Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment most engineering is applied math (Score 1) 197

Mechanical engineering is applied math.
Therefore, if you have a math background, you're all set to be an engineer - no engineering classes required, right?

A good math background will make CS much easier. It is, however, a distinct discipline. For example, to study algorithmic complexity, some math is needed, so someone who already understands the pure math will have a head start. However, they still need to learn the patterns to quickly estimate complexity and be able to "see" which type of algorithm might have lower complexity.

In many ways, CompSci is to finite math as finite math is to arithmetic. You need arithmetic to learn all of finite math, because it's based on arithmetic, but it goes beyond arithmetic. So to CompSci requires knowledge of set theory and other finite math, but it goes beyond. See for example SQL, aka relational algebra and relational calculus. A math background will teach you about set operations, but SQL is set algebra on sets on tuples. You don't normally restrict sets of projected tuples in math class.

Comment sed, awk, grep, expr (Score 1) 197

You're not going to write much useful software in bash without calling expr, sed, awk, grep, etc. - all separate programs. When you use echo, basename, etc. you don't necessarily KNOW whether you're calling an external program or not.

On the other hand, an experienced Perl programmer rarely calls external programs. The full functionality of sed, awk, grep, basename, echo, and most other system utilities is available within the Perl language itself. The one notable thing Perl often opens a pipe to is sendmail, for configuration purposes. You could write sendmail in pure Perl. In shell, even "hello world" may well call /bin/echo . Perl is an interpreted language, shell is a scripting language.

This most certainly does not mean shell is BAD. She'll scripts are very useful. They are useful SCRIPTS.

Comment $35 unlimited everything from Boost. Phone subsidi (Score 1) 273

With the discount for on-time payments, I pay $35 for unlimited talk, text, and web on the Sprint network. That's no contract, so certainly good prices are available.

Of course, many people pay $85 for the phone subsidy that comes with a three year contract. An extra $50 / month will certainly increase the bill. $50 for 36 months is $1,800 for a "free" phone that's worth $250. No thanks. I don't recall how often you can get a new phone subsidized, but if it's a $200 credit once a year and people are paying $50 / month for that benefit ...

Comment THREE environmental studies by liberals say yes (Score 1) 144

The Obama administration recently completed the THIRD environmental impact study of the pipeline. Like the first two, it concluded that piping oil is better for the environment than what's happening now - rail cars crashing, leaking , occasionally exploding , while burning tons of diesel to power the trains.

Comment we just pad to the next X bytes, where X is small (Score 1) 17

What we do, and have done for many years, is just pad to the nearest X bytes, where X is roughly size / 30. That's small enough that it makes little difference in speed, but many resources end up being the same size.

Consider as an example the Mayo clinic web site. Each page is maybe 5KB for the html itself. The graphics for the logo, nav bar, etc.are separate requests, cached after the home page. 80% of the html is template stuff - the header, the footer, the nav bar, overall page structure. Maybe 20%, or 1KB, is different on each page. Most pages have 500-1,000 bytes of unique content. So pad up to the nearest 100 bytes. You aren't going to notice any slowdown from an extra 50 bytes, but if most pages are an even multiple of 100 and their sizes generally don't differ by more than 1,000 bytes, about 10% of all the pages on the site will pad out to the same size as the requested page - foiling the attack.

It seems to have worked. The bad guys discuss our security system on the crack forums regularly, but there's been no mention of a successful sized-based attack.

Comment Congress,abridge and THE freedom, important words (Score 1) 519

You'll note the second amendment says "Congress shall not", it says what Congrss may not do. It does not claim to give citizens any right at all. Instead, it says Congress may not abridge THE right. Not that they must give you some new right, but that they must not violate THE right, the right you already have, by virtue of being human.

The plain wording of the Constitution simply recognizes that you have these rights and the government shouldn't violate them. Nowhere dies it define what exactly "the freedom of speech" is. Perhaps the reason the founders didn't feel the need to define these rights is because they were already defined in the existing law, English common law. I think you'll find that at the time they wrote "THE freedom of speech", they understood that freedom to include unpopular speech, but not shouting fire in a crowded theatre, libel, and a few other things.

This fact, that the ConConstitution speaks of protecting pre-existing rights, is crucially important. If your rights were not pre-existing as part of bring human, they must have been given to you by government. What government can give, government can take away. The Constitution rejects that view. Because your rights are endowed by your creator, legal documents can neither remove the nor define them. The Constitution doesn't define the freedom of speech because it can't. If it could, it could define freedom of speech as freedom to say approved things. The definition is elsewhere, as it must be.

Comment which attracts more weirdos, trucking or bitcoin? (Score 0) 390

The Jones family of northwest Arkansas is rich from their trucking company. They are well known amongst people who follow the trucking industry. How many unstable people are passionate about trucking compared to how many unstable people are passionate about bitcoin?

I'm not saying that everyone who uses bitcoin is unstable - most aren't. But of the people who are unstable, more will be iinterested in bitcoin, Marilyn Manson, and Ron Paul than in Walmart, Jewel Kilcher, and Marco Rubio.

Comment reporter and comments here. law: moron in a hurry (Score 1) 306

Both the reporter thought Mozilla was involved and also people posting here said they saw the headline and got mad at Mozilla. Out of our very small sample, we know more than one person thought it was Mozilla's doing, and it hurt Mozilla's reputation.

You might wonder much likelihood of confusion is allowed under the law. Google "moron in a hurry" for the answer. If you're selling cans of Coke at a garage sale, only a moron in hurry would think for a second that your sale of warm Coke was endorsed by Coca-Cola, so that would be allowed.

Comment the reporter asked Mozilla about it, not Dell (Score 1) 306

TFA says when the reporter saw it, they asked Mozilla about the deal. Only after Mozilla said "what the hell... We didn't know about this" did the reporter ask Dell. So at least to the reporter, there was in fact consumer confusion, which is the primary test under trademark law.

You low how commercials and labels so often indicate "not affiliated with ..."? There is a reason for that. Had Dell labeled it "Installation of Firefox, a free browser not affiliated with Dell" that would be different.

Note that in your example, if you posted on Craigslist, "I will install Windows for $200" it is unlikely that a) anyone would think Microsoft was involved in posting your or and b) that it would do Microsoft any harm. Thus, you'd be allowed to use the Windows trademark since it wouldn't result in consumer confusion.

Slashdot Top Deals

Between infinite and short there is a big difference. -- G.H. Gonnet