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Comment: Slidebox Bob (Score 2) 46

by epine (#48228353) Attached to: Google Search Finally Adds Information About Video Games

Google didn't do this to make the gamers happy. They did it to make the non gamers happy, because video game culture is ladden with a rich and repurposed vocabulary that constantly shows up when people don't want to see video games in their search results.

They have to recognize games in order to remove games. Once they've gone that far, throwing up a positive infobox is Slidebox Bob.

Comment: Re: Packages can't be removed? (Score 3, Insightful) 122

by pavon (#48227661) Attached to: OwnCloud Dev Requests Removal From Ubuntu Repos Over Security Holes

[quote]It's just irresponsible for the package maintainers to come back and say "we can't pull it, we're leaving it as is, and we're not patching it either".[/quote]
The package maintainers didn't say that. This package is in the universe repository. The entire purpose of this repository is that volunteers can upload packages that Canonical has decided they aren't going to support. So Canonical isn't the package maintainer and you can't really blame them for not supporting packages that they said they aren't going to support.

Furthermore, it sounds like the ownCloud developers want Ubuntu to either use the latest & greatest release, or remove the package entirely. If that is correct, then I think it is irresponsible on the developer's part. Version 7 only came out 3 months ago, so they really ought to be providing security patches for version 6.

Comment: Re:How secure is that connection string? (Score 1) 124

Even if BTSync were to process one connection string per CPU clock cycle, it would still take 1e20 years to try all the possible 20-character Base64 strings that BTSync uses by default. If you choose a longer string, then it will take even more time. In otherwords, the standard strings have 120 bits of entropy, and you can increase that to up to 240 bits. This is less than is typically used for encryption these days, but btsync doesn't have to deal with offline attacks.

Rather than key size, I would be more concerned about whether the client potentially leaks data through timing attacks, or any MITM/sniffing attacks that speed up the cracking faster than brute force.

Comment: That isn't open source (Score 1) 124

That isn't an open source implementation of btsync. It is just an unofficial debian package that installs the official proprietary btsync binary. It makes it easier to install and update btsync on debian based systems, but it is the exact same software that you download from the official site.

Comment: No notification of concurrent modification (Score 2) 124

I have been using bittorrent sync for about the same amount of time, and the thing that is killing me is that it makes no effort to detect and warn when a file has been modified on multiple computer since the last sync. It just chooses the one that was modified most recently, and silently overwrites the other one. It does create a temporary archive backup of the modified file that was overwritten, but by the time you noticed you have lost data, it can be very difficult to wade through all the archive files on different computers and figure out which ones need to be merged. The resolution to conflicts will always have to be a manual process, but the sooner you know that a conflict occured the easier it is to resolve.

I've lost track of how many password resets I have had to do because I lost a newly randomly generated password saved to my keypass database, synced across computers.

Comment: Re:Not a surprise, but is it just one ingredient? (Score 1) 422

by epine (#48182649) Attached to: Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres

I didn't see an actual link to the study anywhere, but TFA at least appears to assume correlation = causation.

No, actually every version of the article I've seen bends over backwards to end off by saying "correlation does not equal causation".

With this kind of a study, which is methodologically weak (participant recall), I don't think one gets uniform results across gender, age, race, and education very darn often. You would get this in a study of cigarette smoking, because the health impacts of smoking are direct and universal.

When one gets a study with a profile that resembles a study on cigarette smoking in its power and statistical profile, it does tend to clear the mind of ancillary explanations. Occam's razor is practically beating the door down. It's not like sugar have never before been suspected as an agent of direct metabolic stress.

If this study holds up, it's a pretty darn big deal no matter how you slice it. Anyone here have a method to detect 5 years of invisible biological aging which is less onerous than giving someone a fifteen minute quiz? No, I didn't think so.

Comment: Re:Only usefull for wine? (Score 1) 55

by pavon (#48176993) Attached to: Direct3D 9.0 Support On Track For Linux's Gallium3D Drivers

Think of it this way. If you are a company that has a D3D application that you need to port to linux, does it make more sense to spend a small amount of time making wine-lib based port that works with any video card driver. Or to spend a larger amount of time to create a native port that only works with specific drivers, causing all sorts of complications for your potential user base. It's a no brainer; you take the path that is less work for you, and more compatible for your customers.

Comment: Re:Only usefull for wine? (Score 1) 55

by pavon (#48175915) Attached to: Direct3D 9.0 Support On Track For Linux's Gallium3D Drivers

This native D3D9 support only works for drivers based on Gallium3D, which includes Noveau and the newer cards supported by the Radeon driver. If you are using the proprietary NVidia or AMD drivers, then this won't work. I can't imagine that any company would want to support a Linux port that required you to have specific graphics card drivers installed. Especially a company that didn't care enough about cross-platform support to use OpenGL from the start, and especially when many of the people who care about gaming on linux will be running the proprietary drivers, since that is what works best for most other games.


The One App You Need On Your Resume If You Want a Job At Google 205

Posted by timothy
from the surprisingly-it's-not-I-am-Rich dept. writes Jim Edwards writes at Business Insider that Google is so large and has such a massive need for talent that if you have the right skills, Google is really enthusiastic to hear from you — especially if you know how to use MatLab, a fourth-generation programming language that allows matrix manipulations, plotting of functions and data, implementation of algorithms, creation of user interfaces, and interfacing with programs written in other languages, including C, C++, Java, Fortran and Python. The key is that data is produced visually or graphically, rather than in a spreadsheet. According to Jonathan Rosenberg , Google's former senior vice president for product management, being a master of statistics is probably your best way into Google right now and if you want to work at Google, make sure you can use MatLab. Big data — how to create it, manipulate it, and put it to good use — is one of those areas in which Google is really enthusiastic about. The sexy job in the next ten years will be statisticians. When every business has free and ubiquitous data, the ability to understand it and extract value from it becomes the complimentary scarce factor. It leads to intelligence, and the intelligent business is the successful business, regardless of its size. Rosenberg says that "my quote about statistics that I didn't use but often do is, 'Data is the sword of the 21st century, those who wield it the samurai.'"

Comment: why won't it just die.die.die? (Score 1) 240

by epine (#48145111) Attached to: Fighting the Culture of 'Worse Is Better'

Almost all the hacks imposed on C++ to remain compatible with C are linear hacks that don't combine combinatorially. That's what makes these hacks ugly: bending over backwards to achieve hack containment. The C++ standardization literature contains many of the fiercest debates ever waged among pointy hats concerning hack containment. Purity wasn't an option. Impurity segregation was.

The hacks in C++ that do have combinatorial complexity pertain to features of the C++ language completely unrelated to C, such as templates and namespaces.

The bending over backward to avoid non-linear hacks due to compatibility with C got the standards committee into a wee bit of time pressure. Both the template and namespace features were added "on the fly" against the stated policy of the standardization group to only standardize after there was enough experience on the ground to avoid the worst mistakes.

If the standard isn't finished on a timely basis: market fail.

If the standard is finished without templates and namespaces: paradigm fail.

If the standard makes blunders in defining templates and namespaces: an eternal witch's brew.

The committee members rather sanely (and unhappily) chose the least of several competing evils.

There's never been a language like C++ to get otherwise smart people to say stupid things.

* C++ contains many ugly hacks due to its C legacy
* most ugly hacks are combinatorial
* C++ contains many combinatorial hacks
* therefore C++ is riven with combinatorial hacks due to its C legacy

Yes, but the ugly hacks to support C are not the combinatorial hacks, and the combinatorial hacks to support templates and namespaces before their time are not the hacks to support C.

Of course, if you don't delve deeply enough to figure this out, one might just conclude that C++ was concocted by a brigand of insane ideologues. You'd be stupid and wrong, but if your surround yourself with an echo chamber of the equally lazy, there's hardly any detectable social downside (near you).

There's remains, however, this irritating tendency of the world around you not to adopt your favourite "clean" language and put C++ out to pasture once and for allâ"due exclusively to inertia, incompetence, and mendacity. Of course.

The next rank of fierce debate during standardization concerned the elimination of all proposed features where adopting the feature imposed a performance penalty across the board even when it isn't used. A few performance points here and there on a heavy-lifting, industrial programming language quickly adds up to entire data centers. Elegance was never a sufficient argument, unless the performance tax imposed was—at most—barely measurable.

Elegance looks like such a great thing until one begins writing an application at industrial scale. The hacks inherent in making any computational system work efficiently on industrial scale (with smooth degradation around the edge cases, and no crippling instabilities) instantly dwarfs the hackishness of the C++ language itself.

Comment: Re:Still being made... (Score 1) 304

by epine (#48098865) Attached to: The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made

I've had an Erase-ease Keyboard For Compaq Computers for a long time now.

Surprisingly, almost without me noticing it, it's become my silent workhorse. It's fairly heavy and stiff, with just enough key feel for the speed I type. It has nice key surface sculpting, too. Every couple of years I shake an entire meal out of the mechanism and give the key caps the car wash treatment. It still works great, but does get a bit sticky for a few days after being washed.

I had two of the old IBM keyboards around, but I simply type too fast to use one as my main keyboard. My typing oscillates between high speed ticking and a low frequency buzz. IBM keyboards are noisy and stiff and I began to wonder about the strain on my fingers, as well.

On this keyboard I've never actually forced myself to use the backspacebar key. I popped the the key cap off the right Windows key a long time ago. Miraculously, Firefox is now the bane of my typing existence, since any accidental strike of the right ALT key takes me into a modal menu-bar mode.

About six months ago I bound the Linux compose key to capslock and set it up to generate mdashes and ndashes and a whole bunch of HTML markup.

I have <blockquote> bound to caps-q-a and </blockquote> bound to caps-q-s. I have <nowiki> bound to caps-w-a and </nowiki> bound to caps-w-s. I guess it's obvious what software I use for taking notes. What a godsend to have a useful capslock key. Now if I could just shoot someone at the Mozilla Foundation for perpetrating the modal Alt key to activate the drop-down menubar, my keyboard life would be nirvana.

Yeah, maybe there's a Firefox setting to disable this. Can't be bothered just yet. Too many moving carpets. This I learned from Ubuntu. If you hate something, do nothing about it. If twelve months down the road some twenty-something GUI designer asshole hasn't already yanked the carpet out from underneath you consider investing three minutes of quality Google time in stone-from-shoe removal prowess. (My what sharp fangs you have, Grandma! All the better to service the tablet marketplace, my darling little Ms Underhood.)

For example, I use middle-click paste all the time, while also carrying a to-be-pasted item around in my regular paste buffer (and even more in my clippy tool). I'm sure I read something about some distro/desktop deciding to eliminate this from their next GUI iteration, right before I hit the emergency stasis field activation button and curled into a foetal ball.

What I desperately want is a middle-click erase-paste, in which the contents of the target area are vaporised prior to the paste operation (clearing out search boxes is especially annoying). I just noticed that the paste happens on button release. A long middle-button press could be a field erase operation. Then long-press/release would be paste-replace. That would be golden. All the methods I know to quickly delete a field involve first selecting the field, which really sucks when you're already carrying something in your X buffer.

Hard on the heals of my compose key triumph, I might give it a go at some point in the next six to nine months.

Comment: Re:Lots of cheap carbon stuff (Score 1) 652

by epine (#48080073) Attached to: Living On a Carbon Budget: The End of Recreation As We Know It?

Actually you only need to pear the population down by about 20 million. The top 2% of the world's population consume something like 90-95% of the resources, they are extremely expensive to have around. Remove them and everyone's standard of living jumps significantly.

And what about the other 98% who dream of becoming the 2%? Nature abhors voluntary prudence. Stable equilibria in straightened circumstance is what you get after everyone goes "oh shit, what now?"

Perhaps in about twenty more years, we'll have a SimEarth realistic enough to set your proposal up to watch the earth burn. The stampede to replace the profligate 2% being but the first unmitigated ecological disaster of many to follow.

Skill testing question: Does the extremely high American incarceration rate aid or abet the trade in deprecated substances? I'm not even going to bother offering up antonyms. Prison is many things, and one of those things is serving as a first-rate finishing school in general lawlessness. Every trip to prison makes your "straight" options that much less attractive. After three trips to prison, minimum wage under the table is your glass ceiling in the straight economy.

The law of unexpected consequence is nowhere else in force so strongly as it applies to human incentive.

Air is water with holes in it.