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Comment: Re:That's good (Score 2) 141 141

Of course it has effect. There's such a thing as being too easy. Now, Jan Freese, the former head of the Swedish data inspection authority wrote a very good book on the subject, many, many years ago (in the mid eighties if memory serves), which unfortunately is in Swedish, so it won't do you much good. But one of his main points was that the existence of information isn't the main problem, but that manual barriers to its processing is.

It is my opinon that its become too bloody easy to find out too much about people today, for no good reason. In the important cases (not hiring child molesters at the day care) the data is still there, and still accessible for the concerned parties. That's not a problem. That everybody else should have access to the same data at the drop of a hat, needs to be argued. "Just because we can" isn't much of an argument.

So no. My original argument still stands. The data is there, no-one is arguing that is should be redacted. But that's not to say that the barriers to automatic processing should necessarily be as low as humanly possible. There aren't just benefits, there are risks as well.

P.S. And "information doesn't want to be free". If it wants anything it's to be $4.95, but even that is giving it much too much credit.

Comment: Re:That's good (Score 1) 141 141

This is about history being erased from public record. Don't you see the implications?

No its not. No-one is suggesting that the officially archived court proceedings be retroactively redacted. (Or the officially archived copy of the newspaper in question be redacted either, for that matter).

The public records are sacrosanct and still preserved.

Comment: Re:Dependencies (Score 1) 119 119

With current start-up management I meant "as it's defined by history and hence the system we've got to work with". Systemd is, as you say, trying to change that, and hence, have to change everything around it to suit. (And that's not popular, to put it mildly. :-) ) So they're going outside the current scope as what they're trying to achieve can't effectively be addressed within it. If it could be, and they hadn't try to expand the scope, there wouldn't be nearly as much wailing and gnashing of teeth, don't you agree?

Comment: Re: The point is that Russia's tech is crap (Score 1) 127 127

I didn't mean to be unfair to the British. They knew how to run an empire but they didn't uplift nations in their spheres for the mutual profit of those peoples. They invested in those countries to profit the empire or make controlling the territory easier.

Sure, don't get me wrong, I didn't say they did. However, they were much better than most of the "competition".

No one ran a global empire better or more benevolently than the British until the Americans came along.

That is up for debate I think. :-) I even said as much during your past and current debacle in Iraq. "You even had the British with you, the best imperialists there have ever been, and you still couldn't take their advice and do the smart thing." (They moved to have Abu Ghraib bombed for example, it being such a powerful symbol for Saddam's oppressive rule. Did you? No instead you made it a symbol of your oppressive rule. It's such a rookie mistake it's painful to see.

And then sending his army complete with political leadership home? WTF? You didn't even do that to the Nazis until after several months. German army units and US units even patrolled together all through the summer of '45, to ensure a stable and peaceful transition. It wasn't until after that was secured that you started hunting Nazis in earnest. So analogously, following your own example, in Iraq you should have rounded up the republican guard in short order and left the rest to simmer until done. Then dealt with it. You didn't and ended up with Iraq a vassal state of Iran, and the bloody Isis in the north.

So, I understand that you try and sell the current US as the empire that thwarts all other empires, but from outside I (and many with me) just can't see it. We see business acumen, and nothing else. No knowledge of actual facts on the ground, no sense or knowledge of history (local or otherwise), no shrewdness, no long term plan or direction. And by your own explanation, that's perhaps not surprising as the US leadership almost guarantees that there can be none of the above. To be a skilled imperialist, you need knowledge, direction, and being in it for the long haul. The US system, with everybody changing all the time, as you point out guarantees that that won't happen.

And hence you get the many messes that you get yourself involved in. Half heartedly and haphazardly. You can't seem to neither shit, nor get off the pot. From Vietnam to Iraq the symptoms and outcome are the same. And everybody else knows this, beating the Americans is easy. Just bleed them until they lose interest, as they inevitably will. The US have no staying power. (Compare that with the British if you will.) Even two-bit Somali war lords understood this, and managed to pull it off without much effort.

Now, why the US as imperialists are a failure, is a good question, and one we could write books on (as others have), but let me end with saying that of course this isn't all bad, or even overwhelmingly so. I'd absolutely hate for the current US to start behaving like the British, even as late as the late nineteenth century, don't get me wrong. I'd rather see an inept US that doesn't really want to be imperialist, than one that would and started doing that competently. But I'd also rather see a US that took an even more complete step in that direction and avoided clumsiness like Iraq altogether.

Comment: Re:Dependencies (Score 1) 119 119

sd_notify.

No, that doesn't really count, as it's outside the scope of the current start-up management. It's not something that could be done with start-up management alone today.

Now of course, if we're allowed to fix the infrastructure, with hindsight there's a lot of things we could/should/would have done differently. But the world being what it is, that's unfortunately often not an option. I mean, Unix isn't that great, we could do a lot better today if we were allowed to start over. But again unfortunately we're not. So sd_notify while being "obvious" also falls far short.

Not that I'm married to SysV startup, it's a bit of a kludge. Likewise I'm not impressed with systemd either, it's arguably worse than the problem it's trying to solve. But again, that's not saying that SysV starup wasn't due for replacement.

Comment: Re: The point is that Russia's tech is crap (Score 1) 127 127

The British empire believed in the more traditional "win-lose" system.

That may be a bit harsh. I would say it was more a "we win, we don't care particularly what happens to you". If you look at e.g. the African nations that won independence from their European masters the former British ones usually did OK. The Brits had taught the natives how to actually run a country, as they needed the country to be run and didn't want to waste their own manpower on it.

You can contrast this to many of the smaller players, like Portugal or, horror of horrors, Belgium. They were more likely to just abuse the locals for sheer short sighted profit taking and to hell with everything, and everyone else. "The heart of darkness" was after all written as an argument against the abuses of King Leopold of Belgium.

Comment: Re:Obligatory reading (Score 1) 419 419

Whether the estimate is correct or not

It's not. It's based on the LNT-Linear No Threshold-model, that we today know is too conservative. Tjernobyl, Iran and Taiwan among others, have taught us as much.

Now, it's still a nice conservative model, and we don't know what to replace it with, or even if it should be replaced (being conservative and all), so everything is based on that. That has the nice side effect that we tend to err on the side of caution, but the downside is that people believe that "ultimately" there will be scores of cancers etc. from very low level dosages received by very large populations. That won't happen, we know that by now. If it did, then it would have already happened in the aforementioned instances and many more.

So, smart money is on basically no extra cases of cancer from long term exposure from Fukushima.

Comment: Re: The point is that Russia's tech is crap (Score 1) 127 127

Oh yes, there were plenty of ulterior motives. You see, the Swedish government in about 1670 before Charles XII realised that in order for Sweden to survive we had to have peace with the Russians. So the deal was made that we would help open the old silk road. We would help the Russians build canals etc. for a transport route that would take gods from India and China via Persia, across the Kaspian via Volga to Narva via Moscow. The endpoint would be where present day St Petersburg is, i.e. with handy access to the Baltic (Swedens "Mare nostrum" at the time as Finland and the Baltic were Swedish), Sweden and the world.

BUT, this of course pissed off the naval powers that had a lock on that trade royally. So they schemed and schemed to have war between Russia and Sweden, and with a new Peter the Great, who listened too much to the Dutch (another of the two great eastern sea/trading powers at the time) and a Charles the XII who listened to the Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill (yes an ancestor of that Churchill), who at Sachsen/Saxony persuaded the young king to not join the Saxony/English against the French, but instead keep at the war with Russia! (He thought it better in the long run for Sweden and Russia to bleed each other dry, rather than having the extra help against the French. And this at the time when the war against the French was a very closely run affair, and not at all certain. He later professed this to be his most prominent achievement). This against the protestations of the Saxony/Hannoverian government official Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (yes that Leibniz!)

And of course the plans of Marlborough worked. Sweden lost at Poltava 1709, (which marked the end of the Swedish empire and the rise of the Russian), and then the king fell at Halden in Norway in 1718 and in hindsight that was all she wrote. Sweden was too tired of war to even try and continue, and little by little the "empire" collapsed. The Russians hit the final nail in the coffin in 1809 when the took Finland (which had been Swedish for 600 years by that time). We basically haven't been to war since.

So, definitely not a win-win scenario. And as you point out, like everything important, based on trade. We wanted it, the Dutch, English, (and Portuguese, and Spanish) didn't want to lose it, and they took steps to prevent that from happening, and we and the Russians fell for it. Hindsight 20-20 and all that... :-)

Comment: Re: The point is that Russia's tech is crap (Score 1) 127 127

That's a distinction without meaning. First, you're not talking about modern sweden but about 17th century Sweden which had a very different character and nature than the modern Sweden. Compare the US morally and ethically against 17th century Sweden, and it is unlikely the modern US would look worse.

No argument, it was you how brought up the comparison with empires of yore, and then mentioned Sweden in the next breath.

Whether you'd look worse... Good question. "We" were pretty bad, so I'm not sure that's aiming very high. However, the world has also changed, we're much more peaceful now, so an absolute comparison is fraught with difficulty anyway.

Second, while Sweden might have been threatening to their immediate neighbors, they had no where near the projection of true empires. I grant they were formidable. But only within their region.

Well, by that token, so were many others on your list. Also, those that covered lots of land, often ruled vast "empires" of no-one, as many of the areas where they ruled didn't have much of a population to begin with (the Mongols come to mind here).

The British ambasador of the time did after all tell the Swedish monarch that Sweden's natural border in the east ought to be considered to stop at the shores of the black sea. The crown didn't think the Swedes had any natural claim beyond that (and schemed to start another war with Russia to put a stop to that). So, "our" influences well beyond the local region were considerable at the time.

So, in short, I'm not really arguing with your basic premises, just picking a nit regarding comparisons between "empires" and "Sweden" being invalid. Historically it's not a stretch.

Comment: Re:Dependencies (Score 1) 119 119

There's a tool called rcorder that parses REQUIRE and PROVIDE lines in each startup script

Problem is that UNIX services doesn't actually tell you when they're ready to "provide", the init system is based on the notion of having told something to start, not actually having it available.

So, until you address that any prioritization is going to be a kludge at best. It's no use telling a system that something requires something else, until you can actually guarantee that that something else is actually available.

Fun fact, systemd doesn't address this either. Well, there are some kluges in the form of initd like behaviour, but by and large its still the old "spawn off a process and cross your fingers"-approach to service provisioning and dependency resolution. Only a lot more complicated for not much improvement. "Lots of screaming for little wool, said the woman that sheered the pig..." as the Swedish saying would have it.

P.S. Of course, whether you number or name these things doesn't make one bit of difference. But with numbering at least, you're not fooling yourself into thinking that you're getting something you're not.

Comment: Re: The point is that Russia's tech is crap (Score 1) 127 127

Here I presume you're going to find my point inconvenient because you really wanted to compare the US to Sweden or something. Tough shit. Its an unreasonable comparison.

Not with the list you put up above. To quote the previous start of the entry for Sweden in the CIA world fact book "Though a military super power in the 17:th century..."

So if you can compare the US to the holy roman empire, then you can compare it to Sweden. The 30 years war for example, was the first true world war and it lasted three times as long as the two the US has been involved in, combined. There were plenty of people who said "the Swede will save us!" (and for a time we actually did), just about as many as sang "Sleep, child, sleep, for tomorrow comes the Swede".

Not that I'm particularly proud of this moment in history, mind you, but it happened all the same.

Comment: Re: PHP is great (Score 1) 281 281

Any language, any OS, any hardware -- none of these things ultimately matter.

Yes they do. I know its popular to say otherwise, but that's mostly management speak.

What is true though is that we don't know how to quantify that difference and that there are many confounding factors, such as good people tend to flock to the good tools. And that doesn't necessarily mean good for everybody, but good for good people. (In the Haskell community that's know as the "Wow, we're floored by the quality of applicants we get when we post a Haskell job. Didn't know there were programmers like that out there..."

That this trivially true shouldn't be hard to convince oneself of as the argument is basically "Doesn't matter if we equip our troops with the Springfield 1861 rifled musket, or the fancy shmanzy, new and expensive Mauser 1891. After all they're both rifles, and everybody knows it's the rifleman that makes the difference, not the rifle."

Yes, the skill of the rifleman is very important. Critical even. Doesn't matter what rifle you give a bad rifleman, he'll miss as well with a cheap, crappy obsolete one, as a state of the art one. And likewise, a true virtuoso will perform feats of magic whatever you hand him. BUT, and that's a big "but", that doesn't mean that the differences in all other cases, don't matter. A good rifleman will cherish the opportunities the improvements bring, and a bad one will suck less. Sometimes much, much, less.

(And paradoxically, good performers seem to have a preference for simpler tools, that are easier to use for everybody, not the other way around, as you might think. That's probably because good performers tend to practice, and perform, a lot more than the average Joe, and hence are more exposed to their inevitable mistakes, always working to correct them. Extra complexity, for complexities sake, is hence seldom appreciated by the consummate professional.)

Doesn't mean that other things aren't just as, or even more, important, but don't for a minute delude yourself into thinking that the actual tools of the trade doesn't matter. The saying: "It's a poor carpenter who blames his tools", is meant to warn against poor carpenters, not condone poor tools.

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