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Comment Re:Sad (Score 2, Informative) 901

I'm a true blue *nix junky. I only use windows if absolutely necessary and I've worked as a Linux and OSX sysadmin. But I must admit that Windows one shining strength is just how turnkey it can be. There's really not much fiddling to be done at all. In fact, the entire Windows client OS model revolves around preventing fiddling. An ethos that is the polar opposite of the Linux model of being designed around facilitating fiddling by the user.

Comment This seems a tad hyperbolic (Score 1) 5

This seems like some real bass ackwards logic.

  • There are no known dangers and the OS has a history of not having any known dangers
  • Company is not partaking in behaviors that protect against known dangers
  • There may, one day, be dangers in the future
  • Therefore this OS is more dangerous than other OS's that have known dangers and a history of poor security.

Um. Suurrree captain logic.

What determines if something is risky or not is both the protection and the threat. If I don't have a roof on my porch, but it's *never* rained in my area that doesn't make the risk of getting wet is 100%. It's 0%.

Comment If they're willing to pay for a rewrite, go for it (Score 1) 504

Explain the GPL, that your work is based on pre-existing GPL source and what that means (that modifications to it are also GPL). Make it clear that they are not required to expose/distribute the source unless they distribute it. If they're still staunchly against GPL'ing the code. Proceed to explain that in order to break away from the GPL code, you'll have to start from scratch and find lgpl or bsd libraries to replace the gpl ones or write them yourself. Give an honest assessment of how long it would take you to start the project over like this. They're your employer, if they're willing to pay for closed source and absorb the overhead of not leveraging open source libraries then go for it! More money for you. :)

Comment Re:This comment surprises me (Score 1) 640

You are confused over the term "OEM". That's ok, it can be unintuitive. You should stop by your friendly wikipedia to learn what one is.

Dell, Apple, HP, Gateway are all OEM's. Though your confusion also seems to lead to an extremely narrow view of OEM. It implies that Intel and other chip manufacturers like AMD are the only computer OEM's in existence. Very odd indeed.

Apple workstations are also the cheapest work station available with the same hardware specifications.

So, to tally it up:

  • You don't know what OEM means (look it up to avoid this mistake in the future)
  • Cheapest workstation on the market
  • Better case/cooling design than any other (more expensive) competitor
  • Can run any operating system I want which gives me more freedom in selecting the appropriate application for the job
  • Higher value retention over time, so when I upgrade my workstation the used one sells for more and reduces the over all cost of upgrading.
  • My workstation uses all standard interconnects and works with any off the shelf product I wish to use.
  • I get to sip cappuccino with turtle neck wearing beatniks and dance to my iPod by myself surrounded by psychedelic colors because that's why I bought a dual octo core workstation.

Seems to me that the fools are the ones so blinded by anti-fanboyism that they can't see the best deal in town staring them in the face.

Comment Re:This comment surprises me (Score 2, Interesting) 640

Apple seems to be doing quite well, in fact better than any other competitor in their market sector. Apple is an OEM computer and consumer electronics company.

For example, Apple's market cap is greater than the next two competitors combined (hp + dell). Apple vs. HP vs. Dell Market Cap

It really needs to be drilled home that Apple is a hardware OEM, not a pure software company. They should be compared to other hardware oem's that provide similar services and have have similar user support and manufacturing infrastructures. They are not even anti-competitive with Microsoft besides on the marketing hype front. They've put decent engineering effort into support Microsoft operating systems out of the box. . . unlike the "oops there goes your mbr" method of MS installs if you dared to install your alternative OS's first.

Comment Re:I nominate... (Score 1) 492

So the solution is??????

The solution is rather simple. Provide users with an easy to obtain, uninhibited access experience for a reasonable cost.

Most people want to be honest, unless there's a clear win for being dishonest. Right now, the process for getting videos onto your TV go something like:

  • Torrent/usenet/whatever the video
  • pray that it doesn't have badly done foreign subtitles
  • Pray that if it does have subtitles because it's a foreign film that your convertor handles them correctly
  • convert to a media format that's playable on your TV or watch the flick on your less than ideal monitor.
  • Hope that the video, in general, is of acceptable quality.

Now, that's a lot of trouble to go through just to watch a video. Why are people doing it? Is it really to save the 4 bucks or is it the convenience of doing most of this at home, in the background, provides greater flexibility in the end.

Downloading music isn't quite as bad, but there's often issues of tags to deal with or the occasional bad rip. If you're on a premium tracker, then you have to make sure you maintain good ratios and in some cases purchases music to rip and upload as well.

Digital media is so cheap to reproduce it's practically free. That's the rub, even non-technical people understand this. That's why they don't feel guilty "stealing" something that's virtually free to create. The expense incurred is now approximately 0 for distribution. However, the media conglomerates don't want to adjust their prices. Even non-technical people see this. When they moved form tapes to CD's, everyone was excited because it was supposed to be a much cheaper distribution media, but the price went up. Now they're moving from CD's to digital, a zero cost media to distributers, and yet....the price remains the same.

The only way the media companies are going to catch this dragon by the tail is if they adjust to meet the market's new demands. Provide a subscription service, charge some reasonable base price and let people download all they want in an uninhibited, high quality format. I guarantee they have enormous amounts of market analysis that tells them what the average consumer spends on media a month and differences between "power consumers" and "normal consumers". I'd wager that most people, even before the internet download craze, spent less than 20 dollars per month on music and maybe 10 to 20 bucks a month on renting movies.

So for the cost of cable, why not provide unlimited access? Who cares if the occasional obsessive compulsive teenager downloads 100's of gigs of music that would take him 5 years to listen to if he didn't sleep and holed up in his basement 24/7 with the stereo on?

It's about service and quality now. The copies of the media itself are negligible. What the media companies need to focus on is providing a better service then their competitors (trackers, usenet, etc). Fast downloads (no waiting a week for a torrented movie), centralized searching, guaranteed quality, no hassle viewing, and a warm, fuzzy feeling that the company you're purchasing from is actually trying to provide you with value instead of fuck you in the ass.

Comment Going out on a limb here. . . (Score 1) 284

But maybe people who make better grades, on average, have less time to pursue more frivolous activities whether those be Facebook or pocket pool.

I'd put money on finding out that on average the members of virtually any activity that doesn't directly relate to getting better grades have lower gpa's then those people who spend most of their free time.....attempting to get better grades.

There's a reason why most of the students who are in the 3.5 and up range constantly joke about "having no life".

The Internet

China Denies Role In US Grid Hacks 91

Slatterz writes "The Chinese government is denying any involvement in the reported infiltration of US electric grid systems. Xinhua news agency quoted Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu as saying that any sort of involvement from China in the incident 'doesn't exist at all.' The denial follows a report in the Wall Street Journal which claimed that agents from China and Russia along with several other countries had infiltrated the computer systems charged with managing electricity in the US and left behind software payloads which could be used to control or disable electric grids in the US." Bruce Schneier is skeptical about the whole story.

Comment Re:Royal Navy anti slavery actions (Score 2, Insightful) 649

No, that's not a good start, because you are still choosing to give special treatment to some selected group. You are attempting to make up for past (or even ongoing) injustices by creating more injustice. Personally, I don't regard that as a particularly good idea.

The reason for this is the same as the one below.

So the person who isn't from a disadvantaged socio-economic class gets punished if he winds up with the same scores as someone who is and is competing for a limited resource? How the hell is that fair?

There's no punishment here. As I stated before, a child that manages to obtain an 80th percentile score when he went to a school that didn't even have a book for him to study has proven far more work ethic, persistence, and dedication to academia than his counterpart with the same score that wen to a school for which the only cause of poor performance is his own lack and shortcomings.

Please pay attention to this next part: Grades alone have never been the sole determining factor of a student's admittance . A student with a 3.8 but a long list of extracurricular activities, community service, and sports is often chosen over the 4.0 student with nothing else to show. Why is it so absurd to recognize the diverse achievements of low income students as well?

There's no "target". The concept is one of local responsbility. You may disagree with that concept and think the system should be more centralized -- that's fine, but to make the analogy with Jim Crow and imply that it's done deliberately doesn't seem particularly honest to me.

Education is already centralized to some extent. Federal monies and state monies support schools, just not to the degree that local property taxes do. I'm not proposing a complete paradigm shift, but a change in degree.

And yes, it is absolutely intentional. The high income neighborhoods with a more direct access to the law makers push very hard to maintain the status quo. And these laws have the same end effect on that population's participation in education as jim crow did on their participation in government.

Comment Re:Royal Navy anti slavery actions (Score 1) 649

On what grounds would it have been empty?

Admittedly mostly anecdotal.

Exactly what injustice is perpetrated by filling another chair in a classroom? I've never, in my 7 years attending and 4 years working at various universities not been able to sit in on any class I wanted to.

However, most any university student would tell you the same. It's common knowledge and encouraged to sit in on classes (they call it "auditing" :) ) and I haven't heard of hardly anyone not being able to due to a lack of seats.

It'd be a much better rebuttal to point out that the cost of a student at a university is not solely determined by the seat they sit in. ;)

Comment Re:Royal Navy anti slavery actions (Score 1) 649

Nope, you're absolutely right. I don't think we could. But if we could provide that benefit without taking the opportunity from someone else, it would be a good start. Exactly what injustice is perpetrated by filling another chair in a classroom? I've never, in my 7 years attending and 4 years working at various universities not been able to sit in on any class I wanted to. What harm is perpetrated against that 90% by allowing another child to sit in a chair that otherwise would have been empty? The only harm I could see is a perceived harm that doesn't exist in reality or is very minimal in its impact.

Though sometimes perceptions can be as detrimental as realities. . .

I think the best way to approach the issue is to focus on socio economic class rather than race. It's a fact that students who attend under funded school's will not perform as well on the entry tests as those who attend the best funded schools. The poor score is not a reflection of the student's potential, but their past opportunity. Universities already adjust for this to a degree, but I think the degree should be more. I've tutored in inner city schools and I attended a very, very tiny rural high school. For differing reasons, the educational opportunities are very impoverished. . . much more so in inner city schools (e.g. one book per class).

Another good start would be eliminating Jim Crow'sh type laws that still exist today in the realm of education. For example, few people know that the vast majority of a public school's funding comes from local property taxes. The consequence is that poor neighborhoods have shitty schools which provide shitty k-12 education placing the students at an inherent disadvantage and increasing the likelihood that they'll remain poor. This is why you can have a school whose students don't have the basic learning materials they need and just a district over in the posh, upper class subdivision you have one of the top ranked high schools in the nation.

These practices are no different than the districting and forced segregation that happened just a couple of decades ago, though the target is "the poor" that just so happens to be a vastly black demographic.

Sorry for the long reply, I know you were aiming for a nice 5s sound byte rebuttal but the issue is not that simple.

Comment Re:Royal Navy anti slavery actions (Score 4, Insightful) 649

That's what it's all about at the end of the day. I've yet to understand how giving money to the descendants of slaves repairs the damage that was done by the slave trade, but there you go.

I can explain this for you. I know they don't really teach this in schools in as much detail as they should.

Slavery was not fully abolished, technically, until 1865. Now, that sounds like a long time ago. Over 100 years. But what happened after that? Well for 100 years, blacks were not allowed to go to the same schools with whites, they weren't allowed to live by whites, they weren't allowed to meaningfully interact with whites, they're vote was actively negated through Jim Crow laws, and they weren't even allowed to drink the same water.

Let me repeat that lest the math was not clear, they were actively and openly oppressed, exploited, violently attacked by both private vigilanties and law enforcement, and disenfranchised until 1965 . That means if you're 43 or over, you were alive then. It also means your parents were almost assuredly alive and could either tell tales of fighting for or against the Civil Rights movement unless you're very young.

What does this mean really? I'm sure the response is "Well, I didnt' do any of that!". This is true, but the entire American society did that. Laws aren't passed by individuals, they are passed by nations. Widespread discrimination of that calibar is not commited by individuals, it's sanctioned by states. And so, it is society that owes a debt.

It was not African American's Great Great Great Grandparents that were shoved into ghettos, educationally marginalized, disenfranchised, and openly, violently opposed. Those who experienced this first hand are still alive today as are those who perpetrated these grave crimes against humanity.

The audacity to presume that in less than one full generation 300 years of this stature of oppression would simply *poof* disappear. Do you really think that all the fathers and grandfathers who were so sure that blacks were less than human in their teens, 20's, and 30's all of a sudden did a 180 and changed their attitudes? It takes more than 1/2 a generation to repair that kind of dehumanization.

And to compare this to Dresden. Are you completely daft? Are you truly that ignorant of the difference (not in a hateful sense, but in the literal sense of igorance)? Dresden was a single event in a war that spanned a few years. The decendents of dresden were not stripped of their heritage, educational opportunities, and identity. Forced into slavery, shoved into ghettos, hanged from trees, and treated verbally and physically like animals for 15 generations .

Just ponder that for a moment. Just think of the significance, of the impact that has on a culture. I am amazed that the black community is so forgiving. That the sons (literally) of those our nation abused so egregiously are not absolutely raving with desire for revenge. That they're recovering so quickly economically, educationally, and culturally.

No, it is not one individual that owes a debt, the entire country owes a debt.

Now, I don't think monetary reperations are the right way to make amends. Mainly, because the harm is nigh incalculable. But if it were possible to guarantee a free ride to every black child to a first class college to give them the opportunity to pull their communities out of the ghettos that our nation put them in then that might be a good start. Of course, we probably can't afford that either.

The solution is not easy, nor is it simple, nor is it cheap. But your indignation is misplaced, misguided, and misinformed.

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