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Comment: What Operating System? (Score 1) 383

by herbierobinson (#45851167) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Command Line Interfaces -- What Is Out There?

Every operating system I know of (except maybe BeOS) has at least one command line interface. Many operating systems have more than one.

For example, the Stratus VOS operating system supports this command line interface:

This command line interface was designed around 1980 and attempts to be more user friendly by using recognizable command names and has both lineal and form oriented methods for specifying command arguments.

The VOS operating system also supports bash...

Comment: Re:Missing the point (Score 1) 668

by herbierobinson (#45054915) Attached to: Are Shuttered Gov't Sites Actually Saving Money?

Technically, it's not unconstitutional. It's been thought of before: Many years ago, I asked my Congressman why the House didn't block funding the 2nd Iraq war (the Dems had a majority at the time) and the response could be paraphrased that while it was possible, it simply wasn't done, because in the long run we need to put the country's interest in front or our own. Other than that, you have it spot on.

What's happening now is the rich .1%ers who actually pay for the Tea party don't want to pay their fair share of taxes (which eventually has to happen to pay for health care -- irrespective of whether you are talking about Medicare, Medicaid or Obamacare) and they simply don't care what happens to the rest of us.

Comment: Re:Slippery slope. (Score 1) 604

by herbierobinson (#43512607) Attached to: Bruce Schneier On the Marathon Bomber Manhunt


Dont forget the lockdown was voluntary. One would have to have been pretty nuts to open a business in that scenario, but nobody was actually forced to stay home. I live in the locked down area and I was half way to work before I even heard about it. The only effort they actually made to contact ordinary citizens was via press releases and an e-mail (which in my case ended up in the junk mail account -- didn't find it until I got home that night and looked for it). Of course, I was a good 5 miles from where anything was actually happening.

They did announce the end of the lockdown with two robocalls. I suspect they did get a lot of complaints.

Comment: Re:A good reason to go independent (Score 1) 550

by herbierobinson (#40967521) Attached to: Is Your Neighbor a Democrat? There's an App For That

But party membership isn't private (at least in Massachusetts). Anyone can join a party by going to the town/city clerk and registering as a member of the party (as simple as checking a checkbox when you register to vote). All of the meetings are open to the public. Membership in the Ward/Town/City/State committees is voted on in the primaries (although, it comes with a time commitment; so, it's often not contested). It's not some secret club that nobody can belong to. The reality is that participation is low because most people are too lazy to get involved.

What's not open is how candidates get money (for the most part, that's not from the party).

Comment: Re:A good reason to go independent (Score 1) 550

by herbierobinson (#40940969) Attached to: Is Your Neighbor a Democrat? There's an App For That

They aren't totally private. In theory, anyone who is registered in the party should be able to run. For example in Massachusetts, one can get on the primary ballot for Congress by registering in the party (anybody can do that) and getting 2000 signatures on nominating petitions. Getting 2000 signatures isn't easy, but it is possible. There is an open house seat this year and there are 6 candidates but only one Democrat and one Republican are career politicians. The rest are all people who are ticked off at Congress just as much as everybody else is.

Of course, actually winning the primary is a good bit more difficult. The real thing that keeps the career politicians in control is insider money.

Comment: Re:Ok (Score 1) 550

by herbierobinson (#40940837) Attached to: Is Your Neighbor a Democrat? There's an App For That

If most voters took the time to actually research the candidates, make up their mind intelligently AND remember to vote on election day, politicians wouldn't do any of this (because they wouldn't get any more votes by doing it).

Believe it or not, the most effective way to win an election is to figure out who is going to vote for you (ahead of time) and nagging them to actually go out on vote on election day!

I've been doing this for a few years, now, and I haven't seen one election where I didn't encounter people (registered voters) who didn't know there was an election that day.

Comment: Re:A good reason to go independent (Score 1) 550

by herbierobinson (#40940601) Attached to: Is Your Neighbor a Democrat? There's an App For That

Not really.

The databases behind these tools have all registered voters. If you don't register in a party, ALL the parties will be after you.

And the best way to get them to stop coming around is to say you will never tell them who you are going to vote for. They won't be offended, you are just telling them they will be wasting their time by returning. The worst thing you can do is say you are undecided, because they will keep coming (or calling) back to see if you have made up your mind.

Comment: Re:Gimmick (Score 1) 710

by herbierobinson (#30635998) Attached to: Thorium, the Next Nuclear Fuel?

You are probably overstating the dangers of nuclear warming a bit (but not that much). But there is certainly nothing we can't adapt to if we have to. And of course "civilization as we know it" isn't going to be around 20 years from now no matter what happens: 20 years ago, we didn't have the Internet, Cell Phones, GPS and it just took me 20 seconds to think of that. My mother's house didn't have indoor plumbing when she was a girl!

But the important point is that you have no idea how dangerous nuclear waste really is.

Nuclear waste remains dangerous for more than million years. The "design" of nuclear waste disposal facilities involves making an educated guess as to how long it will be before the containers break down and then guessing whether the waste will decay enough before it gets into the water supply. So we are talking about the water supply for a huge geographical area being poisoned essentially forever, not a few people ignoring signs.

Speaking of signs, how do you write a sign an average person will be able to read 100,000 years from now (or even 1000 years from now)? You would need to predict 100,000 years of language evolution! The reality is that even within 1000 years, the only people who can read what we now call English will be scholars!

This just demonstrates how naive it is to assume we can construct anything that lasts for a million years.

In case you are curious, the Yucca Mountain plan was clever enough to realize they couldn't label the site as dangerous; so, they decided it was good enough if a typical drill bit wasn't likely to penetrate the containers when somebody drilled into the waste disposal site -- Mind you these are the same containers they know will deteriorate within one or two half-lives of the stuff inside.

Comment: Re:Gimmick (Score 1) 710

by herbierobinson (#30633498) Attached to: Thorium, the Next Nuclear Fuel?

You are forgetting to consider the waste problem. The other life threatening issues pale in comparison. Waste from Uranium fueled reactors is dangerous for more than a million years -- I waded through the licensing materials for Yucca Mountain to find that little gem -- AFIK how much more than a million years is classified because the DOE doesn't want us to know. The Yucca Mountain depository was canceled because any sane (and uncorrupted) engineer reading the plans realized it was brain-dead.

The claim by the thorium reactor proponents is that there is less waste and waste products are safe within a few hundred years. If this is really true, they have a solution to the waste problem. That is a huge deal. Of course, it would be good to find confirmation of the waste claim: Inquiring minds want to know.

Comment: Depends on OS and what you are developing (Score 1) 605

by herbierobinson (#30612656) Attached to: Do Your Developers Have Local Admin Rights?

My group maintains and enhances an operating system. Obviously, we need full access on the machines we debug on. We also have separate "production" machines used for builds and source control where developers don't default to having admin privileges (and admin privs are generally reserved for the people less likely to break things). We used to give all the new developers admin privs from day 1, but that almost led to a few disasters (new people with full admin privs on an unfamiliar OS is not a good idea).

We generally try to let the admins take care of the production systems and only take over when they aren't around (it's only two people). And we let them know what we fixed because we appreciate the fact that they are normally dealing with it for us...

OTOH, one doesn't need any sort of special access to develop simple applications on decent operating systems like Unix or Max OS. One only needs special access when one starts installing shared libraries, doing kernel work, or setting up shared source control systems (although, it's generally not a good idea to let all the developers have uncontrolled access to the source control system, either).

Comment: SPF Almost Eliminates Backscatter (Score 1) 263

by herbierobinson (#30509266) Attached to: Are You Using SPF Records?

I started using SPF because the backscatter from spammers forging my domain was getting to be 5-10 times more than the amount of spam I was getting. The backscatter stopped almost completely and it stopped immediately. Every once in a while I get a small burst of backscatter, but it doesn't last long.

I don't know this for sure, but I suspect that the spammers are checking for SPF before using a domain for forgeries. It would make sense, because using a domain with SPF records for spam makes it possible for anybody to determine it's spam. In particular, if any tier one suppliers are using SPF combined with mail volume to identify spam, they could spot the spam almost instantly -- no wait for complaints to come in. In particular, the spam could be spotted quickly enough to shut down the sender. It probably doesn't happen that much, but if one was sending spam, why would one forge a domain with an SPF record when there are so many others out there with no SPF record.

Comment: Re:People use base 10 (Score 1) 711

by herbierobinson (#29253055) Attached to: Apple Kicks HDD Marketing Debate Into High Gear

Hate to break this to you, but computers originally used base 10. Mainframes support base 10 and base 2 arithmetic. Legacy operating systems tended to print disk and memory sizes in base 10. You don't see "ls -l" in Unix printing the number of blocks in a file in Octal or hexadecimal.

This whole concept of 1K = 1024 didn't come about until microcomputers hit the scene. And it didn't happen because of some grand intellectual revelation. It came about because multiply was hard to do in early microprocessor assembly code.

The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold