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Comment: Dell Latitude (Score 1) 385 385

by wheelbarrio (#49287653) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Laptop To Support Physics Research?
Lots of comments about Linux on XPS series; I've had up-and-down experiences with hardware build quality with those but what I can solidly recommend is the Dell Latitude series - currently E6540 or the 7000. They're a bit pricey but like the Thinkpad and HP ProBook these are business-oriented machines with great warranty support, and upgradeable parts. And Linux runs just great on them - I write this on a slightly older 6440 with Fedora 21 on it; never had any issues even though Fedora is a relatively "pure" distro that doesn't come with proprietary drivers. I would also recommend Fedora as good mainstream distro for work in the sciences - all the packages you would want to run on a laptop (R/scipy etc) are available as rpms:

Comment: Re:Java (Score 1) 407 407

Java 7 introduced the Closeable interface and try-with-resources statement to give the programmer every incentive to Do The Right Thing in cases like these, and every good Java programmer I know uses them (see for topical example of an SSH client implementing Closeable). True, anyone can code badly but that's not the language's fault and in this case I would hardly say that sloppy mentality is encouraged. A poster above noted that C++98 != C++14. By the same token, Java 1.8 != Java 1.2

Comment: Misleading headline (Score 5, Insightful) 402 402

by wheelbarrio (#47593297) Attached to: The High-Tech Warfare Behind the Israel - Hamas Conflict
That's not an article about the high tech warfare behind the Israel-Hamas conflict. It's an article about the alleged use of some pretty run-of-the-mill technology by one side (Hamas) with no reference to the actual sophisticated technology used by the other side (Israel). If the article in itself isn't necessarily so, the phrasing of the headline and the summary here is an attempt to portray this conflict as something other than the massively one-sided affair that it actually is. It's a whitewash pure and simple. I wish both sides would just stop killing each other but seriously, "cloud-based launching software"? So Hamas can launch unguided rockets without having to stand next to them. Sounds pretty nasty compared to sophisticated air defence, MBTs, total air superiority and massed artillery.

+ - Imparting malware resistance with a randomizing compiler

Submitted by wheelbarrio
wheelbarrio writes: From an Economist article — inspired by the natural resistance offered to pathogens by genetically diverse host populations, Dr Michael Franz at UCI suggests that common software be similarly hardened against attack by generating a unique executable for each install. It sounds like a cute idea, although the article doesn't provide examples of what kinds of diversity are possible whilst maintaining the program logic, nor what kind of attacks would be prevented with this approach.

+ - The Most Feasible Way to Colonize Space May Be to Print Humans on Other Planets

Submitted by Jason Koebler
Jason Koebler writes: Adam Steltzner, the lead engineer on the NASA JPL's Curiosity rover mission, believes that to send humans to distant planets, we may need to do one of two things: look for ways to game space-time—traveling through wormholes and whatnot—or rethink the fundamental idea of "ourselves."
"Our best bet for space exploration could be printing humans, organically, on another planet," said Steltzner.

+ - Google discriminates in favour of Asian employees - or what? 2 2

Submitted by Bruce66423
Bruce66423 writes:
The Guardian — a left wing newspaper — has a headline to this article that focuses on the absence of women and especially blacks. But given the 30% Asian headcount, it's dubious this is a function of discrimination against blacks, but that's how the left likes to portray it.

It's easy when you know how to spot the biases...

+ - Conformal Systems' Bitcoin Implementation Goes Beta

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: After a year of developement, Conformal Systems has announced that btcd, an alternative full-node bitcoin implementation written in Go, has entered the beta stage. Two great features that I personally love is the ability to use websockets to receive instant notifications of certain events and their client API which works against both btcd and bitcoind. Are mulitple implementations a good thing for the bitcoin community?

+ - Iranian Hacker Group Created Fake News Organization for Social Engineering->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett writes: A suspected Iranian hacker group seeded Facebook and LinkedIn with bogus profiles of attractive women and even created a fake online news organization to get digitally closer to more than 2,000 U.S. military members, defense contractors and lobbyists it wanted to spy on, according to a report by security consultancy iSight Partners. The group is suspected to be in Iran, based on their working patterns and the location of their command-and-control infrastructure, said Patrick McBride, vice president of iSight's marketing and communications. Their activity is consistent with government-sponsored espionage campaigns, but 'we don't have anything specific tying them back to the government,' he added.
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:"pro-Russian forces in Crimea" (Score 1) 479 479

Did you actually what I wrote? Do you know what moral equivalence is? Hint: it's what you're peddling. At what point do I suggest there is any high ground to be had here, by anyone? The reason I can judge Russia's actions critically is the same reason I judged America's actions critically when they invaded Iraq in 2003. It's called intelligence, and partisanship doesn't play any part in it. I'm not even American.

Comment: Re:"pro-Russian forces in Crimea" (Score 1) 479 479

The whole point is that you cannot speak of "the revolutionaries" en bloc - there were a bunch of people protesting Yanukovich's reject of the EU agreement in favour of closer ties with Russia, and their cause was jumped on by extreme Uke nationalists who were welcomed and in some cases invited to the party by the Russians - they aren't reflective of most Ukrainians' wishes but they do make the whole anti-Yanukovich crowd look extreme and can be used to justify an extreme response. This is classic false flag stuff that the Russians are so good at, much better than the West. Even if the nationalists were genuine home-grown idiots the level of their activity scarcely justifies an invasion by Russia, it's not like Russian nationals are being killed in the streets, or Russian assets being pillaged.

Comment: Re:"pro-Russian forces in Crimea" (Score 4, Insightful) 479 479

I'm sorry but that is just the weakest moral equivalence BS. The fact that both parties to a dispute have tarnished reputations has no bearing on the rightness or wrongness of their current cause. Some details for you to think about, if you care to come off the fence:

* Ukraine has been pretty badly run since independence but it's hardly a "failed state" - at 117 out of 178 countries it's not even in the bottom half of the index ( - the US is 159 if you want to know.
* The overt and covert hands of Russia are MUCH more evident in Ukraine than the West's. US foreign policy been incredibly inward-looking of late and not much bothered with the complexities of post-Soviet states' politics (a mistake). EU is in play but mostly economically - this is the proximate cause of this whole recent mess.
* The 'Ukrainian people' means different things to different people - if you're an ethnic Russian in Crimea you live in Ukraine but probably have much more allegiance to mother Russia than the government in Kiev. If you're a kid in Kiev born post-Soviet era to ethnic Ukrainian parents, different deal. Ethnic Tatar, different again.
* People who live in Ukraine should decide how they are governed. If that means some regions split off and join Russia leaving a rump that is European-looking, fine.
* The one certainty once Russia gets involved militarily is that people will needlessly die, many Ukrainians will lose the right to choose their destiny, and the West will look foolish for having dealt with Putin's Russia as anything except an nuclear-armed oligarchic petrostate, i.e. a bad actor. How European countries let themselves become dependent on Russian oil and gas supplies with no thought for exactly this kind of contingency is beyond me. What are they going to do now, threaten economic sanctions that involve turning off their own heating?

So let's be careful before casting judgement but don't just throw the hands up and say "pot, kettle". I blame FOX (because I can) for having destroyed the critical thinking faculties of a generation of Americans with their discovery/invention of the "Fair and Balanced" trope, even amongst people that don't watch the damn channel.

+ - Did the NSA use the Apple SSL bug to insert the DROPOUTJEEP spy software?

Submitted by crazyeyes
crazyeyes writes: Here's an interesting look at the SSL bug in Apple's iOS and OS X operating systems :

There is speculation that this could well be the security hole which the NSA exploited to insert the DROPOUTJEEP software implant, probably using automatic updates via SSL. DROPOUTJEEP, whose existence was revealed by Edward Snowden, targets the Apple iPhone (but could conceivably be used on all other iOS devices) and allows the NSA to "remotely push/pull files from the device. SMS retrieval, contact list retrieval, voicemail, geolocation, hot mic, camera capture, cell tower location, etc. Command, control and data exfiltration can occur over SMS messaging or a GPRS data connection.All communications with the implant will be covert and encrypted.”

Apple, of course, denies that the NSA can access or are accessing iOS devices as Snowden's leaked documents claim. Still, there is no denying that such a bug is a major flaw, and allows iOS and Mac OS to be exploited by malicious persons.

Comment: well-established pattern (Score 1) 465 465

by wheelbarrio (#45551887) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Are Tech Job Requirements So Specific?
Axiom I: Generalist IT skills (CS, systems analysis) do not evolve that quickly, but specific ones do

Lemma I: Most IT employers don't don't plan to be around in 10 years - I don't mean they actively plan to go out of business, they probably all dream of living forever or something, but they don't have - and probably can't have - a specific plan for how technology will be supporting their business model at that point.

Axiom II: Younger folks are less interested in the idea of a single-or-few employer career these days, and more willing to leave at short notice

Corollary: Most IT employers don't want to employ someone who has the potential to be a useful employee, but only after they have invested time training them in the requisite skills - they want someone who can start now, finish this 12-month project, and maybe hang on to them afterwards if the relationship pans out ok.

It's an arms race between employer and employee, with diminishing returns. If you are lucky, you will find people on both sides of this relationship who see this for the evil that it is, and move beyond it.

The way to make a small fortune in the commodities market is to start with a large fortune.