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User Journal

Journal Journal: I'd forgot they made those things. 1

I dreamed I bought a REALLY big computer monitor, but I didn't notice the brand until I opened the box and saw "Arrivals" printed on the bezel.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Debian as a "working" model for democracy

Fun to watch "democracy" at work at Debian. Now 2+ years old social bug Please decide on Python interpreter packages maintainership opened by Python DDs, complaining about poor communication skills of the Python maintainer and request for his replacement, is still open. After two years, lots of emotions, personal involvement of the DPL and total silence from the actual Python maintainer being discussed, the CTTE seems to be reaching consensus that maintainer shouldn't be changed: because situation somewhat eased over the two years, but mostly because he is good guy, esp when talking to important Debian people, e.g. CTTE members. And he's also maintainer of many other important packages in Debian so pissing him off is quite dangerous. The most ironic part, is the last message (last as of writing) mentioning that the Python maintainer is again at it.

User Journal

Journal Journal: I'm Signing Off 9

I've come to Slashdot probably 340 days a year for the last eleven years or so. I used to get my news from it, but since Digg and now Reddit appeared, there hasn't been much point to that. Instead, I read the comments, which were filled with Goatse, Diarrhea trolls, and useless memes, but which had some really bright and insightful people posting.
The place used to be caustic, but donning a protective suit was worth it.

I don't get that anymore. As one poster put it yesterday, "Has Slashdot become Yahoo! Answers? Kill me now!" I totally agree. "There are no stupid questions" has replaced "Read 'How to Ask Smart Questions' or GTFO!" I liked the old way. Slashdot isn't a support forum where we need to have a code of behavior, is it? We're geeks: If you do, say, or ask something stupid, own up to it, learn, and move on.

Anyway, I'm one of the last few of the old guard from the '97-'98 era still frequenting this place (this is my second ID). I don't think I have it in me anymore.

Does anyone know a site where jerky curmudgeons like me sit around and discuss the news? I don't, and recommendations like Reddit don't really pass muster.
User Journal

Journal Journal: PyCon 2011 4

I am in Atlanta for PyCon, and you're on Slashdot reading about it. So there. Neener neener neener.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Google Apps Certification is Pointless

I just got my Google Apps for Education Qualified Individual certification, which cost US$90, and which includes the most useless set of tests over nine hours. I have been married to Google Apps for fours years now and admin two basic domains, and yet very few of the questions had any relevance to administrating or using the products. They were multiple choice, T/F, or cloze.

Google really needs to give us a demo domain and ask us to complete various tasks, similar to how the RHCE works. People respect that cert. Instead, I got a cert modeled after the useless and disrespected MCSE.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Why so much NIH?

I'm still confused as to why Microsoft, Yahoo! and Google don't agree amongst themselves to use their own services + XMPP + some plugins to openly replicate Facebook and immediately become big players in the social business. When your competition is eclipsing you like FB is, you need to start making some hard choices. There's no collusion if it's an open platform, right? Old and slow. Old and slow.

User Journal

Journal Journal: How bad is the U.S. public school system? 5

I started working in the worst school in one of the worst districts in the U.S. a few months ago, and the level of brokenness of the entire system is shocking. I won't go into too much detail, or talk about the insane assumption that teachers will purchase supplies for their classes, something I have never witnessed in other professions. Instead, I'll talk about something that makes we want to cry.

I got a new student last week: she's a refugee from a Central American country. Her father was killed by the gangs there, and when her family fled through Mexico, they were kidnapped and raped for weeks. She speaks no English at all, yet she makes more effort than 98% of my other students, and I can teach her algebra and geometry in half the time it takes the other kids. Wonderful, right? The only problem is that she's going to be deported in a few weeks because her family has applied for refugee status, but they won't get it because the people who want to kill her don't work for the government.

Meanwhile, about 15% of my students are known undocumented aliens (read that as illegal), but schools aren't allowed to talk to immigration.

Summary? The kid who really needs and would profit from staying in country won't be able to (and will likely be killed when deported) because her family tried to follow the law, while people who didn't make any attempt to and merely sneaked into the country are staying.


Journal Journal: Computer Tech Club Suggestions? 2

I'm planning to start a computer tech club at my school, oriented around receiving donations of parts and putting computers together for poor families (possibly of other students). Of course we'll need to put a free OS on them.

Any suggestions on what organizations would be likely to donate or how to approach them? What pitfalls should I avoid? Do you think this is a reasonable way to get kids involved in the hardware side of computing? I've never done anything like this before.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Thoughts on the latest Microsoft Worm (Part 1) 1

I wrote this in 1992 for rec.humor.funny. I've long lost my "original" digital copy, but as Linus says, real men don't make backups, they let the internet archive their work for them. Or, something like that.

From: (Steve Baur)
Newsgroups: rec.humor.funny
Subject: NEED HELP FAST !!!!!!!!!
Keywords: original, computer, smirk
Message-ID: []
Date: 12 Jul 92 23:30:04 GMT
Lines: 58

This composition is original, although the subject is not.
--------------------------- Cut Here---------------------------------
Newsgroups: comp.unix.questions
Subject: NEED HELP FAST !!!!!!!!!
From: (The Unknown Hacker)
Date: 7 Apr 92 12:55:45 EDT
Organization: UNIX Guru's R Us!

Sorry if this is a FAQ, but I've heard that a FAQ is something
everybody already knows, but since I don't know the answer to this
everybody doesn't know it, so it can't be a FAQ, so here I go ...

I've just created about the most Awesome change directory program ever
written. If it doesn't find the target directory through an
exhaustive CDPATH search, it uses the most sophisticated spelling
corrector (based on a thorough analysis of Webster's on-line
dictionary, and a list of the 1000 most common directory names on Unix
systems throughout the world) to try to find a match that way. If
that fails, then it tries to create the directory, and if that fails,
it opens /dev/uri-geller, and reads the mind of the invoker to try to
figure out what to do. It executes with almost 0 impact on system
resources, and is most truly the finest/tightest code ever to grace
the memory of a computer.

The only problem is that it doesn't work. No matter how I've tried,
once I've done that last chdir (and I've tried doing several identical
chdir(2)'s in a row to see if that would make the directory change
more "sticky" but that didn't work) I always end up where I started in
the shell I started my program in. I've tried setting the PWD, and
CWD variables with putenv(3), but that doesn't seem to have any effect.

What it really seems to me, is I need some way of telling the shell what
directory it's supposed to be in when my program is done executing.
Put more simply, I need a way of modifying the environment of a parent

E-mail responses only. There's too much noise on this bboard for me to
be able to read it. And HURRY!!! I need to turn this project in by 5pm
tonight !!!!

  | _ /| |
  | \'o.O' UNIX Guru in training |
  | =(___)= |
  | U Joe Programmer |
  | ACK.. THPPT!!!! |
  | |

- Steve (236/607 4/1/92)

This is obviously a joke. But it also illustrates a fundamental difference between Unix and most other systems. Unix has process isolation and without an extreme amount of cooperation between processes, it is impossible without system software bugs to modify the environment of another process without its permission. This is A Good Thing.

Commentary in Part 2.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Things I want 3

  1. I want a WYSIWYG HTML5 editor the uses two CSS files (one for print format and one for flow format) and a simple tar.gz or zip file to hold the HTML, images, and videos.
  2. I want XMPP and identity in my browser.
  3. I want NOT to have to race Slashdot's loading of more articles when I got to the bottom of my journal page in order to click "Write in journal."

Thank you.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Graphing Calculator Recommendations? 1

I've got to buy a graphing calculator for a teaching competency exam I'll be taking in about two months. Despite doing 2 years of engineering, I've never used one of these things (they weren't useful for my courses in the 80s), and I'll have to become proficient in that time, as well. Does Slashdot have any recommendations for an inexpensive, easy-to-learn graphing calc?

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I think there's a world market for about five computers. -- attr. Thomas J. Watson (Chairman of the Board, IBM), 1943