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Comment: Re:Daily Treadmill (Score 2) 82

by drinkypoo (#49179559) Attached to: Treadmill Performance Predicts Mortality

Double selection bias. People who are good at walking will tend to continue to do it for fun into older age. Meanwhile, while you're hiking, you tend to meet people who hike. Walking is of course great exercise, however. I have asthma and I'm a bit heavy but I'm a good walker, I can walk all day as long as the way isn't too steep.

Comment: misleading headline (Score 5, Insightful) 78

by Tom (#49178995) Attached to: Schneier: Either Everyone Is Cyber-secure Or No One Is

What's with the clickbait headlines? By itself, the headline is total BS. The actual statement made, however, is spot on. The hole in your security doesn't care who exploits it. There's no "good guy" flag in IP headers (though I'm sure some April 1st RFC will soon introduce it).

What worries me most is that we could win this fight, if it weren't for our own governments deciding to betray us. There are vastly more people interested in secure communication and other people not being able to spy on or subvert our computers and mobile devices than there are people interested in compromised communications and systems (basically only criminals and some deluded, criminal-if-the-laws-were-right elements of governments).

There is just one problem to Bruce's argument: The largest and most powerful spy agency in the world disagrees with his fundamental assumption. We often forget that the NSA has two missions, and they are exactly the two things that Bruce argues cannot co-exist: To secure the computing infrastructure of the US against foreign espionage, and to provide espionage on foreign communication.
The NSA believes, and/or is tasked with exactly these two things that Bruce says (and I agree) are mutually exclusive. No surprise they've gone rogue, their very mission statement is a recipe for a mental breakdown through cognitive dissonance.

Comment: depends ? (Score 1) 201

by Tom (#49178645) Attached to: Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality

Doesn't it depend a lot on what you refactor, when and how?

I have 3 year old code that I would like to refactor because I've since switched framework (from CodeIgniter to Symfony 2) and it would bring it in line with all my other projects, allowing me more easy code-reuse and not maintaining two frameworks both on servers and in my mind. But it's largely a convenience factor and I would agree that it will probably not improve code quality very much.

But I also have 12+ year old code written in plain PHP with my own simple database abstraction layer. I'm quite certain that refactoring that would do a world of good.

Comment: Re:There is science here (Score 2) 19

by hey! (#49178195) Attached to: Rosetta Photographs Its Own Shadow On Comet 67P/C-G

Hmmm. While your explanation is unquestionably true, I don't think you quite understood what the poster was asking. His question is, I think, about the sharp shadows behind ridges on the surface, not the shadow of the vehicle itself.

I think his problem is an implicit assumption that if you drew a line from the center of the sun through the spacecraft, it would intersect the surface at a right angle. In that case you wouldn't expect cracks on the surface to display in such relief. However I believe that assumption is faulty, and that the rays of the sun intersect the surface at a considerable angle.

This is not unlike seeing the shadow of a plane you are riding in on the surface of the Earth. Unless you are in the tropics, that shadow won't be directly beneath you. It will be off to one side. It will also be distorted as it is spread out across the non-perpendicular surface, but you won't necessarily notice that because of foreshortening.

Comment: Re:Easier to Analyze or Change == More Maintainabl (Score 2) 201

by hey! (#49177955) Attached to: Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality

I once took over 30,000 lines of code that had been written by a subcontractor and trimmed it to around 4000 LOC. And you better believe it ran faster! Not because refactoring is magic, but because once all the mind-numbing almost-repetition was mucked out you could actually see what the code was doing and notice that a lot of it wasn't really necessary. Ever since then I have always maintained that coders should never ever copy and paste code. I've had people disagree, saying that a little bit of copying and pasting won't hurt, but I say if it's really such a little bit then you shouldn't mind re-typing it. Of course if you do that very soon you start putting more effort into devising ways to stop repeating yourself, which is exactly the point. Repeating yourself should be painful.

That's I think a reliable litmus test for whether you should refactor a piece of software. If it's an area of code that's been receiving a lot of maintenance, and you think you can reduce the size significantly (say by 1/3 or more) without loss of features or generality you should do it. If it's an area of code that's not taking up any maintenance time, or if you're adding speculative features nobody is asked for and the code will get larger or remain the same size, then you should leave it alone. It's almost common sense.

I don't see why anyone would think that refactoring for its own sake would necessarily improve anything. If an automotive engineer on a lark decided to redesign a transmission you wouldn't expect it to get magically better just because he fiddled with it. But if he had a specific and reasonable objective in the redesign that's a different situation. If you have a specific and sensible objective for reorganizing a piece of code, then it's reasonable to consider doing it.

Comment: Re:Doxing is asking for trouble. (Score 1) 321

I don't understand this "AC" hatred here in ./

We hate ACs because AC is mostly used for trolling.

All you need to get a slashdot account is a throwaway email address.

If you have an account, then you become accountable: we can tell whether what you say today matches what you said yesterday. Absent that, we have every reason to believe that you are just some malicious asshole.

I know... I know... this is ./, you cannot expect people to think twice before posting

...and it's lucky I didn't expect it from you, or I might be upset now.

Comment: Re:Bad idea (Score 1) 567

by hey! (#49175719) Attached to: Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial

Well, this is the thing about civil disobedience. The classic formula is to keep up awareness of your issue by forcing the government to go through the embarrassing and drawn-out process of prosecuting and punishing you. I'll bet they had to drag Thoreau kicking and screaming out of that Concord jail cell when some joker finally came along and paid his poll tax for him. Holding court for his admirers in the town pokey no doubt suited his purposes nicely.

In that spirit, this announcement is very effective. When was the last headline you read about Edward Snowden? If he comes back for a long and drawn out trial that'll show he's pretty hard core about this civil disobedience thing -- if leaving a cushy, high paying job in Hawaii with his pole-dancing girlfriend to go to fricken' Russia wasn't enough.

It occurs to me, though, that this situation is a lot like what I always say about data management systems: the good ones are easier to replace than the bad ones. Likewise the better governments, the ones with at least some commitment to things like due process, are much easier to face down with civil disobedience than ones where being a political threat gets you a bullet in the head, like Ninoy Aquino or Boris Nemtzov. If Snowden *does* come back, and if he ends up "detained" in limbo somewhere, then it'll be time for everyone to go into the streets and bring the government down.

Comment: Re:Brain drain (Score 1) 167

by hey! (#49175549) Attached to: Marissa Mayer On Turning Around Yahoo

Everyone likes getting paid. And all things being equal, everyone likes getting paid *more*.

But one thing I've noticed is that the people who are most dissatisfied with their current pay also happen to be the most dissatisfied with their working conditions overall, particularly how they feel treated. The feeling seems to be that if they ought to get more pay to put up with this shit.

Now I wouldn't suggest to any employer, particularly in tech, to economize by offering low salaries. You want to attract and retain the best people you can. But this suggests to me that many employers would do themselves a favor by paying a little more attention to worker happiness. If you're paying people approaching (or even more than) $100,000, there's bound to be a lot more cost effective ways to goose worker morale than handing out raises they'll perceive as significant.

But oddly many employers seem to think paying someone's salary is a license for handing out indignities. This doesn't even qualify as penny wise pound foolish.

Comment: Re:And the mods? (Score 1) 202

by drinkypoo (#49175207) Attached to: What Would Minecraft 2 Look Like Under Microsoft?

I do not know much about minecraft mods but I still seem to remember they are Java as well. If they port minecraft into MS tech (DirecX and C# presumably) what happens to the community mods?

Probably DirectX and C++. And in fact, Microsoft would most likely buy some other game which is close to what they want, then task the studio with making it into Minecraft 2. There are loads of Minecraft clones out there, the trick is finding one which is both technically competent and developed by someone willing to work for Microsoft and sell them their baby.

The existing mods wouldn't work with the new game, obviously. But many Microsoft games have been modded fairly extensively, and Microsoft has even released the sources to one of their games when they were done with it (Allegiance.)

One can't proceed from the informal to the formal by formal means.

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