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Comment Re: He sounds like an idiot (Score 1) 332

People around here hate C# (those that do) because it's from MS. When it comes to MS, there are no technical merits that can redeem the technology. They are not rational people. Most of them probably don't even program for a living.

As a former Visual Basic programmer I will not base my livelihood on a MS programming language. Who knows when MS announces the next shiny programming language, declares my companies existing code base obsolete and expects everyone to repeat the same mistake.

I do not view this as irrational in the least.

Comment Re:All linked in /usr ? (Score 4, Informative) 58

All binary & lib dirs linked in /usr ? That's incredibly STUPID Don't they know why /usr existed in the 1st place ?

Story time: [...]

Of course they know why /usr existed in the first place, the article references two discussions about the merits and downsides of such a move. To me the critical argument is that the original use case you cited of late mounting /usr to a networked filesystem is already broken, mostly by udev, and fixing it is not realistic or worthwhile.

As for shifting everything to root, I agree reflexively but there are advantages to having /usr, high on the list is the fact that people expect it and that it is the approach that Fedora takes. A move like that would impose considerable work on the entire ecosystem without any clear benefit.

The Bottom Line though is this is a change to the default. Debian does and will continue in the future to support both arrangements. So long as people see advantages in having a separated /bin and /usr/bin and configure their systems that way they will continue to exist as a configurable option.

Comment Re:LTR isn't all that long (Score 1) 99

Looking at the still-supported LTR kernels, even the oldest one isn't all that old.

For network-connected embedded systems (routers, network-connected printers, IoT, etc.), I would want a kernel that had security-but-patch-maintenance for at least the useful life of the hardware itself - 5-10 years in most cases, longer in some cases like cars, refrigerators, etc.

If you are designing a device like this and care about maintaining for security then you need to have a continual, preferably over the air, upgrade system in place.

Given that you would be looking at several libc updates over that period upgrading a kernel major version should be expected and not a significant problem. You would be much better off investing more in the update and recovery system than backporting kernel security fixes for ten years.

Comment Re:Goto (Score 4, Interesting) 674

Sure, C gotos are the cleanest solution in a few specific cases and sometimes I get frustrated in higher level languages that lack it.

However I still demonise gotos when teaching coding because it should be use carefully and sparingly. New programmers often see it as a versatile stick that can solve all their problems, and while it can make the code "work" we moved on from spaghetti code for a reason.

My personal rule is that a goto should only ever go down the code and never into new blocks.
(except for implementing a try/catch system using longjump, every rule has an exception...)

Comment Re:Will they ban browsers with JavaScript? Program (Score 1) 282

How they will [ban] something which can be implemented in a simple php script with a common is library is beyond me.

It is rather easy actually, I'll lay it out step by step.
1. You, a UK citizen, create service with encryption.
2. The UK government sends you a letter advising you to disable the encryption for them or go to jail.
3A. You disable the encryption.
3B. You go to jail, the government seizes your service and disables the encryption.

Comment Re:Not a safety hazard? My ass! (Score 1) 96

Most of Australia's controlled airspace uses ADS-B for separation. Only the densely populated areas have secondary radar.

The risk of a collision is relatively low as they most commonly separate by altitude and a 70km horizontal deviation probably wouldn't reach another flight path.

It does screw up separation monitoring and safety management programs fairly badly though. Some plans also have ADS-B based collision alert systems too, which would cause lots of panic if they went off.

I am blown away that the 787s cockpit network is so bad that it routinely drops position data packets. Often enough that it frequently loses multiple sequential packets and the firmware developers implemented a dead reckoning system to plaster over the issue. How do you screw up a network that badly?

Comment Been running at Alice Springs for a while (Score 1) 104

Alice Springs in Australia has been testing this system for a few years. Unfortunately I'm not sure how it worked out as I am no longer working in the field.

The Alice airport has an interesting problem. Basically there aren't a lot of flights and in a normal situation the airport would not have tower controllers. However the flights that are there tend to come in dense waves, so the risk is higher than the average numbers would indicate and they had to have a controller. I also believe that they lost money on the airport because fees are charged per plane that lands.

The hope of the remote system is that they could have a team on staff for the few hours a day that control was required and the rest of the time the airport would run uncontrolled and the staff could be utilised elsewhere.

Comment Re:An immediate opportunity (Score 1) 17

It is an interesting problem but as you get into the details it rapidly becomes more complex.

  1. You need to detect the difference between a normal movement such as walking or kneeling and a fall. This is complex because we move by deliberately off balancing ourselves. This also has to be highly accurate, a 1% false positive rate would make walking around impossible.
  2. The person has to be saved from the fall. It isn't enough to straighten the legs, in fact that could make it worse. The whole body has to be righted, with assistance because the core muscles are probably also weak.
  3. As outlined in the original post, the righting will probably be performed by shifting out a counterbalancing mass. This mass has to be carried around and probably needs to be around 15-20% of the person's body weight. They obviously won't be able to carry this so assistance needs to be provided

Exoskeleton suits are awesome and I want one when I am old but often the simple solutions like a walking frame or stick are actually the best ones.

Comment Only solving half the cost issue (Score 2) 63

Part of the problem that isn't addressed in the summary is that to have a cm accurate position you also need to have an oscillator that is accurate in the tens of picoseconds range.

From the article:
> The clock attached to the external front-end was an oven-controlled crystal oscillator (OCXO), which has much greater stability than the low-cost oscillators used to drive GNSS signal sampling within smartphones.

An OCXO is far more expensive than a smartphone manufacturer will happily absorb (~$30). It is also constantly heating the crystal so your battery life gets thrown out the window too.

GPS manufacturers very carefully select their cheaper TCXO chips in order to get nanosecond accuracy. Special tricks are used to get sufficient DAC resolution on the voltage control in order to steer them to the correct level. I have been out of the industry for several years but I would be shocked if there has been a 100x improvement in quality without hearing anything about it.

Comment Re: Tabs vs Spaces (Score 2) 428

Which only matters if all indentation, including alignment, is done with tabs. The moment you throw in a few spaces to line something up on a non-tab boundary (say, to align a second line of arguments with the first argument), then you have a mess, unless your tab width is set to exactly the value that whoever touched the code before you set it to.

And here is what you are doing wrong. Tabs are for indentation, spaces are for alignment.

If you are increasing the nesting depth, use one tab.
If you want to shift the start of a line over to align the arguments, use spaces.

Tabs are not X-spaces. Tabs are an abstract indentation level which can be represented as a number of space characters.

Comment Ubiquiti has form (Score 1) 225

As the article said "the company has a dark history of securities fraud, violation of U.S. sanctions, trademark and copyright lawsuits and software patents".

I personally discovered that their standard wifi board didn't follow the mini-pcie spec on flight mode (W_DISABLE). In fact there is no way, other than cutting power to the card, of disabling radio transmissions. Multiple inquiries on this topic were all met with stunned silence. At the time I was working for a substantial company buying boxes of cards at a time, I can't imagine their response to individuals raising issues would be better.

I wouldn't trust a Ubiquiti device in the future, their attitude to standards and specifications could best be described as flexible. As a manufacturer once you incorporate their device into your product you become liable for all their RF creativity, not something any rational company should accept.

Comment Re:I have experienced this first hand (Score 5, Insightful) 574

The catch here is that a degree is a very poor first step.

If you have recently graduated think of the worst person you just went through university with. The one who plagerised all their assignments and never seemed to get caught, who struggles to understand the difference between a loop and an if block, the person you would fake a heart attack to avoid getting stuck with in a group project.

This person has the same qualifications as you do.

In fact, the person described probably has better qualifications on their CV because they are more happy to lie about them.

You need to figure out how you differentiate yourself from them. As someone hiring that person is the absolute last thing I want to end up with and I will happily chuck 50 maybe CVs to avoid them.

This differentiation is where things like prior work experience, open source contributions and memberships of local user groups plays a role.

Btw, being in Aus have you signed up for linux.conf.au yet? lots of recruitment happens in forums like this.

Comment Re:This is complete crap!!! (Score 1) 112

If they're worried about hacking it, it's a complete farce; there's no reason why the computer doing the sums even has to be connected to the internet, seeing as I think all the ballots are counted by people (they're farcically large ballots often described as table cloths), they just plod in a few numbers as the data comes in. Someone must be worried that competent, impartial people will have a look and find something which has been giving out porky pies.

They said "hacking or manipulation", they mean that there are potentially bugs which could be triggered by malicious input. The computer doing the tally is not connected to the internet. This is a bit alarmist and they have only tried playing the card recently, the AEC seems to be getting desperate.

The real reason is the other one that they offered, "underpins the industrial and fee-for-service election counting systems". The AEC makes a fair bit of money running elections private organisations and other countries. While what they primarily offer is impartiality, technical assistance is a strong component and they obviously feel that releasing their software would impact that business.

The AEC tallies have been independently verified several times, there isn't a substantial case that the election outcomes are being distorted. However I still believe that the code should be public.

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