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Comment: Is This a Bad Thing? (Score 2) 676

At first, I thought the story here is that the U.S. government spends 70% of its budget on writing checks. To which my response would have been that moving to something more efficient than the ridiculous banking system we have in the U.S. would then make the federal government much more efficient.

It appears to be that, rather, 70% of the budget is being paid out to individuals - much of it in the form of health benefits, social security, and income security. Is that cause for concern? Direct payments to individuals have increased relative to other things the federal government spends money on. Ok, the percentages move, that's expected. They're now at 70% of the total budget. Ok, that's somewhat interesting. But what's the actual story here? Is some program growing faster than tax revenue to the point that we have to be concerned that we won't be able to afford it anymore? Did total budget decrease, thus making the percentage larger? Do you feel that the government is spending money on things they shouldn't be spending (as much) money on?

The article provides some more detail: it claims the percentage spent on income security will drop from 25% in 2009 to 17% in 2019, as more is spent on "middle-class entitlement programs such as ObamaCare". So I guess the problem isn't with the 70% being paid to individuals, but with the individuals it gets paid to. Fair enough, we all have our own ideas about which groups the government should be sending money to (if anyone), but perhaps it would have been more productive to get straight to that part, instead of suggesting that 70% is rather high, when the thing you would like money to be spent on is actually part of that 70%.

Comment: My List (Score 3, Interesting) 531

by inglorion_on_the_net (#46382367) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Software Can You Not Live Without?

First things first:

aptitude so dependencies automatically get installed and uninstalled. Edit the configuration to not install recommended packages by default. Keep it lean!


openntpd (or some other ntpd) so the computer will know what time it is.

sudo so that I can log in as a regular user and still do system maintenance.

openssh-server (or some other SSH server) so I can log in remotely. I usually change the port number. Make sure root logins are disabled.

tmux so that I can have multiple shells in a single ssh session. screen works for this, too, but I recently switched to tmux.

rsync so that I can copy files around efficiently.

After that, it depends on what I want to do with the system. Usually, there will be at least some software development, so build-essential (libc-dev, gcc, make), irb, git. Usually ssh and some network debugging tools like ping and traceroute6.

I like zsh, so if I'm going to be using the system extensively, I'll install that. If this is my primary system, irssi and mutt. If the system has enough memory to run it, emacs24-nox.

If I want a GUI, xserver-xorg, xterm, whatever window manager I happen to like at the moment (wmii), some web browser (iceweasel).

It's been a while since I've last done this, so I may have missed some things, but this seems to be about it. The package names are for Debian-like systems and will likely be a bit different for other systems, but I don't generally maintain those.

Comment: 4.8.1 has bugs, some of these have been fixed (Score 4, Informative) 148

Having been somewhat involved in the migration of a lot of C++ code from older versions of gcc to gcc 4.8.1, I can tell you that 4.8.1 definitely has bugs, in particular with -ftree-slp-vectorize. This doesn't appear to be a huge problem in that almost all the (correct) C++ code we threw at the compiler produced good compiler output, meaning that the quality of the compiler is very good overall. If you do find a bug, and you have some code that reproduces the problem, file a bug report, and the gcc devs will fix the problem. At any rate, gcc 4.8.2 has been out for a number of months now, so if you're still on 4.8.1, you may want to upgrade.

Comment: Re:'looking at' NoSQL? (Score 1) 245

by inglorion_on_the_net (#44922485) Attached to: Will Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn Stay With MySQL?

Check out

To answer your question, you would basically ask TAO for all objects which are connected to the object that represents you by the "friend" association.

TAO would then do whatever database queries are necessary to get what it doesn't already have in cache, cache the results, and return them to you.

Comment: Re: and so meanwhile... (Score 3, Informative) 245

by inglorion_on_the_net (#44922457) Attached to: Will Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn Stay With MySQL?

Go back further to when MySQL got momentum and Postgres did not do SQL *AT ALL*.

[citation needed]

Actually, let me get some citations for you, although they contradict your statement:


In 1994, Berkeley graduate students Andrew Yu and Jolly Chen replaced the Ingres-based QUEL query language interpreter with one for the SQL query language


The first version of MySQL appeared on 23 May 1995

So it would appear that Postgres supported SQL before MySQL even existed.

Comment: Re:Oh yes, store the waste (Score 1) 74

by inglorion_on_the_net (#44763593) Attached to: Nuclear Trashmen Profit From Unprecedented US Reactor Shutdowns

Not to detract from anything else in your post, but my understanding of the Fukushima nuclear incident is that the problem wasn't so much that the reactors didn't shut down or that there were runaway nuclear reactions, but rather that there wasn't enough cooling. As I remember it, the reactors shut down just fine as soon as the earthquake hit, but the aftermath of that earthquake caused such a great disaster that it was difficult to get power to the cooling systems and emergency cooling equipment to the site. Do I misremember?

Comment: Performance? (Score 2) 122

I wonder how well this will run. Although Firefox has slimmed down somewhat after the 2.x era, it has never been particularly lightweight in my experience. About every other smartphone OS maker who has gone the "thou shalt build thy apps using HTML5, not native code" has been burned by bad performance, even when they launched with high-end phones.

According to this CNET review, the ZTE Open is at least faster than the Alcatel Fire, which they describe as slow and laggy.

I guess all this means that they are aiming Firefox OS at the low end of the market, where performance matters less than being able to afford a smartphone. However, I've always found it strange that companies do that - if you are going to make a low-end device, wouldn't you want to make the most efficient use of the hardware resources you have by running native code even more than if you had plenty of CPU cycles and RAM to burn?

Comment: Re:I tested Windows 8.1 (Score 1) 543

In an attempt to grab the niche market, they seem to be eviscerating their core one.. Which I really just don't understand..

Maybe they are betting that the PC will decline and the other devices they make software for (phones, tablets, touch screen laptops, Xbox) will take over. By unifying the UI, they will then offer a consistent interface that people are likely to already be familiar with.

Comment: Re:Missing the point... (Score 1) 259

by inglorion_on_the_net (#44083361) Attached to: Introducing the NSA-Proof Crypto-Font

The making of the font is a political statement against government machinery and software spying on us and taking our humanity away. As such, I'd say it's quite clever and attention-getting.

Oh, I thought the point was figuring out how many unsuspecting netizens could be fooled into seriously discussing what is obviously a joke.

I mean, first we get a whole uproar about the NSA wiretapping, as if this is news. This was going on when Bush the second was president, and was widely discussed at the time. Really, this isn't news.

Then we get people seriously believing things like the NSA using more storage capacity than has actually been manufactured worldwide, or an operation like what the NSA was purportedly carrying out costing only 20 million dollars.

And now people are seriously talking about a *font* that is supposed to somehow stymie these efforts.

Clearly, someone is playing some netwide joke on us. The thing is, I'm not really amused, because there are real issues here and real people are being negatively affected by all this nonsense.

Comment: Re:Not cooling, global waming! (Score 1) 158

I often hear this argument about NIMBYs, but I wonder how much of a problem that actually is. I'm sure you are right that there will be protests no matter what kind of power plant you want to build, but, in the meantime, around the world (and I believe in the USA, too), fossil fuel burning power plants are still being built. Looks to me like you can get stuff done despite the NIMBYs.

The idle man does not know what it is to enjoy rest.