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Comment Re:Developers following the KICC principle (Score 1) 576

The arguments for using Optional (or its equivalents in other languages) as an alternative to bare nulls are covered in a recent article, The worst mistake of computer science. It quotes Tony Hoare, the inventor of the null reference, saying that null was a "billion-dollar mistake":

I call it my billion-dollar mistake... At that time, I was designing the first comprehensive type system for references in an object-oriented language. My goal was to ensure that all use of references should be absolutely safe, with checking performed automatically by the compiler. But I couldn’t resist the temptation to put in a null reference, simply because it was so easy to implement. This has led to innumerable errors, vulnerabilities, and system crashes, which have probably caused a billion dollars of pain and damage in the last forty years.

Submission + - Tajikistan now located between Mars and Jupiter

psychonaut writes: The Guardian reports that Tajikistan, the former Soviet republic in Central Asia, has just named a dwarf planet after itself. Farhod Rahimi, head of the Tajik Academy of Sciences, announced the astronomical dedication on September 1 at a ceremony attended by President Emomali Rahmon. Tajikistan (the planet) is described as being 436 million kilometres from the Earth, on a five-year orbit somewhere between Mars and Jupiter. The state news agency of Tajikistan (the country) reports that scientists are intensively studying the planet's physical and chemical composition.

The International Astronomical Union has not confirmed the existence of Planet Tajikistan, leading to speculation that the whole story may have been concocted by state media to boost the country's reputation.

Comment Emirates too (Score 1) 194

I have no experience with WiFi on North American airlines, but I've flown on Emirates flights and the WiFi was fast and cheap. The first 50 MB was free, and the next 500 MB was only $1. When flying over certain countries (most notably China) it's turned off due to legal reasons, but when it was on I was quite satisfied with it.

Comment Windows 10 isn't the only privacy violator (Score 1) 426

It's interesting that there's been such outrage over Windows 10's snooping, especially considering that many wildly popular proprietary programs have already been doing this for years. For instance, in 2007 Slashdot reported that Skype reads your /etc/passwd file and Firefox profile; who knows how it uses this data or where it gets sent.

The real problem here isn't Windows 10 in particular, it's running proprietary software in general. With proprietary software it's almost impossible for the average user, and usually very difficult even for experts, to discover and mitigate against privacy violations and security holes. Free software puts up no artificial barriers to security and privacy audits; any competent programmer can check the code herself, and any concerned layperson can delegate a trusted programmer to do so (or read existing reports from programmers or journalists they trust).

Submission + - Toronto PET Users Group stages flash mob at Starbucks

psychonaut writes: In the fall of 2014, PET-wielding members of the Toronto PET Users Group descended en masse upon a local Starbucks to share their love of old-school Commodores with today's tablet- and smartphone-using public. This was the club's second such flash mob (the first, in 2013, commemorated the 30-year anniversary of the Commodore SX-64 "luggable" computer) and this time Starbucks itself sent a film crew. The result was T.P.U.G., a short promo documentary which the company released in October. The film shows the club, once the world's largest and now the world's oldest user group, still going strong after nearly 37 years in operation.

Comment ACM are inveterate spammers, that's why (Score 1) 213

The main reason not to join ACM is that they spam the hell out of their members (and even prospective members and former members). Here are just some examples of recent complaints from computing professionals:

I have never been a member of ACM myself, but my e-mail addresses are (or were, the last time I checked) regularly bombarded by their solicitations. Now everything from them just goes straight to the bit bucket.

Comment Re:this is great news! (Score 1) 94

When I stick a disc in my player it normally will just start up to the movie for me. I've heard this problem before, part of that is player features, part of it is the specific title you're playing. Unskippable content is lame, I agree, but if I get a disc like that I can just do a direct copy of the disc contents with the protections removed and re-burn to a dual-layer blank. Now I can play it back on the player and skip content, no change in quality.

Wait, so let me get this straight. You and your SO make some steaming hot popcorn, dim the lights, and settle down on the couch for a movie night. You pop in your disc, only to find that it starts off with five minutes of annoying "unskippable" advertising. So your solution would be to get up, take out the disc, walk it over to the computer you keep in a separate room, insert it there, load up your disc ripping software, copy the disc to the computer, remove the disc, locate and insert a blank one, burn a new copy with the "unskippable" bit disabled, remove it, walk it back over to your living room player, insert it, and press play? Seems to me that serviscope_minor's solution of using MPlayer to begin with and simply mashing a single button to skip the advertising is a heck of a lot more convenient.

Comment Re:Welcom to the group - China, North korea and Ir (Score 1) 94

Did you read your own citation? It says that it's South Korea which is censoring Twitter because North Korea is using it to publish propaganda. (I don't doubt that North Korea also restricts access to Twitter, but your claim that it's completely banned there is rather blatantly contradicted by your source.)

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus