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Comment Re:Laughable (Score 1) 76

I love IRC. Have you used Slack, though? Think about why the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was popular: it was friendly and non-threatening. Same with Slack, really: even if it functions like IRC, it looks absolutely nothing like your favorite IRC client. Anyone in the company can start using it with basically zero training. It's pretty, brightly colored, approachable, and discoverable. HipChat could have won that space but their UI felt like they wrapped IRC in Java and called it a day.

Slack's made a killing off an IRC-alike that non-technical people genuinely like using. Microsoft seems corporately unable to improve upon the things that made Slack take over businesses by storm, but there's no technological reason they couldn't do it. There's a lot of room in this space for someone willing to put a premium on user experience.

Comment Overage charges have been their business model (Score 1) 36

For some time I used a Verizon 3G mifi hotspot for general net access. One month I went about 1 gig over my 5 gig plan and it doubled my bill. I called customer service and they generously offered to cancel that particular charge, but I when Itold the guy (who was not in India, BTW) that if it ever happened again I'd have to drop the service, he had nothing to help me. A week later he actually called me to let me know they had added a cool feature which would send me a text when I was near the limit to warn me, but I reminded him that the mifi isn't really a phone and the only way I could use it to read SMS messages was to physically plug it into my computer's USB port, which would temporarily disable it as far as using it for internet access. Oops. Sure enough it happened again and despite my deep abiding hatred of our local provider today I have a cable modem.

Comment Re:problems, lol (Score 2) 232

I write web services for remote clients to send information to. 50 msec includes the time to establish a TCP connection to the nginx frontend (written in C!), then to run a little bit of Python code to massage the request and either store it in a database (probably written in C, or maybe Java) or fetch data from one, then to return the results to the remote client. At a previous employer, my code did that about 80,000 times per second, averaged 24/7. At the shop before that, we load tested to 500,000 requests per second but it was only for a few minutes sustained at a time.

When was the last time you personally wrote code to handle 500Kops? Did you know that those durn whippersnappers at Google runs a big chunk of their stack on Python and that they'd laugh at our tiny it doesn't matter to the end user. If we could have reduced a 50ms transaction to 10ms by altering the speed of the light signals carrying our requests, we probably would have. But since we live in a universe with physics, the best we could possible hope for was to reduce the time spent in application code to 0.000ms and thereby drop the entire transaction time to 49ms.

Comment Re:problems, lol (Score 1) 232

Or, you know. You could actually learn how to write good code at the most powerful level. That's a radical thought.

I did, and that's why I'm using Python. I'm capable of writing web services in C, but who the hell's got time for that craziness? Also consider Amdahl's Law: in most of stuff I write, the "running code to process data" bit is a teensy portion of wall clock time. Much more is spent in socket handshaking or waiting for database queries to finish. Out of a 50ms request lifecycle, perhaps 1ms is spent inside a box that I have complete control of. Even if I rewrote it in assembler (C is for high-level pansies) to be 1000x faster, the request would still take 49.001ms. An assload of work porting security-sensitive code into an untyped languages so that the end result can be 2% faster? Yeah, no. My boss would fire me with a quickness if I proposed that.

I'd be much more likely to rewrite performance-critical code in Go or Rust. They're as fast as C but without the death of a thousand cuts like gotofail waiting to ruin your careful planning. Life's too short to waste it hacking in languages that hate you and make you want to look incompetent.

Comment Re:Unsustainable pricing on high tech gadgets (Score 2) 115

It doesn't cost $800 to manufacture an iPhone. More like $100. In the US it would maybe be $150. It is Apples greed that is the blame.

There are always lines around the block on launch day. People cheerfully buy tens of millions of each iPhone. If people are willing to pay that price without a gun to their head, and there are alternatives that they could buy instead but they choose to buy iPhones anyway, how do you justify describing it as greed?

Comment Often deliberately (Score 1) 141

I switched off Comcast a few months ago to a regional ISP that's deploying fiber-to-the-premises all over the place. Their current offering in my neighborhood is FTTN, which is basically fiber to a box near my house, then DSL from that box to my living room. I have two DSL lines bonded for a 50Mbps down, ~8Mbps up connection (that is, faster than Comcast in uploads) for about a third what I was paying Comcast. That's to tide us over until the ISP gets around to replacing that last mile, which they've actually been doing and not continually deferring to some distant future.

Don't cry for me and my DSL connection. Our download speed is theoretically slower, but in practice it's just as fast, utterly uncapped, and far cheaper. I somehow think we'll scrape by.

Comment Re:In before... (Score 1) 150

Also, as a server admin, having IPv6 open increases your traffic, not because more people are visiting but because a lot of bot nets are scanning IPv6 looking for vulnerabilities.

I'm very skeptical of this. What's the Venn diagram of "people who know what IPv6 is" and "people who think you can scan IPv6 space before the heat death of the universe"?

Comment I had fun with this (Score 5, Interesting) 105

I answered one of those calls that was spoofing an area code where I still have lots of friends. When I realized what it was about, I started asking questions about how it worked, what they did, etc. The guy said they had arrangements with Google to promote pages and it was guaranteed.

He asked what kind of business I have. "Oh, I work for Google. By the way, we both know this is bullshit, right?" "Oh, no no no sir! It is not bullshit! It is real!" "Well, thanks for all your company information. I'll give it to my boss this morning and you'll be out of work." "Oh, no no no! There is no need to be doing that!" You could hear his butt pucker from over the phone.

I don't work for Google, but he didn't either so I don't feel bad.

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