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Comment: Re:Nope (Score 3, Interesting) 41

by lgw (#49192743) Attached to: Lauren Ipsum: A Story About Computer Science and Other Improbable Things

Yeah, that'll go over well. Any kid willing to read this shit would already be interested in math/logic, and likely already know of many of the concepts in the book. Any kid not tickled pink by math/logic puzzles isn't going to read the book. You're not going to "spark an interest" this way.

I disagree. When I was 8-ish I had an interest in geeky things, but no simple, accessible math/logic problems to think about to begin growing my skills in that area. Math/logic puzzles written for a younger audience just weren't common. It wasn't until I was 12 or so that I found stuff I could actually read and understand enough to make progress on my own (beyond being good at arithmetic at a young age, which has nothing to do with math or logic really).

Maybe it's different today in our higher-tech world, with wikipedia and whatnot, but I had no way to get started. I see a lot of value in a the reinforcement - in having a kid who might be interested discover that they in fact are good at and enjoy such problems.

Comment: Re:I'm dying of curiousity (Score 0) 149

by lgw (#49191567) Attached to: Software Freedom Conservancy Funds GPL Suit Against VMWare

Are they a shitty company now? My vote is, ever since EMC's CEO took over as VMware's CEO, they've been going downhill.

This I believe - before this year and "Chrome", he had done one of the dirtier tech layoff I'd read about. But now everything looks tame by comparison to IBMs illegal layoffs.

the amount they are pissing me off with their ridiculous web client/GUI.

Can you still use Workstation as the GUI? That was the most clever thing VMware has done in recent years, giving a "real" thick-client UI option instead of the crap web UI, even if it is Windows only (rumor has it it was snuck past senior management by the engineering team). EMC was never good hardware IMO, they were just good at sending techs out (which big companies care more about anyhow).

Comment: Re:I'm dying of curiousity (Score 5, Interesting) 149

by lgw (#49190221) Attached to: Software Freedom Conservancy Funds GPL Suit Against VMWare

I highly doubt there was any such forethought. Much more likely (at least, at companies I've worked at) that some junior dev checked in GPL code as his own work, and it somehow slipped past code review (as can happen at crunch time).

I worked for "shrinkwrap software" companies for `15 years, and all of them had ironclad rules against using GPL software in any way (without a multi-month lawyer-approval process anyhow). One place I worked ran open source detection tools (similar to the plagiarism detection tools, but seeded with all the big free projects) as part of the daily build, they were so paranoid. I'd be surprised if this was deliberate on VMware's part. But then, maybe they're just a shitty company now?

That will be the interesting part of this case, IMO: was this deliberate, against official policy that the dev teams ignored, or some junior guy cheating?


Quebecker Faces Jail For Not Giving Up Phone Password To Canadian Officials 317

Posted by timothy
from the looking-for-banned-books-and-hockey-scores dept.
wired_parrot writes Canadian customs officials have charged a 38-year old man with obstruction of justice after he refused to give up his Blackberry phone password [on arrival in Canada by plane from the Dominican Republic]. As this is a question that has not yet been litigated in Canadian courts, it may establish a legal precedent for future cases. From the article: [Law professor Rob] Currie says the issue of whether a traveller must reveal a password to an electronic device at the border hasn't been tested by a court. "This is a question that has not been litigated in Canada, whether they can actually demand you to hand over your password to allow them to unlock the device," he said. "One thing for them to inspect it, another thing for them to compel you to help them."

Comment: Re:There might be hope for a decent adaptation (Score 4, Insightful) 318

by lgw (#49185059) Attached to: 'The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress' Coming To the Big Screen

Verhoeven completely misunderstood the book, was the thing, and made a parody of it. What he missed, what Heinlein's reader's often miss, is that Heinlein doesn't write utopias. None of his books are some imagining of an ideal society. The point of Starship Troopers was to explore in depth what life would be like in a militaristic/fascist society from the point of view of someone who knew nothing else. It was subtle and powerful as a result: the point-of-view characters are fully adapted to their society, and don't point out all the ways it's batshit crazy. Heinlein trusts the reader to make that call, to see how easily people get used to even such a harsh society and accept it as normal, if that's all you know.

Verhoeven missed all of that, saw it as an endorsement of the society in the book, and parodied it, turning the really interesting point the book was making into trite anvilicious crap.

Moon is the same - exploring an ultra-libertarian society in the same detail, in the same way from the point of view of people adapted to it. I expect the same Hollywood treatment: making a satire of it since they see the society as unwanted, not realizing it wasn't an endorsement in the first place but a critique.

Comment: Re:This should not be on the front page (Score 2) 244

by lgw (#49180279) Attached to: Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality

Tech debt is like credit card debt: the interest is a bitch. I worded for a while at one company that nearly folded because the time required for emergency bug fixes grew to, then past 100% of development time for the team. Horrible code doesn't just require more bug fixes in the first place, each change grows progressively more expensive and unsafe.

10k lines of shipped, production code is only of value if it's working bug free and without complaint. 10k lines of buggy code, that you have to add a week to any project that modifies in any way, that has negative value.

That being said, if the code is "cleaned up" by the same team that wrote it in the first place, you likely don't come out ahead. The only reason that company "nearly" folded was monuments willingness to hire about 10 senior guys like me to rescue what we could - 6 of them quite within a few weeks, but the 4 of us who stayed managed a few core fixes that kept it limping along for enough time to find a buyer for the company before it went under.

Comment: Re:This should not be on the front page (Score 4, Interesting) 244

by lgw (#49178047) Attached to: Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality

10,000 line functions are shockingly common in industry. Shit grows over time, and is so poorly written that you can't safely refactor it, and management lacks the balls to let you clean it up, so it just festers and festers.

I hear PayPal had 90% of their processing business logic in a single, multi-million-line class! Thankfully, I don't know that one first hand.

Comment: Re:Yeah.... (Score 1) 106

Government will fuck you sideways for a laugh, then shoot your dog and seize your house. I'll take Google's arbitrary of government's malice any day.

Whatever your perspective on that, someone, somewhere has to rank search results. If Google becomes capricious, people will stop using them (I haven't used them to search in 5+ years). If some government controls search results, it will get worse every year, and never ever get fixed.


Gritty 'Power Rangers' Short Is Not Fair Use 252

Posted by timothy
from the wait-til-you-see-how-scully-revives-walter-white dept.
Bennett Haselton writes: Vimeo and Youtube are pressured to remove a dark, fan-made "Power Rangers" short film; Vimeo capitulated, while Youtube has so far left it up. I'm generally against the overreach of copyright law, but in this case, how could anyone argue the short film doesn't violate the rights of the franchise creator? And should Vimeo and Youtube clarify their policies on the unauthorized use of copyrighted characters? Read on for the rest.

Comment: Re:YES (Score 1) 375

by lgw (#49167693) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

All three of your examples are value judgments, not facts.

Yes, that was rather my point, really. But to some people they are "facts", and important facts to prevent anyone from having a "non-factual" view on! Given Google's history of censorship, it wouldn't surprise me to see their own bias creep in as to what sort of thing is a fact.

Comment: Re:YES (Score 5, Insightful) 375

by lgw (#49161965) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

DuckDuckGo has ranted for a while about Google's "search bubble", where it shows each user pages likely to confirm their biases. This twists that old habit, so now everyone will be presented with pages likely to confirm Google's biases. Disagree with the Google groupthink? Your page is filled with lies, and Google will do its best to hide it.

Your own good judgment is the only worthwhile filter, and you don't get or maintain that by seeing only pages that all say the same thing. You don't really understand any subject until you can argue both sides in detail, and see why those with the out-of-favor view believe what they do!

I don't expect it will take very many years before Google picks sides on politically contentious issues in their ranking. Is abortion murder? Don't worry, Google will decide for you! Is recycling actually helping the environment? Don't worry, Google will decide for you! Are the current Net Neutrality changes actually good for the consumer, or only for internet giants? Don't worry, Google knows where the facts are!

Whatever you do, don't spend the time to study issues in depth for yourself, no, don't rise above your station. Repeat what you've been told, and everyone will say how smart you are - well, at least everyone who shows up in a Google search.

Comment: Re:Simple methodology (Score 1) 347

by lgw (#49155025) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

How could it have "passed all its tests" if it wasn't connected to the rest of the system? It's hard to do agile without continuous integration; doesn't surprise me it was a mess. But integration blowups are the norm in my experience on waterfall projects - they're the main thing that leads to "the first 90% of the project, then the second 90% of the project".

But the primary win from agile is in avoiding throw-away work. You always work next on what's the most likely to survive unchanged, you only do the design work you need to write the code that you're going to work on (which often includes the entire high-level architecture for the first line of code, but still), you only document what you've actually done, and so on. Bridge specifications are unlikely to change after the project was funded. I've done sever 18-month waterfall software projects, and never seen one where more than half of what we thought the project was at the beginning was what we delivered at the end. Make it cheap and easy to change the requirements, because the requirement are going to change, and there's no holding back the tide.

Comment: (Score 5, Informative) 185

by lgw (#49154923) Attached to: Google Taking Over New TLDs

I think .dev should be like not able to register so DEVELOPERS (re: NOT GOOGLE) can use like, [mydomain].dev to develop, and not have to create wonky local host names.

RFC 2606 reserves 4 TLDs for this purpose: .test .example .invalid .localhost

I've always used .test for domains for QA/test deployments. It also reserves the example.* second level domain name across all TLDs.

I think there are some other reserved TLDs, including ".xy" and some 63-character name that was something like "sixtythreecharacterdomainnamefortestingpurposes" , but I can't find the RFC. Anyone?

Life is a whim of several billion cells to be you for a while.