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Comment Re:The real threat is close to home (Score 1) 505

I agree that the biggest danger is close to home, family and friends of the family. And while there are "predators" on the net they are far less dangerous than the predators the child may meet in real life. Children are pretty safe with the online equivalent of "don't go with the stranger offering you candy."

What are some good rules of the thumb:

  • Don't talk to people you are not comfortable with.
  • Don't tell where you live. "Near Big City" is good enough for someone until you trust him/her.
  • Be careful with what you show on your webcam.

If you following the advice the Internet is a good place to experiment with political and sexual discussion, pregnancies and STDs come from meeting IRL.

Comment Re:Typical slashdot crap (Score 1) 449

While I don't mind putting some restrictions on someone while (s)he's on probation; the laundry list of conditions sounded like something typed in a decade (or more) ago with some conditions added over time. It is so convenient to have a standard list, without regard for the probatee or his crime!

It is good to have relevant restrictions as conditions for porbation (no alcohol for people convicted of intoxication related crimes), but I don't see any good in a total restriction of computer use for a petty thief (unless he brokers on ebay).

Comment Re:I installed the latest OO, definitely not a thr (Score 2, Informative) 467

I have a program that generates CSV output, for import into a spreadsheet. Open Office Calc creates the sheet I expect (slowly but correct). However, Excel sees it fit to mess op the data; it arbitrarily breaks long lines mid-field, creating a mess that requires more time to clean up than waiting for OOo to import correctly.

N.B. OOo suffices for most of my business correspondence; I prefer (La)TeX/LyX for the more scientific documents.

Comment Re:What about Betas? (Score 1) 362

I assume the consumer does not have to pay to be part of a beta test program. Consumer protection law in my country (.nl) takes the price paid for the product into account when determining how much quality a "reasonable consumer" might expect. There is no need for a computer game to be perfect, as long as it is playable. Our judges are likely to handle "paid beta" software as any other paid for software: It should work, for reasonable definitions of work.

Comment What about the "block errors"? (Score 4, Informative) 257

Most of the storage media in common use (disks, tapes, CD/DVD-R) already do use ECC at sector of block level and will fix "single bit" errors at firmware level transparently. What is more of an issue at application level are "missing block" errors; when the low-level ECC fails and the storage device signals "unreadable sector" and one or more blocks of data are lost.

Off course this can be fixed by "block redundancy" (like RAID does), "block recovery checksums" or old-fashioned backups.

Comment Re:Not very Agile (Score 1) 193

Agile works for software because it is cheap to redesign software and also cheap to do a few test runs. Building a rocket, filling it with fuel and then see whether it flies or explodes is expensive when you talk about the size needed for manned spacecraft. It is more or less the same for Boeing and Airbus who spend years and years designing before they start building their first full scale planes for test flights. We're talking planes that cost over $100 million each, not something you like to throw away on a test.

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I cannot conceive that anybody will require multiplications at the rate of 40,000 or even 4,000 per hour ... -- F. H. Wales (1936)