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Comment Once upon a time ... (Score 1) 292

I woked as a texg writer at a large company that I won't name. The group I was in developed test tools for internal use company use, nothing that got shipped to clients. They had 600,000-odd lines of C code in the tool set. One day I did some grepping through it. I cannot recall everything I checked, but all my results were awful. Things I do recall: A couple of thousand uses of functions that could fail like fopen() or malloc() without the idiom (fp = fopen(...)) != NULL or the same with ==. I checked a few manually, and none had any other error checks. Only about 5% of switch() statements had a default case. There were under 10 uses of the assert() macro in the whole set, all in one guy's code.

Comment Re:no sympathy (Score 1) 170

An anonymous user writes: " It's time to switch from mass-email to a web page with RSS. If people really want your newsletter, they'll come to you." That would be fine in many cases, but it does not work for the purpose in question here. For example, consider a user in some country where many web sites are censored, blocked by government filters. He or she can use a proxy, but the gov't routinely blocks proxy sites too. Even VPN hosts may be blocked. Benhett's group's role is to continuously create new proxies, let people know about them, and hope they can get some mileage from them before they are blocked. The notifications cannot be done via the web, for two reasons. One is that the web site involved would of course be blocked, so it would do users little good. The other is that it would give censors a list of proxy sites to block.

Comment Immutable files (Score 1) 460

I'm a bit of a conservative technically. No C++, just C, and if I need scripting I'll use the shell, sed(1), awk(1), etc. rather than learn Perl or PHP. I see the benefits of some of the more modern stuff; I just don't feel I need them. There are only two things added to Unix since Seventh Edition that I'm absolutely certain were improvements. One is TCP/IP networking. The other is the immutable files from 4.4 BSD. They seem to me to be a very simple and powerful security mechanism, one that would let me fairly straightforwardly secure much of a system. Much easier than working with SE-Linux in particular. My question of course is why the Linux kernel does not (yet?) support immutable files. Yes, I know about chattr(1), but it does not give BSD-style immutable files that even root cannot change.

Comment Re:Presumed secure = blame the user (Score 3, Informative) 133

muhula writes: The scary part of this chip and pin vulnerability is that banks have a history of blaming the consumer and not issuing refunds ... banks systematically suppress information about known vulnerabilities, with the result that fraud victims continue to be denied refunds Ross Anderson heads the Cambridge group that found this attack and the earlier man-in-the-middle attack (a gadget between card & reader that makes all PIN verifications succeed no matter what number you enter). He's been writing about bank vulnerabilities for years. A famous older paper: "Why cryptosystems fail" Problems with PIN numbers:

Comment Phillipines? Malaysia? ...? (Score 1) 999

As someone said earlier, forget China (unless you can get a Western company to send you there at a Westen salary). Visa policies are fairly tight; there is no simple way to get a visa longer than one year. Ten-year vias are possible, but you need five years married to a Chinese, four years in a senior job in China, or starting your own successful company in China before you can even apply.

It is not a perfect fit for what you want, but check the Wikitravel article on "retiring abroad" for info on various places that are cheap to live and that do encourage immigration:


Submission + - Will ISPs be driven to spy on their customers

bs0d3 writes: In regards to the new 'voluntary' graduated response deal; where no one really knows how ISPs will track and accuse customers of copyright infringement, according to CNN, it may be the ISP directly spying on their customers. "But now that they're free from individual blame, there's also the strong possibility that the ISPs will be doing the data monitoring directly. That's a much bigger deal. So instead of reaching out to the Internet to track down illegally flowing bits of their movies, the studios will sit back while ISP's "sniff" the packets of data coming to and from their customers' computers." This could be a problem for people who use US based internet services. If the US wants to be an internet savvy country, they still need the competition in the market place that's always been missing; and a digital bill of rights that isn't a sneaky anti-piracy measure.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: tiny computer and projector?

rover42 writes: I travel a lot, usually on a tight budget and often on airlines with tight luggage weight restrictions and high fees for going over, so travelling light is very important to me. So is connecting to the net when travelling, which creates a conflict. I do not trust machines in Internet cafes and my laptop adds significant weight & bulk to my luggage. I could buy a small netbook or a Macbook Air, but is there another choice?

There are quite a few tiny computers available, Rasberry Pi and the like. Alone, they don't solve my problem because you need a screen and that is at least as heavy as a laptop. However, there are also quite a few tiny projectors (e.g. see Would a tiny computer plus a tiny projector do the trick? Which ones? All I need for software is some open source Unix (any *BSD or LInux distro should be fine, or even Minix), a browser and an editor. I don't need large storage or a fast CPU.

Has anyone done something like this? Does anyone have a recommendation for either the computer or the projector?

Comment Re:Jobs in China (Score 1) 402

I was a techncal writer at home. Here in China, I work in the Computer Science department of a university as an editor. Publishing papers in international journals is a degree requirement for graduate students here. Their English is generally good enough to write something mostly comprehensible, but usually below the standard a decent journal requires. Your best bet for similar work in Beijing would be the top technical university there, Tsinghua:

Comment Jobs in China (Score 1) 402

Much the best of the many China expat forum websites is: There are an almost infinite number of English-teaching jobs in China, and any foreigner here will get offers to tutor people. However, many contracts forbid outside work; it is quite common to cheat on this and employers often overlook it, but you cannot count on that. For an overview of overseas English teaching in general, see: Getting one of the teaching certificates they discuss might help a lot if you want that sort of work. As someone said in another post, many of the best-paid teaching jobs are at schools that are joint ventures between a foreign and a Chinese institution. For jobs in IT, the best pay & conditions are at foreign companies. There is not a lot of demand for foreign developers and engineers, though there is some, but project managers are in great demand. In some cases, anyone who speaks English well enough to talk to the clients will be given the title "project manager"; in other cases they want real management skills.

Comment Re:Construction or landscaping (Score 1) 402

Yes, but in China those jobs in the major cities are all taken by migrant workers, mostly from the poorer provinces, working long hours (12 hour days and one day off a month) and living in barracks under fairly awful conditions. We hear much of bad conditions at Foxconn (Apple's main contractor), but for the typical Chinese construction worker those conditions would be a large improvement.

Comment Narcotics? (Score 1) 301

It's not just the headline that is odd. The stroy itself has "more than $1 million worth of LSD, ecstasy, and other narcotics". Neither LSD nor ecstacy is a narcotic, so this is obviously nonsense. If they had said "other drugs" or "other controlled substances", that would have made some sense to me, though I suspect a lawyer might have a more recise meaning for "controlled substabce".

Comment Re:No, you get better at writing by reading a lot (Score 1) 227

I edit journal and conference papers written in English by Chinese graduate students. I do not think my job is at risk because a program could do it, nor that it will be any time soon. Certainly there are things a program could catch, in particular errors with articles and other simple grammar problems. A recent paper had "an algorithm ... designed by Korean scientist" and "[my technique] is faster than existed methods", for example. A program could catch and correct the existed/existing distinction, and notice the problem in the first one. However it could not know if that should be "by a Korean scientist" or "by Korean scientists" without either considerable contextual knowledge or a lookup on a citation (which one?) to see if there were multiple authors. Until programs start routinely passing the Turing test, they will not be able to do the whole job.

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