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Comment: Feeds? Processing? (Score 1) 96

by harmonica (#41959655) Attached to: Homeland Security Mining Social Media For Signs of Bio Attacks

How do you continuously fetch and process all (public?) messages from Facebook, Twitter and others in near-realtime? Does the US government get special access? Is there a basis in law for this?

Once you get the data, do you just feed it into some data mining system?

Any idea about the storage and CPU requirements for such a system?

Obviously, processing such feeds is interesting for businesses and academia as well. Do you know any such projects?

Comment: Why / how? (Score 1) 101

by harmonica (#36163908) Attached to: 10,000 Commits To an Open-source Project

At work I'll usually do one commit per day in the evening. I start with the system working, modify things, add features, fix bugs, and try to get it into a state where it works again. Testing that is not trivial, and I'm not (cannot be, there are time constraints for manual tests and our auto-testing is unfortunately non-existant) overly thorough in this regard. Getting to 10k commits will take 50 years this way. I wonder under which circumstances "micro-commits" are a good idea? Admittedly our system isn't FOSS, but a lot of FOSS projects are complex, some certainly more complex than what we do.

Comment: Collaborative proof-reading (Score 2, Informative) 462

by harmonica (#33410598) Attached to: What 'IT' Stuff Should We Teach Ninth-Graders?

The existing English book linked above http://itschool.gov.in/pdf/icttb8_eng.pdf should be corrected first. I'm not a native speaker of English myself, but there are some nasty mistakes in there ("several information", p. 28; "a facility in Internet", p. 31). Maybe there could be a wiki process to proof-read / improve the book? Come on, father of the Internet "Winton Surf" (p. 30)?

Plus, the layout is really ugly. And sometimes wrong in weird ways ("2004" in column 2 followed by "originated" in column 1), a change of columns in the middle of the page (p. 7).

Comment: Keep a list of TODO tasks of differing complexity (Score 1) 274

by harmonica (#28840403) Attached to: Manager's Schedule vs. Maker's Schedule

Sometimes, there's a slow day, and I'll have the time to tackle something more complex (the half-day or all-day tasks that were mentioned). Then there are all kinds of time slices I may have to fill, 30 minutes to lunch, the hour until a meeting, ten minutes until I have to catch the bus. I just keep a todo list with tasks ordered by estimated complexity. This includes e-mail responses, reading that article you always wanted to read, updating the internal Wiki, writing documentation, do Jira task housekeeping, checking out stuff from the repository and so on. I forget those things easily so I keep a list.

Meetings usually don't come as a surprise, and there aren't too many (good project management makes sure that is the case). Having them at the beginning or end of the day (as suggested) is the obvious thing to do. Then there are surprise items where you have to drop everything and take care of them, so it's not always the fault of meetings (don't you ever get "hot issues" from customers that support couldn't handle and that have to be solved right now?). Plus, there's multitasking. Obviously you won't stare at the screen waiting for make veryclean to finish. In a nutshell, prepare for a day that may contain unexpected tasks of uncertain lengths. If you didn't need time management until now, consider yourself lucky.

Comment: Re:Build number (Score 1) 671

by harmonica (#28679401) Attached to: Windows 7 Hits Build 7600 (Possible RTM)

I worked for Microsoft. I'm actually one of the few people who have compiled Windows.

They may have improved the build time since I worked for them, but the build times were a monotonously growing function of time when I left...

Can you share some tips on how to do nightly builds (that go beyond Wikipedia's article)? I'm not so concerned about speed (our product takes "only" about two hours) but are there tools to simplify screening the output of make -k or similar calls?

Comment: Re:Haven't these people learned? (Score 1) 580

by harmonica (#27887907) Attached to: German Gov To Ban Paintballing After Shooting

Come on, look at Kristalnacht. Or the murder of countless Jews openly, either by mob or by SS. They started building the camps because it was taking too long, not to hide what they were up to.

They started building the camps early on, and they weren't about killing people at first, but about controlling political opponents. The "Endlösung" was decided on much later, as were "Vernichtungslager", where many arriving prisoners were killed at once.

What you're talking about isn't ignorance, it's denial. Big difference.

Now, in the occupied nations, I'll grant your point. But those are also the places where the population resisted the SS, typically by hiding the Jews, helping them flee, or just being silent when the SS came knocking. In places where antisemitism was already rampant, the SS had all the local support they needed.

I don't argue that people knew that Jews and other people were discriminated against and shipped off, that was part of everyday life. But that they were sent (mostly) east to be killed in an industrialized manner? No, that was not common knowledge. There was a reason the Wannseekonferenz was secret, and that was in 1942, when the war had been going on for two years already.

While the Nazis themselves documented their killings, there were a lot of euphemisms and codes and even falsifications. They knew that what they were doing was morally wrong, and that it was nothing to give the general population too much information about. There even were propaganda clips showing Jews in relatively nice "internment camps".

It also depended on where you lived. If there was a KZ nearby, you probably knew more than the average citizen.

Another question is if something had changed if everyone had known. Not a lot, probably. Some people thought it was a good idea, most were afraid to speak up and criticize anything. You could be sent to a KZ for simply making fun of Nazism.

Comment: Re:Haven't these people learned? (Score 1) 580

by harmonica (#27886399) Attached to: German Gov To Ban Paintballing After Shooting

Genocide doesn't happen just anywhere, you need a the support the majority to pull it off. If the people being killed do not have the support of their countrymen, they haven't a prayer of victory through arms.

I generally agree with your other statements, but I don't think this part I quoted is true. The Nazis were rather sneaky about what exactly they were doing in concentration camps, why they were arresting certain people and what they were doing to them. A lot of Germans really didn't know what was going on there. 65 years later, the collective knowledge of the events is much, much larger.

So unless "support of the majority" means something different from being aware of an issue and being okay with it, genocide can happen without it.

Comment: Prepare to discuss TCO (Score 1) 497

by harmonica (#26773851) Attached to: How Do I Start a University Transition To Open Source?

Total cost of ownership is Microsoft's standard argument against FOSS competition. You save on license fees, but what does educating people (administrators, tech support, end users) about the differences between MS and FOSS products cost you?

There's a big possibility to spread FUD this way, but there's also a certain truth to it. Research this topic, it will invariably come up in one form or another.

Comment: How about offering images for download again? (Score 2, Interesting) 141

by harmonica (#26457615) Attached to: Wikipedia Gears Up For Explosion In Digital Media

It's been 18 months since Wikipedia provided bulk downloads of image data. That may not be a priority for most people, but offering everything for download is essential for an open project in my opinion. Add all new images of a month to YYYYMM.tar and offer that as a torrent.

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