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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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Comment: Re:This Guy's Talents Should be Put to Good Use (Score 4, Interesting) 89

by hey! (#49361119) Attached to: Prison Inmate Emails His Own Release Instructions To the Prison

Well, in the end you have to ask "did he get away with it?". Or, given that he turned himself in later, "did he have some purpose in escaping that he fulfilled?"

Intelligence is a multi-dimensional phenomenon. It includes things like thinking through unintended consequences before acting that quite clever people are sometimes bad at.

Comment: Parent Post Semantic Content: Null (Score 5, Insightful) 245

by FreeUser (#49354007) Attached to: How Professional Russian Trolls Operate

It's only those damn Russians are doing this, all other countries are saint.

Yeah, because that makes it all OK then.

Your comment is designed to distract from the issue at hand, shut down intelligent conversation on the topic, and imply the wrongdoer is just fine because, by implication, "everybody else does it, too" (no evidence to said implication provided, certainly not proven, and probably not true), all without contributing a single creative or new thought to the discussion at all.

Nice job, (Russian?) troll.

Comment: Perhaps the problem is with the concept. (Score 1) 157

by hey! (#49349767) Attached to: Many Password Strength Meters Are Downright Weak, Researchers Say

What does "password strength" really mean?

If people used a textual representation of number obtained from a reliable hardware random number generator then the meaning would be unambiguous. It's the number of digits in that number. But most people don't do that (perhaps more should).

So what does it mean to say that a password has so many bits of entropy? Well, I guess it means how many truly random bits it would take to index their password from the universe of passwords the user considered. This is more an exercise in psychology than it is in mathematics. You have to figure out how users generate passwords or discount passwords. For example requiring a mix of upper and lower case letters doesn't add as much entropy as you'd think, because most users are mediocre typists who'll avoid using the shift key too often. Requiring digits means that many people will just "0" for "o" and "1" for "L".

So it's really easy to concoct passwords which you know are bad, because you know the methods used to select which passwords you'd consider; if the developers of the strength meter don't take your particular generation algorithm into account the meter will show the password to be stronger than you know it to be.

Comment: Re: Linux? OS X? Chrome OS? Nope. OpenBSD! (Score 1) 167

by FreeUser (#49349361) Attached to: NJ School District Hit With Ransomware-For-Bitcoins Scheme

Until systemd is removed from a major Linux distro, I would consider that distro to be less secure than even a Windows system.

Some Poettering apologist will probably mark you as a troll, but for completeness there are a number of distros that default to non-systemd init architectures, including but not limited to

Calculate, Gentoo, Funtoo, Source Mage, Dyson, indeed all kinds of distros either default or support running a systemd-free system.

Comment: Re:Top Gear: The BBC Whovian Reboot (Score 2) 632

by hey! (#49348357) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear

A fourth car races by.

It opens, and the words Top Gear: Mark II appear.

It's a young British woman of mixed Asian descent.

The crowd goes wild.

Seriously, an exotic woman driving exotic cars too fast? Who'd watch that?

I would, because I'm a man and I'm not afraid to admit that on some level I'm a pig. Ideally she'd be smart and funny too, because I don't like to think of myself as being a total pig, but either way I'm in.

Comment: Re:The BBC doesn't have much latitude here. (Score 1) 632

by hey! (#49347911) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear

Meanwhile, the BBC has a chance to reinvent Top Gear with younger presenters

Nailed it. It's like the old saw about the Chinese character for "crisis" being made up of characters for "danger" and "opportunity". No matter what happens now they're going to lose some of their long-term fans. But at some point young people aren't going to be so keen on watching some ancient codger behaving like an ass.

If they play this right it could become like Dr. Who, with a reboot every few years to bring in fresh blood.

Comment: Re:what will be more interesting (Score 2) 632

by hey! (#49347855) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear

Sure. But the man verbally abused and bullied a subordinate. Then he physically assaulted him -- or perhaps by that point the physical altercation was mutual.

At some point you have to ask yourself whether you have your priorities straight. As a fan of the show I'm sorry to the big ape gone. As a fan of civilized behavior I'm happy to see at least a minimum standard of decency in behavior getting enforced.

Comment: Re:Journalists being stonewalled by Apple? (Score 1) 264

by demachina (#49340881) Attached to: Developers and the Fear of Apple

Hacker News has a fairly good track record causing something resembling the Slashdot effect at least on lower capacity servers. Its pretty rare you hear anyone comment that they got a traffic surge when their blog appeared on the front page of Slashdot any more, though it is quite common to hear comments about traffic surges from Hacker News.

Comment: Re:Countries without nuclear weapons get invaded (Score 3, Interesting) 228

by demachina (#49340853) Attached to: How Nuclear Weapon Modernization Undercuts Disarmament

Iraq used chemical weapons to pretty good effect to stave off Iranian human wave attacks during the Iran Iraq war. If they hadnâ(TM)t it would have somewhat increased the likelihood that Iran would have won the war. With the help of chemical weapons Iraq fought a much larger country to a stalemate.

The Reagan administration and numerous western companies were fine with Iraq using chemical weapons against Iran during that era. They didnt want Iran to win that war.

Comment: Re:Most degrees from India... (Score 4, Interesting) 264

by hey! (#49337571) Attached to: Wikipedia Admin's Manipulation "Messed Up Perhaps 15,000 Students' Lives"

I'll see your anecdote and raise you some speculation.

I've worked with a number of young Indian engineers and found them to be roughly comparable to American engineers with the same level of experience; if anything they have a slightly higher level of textbook knowledge because (I speculate) their educational system puts a higher premium on memorization. That turns out to be awesome when you're lucky enough to be hiring someone with that certain spark of talent it takes to be great at the job. On the other hand it also means you can easily end up hiring a dud who interviews great because he happens to have a prodigious memory. When the VC my company worked with asked us to take on some surplus H1B engineers he'd sponsored I had a range of experiences from absolutely top-notch talent to total cement-heads with an encyclopedic recall of the GoF book.

But what I've never run into an Indian H1B who didn't know anything at all about his field, although I'm sure it happens. Given the size and level of economic development in India I'd be shocked if there were not at least a few diploma mills, but you'd be a fool to turn your nose up at a diploma from U of Mumbai or IIT/Delhi.

It can be tricky evaluate a candidate from a different country and culture than you, so you've got to expect that a conscientious company may end up hiring a few clunkers. But if your Indian colleagues were *all* ignoramuses, it suggests to me the companies you worked for were incompetent or bottom-feeders when it comes to recruiting engineering talent.

Comment: Re:It has an acronym , so it will fail. (Score 1) 149

by hey! (#49331705) Attached to: Obama To Announce $240M In New Pledges For STEM Education

Not really. His point is that school systems are spending money badly already, so that giving them more money would necessarily amount to "throwing money at the problem" (his words). For my town's schools that point fails in that we don't spend money the way he claims all schools do; we aren't top-heavy with administrators. And we spend just a tad less than the national average per student.

I suppose what you're saying is that since we get better results than the national average for less-than-average outlay, we're doing just fine. That's true, if your standard for "good enough" is "beat the national average"; if you think schools in this country are by-in-large doing a good enough job.

"It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so." -- Artemus Ward aka Charles Farrar Brown

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