Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Note: You can take 10% off all Slashdot Deals with coupon code "slashdot10off." ×

Comment Re:Hey Apple if you want enterprise business (Score 2) 63

Offer some real management tools, don't require an Apple account to do everything on your computers, etc, etc, etc.

Or honestly, you know, just... fix the broken crap. Take all the stuff that Apple does offer for business, and fix the bugs.

Like take care of the bugs in Mail that cause it to not sync properly when mailboxes hit a certain size. Fix the bugs with Open Directory, Profile Manager, and mobile user account syncing. Speed up access to file servers, and fix the SMB problems that cause files to become locked and Finder to crash. Some of these problems have existed for years, and they're just not getting fixed.

If they can lock that down, here are some more things they can do: Start supporting server hardware again. If they don't want to make their own server hardware, just provide some licensing route to allow you to run OSX server on ESXi or HyperV on non-Apple servers. Throw some money into OSX server development. Either forget about providing email/calendar/contact/chat, or invest enough in it to make it competitive with Exchange and Google Apps. Integrate something like Munki or Casper to provide configuration management and updates for 3rd party applications.

They're want to partner with Cisco...? Fine. Partner with the Meraki division, and make co-branded Cisco/Meraki/Apple networking equipment. Create an integrated cloud management platform that manages routers, wireless access points, switches, servers, NAS devices, virtual machines, MDM, and really the whole network to be controlled from an single-pane-of-glass. Have Apple assist in the hardware and UI design, and integrate it with the now-fixed Profile Manager, Open Directory, and Munki functionality that's been added to OSX server. Then have it support Windows, too.

But of course, they're not going to do any of that. They won't do anything as mundane as fixing the bugs in the SMB support, and they won't do anything as ambitious as trying to make Mac OSX Server competitive with Windows or pushing cloud management forward. Instead, they're going to continue making incremental upgrades to their consumer-centric features while striking buzzword-friendly deals with Cisco and IBM to provide the illusion that they care about the Enterprise.

Comment Not really (Score 5, Interesting) 310

I would agree that Windows 95 is influential, but let's not go overboard. It's the first instance that I know of with the "taskbar" along the bottom including a main menu button on the lower-left, which has become a very common arrangement. However, it's largely become an arrangement common to desktop environments attempting to mimic Windows in order to be approachable to Windows users. It's not the arrangement of all operating systems.

Claiming that OSX is copying the task bar with its dock is a bit of an overstatement. Various environments had different permutations of a "dock" concept, including NeXTSTEP, the forerunner to OSX. I think BeOS and Amiga also had docks of sort, though I admit I haven't seen any of these operating systems in action and I don't remember exactly what they looked like back in 1995. Also, the way the Apple dock operates is significantly different from the Windows task bar, and arguably the Windows 10 taskbar takes some things from Apple's dock.

Part way through the article, there's a big quote that says, "Without Windows 95 there would be no Steam or XBox and we would still be playing Pong." That's just nonsense. I mean, it's true there might not be steam or XBox, in that Steam was originally developed for Windows and XBox is a Microsoft program. However, we wouldn't still by playing Pong. There were more advanced games than Pong before Windows 95, and it's not as though people wouldn't have continued to develop video consoles and video games. In the end, he wraps things up by arguing that Windows 95 was just so amazingly good that it pushed everyone out of the market, as though Microsoft's monopoly was a good thing that was achieved purely through the quality of the product.

Honestly, I don't know if this author is a bit dim or ignorant, or if the author is intentionally pushing a false narrative, but this article is pretty bad. Obviously Windows 95 had a big impact on the computing industry and the operating systems that came afterwards. I wouldn't argue against that. Still, let's not pretend that it was a wonderful product that took over the world by being the best thing ever, and let's not pretend that everything that came after is simply copying Windows 95. It was a relatively crappy operating system that became dominant because Microsoft was largely already dominant, and there wasn't really anything much better at the time. Microsoft had already squashed a lot of their competitors, and continued to do so with anti-competitive practices.

Comment Re:I teach a course somewhat similar (Score 3, Interesting) 236

We spend a lot of time on the trial of Galileo and how we know the Earth goes around the Sun. It's far harder to show than most people think.

I sometimes cite a similar example of Ptolemy. People too often thing the Ptolemaic model is stupid, but really it's very good at predicting the phenomena that people at the time would experience. Ptolemy wasn't stupid. IIRC, he seems to notice that the epicycles line up so that the centers seem to coincide. He even cites the example of being on a boat, watching the shore recede away when really the ship is moving, the way that motion seems relative to the observer, and relates this to the possibility that the earth is moving. He just doesn't have a firm reason to think that the earth is moving.

It's easy now, in hindsight, to see that Newton's model is much better. It especially makes sense once you've had the opportunity to get up onto the moon and some other planets, and you know for a fact that they're made of the same material that Earth is made of. But then, even Newton's model isn't quite right, and a lot of physics these days ultimately come down to, "We don't really understand why things work the way that they do, and some of our rules don't seem to apply the same way at all times and at all levels, but we know enough to do most of the things we're trying to do." On a deep level, we still don't understand how time and space work.

Comment Re:Very sad - but let's get legislation in place N (Score 1) 705

(and we tend not to prosecute when we do, a different problem)

But maybe that's actually the big problem. Like I said, I'm not a lawyer, certainly not one expert in this field, but the general perception that I have (and I think that the public has) is that if I were a CEO, I could order criminally negligent actions by my company, have a paper trail detailing my orders, and still nothing bad would happen to me. My company might get fined, but in my worst-case scenario as CEO, I'd probably walk away with a golden parachute.

From the things I've heard about, I almost feel like... If I dumped poison into someone's drinking well, and they die, I'll get charged with murder or at least manslaughter. If I'm a CEO and I knowingly order people in my company to dump poisons into the ground water, thereby poisoning a bunch of wells and 30 people die, then my company settles for several million dollars and I walk away scot-free.

Now, that might be a problem with enforcement rather than the law on the books. Or it might actually be a problem with perception, with how these kinds of disasters are reported, and that I'm not getting a clear picture. However, somehow, something's wrong here, and it seems like it's important to fix it.

I'd be willing to bet that nobody in the company did anything specifically illegal in handling personal information, but that top management demanded results with low costs, basically excluding security, and the workers did what they could with the resources allocated.

Well whether someone did something "specifically illegal" is very dependent on whether there's a law against it. If I leave a bomb in a school playground, whether that action is "specifically illegal" is a question as to whether there's a law against that, but that shouldn't stop us from asking whether it should be illegal. So part of what we're talking about here is not just whether the people at Ashley Madison have done something currently specifically illegal, but whether they did anything so reckless that it ought to be illegal.

I don't particularly know the answer to that. I don't know all the details about how this leak happened, what the laws are, or what the laws should be. However, I do have a feeling that when something like this happens, there should be a government investigation that determines whether there was some wrongdoing that lead to the leak. And further, if there was wrongdoing by an individual, I don't think they should have some kind of individual punishment.

Comment Re:"Correct" Is Subjective (Score 1) 154

I've had very similar experiences over the years. When you're just responsible for working on one sort of problem, you have a tendency to only recognize what's going on with those problems, and you want to fix those problems in "the best way". Like if you're a programmer, you might want to write very efficient code in the best language using the best tools or framework or whatever, and it makes perfect sense to you. Your manager is simply being stupid and stubborn when they force you to solve those problems in a way that's not "the best way".

But then you become a manager, and there's a big moment when you go, "Ohhhh.... right. That's why we do things that way." You're making decisions not based on whether it's in some absolute sense "the best way", but by balancing a lot of different considerations. The people who work for you may not even be aware of all of those considerations. You have to fit things into the budget. You have limited resources and can only tackle so many things at once, so you have to prioritize. You have to deal with the politics of interfacing with other departments. You have to keep the people on your team happy and productive. You have to sell your ideas to upper management. The work your team is producing may be used by other teams in other departments, and sometimes you have to produce things in a way that seems "sub-optimal" in order to keep it usable by those other teams. Some of the stupid decisions might actually be mandated by your clients/customers.

There may be a lot of other things going on that you won't know about or understand until you need to make those management decisions. I'm not saying there aren't stupid managers out there making stupid, petty decisions. There are plenty of those out there. But sometimes, for some managers, when you think they're being stupid, they're just making the choice that they have to make.

Comment Re:Very sad - but let's get legislation in place N (Score 1) 705

I'm not sure it makes sense to make complicated legislation regulating computer security specifically. It seems to me that this is part of a larger problem.

First let me say that I'm not a lawyer and I don't know the technical ins-and-outs of all of what I'm talking about here. I don't mean to be speaking on a technical level, but just speaking generally on a broad problem. The problem I'm speaking about is this: It seems that people running corporations and working within corporations are no responsible for their actions or negligence. We see this when there are environmental disasters, in financial disasters, and in these kinds of disastrous data leaks. You have some big company acting completely recklessly, causing massive destruction as a result, and nobody gets punished. The worst punishment for these problems is that the company is asked to pay a fine, or sued for some amount of money, but none of the individuals involved in the decision to act recklessly face any personal punishment. Even when the company is guilty of criminal behavior, there is no criminal prosecution of any individual, and the punishment to the company is to pay a relatively small fine.

These sorts of things seem like a serious instance of moral hazard. First, the damages to the offender are monetary and not criminal, i.e. if a company kills several people due to negligence, there's no way to lock the company up for manslaughter, so they fine the company. So already, that's somewhat inappropriate. If I kill several people with my negligence, I'm going to be sentenced to several years of prison for manslaughter. I shouldn't be able to buy my way out of that, no matter how much money I have (although admittedly, it seems that rich people can buy their way out of prison with expensive lawyers). But aside from the possible inappropriateness of punishing crime with financial penalties, there's also the problem that these penalties are inflicted on the company, and not individuals within the company. If I'm the CEO and I make decisions that cause my company to act recklessly, it's unlikely that I'll ever be held responsible for those decisions if they go bad, but I'll be rewarded if they improve the company's bottom line.

The end result is a system that encourages reckless sociopathic behavior from people running businesses. I don't know how you fix it, but I do think it's a problem that warrants legal reform. Maybe the answer is to strip away some of the protections granted to corporations, or maybe the answer is to create new laws holding officers of corporations legally individually responsible for certain kinds of decisions, and requiring that those decisions be documented to show who was responsible. I don't know what's feasible or practical, but it does seem like the current system is unsustainable.

Comment Re:Metabolic rate doesn't vary that much (Score 1) 381

You are...as seems to be your habit...flat out wrong.

Fat and carbohydrates are both burned at the same time. Just in different ratios - the ratios do shift but not by much more than 20%. As usual you want to maximize the total calories burned more than anything else.

Please stop just making things up.

Comment Re:Metabolic rate doesn't vary that much (Score 1) 381

Well, there are about a zillion parameters in the human body with complex interactions, genetic & epigenetic dependencies, etc. that we barely understand! Yet we assume that everyone is the same?

I'll tell you where this unscientific belief comes from--

Well first we should explain your unscientific belief that this is in fact what either myself or other doctors are describing. It's not that we believe that people are the same but that people are not significantly different in a number of parameters pertaining to BMR. Just because there are lots of things going on in the human body doesn't mean they all affect BMR significantly. That's where your ideas go wrong.

The other problem with your terribly unscientific religion is that you're not controlling for activity or correcting for the fact that people are kind of bad at determining their caloric intake. Considering this conversation was about me correcting someone who claims they take in 3000-4000 KCals/day and doesn't get fat. You appear to immediately take this as evidence supporting your belief without attempting to correct for the fact that this person really doesn't eat that much, or is under 18 or that they're actually more active. It wouldn't take much error in all those parameters to bring that persons actual intake/weight to conform with predictions made from BMR.

Most discussions of obesity have a heavy bias toward the view that people simply choose to be pigs.

This is actually unrelated to what either the OP was talking about and I think that "most discussions" needs to be qualified.

Comment Re:Metabolic rate doesn't vary that much (Score 1) 381

This is flat out wrong.

Not really. :-)

That in no way negates the possibility that the mean values of the samples can be tightly correlated to the indep. vars.

I'll give you that my statement was a tich strong. However the point that the OP is making is that there is variable OTHER than the regressors we currently use that exhibits exceptionally strong control - equal to or greater than the effect of the known regressors combined - over BMR. Even though those variables explain BMR reasonably well. Broadly speaking this claim could be true in several ways:

The regressors could actually be representing our "X factor" and/or our "X factor" explains the currently unexplained portion of the effect or the calculated correlation is random.

The problem with the first idea is that there really are no candidates which explain say...lean body mass - for example. The problem with the second idea is that lean body mass explains quite a bit of the effect. The problem with the third idea is that this has been replicated quite a bit and is based on some known biochemistry.

Comment Re:Not ignored (Score 5, Insightful) 381

Yeah, but just look at the responses here. Suggesting that people have different metabolic rates is a weird 3rd rail on the Internet. If you say, "Two people of the same age, weight, height, and sex can have different metabolic rates," you're pretty much inviting a flame war where people accuse you of being fat, and just trying to defend your lazy, overeating habits.

I'm not always sure why people get so angry about it, but my guess is that some of those people must be clinging on really tightly to their superiority over fat people, and saying that their other factors threatens their self-esteem. Like they're thinking, "I'm a total piece of shit, but at least I'm not fat! I'm better than everyone who weighs more than me!" so if you suggest that their low weight might be at least partially due to genetics, it really freaks them out. That's my only guess.

Because otherwise, why get so angry about what's basically settled science? The statement "Some people have a harder time controlling their weight than others," shouldn't be so upsetting.

Comment Re:Metabolic rate doesn't vary that much (Score 1) 381

Ugh...usually when people say "metabolic rate" they mean something like BMR - basal metabolic rate. Did you know that we have quite a number of equations which predict BMR from relatively few variables. If what you assert it true - that BMR varies significantly, per person. Then you wouldn't be able to perform a regression on BMR data with any useful correlation.

We do. Hence you are wrong.

Comment We need standards, not startups (Score 2) 83

I think if you want encryption to work, what you need is not a clever little article that explains it, nor is it a startup company that stores public keys in a novel way. First, you need standards. Open, free, and universally supported.

For example, if you want to encrypt email, you need a standard way of encrypting email that's supported and endorsed by pretty much everyone-- Microsoft, Google, Apple, Yahoo, and random IMAP/POP/Webmail providers. You need them all onboard so that you can trust that, if you want send an encrypted email to someone, the recipient will be able to read it in whatever webmail or mail client they're using. This implies that they already have all the necessary software installed, keys generated, and public keys stored in accessible places.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm not just talking about encryption algorithms. Saying, "We have a standard, and it's PGP!" doesn't address the issue. Even if you get everyone to agree that PGP is the correct method for encrypting email, you still have a series of problems-- Do they have PGP installed on their computer? Do they have a way to read PGP-encrypted emails on their phone? Do they have a way to read PGP-encrypted emails on their webmail, when they want to check their email from a friend's house? And how are you anticipating that people will manage their keys so that they're secure, backed up, an pretty much impossible to lose?

Someone needs to work out a vision for how this is supposed to work, and then pretty much everyone needs to get onboard. Until this is just built into every email client (including webmail), it's not going to work.

Comment Re:4/5 in favor (Score 0) 753

This isn't health care that we're talking about.

I was using that as an easier example of how paying for a social safety net does not actually result in a net loss, but can instead create a net gain for the economy, potentially benefiting the very people paying for it. When you move from health care to paying for the basic living expenses of the unemployed and working poor, it gets harder for people to wrap their heads around, but it's the same basic principle.

Hell, health care is pretty hard for most people to wrap their heads around.

But what I'm talking about is not this specific program, but in general, how social safety nets work.

Why not? You throw this out there like it's an absolute. Part of living in a free society is that you're in control of your destiny. You either work to succeed, or you don't and fail.

See, this is the kind of dumbass horse shit I was expecting, which lead me to say this probably isn't worth discussing. It's not about "destiny". You say "either work to succeed, or your don't and fail," but you make no mention of those who work and still don't succeed, or those who try to work and can't find work. So here's the problem: what do you do with those people? It's easy enough to say, "Fuck'em. I got mine, and they're not my problem." Even if that's your attitude, it doesn't explain what to do with those people. Do you want them living on the street, dragging on our economy, making life less pleasant for everyone? Should we round them up and kill them? Because this is more or less a closed system. When you say, "fuck'em, I got mine," those people don't just disappear. They still are going to consume resources, but they just won't be productive. So for every person that you say, "It's not my problem" is an opportunity cost to our entire society. If you could instead give them just enough assistance to keep their lives from imploding, they might be productive members of society.

The people that continue to work are making less money because you're taking it from them and giving it to those that opt out of work.

The economy is not a zero sum game. This is what you're little pea brain might never understand unless you decide to think about it, but the economy can actually grow and shrink, and it's possible that taking money from multi-millionaires to keep poor children from starving could possibly, theoretically, eventually, lead to those multi-millionaires being even richer.

I bet that sounds like nonsense to you, but having a healthy, educated, productive workforce for that millionaire's company is important. Having healthy, prosperous customers who can buy his companies services is also important. A smart millionaire, thinking of the long-term instead of just "next quarter's profits" doesn't want to be operating in a society that's going down the tubes.

You're not seeing this from both points of view.

You're not even seeing your own point of view.

Comment Re:4/5 in favor (Score 0) 753

Excuse me, I had trouble reading your post because my eyes were rolling the entire time. It's the same old crap, which leads me to expect that it's probably not worth discussing. But here I go anyway, one last try to see if there's any bit of sense in you:

The issue isn't "whether we're going to lose/spend money on able bodied people." That's not a battle you can fight. What are you going to do, murder the unemployed? Round up all the children living in poor families and abandon them on an island? Anything short of that, and you're stuck with people who are poor and unemployed. Their medical care is going to cost you. Their lack of productivity is going to be a drag on our economy. The question to ask, assuming you're not corrupt, stupid, or dogmatically stuck on an ideology that doesn't work, is this: How do we arrange things to diminish the problems as much as possible.

We have a big complicated system, and it's a bit of a closed system. Everything you do has costs, and there's not a good way to expel the problems. So the issue is, holistically, how do you make this all work as much as possible.

For example, if you provide no medical care for uninsured people, then you still have a negative impact on the economy through loss of productivity due to illness. Plus, if you make people prove they have insurance before treating them, it makes emergency situations complicated-- e.g. some guy falls unconscious in public without ID. He could be rich, he could be poor. Who knows if he has insurance or not. Do you treat him?

So we provide emergency services no matter what, and charge people for them, but poor people go to the emergency room and don't pay. In fact, since they can't get regular medical care, they go to the emergency room for all of their problems, and then don't pay. They wait until their problems are serious, meaning that what might have been cured with a $5 pill several months ago might now require $10k surgery. Yay!

And those costs get passed around to you anyway. Hospitals incur costs on behalf of patients who don't pay, so they pass those costs along to public funding or increased costs for those who can pay. Some poor guy gets $5k in medical care for a serious sinus infection, and it comes out of your taxes and your insurance costs, while $5 worth of antibiotics a few months ago would have fixed the problem. Now his sinuses are all screwed up, and he can't do his job anymore. He's no longer a productive member of society, but his kids still need to eat. That's another drag on our economy.

So do you want to avoid all this mess? You want to lower medical costs? Well then, we need to find a way to allow that poor guy to see a doctor and get that $5 worth of antibiotics. Somehow, I don't know how, and unless it's free or extremely cheap, the guy won't go to see the doctor. He has to take off work, and he's not going to choose to spend $100 to see a doctor for a headache.

So it's not about being benevolent and selfless. It's not about "Oh no, poor rich people are going to spend all of their money supporting poor bums who won't work." It's about making our economy and society work smoothly, so we all make more money and lead safer, happier, more productive lives. Your way of looking at things is all about shooting yourself in the foot in order to be "fair".

Comment Re:4/5 in favor (Score 1) 753

(d) It may encourage more risk taking.

And the kind of risk-taking you're talking about will probably be a good thing. I'm not completely sure that was what you had in mind, but I think it probably would be. People wouldn't get locked in to jobs that they hate and that they're not good at. They could try to innovate, start new businesses, retrain for new careers. Some people would fail, some people would succeed.

It's somewhat similar to our relatively lenient bankruptcy laws: they allow for riskier behavior, but that allows for more innovation.

The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch someone else doing it wrong, without commenting. -- T.H. White

Working...