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State Senator Caught Looking At Porn On Senate Floor 574

Everyone knows how boring a debate on a controversial abortion bill can get on the Senate floor. So it's no wonder that Florida State Sen. Mike Bennett took the time to look at a little porn and a video of a dog running out of the water and shaking itself off. From the article: "Ironically, as Bennett is viewing the material, you can hear a Senator Dan Gelber's voice in the background debating a controversial abortion bill. 'I'm against this bill,' said Gelber, 'because it disrespects too many women in the state of Florida.' Bennett defended his actions, telling Sunshine State News it was an email sent to him by a woman 'who happens to be a former court administrator.'"

Comment Open data needs open data structure and owner (Score 4, Insightful) 62

Interesting problem. Several things come to mind:

1) The Pragmatic tip "Keep knowledge in Plain Text" (fro the Pragmatic Programmer book, that also brought us DRY). You can argue whether XML, JSON, etc are considered 'plain text', but the spirit is simple - data is open when it is usable.

2) tools like diff and patch. If you make a change, you need to be able to extract that change from the whole and give it to other people.

3) Version control tools to manage the complexity of forking, branching, merging, and otherwise dealing with all the many little 'diffs' people will create. Git is an awesoe decentralized tool for this.

4) Open databases. Not just SQL databases like Postgres and MySQL, but other database types for other data structures like CouchDB, Mulgara, etc.

All of these things come with the poer to help address this problem, but come with a barrier to entry in that their use requires skill not just in the tool, but in the problem space of 'data management'.

The problem of data management, as well as the job to point to one set as 'canonical' should be in the hands of someone capable of doing the work. PErhaps there is a skillset worth defining here - some offshoot of library sciences?


Submission + - Where is AT&T's iPhone Tethering Option?

bokmann writes: Way back in 2008, AT&T Mobility chief Ralph de la Vega confirmed that iPhone 3G users would be able to use their phones as wireless modems in the U.S. in 2009. We are now in 2010, and it is still not available, despite the fact that the phone can do it, it is available in other countries, and AT&T allows it for other phones. WTF? Steve Jobs, how can this be true on your watch?

Submission + - Blizzard adds timestamps to armory (

Kharny writes: In a move that could cause quite serious privacy problems, blizzard added timestamps and a rss feed to world of warcraft characters in their online armory. This new feature will mean that anyone can follow "realtime" developements in a world of warcraft character, and if the user behind the character would be know, even add time and date to playing habits. Many players have already complained about the fact that there is no opt-out option and this opens very big possibilities for online stalking.

Submission + - Displayport v1.2 to take giant leap over HDMI ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: With HDMI becoming increasingly common, Displayport has been slow to become a widely used connection interface, but a plethora of new features in the new v1.2 standard could see that change. As well as doubling the data rate of the existing v1.1a standard to 21.6 Gbps, the update allows for multiple monitors to be connected to a single Displayport connector and adds support for transporting USB data at up to 720Mbps, enabling embedded webcams, speakers and USB hubs over a single cable. Ethernet data is also supported. The improved data rate will allow for richer, larger and higher resolution displays and the new version is also backward compatible with the current display technology, so all the ports, cables and devices will be interchangeable, although they will revert to the lowest common denominator.

Submission + - France Tells Its Citizens To Abandon IE (

Freistoss writes: "Microsoft still has not released a patch for a major zero-day flaw in IE6 that was used by Chinese hackers to attack Google. After sample code was posted on a website, calls began for Microsoft to release an out-of-cycle patch. Now, France has joined Germany in recommending its citizens abandon Microsoft's much-maligned browser altogether, rather than waiting for a patch. Microsoft still insists IE8 is the "most secure browser on the market" and that they believe IE6 is the only browser susceptible to the flaw. However, security researchers warned that could soon change, and recommended considering alternative browsers as well."

Comment Author needs a clue about metrics (Score 4, Informative) 752

Yes, PHP is a heck of a lot slower on proccessor-bound tasks than C++. In a pure benchmarking contest, no doubt C++ will win.

But what about when both languages have to query a database (be it mysql/postgress/oracle, etc)? In this case, both are blocked on the speed of the database. a 15 ms query takes 15 ms no matter what language is asking. Facebook is not calculating pi to 10 gazillion digits, and it is not checking factors for the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search. It is serving up pages containing tons of customized data. This is not proessor-bound... it is I/O bound both on the ins and outs of the database and the ins and outs of the http request. It is also processor bound on the page render, but the goal of this many machines is to cache to the point where page renders are eliminated.

Once a page is rendered, it can be cached until the data inside of it changes. For something like facebook, I bet a page is rendered once for every ~10 times it is viewed by someone. Caching is done in ram, and large ram caches take a lot of machines.

So lets look at those 30,000 machines not by their language, but by their role. We can argue the percentages to death, but lets assume 1/3rd are database, 1/3rd are cache, and 1/3rd are actually running a web server, assembling pages, or otherwise dealing with the end users directly (BTW, I think 1/3rd is way high for that.)

So 1/3rd of the machines are dealing with page composition and serving pages. If they serve a page ~10 times for every render request, then abtou 1/10th of the page requests actually cause a render... the rest are being served from cache. Those page renders are I/O bound, as in the example above - waiting on the database (and other caches, like memcached), so even if they are taking a lot of wait cycles, they are not using processor power on the box. The actual page composition (which might be 20% of the processing that box is doing), would be a lot faster in C++... So 10,000 servers, the virtual equivalent of 2000 are generating pages using php, and could be replaced by 200 boxes using stuff generated in C++.

So the choice of using php is adding ~1800 machines to the architecture. or ~6% of the total 30,000. Given that a php developer is probably 10x more productive than a developer in C++, is the time to market with new features worth that to them? I bet it is.


Lack of Manpower May Kill VLC For Mac 398

plasmacutter writes "The Video Lan dev team has recently come forward with a notice that the number of active developers for the project's MacOS X releases has dropped to zero, prompting a halt in the release schedule. There is now a disturbing possibility that support for Mac will be dropped as of 1.1.0. As the most versatile and user-friendly solution for bridging the video compatibility gap between OS X and windows, this will be a terrible loss for the Mac community. There is still hope, however, if the right volunteers come forward."

Comment Lawyer's retainer? (Score 2, Insightful) 735

And does the lawyer offering this advice accept a retainer fee from his clients so that he can be on call for them?

24x7 support is costly in any business. The firefighter is not an apt analogy... Is he expected to work an 8 hour day and THEN be on call for fires?

And is he serious when he thinks a firefighter is paid for only the small amount of time he is out firefighting? If that were the case, I expect we would see a lot of financially insolvent firefighters-turned-pyromaniac in order to put their kids through college.

Comment Testing for confirmation? (Score 1) 428

How do you *test* something like this? I mean, you build all this hardware write a bunch of code, and I guess you can see activity that might look like an EEG, but how do you know you haven't just created some elaborate noisy feedback system? How do you know you haven't created an autistic mouse? Short of giving it a simulated DOOM environment to run around in and chase laser pointers, what actually is it *doing* anyway?

I never thought unit testing would verge on philosophical questions.

Comment Look at Capistrano, steal ideas from Rails (Score 4, Informative) 244

Capistrano started life as a deployment tool for Ruby on Rails, but has grown into a useful general-purpose tool for managing multiple machines with multiple roles in multiple environments. It is absolutely the tool you will want to use for deploying a complex set of changes across one-to-several machines. You will want to keep code changes and database schema mods in sync, and this can help.

Ruby on Rails has the concepts of development, test, and production baked into the default app framework, and people generally add a 'staging' environment to it as well. I'm sure the mention of any particular technology on slashdot will serve as flamebait - but putting that aside, look at the ideas here and steal them liberally.

You can be uber cool and do it on the super-cheap if you use Amazon EC2 to build a clone of your server environment, deploy to it for staging/acceptance texting/etc, and then deploy into production. A few hours of a test environment that mimicks your production environment will cost you less than a cup of coffee.

I have tried to set up staging environments on the same production hardware using apache's virtual hosts... and while this works really well for some things, other things (like an apache or apache module, or third party software upgrade) are impossible to test when staging and production are on the same box.

Comment Occams Razor, anyone? (Score 1) 691

So, the Universe abhors the creation of the Higg's boson so much that if we ever create it, it will time travel back to destory the machine that created it. Either that, or someone screwed up while assembling what might possibly be the most complicated machine ever built.

Whats that thing about simpler solutions?

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