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Comment: Re:Oh sure... (Score 2) 172

Yes but ketchup manufacturers (Big Ketchup?) paid the researchers to figure out the ketchup bottle problem. Not our long-term health. That problem is dumped by Big Ketchup into the FDA's lap who'll then turn around and ask Big Ketchup to study the problem for 90 days and, if nobody dies of cancer during that time, will deem the super slippery ketchup bottles safe. Unless the FDA decides that they can fast track the approval process because the American People need this product as soon as possible.

Comment: Re:It's not just the thumb; fingers too (Score 3, Interesting) 45

by rnturn (#49338171) Attached to: Researchers: Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction

Yep... You're developing muscle memory.

In a similar vein, Nicholas Carr's "The Shallows -- What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains" discusses something very similar from the standpoint of our using the Internet. It affects how we absorb and retain information and the changes in the brain are measurable. Essentially, the brain rewires itself to adapt to the technology that we use. That one's brain/thumb wiring is strengthened from messaging on smartphones is not a big surprise.

Comment: Re:Check their work or check the summary? (Score 1) 481

by rnturn (#49337993) Attached to: No, It's Not Always Quicker To Do Things In Memory

Your friend with the privileged account (I'm assuming this was running VMS, no?) might have been able to get away with using as much memory as he could. (Let's just hope he wasn't using an account with BYPASS privs enabled by default. I've encountered too many people who abused VMS boxes by setting their account up that way. They made terrible messes. Like code that can't run when accounts with less than "god" privileges are used. The problems they created were a pain -- and, sometimes, impossible -- to clean up.)

I had an intern discover that it was indeed faster to not do everything in memory. He was reading everything from a file into an array, applying some scale factor to all the elements, and then writing the entire array out to disk. It was taking forever. I had him try reading in one value at a time, apply the scale factor, and immediately write it out. Ran in a fraction of the time. Why? His account was on a system with a lot of other users. Memory quotas were enforced to avoid a single user taking over the entire system. When he read everything into memory, VMS was paging like crazy to fit his process into the smallish amount of RAM his quotas allowed and his program was spending a huge amount of time waiting for I/O to complete.

I'm guessing that I'd see the same thing happening on my Linux systems if user account ulimits weren't, by default, all set up as "unlimited".

Comment: Yeah, but... (Score 1) 121

by rnturn (#49314089) Attached to: FTC's Internal Memo On Google Teaches Companies a Terrible Lesson

``Even if we were in the right and could win,'' said the former official, ``it could take a lot of resources away from other enforcement.''

A side effect of following up and taking an offending company to court just might be that other companies might clean up their act lest they suffer the same fate. ``Sternly-worded'' letters haven't done squat to end anti-competitive practices. The fines, though, have helped to make some money for the government. Not like that does anything to the groups who've been screwed by the anti-competitive practices. All they get is a warm and fuzzy feeling that some justice has been done. At least until a future Justice Deptartment decides to look the other way again.

Comment: Complete list of affected manufacturers/vendors? (Score 1) 83

by rnturn (#49314047) Attached to: LightEater Malware Attack Places Millions of Unpatched BIOSes At Risk

Has anyone gotten a hold of a complete list of the manfacturers/vendors whose products are affected by this? The way this has been worded there are more than the five mentioned in the summary text. Have products from any vendors been found to be "safe". (At least, so far?) And what versions of BIOS have been found to be vulnerable?

Comment: Re:Twitter Anti-Cyberbully CYA Technique #43 (Score 1) 79

by rnturn (#49287581) Attached to: Twitter Adds Tool To Report Tweets To the Police

``Why doesn't twitter just provide a button that a user can push when they feel relentlessly accosted by internet trolls. It would delete the user's account.''

Instead of an account being deleted due to the tweet recipient pushing a button, I'd vote for having that button send a message to a dedicated team at Twitter who would decide whether a user account should be terminated. Allowing `end users' to cause accounts to be deleted could be -- and almost certainly would be -- badly abused.

Comment: Re:Alarmists quick with the trigger finger (Score 1) 79

by rnturn (#49287499) Attached to: Twitter Adds Tool To Report Tweets To the Police

``Is there any accountability for those who use the tool?''

Sure. About as much accountability as there is for the people who create applications that allow morons to send unmoderated messages that others wind up finding objectionable, insulting, harrassing, etc. (IANAL but, IMHO, it doesn't much matter that posts can be deleted. Once sent the damage to the target has been done.) At least Twitter posts are identified and can be traced to an individual. Unlike Yik Yak where one can be harrassed anonymously by its users and there's no recourse for those who've been targeted. Wait until its creators wind up on the receiving end of a class-action lawsuit for that and its investors pull out after wondering why they ever gave money to people who don't appear to have given any thought to how their nifty software might be (mis)used. Due diligence? They've heard of it. Maybe. But my money's on ``no''.

Comment: Re:Mac (Score 1) 385

by rnturn (#49286469) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Laptop To Support Physics Research?

You mean it's ``just a UNIX machine with...'', no?

I like Macs but I would be concerned about they're being so ``closed''. Need more onboard disk space? You need to buy another Mac. (I'm talking about the ``Airs''; not sure about the bigger, more expensive models.) Or another disk to toss into an external disk dock. (I love those things.) At least with a ``Lintel'' laptop, upgrading the internal disk is a simple matter. I'd opt for the big internal drive to avoid having to lug around a lot of external gadgets but that's just me. (Of course, I'd want at least one extra disk as big as the internal for backups onto the external dock waiting back in the dorm.)

If you're worried about being able to haul the laptop into a repair shop, then buy a Windows-based system known to work well with Linux (get the one with the smallest hard disk they sell), immediately pull out the hard disk, install a new one, install the Linux distribution (Scientific sounds appropriate for a physics major), and go forth and be productive. If any hardware problems arise, pull out the Linux HD, re-install the Windows HD, and have the repair guys work on it using an OS they're likely more accustomed to using. And no support hassles about having replaced Windows.

Comment: Re:Was SCO really that bad? (Score 3, Insightful) 169

by rnturn (#49283501) Attached to: Not Quite Dead: SCO Linux Suit Against IBM Stirs In Utah

``What this means is that those who oppose systemd are only about taking away choice, control and flexibility from other users, they do not want other users to be able to utilize certain features. So these people basically want to keep Linux difficult to use, unconfigurable and inflexible.''

Your arm must be really tired from painting with that broad brush. As for those who oppose systemd being Microsoft ``agents'', the feature usurpation being done by the systemd developers seems to show just the opposite.

But... WTF does any of this have to do with SCO and their ridiculous legal arguments rising from the dead? Again?

Comment: Huh? (Score 1) 169

by rnturn (#49283389) Attached to: Not Quite Dead: SCO Linux Suit Against IBM Stirs In Utah

IBM ordered source code to be destroyed?

Just what would that even accomplish? I get the source code to the Linux kernel with every set of CDs/DVDs that I've downloaded or purchased over the years. Is SCO seriously going to argue that that source code has been magically cleansed of the code that IBM allegedly ordered purged from IBM's developers' computers? That would only make any sense if IBM offered a Linux distribution -- tweaked, I assume SCO is thinking by the code they are alleged to have stolen from SCO. (SCO thinking... ha ha ha... I crack myself up.) Wait... I've never heard of an IBM Linux.

I stopped thinking about SCO and their delusions years ago. Looks like their legal department -- and that's likely all that's left of the company now -- hasn't and is still sitting in their office dreaming up conspiracy theories. It's all they can do now. Hell, it's all they've ever had.

Comment: Doesn't matter... (Score 3, Insightful) 205

by rnturn (#49256801) Attached to: Steve Jobs's Big Miss: TV

The big Internet suppliers have done a bang up job of turning the Internet into TV anyway. Even better than TV from the perspective of the advertisers; you only see one advertisement at a time when watching TV. On the Internet they are able -- with the cooperation of the web page designer -- to have you seeing as many advertisements that can be fit on the screen. Content? Heck... that stuff just gets in the way of -- and takes away space for -- more advertisments. (More and more web sites seem to have used as a design manual; especially some of the advertisement-heavy examples.)

The pathetic thing is that I don't know of a single person who clicks on ads -- except by accident.

Comment: Well... flat CO2 levels, sadly, aren't enough. (Score 1) 283

We've managed to raise the global temperature enough to thaw the Arctic areas that are holding huge amounts of methane and have now allowed that to escape into the atmosphere. Unless somebody figures out how to stop further releases of that greenhouse gas, as David Letterman said on his show a year or so ago, "We're screwed."

All the simple programs have been written.