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Comment Re:Actual Data Source Link (Score 1) 125

Slashdot linked to a recode post, which linked to a medium post, which linked to an RIAA blog post which linked the actual report put out by them with the relevant numbers. To save the same minor trouble, here is the actual report that includes the numbers cited above:


Why oh why can't bloggers do this simple homework and link to original sources? This used to standard etiquette among the blogosphere, did it not? Anyway, you're welcome.

Comment Know about it, don't learn it (Score 2) 218

I don't know that I'd start a new project in it, but jQuery has permeated the web to such a degree that I don't know if you *can* be a front-end web without being vaguely aware of it. It's worth *knowing about* but there isn't much to *learn* about it. It's a library for "querying" the DOM the way you do in CSS; that's why it became popular -- that particular task used to be difficult, even though now it's part of the DOM. I still use it for Ajax requests, mainly because the syntax is easier for me to remember than native JS. But most of what jQuery made easy is already easy in bleeding-edge browsers and frameworks. The rest - promises, events, animations, ajax - are sort of "helper fluff" that are also better done in other libraries, or native JS/CSS at this point.

TL;DR - Yes, you should learn it, but don't go out of your way to focus on it. If you understand modern JS & DOM techniques, then you'll be able to figure out jQuery easily when the day comes that you need to debug/modify/replace it.

Comment Re:"If we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns (Score 1) 116

"Even if a law is passed that makes it illegal to 3D print guns, there should not be a law that forces 3D Printer manufacturers to produce 3D printers that refuse to print components that might be used for a gun."

Perhaps so! I wasn't arguing about the virtue of this specific theoretical legislation, I was taking on the broader argument made by the OP:

"If your computer has deliberately been designed with a blind spot, the bad guys will use it to evade detection by you and your antivirus software. That's why a 3-D printer with anti-gun-printing code isn't a 3-D printer that won't print guns—the bad guys will quickly find a way around that. It's a 3-D printer that is vulnerable to hacking by malware creeps."

I don't believe this is necessarily true. Will someone find a way around the gun restriction? Sure, some number of users will always want to hack restrictions away from their devices. But will having the gun restriction in place make the 3D printer more vulnerable, from a technical standpoint, to being hacked? I don't see how. Slashdot filters out various HTML tags from my replies - I don't think this filtering mechanism makes Slashdot more or less likely to be hacked. Doctorow is making a jump from "bad guys will find a way around that" (probably true) to "makes your unit more vulnerable to hacking." To me, this seems like a leap.

But perhaps there is some technical aspect to gun-design-filtering that I am unaware of?

Comment Re:"If we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns (Score 1) 116

Sure, there are absolutely differences between regulating bombs and regulating guns. That was my point - the virtue of legislating technology is highly dependent upon the specific technology being legislated. The article and OP are arguing, as far as I understand, that all attempts to legislate technology should be assumed to be harmful.

Comment "If we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns!" (Score 1) 116

I'm not onboard with this reasoning. Yes, deliberately placing backdoors in software is security-undermining and stupid. And any unenforcable legislation is bad legislation.

But I not all restrictions on technology are unenforcable or bad. It is generally illegal for private individuals to make bombs. Yes, this means that the only people who make bombs are criminals, but only because you have changed the semantics to make it so. There is still less bomb-making overall by dint of bomb-making being illegal.

I don't know if there is a correct legislative solution to the problem of 3D-printed guns or not, but we should not assume there cannot be one. The specifics of the technology are relevant.

Comment Don't get a liberal arts degree (Score 1) 392

As someone who has a CS degree from a (respected!) liberal arts college, I can say that, career-wise, it was a mistake. One of the first things that came up in any interview I had during those first few years out of college was "Why did you get a BA instead of a BS?" which launched me into a whole discussion of the fact that I went to a liberal arts college where they only issue BAs....anyway, it was not a conversation that screamed "hire me!"

People love to ask for candidates with "critical thinking skills" but I think that's just code for "people who think like I do and agree with me."

Comment Re:*Dons asbestos suit* (Score 1) 1262

The most fascinating aspect of this whole incident is the intense divide between games industry and media insiders and the consumers who make their industry possible. It's as if all the developers and journalists, having spent the last 30 years making money off of one set of prejudices and preferences of their audience, have suddenly grown DISGUSTED with them, the people spending money on products *they themselves produced and marketed.* "We have spent thirty years producing sexism and selling it to you, what is wrong with you morons for buying it?" I don't really know how to categorize it. Elitism? Self-hatred? Both?

One possible theory is that this represents what happens when two industries - the video game industry and the media/journalism industry - collide, and fight it out to see who is stronger. It would appear that media/journalism is, but what's surprising is how many members of the games industry seem to have been secretly wishing to be on the other side for a long time.

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