Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: I'd defer to whatever the man who died wished (Score 5, Interesting) 645

by jjn1056 (#48999401) Attached to: Does Showing a Horrific Video Serve a Legitimate Journalistic Purpose?

I wouldn't watch this video, and I suspect the motives for Fox News here is not pure. But ultimately this is a personal moment for the man who is suddenly faced with a horrific death. These are the last moments of his life, and I believe they should belong to him. Since I didn't watch it, I don't know what it contains, but I would suspect they do not show the man at his best. If we could know his wish in the matter, I'd want to defer to that. But since we can't I'd defer to the less morally ambiguous choice which is to keep the moment as private to him as is possible.

Comment: Don't go overboard... (Score 3, Insightful) 251

by jjn1056 (#48918097) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?

How much of your information needs to live significantly beyond your personal lifetime? My guess is you need not consider storage that will live beyond your children, who might have some need to review your papers for personal or practical reasons. Your grandchildren might like a handful of pictures, nothing more than than.

If your information is actually valuable (its creative or philosophical or similar) other people will look to its preservation.

I tend to split stuff up. For my profession life as a programmer I use github and one other git based storage. Anything worth keeping I'd migrate to whatever replaces git. For personal life I keep backups of photos and videos on local and networked (cloud based) storage. For tax stuff I just have a fireproof locker.

I imagine in 20 or 30 years the only stuff of value will be my movies and photos and written personal documents. After I'm dead none of that stuff will meant much to anyone, unless my son wants some pics of our dogs when he was young. And he'd be the last one to care about any of that stuff.

Try not to let possessions become too important. You are going to have it all taken away from you eventually.

Comment: Re:And so he validates the violence (Score 1) 894

by jjn1056 (#48820595) Attached to: Pope Francis: There Are Limits To Freedom of Expression

This puts him in the same philosophical camp as the terrorists he denounced. He just argues for a slightly lower degree of violence in response to another's expression.

No, that's a very abstract stretch I think, although in some sort of odd platonic ideal world maybe you are right. Common sense, which is the basis of philosophy (or at least the rational starting point to investigation) tells us that it is not unreasonable for a person to be insulted if you attack something they care deeply about. Civilized society, which is concerned with maintaining order and justice, tries variously to balance how we allow a person to respond to attack against societies need to maintain that order and justice. There is of course a variability here because of cultural difference. Some cultures permit more aggressive responses than others. Most justice systems take both the crime and the context into account ('fighting words', example). And some philosophies promote certain ideals ('turn the other check") although they will all acknowledge this can be very hard (even the Pope here is admitting he'd have a tough time forgiving someone for insulting his mom, which is reasonable and understandable; although a former Pope did forgive a man who shot and tried to kill him, face to face).

Even though cultural difference and philosophy (religious or secular) promote certain ideals and try hard to not be too dogmatic and allow for individual context (at least the ones that actually catch on), there are few cultural contexts that say, "If you hear fighting words its ok to take a machine gun and slaughter a dozen unarmed people". This is likely because a culture that allowed that would be self destructive and tend not to last very long, and such a culture would probably be stressful to live in, and fail to catch on. On the other hand if someone insulted you in the street and you punched him/her we might let you off with community service or similar.

There is a world of difference between a punch in the face and machine gunning a dozen people. Only a mostly meaningless philosophical abstraction would somehow allow that 'these two behaviors are ultimately the same thing'. A society based on a philosophy like that would likely have a hard time enduring. I would also think someone that believed this is living too much in their head and not out in the world experiencing reality. Having been myself in street fights and having had a machine gun pointed at me in aggression I can assure you there is a big difference.

Comment: Re:Obama: please stop helping us! (Score 1) 417

by jjn1056 (#48814283) Attached to: Obama Unveils Plan To Bring About Faster Internet In the US

Your anecdotal evidence is meaningless. I've lived in two rural areas, one upstate NY and another in the center of TX. Upstate NY I could not even get decent dial up service (like we had in 1990...). I can get cellular data with a special antenna rig I made, and pay like $10/per Gb used... Here in TX I have spotty DSL that is never better than 1Mb down/ 256Kb up (and goes offline enough I need to use my cell data plan to make important teleconference meetings.)

AFAIK the idea that rural is getting better choice or speed that the high profit markets seems doubtful. I suppose there are always outliers. The question we have to decide is if this is something we are going to say is driven exclusively by semi free market forces, or if we decide its in our global best interest to set meaningful baselines.

Comment: Usually its a lot more simple of mortal humans... (Score 1) 335

"One curious corollary is that if the human brain is a Turing machine, then humans can never decide this issue either, a point that the authors deliberately steer well clear of."

Usually it goes like, "Oh shit this dude is pointing a gun at me, I better kill him before him kills me..."

And usually this is a pretty abbreviated thought process since anyone that actually goes through all that decision making is already dead before getting half done with it.

Comment: Re:Just the trilogy, I hope (Score 1) 242

by jjn1056 (#48363199) Attached to: HBO Developing Asimov's Foundation Series As TV Show

Yeah I felt the later stories were fair stories but not groundbreaking in the same way. I think the whole thing where he wants to connect the Robots saga stuff with the Foundation stuff felt a bit forced, although as a fan of his work I recall enjoying it at the time of reading (when I was much younger.)

And I tremble at the idea they might be trying to do this. I think Foundation and Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant stories are two series I read when I was much younger that I always wondered if someone might want to cash in with a visual interpretation. I do think Foundation, particularly the earliest books don't have a ton of action and might not lead to interesting novels. And HBO seems to like to do stories with more 'adult themes' so to speak and I can't think of a single sex scene or anything even close in any of the Foundation stuff. I think Foundation was really teenager aimed (at least I read it when I was that age). I could see HBO doing the Donaldson works, seems more in line with what they are known for.

Comment: Perl 6 =! Perl 5 (Score 1) 547

by jjn1056 (#48103609) Attached to: Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

It would be incorrect to say Perl is dying because Perl6 has not delivered on its original goal of being a worthy successor to Perl5. Although Perl6 was originally slated as that replacement, the two languages (Perl5 and Perl6) have drifted significantly and there is no syntax compatibly between them (although there are some projects around who goal is to make it easier for Perl6 programers to load and use Perl5 libraries, and vice versus). As a result the Perl community no longer sees Perl6 as the replacement for Perl5. Now there are two separate development teams and the Perl5 team has recently release an update to version 20, and work on version 22 is in the works. The Perl6 team continues to work on Perl6 but many people in the Perl community see it more as a hobby and as a lab rather than as a language one would expect to use on the job. Nevertheless lots of ideas have emerged from the Perl6 'lab' and has influenced the more iterative development of Perl5.

Comment: get more involved in open source contributing (Score 4, Insightful) 548

by jjn1056 (#47722017) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

I think the main thing I'd change is I wish I had started becoming active in the open source community around the tools I commonly use. I spent the first 10 years of my career mostly working on my own, or with a few people on the job and was not connected at all with the greater community. I think if I had done so earlier I'd be a better programmer today

Comment: Re:CLA (Score 1) 57

by jjn1056 (#47664711) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Corporate Open Source Policy?

Having a solid Contributor License Agreement process in place would probably be a good idea. That way, it's clear who owns the code that comes in and encourages people to contribute while defining a (necessary evil) process for doing so. You'll lose random passers-by, but just one passer-by who gets litigious could be more of a headache than it's worth.

I'm not sure if the idea of a contributor license as you suggest is in the spirit of open source.

Comment: Its better to contribute to an existing project... (Score 1) 57

by jjn1056 (#47664671) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Corporate Open Source Policy?

One thing I notice is that sometimes a company decides to open source some in-house crapware because they heard its a good way to get free publicity and perhaps attract more developers. Quite often the project ends up with zero adoption because its not that interesting and often there's a bunch of existing projects with already built communities that are doing more or less the same thing. Or the focus is so narrow that it solves nobody's problem. What usually tell people is that its better to learn to contrib to an existing project rather than release some vanity ware and try to pretend the company is all hip and cool because you have a github account.

Its also a good way to get around the legal review and all, since generally if you are just sending patches to an existing project, typically bug fixes and feature enhancements there's not a big need for it. I think its easier for rusty management to accept you contributing documention, test cases and bug fixes to an already existing project than to get them to allow you to take some big in house project and get it out in the open.

If you build your in house stuff around existing open source projects and really leverage open source at all points in the stack (from automation and up) you will find lots of good ways to contribute back to those projects and you will find your custom code is mostly glue and company 'secret sauce' that you'd never give away anyway.

"There is no statute of limitations on stupidity." -- Randomly produced by a computer program called Markov3.