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Comment: Re:Yes. What do you lose? But talk to lawyer first (Score 1) 626

by IamTheRealMike (#49197229) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Let My Kids Become American Citizens?

Unfortunately the amount is fixed in dollar terms and does not automatically adjust for inflation. When that exemption was set it was considered a large amount. However currently it's $97,000. The dollar is not an especially strong currency. That's about 60k GBP+. You can earn more than that just by being a decent computer programmer in London. And of course the OPs kids don't have to worry about the threshold today but rather in 20 years. There is zero incentive for Congress to be lenient here because now they have FATCA they can actually collect tax from anywhere in the world - it's taxation without representation which is ideal for them.

Comment: Re:Yes. What do you lose? But talk to lawyer first (Score 1) 626

by IamTheRealMike (#49197189) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Let My Kids Become American Citizens?

The USA charges its citizens for evacuation, unlike all other countries in the world who also evacuate their citizens from trouble zones ..... for free.

Will the U.S. government pay for my travel? How much will it cost?
Departure assistance is expensive. U.S. law 22 U.S.C. 2671(b) (2) (A) requires that any departure assistance be provided "on a reimbursable basis to the maximum extent practicable.” This means that evacuation costs are ultimately your responsibility; you will be asked to sign a form promising to repay the U.S. government.

These costs have bankrupted people in the past, leaving them wishing they had not been "rescued".

US citizens are in many places treated better as a result.

US citizens are becoming systematically toxic and are treated like shit as a result, especially by the financial system. FATCA is a completely insane law and has resulted in banks around the world terminating accounts and refusing to make loans just because someone is a US citizen or has a green card. And unfortunately what many don't realise is you cannot get out of US citizenship just by paying a few thousand dollars as the summary suggests. There is a crippling exit tax that forces you to pay tax on the assumption you just sold all your assets. It's a form of capital control, except one you cannot escape from due to the long arm of the US government. Even better, USA can decide that the citizenship revocation is invalid if they think it was done for tax reasons. They can just keep forcing you to pay taxes forever, if they want to. It's basically modern slavery.

My advice to the story submitter - don't do it!!. US citizenship is already dramatically worse than citizenships in other civilised countries and it's getting worse every year. In fact it's akin to a form of slavery. US citizens abroad have no functioning representation in Congress and they are routinely exploited as a result, citizenship based taxation being only one example.

Swedish and Belgian citizenship together is a perfect combination! Why would you want anything more?

Comment: Re:Their two biggest mistakes (Score 1) 163

by IamTheRealMike (#49197007) Attached to: Mozilla: Following In Sun's Faltering Footsteps?

The important thing about Electrolysis isn't performance, it's that it will allow them to finally sandbox. My respect for Mozilla has lessened over time (and I used to be a minor contributor, back in the early days), partly because they don't seem to care about security as much as the Chrome team do. Chrome prioritised sandboxing over many other things and is a lot more robust as a result. Firefox is still just one JS engine exploit away from total ownage of the running system.

Comment: Re:Do pilots still need licenses? (Score 1) 343

by IamTheRealMike (#49186799) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

That article says the autopilot was disconnected and "[The investigation] will help us to understand whether there was a problem with the Airbus or in the training received by flight crew in manual aircraft handling at high altitude."

In other words they don't know what happened, but at the time of the near stall the plane was no longer under the control of the auto pilot. BTW if a plane suddenly finds itself overspeeding, climbing to lose speed is the right thing to do.

Comment: Re:Do pilots still need licenses? (Score 2) 343

by IamTheRealMike (#49185845) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

Do pilots still need licenses in the age of autopilot? Well yes because machines aren't infallible.

Not quite. It's "yes" because most people would be unable to get over their fear of flying in an entirely autonomous plane, not because we need heroic pilots to override the computer when things go wrong.

Consider that about half of all aviation accidents are traced to pilot error. The percentage of crashes caused by autopilot error is zero.

Comment: Re:on *average* (Score 5, Insightful) 245

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49177303) Attached to: Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality

It needs a lot more qualifiers than that.

For a start, as with an unfortunate number of academic studies, it appears that the sample population consisted of undergraduates and recent graduates. That alone completely invalidates any conclusions as they might apply to experienced professionals with better judgement about when and how to use refactoring techniques.

Even without that, there seem to be a number of fundamental concerns about the data.

One obvious example is that they consider lines of code to be a metric that tells you anything useful beyond the width you need to allow for the line number margin in your text editor. I doubt most experienced programmers would agree that a LOC count in isolation tells us anything useful about maintainability or that the mere fact that LOC went up or down after a change necessarily meant the code had become better or worse in any useful sense.

Another concern is that they talk about "analysability", but this seems to be measured only by reference to a brief examination of a small code base in one of two versions, unrefactored and refactored. I'd like to know what the actual code looked like before I read anything at all into that data -- what refactoring was performed, what was the motivation for each change, and how do they know those two small code bases were representative of either refactoring in general or the effectiveness of refactoring on larger code bases or code bases that developers have more time to study and work with?

I'm all for empirical data -- goodness knows, we need more objective information about what really works in an industry as hype-driven and accepting of poor quality as ours -- but I'm afraid this particular study seems to be so flawed that it really tells us very little of value.

Comment: Re:Did *everyone* miss the point here? :-( (Score 1) 375

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49166827) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

It remains the case that either my original statement is true, meaning a counter-example for the reliability of fact-based ranking has been identified, or my original statement is false, in which case the statement itself becomes a counter-example because it is widely repeated but incorrect.

Comment: Did *everyone* miss the point here? :-( (Score 1) 375

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49164283) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

Oh, the irony!

Erm... It was intended to be ironic. Well, paradoxical, technically. Compare my final sentence

Remember, not so long ago, the almost-universal opinion would have been that the world was flat.

with the classic "This statement is false".

If my statement were true, it would illustrate a problem with Google's proposal.

But as my statement is false, it is itself a demonstration of the problem, because it perpetuates a myth sufficiently popular that it even has its own Wikipedia page. I was a little surprised that I couldn't also find it on Snopes.

Anyway, it's disappointing that no-one seems to have noticed that. Were none of you even a little suspicious about a post that in one paragraph said "Just because something gets repeated a lot, that doesn't make it factually correct" and then repeated one of the most popular myths there is? Really?

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

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49161057) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

"Fact optimization" is already behind more than one multi-billion dollar industry: advertising, political lobbying...

And this is why I fear this initiative, no matter how well intentioned, is doomed to failure. Just because something gets repeated a lot, that doesn't make it factually correct. Moreover, censoring dissenting opinions is a terrible reaction to active manipulation and even to old-fashioned gossip, because it removes the best mechanism for correcting the groupthink and promoting more informed debate, which is introducing alternative ideas from someone who knows better or simply has a different (but still reasonable) point of view.

Remember, not so long ago, the almost-universal opinion would have been that the world was flat.

Comment: Hashes not useful (Score 5, Informative) 323

by IamTheRealMike (#49157781) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

Seagate is correct. Putting a hash on the website doesn't improve security at all because anyone who can change the download can also change the web page containing the hash.

  The fact that this practice is widespread in the Linux world originates from the usage of insecure FTP mirrors run by volunteer admins. There it's possible for a mirror to get hacked independently of the origin web page. A company like Seagate doesn't rely on volunteers at universities to distribute their binaries so the technique is pointless.

A tool to verify the firmware is poetically impossible to write. What code on the drive would provide the firmware in response to a tool query? Oh right ..... the firmware itself. To make it work you need an unflashable boot loader that acts as a root of trust and was designed to do this from the start. But such a thing is basically pointless unless you're trying to detect firmware reflashing malware and that's something that only cropped up as a threat very recently. So I doubt any hard disk has it.

BTW call a spade a spade. Equation Group == NSA TAO

Comment: Re:Monopolistic: Do no evil? (Score 3, Insightful) 185

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49154799) Attached to: Google Taking Over New TLDs

Now will ICANN put its foot down

It had better hope so, because giving entire TLDs to specific big companies could easily be the straw that breaks the camel's back in terms of the rest of the world accepting US-led administration of the general Internet. There's plenty of scepticism already, but organisations like ICANN are tolerated because frankly no-one has much of a better idea or wants to take on the responsibility. However, it is not difficult to think of a better idea than letting big businesses rewrite the established rules in arguably the most important address space in the world today for their own benefit.

"Mr. Watson, come here, I want you." -- Alexander Graham Bell

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