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Comment: Re:Meh (Score 1) 469

by rgmoore (#49634567) Attached to: Why Was Linux the Kernel That Succeeded?

The best explanation I've heard is that the Minix community was pretty much waiting for something like Linux to come along. Minix gave the access to the source code and the ability to write patches, but Andy Tanenbaum didn't accept them. When Linus introduced the Linux kernel, all the frustrated, would-be contributors to Minix were eager to get on board. A lot of their patches could be adapted to Linux with relatively little effort, and that backlog of patches was able to boost Linux from hobby to working kernel really quickly. Linux could do that because it tapped into the right group of contributors, and because Linus was willing to accept patches from them.

Comment: Re:too many slashdotters (Score 1) 172

by rgmoore (#49539103) Attached to: I spend most of my time ...

Must live in NYC, the bay area or Seattle area.

Or Boston, Washington DC, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Tokyo, Beijing, Singapore, Cairo, Baghdad, Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, or most of the other major cities in the world. A very large fraction of the world lives either on or close to a coast, or on a low relief plain.

Comment: Re:I don't get it (Score 1) 409

If the officer had started a 15 minute search after placing the defendant in his car to ensure he was safe would that have made this incident ok?

Probably not. The point is that officers aren't allowed to deliberately drag things out in order to give the dog time to arrive. The search of a vehicle without an arrest is supposed to be limited to protecting the officers' safety, i.e. looking for easily available weapons, so extending it to 15 minutes would still count as dragging it out to wait for the dog. If they actually take the driver to their car, that would count as detaining him, and they need some evidence beyond "swerved to avoid a pothole" to do that.

Comment: Re:Not really a distraction (Score 1) 591

it's been the only way anti-death penalty folks could make even the slightest bit of progress in the States.

This is simply untrue. It's certainly true that there are large portions of the country where capital punishment remains popular, and judicial challenges have been the only effective way of challenging it there. But there have been several states that have recently abolished capital punishment through the normal legislative process, most recently Maryland in 2013. Notably, few states that have abolished the death penalty legislatively have any real prospect of bringing it back.

Comment: Culture (Score 4, Insightful) 626

One thing that any language needs is a reason for people to want to learn and use it. Some people are willing to learn a new language for commercial or professional reasons, but having an actual culture built around the language is very important. People still learn dead languages like Latin, Classical Greek, and Biblical Hebrew because they want to read the important works of literature written in them. People learn Italian because they want to understand opera and Japanese so they can watch Anime. And they learn English at least in part so they can read Shakespeare and watch Hollywood movies in their original language. If your constructed language lacks that kind of culture, it's going to be at an inevitable disadvantage.

Comment: Re:Other (Score 1) 95

by rgmoore (#49425683) Attached to: Judge Allows Divorce Papers To Be Served Via Facebook

You can't hold someone responsible to show up for a court date for which you have not made sufficient effort to make sure that the person is aware.

The problem is that it sounds very much as if the husband is deliberately avoiding service. He is apparently still in contact with the wife by phone and Facebook, but claims to have no stable residence or workplace where he could be served with papers. The judge is allowing service on Facebook as a last resort because other ways of serving the papers are unavailable and his Facebook contact is known to be good. And, FWIW, if the wife is only able to contact her husband by phone and Facebook for years at a time, the divorce is a formality anyway; that marriage is long over.

Comment: Re:Other (Score 2) 95

by rgmoore (#49417547) Attached to: Judge Allows Divorce Papers To Be Served Via Facebook

This is important as a matter of principle. People shouldn't be allowed to duck out on the legal system by making themselves impossible to find. If you don't allow something like this, then the person who's trying to handle things responsibly through the legal system loses out because they don't get their day in court. One way or the other, somebody is not getting a chance to present their case. It makes sense for that somebody to be the one who's avoiding the process and who could present their side just by showing up rather than the one who is doing everything they can to handle things through the legal system.

Comment: Re:Missing the point. (Score 1) 330

by rgmoore (#49405901) Attached to: Inexpensive Electric Cars May Arrive Sooner Than You Think

Most people would be smarter to buy a car that's suitable for their most common driving and renting on the rare occasion when they need to do something their daily car can't do. They'll save more money on fuel by having a very fuel efficient daily driver- and by avoiding wear and tear on their car on longer drives- to more than make up the difference.

Comment: Re:Email lets you organize your thoughts (Score 2) 115

by rgmoore (#49206001) Attached to: Preferred way to communicate with co-workers?

I must compare a well-run meeting with a well-worded email, not a well-worded email compared to a poorly-run meeting.

I think the most reasonable comparison is a typical meeting and a typical email exchange. Maybe a great meeting is better than great email, but we don't always have access to either, and the best judgment should be based on the quality we usually encounter in real life.

Comment: Overstatement (Score 5, Insightful) 286

by rgmoore (#49075555) Attached to: 1950s Toy That Included Actual Uranium Ore Goes On Display At Museum

Calling it the most dangerous toy seems like a gross overstatement. Yeah, Uranium ore is scary, but it's a fairly low-level radiation source and as an alpha emitter it's only dangerous internally. Chemical and physical hazards are a lot more serious. Toys with lead paint that kids were likely to chew on were probably more dangerous, not to mention ones that could catch kids on fire (ordinary chemical sets) or get them run over in traffic (like bicycles).

Comment: How (Score 4, Informative) 178

by rgmoore (#49001087) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: With Whom Do You Entrust Your Long Term Data?

How should I make sure that I retain access to today's data 20 years from now?

If you really want to be able to keep your data that long, you need a serious plan. You need to back up everything to at least two separate devices other than your main storage, and you need to keep at least one of those devices off-site so your data can't be destroyed in a local disaster. You need to test your backups regularly to know if/when your medium is failing.

When a medium fails- or if you think it might be about to fail- get a replacement that uses more modern technology, and make a fresh copy. If you are ever about to replace your computer with a new one that can't read your old backup medium, buy newer media that does work with the new computer and make copies while you can still read the old ones. If you keep doing that regularly, you can always have a good copy that will work with your computer. It's more effort than copying to the cloud and trusting, but it means you're in control of your own data.

The real key is to keep making regular backups and regular tests. If you expect to be able to put something into a box and still use it 20 years later, you're in for an unpleasant surprise. You have to keep copying, testing, and updating your technology in order to have a serious hope of keeping up. If you do that, though, you have a very good chance of keeping access to your data at least as long as you have software that will still read it. I have 20+ year old data at work that I can still access because we've been careful about moving it to new media, and because the company that wrote the software is good about backward compatibility.

"Well I don't see why I have to make one man miserable when I can make so many men happy." -- Ellyn Mustard, about marriage