be tempted to sway the results.

Walden O'Dell, the head of Diebold Election Systems, was a top fund-raiser for George Bush in 2004. He wrote in a fund-raising memo that "he was committed "to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President." He did.

Comment: Maybe (Score 3, Interesting) 179

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47584603) Attached to: Getting Back To Coding

It seems really, really tough to get anyone finance-minded in the *business* of making software to understand that it's worthwhile to do exploratory development of tools and techniques to be much more productive later on.

Perhaps, but any such exploration and the resulting tools have to beat the baseline of a decent text editor, a decent version control system, a decent scripting language, and starting to write code within a minute of deciding the project is ready to begin.

For a long-running project with many developers and other contributors performing repetitive or error-prone tasks, maybe it will be worth investigating, selecting and adopting some external tools to automate some of that work, at some stage in the project when you know where the pain points are. But if your development team aren't newbies, they will be perfectly capable of building their code manually at first, they will surely already know their universal Big Three tools very well, and importantly, they will just code up any basic automation on the fly as the project grows and the needs become apparent.

IME, that turns out to be a surprisingly tough standard to beat. I've seen many, many projects get bogged down in their own infrastructure because they felt they should use some type of tool and forced themselves to do it, not because they necessarily needed that tool or found it useful in practice. Of course good tools can be useful, and of course sometimes it is better to bring in help from outside the project rather than being too NIH about everything, but it's important to stay focussed on the goal and not to forget that tools are only means to an end.

Comment: Re:or credibility of the government (Score 1) 120

by Animats (#47583851) Attached to: The CIA Does Las Vegas

In 1950 Joe McCarthy claimed to have a list of communists in government...

Amusingly, we now know, from USSR files revealed in the 1990s, that there were a lot of communist sympathizers in the State Department passing info to the USSR. KGB Moscow Central found them useless. They wanted spies in the military and in the military contractors doing advanced R&D on aircraft, missiles, electronics, and nuclear weapons. What the State Department was doing mostly wasn't secret and wasn't militarily important.

In the mid 1960's most young people were against the government because they were being forced to serve their country in the military, which generated a great deal of anti-government sentiment because they did not want to.

That's correct. The whole "anti-war movement" was about not getting drafted. It was driven by self-interest.


Hotel Chain Plans Phone-Based Check-in and Room Access 102

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-i-love-digging-those-keycards-out-of-my-wallet dept.
GTRacer writes: Forbes reports that Hilton Worldwide, international hotel operator, is rolling out smartphone-based guest tools allowing self-service check-in, access to a virtual floorplan to select a room, and (in 2015) actual door access once checked in. The author states the drive for this technology is the growing influence of the swelling ranks of Millennials, who "[...] have a very strong inclination toward automated and self-service customer service." The security risks seem obvious, though.

Comment: Re:The bashing is sometimes justified... (Score 1) 110

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47580713) Attached to: Countries Don't Own Their Internet Domains, ICANN Says

I think it's important to remember that the court ruling that started all this did not say that anyone should be able to require information to be removed just because they didn't like it. The outcome relates to information that is "inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive". Also, it was explicitly stated that such determinations would need to be made on a case-by-case basis, balancing the individual's private life against the public interest.

In other words, what the ruling actually said, as distinct from the hype around it in the media or the frequent misrepresentations in on-line debates since then, isn't a million miles from the kinds of issues you raised there.

Comment: Re:its why devs cringe. (Score 1) 155

by squiggleslash (#47580305) Attached to: PHP Finally Getting a Formal Specification

FWIW, in answer to your "Can't speak for PHP" thing, PHP has, for reasons known only to the person that implemented, two incompatible dictionary type structures, objects and arrays. They're both equivalent, and because they're not compatible an enormous number of developers of third party libraries and frameworks feel the need to implement a "Give me it as an object"/"Give me it as an associative array" parameter onto any function that returns one or the other.

And lest you think "Wait! It's obvious squiggy! The associative array is obviously using hashtables and the other is typed!", that's... not (quite) the case. If PHP is optimizing anything with objects at some level, it's certainly not doing so based upon "static-after-parsing-app" set of possible member names: you can convert each to the other form with a simple cast, and you $some_array[$expression] has an object equivalent of $some_object->{$expression}. If it isn't using hashtables for objects too, then it's probably doing something even more braindead.

Comment: Re:Developers, developers, developers! (Score 1) 241

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47578981) Attached to: Is the App Store Broken?

Interesting observation about the other phone. I wasn't aware that anyone else had actually made it fully to market prior to Apple on that score.

As for the iOS vs. Android situation, I'm not sure we disagree as much as you suggest, but I do think perhaps we are talking slightly at cross-purposes. For example, I agree with just about everything you said about which apps are and aren't successful on the iOS platform today. As I think I mentioned right back in my first post to this thread, I don't see the wildly successful iOS app developers leaving the platform any time soon. However, I suspect those represent only a very small minority of the overall iOS developer population.

My point there is that simply in terms of the popularity of the platform -- hardware sales, in short -- Apple seems to be losing momentum, while Android devices are gaining market share. I'm not necessarily suggesting that this will result in native Android apps becoming a better market for developers. I don't think I've suggested anything at all like that anywhere in this discussion, and if I did appear to imply that then it was entirely accidental. I'm just suggesting that those iOS developers who haven't either hit the big time in the initial gold rush or carved out a niche where they can stand out and charge sensible money seem to be starting to give up and look elsewhere, wherever that might be.

Personally, I do have my (and my businesses') bet firmly on web apps being the way forward for a lot of general informational/basic interactive apps for the near future. These work portably across all the main mobile devices and of course desktops as well, they have no lock-in or tax, and most importantly, they don't come with the preconception that something good that cost a small fortune to develop should still be sold for peanuts, which means you can viably invest enough time and money to offer something well polished and comprehensive/innovative/otherwise interesting. We could have built similar things as native apps on each mobile platform, but we saw little if any advantage to doing so.

The fact that Google seem to be betting the same way, and applying their considerable resources to further that end, and slowly capturing market share from Apple (whether as a consequence or coincidentally for other reasons doesn't really matter) just makes the prospect of developing such projects as iOS apps that much less appealing in the long run.

As a final point, while there certainly are premium apps out there, typical B2C apps on the App Store are not among them. Sure, prices might be up from 5 cents to 6 cents this year, but based on the stats that have been floating around in various on-line discussions this week, it appears that I already pull in more revenue per month from a side project web app that isn't complete yet and has had almost no advertising than the average (mean) app on the App Store. We appear to have reached the point where anyone who doesn't win big fairly quickly can't actually sustain a viable business writing iOS apps, and any way you look at it, that surely can't be promising for the future of the platform.

Comment: Re:Legitimate concerns (Score 1) 274

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47578899) Attached to: UK Government Report Recommends Ending Online Anonymity

And meanwhile, as you worry about a hypothetical threat from your government, real people with real lives are really having them destroyed by people who put themselves above the law through the mechanism of anonymity. The big bullies are a concern, but so are the small ones, and it's far from clear which is overall the more dangerous threat to quality of life in the western world today.

I'm happy for you that you're comfortable with a black and white view where there are absolute rights that are the only important things and where any unintended harmful side effects can be explained away somehow, but in my world there are shades of grey and no such easy resolutions to these issues.

Comment: Re:The bashing is sometimes justified... (Score 1) 110

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47578885) Attached to: Countries Don't Own Their Internet Domains, ICANN Says

Unfortunately, it's clear by this point that you don't understand what the so-called "right to be forgotten" that resulted from the European Court ruling actually is -- for a start, it doesn't involve "removing knowledge from someone else", nor to my knowledge does any technology exist that could even do that if we wanted to -- so I'm not sure there's any point in continuing this discussion.

Comment: Re:Formal specifications are pretty useless for th (Score 1) 155

by squiggleslash (#47578837) Attached to: PHP Finally Getting a Formal Specification

Unless we're using "formal specification" in a form uncommonly known in the English language, ANSI C (hint hint) does, indeed, have a formal specification or three.

In fact, that's part of the problem with C. ANSI spent a lot of time trying to make their specification so generic it could be implemented on all kinds of different hardware, leaving us with a language that means virtually every bit of "obvious what it does" readable code can be re-interpreted by every optimizing compiler to mean something completely different. A big problem, considering C's system programming roots.

The F-15 Eagle: If it's up, we'll shoot it down. If it's down, we'll blow it up. -- A McDonnel-Douglas ad from a few years ago