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Comment: Re:MS has been late to every recent tech movement (Score 4, Insightful) 396

by steelfood (#48644497) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is an Open Source<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET Up To the Job?

This is a result of their past transgressions coming back to haunt them. Over the past 15 years, they've managed to alienate practically everybody. They've burned everyone who's worked with them, including vendors, partners, and now with Windows 8, application developers, server administrators, and general users.

Their reputation precedes them. Nobody trusts them. People are avoiding anything by Microsoft. If it wasn't for Windows Server and Active Directory, Office, and to a lesser extent, SQL Server, and Visual Studio, everyone would have long switched away from Microsoft products.

Their tactics worked in the 90's because there were so many small players that they could take advantage of, and people were largely ignorant of Microsoft's dirty actions. Today, there are a few major players, all of whom are well-known and liked by their users and partners. They're not just competing with Microsoft on technology, but also on reputation as well. People are showing their willingness to deal with a bit of inconvenience in using (arguably) slightly inferior enterprise solutions over the potential risks of being locked in and screwed over by a company with a history of doing so.

Oracle is starting to feel this too. Anti-competitive behavior is being punished. Oracle still has a stranglehold on enterprise databases, but that's eroding very quickly. Look what's happening to Java and even more so, OpenOffice and MySQL.

Comment: Re:of course it wasn't NK (Score 1) 236

There's a concerted push to put the blame on NK for this. The precise reason is beyond me, but I'm very suspicious somebody is taking advantage of the situation to put NK in a defensive position, be it Sony, the FBI, other parts of the U.S. government, or even the Guardians of Peace themselves.

I find the FBI's explanation of why it was NK incredibly weak. Behavioral "patterns" do not constitute strong evidence. If anything, it's a starting point in an investigation, and no more than that. Impersonation of online behavior is easy, especially for those who are privy to NK's past behavior. The motive is also incredibly weak. NK has never acted on any perceived slight by the U.S. film industry. And when they do get offended, they spend a lot of time spewing rhetoric. If they're sufficiently motivated to act, they'll spend even more time yapping away, especially afterwards at their victory and how they've taken down a big western corporation. Nothing like this has happened since the GOP took down Sony's network. It is incredibly unusual that their first public statements about the matter is weeks after the events, and a denial at that.

I cannot imagine how the FBI managed to gather and analyze all of the evidence in such a short period of time. That they came to a conclusion so quickly makes me even more suspicious. It is possible that they already had a bad actor in mind, and is either avoiding putting any real effort into this, or is trying to make themselves look capable by coming to a quick conclusion, or is trying not to drag this on for any longer, or may even be colluding with someone to paint NK in a bad light. After all, we invaded Iraq on similarly sketchy evidence. There are people pushing to attack NK, and I would not be surprised if they asked the FBI to point fingers at NK for this purpose.

On top of that, based on what I've read so far, Sony was so wide open to attack for so long, and they had made so many enemies with strong technical know-how, I would not so easily rule out that they had more than one group of intruders in their network. If there were indeed multiple groups grabbing data from Sony, it would make any investigation even more difficult. But even barring that, I find the FBI's explanation rushed and entirely unconvincing.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

Comment: Re:What about that stupid book is worth US$244? (Score 1) 169

by steelfood (#48639923) Attached to: Calculus Textbook Author James Stewart Has Died

The problem is money. Even if a university decides to create and publish its own textbook, and then distribute it to the rest of academia, it will eventually fall into the trap of seeing the textbook arm of the school as a money generator and do exactly what the publishers are doing.

Better solution is to reduce copyright terms. That way, Stewart 1st ed would be in the public domain and anyone would be free to reprint it. It would be like drug manufacturers and generics.

Comment: Re:This again? (Score 1) 394

by steelfood (#48623619) Attached to: Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites

The secure vs trustworthy issue is a fundamental flaw with HTTPS where both encryption and authenticity are meshed into the same protocol. Most places don't really need its authenticity validated (and really, the only way authenticity can be assured these days is with certificate pinning and advanced notice of cert changes, so the authenticity features of HTTPS aren't as reliable as they appear). But it'd be good to have the communications itself secure. But there aren't any alternatives, so even if it's a wrecking ball, it's better than nothing.

As for proxy filtering, you could always try filtering on the client side instead. For example, AdBlock allows you to block individual externally-loaded elements. And I don't use it myself, but I hear GreaseMonkey may have the functionality you're looking for.

Comment: Re:So perhaps /. will finally fix its shit (Score 2) 394

by steelfood (#48623595) Attached to: Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites

Caching only works with static content anyway, and a good chunk of the web has largely moved onto dynamic, real time or near-real time content.

Also, note that caching methods like Google Cache and Coral Cache have no issues with encryption, as they can access a site via HTTPS separately, store the page's contents, and then serve the information back to whoever requests it. It's not as convenient as automatically caching at an intermediate hop, but it still works for situations where there's a sudden localized spike in traffic to a particular page.

Besides which, now that everybody has easy access to data centers all over the world, caching can (and arguably should) be done by the site administrators rather than by a server admin in between.

So your concerns aren't really valid. If you want to cache on your server and then serve the cached pages from your server as if the client was hitting the real site, well, tough shit. That was only feasible during the innocent days of the internet. Now, it's called MITM and frowned upon.

Comment: Re:More accurate (Score 2) 55

by steelfood (#48623047) Attached to: The Joys and Hype of Hadoop

No, that's MapReduce. Hadoop is a distributed data store. Or a distributed file store optimized for large files.

It's not a database. It certainly isn't database management software. It won't manage your data for you. Even the myriad of tools built to run on top of it are nowhere near effective at it. Rather, they're more data consumers than data managers.

Comment: Re:I'm confused (Score 1) 582

by steelfood (#48623013) Attached to: Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

People are emotional creatures who lack internal consistency.

News at 11.

It's a shame the theaters caved to the threats. But the movie looks pretty bad from the previews and just because of the cowardice of some corporate heads won't make me suddenly change my mind and acquire a sudden desire to spend 2 hours of my life watching it. There are better ways of showing any outrage I might have over this matter.

For starters, I could go see a different movie (one presumably I'd want to see) in a theater that's playing The Interview on a different screen. Or not do anything special because all this really is none of my business to begin with.

Comment: Re:Go ahead (Score 1) 388

by steelfood (#48620411) Attached to: Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS

Torrent sites might start running as TOR hidden services. It's just torrent files and magnet links they're hosting anyway. As long as the actual P2P traffic doesn't go over TOR, it wouldn't kill the system.

Actually, if TOR-enabled BT clients were to also automatically act as TOR bridge relays, that would really beef up TOR's resources.

Comment: Re:been there, done that (Score 1) 279

by steelfood (#48613415) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

How's your job look now, keyboard monkey?

Considering I (and most other people here) have neither acting nor comedic talent, still pretty damn good. Especially since everybody wants talented programmers, I know I don't have to be waiting tables or doing odd jobs in between gigs, because there wouldn't be any time in between gigs, and even if there were, it'd be on my terms like a sabbatical.

Now, if I wasn't particularly good at programming, I'd probably be a bit more nervous. But because I got into a field I'm good at (and consequently enjoy doing), I wouldn't even consider doing anything else, no matter how glamorous another job might appear. There's a lot of money and glamor in management too, but I'm not one for navigating local political landscapes either (and I know the same applies to a lot of engineers and programmers out there).

If you're looking for an entertainment career, it's a roll of the dice. If you get lucky, you make it big. If you don't, you're stuck doing bit parts and odd jobs. For STEM, you won't hit it big, but the work's steady and the pay's acceptable (unless you're in academia in which case you might hit it big but the pay'll be shit in the meantime). If I had both STEM and entertainment talent, that would be how I'd weigh my career options anyway. Fortunately, having only STEM talent means this life choice isn't applicable to my situation.

Also note that entertainment is a subset of liberal arts in general. There are a ton of literature, history, "business", and other majors who also have no entertainment talent, and as such have significantly diminished employment prospects outside of academia. In which case, burgers and fries it is.

It appears that PL/I (and its dialects) is, or will be, the most widely used higher level language for systems programming. -- J. Sammet