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Journal Journal: Get off my Lawn! 6

I feel old, guys. I feel like the old man sysadmin with the Unix Beard and suspenders (which I continually think of as a halloween costume, less and less ironically). My coworkers are all... what would have been slashdotters had they not found digg or reddit, or whatever it was.

These are "kids" who grew up with linux. (They're all 30.) But they don't have the base knowledge that I expect them to have. They only know bash. They mostly know Ubuntu and Red Hat, although the one 'sysadmin' type dude knows virtual machines with Xen, and seems to know what he's doing most of the time.

I figured I'd pick up python, because I ordered a raspberry pi, and it seems that's what all the cool kids are doing. (I get along fine with shell and perl for most of whatever it is I do around here.) The advice I got from one of my coworkers was that I should "uninstall the IDE." IDE? For python? Seriously? It's interpreted, you use a goddamned text editor. Apparently that's one of the 'tips' from "Learning Python the Hard Way." (I'm reading Programming Python on my nook, FWIW. And I'm already yelling at it, as the examples are how to create a database from your filesystem with pickle, because seriously, if you're managing peoples' salaries, you don't want your data in flat files, or necessarily in a readable format to your other employees. But that's my cross to bear.)

When I got home, I started ranting about that to the Benny. Frothing at the mouth kind of ranting like I used to be able to do. Who uses a goddamned IDE for an interpreted language!? There's no "I" for your "DE". When you're writing C, in a complex environment, sure. When you're writing Obj-C for your iPhone app of the year, fine. You have libraries, you have interdependencies, you have reasons to have a debugger and a compiler. Python is interpreted. There's no need for these things.

Goddamned kids these days. In my day, we had emacs and vi, and flamewars about both. There was no IDE for writing shell scripts. There was no IDE for perl. There wasn't even really decent tab completion! We used 'more' instead of 'less'. We knew how to pipe things to awk and grep. We used which instead of locate. And we liked it, damnit!

I'm running OpenNMS on Ubuntu at work, using vi (technically vim) to edit all the xml files and style files. I don't run KDE, Gnome, or any other desktop on the damned thing. It's a server, for pete's sake. Not that it's lacking RAM or CPU for me to run that, but because I'm old, and old-school. Some of my coworkers (and I use that word loosely, as I'm a department of one) run linux on the desktop ... not because all the tools are there and work, necessarily, but because our IT group doesn't know how to deal with linux, and they can get away with it.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Android for Raspberry Pi 4

More or less every day I visit the Raspberry Pi home page to see if there is any new information on when the allegedly-mostly-working Android 4 will be released, and every day there isn't. As far as I know, Broadcom is the holdup. This does not give me confidence in Broadcom...

User Journal

Journal Journal: APK stuff 1

Microsoft's Hosts file changes in Windows 8 generated a predictable discussion about, and then by, APK, but this discussion caught my eye and I thought was worth raising in a "Mind boggled" way.

The pertinent points:

- APK made a claim about his code that resulted in someone calculating that it was taking about 4 million CPU cycles, or up to 16 million instructions, to process each HOSTS file entry.
- In the ensuing discussion, APK said that his algorithm processes each entry multiple times. He also claims that a slightly optimization to his method would result in the algorithm becoming 98% accurate.
- He also claims, if I understand it correctly, that his code actually turns off the Windows process scheduler - by apparently giving this batch processing code a "realtime" priority - while it runs, for extra speed.
- The reason it takes 4-16 million cycles per record? Apparently, again quoting APK, this is because there's string processing involved with 11 string operations on each record.

Now, to be clear, we're talking about a program whose job is apparently to generate a hosts file from a list of hostnames, deduping and doing other minor clean-up operations on the list, and writing it all out with "" on the front of each hostname. For the deduping, apparently APK's using a sort - and he denies using a bubblesort, so I guess that's something. Me, I'd use a hash table, but what do I know?

I'm not trying to get at APK, but is anyone else having a WTF moment based upon the above description?

User Journal

Journal Journal: I swear Austrian economists are the most stupid on earth 2

(Just to be clear: by Austrian, I'm talking about the school. It's possible that economists who live near Germany are also stupid, but that's not what I'm talking about.)

From what I can see, the logic is:

1. Follow a theory to its logical conclusion. Eg. "All government actions are bad + "socialist" (ie "government does things") governments provide healthcare" -> "Nobody has access to healthcare in socialist countries", "No healthcare -> people die early", "If people die early, there are no old people!"

2. Assert logical conclusion as fact, without checking. "Yeah, well of course Britain doesn't have a pension problem, everyone dies before the age of 30 in that country!"

3. When others assert "WTF", come up with logical process rather than facts. "Uh, hello. Britain has socialist healthcare! Nobody in Britain can possibly live long enough to reach the age of 30, given they all die of preventable diseases!"

4. Simply ignore statements to the contrary. "No, Britain's socialist healthcare system means everyone dies before the age of 30. And Keynesianism is totally discredited."

User Journal

Journal Journal: Seeking a non-douchebag explanation of why I'm wrong... if I am 5

So, a few days ago I posted this. Heated language perhaps, but I didn't think the contents would be particularly controversial.

A lot of being flamed and modbombed later, I withdrew from the discussion. I'm still kinda baffled.

Now, there are a hundred things that might be wrong with my assertions so let me explain what I was trying to say, and then you can either say "You're wrong", or "You're right, but that's not what you said", or "You're right, and the flamers are wrong", or some other explanation.

StatCounter announced, a little while ago, that their stats show Chrome as the #1 browser.

I'm finding that difficult to believe, and fortunately I'm in charge of monitoring the GAs for a group of websites I consider... well, not 100% representative (are any?) but reasonably unbiased in favor of any particular browser (it's not a tech or corporate site. I'm not going to name it because (a) I have to protect my employer and (b) to be quite honest, I wish we produced a product I felt prouder of.) So I checked, and found that Chrome was in third place on our sites (using visitors as the metric, not using visits, or anything similar. We get about half a million a month, so it's a good sample size.) Firefox had around two and half times as many users, and most users were on IE.

This is so ridiculously different that it's hard for me to take the SC figures seriously. I'm not saying they're 100% representative, It's just if Chrome were #1, I'd expect our figures to at least show nothing worse than, say, all three browsers being at similar levels of usage. IE/Firefox/Chrome at 30%/28%/25% I can handle, but not 60%/22%/9%.

I've not heard any webmasters suggest their figures are remotely close to SC's. In fact, those I've spoken to are similarly baffled by the SC figures. They don't make any sense.

So, anyway, I got flamed for putting forth this argument (and my quoting of GA figures was modbombed out of the discussion. Wow.) The arguments were, to be honest, baffling, and that's one of the major reasons I'm having a problem. I may be completely misunderstanding the "counter argument", or I may have presented the argument in the wrong way.

What I got were arguments along the lines of:

1. You're counting visitors. You should be counting websites.

I don't understand this argument. I don't understand why I would count websites.

2. Your website may have half a million visitors a month, but there exists on the Internet other websites that are more popular.

I'm failing to understand what that has to do with anything at all.

When I explained why I thought what I thought, I actually just got a bunch of substance free "OMG I can't believe you're such an idiot" responses.

I'm not exaggerating. I don't mean "You stated black is white!!! You idiot! White and black are at completely different luminescences! How is this remotely like this" I mean "You're a dumbass, the sample size is one not half a million"

So... what say the people who do not (I think) hate me for no reason? Without using terms like "You dumbass", can you explain to me what my failure of understanding and/or communication is?

I'd appreciate it. If I'm wrong, I'd genuinely like to know why.


Journal Journal: Good large-format inkjet with continuous inking?

I am looking for a large-format inkjet with continuous inking that is suitable for printing poster prints and the like. Ideally it would have both Linux and Windows support, preferably through a standard protocol, but this is not an absolute necessity. What IS a necessity is the ability to install a continuous inking system for making these large prints, and being able to change inks. I am biased towards Epson or Canon but I want good advice, not just biased.


Journal Journal: History books can be fun (but usually aren't and this is a Bad Thing) 2

Most people have read "1066 and all that: a memorable history of England, comprising all the parts you can remember, including 103 good things, 5 bad kings and 2 genuine dates" (one of the longest book titles I have ever encountered) and some may have encountered "The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody", but these are the exceptions and not the rule. What interesting - but accurateish - takes on history have other Slashdotters encountered?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Copyright 2

Copyright is not a natural right, and if it had been instituted in its current form (denial of copying, as opposed to forced copying) two thousand years earlier we'd probably be at least a thousand years behind where we are now.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Troll proposal 5

Wondering if it'd be worth writing a "standard troll" (you know, like *BSD is dying, My Mac Sucks, that kind of thing) from a "Tablet enthusiast" that'd, well, make the point about how utterly ridiculous the things are.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Cognitive Decline 8

So on the main page, there was a story about cognitive decline starting as early as 45. As a 44-year-old, I can testify personally that it starts much sooner than that, though it's in baby steps.

There's nothing I can't do now that I couldn't do when I was 20, but it's somehow different. Learning new things requires a little more effort on my part, and it takes a little more time. Nothing too onerous, but it's certainly a change. I'm still a sponge for new knowledge and skills, but where I used to be a dry sponge, I'm a fairly damp sponge.

What about you?

ps - It took me 10 minutes to find how to write in my journal. Is that due to cognitive decline, or the stupid interface that puts the "Write in Journal" only at the bottom of my list of journals, completely breaking the temporal organization of the page? Presumably, any journal I wish to write now will be more recent than any journals I've already posted, at least until I perfect that time-traveling web browser I've been working on (homepage set to, natch).

User Journal

Journal Journal: Strategy games that don't cheat? 3

OK, I know AI is hard (no pun intended) but are there any strategy games out there that don't cheat on any but the lowest levels? Haven't tried Civ V yet, but IV is just another case of easy easy easy IMPOSSIBLE to me... I just can't muster the interest to outsmart a computer program written to cheat against me.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Continuous servos? 5

I want some continuous servos. Should I buy or hack? What's good to buy if I just want to do that? Double-BB and metal gear would both be nice.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Anyone know who did UPS' website? 5

I would like them to be informed that they are douchewaffles. Even the whole sign-in/password recovery system feels like something running on a 3270.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Why I'm not playing Evochron Mercenary

The trial is two days, so I didn't want to start it, and now I've removed it for disk space, and probably won't bother to reinstall. Let this be a lesson to you, limited-time trials are for fucking idiots.

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