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Comment Re:And nearly contradict themselves on the same da (Score 1) 745

And I argue just fine, by the way. I seldom actually lose. I have been wrong time to time, but not all that often.

In any case, just so you won't have to look it up, here is part of what Thomas wrote:

"The fact that the federal government has the authority to imprison a person for the purpose of punishing him for a federal crime -- sex-related or otherwise -- does not provide the government with the additional power to exercise indefinite civil control over that person."

Pretty much what I was saying, all along. As I stated before, I was fully expecting people to claim I was full of BS. The reason is because much of the history that many of us were taught in school was either a distortion or a gross oversimplification. Sure, slavery was an issue in the civil war. But it wasn't THE issue. The war was not mainly about slavery (even though politicians claimed it was). The main reason was simple economics.

Comment Step Back (Score 1) 100

Why is any gov't willing to settle for an arrangement where a vendor agrees to provide specifics regarding the nature of a product's flaws rather than questioning why to use the product at all? And mind you, this is after two decades of a lot of knowledgable people saying said product is flawed by design, by implementation & both to such a degree that it can never be safe.

Comment Re:...and there's still no comparable alternative. (Score 4, Interesting) 273

Yet recently the signal-to-noise ratio went up again. Oddly, with the advent of phpbb and other web based bbs systems. Not so oddly when you look at it closely.

The average user does not want to learn. He knows how to use a browser, so he will invariably prefer a web based bbs to usegroups any day. Now, spammers and trolls go where? Right. Where the larger amount of clueless users congregates.

If we gave it a while, we'd have a great signal-to-noise ratio on usenet again!

Comment I sincerely hope I'm wrong (Score 1) 161

This is mostly a joke, but not 100% a joke. I sincerely hope it's not true. However, the thought occurs to me that maybe this "key" is nothing more than, say, a copy of Windows 98 on floppy discs. Seriously, without more information about this supposed "key" we have no way to know if those involved actually did include something that might really be useful to future generations who want to get at the data or if they did something as stupid as what I suggested.

Comment Re:Personally Identifiable Information (Score 1) 175

If we assume that your fingerprint is assembled wholly at your side, then I would say you are RELATIVELY safe from it being disassembled into components that could compromise your realworld identity. One way to make the fingerprint irreversible like that is to encrypt it with a throw-away random key, also at client side. The unique but absolutely meaningless string arriving at the other end will uniquely identify YOUR END, NOT YOU. You can continue shopping and surfing porn, and all they got is a random string. If the porn site wants a fingerprint, they will get another value which will also identify you ACROSS THEIR DOMAIN. The two parties will not be able to cross-correlate their "databases" for any result. They will each contain a database of non-colliding pieces of data, one per each unique user, but they will not make any sense of comparing these.

Comment Re:It's odd... (Score 1) 698

Good points... I am not sure, though, that the issues you mentioned necessarily reflect the cultural ideas. They represent issues that ended up changing the culture, but did that represent the culture at the time?

I would argue that because TV has to make a profit based on their viewing audience, they have to cater to said viewing audience, which means they typically have to provide shows that the viewing audience likes and/or identifies with. It's interesting to note when the shows you mentioned went off the air, presumably due to profitability. I don't remember seeing many of the happily-married-couple-with-2.5-kids-and-a-white-picket-fence TV shows after the 60s.

Of course, I'm not any sort of expert on this in the least. It's mostly just from watching and listening to (e.g., music or radio shows) media from those decades and observing how they changed throughout the decades. There WAS a big shift, as you say, in the 60s with regards to sexuality. And that, I think, was pretty clearly portrayed in er, consumer media (TV, music, movies). (Example: not being allowed to show a husband and wife in the same bed in TV shows, hence having separate twin/double beds ... e.g., in the Dick Van Dyke show, Laura and Rob had separate beds).

Comment Re:Define "massive" (Score 4, Insightful) 609

Does using RAID controllers actually provide superior price:performance to using software RAID? Last I checked, the processors on most cheap RAID controllers were slower than dogshit and using md under Linux would give you better performance than basically any of them, at the cost of some CPU. But since CPU is cheaper than RAID, it probably makes sense. For example, going from a Phenom II X3 720 to a Phenom II X6 chip of the same clock rate takes the CPU from $100 to $200. How much would it cost to go from four crappy RAID controllers to four good ones? It would probably cost you at least $400.

The answer is probably to just go ahead and install Debian on a machine with as many CPU cores as you want to blow money on, and to use software raid. Put lots of system RAM in it, which the OS will automatically use for disk buffers. Current versions of grub work fine with USB keys, because they can use UUID for the groot, and the UUID never changes. If you want it to boot quickly, find a motherboard with coreboot support. If you want external disks you can use firewire cheaper than eSATA, if you get the external disks or just some enclosures at a good price. It makes maintenance a lot easier, but involves substantial power waste due to all those inefficient wall warts.

P.S. OpenSolaris is circling the drain, please don't suggest it to anyone for anything.

Comment Re:Need some Libertarian clarification (Score 1) 799

Your strawman is that there was some regulation, so that proves that regulation doesn't work. Perhaps BP should argue that they had some mechanical safeguards at the well head that were supposed to keep this leak from happening and those safeguards didn't stop this disaster, so obviously the lesson here is that safeguards are not the answer.

If you're arguing that government is inherently so corrupt and incompetent that it's impossible for it ever to regulate effectively and so we should stop trying, that's a slightly more valid argument, but I'm going to have to disagree with you. It's not an easy problem, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

We're talking about giant, ridiculously wealthy multinational corporations. The government is the only hope that people have of making any sort of stand against them. The fact that it's imperfect and requires serious work to function properly is a shame, but I fail to see how doing nothing would be any better.

Comment Re:Yes, of course it's still true. (Score 1) 663

"Somewhere along the line, a CS degree became a way of ensuring yourself a job in much the same way a degree in accounting did, and CS began to get people who didn't really give a shit. "I'll pay the money, go to the classes, get the degree, and get a job. Then I'll be safe and happy until I die."

That was never entirely true and it certainly isn't true now. Besides today programming languages aren't that big a factor in hiring. You need to have experience in the 10 frameworks, libraries, or technologies that a company has selected out of the hundreds available. You could try learning about those items, but it won't help - because the other companies have selected a different subset.

I'm glad I started my career before integration and "glue" code replaced real programming.

Comment OP must not work in the industry (Score 1) 236

or they could answer their own question. Three reasons:

1) Government already writes much of its own code. I see gigs posted all the time. Thing is, each office/department/etc tends to be a silo, so there is no "central" coding department. Can you imagine the bureaucracy around change processes then? Sheesh...

2) On average, public sector pays less. The idea here is to improve the quality of code, right? Not really possible if you can't attract the best and brightest.

3) Using external (this can be commercial or open source) products is key. Who makes the computers? Who makes the IDE's? How can we guarantee compiled code is fully secure if you aren't controlling every step of the process? Not possible. Even the government's most important asset, the President, is transported around in products made by commercial interests (albeit, with some customizations after the fact).

Comment Re:which is better (Score 1) 326

For certain values of "forever", but long enough that the human race will be long gone from the Earth before it's a problem.

But what never ceases to amaze me is the mentality that an energy source that is only good for 200 years (of which about 150 we've already used) is somehow better than an energy source that is good for 1 billion years or so.

Comment Advice from an old timer (Score 2, Insightful) 842

I've been a programmer at the same company for 18 years now. I'm a full time employee, but work with a lot of contractors. Here's my advice: - Find out what time you're expected to be at work, then show up on time, every day. Don't arrive late and work late thinking that you'll make up for it. Your teammates might need your expertise early in the day. It's incredibly frustrating when you're in at 7:00am and need something from a coworker who "might" show up around 10:00am. If you want to work late that's fine, but do it in addition to starting early and you'll go far. And don't make a big deal about how late you worked last night. We'll all notice how late you worked from the timestamps on your emails. - Be honest about your progress. If your code is 20% complete, don't tell your boss it's 40% done. If extra help is needed, it's best to get someone else involved early. - Dress appropriately. An untucked shirt may be fine at home, but it's not going to work in the corporate world. - Act like a professional. Throwing curse words around in meetings or even in your cube really doesn't get you very far. - Own the problems that you cause. If a program abends in production due to a change I made, I'm quick to acknowledge and own the mistake. Don't throw blame somewhere else. A buddy and I once took down the entire ATM network for a large bank because we forgot about the referential integrity on one of the main tables in the database. We went straight to our boss and told him what happened. He thanked us and asked us if we'd be making that mistake again. We said no, and we never heard about the issue again. There's lots more, of course, but most of these things are common sense. The corporate world doesn't care how 'cool' you are, or how far you've gotten in whatever the latest game is, or how much beer you can drink and still write functional code.

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"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer