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Comment: Re:Are there any good books published by Packt? (Score 1) 27

by styrotech (#49381929) Attached to: Book Review: Drush For Developers, 2nd Edition

They can occasionally be adequate, but yeah mostly they are not so good.

Packt's niche is not paying authors much, not editing or checking their work much, but letting just about anyone sign up to write a book on their pet topic (often it seems as a loss leading personal or project marketing exercise).

The advantages of this is that they get a wide coverage of topics and are often the only publisher who will produce a book for less trendy or more obscure/specialist subjects. The downside is that the books on average are worse than everyone else's.

Rapidly aging tech books on niche topics will never sell many copies, so only the very cheapest to produce will get published.

Quantity over quality. Sometimes though for a less popular and badly documented open source project, a Packt book might be the only option.

Comment: Re:I feel for them... (Score 1) 273

Even if some of those conflicts overall can be comparable in scale, the scale of US involvement and the role the US had in initiating them (which are the 'appetite for war' bits the president is responsible for) were quite different.

Kosovo, Libya and Syria were conflicts already well underway before US involvement and there were no US ground invasions (yet at least).

Comment: Re:I feel for them... (Score 1) 273

Democrats start just as many wars. Clinton has Kosovo, Obama has Lybia and Syria. They all start wars.

I'm not trying to take particular side here - but I don't think comparing Kosovo, Libya and Syria to Iraq 1, Afganistan and Iraq 2 really works that well in terms of scale, cost and destruction. ie some minimal half hearted air strikes vs large invasions.

Comment: Re:Sweet F A (Score 1) 576

Any race advanced enough to travel here to invade will have capabilities way beyond anything we could hope to combat or detect. I would imagine the first sign you would have would be if you were one of the lucky ones to see half the world wiped out a few seconds before you yourself were removed from this mortal realm.

Unless they get accidentally swallowed by a small dog.

Comment: Re:Big Data (Score 1) 439

by styrotech (#49062777) Attached to: Will Submarines Soon Become As Obsolete As the Battleship?

How about this. Define "cloud".

Here's how NIST define it:

Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model promotes availability and is composed of five essential characteristics (On-demand self-service, Broad network access, Resource pooling, Rapid elasticity, Measured Service); three service models (Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS), Cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS), Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)); and, four deployment models (Private cloud, Community cloud, Public cloud, Hybrid cloud). Key enabling technologies include: (1) fast wide-area networks, (2) powerful, inexpensive server computers, and (3) high-performance virtualization for commodity hardware.

You might not agree, but that's probably as close to a standards based definition there is.

This other definition (from the NZ CloudCode) seems a bit easier to read:

On-demand scalable resources such as networks, servers and applications which are provided as a service, are accessible by the end user and can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal effort or service provider interaction.

Rapid self provisioning seems to be a big part of "cloud computing" that makes it different from other older computing models.

And yes that means that a lot of services like to erroneously hype themselves as cloud this or cloud that for buzzword marketing purposes. Which contributes to the generally confused understanding out there of what "cloud" means.

Comment: Re:Escaping only helps you until a war. (Score 1) 339

by styrotech (#48918453) Attached to: Davos 2015: Less Innovation, More Regulation, More Unrest. Run Away!

I don't get why they'd think New Zealand would be safe from protests. If they really want to be safe they should be thinking places like, say, Heard Island, like a true billionaire supervillain would.

You're looking at it the wrong way :)

Heard Island would be good place for a single loner supervillian billionaire with enough loyal henchmen and minions, but not so good for the ones that want a bit more room and to easily visit with the other billionaires to race their superyachts. They don't want to get too lonely.

New Zealand is good for them because it is still hard to reach by poor boat people, and easyish to defend from the ones that can make it that far. Especially with some modest defense investment.

The local population isn't that high currently, so get enough billionaires there and it will be quite cost effective for them collectively to bribe/placate the locals into semi happiness.

They'll be able to double NZs GDP by handing out whatever they find behind the couch cushions. And they'll look like nice friendly philanthropists too.

Comment: Re:instant disqualification (Score 1) 648

by styrotech (#48858935) Attached to: Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

If that's your idea of code to be proud of, you are an idiot who shouldn't have any input in teaching kids to program.

That wasn't "code to be proud of" - it was an example refuting the statement Python doesn't have complex constructs compared to VB.

He also claimed that school students would be forced to rely on C if they used Python.

I can't help wondering if he's confusing Python with something else.

Comment: Re:The Year Instant Karma Got Some Corporations (Score 1) 255

Corporations like Apple and Google have been making their billions by exploiting open source, without giving much back.

I thought it was the other way around.

2014 was the year that Google's Project Zero and similar efforts from other companies like Redhat started proactively taking a deep look at some of these crusty old open source libraries and finding some real doozeys.

A lot of the big vulnerabilities last year were found and reported by these company security teams. 2015 will have more of these issues come up too, but it is making things better long term.

Comment: Re:Erh... I don't get it (Score 1) 104

In 1766, the Royal Society commissioned Lt. James Cook to command H.M. Bark Endeavour to sail to the South Pacific to witness the transit of Venus across the sun from the southern hemisphere, where it would be visible. On this voyage he and his crew would become the first Europeans to see the East Coast of Australia and New Zealand.

In the closing days of 2014, the news reaches slashdot.

And in more breaking news just to hand... recent archaeological studies have unearthed evidence that European discovery of New Zealand might now be dated back to the 1640s!

Comment: Re:What percentage... (Score 1) 114

by styrotech (#48640491) Attached to: Geoengineered Climate Cooling With Microbubbles

Do ya think that's what makes this stupid? Well, consider the fact that a single ship polutes the atmosphere with more carbon in a day than all the cars in the United States in a year... then reassess this idea.

Oh come on. That statement doesn't stand up to the slightest snifftest.

There are 250M cars in the US which means that you would need to have 365x250M (91 billion!) cars for them to emit as much carbon in one day as one of your ships supposedly does.

Yet road transport still emits 5-6x as much as maritime transport:
http://www.eutransportghg2050....

How many cars, buses and trucks would there need to be to emit 5-6x as much carbon as the 10s of thousands of ships there are worldwide?

I suspect you could be maybe 6 orders of magnitude out there.

OK maybe you misapplied some other pollutant? Sulphur Dioxide maybe? Ships burn very dirty bunker oil after all. Here's an article that reckons the largest of container ships can produce the same amount of SO2 as 50M cars in the same timeframe.

Now you're down to only 3 orders of magnitude (5 x 365) out - eg 50M is only a fifth of the number of cars in the US and correcting for one day vs one year.

Comment: Re:holy crap (Score 1) 191

by styrotech (#48605701) Attached to: Jaguar and Land Rover Just Created Transparent Pillars For Cars

BUT - THEY PUT THE STEERING WHEEL ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE CAR!!!!

Just, wow.

I don't even want to get into the thing about their driver going down the wrong side of the street.

How can the right side of the car be the wrong side?

But yeah they weren't on the right side of the street - I'll give you that one

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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