Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:This isn't even a problem unique to chess. (Score 3, Funny) 109

by wwphx (#49445447) Attached to: A Data-Driven Exploration of the Evolution of Chess
I used to help direct tournaments, including the US Chess Championship. The number of draws is pretty amazing, and part of it is the level of competition. They get material reduced to a certain point and position, realize that neither player is likely to make a catastrophic mistake, and offer a draw. I watched Josh Waitzkin and Boris Gulko battle it out to a closed position where they had lots of movement available, but neither could get a decisive advantage without a blunder, and that just wasn't going to happen. They drew, then went back to the break room to replay the game and see if there was a way around it.

And then there's a certain player who would offer a quick draw then go to the nearest casino to play poker, which he was quite good at and normally won more than the tournament would have produced. And still get his appearance fee for the tournament.

Comment: Wrong. (Score 1) 451

by wwphx (#49290835) Attached to: Lyft CEO: Self-Driving Cars Aren't the Future
I have a friend who is epileptic who would really benefit from this, there are times that she simply can't drive. Her roommate has fibromyalgia, and there are times she's almost immobilized by pain. Me, I'd want one as the two out of state places that I go to the most are 500 and 620 miles away, I'd LOVE the ability to pilot the car to the interstate then sit back with a book.

The problem is idiot American drivers. I've been accident-free for over 20 years now, but having worked for a police department and helped develop a database for tracking car accidents, I definitely appreciate the infinite diversity of the idiots out there on the road.

Comment: Nearly Free Speech .net (Score 1) 295

by wwphx (#49281981) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Advice For Domain Name Registration?
I've been with them for years after my original registrar/host went belly-up. I was with GoDaddy briefly until they started the crap that they were doing (don't know if they still do, don't care). Anyway, is inexpensive, they offer per-byte hosting, and they have an anonymity service available which I avail myself of. I definitely recommend them, they've been trouble-free for me.

Comment: Re:I hate gender bias in studies (Score 1) 208

by wwphx (#49163353) Attached to: Research Suggests That Saunas Help You Live Longer
I know some studies are biased in the other direction, but cardio health is an important area with differences between genders. Talking about breast cancer, there is an army or marine base that has a tremendous breast cancer cluster -- among men. And guys in their 20s are contracting it and dying of it. And that's the opposite side of the sauna study -- men get breast cancer and should be studied, women have cardiovascular disease and should be studied. Too many people will see one-sided studies like this and apply the same findings to everyone, and that's frequently too broad a generalization.

Comment: My wife would be out of work (Score 1) 421

by wwphx (#49111151) Attached to: What If We Lost the Sky?
All she's done is operate a 3.5 meter telescope, shoot a laser at the moon, and paint houses.

Besides, if we do this, we'll all end up xenophobic and composing songs that would make Paul McCartney weep. The first ET that landed on the planet would trigger a universe-wide genocide, all in the name of that which is not Krikkit.

Comment: Interesting concept (Score 3, Informative) 286

by wwphx (#49105821) Attached to: An Evidence-Based Approach To Online Dating
I met my wife online some 12 years ago, our 10th anniversary is in June. Prior to her I had mixed results with online dating, I followed the 'to thine own self be true' model and had a very honest profile. I think that my takeaway from my experience was that it takes time and doesn't give instant results. My wife found me: I lived 500 miles away from her at the time and wasn't searching that broad a radius, she was running in to little but ignorant rednecks and broadened her search radius, finding me. It looks to me like you can keep your profile honest by following the FA's advice, you're just optimizing a bit to try to improve results. If I were looking, I'd definitely give it some serious consideration.

I'm definitely forwarding this to a friend who lost his wife a bit over a year ago and hasn't been having much luck with online dating.

Comment: Re:What most people's filters really are (Score 2) 286

by wwphx (#49105743) Attached to: An Evidence-Based Approach To Online Dating
When I met my wife online some 12 years ago my profile photo was me in my renaissance festival garb, complete with a Cyrano mask, so she couldn't see what I looked like. We'll be celebrating our 10th anniversary in a couple of months.

Looks change over time. If you are that fixated on appearance, I would doubt that you're going to have a happy marriage as you get older.

Comment: Re:What is DB2 like? (Score 1) 192

by wwphx (#48401277) Attached to: Visual Studio 2015 Supports CLANG and Android (Emulator Included)
IMO, DB2 is pretty sweet. It's much closer to the ISO SQL standard like Microsoft's T-SQL rather than Oracle's PL/SQL. I bought a developer edition a while back and the management console was very familiar to any DBA with Microsoft SQL Server experience. There were a lot of additional stuff that was a little familiar to me from my exposure to mainframes, but I was able to get in and create a database and tables right away without digging in to the documentation, the way Real DBAs do. ;-)

I never worked with trying to get an app written to talk to it, so I don't know anything about their drivers outside of ODBC. I just wish our AS/400 had had the full developer loadout rather than just the runtime tools, it would have made sucking it dry before we retired it so much easier. That 400 was ancient, over 15 years old, but an absolute beast when it came to reliability. It was definitely the most solid box in our server room.

Comment: Re:symbols, caps, numbers (Score 1) 549

by wwphx (#48142717) Attached to: Password Security: Why the Horse Battery Staple Is Not Correct
My previous bank (a regional chain), which I fired, had changed their online banking system. It told me to create a new password, which I did, and IIRC it was 12 characters long. I used the session in which I created it, then signed off. The next time I tried to access my account I couldn't, called their people for a reset, set my new password, used it, signed off, couldn't get in again.

Turned out that your password had to be between 8 and 10 characters long. It'd take 12, but it'd never be able to compare it correctly. Thus, my previous bank.

The other thing that caused me to seriously doubt their competence was when their system had crashed and I got an ODBC error telling me that their back end was in Paradox.

I will say one good thing about them, though. My wife's checking account is through them (she doesn't do online access) and last year we added my name to the account and I got a debit card through them. A few weeks ago we were in a nearby town and my debit card stopped working, it was fine two days prior and there was plenty of money in the account. My wife forgot her wallet, so we used my card. Fortunately I had my personal account's card with me from a different bank. Come to find out that they had preemptively cancelled a whole lot of cards because of the Home Depot breech and I had a new card waiting in my PO box. Unfortunately they didn't notify me in advance. Double unfortunately I also use my card at Kmart's pharmacy for my wife's meds, so I expect another new card in the mail.

Comment: Re:Obj-C (Score 1) 316

by wwphx (#48042973) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Swift Or Objective-C As New iOS Developer's 1st Language?
We jokingly always called it 'SCUD', it was UCSD.

Yup, computer-moderated, play-by-snailmail games. Flying Buffalo is one of the oldest hobbyist game companies still in existence, still owned by the same guy. He started running games out of a shoebox while he was in the military in Hawaii in the '70s, he got out and bought a computer and a programmer to code the game. Everyone would receive a printout of their positions and status at the start of the turn, you'd write your orders on a turn form and send it in, they'd be entered and batch processed. So (depending on the game: different games had different paradigms and backgrounds) all fleet movements would happen first, then attacks, then cargo load/unload orders, etc. So no one had an advantage by living closer or having faster mail service. They ran like four different games on the Raytheon, the most popular was Star Web, they also had Battle Plan and I think an economic game that was a bitch to run, only one guy could run those. There were a few hundred games of Star Web going on at any given time back then. The UCSD Pascal on Northstar CPM ran Heroic Fantasy, Feudal Lords and I think Star Lord ran on a TRS-80 Model 3(?). Another game, Galactic Conflict, was also run on a TRS-80 by the guy who designed it.

Later, Rick Loomis (the owner) had an account on The Source, and I think also on Compuserve, and players could submit their turns via email, but I think only Heroic Fantasy could go out that way, I don't remember. It was very useful if you were up against the turn due date and there was no way you could get your orders in on time. Your printout was still sent to you via USPS. Later still, after Star Web and the others were re-written off the Raytheon, that's when they probably gained the ability to send everything through email, though I believe they still do snailmail for some customers.

Lots of fun. They had a game store up front where I spent countless hours playing Champions 2-3 times a week, sometimes we saw the sun rise.

Comment: Re:Obj-C (Score 1) 316

by wwphx (#48028587) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Swift Or Objective-C As New iOS Developer's 1st Language?
Another Pascal fan here. I was working for a play-by-mail game company in Tempe in the early '80s (Flying Buffalo) and though their older games were running on a Raytheon 704 with 32k magnetic core memory and punched tape I/O, their new stuff was being written in SCUD Pascal. When I attended their last convention a couple of years ago, I saw the exact same interface for Heroic Fantasy that I saw 30 years ago. The Northstar is long gone, but the code lives on running on Wintel hardware. Sadly the programmer who wrote that stuff passed away a few years ago, I hope they had good source code management.

The solution of this problem is trivial and is left as an exercise for the reader.