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User Journal

Journal Journal: The Horse, Hunter, and Stag

The Horse, Hunter, and Stag
An Aesop's Fable

A quarrel had arisen between the Horse and the Stag, so the Horse came to a Hunter to ask his help to take revenge on the Stag. The Hunter agreed, but said: "If you desire to conquer the Stag, you must permit me to place this piece of iron between your jaws, so that I may guide you with these reins, and allow this saddle to be placed upon your back so that I may keep steady upon you as we follow after the enemy." The Horse agreed to the conditions, and the Hunter soon saddled and bridled him. Then with the aid of the Hunter the Horse soon overcame the Stag, and said to the Hunter: "Now, get off, and remove those things from my mouth and back."

"Not so fast, friend," said the Hunter. "I have now got you under bit and spur, and prefer to keep you as you are at present."

User Journal

Journal Journal: A scathing pun that Microsoft wouldn't like 4

I unintentionally used this pun over the weekend discussing Microsoft with my wife.

Given Microsoft's success rate with Surface, Windows Phone, Zune, and the negative publicity the next Xbox has received, it seems the best way to hurt Microsoft is to leave them to their own devices.

User Journal

Journal Journal: A Future Without Email 2

As perhaps the least secure system in common use today, I've been wondering for about a decade what would replace email. I don't like it, I use it only for automated forms, and I generally think it needs to be superseded. All the efforts to extend or somehow "fix" the system end up optional and thus mostly useless, between the insecure infrastructure making spam extremely easy to send and the lack of compulsory encryption (which would have the advantage of ensuring its support by default in clients/interfaces). It seems like the only way to fix it is a fully incompatible replacement, with the unfortunate likelihood that some form of bridging would end up existing even then, opening up any new system to the problems of the old.

User Journal

Journal Journal: New job 8

Coming up on a month into a new job. One of the worst things about it? My predecessor's documentation consisted of a few outdated spreadsheets hidden in a directory on one of the servers, a list of passwords, a couple folders with license keys, and a file cabinet filled with printouts of howto documents from the Internet with no clue what he used them for (including countless ones for functions and features I have discovered we do not use, as well as software we do not use.)

One recent fun discovery? He assigned an unknown number of undocumented and unreserved IPs within our DHCP block to desktops, with no clues as to specifically why. I discovered this when I installed a virtual machine to test with and clobbered my boss's (the owner's) static IP. He was gone for almost a month before I came on. So far, the static IPs seem related to our copier's scan function, but I can't guarantee that is the only reason, and I see no reason to meddle with the systems that are working. DHCP reservations, here we come!

Now to see if I can get the desktop hubs replaced with switches...

User Journal

Journal Journal: in which i am a noob all over again 17

I haven't posted a journal here in almost three years, because I couldn't find the button to start a new entry. ...yeah, it turns out that it's at the bottom of the page.

So... hi, Slashdot. I used to be really active here, but now I mostly lurk and read. I've missed you.

The Internet

Journal Journal: Ghost Article: Tea Party Win Shake Up Net Neutrality

This ungrammatical ghost (either "win shakes" or "wins shake" would have been correct) was a clear duplicate of another story, so I knew it was doomed when I saw it.

Tea Party Win Shake Up Net Neutrality
Date: 11/04/2010
Original link:
Posted by CmdrTaco in The Mysterious Future!
from the tea-shake dept.

GovTechGuy found a story discussing the Republican and Tea Party congressional wins and what that means for Net Neutrality. Apparently most of the dems who signed the net neutrality pledge last week are now looking for work.


Journal Journal: Ghost Article: BSA Inflate Their Piracy Losses 2

My guess is that this Monday-morning submission turned out to be a duplicate of something that came in over the weekend. But I haven't had a chance to check.

BSA Inflate Their Piracy Losses
Date: 09/20/2010
Original link:
Posted by CmdrTaco in The Mysterious Future!
from the thats-just-marketing dept.

superapecommando noted that Glyn Moody reckons
"The IDC numbers turn out to be reasonable enough, the conclusions drawn from them are not. Reducing software piracy will not magically conjure up those hundreds of billions of dollars of economic growth that the BSA invokes, or create huge numbers of new jobs: it will simply move the money around â" in fact, it will send more of it outside local economies to the US, and reduce the local employment. And it certainly won't do anything to ameliorate the quotidian problems of poorly-written software..."


Journal Journal: Ghost Article: UK Government Refuses To Ditch IE6 1

I was expecting this one to resurface -- it disappeared right about the time Slashdot posted a big political story -- but it hasn't come back yet. I'm guessing it's a dupe of a story over the weekend, but I haven't had time to go searching.

Your Rights Online: UK Government Refuses To Ditch IE6
Date: 08/02/2010
Orig link:
Posted by CmdrTaco in The Mysterious Future!
from the good-plan-guys dept.

ChiefMonkeyGrinder writes
"The UK government has said it will not upgrade its departments computers from Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 because it would not be 'cost-effective'. A recent online petition posted to received 6,223 signatures that called for the 'Prime Minister to encourage government departments to upgrade away from Internet Explorer 6' due to its alleged vulnerability to attack, and because it requires web developers to specially craft sites to support the browser. This raises the question, what is the cost of an upgrade compared to a massive security breach?"


Journal Journal: Ghost Article: Black Hat Talk On China Cyber Army Pulled

This one was funny -- it was in red on the front page at the same time as the article that eventually posted for real, Talk On Chinese Cyber Army Pulled From Black Hat. Oops!

Black Hat Talk On China Cyber Army Pulled
Date: 07/15/2010
Orig link:
Posted by CmdrTaco in The Mysterious Future!
from the nobody-ever-talks-about-the-purple-hats dept.

itwbennett writes
"A talk that would have given conference attendees a unique profile of China's secretive government-sponsored hacking efforts has been pulled from the Black Hat schedule. Wayne Huang, one of the presenters of the talk and CTO with Taiwanese security vendor Armorize, said that he decided to pull the talk after vetting it with several organizations that had contributed intelligence and getting pressure from several places, both in Taiwan and in China. Huang wouldn't say who complained or why, but he said that by pulling the talk Armorize will be able to maintain its good relations with the Asian security community. 'We ran the materials by some key people and they were not happy with it,' he said."


Journal Journal: Ghost Article: Man HIV-Free 2 Years After Stem Cell Treatment

The first Ghost Article in many, many months shows some strange behind-the-scenes SlashCode action. When I reload the original page URL, I get the generic "Nothing to see here, move along". But when I click on the "title" link, the one in the header before the comments section, the page that results has the full article title. It's not just echoing the text in the URL, either... otherwise it would say "Man HIV Free" instead of "Man HIV-Free". That implies that the ghost is still in the database... somewhere.

Man HIV-Free 2 Years After Stem Cell Treatment
Date: 26 Feb 2010
Orig link:
Title link:
Posted by kdawson in The Mysterious Future!
from the good-genes dept.

kkleiner writes

"According to a recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine, a stem cell transplant performed in Germany has unexpectedly removed all signs of HIV from a 42-year-old American patient. The unnamed white male was treated two years ago for leukemia with a dose of donor stem cells, and his HIV RNA count has dropped to zero and remained there since. While the treatment was for leukemia, Dr. Gero Hutter and colleagues at the Charite Universitatsmedizen in Berlin had selected the stem cell donor for his HIV-resistant genes. While there are still many questions unanswered, this is the first such case of stem cells treating HIV that has been reported in a publication of the caliber of the NEJM."

User Journal

Journal Journal: Widenius on "selfless" quest to destroy GPL MySQL "in order to save it" 3

It's not "his baby" any more!

And the "selfless" argument accepts as a given that Oracle will let MySQL die on the vine. There are many rational reasons why they would not.

If Oracle's intentions are opaque, Widenius' motives are no less opaque. He risks serious embarrassment himself by advocating that the EU, as Deus ex machina, strip the GPL, the last layer of protection for the MySQL community and platform. To that extent this issue is *very much* "about Open Source"!

It's time to let go and build "what comes after MySQL". Even a casual observer can see conventional RDBMS architectures straining to keep up with today's data environments, hence the growth of the NoSQL movement. If a fraction of the talent already shed by MySQL AB, combined with the brains at Primebase, and all the other community contributors can rise to that challenge, Oracle may easily find itself on the defensive once more - to the market's gain!

Mr Widenius, you've created one technology so incredibly disruptive that Oracle (the market leader) finally had to buy it - why not move on and create the next one? You already have the support and respect of geeks and suits alike. But you won't keep it by insisting on this contrarian, easily misconstrued campaign.

User Journal

Journal Journal: a return which is long overdue (plus achievements!) 17

I've lurked at /. without posting for ages, mostly because I just don't have the time to interact like I used to.

But I've been clicking through the old RSS feed more and more lately, and when I saw the PAX Plague thread today, I came over to comment, since I'm kind of affected by the whole damn thing. I thought I'd take a look around since I haven't been here in awhile, and I saw that there are freaking ACHIEVEMENTS associated with our accounts. It's silly, and I'm sure it's been here forever, but I thought it was awesome and I was delighted when I read it.

I didn't realize how much I missed Slashdot until I spent some time here today, and I bet that anyone who joined in the last 2 years doesn't even give a shit about my stupid comments or anything, but it felt good to come back here, and feel safely among my people again.


Journal Journal: SQL: random member of each of many groups

Question asked on comp.databases.mysql, which I solved as follows:

mysql> select T.n, T.rnd,, L.street,, count( as idx
from (
select count(*) as n, rand() as rnd, town
from addr
group by town
) T
join addr L on =
join addr R on = and <=
group by
having ceil(T.n*T.rnd) = idx;
| n | rnd | id | street |
town | idx |
| 12 | 0.00842807908396058 | 1 | 601 West 5th Avenue |
Anchorage | 1 |
| 10 | 0.650273804227145 | 37 | 9190 Parkway East |
Birmingham | 7 |
| 11 | 0.226084814617489 | 55 | 3494 BEL AIR MALL |
Mobile | 3 |
| 16 | 0.179602691139656 | 117 | 4940 S Gilbert Rd |
Chandler | 3 |
| 10 | 0.219759042579456 | 154 | 7123 N. 138th Ave. |
Glendale | 3 |
| 18 | 0.559987170211959 | 187 | 2832 North Power Road |
Mesa | 11 |
| 63 | 0.14065875405507 | 213 | 340 East McDowell Rd |
Phoenix | 9 |
| 26 | 0.0233322903731207 | 275 | 15660 N Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd |
Scottsdale | 1 |
| 16 | 0.694685220434037 | 325 | 5000 Arizona Mills Circle |
Tempe | 12 |
| 35 | 0.403429261784469 | 345 | 3901 W Ina Rd |
Tucson | 15 |
| 19 | 0.933090678353878 | 454 | 2200 Panama Lane |
Bakersfield | 18 |
| 15 | 0.45516563714963 | 513 | 4000 Warner Blvd |
Burbank | 7 |
12 rows in set (0.16 sec)


Journal Journal: Uses for self JOIN: 11) winning streak

Cluber on #mysql wanted to find the longest winning streak in a series of matches, like this:

mysql> select * from m;
| id | winner | loser |
| 29 | A | B |
| 30 | A | C |
| 31 | C | B |
| 32 | B | A |
| 33 | A | D |
| 34 | B | C |
| 35 | C | D |
| 36 | E | D |
8 rows in set (0.00 sec)

Longest winning streak per user is the longest series of wins by a user before they lose a match. The wins need not be consecutive. Here is a SQL solution:

mysql> select Streak.winner, max(Streak.cnt)
from (
select, m0.winner, count( as cnt
from m m0
join (
select, min( as minid
from m m1
left join m m2 on m2.loser = m1.winner
and >
group by
) Loss on =
join m Game on Game.winner = m0.winner
and >=
and (Loss.minid is null
or < Loss.minid)
group by
) Streak
group by Streak.winner;

| winner | max(Streak.cnt) |
| A | 2 |
| B | 2 |
| C | 1 |
| E | 1 |
4 rows in set (0.01 sec)

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