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Comment Re:So why continue it... (Score 5, Informative) 665

The point of using control-alt-delete is that it's a key combination that can not be caught by any userspace process that does not have a special permission. This means that it's impossible to spoof the login screen on Windows without already having compromised the kernel. It doesn't matter what the key combination is, as long as it's one that is not delivered by the normal keypress event delivery mechanisms. Control-alt-delete is a reasonable choice, because no application author is likely to complain that they can't use this shortcut combination.

Comment Re:Oh good grief. (Score 1) 254

And what's the difference between that and

FOR i = 0 TO 9
PRINT i

Or

0 to: 9 do: [ :x | Transcript show: x ]

That's right, the difference is syntax and you've picked a terrible example. A better example would be method invocation. The differences between calling a C function pointer, a C++ virtual function, a Java method or an Objective-C method are significant.

Comment Re:poor article summary: reason in the In Serbia m (Score 4, Insightful) 95

That makes sense. I get a couple of 'call for papers' emails a day from dubious journals, often with such broad titles as 'The Journal of Modern Research', so it would be completely impossible for them to rate articles. The research establishment in the UK has tried quite hard over the last decade to counter this 'publish loads of crap' incentive. The old Research Assessment Exercise and the new Research Excellence Framework by which departments are assessed requires a small number (about one per year) of 'research outputs'. These can be high-impact papers, books, and so on, and in computer science can include things like published open source software (which counts as technology transfer if you can point to people using it).

Comment Re:Questions (Score 1) 138

And it's a completely fucked-up policy, because the hoops that a US company needs to jump through to hire an Iranian national are insane. So you end up educating a load of people, then telling them that they're second-class people and sending them back home. Guess how favourably disposed they are to the USA after that...

Comment Re:A pox on both houses. (Score 2) 170

No it isn't. NaCl is a great proof of concept. It shows that you can sandbox x86 apps using some static analysis of the binaries and a few other constraints (it also showed that segmentation support on modern x86 chips is pretty poor and terrible on Atom). The problem is that it only works on x86 binaries. What proportion of Web use these days is (ARM-based) phones and tablets? 20%? If you make something that only works for 80% (and falling) of your customers, then that's a problem.

PNaCl is promising, but it's currently in early draft stage. It hard-codes some things into the ABI too early and misses other important things (e.g. no mechanism for exceptions, and they're very difficult to implement correctly in a PNaCl model). And, unlike NaCl, PNaCl relies on a complex compiler being bug free for security, and we all know how well that worked out for Java...

Comment Re:"standards-based web platform" (Score 1) 170

Yup. It's a pretty horrible API to and has completely insane integration with both event delivery and drawing, which made sense when you were trying to squeeze the last possible bit of performance out of a 33MHz machine without double-buffered graphics but make absolutely no sense now. It definitely does need to be replaced, the problem is getting people to agree on what. Microsoft tried to make ActiveX a replacement, but no one else adopted it. The only reason NPAPI still survives is that it's the only way of making a plugin that all of the major browsers support. Maybe now Chrome market share is enough that they can make all of the plugin makers implement a new API. Or maybe plugins just aren't as important anymore...

Comment Re: and so meanwhile... (Score 1) 245

My guess is that you weren't using Windows. On most *NIX platforms, installing either was pretty trivial. On Windows, however, MySQL had a point-and-click installer years before PostgreSQL worked reliably on the platform. For web developers working on Windows, this meant that if they wanted to install the same DB on their dev machine as on their deployment system, MySQL was a clear winner.

Comment Re:Too late (Score 4, Informative) 219

Your metric will end up with no computer books being available. It took about 2 days between my last book being published and it being possible to find pirate copies online, and yet people are still buying it so obviously some people would rather have the dead-tree edition, and I suspect that most of those would happily buy it at a fraction of the price in a charity shop...

Comment Re: Data integrity (Score 1) 297

SHA256 is not an error correcting code. It can not correct even single-bit flips. If it could, it would be useless as a cryptographic hash. If you could take a hash and some data that was close to the data for which the hash was computed, and find the single-bit flip that would allow the data to match the hash, then you'd have a very easy way of creating SHA256 collisions. And if you had such an algorithm, you wouldn't use it in a filesystem, you'd use it to break all of the systems that rely on SHA256 collisions being difficult to create. If you want error correcting codes in a filesystem, then you'd use an error correcting code, not a cryptographic hash.

Comment Re:Good intentions but potentially harmful (Score 1) 82

I'm sure that venture capitalists would love to fund someone with a new idea and a business model, knowing that they have no recourse when one of the existing players in the market sitting on a large war chest decides to throw ten times the engineering resources at the same problem. First mover advantage only goes so far...

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