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Comment: Re:in other words (Score 1) 194

by genkernel (#47692539) Attached to: The Billion-Dollar Website

That is not what sysrammer is saying. He is saying that the republicrats (not to mention the insurance industry) were stonewalling and attempting to cause delays, and that the demipubs were in danger of having the delay ending up in the same stasis field the patriot act is in.

So what he is saying is that the political theater needed to be disrupted in order for things to progress at all, even if the reality of things wasn't pretty.

Comment: Re:Fractal rant makes about six good points (Score 1) 536

I don't know, I don't think that guy from devshed defended his case well. In some cases he completely misses what the fractal article was trying to say. He says that the settings in php.ini that the fractal design article mentions are not problematic. He even says that the intransitive == operator is merely a result of loose typing and there is no legitimate issue there.

The == operator is listed as "flaky." The == operator is the core of loosely typed languages, and is immensely powerful. He thinks it's flaky because he can't wrap his brain around loose comparisons

And it gets worse:

array_search, strpos, and similar functions return 0 if they find the needle at position zero, but false if they don’t find it at all. In C, functions like strpos return -1 if the item isn’t found. If you don’t check for that case and try to use that as an index, you’ll hit junk memory and your program will blow up. [...] In, say, Python, the equivalent .index methods will raise an exception if the item isn’t found. If you don’t check for that case, your program will blow up. In PHP, these functions return false. If you use FALSE as an index, or do much of anything with it except compare with ===, PHP will silently convert it to 0 for you. Your program will not blow up; it will, instead, do the wrong thing with no warning, unless you remember to include the right boilerplate around every place you use strpos and certain other functions.

So basically, if you don't include the right boilerplate around other languages, they fatally crash and destroy their state, potentially also destroying neighboring programs in memory. However, if you do the same erroneous code in PHP, it continues to work with slightly unexpected results. Tell me again why "keeps working" is a problem? Plus, for what might be the 10th time, he just plain doesn't understand loosely typed languages. Yes, false == zero. That's actually an incredibly powerful feature of the language. The boilerplate he's comparing about isn't exactly onerous either. Look, here it is: "!== false". Oh man, look out. That nearly broke my fingers I typed for so long.

Silently failing is bad. Failing catastrophically is preferable to random program behavior. That's the assumption behind what the original quote is saying (which may be explicitly stated in other parts of that article).

So yeah, I think the main purpose of the "hardly" rebuttal is to reinforce why the fractal of bad design article is correct.

Comment: Re:The problem with traffic engineers... (Score 1) 579

by genkernel (#47368497) Attached to: Unintended Consequences For Traffic Safety Feature

That would be true, if the "normal" behavior of drivers was reasonably safe.

it isn't.

Changing the conditions of the road is a band-aid fix. It is important to reduce accidents and fatalities by fixing the road. However, if you want to reduce the frequency of accidents to near-zero of any task where injury-causing accidents can be the result of human activity (and given the population of the roads in my city, we need to), you need to make sure people are not engaging in unsafe behavior. Dangerous situations can often be resolved by safe behavior -- I'm not saying safe behavior will help you inside a tornado or anything -- but unsafe behavior is unsafe so long as there exists an unsafe mode of failure.

What I'd really like is for vehicles to be near completely fail-safe, but we'd need to give them rails like trains or something. Merely making the road more "normal" is probably necessary here, but that is completely powerless to actually stop people from dying or getting seriously injured.

Comment: Re:Why not the GPL? (Score 1) 20

by genkernel (#46965253) Attached to: Crytek Open-Sources Their 'Renderdoc' 3D Debugger

Firstly, not being able to release in-house tools is a complete non-issue.

Secondly, if the programs are loosely coupled, the GPL, especially GPLv2, is very forgiving of proprietary code and GPLed code working together. You just have to mind your manners and know the rules. For the GPLv3, here are some basic rules from the GPL FAQ:

For instance, if the program uses only simple fork and exec to invoke and communicate with plug-ins, then the plug-ins are separate programs, so the license of the plug-in makes no requirements about the main program.

If the program dynamically links plug-ins, but the communication between them is limited to invoking the ‘main’ function of the plug-in with some options and waiting for it to return, that is a borderline case.

Furthermore, the system library exception may prove useful sometimes as well, though that is less common.

In conclusion then, while there is a kernel of truth hiding very, very well around what you are saying, it is largely FUD. From the GPL FAQ again:

Which programs you used to edit the source code, or to compile it, or study it, or record it, usually makes no difference for issues concerning the licensing of that source code.

Finally, although far less importantly, if you suppose that the GPL is violated by your project in some subtle manner (just don't copy code, mkay?), chances are, it doesn't matter unless you are doing something particularly malign. In general, someone else will have to find some way to prove you violated the terms of the license. Furthermore, generally organizations like the FSF provide an ample chance to fix noncompliance, even deliberate noncompliance. I highly doubt there is a recorded case of someone being made sorry for using the GPL in good faith.

Comment: Re:Why not the GPL? (Score 1) 20

by genkernel (#46965191) Attached to: Crytek Open-Sources Their 'Renderdoc' 3D Debugger

Working as intended. If you use something that is GPL, you have to be sure to give it back, usually for free. When your business model depends on not giving up the entirety of what you made for free, the GPL is dangerous. Now the GPL is by no means an insurmountable obstacle to building non-free-as-in-beer software, but you have to watch your step. This is intended and necessary for what the GPL tries to do. I *like* the GPL because it prevents my code from being supplanted by proprietary derivative code. I *like* that the GPL does this. This is a feature, not a bug.

That said, it is probably just as well this debugging software is not GPLed, because watching your legal steps requires resources (and there are significant penalties for screwing up). In the case of a debugger, you have to watch if it falls afoul of the "output is mostly code" clause. "Probably not" is probably not a good enough answer.

Comment: Re:Factual Error in Article (Score 1) 88

by genkernel (#46965161) Attached to: <em>EVE Online's</em> Space Economy Currently Worth $18 Million

What you say is true, but to throw a small wrench into that, even though mining and manufacturing don't create ISK, they do create value, increasing the value of every ISK in existence. Without that sort of thing happening, the value of ISK would not-so-gradually inflate into valuelessness.

IANAE (I am not an economist)

Comment: Unvanquished, Tribes Ascend, Dwarf Fortress, EVE (Score 1) 669

by genkernel (#46286561) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Games Are You Playing?

Unvanquished is a successor to Tremulous a free, open source game that was originally a quake 3 mod (but has been its own standalone game for quite some time). It is an asymmetric FPS, aliens vs humans that has some similarities to Natural Selection, but has been around much longer and is much better balanced.

Tribes Ascend is a good free-to-play FPS based upon the original Tribes series. Jetpack skiing with explosive discs is fun.

Dwarf fortress is a surprisingly detailed simulation game about dwarves, who build fortresses. So yeah. Losing is fun.

EVE Online is an MMO that is unique in having an impressively detailed economy, and largely lives and breathes by player-directed drama. It also boasts some rather good parody songs like this one.

Comment: Re:Tried getting into EVE but.. (Score 1) 463

Please note that you cannot train for that ship with a trial account, on account of the fact that you cannot train Cloaking or Covert Ops. A complete list of skills you cannot train on a trial account can be found here. Furthermore, ultimately, even though you could train fleet command in about 20 days, actually fitting a cheetah would take closer to 30 (small projectile turret, motion prediction, basic fitting skills, etc).

I think a large reason for the skills that cannot be used on trial accounts is the fact that some skills with attractive names cannot actually be effectively used within a few weeks (battleship fleet command), or are really only useful to established players anyways (cynosural field generation). Cloaking is probably an exception here, but hisec might be a more dangerous if people's trial alts could cloak up.

Comment: Re:Tried getting into EVE but.. (Score 1) 463

Well, it depends on what you are doing. Guaranteed ISK is very hard to get starting out, but you could be making 2M ISK an hour mining tritanium (which requires a not quite AFK level of attention) in a venture in hisec after a couple hours of play. However, doing nothing but sit and mine is boring, and in the grand scheme of things, not that profitable (though probably a great deal more profitable after something like this happens). You can do missions in lieu of this, in fact I recommend it to some extent because that will give you some insight into how to perform other tasks in the game, but will be less profitable starting out.

After some small amount of training, you can start "exploring" (this is an eve term with a specific meaning). In hisec, the profitable ones are primarily data sites and combat signatures, though relic sites can be worth your time. Combat signatures are only profitable if they escalate, but I digress. Ultimately, your goal is to score an expensive item from one of these, which could easily be worth over 100M ISK, quite possibly significantly more. If you focus on this, and especially if you can get someone to help you with combat signatures early on, you could have such an item found and sold within a week of exploration.

Once you have some capital to play with, options of earning more ISK open up to you.

For this reason, 16M ISK generally falls into the category of "very disposable" by established players. Such players could buy almost 14,000 rounds of PvP ammo (in this case based off of the current Jita price for Republic Fleet Phased Plasma L) to be fired at the rate of 4 per second or something like that, all for about that same price.

Wasn't there something about a PASCAL programmer knowing the value of everything and the Wirth of nothing?