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Comment Re:Depends... (Score 1) 205

Dude, get over yourself. Yeah, C and C++ are not ideal in every way; but no language is. They are still quite useful. There is a lot of good software out there written in them (such as Firefox itself).

If you really want to contribute, and help fix said security issues, it would behoove you to learn them. Otherwise, I'd recommend finding a project written in the language of your choice, and contributing to that. It doesn't make that much sense to complain about a project not being in your favorite language and asking for an extension mechanism using another language just so you can contribute.

Comment Re:Confusing Summary (Score 1) 819

It doesn't exactly help that the county and city have the same name, and the article mentions both the city and the Orange County District Court.

In California, counties seem to be a lot more important than in most of the rest of the country (or, at least, the East coast, where I'm from). And many counties share the same name as the largest city within them. For instance, there's San Diego, the city, and San Diego county. The City of Orange, and Orange County. The City of Los Angeles, and Los Angeles County. Sacramento County, and Sacramento. San Francisco is both a county and a city. So, it's easy to confuse them.

It sounds like it's actually the city of Orange that is in a legal battle with them, but that battle is taking place in the Orange County courts. So, yes, the article is a bit sloppy, but the confusion is easy because the county is involved as well, and shares the same name.

Comment Re:Nah.. still all comes down to "idiocy" (Score 1) 416

Many users are too stupid to deal with two.


Most users are too stupid to deal with that. The rest are smarter than the admins and are going to do whatever they want.

No, the users are not stupid. We programmers and other people in the computer and IT industry need to get over this worldview of stupid users. Users are not stupid; they just do not specialize in computer the way we do.

Do you do all of the work on your own car, or do you have a mechanic you go to? Do you practice all of your own medicine, or do you have a doctor? Do you do all of the plumbing, carpentry, and electrical work on your house, or do you go to a contractor who specializes in those areas? Do you do all of your own taxes, or do you ever have an accountant do it? Do you argue your own cases in court, or do you get a lawyer when you need to?

Because you don't do all of this stuff, does this mean that you are too stupid to do it? Not at all. It means that you have chosen your area of specialization, and they have chosen theirs. Sure, some people learn quite a lot about another area or two as a hobby or a second profession, but no one has the time and energy to learn all of this at the highest level. I've met people with PhDs in particle physics from prestigious universities who couldn't be arsed to figure out the difference between IE and Firefox, because they were just busy doing other things with their lives. Are you claiming that these users are "stupid"?

This is a problem that comes up in lots of professions; the professional acts condescending towards others because they don't have as much expertise in that field. I've seen doctors be condescending to patients, and mechanics condescending to customers. And whenever possible, I don't give those doctors or those mechanics any more business. Because someone's lack of knowledge about a field does not make them stupid, and does not even mean that they don't care about the issue, it may just mean that they have no time to deal with that sort of thing.

So, instead of treating users as "stupid" because they can't distinguish web browsers, or use some arcane feature, ask yourself if maybe whatever knowledge they lack is because it's really not relevant to them; ask if they really need to learn about this, or if we as an industry can make things easier for them by making sure that they never have to care. There will always be software for a given field that will require training and dedication to use by it's very nature; software like Photoshop for professional graphic artists, 3D modeling tools like Blender or Maya for professional modelers and animators, CAD programs, and so on. But then there's software that's completely incidental; that should do it's best to get out of the way and let the users do what they need to as quickly and easily as possible. And we should not call users "stupid" for failing to understand the arcane systems that we've set up because it makes our lives easier as programmers and IT, at their expense; we should instead strive to make our software as easy to use, as invisible, and as seamless as possible.

Comment Re:How would that work (Score 3, Insightful) 550

The fact that it's in the immediate interest of public safety. Watch the video from TFA; it looks like the event was far larger than anticipated, with completely inadequate crowd control. People were being shoved by the crowd through doors and down stairs. Mobs of people like this can easily knock someone down and trample them to death; it happens when there are fires in crowded space, or even when people are excited about being let into Wal-Mart on Black Friday. As the event had been announced through twitter, and the vast majority of the crowd was teenage girls with cell phones, so the hope was probably that getting a message from the official Twitter account itself would help disperse the crowd a lot better than the single cop getting up there with the megaphone, causing the crowd to just get angry.

When there's an immediate threat to life and health, compelling someone to make an announcement to disperse the crowd is an entirely reasonable thing to do. This is essentially the same case as that of calling "fire" in a crowded theater; inducing a panic in a confined space can cost lives, and likewise refusing to cooperate in trying to disperse a mob can cost lives as well.

Comment Re:Bubby? Is that you? (Score 4, Insightful) 859

Your name, address, social security number, bank account balance, credit card transactions, passwords, medical history, and so on are simple facts. Should those who have access to that information be allowed to state those simple facts? In public, on the internet, where anyone and everyone can see it?

This is an issue about freedom of speech versus the right to privacy. The murder is a simple fact, but it's something that happened almost 20 years ago. They have done their time, and are being released back into the world, where they need to try and put together a life again. Now, the question is, should anyone (such as potential employers) be able to Google their names and get a Wikipedia article naming them as murderers as the first hit?

This is a tough question. On the one hand, it is a plain and simple fact, that has been widely publicized, so it's fairly hard to put the cat back in the bag. On the other hand, someone who's been in prison for years, and is getting out and trying to re-integrate with society, doesn't need the added burden of everyone who interacts with them treating them with fear and suspicion because of something that happened long ago. Some judicial systems (such as that in the US), focus most on punishment and the deterrent value that supposedly has; others focus on rehabilitation and turning someone back into a productive member of society.

Now, I do favor protecting freedom of speech in this case; you can't suppress the information entirely, so any attempt to is just going to be more harmful than helpful. But I just wanted to point out that just because something is a simple fact, does not mean that it's OK to publish it on the public Internet.

Comment Re:Call me a cynic.. (Score 4, Interesting) 140

I like this one a lot better.

Anyhow, having new designs for representing the periodic table is not a bad thing. Sometimes seeing the same information presented in different ways can help visualize it. I approve of people trying to improve the display of the elements and their periodic relationships, even if as a general purpose reference I'll probably stick with the tried and true table.

Comment Re:"forkable ad"? (Score 2, Informative) 366

"Fork" is a term in software, particularly free software, that means creating and releasing your own version of something, without merging it back upstream with the original author. This is one of the fundamental freedoms that free software gives you; the freedom to fork it if you don't like how the original author is developing it.

Comment Re:The law is on London's side (Score 1) 526

In the UK, that question has not actually be judged yet, though it is presumed that you are right. In the US, you cannot claim copyright on a faithful photographic reproduction of a work that has entered the public domain. Even if you spent time and effort on that work, it is considered a simple copy of a public domain work, and thus in the public domain. Wikimedia is in the US, as is the uploader. It's going to be tough for the National Portait Gallery to sue this guy from overseas; unless he feels like visiting England in the future, or they can extradite him for copyright infringement (which I've never heard of), I'm not sure there's much they can do.

Comment Re:My statistics (Score 4, Informative) 575

Hmm. You do realize that Safari reports itself as Mozilla/5.0, right?

Here's mine:

Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10_5_7; en-us) AppleWebKit/530.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.1 Safari/530.18

They do this because various websites sniff for various browsers, and they want to show up as much like Mozilla/Gecko as possible. If your user agent parser isn't very smart, it might miss the Safari/530.18 part of that user agent string.

Of course, another possible explanation is that you work for a dental insurance company, for whom the most common users of the website are likely dental receptionists (for submitting claims), followed by people in HR (for signing up for services and looking up services on behalf of employees), both of which groups likely use only Windows machines.

Comment Re:Linux (Score 5, Interesting) 393

If an attacker can run code as your user account, then they can insert alias sudo=evilpasswordstealingsudo (as well as alias su=evilpasswordstealingsu) into your .bashrc and wait for you to start a new shell and run one of those commands.

Basically, if an attacker gets local access to an account that is ever used to privilege escalate to root, then the attacker can get root. And even if not, there are frequently local root exploits (like a recent udev bug) that can escalate ordinary user privileges to root privileges. You should always assume that once an attacker has some access to a machine, that they can root it; treat any kind of remote-code execution exploit as if it were a remote root, and treat any kind of privilege escalation exploit as a remote root (since if one exists, there's a high probability that the other does too).

Comment Re:AIMA (Score 1) 266

The second edition of AIMA has much more content about "soft" AI methods than the first edition did; it's almost like there's a whole other book added. The second edition really is a great survey of all of the various subfields of AI, from traditional logic systems to neural networks to Bayesian reasoning and decision theory. I'd say its definitely worthwhile.

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