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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment Re:OTOH, there's jury duty... (Score 1) 654

I think the frequency of jury duty in the USA is less than Space cowboy suggests. I just turned 46 yo, have always been registered to vote (in various jurisdictions), and have served on a jury once. Obviously, I know other people who have done so, a couple of them more than once. But it's hardly like being called up every year. Of course, jurisdictions are bound to vary somewhat depending on how many cases come up, but it's a pretty minimal obligation of citizenship.

FWIW, you really cannot give up UK citizenship by getting US citizenship. I know a number of dual (or multiple) citizenship people between those jurisdictions. None of which, of course, means that there's any particular reason for the commenter to seek US citizenship if it doesn't have any particular benefit in his/her case.

Comment Re:Google built VM allegedly infring'g Oracle pate (Score 3, Informative) 344

Parent is basically correct. However, pedantically, Dalvik does not, in general, run programs written in the Java language. The language is defined not just by its syntax, but also by a certain set of standard libraries being present and implemented according to Sun/Oracle specification. Dalvik doesn't support all of those, and hence doesn't run Java.

However, Dalvik does run a very Java-like language. One that has all the syntax of Java, and *many* of the same libraries. Moreover (as everyone here knows, I'm sure), programs compiled by 'javac' to .class file may be converted to Dalvik executables (as long as they contain only the subset of Java that Dalvik supports).

It would be proper to prevent Google from claiming that Android "Runs Java"... but then, I'm pretty sure they never claimed that to start with. Indeed mostly--almost entirely--it's claims about patents that should never have been granted, or really just about lawsuits to try to mess up competition and technical progress just for the sake of disruption (I doubt Oracle actually cares that much about the outcome, it's mostly FUD).

Comment Clients are idiots (Score 1) 569

Good graphic designers do good work, and should (and generally do) get paid well for doing so. The problem is that most client have no real ability to tell good work from mediocre work. Something that looks bearably OK, is not dramatically unattractive, nothing is outright wrong about, may well be "good enough" for a client with no eye for design. But in the end, it won't be something memorable that sticks in the minds of consumers and helps differentiate the product or company it's attached to. The distinction between adequate and brilliant can be subtle, but that subtle difference can make a BIG difference in the longer run.

Similarly, and maybe more familiar to slashdot readers, the very worst programmers can write some lines of code that "look" pretty much the same as what the best programmers can write. The failures and problems of bad code won't even necessarily be obvious on first impression. The code might well do the one thing it initially needs to, but just be fragile, difficult to maintain, break as soon as unexpected cases arise, etc.

Distinguishing good from bad often requires expertise. Exactly the sort of expertise you should be willing to pay for.

Comment Not math, but... (Score 1) 1186

A couple of my science/geek tattoos:

Hemoglobin, because I work for some folks doing amazing stuff in molecular dynamics (and it's easy to spin some superficial symbolism about hemoglobin on top of my heart):

    http://picasaweb.google.com/david.mertz/HemoglobinTattoo

A Julia set sleeve (just for fun):

    http://picasaweb.google.com/david.mertz/FractalTattoo#

There's also perhaps something a little bit geeky about writing a tattoo in proto-Indoeuropean (and International Phonetic Alphabet):

    http://picasaweb.google.com/david.mertz/IAmNot#

Software

Submission + - Introducing JWASM - MASM's unofficial successor??? 7

Odoital writes: January 2010 is an exciting month for x86 assembly language developers. Software developer Andreas Grech, better known to the x86 assembly language community and the rest of the world by his handle "japheth," has released another version of JWASM — a steadily growing fork of the Open Watcom (WASM) assembler.

JWASM is a 16/32/64-bit x86 macro assembler that is written in portable C and can build/run on multiple platforms such as Windows, Linux, FreeBSD and DOS. JWASM also supports assembling to popular object formats such as 32/64-bit ELF, 32/64-bit MS COFF, Intel OMF, BIN (flat binary) and even DOS MZ files. The current version at the time of writing this article, JWASM 2.02, can also compile under Mac OS 10.6 using the latest version of XCode, after a bit of error placating with GCC and LD that is.

Since JWASM doesn't currently support Mach-O object output, I went an alternate route and decided to assemble a variation of the "FreeBSD 32 Hello world" example, found on the author's site, to ELF and use Agner Fog's OBJCONV utility to convert the ELF object to Macho-O for linking with LD. As a result, while running JWASM on Mac OS X, it failed to produce valid ELF object files, something the compiled Windows counterpart did with flying colors, indicating that there is some work ahead in providing JWASM as a more mature, consistent and reliable cross-platform assembler.

Despite the current limitations in Mac OS X support, JWASM still packs a punch. The main benefit of JWASM, arguably, is the nearly full support of Microsoft's Macro Assembler (MASM) syntax. As those in the assembly language community may already know, Microsoft's desire to continually support the development of MASM has been dwindling over the years — if only measurable by a decreasing lack of interest, updates and bug fixes — and thus the future of MASM remains uncertain.

Furthermore, JWASM does not have the "non open-source" and "Windows-centric" development restrictions that the MASM license entails. JWASM allows for unrestricted MASM-style operating system and embedded development, as well as development on/for other platforms, e.g. Linux. With all of that in mind, and as it matures, the choice of utilizing JWASM for software development, within toolchains, etc... is becoming more of a serious consideration for software developers.

While Intel-style syntax x86 assemblers such as NASM have been around for a while, JWASM opens up a new possibility to those familiar with MASM-style syntax to develop in the domains (i.e. other than Windows) in which assemblers such as NASM currently thrive. JWASM is a welcomed tool that supplements the entire x86 assembly language community and will hopefully, in time, generate new low-level interests and solutions.

JWASM binaries, source, documentation, license information and examples can be found at http://www.japheth.de/JWasm.html

Comment Self-contradictions (Score 4, Insightful) 269

Gee, what's wrong with this sentence:

      Now a computer model shows conclusively...

I'm sure the research modeling is interesting and worthwhile, and it's just the writeup that is idiotic. But y'know *computer* models do not ever show anything *conclusively*. The model is only as good as the assumptions that went into designing it. Those might be good and reasonable guesses, but you are only doing the model because you *haven't* (or can't) observe the actual phenomenon.

OS X

Apple Patches Massive Holes In OS X 246

Trailrunner7 writes with this snippet from ThreatPost: "Apple's first Mac OS X security update for 2010 is out, providing cover for at least 12 serious vulnerabilities. The update, rated critical, plugs security holes that could lead to code execution vulnerabilities if a Mac user is tricked into opening audio files or surfing to a rigged Web site." Hit the link for a list of the highlights among these fixes.

Comment A good REAL font (Score 1) 394

I consider the suggestion of using a proportional font for programming frivolous and a bit juvenile. In fact, I'm of an age where it seems a little off if my SSH backgrounds are not green-on-black (and hence make them so).

That said, a *good* fixed font really makes a lot of difference. Not too long ago, I found one called Anonymous Pro, that I have become very fond of:

http://www.ms-studio.com/FontSales/anonymouspro.html

It's freely available, TTF, and I've installed it most places. As much as I hate being forced onto Windows machines, in the few cases where I am, I actually think Consolas is pretty good quality too.

Comment Anti-petition (Score 1) 371

Is anyone conducting something to counter Monty's money-grabbing schemes. A counter-petition (in particular, one that got more signatures) that said "We FOSS developers oppose efforts (by Monty) to weaken or violate the protections of the GPL, and insist that MySQL code base remain free, and not be proprietarized by its former developers". Wording could be better, but something to that effect.

I would sign in a second, and I suspect thousands of /. readers would too.

Comment Faux News (Score 4, Insightful) 549

Notice that the story, complete with the completely false, yellow journalism, headline, is only being run by Fox News. I saw the story on Google News earlier, and wanted to read the actual facts. However, so far no reputable news organization has bothered to report it. Something to keep in mind.

What seems to be the actual story is that the Congressman sent a rather routine notice to the FEC about a likely violation of PAC status and election law. All the "trying to send to prison" bit is just a deceptive way of saying that, well yes, laws do have legal force (including ultimately penalties).

Comment It sounds so familiar (Score 1) 578

I remember reading almost all of these exact same marketing buzzwords and hype ten years ago. The only difference was that then the "amazing, revolutionary language" was called REBOL.

Exact same business plan, as far as I can tell. Exact same hyperbolic language. Enough so that I wonder if the same copywriter did a search/replace on the old pamphlets. It's yet another moderately OK high-level language, but that comes in three versions:

(1) Free (of cost), but fairly crippled
(2) Expensive
(3) "Enterprise", i.e. REALLY expensive.

And just like REBOL ten years ago, it promises "revolutionary" cross-platform support, while dropping or being slow to update the non-Windows versions.

The linked blog/review of the language seemed to have comments solely from paid-shills. The reviewer himself was interesting, but all the comment at foot read like almost certain astroturfuing.... gee, just like REBOL did back in the 1990s. When you actually look at the "amazingly readable and compact" code... well, it looks a lot like AppleScript and a few other similar approaches to syntax. But one thing I noticed in particular is that the "unbelievably short" code samples were about the same as the ones I'd use in Python, or Ruby, or Perl, or AWK. At least in length; Python feels more readable to me... once you give up the silly conceit that Rev syntax isn't syntax because it kinda-sorta-a-little-bit reads like English. Rev *is* shorter than Java or C++, but that's not exactly anything amazing.

Comment What nonsense hysteria (Score 2, Funny) 504

Give us a break: "Spent 331 days looking at porn"! This isn't the fault of the summary, the article itself has the same silliness. I am certain that the executive in question didn't *spend* 331 days looking at porn, but rather that there were 331 days *when* he looked at porn. Not sure the time interval, but even assuming a year, sure he looked at some porn every day. So what?!

If the guy (or any employee) isn't performing is job duties, worry about that. But that's a matter of specifying duties, not of stupid prurience about pornography. It's no better if he's looking at Facebook, or Slashdot, or a vacation planning site, or (god forbid) Fox News... nor even if he's just spending all day sharpening pencils.

I actually mostly agree that porn seems banal and boring, and fairly pointless. But unless employees expose other employees to what they're looking at unwillingly, it makes no differences whatsoever *what* someone is wasting time on. And it's not obvious that looking at porn actually means wasting time. In the real world, humans can't concentrate on work for 10 hours a day without interruption, or at least a lot of otherwise excellent employees can't. Taking little breaks to distract oneself "during work time" is just the human condition and part of our mental limits.

Slashdot Top Deals

Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. - Isaac Asimov

Working...