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Comment Re:Unfortunately no and I have a reason (Score 1) 310

The Abelson and Sussman textbook, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, uses LISP (actually Scheme). There are quite a few LISP fanatics who passionately feel it is still the best programming language made, citing such reasons as the simplicity of writing an interpreter for it. However, that textbook is pretty difficult. The authors didn't appreciate how hard recursion can be for many students to understand, and LISP and functional programming in general uses recursion so heavily it's the proverbial hammer for every nail of a programming problem.

Well, that's what you get when you beta test your textbook with MIT students. But that said, CLRS is no picnic for people who aren't very good at math, either.

Comment Re:As a European... (Score 2) 222

... I have a hard time with the typical US notion of free speech and no censorship.

To those of us whose parents or grandparents had to live and suffer through WW2, I is pretty much unthinkable to allow someone to deny the horrors of the concentration camps and all things associated.

We didn't sacrifice a million casualties and $4 trillion in treasure for your political ideals and way of life, we sacrificed them for our political ideals and way of life, and that includes unfettered freedom of speech.

Comment Re:Analyzing a car purchase over 1 year? (Score 1) 33

True. And the cost/arrest concept is broken too. Would the arrests have been made anyway? Could they have been made another way?

When people have a tool they use it, whether it is the use-case that was supposed to justify the purchase -- and that can be a good thing (because the widget is earning its keep) or a bad thing (using a tool that's overkill, to expensive to operate, or counterproductive). The real question is what did they specifically buy this for? If the cost justification was that it was going to allow them to make x arrests per year, it's probably a failure. If the cost justification is some other kind of scenario that doesn't necessarily happen every year (e.g. the Beltway Sniper), then the question is whether they're using this thing reasonably.

Comment Re:Billing address? (Score 1) 105

Maybe getting the card numbers (card, code, expiry) is just phase I of weakness with limited applicability for in-person transactions. Nobody asks my address at the electronics shop when I have a $800 TV in my cart.

And perhaps they have other databases that allow them to correlate incomplete card numbers with names and addresses to create useful online transactions where they info can be asked.

IMHO, the only useful solution to this is two factor RSA-style authentication. Go ahead and know all the card info, but unless you can guess the random digits it would be worthless. Pity that fraud doesn't cost VISA and merchants can build most of their costs into product pricing.

Comment Re:No safe-guards? (Score 1) 105

Why not just build 2 factor authentication into the card itself? They could offer a card with an in-built RSA token or a way to use a smartphone app for cards without token hardware.

Something tells me this is something we should have, but given the sparring and profiteering over getting chip enabled terminals in the US (I'm STILL swiping at many terminals). I suspect that it's not the two factor part that keeps it from happening but the terminals and merchant software costs combined with a bunch of middlemen who figure that fraud deterrence for merchants and consumers isn't their problem since they make merchants eat it, who then make consumers eat it in higher prices.

And then there's the spreadsheet guys, who predict transaction fee revenue drops from failed transactions and doom-and-gloom of lost sales pitched to merchants.

Comment Re:3D editing is hard (Score 1) 249

I think 3D modeling software is a big reason 3D printing hasn't been the home revolution.

I've been using computer based 2D drawing software since MacDraw in the 1980s and have used it for drafting home improvement projects, woodworking projects and floor plans. I've downloaded Sketch-Up a few times and always found myself baffled quite quickly, even tinkering with generic rectilinear shapes.

And even drawing some boxes or other regular geometric shapes doesn't get you very fair in a world of tapered curves, irregular shapes, etc, let alone the same needing accurate scale and tolerances down to the millimeter.

And it's not that it's impossible, either, but it's got a wicked learning curve over 2D just doing the drawings let alone the phase where you have to consider how you design will actually be output by the thing making it.

Strangely it's almost the blade-and-razor model in reverse. In theory, they should give you the razor handle (the easy to learn 3D design software) for free so that you'll buy the 3D printer and supplies, but I suspect that in terms of cost, the easy to use 3D modeling software is the actual expensive part and the 3D printer should be the cheap part. It's kind of like 2D design software -- an annual contract for Adobe Creative Cloud is almost more expensive than a decent color laser printer.

Submission + - How to View the SpaceX Falcon 9 Return to Flight at Vandenberg Air Force Base (perens.com)

Bruce Perens writes: Silicon Valley folks should, sometime, take the opportunity to view a launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Lompoc is 4-5 hours from the Bay, 2.5 hours from LA if there's ever no traffic. An upcoming SpaceX launch is notable because it's their return to flight, months after their last attempt blew up on the pad during a pre-launch test. Read how to view the launch.

Comment Re: Less politics (Score 1) 110

Eich resigned because of external pressure on the Mozilla organization. I hear that one of the lobbying activities against him was when the dating site "OK Cupid" started informing Firefox users who accessed the site of Eich's activities and that they should download a browser made by people who don't nominate someone with gender discrimination issues to be their CEO. At the time, 8% of OK Cupid customers were there to arrange same-gender meetings.

They felt he was the public face of the company.

Russ Nelson published a piece on what he theorized was the economic motivation of Blacks to be lazy, and was booted off of the Open Source Initiative board. He wasn't thinking about how it would be perceived. A modified version of the piece is still online, but not the version that got him in trouble. In general, executives are seen as the public faces of their organizations even in the case of Nelson, who was not the chairman of the board, but was simply a member of the executive board. In Nelson's case, it wasn't that he made publicity appearances and press releases, it was that he was one of the people with the power to direct the company (and thus a more real face of the company than soneone who just does PR), and folks did not trust that someone who wrote what he did would behave as they would like in that position.

Comment Re:What's the big deal? (Score 2, Insightful) 237

Playboy departed the nude photo market due to the vast and unending supply of photos and video of all manner of naked people doing sexual things which one can access via the Internet.

However, one can make a case that a good deal of the past content of Playboy was about objectifying women and to some extent the publication still is about that.

It was a dumb decision. Several people just weren't thinking. They're embarrassed now. They learned, and won't do it again.

Comment Re: Less politics (Score 1) 110

It was only 1967 when the United States Supreme Court decided Loving v. Virginia, a miscegenation case. Preventing blacks and whites from marrying, as the State of Virginia (and many others) did with laws on its books until it was forced to remove them in 1967, is an issue of racism, nothing else. One doesn't have to be thin skinned to be disgusted by racism.

Why should I feel any different about gender discrminiation? Texas had a law on the book making homosexual relations illegal in 1998, and two men were arrested for it and similarly to Loving, helped to strike it down in the courts. Marriage discrimination is yet another legal wall erected by the prejudiced. Doesn't take a thin skin at all to oppose it and its supporters.

Comment Re: Less politics (Score 1) 110

Because you are an end-user and not an investor in these companies, you might actually think the public face of the companies is a logo or a trademark rather than a human being. Perhaps you think the public face of McDonalds is Ronald McDonald! Or that Sprint's used to be that actor who portrayed a technician. But this naiveté is not shared by the people who are the target audience for the public face that the CEO's appearances and quotations produce. AMD has people to handle the guy who once plugged one of their CPUs into a motherboard. The public face nurtured by the CEO is reserved for investors and business relationships, government, and corporate citizenship. These are all areas in which a decision made outside of the company can have great impact on the company. And so, if you go on the company site, you will see the CEO quoted in the press releases related to those items. At trade shows, you will see these CEOs as keynotes. I am heading for CES in January, where many CEOs you've never heard of who run large tech companies will be speaking, and there will be full halls of their eager target audiences.

Don't you think it might be self-centered to assume someone's not the public face of the company because you don't know who they are?

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