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Comment Re: What should happen and what will happen (Score 1) 82

There's a straightforward reason why lots of web apps continued to use MD5 *long* after it was deprecated: MySQL had a function for md5() almost from the start, but didn't have an inline function for SHA() until 4.0.2...

What sane person does their hashing inside their RDBMS? You hash it in code before you store it.

Comment You still need completely specified algorithms (Score 1) 292

Given a list of inputs and outputs for each code fragment, DeepCoder learned which pieces of code were needed to achieve the desired result overall.

Maybe if you work for NASA, are building life and safety critical industrial software, or writing firmware for a pacemaker you get requirements that are this specific. In the other 99% of use cases a developer will be writing to, forget about it. The cost of specifying a problem to that level of detail is astronomical and also multiplies the cost of any changes you might have to make.

Also, who is writing these detailed specs for the AI to follow? Software engineers. This thing is a threat to code monkeys churned out of 6-month certificate programs, not experienced developers. And if my job in 10 years is to interpret hand wavy customer specs into Lojban for an AI to interpret and then hand the results to some interns to groom into something maintainable, then I'll adapt. It's not that different than what I'm doing today.

Comment Re:Well, duh! (Score 1) 143

Now tell me how to stop a friend or acquaintance from uploading something about me (video, image, or text) and having Facebook have the rights to that.

Depending on where you live and whether anyone is making a profit off of it, you might be able to claim a violation of your likeness rights. I doubt your friend got a model release from you before posting to Facebook. I don't know if something like that has ever been tried though.

Comment Re:I'll never understand (Score 2) 143

"Partner" is a generic way to refer to someone's primary romantic relation in a gender and relationship neutral manner. In this case, maybe the woman was his wife, maybe she wasn't. When talking to a group of people, saying "feel free to bring you partner to the party," is way less awkward than saying "girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, or domestic partner".

Comment Re:Battieries are only part of it (Score 1) 382

Also, during power failures, every bus stops. This is great when two buses happen to be passing in opposite directions, causing the entire road to be blocked.

If this happens often enough to be even a remote source of concern for your city then the busses are the least of your problem.

A single branch falling and shorting the overhead lines, a blown transformer, an oopsie with a back hoe can all take out electric bus power without affecting city-wide power. The MBTA's mixed record of maintaining its infrastructure notwithstanding, we don't have this problem nearly as much with the green line trolleys because they have dedicated, limited access rights of way and travel on a fixed path.

Comment Re:Battieries are only part of it (Score 3, Informative) 382

Some buses run on batteries, but I've seen several systems now for buses that get power from overhead lines (similar to trains). The summary seems to be overlooking these vehicles.

While overhead wires are fine for trains, which have predictable, smooth, well-maintained paths to travel, they are less than optimal for buses.

We have these in Cambridge, MA. They are a hassle because it's a fairly common occurrence that the armature will pop off the overhead wire and the bus will grind to a halt until the driver can go around and use a pole to hook it back on, creating a huge traffic hazard in the meantime. It would be great if they had some battery backup and could limp along to a bus stop before having to be reconnected.

Also, during power failures, every bus stops. This is great when two buses happen to be passing in opposite directions, causing the entire road to be blocked.

Comment Re:language (Score 3, Interesting) 251

I can't find the source, but I remember reading that speakers of lower entropy languages simply end up speaking faster than speakers of higher entropy languages. E.g. English on average is spoken more slowly than Spanish by native speakers because English has less redundancy, so errors are more likely to affect received meaning. Overall spoken information rate (bps) remains pretty constant.

Comment Re:wha? (Score 1) 626

Federal government law enforcement agency requires federal government employee to unlock federal government owned phone for inspection. Controversial!

Of course it's controversial. Did the officer show proper security clearance? Did he have a need-to-know? Was there a completed dd2875 on file for the officer? Did the officer give the scientist a chance to validate his credentials and need to know with the program manager?

Another interesting question would be what is red material doing on a cell phone, especially one that was taken out of the country? I suspect there was no classified material unless this scientist was grossly negligent. Probably just some FOUO communications. Still bad, but not as bad as it could have been. I imagine he will still get chewed out for not just surrendering the locked phone instead of unlocking it though.

Comment Re:I don't mean to go all 'Papierin, mein herr,' b (Score 4, Insightful) 626

Heavy emphasis on "US citizens" there, because it's kind of important.

I object to the citizen part being important. Much of the restraints placed on government by the constitution are worded with phrases like "The government shall not" or "No person shall be required to", with no mention of citizenship. If these are inalienable human rights, and if all men are created equal, then it shouldn't matter which country a person is from, the government has no business violating them.

Comment ASCII Field Separator (Score 1) 612

The article mentions ASCII Field Separator as a character that was "Never to my knowledge used specially after teletypes.". I can think of one example. The HL7 MLLP (Minimal Lower Level Protocol) uses FS (0x1C) as the default character to indicate the end of a complete record. HL7 (Health Level 7) is a format commonly used in the medical world to transmit events, health records, and perform queries between different systems. ASCII VT (0x0B) was used as the start record indicator.

Of course implementers could agree on other characters for a particular interface, and most software allowed you to configure this, but these values were the defaults in the spec and most interfaces stuck to that. I also recall some of the lesser-used ASCII characters used as separators is ASC X12 formats as well, but can't recall off the top of my head which ones.

Comment Re:Not what he said. (Score 1) 594

We do have worker safety laws. If they're not worded strongly enough they should be improved. (Not implement more unions with all the problems they bring).

Yeah, that's a good idea, maybe workers should form some sort of an organization to lobby congress in opposition to industry for stricter workplace safety regulations. Each employee could contribute a small monthly fee to fund the organization's lobbying activities and administrative costs. Hey, since we've got this thing anyway, maybe we could use it to increase our leverage with management when negotiating for things like benefits and wages.

I wonder what we should call such a thing?

Comment Re:Not what he said. (Score 1) 594

Ergonomics and on the job injury are dealt with by workers comp, and the company eventually has an incentive to address material issues, especially in California.

Really? So if I'm the guy who got fucked by a life-long injury or chronic pain, I'm supposed to be glad that the company eventually deigned to consider the problem after enough people got screwed? Why is it a bad thing to have someone looking out for me proactively?

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