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Comment Re:SMTP (Score 1) 254

Obviously your strawman example would no do such a thing if it was really that good because it would have been adopted and forced upon those with mailing lists. Let's please keep this an honest discussion without hysterical bullshit that insults the intelligence of the reader.

I often wonder if people are trolling me, or if they're just really bad at making arguments and have terrible social skills. I mean, if anything is a logical fallacy, it's "if it was really that good it would have been adopted." ...and "hysterical bullshit that insults the intelligence of the reader?" Beautiful, man. Beautiful.

There's no greater demonstration of elitism than Slashdot. Everyone defines themselves by their intelligence, and so if you contradict them, not only do they take it personally and feel incredibly insulted, but they lose all respect for you as well, as you're clearly one of those dumb people and as such completely unworthy of their respect. It's impossible to have a rational discussion because they're too busy being offended and responding with insults.

...and perhaps the worst part is when you try to point it out to them, they insist you're trolling them, and you're the one taking things personally and responding with insults, as if you were apparently supposed to ignore all of the butt-hurt and insults in their post. You see, when they do it, it's just a discussion, but when you respond to it by pointing out how dumb and pointless it is, then it becomes trolling.

Anyway, I've had enough of this shit. I'm reprogramming my web browser to take me to reddit.com every time I accidentally type slashdot.org. So, you win. Spam can't be solved ever. Congratulations on your excellent debate skills.

Comment Re:SMTP (Score 1) 254

I think we need that form of why a suggestion to stop spam is not new and is not going to be a silver bullet.

Please, no. That form has rejected far too many good solutions. It's issue is that it insists that we remove spam without changing how email works and what we use it for, as if we can expect something to change even though we refuse to change it. I recall one suggestion got that form as a reply with nothing but the "it won't work for mailing lists" box checked. Is it really too much to tell people running mailing lists to find some other means to do what they do, if it will eliminate spam for everyone else on the planet? We have RSS and Atom feeds which work great for such things as the subscription process is entirely under the user's control. We have web forums which also leave it entirely up to the user whether they receive the messages or not. ...and if those solutions are not sufficient for some reason, then we can invent something else. Email doesn't have to be everything for everyone, and insisting that it must be is essentially insisting that it must be an advertising medium for spammers as well.

Personally, I think XMPP has the problem solved well enough. Their general architecture is superior to email in terms of verifying that you really know where a message came from, so if you receive spam from user@example.com, you know for certain that the message originated from example.com. ...and because each server knows the contact list of its users, it has a good clue about whether that message is spam even before doing any content analysis because it knows if the recipient has user@example.com in their contact list. So if a bunch of messages begin to originate from example.com to users who don't have the sender in their contact list, example.com is going to find itself removed from the network fairly quickly, because there's no culture of "spam is an unavoidable problem" in XMPP, nor is there even a culture of "bulk messaging must be allowed" and so no one can even claim ignorance about what their users are doing.

The end result of this, assuming no breakthroughs in captcha technology, will probably be that users either have to use their ISP's XMPP server, their employer's server, or anyone else who knows them and set up a server for them, or they make a small one-time donation to some random provider on the internet as the ultimate captcha, but "just sign up and start sending messages" disappears as it is too difficult to secure against botnets. ...but for now it seems the spammers don't even care about XMPP, probably because email isn't just low-hanging fruit, it's fruit that has fallen from the tree and has been rotting on the ground for years.

Comment Elaborate, please. (Score 1) 75

Dig a bit and figure out why they are doing this. This is about politics, not fixing anything more than the next election.

I don't think anyone has the time to dig for every bit of information that someone on the internet insists exists. I don't suppose you have any links, do you? ...or perhaps you could just elaborate? Otherwise I think you're going to completely fail to spread whatever message it is you are trying to spread.

Comment I guess I noticed this the other day... (Score 1) 152

I noticed a few days ago when using Google's image search that it was no longer giving me an infinitely long page of results, but instead they just quickly loaded and there was a 'next' button at the bottom of the page for when I wanted more. I just thought it was my lucky day or something, as I'd always gotten the infinitely long version before, and so I assume they just mis-identified my web browser as not supporting it and would fix the bug soon. Didn't realize it was a feature I'll get to enjoy forever, due to the fact that Opera will never release a new version of their web browser that doesn't suck.

The only sad thing about this is that I rarely use Google, and so I'll rarely get to enjoy this welcome change.

As for it forcing people to upgrade their web browsers, somehow I don't see that happening. People will upgrade, then search for something, and say "this web browser is way slower than the old version. I'm switching back."

I don't know anyone who enjoys those infinitely long pages of search results. They're the sort of thing that sounds vaguely better in theory, but in practice, the implementation always makes for a worse user experience. Especially Flickr's, which I'm sure someone thought was sexy as hell when it was presented to them as a mock-up, but in practice the javascript is so slow to determine how to fetch, place, and size the images that you can get image search results faster by using Google's web search and just clicking on all of the links and hoping that some of the pages have images relevant to your search.

Comment Re:From the linked article... (Score 1) 463

Since Wood was acting within the course and scope of his duties when he began to type his response, under Vehicle Code section 23123.5, he acted lawfully.

Shouldn't this give him a free pass on the crime of using an electronic device while driving, but not give him a free pass on the vehicular manslaughter?

I'm too lazy to look up the law, but surely it's not such that, as long as he's replying to an official email, he gets a free pass on any law he happens to break at the same time. Otherwise, if he wanted to kill his wife, he could just wait until he gets a call from the department and shoot her while he's talking on his phone.

Killing someone with your car is illegal regardless of whether you were paying attention to the road when you did it, so just because it's OK for him to not pay attention when he drives because he's extra special or something, that still doesn't give him a free pass to kill people with his car.

Comment Re:yet if we did it (Score 1) 463

a cultural problem where we identify with the criminal

That's entirely true.

As much as we enjoy that myth about how everyone thinks they're a better driver than everyone else, the truth is that every time someone hears about someone accidentally doing something like this, they think of all the near misses they've had in the past, and realize it could have been them or someone they know that caused that accident. Maybe they tell themselves that they're a better driver than everyone else, but deep in their mind in some repressed place, they know perfectly well that they drive dangerously all the time. They just try not to think about it too much.

The simple fact is that everyone drives unsafely. Are you driving down a curvy road with thick trees at every turn such that you can't really see around them, but the speed limit is 55 MPH? ...or maybe you're driving on a hilly road where you often cannot see what is ahead until you're at the top of each hill? Well, you're going to go around those curves and over those hills as near 55 MPH as you can. Everyone does. Everyone knows that they can't see what's around that curve or over that hill, but kind of justifies it with "if someone is stopped in the road, it's their fault anyway" or "I've never hit anyone before" or "everyone else does it too" or "no, I'm pretty sure I'd see them in time to stop, otherwise there would be a law against what I'm doing." The alternative is that they drive 30 in a 55, taking longer to arrive at their destination, and dealing with drivers behind them following too closely the whole way.

If there's one place where people give way to peer pressure, it's when road conditions require driving at less than the posted speed limit but the drivers behind them want them to go faster. Hell, Slashdot is full of people insisting that they must drive over the speed limit on the interstate because everyone else is doing it and so it would be unsafe not to. I do it all the fucking time and there is nothing unsafe about it. Indeed, if cars want to pass me at all, they must do so at about 10 MPH faster than I am traveling otherwise it's going to take them an eternity to do so and they'll have a dozen cars tailgating them in the passing lane waiting for them to get around me. People are really bothered by all of those cars following too closely that they see in their rear view mirror and so it provides a lot of peer pressure. So they come up with some justification to drive faster, like "it would be unsafe not to" and then they do so, never mind that it's actually everyone who is tailgating them who is driving unsafely. The relief of avoiding all of that peer pressure makes them feel better, and so the believe that what they've chosen to do is better.

I'd say that peer pressure is behind much of the cell phone use while driving as well. A lot of people will not only send text messages and expect an immediate response, but they will also send messages to the effect of "Hello?!?!" if you fail to respond to their messages in a timely manner, which puts a lot of pressure on people to at least read texts as soon as they are received. Something similar is likely behind the difference between talking on a cell phone and talking to a passenger, in that a passenger isn't so demanding of a response, whereas if you stop talking for ten seconds on a cell phone, you have the person you're talking to saying "hello?!" repeatedly as they think their phone dropped the call, and so you're under pressure to respond quickly. A passenger in a car knows that you're preoccupied for good reason and so they aren't going to pressure you the same way.

And of course, the #1 peer pressure is "don't be late for work," though some might argue with me about whether their employer is a peer. The simple fact is that travel time can be variable, and so with an inflexible arrival time for work, people are forced to choose between arriving at work early and standing around doing nothing, or trying to arrive just in time and driving a little unsafely in the event that their estimation puts them a little behind. So they see a bicyclist ahead, and they really don't want to slow down because they don't want to have to listen to "you're two minutes late" from their boss, so rather than wait until it is safe to pass, they just split lanes with the bicyclist and the oncoming traffic, passing within a foot of each, because they see that they can just barely squeeze in there and the pressure on them to not slow down is too great to resist.

So, yeah, when people hear about someone being involved in an accident where they kill a bicyclist or a pedestrian, they have a lot of sympathy for the driver, because they know that every day they do things that could potentially put them in exactly the same situation, and they know that their spouse, their parents, and their kids, all likely do the same thing, and the idea that they might send any of them to prison for ten years as a result is just too hard to think about. So they declare it an unavoidable accident and continue to drive as they always have, because all of that peer pressure is just too hard to resist.

Comment Re:The show is filled with mostly nonsense (Score 1) 364

First, E = 1/2 m*v^2, not m*v, although your later statement seems to acknowledge that.

Yes, Slashdot ate my unicode.

So in the case of hitting a brick wall, there is twice the energy available.

I should have made it more clear that I was talking about energy per vehicle, but I left it as a given, since it was the whole point of the episode. Jamie had, in the previous episode, claimed that hitting a similar vehicle at a similar speed in a head-on collision was as deadly as hitting a wall at twice the speed, but fans on their forums had pointed out that it was actually identical to hitting a wall at the same speed.

In summary:

car vs. wall = 1 unit of energy
car vs. car = 2 units of energy, or 1 unit per car
car at 2x speed vs. wall = 4 units of energy

Comment Re:C Needs Bounds Checking (Score 3, Interesting) 98

Your idea only works if bound sizes are defined at compile time which is hardly going to be even a majority of cases.

Use your imagination...

I was imagining a special type of pointer, but one compatible with ordinary pointers. Kind of how C99 added the "complex" data type for complex numbers, but you can assign to them from ordinary non-complex numbers. A future version of C could add a type of pointer that includes a limit, and a future version of malloc() could return this new type of pointer, and for compatibility, the compiler can just downgrade it to an ordinary pointer any time it is assigned to an ordinary pointer, so that old code continues to work with the new malloc() return value, and new code can continue to call old code that only accepts ordinary pointers. Of course, we won't call them "new" and "ordinary," we'll call them "safe" and "dangerous" when, after several years, we grow tired of hearing of yet another buffer overflow exploit discovered in some old code that hasn't yet been updated to use the new type of pointer.

...or I'm sure there's many other possibilities. This isn't an impossible thing to do.

Comment C Needs Bounds Checking (Score 5, Informative) 98

Meanwhile, slopping programming in any language results in unintended side effects.

Yes, but the lack of bounds checking in C is kind of crazy. The compiler is now going out of its way to delete error-checking code simply because it runs into "undefined behavior," but no matter how obvious a bounds violation is, the compiler won't even mention it. Go ahead and try it. Create an array, index it with an immediate value of negative one, and compile. It won't complain at all. ...but god-forbid you accidentally write code that depends upon signed overflow to function correctly, because that's something the compiler needs to notice and do something about, namely, it needs to remove your overflow detection code because obviously you've memorized the C standards in their entirety and you're infallible, and there's no chance whatsoever that anyone ever thought that "undefined behavior" might mean "it'll just do whatever the platform the code was compiled for happens to do" rather than "it can do anything at all, no matter how little sense it makes."

Due to just how well GCC optimizes code, bounds checking wouldn't be a huge detriment to program execution speed. In some cases the compiler could verify at compile time that bounds violations will not occur. At other times, it could find more logical ways to check, like if there's a "for (int i = 0; i < some_variable; i++)" used to index an array, the compiler would know that simply checking "some_variable" against the bounds of the array before executing the loop is sufficient. I've looked at the code GCC generates, and optimizations like these are well within its abilities. The end result is that bounds checking wouldn't hinder execution speeds as much as everyone thinks. A compare and a conditional jump isn't a whole lot of code to begin with, and with the compiler determining that a lot of those tests aren't even necessary, it simply wouldn't be a big deal.

...but let's assume it was. Assume bounds checking would reduce program execution speeds by 10%. How often do you worry about network services you run being exploitable, vs. worrying that they won't execute quickly enough? Personally, I never worry about code not executing enough. I might wish it were faster, but worry? Hell no. On the other hand, I don't even keep an SSH server running, despite how convenient it might be to access my computer when I am away from home, because I fear it might be exploitable. I'd prefer more secure software, and if I'm then not happy with the speed at which that software executes, I'll just get a faster computer. After all, our software is clearly slower today than it was 20 years ago. I can put DOS on my PC and run the software from that era at incredible speeds, but I don't because I like the features I get from a modern OS, even if those features mean that my software isn't as fast as it could be. Bounds checking to prevent a frequent and often exploitable programming mistake is just another feature, and it's about time we have it.

..and like everything else the compiler does, bounds checking could always be a compile-time option. Those obsessed with speed could turn it off, but I'm pretty certain that if the option existed, anyone who even thought about turning it off would quickly decide that doing so would be stupid. Maybe for some non-networked applications that have already been well-tested with the option enabled and where execution speed is a serious factor, it might make sense to turn it off, but when it comes to network services and web browsers and the like, no sane person would ever disable the bounds checking when compiling those applications because everyone believes security is more important than speed.

Comment Re:Backward-thinking by the DMV (Score 1) 506

I was kind of thinking about this the other day when I saw the YouTube video of someone with a car with lane assist who had taped something to the steering wheel to make the car think he still had his hands on it. I wondered, what does the car do if you take your hands off of the wheel?

The first thing you might suspect is that it just turns the feature off, and the car drifts out of the lane. ...but, of course, that's dangerous, since the car appears to by all means be keeping the lane on it's own, so people might just take their hands off of the wheel and not notice that the feature turned off.

A better solution is for the car to simply keep the feature enabled, and instead slow the car to a stop. Then the car safely remains in the lane, but the car prevents the feature from being used unattended. (you know, assuming that taping something to the steering wheel isn't sufficient to fool the sensors)

I can't imagine there's a lot of reason why the self driving cars couldn't do the same thing. It's like how everyone knows that, when it's foggy, you shouldn't drive so fast that you can't stop in the distance you can see ahead. It's the same for the car: If it can't see a safe path from its present velocity to a complete stop, then it's not operating safely. As such, when it finds a situation it doesn't know how to navigate, it should bring the car to a stop and tell the driver to proceed manually, and because it can come to a complete stop, if the driver doesn't respond immediately, it isn't a big deal, it's just an inconvenience to the traffic behind the car.

I'm sure this is why they want the steering wheel to remain. Even if the car can recognize that the road no longer matches the map it has, and even if it knows how to safely stop when this occurs, if you don't have a steering wheel, you've just got a brick on the highway that's going to ruin a lot of people's day. It would be especially bad if it created a traffic jam preventing emergency vehicles from going where they need to go. The owner of the vehicle needs some way to move it in the event this occurs, even if it is unlikely. If nothing else, sensors do fail, and when the car brings itself to a stop based on limited navigation based on what it last knew before the sensors died, having it sit in the middle of the highway until a tow truck arrives isn't a good idea.

That said, this could be accomplished rather easily, without a full steering wheel. Just popping a little joystick out of the dashboard that allows someone to guide the car at golf-cart speeds to either get it off the road or possibly turn it around so that it can find another path would probably be sufficient. Joysticks suck, but for such a limited use case at low speeds, I'm sure one would be fine.

Comment Re:Backward-thinking by the DMV (Score 1) 506

Driverless cars have driven thousands of miles without making a single mistake.

Maybe no mistakes leading to accidents, but I'm sure there were mistakes.

I remember seeing a video where they were showing the car on a road with bicyclists, and when approaching them from behind, you could see on the computer's monitor its thought process of how it was going to just wedge itself between the bicyclist and oncoming traffic, driving over the yellow line and forcing oncoming traffic to move over all while passing the cyclist too closely, just to avoid having to wait until oncoming traffic was clear before passing.

If I ever saw my driverless car pulling stunts like that, I'd take the controls immediately. It isn't worth taking that sort of risk just to avoid waiting a fucking minute.

Comment Learning new shit is a pain in the ass. (Score 1) 826

When I was younger, I loved learning how to do shit in DOS, then later in Linux. It was fun. Now it's just hell.

I suppose some of the reason I thought it was fun was because once I learned to do something, I could do it whenever I wanted. So I was picking up valuable skills. However, anymore when I go to do something, I find it's no longer done the way it used to be done. No, now there's some new and "better" way to do it that is only ten times as hard to understand. So I waste a day or two learning the new way of doing things, then decide I need to upgrade, and what do you know: The last two days were a complete waste of my life because now it's done some other way.

Needless to say, I don't want to learn anything anymore. As time goes on, the new way of doing things becomes progressively more complex than before with less explanation than before. I mean, I once tried to look into how to properly put something into the startup scripts of Linux Mint 15, and all the documentation I could find was "it's easy, it's like a shell script" even though there was clearly shit in there about dependencies that was nothing like a shell script. So just how much like a shell script was it? I didn't know, it didn't say. So what do I do about that dependency stuff? I don't know, it didn't say. So I just read the whole manual, front to back? No, I don't care to spend three days trying to figure out how to do one simple fucking thing. So I just tried something that looked about right -- after all, everyone on the internet was convinced it was so easy that I couldn't possibly need help -- and ended up with a system that would boot correctly about 50% of the time, and the other 50% of the time the GUI would start up too soon and I'd have to log out and back in again before everything would work. ...and, what do you know: If I'd bothered to learn the init system of Linux Mint 15, I would have been wasting my fucking time, as they're now going to switch to systemd.

I really need to install FreeBSD in a virtual machine and start learning to use it. Maybe do Linux how Linux people used to do Windows: Just keep it in a VM for things like watching YouTube but otherwise try to stay the hell away from it. I tried it once a year or two ago, and it was generally nice in that nothing seemed as retarded as shit tends to get in Linux. The only real problem I had was that the user base is small enough that when I couldn't figure out how to do something, not only was there no help, but it was quite likely I was the first person to ever want to do what I was trying to do. E.g., I wanted to do some MIDI stuff, but found no MIDI routing subsystem, and the applications in the ports system weren't actually capable of connecting to what MIDI support there was. On the bright side, they didn't have ALSA, and so I found fixing that to be rather easy. An OSS implementation that's actually able to allow multiple applications to play audio at once is wonderful.

Comment Re:If by "decreeses" you mean "increases", then ye (Score 2) 300

A) Don't even pretend that your response to seeing a beheading, and just hearing about it would be anywhere near the same. As the phrase goes, a picture's worth a thousand words, and this is a video.

I'm sure you're right about that.

Some time ago this same debate came up on Slashdot about another beheading video. Someone who had seen the video replied "you don't understand, this wasn't just a simple beheading where, like a guillotine, a blade comes down and then the guy simply no longer has a head." He then went on to describe what was in the video in a fair amount of detail. I don't think he used a thousand words, maybe somewhere between 200 and 400, but he definitely painted a picture. At the end he said "sometimes you just wish you could unsee something." ...and I believed him, because after reading his description, I wished I could unread it. Just his description of the video was far worse than anything I might have imagined being in the video, so I can only guess what actually watching it might have been like.

There's a huge difference between hearing that these people have cut someone's head off and realizing just how sick someone has to be to do something like that. I mean, in the description I read of that other video, there were so many aspects to it that, if I were the one cutting someone's head off, would have triggered my "jesus fucking christ what the hell am I doing" sense and forced me to stop. ...but they didn't stop, they kept right on doing it, and knowing that forces you to realize just how completely fucking insane these people are. Even in war, people take issue with killing the enemy when they find them defenseless, preferring to take them prisoner instead, and in that case you're talking about someone who was quite likely actively trying to kill you not too long ago. It's a whole different thing to pick a particularly painful method of execution for someone you know is innocent and then not even think twice about it as the reality of actually doing it gives you so many cues that it's just so wrong.

However, in this particular video, from what I hear, some people suspect the beheading occurred before the video was recorded, and the video just fakes it. Just judging from what I've heard people say is in this video vs. what I heard was in the other, I have to agree with that hypothesis, as it sounds like one of those quick and clean executions people tend to expect, like what they might see in a movie. Of course, if I've heard wrong, then that's more proof that just reading about it isn't the same thing as seeing it. Indeed, other than the one person's description of that older video that I read, I don't think anyone talked about what happened in the video any more than to say "cut his head off" and so I wouldn't be that surprised to hear that this video is actually much worse than what I've read about it so far.

Comment Re:The show is filled with mostly nonsense (Score 2) 364

I stopped watching when I saw an episode where they were challenging the assertion that, given a vehicle moving at 30 mph, with a rear-facing air cannon that would shoot at tennis ball at 30 mph, the ball, when fired from the moving vehicle, would simply drop.

Really? I mean, I'm not going to challenge your assertion that the show has gotten pretty bad lately, as it's certainly gotten bad since season two began, but I wouldn't criticize them for testing something everyone thinks they know just because it is actually true.

One of the most interesting episodes I saw was when they were testing something Jamie said in an earlier episode: That if two trucks collide at 55 MPH, it's like one truck hitting a brick wall at 110 MPH. At first I thought "duh, everyone knows that's true" and I continued to think that as they set up experiments, right until they were about to let two clay blocks swing into each other at which point a light bulb lit up above my head, and so I quickly hit the pause button and thought about what was going to happen, and realized that since each block of clay was simply going to stop the movement of the other, each was going to end up in the same condition it would have been in had it simply slammed into the "immovable object" instead, and thus two vehicles each going 55 MPH in a head-on collision is exactly like just one vehicle hitting a brick wall in a 55 MPH collision. ...and I suppose it's solvable with math too, given e = m * v, and so if two objects slowing down one unit of speed yields two units of energy, or one unit per object, then one object slowing down two units of speed yields four units of energy, which is four times as much, even though the difference in speeds is identical in each case. ...but I was certainly misinformed about how it worked, and I don't think I was the only one, so it was totally worth doing an episode on, indeed it was one of my favorites since I actually learned something.

Who knows, maybe the tennis ball episode was someone else's favorite, as it showed them something they either didn't know, or just hadn't really ever thought about.

What annoys me is when they start testing movie myths that I'm pretty sure no one would believe anyway, or when they perform experiments in stupid ways, or omit basic information to try to make it seem like the outcome isn't as predictable as it is. I don't mind that they do the experiments, I just hate that they play dumb about the outcome rather than look for some way to inject some intelligence into the experiment despite the predictable outcome.

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