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Comment: Re:A legend of OS design (Score 3, Interesting) 127

by sg_oneill (#47424685) Attached to: Prof. Andy Tanenbaum Retires From Vrije University

Part of the reason I used Minix was I had an old second hand 286. because I couldn't afford one of the new-fangled 386s. Computers where bloody expensive back then! At the time I had started using a local BBS called "Omen" which had just gotten a brand spanking new ISDN connection to this new thing called "ARPAnet" (aka "Australian research something something net") , aka the australian wing of the internet, and it had two amazing features 1) IRC, 2) Usenet (There was also Gopher but eh..... Usenet was better indexed and also had hilarious flame wars). Anyway it struck me that if I had a unix I could get a SLIP connection to the internet and run IRC *and* Usenet simultaneously using the magical wonder of multitasking. Omen was using Linux (very very brand new) but since I didnt have a 386 I couldnt use it. So I grabbed Minix, since I couldnt afford Xenix or SCO Unix (Pre SCO getting brought out by Caldera and then turning cthulhu it was a great company).

Problem is Minix didnt have a network stack :(

Comment: A legend of OS design (Score 5, Insightful) 127

by sg_oneill (#47424321) Attached to: Prof. Andy Tanenbaum Retires From Vrije University

A lot of people have the wrong impression about the good professor after the infamous exchange, but they miss that this is what academics do, and despite the flameyness of the exchange, Linus and Tanenbaum had a great deal of respect for each other. After all Linus was, for all purposes, Tanenbaums greatest student. I remember borrowing his book from UWA and getting the disks from the UWA computer club, following the instructions to get a functional minix up, then following his book to write a driver for my highly bugshit WANG (yes that was the brand name lol) hard drive controller. I learned more from that about how computers *really* work, than almost any thing I've ever learned. The difficulty of his book was notorious, probably the only books I found harder was Walter Pistons music theory book "Harmony", and Deleuzes philosophy text "Capitalism and Schizophrenia". And like those books, in its field Tanenbaums work shook the foundations of academia.

Enjoy your retirement old man, you deserved it.

Comment: Re:Cosmic Baking (Score 2) 78

by sg_oneill (#47422717) Attached to: Study: Why the Moon's Far Side Looks So Different

Good thing zits generally disappear once you leave your teenage only get them later if you are really unlucky.

Of course on geological/cosmic type time scales, by the time she leaves puberty, the main species on this earth will be homo-greyalien or something. We're not a species that seems like it wants to hang around too long, what with our whole "Lets invent nuclear weapons, venus out the atmosphere and then feed dolphins plastic bags" tendencies.

Comment: Re:Most humans couldn't pass that test (Score 3, Interesting) 274

by sg_oneill (#47421823) Attached to: The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI

When was the last time the average person created something original?

Probably every day, BUT it does go to the point with this one. We're still trying to recreate an idealized human rather than actually focusing on what intelligence is.

My cat is undeniably intelligent, almost certainly sentient although probably not particularly sapient. She works out things for herself and regularly astonishes me with the stuff she works out, and her absolute cunning when when she's hunting mice. In fact having recently worked out I get unhappy when she brings mice from outside the house and into my room, she now brings them into the back-room and leaves them in her food bowl, despite me never having told her that that would be an accepatble place for her to place her snacks.

But has she created an original work? Well no, other than perhaps artfully diabolical new ways to smash mice. But thats something she's programmed to do. She is, after all, a cat.

She'd fail the test, but she's probably vastly more intelligent in the properly philosophical meaning of the term, than any machine devised to date.

Comment: Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (Score 1) 131

by sg_oneill (#47405249) Attached to: Oculus Suspends Oculus Rift Dev Kit Sales In China

Except they are not targeting devs. They are just selling a limited number of devices too cheaply. That neither targets devs nor provides development funds for themselves. There's nothing about selling-low that prevents "rich folks" buying a toy. Essentially whether a dev, a rich toy buyer or a tech collector gets a unit is a matter of first-come-first-served.

I dunno man. It seems pretty clear they are trying to target developers. Its in big text on the site, and much of the content provided (Such as the unity trial license and the like) would be meaningless to non devs. For everyone else , its pretty much just a tech demo at this stage.

But whilst the cheaper price wont stop the richer non-devs from buying in, at least keeping it cheap somewhat levels the playijng field allowing a wider scope of devs.

More to the point, now that Occulus is highly capitalized via its facebook deal, its quite capable of ramping up production to meet demand at its price, BUT, it seems to me occulus dont seem to want its products in wide use yet , probably to protect their reputation whilst its still in development. If they just wanted cash, they could simply produce more.

Shutting off china probably is in the scheme of things shooting themselves in the foot (China , after all is a huge market), I'm not sure how occulus can protect its target group here. It needs developers to ensure a broad range of launch products or its product will fail, but if third parties force the prices out of garage developer reach, then its all in vain.

[Sounds like your Eve team suffered the tragedy of the commons. Your manufacturers wanted to be part of a team for their benefit, preferentially profited from that membership compared to other members, but didn't want to pay proportionally more to defend the team. This is why real world "teams" end up with governments and taxes.]

Right. It did eventually become difficult to stop relisters because of the way eve works, so eventually a system dubbed "space communism" came into play where the team nationalized moons and asteroid belts and leased them out to miners for a fee, and then took a 20% tax on production. With the somewhat extensive income, the team then started supplying free ships to new players to bootstrap them to a point they could get financially independent, and ship reimbursments for the troops (ie, if you die in battle, and it wasn't stupidity induced, your ship is replaced). In the cases of the all important capitals and supercapitals the team moved to a policy of centrally managed fleet (manufacturers could only sell to the team leadership which in turn would loan them to its capital fleet). All of which led to hilarious drama when one of the directors decided to one day run off with the titan and the entire capital fleet reserve. Its a pretty goddamn interesting game if your interested in a simulation of an idealized wartime economy.

Comment: Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (Score 1) 131

by sg_oneill (#47404315) Attached to: Oculus Suspends Oculus Rift Dev Kit Sales In China

If you are selling a dev version, then you are retailing a product to the public. Again, if there is more demand at a higher price than you are supplying either quantity/price, the error is the vendor's, not the "scalper's".

That would be fine if Occulus was simply trying to profit maximise here, but that is not even remotely Occulus' intention here. They have a limited supply but want to keep the price low to stimulate development. If they raise the price it goes out of the hands of developers into the hands of rich folks as a space age toy, which is harmful to their business which will rely on having a strong release catalogue at launch.

Back when I used to play Eve Online , debates within the team (A rather large 5000 member alliance, back before the era of 30,000 member coalitions) would occur about whether to ban reselling of our producers to keep the price of combat craft cheap for combat pilots who tended to be poorer than the manufacturers/miners. Ultimately the wealthier producers won out (who where usually happy to have 're-listers' on the market as they could just sell batches of ships to them bulk) but it came at the cost of a lot of combat pilots simply not being able to afford the battleships which in our space had become more expensive than what our enemies where paying. And when the enemy finally came to our gates, we got steamrolled. We never made that mistake again.

Comment: Re:Well, duh... (Score 3, Informative) 210

It all strikes down to why law can be so complicated. When done right, laws are subtle things.

Ideally we'd like a "right to be forgotten" that means when I ask Facebook to delete my account, then by delete I mean "not a single bit of my accounts data remains". What we DONT want however is if I go raping or beating people I can get news articles about me supressed. Distilling those distinctions into laws however can end up quite tricky because of all the edge cases.

That requires legal expertise, and unfortunatlely whatever law results is going to be complicated and full of edge cases.

Which, of course means nobody is going to understand the bloody thing.

Comment: Re:That proves it (Score 1) 567

Not sure which you are talking about. The ones denying the scam or the ones denying the truth.

The crazy god damn loons who think there is a vast left wing conspiracy of hundreds of thousands of scientists lying about physics FOR SOME REASON.

I'm sorry, but in 2014 there is no functional difference between being a creationist and a global warming denier. It just requires too much belief in weird lizardoid conspiracy theories involving a conspiracy to lie about science going back to the 1870s for reason nobody can seem to explain.

Personally I'd go for Occams law and suggest the reason 97% of atmospheric physicists say AGM is beyond all reasonable doubt is because thats what the god damn evidence says, and its said that since scientists started talking about the spectral banding in CO2 over 100 god damn years ago.

Comment: Re:That proves it (Score 1) 567

Not one iota of fact presented. Just a stream of attacks. Pathetic.

Listen cletus, I dont know how its done in alibama, but over here in the north we have this thing called "science" and its done by men called "scientists", not bloggers, preachers, marketing people, or conservative politicians. Now in science we do this thing called "literature review" and it turns out I don't need to present evidence, because other folks have done it for me. Simply go to google, type in IPCC , go to their website and download the reports and theres all the evidence, from tens of thousands of physicts you'll ever need.

And if that doesn't satisfy you, sorry dude, but your too far gone to be helped, and perhaps a better google search is "banjo tabelature"

Comment: Re:That proves it (Score 2) 567

Evidently climate scientists can ignore the data and falsify what they need to buttress the alarm.

The ends justify the means. The tired 97% of climate scientists agree...has been thoroughly debunked. People are seeing this for the scam that it really is.


Man the crackpot denialist invasion of slashdot is getting tiring. What happened to the website that actually shouted down cranky god damn denialists, creationists and other conspiratorial loons.

Comment: Re:Logic is not part of the M.O. of law (Score 1) 59

by sg_oneill (#47328905) Attached to: Intuit Beats SSL Patent Troll That Defeated Newegg

Having worked in courts many years this is the biggest load of horseshit. Judges are some of the most fearlessly intelligent people you'll meet. The problem is the laws they have to apply tend to be arse, and they are oft required to rule on fields they have no expertise on. Making a shitty judgement in that situation isn't a sign of unintelligence, it's just the hand that's been dealt.

Comment: Re:But is it false? (Score 1) 268

by sg_oneill (#47321895) Attached to: Wikipedia Editors Hit With $10 Million Defamation Suit

The person that starts the lawsuit can basically pick any country he likes out of at least these jurisdictions and more:

Yep, thats more or less an outcome of Guttnick vs Dow Jones(2002) in Australia where a judge found that if a user reads a page in australia that defames him thats hosted in the US , the place of publication is pretty much the users desktop.

In defamation law if a newspaper defames you, you can sue
1) The author of the article
2) The editor of the article
3) The newspaper
4) The publisher
5) The news-agent who sold you the newspaper
6) And probably his dog too.

So the entire chain of custody of the information from the author to your eyeballs is sueable. Combined with the guttnick ruling (And remember judges internationally tend to read each others rulings and incorporate them when it comes to issues of juristiction, you can pretty much sue the crap out of everyone.

Sucks to be a journalist.

Comment: Re:But is it false? (Score 4, Interesting) 268

by sg_oneill (#47313055) Attached to: Wikipedia Editors Hit With $10 Million Defamation Suit

Defamation means that the information is false.

No, it refers to speech that unfairly harms the reputation of someone. Truth is a *defence*, but its not the same thing.

In most countries a statement being true is usually enough for the complaint not to stick but often a truth being used in a deceptive way can also qualify as defamation. Conversely often "Genuinely held belief" can be a defence for it (although often couple with an injunction to fix the error)

Heres an example. Lets say Barack Obama has Asthma. I dont know if he does, but lets just pretend for the sake of this example. Lets also say that he really doesn't listen to his doctor and instead of using a preventitive he instead huffs on a ventolin puffer all day. Its something doctors consider poor asthma management and even counterproductive.

Now heres a defamatory statement: Barack Obama abuses drugs. Assuming the "puffs ventolin all day" fact is true, then this statement is true.

But its also defamatory, because a "reasonable person" (the usual standard in law) would deduce from the he's smoking blunts and blowing lines of coke. In other words I've unfairly hurt his reputation and created a false representation by telling the truth. And in Britain, and many other countries that would be defamation. But in the US? Judge probably won't even hear the case.

An optimist believes we live in the best world possible; a pessimist fears this is true.