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Comment: Re:Wha?!?!!! (Score 1) 172

by slimjim8094 (#48561815) Attached to: Just-Announced X.Org Security Flaws Affect Code Dating Back To 1987

Yeah, but the WORD type hasn't had a relationship to the actual word size for 20 years. As you said upthread "The only reason it's called a WORD on Windows is because of legacy backwards-compatibility issues."

It was stupid for them to lock processor-dependent stuff into the API and it means you get these ridiculous anachronisms. Especially ridiculous that "WORD" is intended to mean a fixed-size value, when "word" is defined by its processor-dependence. The API is full of this nonsense - WPARAM and LPARAM originally referred to WORD- and LONG-length parameters, respectively, but now they're both 32 bit. LPCSTR - what the hell is a long pointer? So by now it's just random junk If they wanted a 16-bit value, they should've called it an int16 or a twobyte or... hell, something that described what it actually was. But no, they were intending to describe the actual word size, and then got caught with their pants down when it changed (as anybody could see it would).

Microsoft is to be commended for their backwards-compatibility, but it makes these poor design choices especially visible. By contrast, the POSIX API is almost completely free of anything machine-dependent, to the point that it can be a bit tricky to use sometimes "when the rubber meets the road". But at least it's consistent.

Comment: Re:Wha?!?!!! (Score 1) 172

by slimjim8094 (#48560447) Attached to: Just-Announced X.Org Security Flaws Affect Code Dating Back To 1987

You know, 'word' actually means something, and it never referred to a particular number of bits - it was always a property of the architecture. Generally, word size == register size == memory address == unit of memory that can be operated on. 32-bit machines are 32-bit because they have 32 bit registers, and the size of a memory address is 32 bits long (=4GB), and you can't move less than 32 bits to/from RAM.

So, yeah, it absolutely depends on the CPU, because it's the fundamental unit of the CPU. It's actually hard to imagine a less useless specification...

Comment: Re:Where are your ancestors from? (Score 1) 107

by slimjim8094 (#48503117) Attached to: Interviews: Adora Svitak Answers Your Questions

So by analogy, if I every time I saw you I grabbed your crotch[1] you shouldn't get offended, because I never meant to offend you.

Probably not. I mean, it'd be a bit weird, but I'd set the boundary, explain that it made me uncomfortable, and expect it to not happen again. If it continued it would be something other than offense.

Honestly, I don't get offended very much because I consider "offense" to be intricately tied with intent. If someone spat at me or flipped me off or something, I'd take it as it was intended. There's lots of explicit ways various cultures have to indicate "I intend to offend you", and in my culture, those are two pretty good ones. But other cultures have different ones, and they generally don't apply to outsiders. A Frenchman wouldn't be offended if you shied away from a "faire la bise", unless it was your cultural norm as well. The Japanese have a very complex business card etiquette. Someone doing business in Japan regularly should make a point of getting to know this, but a one-off instance of a Japanese person interacting with someone from a different culture shouldn't be offended if somebody doesn't realize that just taking the card and pocketing it after a glance is considered offensive. Indian culture has a thing about shaking with the left hand since that's the ... "wiping hand" (gotta do something if you have no toilet paper). These are generally amusing tidbits shared later (by either party), not tense moments.

It's hard enough to get offense straight when it's entire cultures - when it's random individual's sensitivities it becomes impossible. I will behave in a way I believe to be appropriate - if it offends you, the onus is on you to realize that I didn't mean to offend, because that's how interpersonal relationships work. I will make a good faith effort to avoid doing that in the future - if it's reasonably accommodable - to avoid repeating it with you, but I expect you to forgive my lapses since this stuff is hard (especially for me).

Not to put too fine a point on it, but there's a lot of people who can't tolerate other people behaving in ways contrary to their exact wishes. We generally call them "two year olds".

I can't imagine being offended more than a few times a year. It sounds exhausting - that is, with my definition of offense. But since you're explicitly saying that intent doesn't count, clearly we disagree. I'd call your definition more like "mild irritation". And I don't think I can (and have so far failed to) really interact with you, or people like you - I mean that 100% seriously. I don't mean to presume to tell you when you or anybody else should be offended, but I think you, bible-thumpers w.r.t evolution, and the anti-gays have a lot in common when it comes to offense thresholds...

Comment: Re:Where are your ancestors from? (Score 1) 107

by slimjim8094 (#48502947) Attached to: Interviews: Adora Svitak Answers Your Questions

Bull shit. Sorry, but as a pasty-white American I commonly get asked this - and in this exact form:

Someone: Where are you from?
Me: New Jersey, northern part
Someone: No, I mean your parents/ancestors/family/etc
Me: Oh, a bit Irish, a bit German, [family history]

You know why? It's because we're a nation of immigrants. Almost everybody here including me and her "comes from" somewhere else. The only reason I don't often get asked specifically about my parents is because I look further down the generations. I'm sure my great-great-grandmother (a German 'Weber' in Ohio) was asked about her parents' origin since she looked rather more German than I do.

If someone is interpreting this as a "microaggression" in the absence of any... you know, aggression - then they can not be interacted with because they have a worldview that everybody is out to get them. And that's really sad. It's a victimhood that's enforced - if you don't feel like a victim, it's just because you've internalized the attitudes or it's a "microaggression" you're missing or something. It's like no-true-Scotsman applied to feeling like crap. I mean, you're a woman/Asian/black/etc - you must be a victim somehow, right?

I'm not kidding. It's becoming increasingly dangerous to have conversations with people lest you slip off the cliff. It's a shame because frank conversations in good faith is the best way we know of to dispel prejudice... you know, friendships with people unlike yourself and so on.

Comment: Re:The FAA isn't doing jack (Score 1) 115

by slimjim8094 (#48493777) Attached to: FAA Report Says Near Collisions With Drones On the Rise

Sorry, that should have been "a very small fraction, like the amount you could stick a pole into" followed by the quote:

If you're a pilot, but not a crop duster, what are you doing flying at low altitudes when not around an airport?


Anyways, I just thought I'd add that I really don't have anything against drones or RC planes or anything as such, just their reckless operation. Just as the big jumboes tolerate me, I figure I should tolerate them. But my life is on the line, so I expect them to know the rules that keep us safe. I trained for 70 hours of flying time, and took a written, oral, and practical test to get my flying privileges. I know the FARs and so does everybody else in the sky, and we all follow them or people die. I'm not being melodramatic, people die all the time. Here's one from a few weeks ago where the guy likely (the report's not done) broke the rules and paid the price. The regulations are absolutely written in blood.

RC folks practice pretty hard as well, and they have a very good community that's interested in interoperating with "the system" and keeping everyone safe. The drone guys - as has been demonstrated - do not. The growing list of encounters that this article is about shows that self-policing isn't working. All I want is for people to know the rules and be held accountable to them - which is pretty much why the FAA is working their way up to requiring some sort of certification.

I cannot emphasize this enough - I consider the drone fliers to be the equivalent of a drunk driver, except worse since at least a drunk is also risking his own neck. They're going to kill someone, and it's only a matter of time.

Comment: Re:The FAA isn't doing jack (Score 2) 115

by slimjim8094 (#48493165) Attached to: FAA Report Says Near Collisions With Drones On the Rise

Did you read what I wrote? The vast majority of the airspace of this country - including lots of airspace that drones have been using - is regulated by the FAA. Inasmuch as "a fraction" is "a very small fraction, like If you're a pilot, but not a crop duster, what are you doing flying at low altitudes when not around an airport?

What? That's the regulation and I'm allowed to be there whether I'm a crop duster or not. What is the drone doing there, is the question. In any case, the vast majority of this country has no altitude restriction since it counts as "sparsely populated areas". Otherwise it's 500 feet - hence the RC limit of 400 feet (since they generally fly in "other than congested" but not "sparsely populated" areas).

Flying drones in [in approach paths] is already against the law. So what's the problem?

Exactly. Like I said, the FAA came up with rules in 1981 to have planes and RCers get along. The AMA is pretty careful about this, actually, and it works well. But these drones don't require any skill or investment (and hence limited likelihood of interacting with the community), and the self-regulation isn't working any more. Do you expect the guy buying a Phantom on Amazon to be able to read a sectional and figure out where planes are likely to be? If they all did, we wouldn't be having this problem! So we need tighter regulation to make sure the drone guys follow the rules... unfortunately for everybody who was getting along just fine.

Comment: Re:Drones versus Birds (Score 1) 115

by slimjim8094 (#48489141) Attached to: FAA Report Says Near Collisions With Drones On the Rise

Jet engines are designed to "ingest" a certain number of birds of a certain size. Not drones, which have pesky metal bits. And even then, it turns out that hitting birds can still ruin your day.

Not to mention that small GA planes aren't even rated for bird strikes. If I'm flying my Cessna 172 and I hit your drone and survive (which is pretty doubtful), I will be coming for you. Every pilot and person who "does" aviation feels the same way - and guess what/who the FAA is made of/for?

Comment: Re:How do they define a close call? (Score 1) 115

by slimjim8094 (#48489117) Attached to: FAA Report Says Near Collisions With Drones On the Rise

"A few feet" is probably "less than 50". But when even a boring plane like a Cessna 172 is going twice the speed of your car on the highway, and normally has nothing around it for miles, 50 feet is more than enough to make you change your pants. Hell, even 500 feet gets a pretty good pucker going.

And yes, generally pilots do report to the FAA (control towers) when they're near birds. It's a safety issue, and the tower will relay it to other pilots. You may recall a small issue with bird strikes a few years ago - it turned an Airbus with 150 people on it into a pretty lousy glider, so it's not something to mess with. The ATIS at my airport frequently says "birds on and in vicinity of the airport" as a warning, and it's also in the published airport information. Airports spend tremendous amounts of money on things like "population control" and more exotic measures like propane cannons to keep birds away.

Pilots report all kinds of things to the control tower, from birds to wind shear to problems with the runway lights. I definitely told tower when a drunk idiot on July 4th shot a bottle rocket into my wing on final approach...

Comment: Re:The FAA isn't doing jack (Score 2) 115

by slimjim8094 (#48489093) Attached to: FAA Report Says Near Collisions With Drones On the Rise

"Navigable airspace" actually has a definition, you know.

"Navigable airspace" is airspace at or above the minimum altitudes of flight prescribed by the Code of Federal Regulations, and must include airspace needed to ensure safety in the takeoff and landing of aircraft. By policy, the term "airspace above minimum altitudes of flight" is interpreted to mean "airspace at or above minimum flight altitudes."

The referenced 14 CFR 91.119 defines minimum altitudes as altitudes allowing a safe emergency landing, and various other restrictions depending on whether you're over a "congested area", "other than congested area", or a "sparsely populated area".

So if you're over cornfields, the plains, a beach, or a lake (with no boats within 500 feet) it's perfectly legal to fly at 20 feet, and that counts as "navigable airspace". Hence the FAA purview. It's well established that the FAA has authority over all airspace in the country. The only rebuke the FAA has gotten in court has been "you have to go through rulemaking for this, you know" - which is precisely what they're doing.

Frankly, these drone idiots are ruining things for everybody. Model aircraft folks came to an understanding with the FAA something like 30 years ago, and the rules were quite sensible, and kept everybody safe and out of each other's way. But in comes Mr. Drone flying his just-bought Phantom out of sight at 1500 feet in an approach path, and now they have to regulate it.

I'm a pilot, and getting too close to birds gives me the willies. But birds don't have metal. If your toy puts a hole in my windshield with a closing speed of 230 MPH, it will probably kill me - what skin do you have in the game?

Comment: Re:EU citisens are skeptic too (Score 1) 334

by slimjim8094 (#48442621) Attached to: The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

Citation really needed. I reject that integration is "promoting above everybody else". They're trying to provide the most relevant answers to their users, when they can. If you want to go off and do your own thing, the regular results aren't even below the fold! Try "sfo to jfk", which is clearly looking for specific flights - Google has a little box telling you the flights you can take, but immediately below that is a link to (for me). If you search the more generic "flights", there's a small widget indicating that you could've just searched the flight, but the first actual result is Kayak. I should note that the flight search stuff has a huge "Sponsored" text on it - if you don't want to use it, they could hardly make it easier to avoid especially since people are so hardwired to drill in on Google's real results. And if you do want to use it... well, what's the big deal? If somebody's literally just clicking on the first result anyway, and now they don't have to, that's a pretty mercurial and weak preference - would you say that a subtle algorithm change that happened to switch the first and second result was also worth breaking up the company? That's probably more damaging than Google launching its own thing. I imagine a lot of people skip right over the whole top block of "non-organic" results due to years of practice with the ads, but they still click the first organic result.

Let's use a less commercial example. Try searching for "triangle calculator" or "RFK mother" or "range of a cessna 172" or "how many bees are in a pound". They're obviously just trying to provide faster answers when they understand your query enough to do so. Do you really think they want to make money selling airline tickets? Or are they trying to put "" out of business as well?

Comment: Re:Google doesn't have a monopoly on ANYTHING. (Score 1) 334

by slimjim8094 (#48442477) Attached to: The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

And Google have an effective monopoly on search

Nope. First of all such a statement needs to be qualified - for instance, the 1.3+ billion people in China overwhelmingly prefer Baidu. It is clearly quite possible for people to avoid Google entirely, not just for search (which is, of course, even easier).

and are abusing it.

In what way? Because you don't think Google should use its other services to provide a more integrated experience? Without any sort of lock-in, don't pretend that's anything other than punishing success.

You're begging the question. If Google is a monopoly and they're integrating stuff, that's bad. And they must be a monopoly, because they're doing bad monopoly things like integrating stuff. But without being an actual monopoly with actual lock-in, there's no reason that integration is a problem at all - in fact it's quite the opposite, that's what they have to do to remain competitive. Changing search engines away from Google is as simple as typing a different URL or choosing something else from the drop-down, or even *not changing the default*. The idea that a high search marketshare can be anything other than direct user choice is ridiculous - and so what's the problem?

Comment: Re:In an unrelated news item... (Score 3, Insightful) 334

by slimjim8094 (#48437845) Attached to: The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

But this represents an existential threat - when viewed that way, it's a no-brainer to give up a market, even a huge market, if the price of admission is too high. Also, Google doesn't have to stop serving them, just stop doing business there.

Also, don't forget that Google pulled out of China, and China has a lot more population and will have the biggest GDP shortly. This is far more concerning than a little espionage.

Comment: Re:Here we go again (Score 1) 496

by slimjim8094 (#48431477) Attached to: As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

Hi, I'm a white male. I believe strongly that women and men are capable of exactly the same amount of good and bad, and are equally responsible for their own decisions to do or not do things. I live my life like this - I'm a software engineer and I have an unusually high number of female coworkers, and they're as talented and respected as my male coworkers. We really don't think about gender at work - it's just not relevant.

Unfortunately, this is very much *not* feminism - at least any more. There is a certain kind of person who wants to control others, and modern ultrafeminism is overrun with them and their fans. I abhor the label "SJW" but... well, frankly, it does seem like a pretty apt description of some people. It's really sad for me, because there's probably going to be a big backlash soon - things like "shirtgate" really trouble people who haven't been tied into the echo chamber (they give you a blank look when you explain that people have a problem with it, and it changes to a horrified expression when you explain the scope and intensity).

But the only thin worse than a big backlash would be no backlash.

Comment: Re:A message to Adora Svitak (Score 1) 155

You know, when I was a kid, people like you kept telling me that I didn't understand stuff and wasn't responsible. That was a long time ago - you know what? Damnit, I *was* right! I was as savvy and responsible then as I am now. The only thing I've learned as an adult is that "is an adult" has a weight of exactly 0. I used to think the people in newspapers saying stuff had some authority, but really they're just "a dude said some stuff".

One of the great lies adults like to tell and believe is that there's some fundamental difference between adulthood and childhood. Here's the dirty little secret: nothing changes when you become an adult other than running out of milestones to point to and say "see? I'm not an adult yet!"

If you think you're wiser simply because you're older - well, you're not very wise at all. Wisdom comes from experience and intelligence - neither of which depend on age. Age is a free, lengthy way to get a limited amount of narrow experience - but reading and education gets you much more at a younger age.

Do you think your average 50 year old can say anything particularly wise? Really? People are basically idiots at every age.

Possessions increase to fill the space available for their storage. -- Ryan