Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: No, but they may not be right for you. (Score 1) 464

by ralatalo (#48721493) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Progressive Glasses a Mistake For Computer Users?

I have had progressive glasses for more years than I care to think about. But I am near sighted so can read without them. My first glasses had small bifocals in the inside bottom corner and that worked when everything you needed to see was either near (reading distance) or far away. The problem is a computer screen is in between and what progressive lens do is give a smooth transition between near and far, so for any distance you can look though some part of your glasses and have it in focus.

If you only need reading glasses and can see the monitor without your glasses then maybe you can skip them when using the computer, but if you need them to view the monitor but not distances greater then talk with your optometrist and get a prescription that uses the top part for a monitor and then decide if you want a lower corner for reading or not.

Comment: Re:Not this again. (Score 1) 637

by ralatalo (#47622201) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

Yes and No. Java may automate memory management but it can't read your mind and if you don't understand memory management it can't help you. I have seen java code and programmers who merrily go on allocating object after object and then run out of memory and complain that java isn't doing its job. Java and most of your GC code will going a very good job of taking care of the details but you still better have some idea of memory management. Even standard C will automatically manage your memory if you stick with automatic variables which get put on the stack.

If you don't know if that object you created still needs to be around, then how do you expect Java or any GC to know if it should be kept or discarded. The GCs use algorithms to determine if an object can still be reached but while they may be getting better they are limited. So, while Java may take care of the details, you had better know about memory management.

Comment: Re:Base the Key on a Natural Periodic System (Score 1) 170

The problem I see is that no matter what key(s) are used. If they are known then they are known and there is nothing to stop someone from using them early. How many people set the time on their systems ahead of the actual time to test something, what would stop them from doing it to break a code? Every wonder why the night sky would look like in 1 million years... if someone calculated the values for the key then knowing that the key was a starry sky a millions years from the future, then someone could look up the same for the key.

The idea that no one ( living ) knows the exact nature of the key, ie... the lock will for some time after 60 years would have another issue in that the code would need to check checked each second ( or 1/10 of a second, etc... ) and if something happens that a the key is skipped then it will be lost forever. The best idea so far is to generate a key which requires X out of Y samples to solve and then hope that at least X survive to the desired time and that no more than X-1 get released early.

Comment: What philosophy of Education are you using? (Score 3, Interesting) 264

by ralatalo (#46212525) Attached to: Adjusting GPAs: A Statistician's Effort To Tackle Grade Inflation

There is a basic point missing in that expected grade distribution is very much dependent upon if you are trying to teach a subject to mastery or teach a subject the students limits of understanding. Ie. what is your philosophy of education?

If you are teaching a class covering a subject which can be mastered, then there is no reason everyone should not master the material and get an 100% baring lazyness.

An example would be written test for a drivers license, is there really any reason everyone who takes it should not get 100%?

If you are teaching to a scale, then you don't really care how much absolute material is transferred and your tests are designed to not to measure the material taught in the class as much as then general subject matter which the class covers, and they are designed to test the level of understanding of the subject as a whole with an emphasis on trying to prevent anyone from mastering the test.

Most of your Engineering classes.

Comment: If they have a key, they publish it, otherwise.... (Score 1) 399

by ralatalo (#44529787) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do I Request Someone To Send Me a Public Key?

Since encryption can use either private keys or public keys, the only reason to ask for a public key is because you aren't in direct communications with someone in order to securely exchange a private key. Public keys are used for more than just encrypting data, so if you have a public key you want it as public as possible. Since there is also a secret key behind the public key, it's either set up as a fully automatic process that would decrypt your data as soon as it was received or it is saved in encrypted form and only a small group can decrypt it.

So, where a company feels like they need secure encryption they may often have multiple public keys, sometimes tied to a department or even an individual, but in all cases if they have a public key they publish it. If you don't see one listed then they don't have a public key in place for at least that group. Check for the group that handles security concerns and they may have a public key, but unless that is where you want your data to do,,, I wouldn't use it,.



Comment: There is not 'One (1)' American English (Score 1) 200

by ralatalo (#44037571) Attached to: Trying To Learn a Foreign Language? Avoid Reminders of Home

Please See: http://www.businessinsider.com/22-maps-that-show-the-deepest-linguistic-conflicts-in-america-2013-6

You do all recall that all the Romance languages are based on Roman, but they were once all dialects of Roman. Welcome to America, we we have all kinds of regional and local dialects.

Comment: Re:https does not mean they are stored encrypted (Score 1) 252

by ralatalo (#43767319) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Do Firms Leak Personal Details In Plain Text?

But he doesn't seem to realize (at least not stating) what of the original data provided was intended to be encrypted and what of the original data was just along for the ride.

Ie. Is his credit card number being sent in e-mail or only his name and address ( which will be posted on the outside of any package he receives from them via any postal system, and read by everyone from the order fillers to the person that drops it off at his residence )

Maybe he has a 'secure' phone number, what information is being sent in plain text via e-mail that he thinks should be secured better? On the Other hand, he only needs to provide 'valid' data for which they need to fulfill their business transaction. So, if they don't need to physically send him anything, get a PO Box and use some alias at the PO. Box. Get a 'burner phone', between P.O. Box and non-attached phone number, they shouldn't have any real information to leak, unless they go thought a court somewhere.

Comment: Re:Seperation of classes (Score 0) 292

by ralatalo (#43023205) Attached to: Plans Unveiled For Full Scale Replica of the Titanic

Ignoring everything except "As long as the wealth is created in a free market, that wealth is a reflection of merit"

I have to ask 2 questions:
1) What merit is reflected into ones birth that causes the reflection of wealth there?

2) What is the reflection of merit when the increase in wealth before expenses would be the same percentage but due to the starting point of rich over poor. The Rich's expenses are well under that percentage and his wealth grows, but the Poor's expenses vary around that percentage and while occasionally the wealth grows, it also often shrinks. Bonus points if you don't fall back on living within one's means and extol the virtues of living as a pauper or working 24x7 so as to avoid needing to have a place to sleep.

Comment: Re:I can think of 3 reasons (Score 1) 524

by ralatalo (#42991239) Attached to: Mayer Terminates Yahoo's Remote Employee Policy

I seriously doubt any people will actually quit... the memo actually states that your managers are already aware of the next steps, so it going to be dependent on managers...

If I was affected I would just continue the status quo while looking for a new job on the side....
once they cut my access and closed done my office and layed me off... I would file unemployment...

Comment: The 'commercial' part is going to come back to hau (Score 1) 313

by ralatalo (#42326815) Attached to: Instagram Wants To Sell Users' Photos Without Notice

The 'commercial' part is going to come back to haunt them. The rules for commercial use are so different than for non-commercial use. They will shut down the commercial aspect the first time one of the following happens:

1) A user takes a picture of a person who did not consent to commercial use of their likeness. (something that is not needed for the original individual to post for non-commercial use)

2) A photographer gives an individual a photograph without license for commercial use and that someone posts the photograph with consent for non-commercial purposes and it's used a third-party for commercial purposes.

In each of the above cases the up-loader was within their rights and the commercial publisher can't get an appropriate license because the up-loader didn't have the appropriate permissions.

The commercial publisher is going to be the target of the law suits and they won't be able to use the defense of any license because the up-loader didn't have the appropriate license to transfer. They can try and sue Instagram to recover damages and Instagram may try to sue the original up-loader, but I can't see that getting very far. (not for lack of trying as much as for lack of money and original usage not violating the usage.

Examples of case one.. I was in Story Land a few years back, and this young woman had a frown on her face, I can only image she wanted to be somewhere else.. anyway, I took a picture of her on one of the rides with this huge frown and arms folded across her chest. (not that anyone would want to use her photo as a advertisement for the story land, but I think it falls under editorial if not artistic use... but I have no right to use her image for commercial purposes, so can't give that right to anyone else)

Example for case two, both of my kids school pictures included a small sized digital image which was explicitly licensed for non-commercial usage. So I was within my rights to use it non-commercial. posting it so relatives could see them. ( as I didn't get a commercial right I can't transfer one)

Even if I used Instagram (which I don't), even if I am agreeing that by uploading an image I transfer all rights, I can't transfer what I don't own. Commercial publisher sues, Instagram, Instagram sues me .... I doubt it, and the Commercial Publisher has no relationship with me, so they can't sue me. Even if I was sued, I can't believe any judge would find against me as I didn't attempt any commercial usage and even if they did.... They would likely spend more on the legals fees than they would ever see from me.

I would normally say, no 'legit' commercial publisher is going to purchase and use a photograph for commercial use without a firm release signed, etc.... but there this case not that long ago.. and many similar ones since then....


In English, every word can be verbed. Would that it were so in our programming languages.