Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Comment Software Priesthood (Score 1) 337 337

The whole thrust of ESR's Cathedral and the Bazaar essay...

You're about 30 years late WRT your reference. When I said "back in the day"...

I first saw the term "software priesthood" in print in Byte magazine -- it was 1976, I think. It was already in play among those of us who had already been programming for a while, and even more so among certain sectors of management.

Comment All your data r belong to us! (Score 3, Informative) 239 239

As another noted on the Red Site:

"We'll know everything* about you and we'll be snitching (including your BitLocker key) whenever and/or to anyone we think is in our interest to. Starting Aug 15"[1]

In particular, this is more than a little disturbing.

"But Microsoftâ(TM)s updated privacy policy is not only bad news for privacy. Your free speech rights can also be violated on an ad hoc basis as the company warns:

In particular, âoeWe will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary toâ, for example, âoeprotect their customersâ or âoeenforce the terms governing
the use of the servicesâ."

As with all things Microsoft, use at your own risk. Only now, the risks to you personally are higher than ever before.


Comment Re:use this one neat trick (Score 4, Insightful) 337 337

Back in the day, we called this concept the "Software Preisthood"

It wasn't complementary.

1) I am not threatened by "everyone" learning to program

2) don't buy a bunch of stupid apps, and,

3) Apparently, you're a programmer, so write your own apps. :)

Comment Re:Yay no more stupid videos! (Score 1) 545 545

Videos are 5x slower than reading

Yep. And they're extremely difficult to deal with contextually, unless you take the time to generate a full transcript - ugh. So (a) waste your time watching, (b) waste your time writing up a transcript, (c) take the time to post... and (d) everyone has already moved on.

Most video "stories" are for droolers. If you can't write it up, it often isn't worth saying. Exceptions being movies of Pluto, that sort of science-y goodness. I don't think I've ever seen *anything* on the idiot box that was worth a full page of actual cogent explanation. And "interviews".... ffs, just write it down.

Comment Our value is community. Not the broken site. (Score 0, Offtopic) 545 545

Perhaps the new owners will finally fix the massively broken and stupid moderation system that the previous and current owners have left bereft of badly needed attention:

o Moderators can't post with ID. Stupid. Utterly, completely, stupid. Pointless. Ridiculous.
o Moderators have zero accountability for what they've done -- only for what they might do later
o Absolutely no effective mechanism to remove bad moderation (and that really screws up threads here)
o AC's unjustly penalized, many of the site's best posts never rise above the noise level
o Trolls go un-handled -- the AC low-runging is a punt at not having to work at moderation. But it doesn't work.
o Perversely limited set of mod types leaves moderators unable to moderate reasonably
o Limits on mod ranges penalize the very best posts (and don't adequately address the trolls, either, because...
o On slashdot, troll is effectively equal to AC with one person disagreeing, and...
o Because we can't attribute the "disagree" to the mod, it can't be remediated except by the...
o Random and future-behavior-only-focused meta moderation system.

And then we have:

o Ridiculous delays between posts for ACs AND for logged-in users. Big convo? Too bad for you.
o Inability STILL to handle many character entities after all these years. Not to mention UTF-*8, omg.
o Retarded signature limits. C'mon. Bad sigs should be moderated. It takes a lot of chars to use HTML.

And of course there are the short-bus elephants in the room:

o "Editors" that know nothing about editing. Or writing. Or what constitutes a "story"
o The "firehose", a way to vote up stuff that won't get posted -- can be a total waste of time
o And the continuous mucking about with the parts that worked, making them NOT work,
      while all of the above, which ACTUALLY needs fixing, goes unfixed.

I'd fire the bloody lot of them, frankly.

Comment Re:NVidea's problem, not Microsoft's (Score 1) 316 316

My proposed solution is simply that they don't force updates on those who don't want them, and instead allow users to defer or completely ignore unwanted updates and only install software they want on their own computer. This solution looks remarkably like how previous versions of Windows have worked prior to the new policy.

I'm seeing conflicting messages about what you can and can't defer/block now. For example, some posters in this thread have said you could already block driver updates before, but other sources (including the article you linked to) imply that this was not previously the case and has now been changed in response to the Nvidia driver problems that triggered this discussion. In any case, this is all academic if they do the sensible thing and don't force any update on any unwilling recipient.

Comment Re:NVidea's problem, not Microsoft's (Score 1) 316 316

Certainly some of these companies do have decent customer support -- I don't mean to imply that such issues never get resolved.

The trouble is, unless they all have good support, there is a risk involved in having automatic updates that wasn't there before.

What I honestly don't understand after all the discussions here and elsewhere in recent days is why so many people seem to be defending Microsoft's position. If they're worried about security issues not being patched, they could just as well leave updates on by default but optional, so those who know what they're doing can take steps to apply the important patches with proper testing and without risking unwanted side effects, while those who just plug in and go will probably get exactly the same result as they would with compulsory updates anyway.

As far as I can see, there is literally no reason not to do this -- which is basically status quo for most systems today -- unless someone at Microsoft has intentions that mean they would want to push an update that a clued up user/sysadmin would not want to install, which is the only time it makes a significant difference whether or not the updates are mandatory.

Comment Re:NVidea's problem, not Microsoft's (Score 1) 316 316

In such cases it is paramount that you contact the hardware vendor and insist that they provide an updated driver to ensure that it works in your environment.

You're adorable. :-)

But seriously, the reality is that you have no power whatsoever to compel an organisation the size of say Nvidia or AMD to provide working drivers. Both provide drivers for their gaming cards that are frequently buggy as hell. Even their much more expensive professional workstation cards -- where almost the entire point is the supposedly better drivers, because the hardware is all but identical -- have all kinds of silly driver bugs that have been known to cause anything from screen glitches while using supposedly certified applications to outright system crashes.

Several people have commented in this Slashdot discussion that you can disable the driver updates within Windows update even if you can't disable other parts, though so far I haven't been able to find any official confirmation of that from a Microsoft source. Even if it's true, that in itself says something about Microsoft's awareness of the potential for forced updates to go badly wrong. :-(

Comment Re:NVidea's problem, not Microsoft's (Score 1) 316 316

Firstly, given that the default behavior outside of enterprise environments is to automatically install updates do we have evidence that this has been significantly problematic? If this is indeed a problem then there should be plenty of instances in the history of Windows Update.

There are plenty of previous cases where Windows Update has broken things. That's why a lot of us are so concerned. Been there, done that, spent the next several hours clearing up the mess, on occasion even resorting to physical media because the normal recovery mechanism was sufficiently b0rked that even booting that far wasn't happening.

Secondly, if the above case turns out to be valid (I'm no expert, that's why I'm asking) then is there any evidence to indicate that this would still not be resolved after a few months of deferring the update in question?

Severe problems like the ones I was thinking of above? No, to be fair to Microsoft, they have usually fixed those within a day or two. (Drivers are a different question entirely, but as we've determined, those are a different case and not entirely Microsoft's responsibility.)

But minor gremlins that mess something up for people with certain hardware or software combinations? Or updates that aren't really necessary at all, like the Win10 nag messages? I don't see any rush to get those fixed.

In any case, as the financial folks will tell you, past performance is not a reliable indicator of future behaviour. The fact is, if you trust Microsoft to get this stuff fixed and it does turn out that they can't or won't fix whatever issue is affecting you, your business is screwed. What manager or IT group wants to risk their business's ability to trade or potentially their own personal livelihood in that way, entirely unnecessarily? Why would any rational person do that, if they understand the other options available to them?

Right, so is the solution to proliferate the knowledge about how to resolve the problem or just bitch pseudonymously in web forum comments about the existence of it?

Once again, the problem isn't just this specific issue, it's the uncontrolled risk associated with allowing anyone to force software changes on a PC you rely on.

And if you think I'm only bitching about this pseudonymously on-line, you're crazy. Every business I work with (and a couple of family and friends who have asked) has been actively making plans to avoid winding up on Windows 10 for a while.

BTW, my comments on this issue are mild compared to a few I've heard when talking to the sysadmins at some of those businesses. The language some of those people used to describe Microsoft's attitude here isn't something you'd repeat in polite company, let's say.

Comment Re:NVidea's problem, not Microsoft's (Score 1) 316 316

How is having a system that remains up to date suddenly no longer the right tool for the job?

If it was working for whatever it was needed for before the update, and it wasn't after.

The entire point of the concern here is that Microsoft can and have pushed updates that are broken, and they can and have pushed updates that a lot of users didn't want and that had nothing to do with security (like the Windows 10 nag message).

Microsoft's idea of what constitutes an important update that I should definitely deploy and my idea of what constitutes an important update that I should definitely deploy have been diverging significantly for some time. My standard policy now is that I apply security updates, and unless I have a good reason to do otherwise, that is all I deploy.

That policy was a direct result of problems caused by earlier updates, and I think if you ask around you'll find a lot of sysadmins favour a similar strategy. Even if that weren't the case, the likelihood of Microsoft increasingly pushing unwanted changes that are in their own interest more than their users' seems high given their disclosed strategic plans and business model going forward.

Comment Re:Even better news for China (Score 3, Insightful) 96 96

It doesnt matter if those countries get 100 bucks if 99 of them end up going back to cost of manufacturing.

Part of "cost of manufacturing" is paying workers. There and here. So it does matter. When my $100 goes there instead of here, our economy takes a hit. Tiny, sure, but when it's thousands or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of "whatever", then it's no longer a tiny hit.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten