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Comment Re:Why do people ask questions like these? (Score 1) 530

It sounds like any popular general purpose language will do just fine for you. There are more important concerns you should be spending your brain power on. Just flip a coin, pick a language, and do a project. If you don't have any specific goals right now, then don't worry about it. If you later decide you would like to make programming a full-time thing, then you can more carefully learn a language that fits well with the problem domain you are interested in.

As for suggestions, language that are presently popular and have have supporting libraries for just about everything include: Python, Ruby, Java, and C#. There are many more but these are a few safe suggestions no matter what platforms or types of projects interest you.

Comment Re:to be fair (Score 1) 90

From what I understand of their boxes, they are able to operate without communicating at all with Blue Coat. Syria doesn't have to sneakily do anything. And I doubt a country's ISP cares about cloud-based ANYTHING. They just want to configure a box to block traffic. What Syria is doing may be more advanced, but would you blame Cisco if someone set up a router not to route to select IPs?


What If Aliens Came To Save the Galaxy From Mankind? 534

astroengine writes with an amusing piece in Discovery. From the article: "In a study carried out by NASA and Pennsylvania State University scientists, several intelligent extraterrestrial encounter scenarios are examined. One of the scenarios is a sci-fi favorite: what if we encounter an alien race hellbent on destroying us? However, there's a twist. This isn't mindless thuggery on behalf of the aliens, and they're not killing us to get at our natural resources; they have a cause. They want to exterminate us for the greater good of the Milky Way."
GNU is Not Unix

Emacs Has Been Violating the GPL Since 2009 295

Digana writes "Emacs, one of GNU's flagship products and the most famous software creation of Richard Stallman, has been discovered to be violating the GPL since 2009-09-28 by distributing binaries that were missing source. The CEDET package, a set of contributed files for giving certain IDE functionality related to static code analysis, has distributed files generated from bison grammars without distributing the grammar itself. This happened for Emacs versions 23.2 and 23.3, released during late 2009, and has just been discovered."

Submission + - iPhone/SpyPhone--The Music Video! (shugendo.org)

stonemirror writes: "As a final installment to this saga, I put together yet another modified version of Peter Warden's iPhoneTrack application, and used it to produce a video showing the locations the phone gathered, in order, over a ten-month period. The soundtrack is David Byrne's "My Fair Lady", used under a Creative Commons license.

The video is on YouTube, and a higher-quality version can be downloaded from my site, along with a pre-built version of my modified iPhoneTracker, the modifications to the source code, and "The Wired CD", a Creative Commons-licensed CD of tunes from some excellent artists, including Mr. Byrne. Enjoy!"

Comment Re:FFS (Score 2) 370

As usual, they're simply trying to make a statement in a controversial manner ... arguments like this just continue to paint Greenpeace as a collection of sensationalist, attention-whoring, hippies.

And websites like Slashdot disseminate these articles on their behalf instead of more meaningful, less sensational ones. Unfortunately, these articles keep you and me coming back here to click on the ads (or Slashdot would still be a blog run by CmdrTaco).

Comment Re:It's all solar powered (Score 1) 334

Ultimately every element that exists above the level of hydrogen was formed in a sun somewhere so nuclear power is stellar power.

But the only reason some stars eventually make higher elements is because of gravity. So really, nuclear power is fuelled by gravity.

Can we blame what happened to Hiroshima and Nagasaki on gravity?

Comment Common package maintainers (Score 1) 345

The Debian project lead, Stefano Zacchiroli, is being terribly misquoted.

The numbers in the article do not address the common case of having one package maintainer for both distros. That 74% actually means that 74% of packages are *in common* between the distros. It is conceivable that much of that 74% is because of maintainers who contribute to both distributions. It isn't fair to say that Debian does all the work and Ubuntu merely takes advantage of it.

Seeing that the same package exists in both Debian and Ubuntu does not mean that the package originated in Debian and was taken without effort by an Ubuntu maintainer. Frequently, the same person creates a package for both. Either by creating an Ubuntu package and verifying that it works on Debian or the other way around.

Go look at the names of package maintainers. You'll see the same big group of people working on both projects.

Comment Re:Kids will be bored (Score 1) 63

I wouldn't be so sure. I remember when I was little my family was pretty poor, and I used to spend all my time reading (the only tv we had was an old black and white tv with dials and bad reception. This was 1995 mind you...)

My dad bought me a really cheap telescope which is really crappy by the standards of the Galileoscope and I still managed to enjoy it. You could see Saturn and Jupiter decently well enough to just barely make out some of their moons, and seeing the amount of detail on Earth's moon was enjoyable too. It really helped get me into science. Yeah, a lot of kids might be bored by it, but I think a lot might enjoy it too.

Comment Re:so ? (Score 1) 185

Right, good point, that's an example of where a fringe or elitist policy prescription would have counterproductive consequences. But I still think the government classified information system is out of control. Unfortunately it's hard to show the need for reform since it's largely invisible.

The patent system is a mess also, and it's also an invisible problem in the sense that it's partially beyond the technical comprehension of most people, but at least we can present data when we argue about it.

Comment Re:Yes, and no (Score 2, Interesting) 427

You don't have to "prove" anything to file a lawsuit, and Monsanto launches many civil lawsuits based on "raids" (i.e. blatant trespassing) and anonymous tips. Remember these are civil cases, and the cost of defending civil actions can be more than even a large farm can bear.

Read about Pilot Grove for a good example. The suit was settled last year.

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