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Comment Re:Need to know? (Score 5, Insightful) 397

The American Security Theater Administration (or whatever their real name is) already asks people going into the US idiotic questions - I've been asked for the address of my hotel, address and phone numbers of my relative in the US (why?), the address of the university I finished 20 years ago (why, you want to send them mail?), and a lot of other crap. Clearly, I could invent random responses and the interviewer would not know any better. I could also claim I didn't have or didn't know an answer. But do you know anybody who, after spending thousands of dollars on a vacation, would risk it all just to spite the security interviewer? So everybody (except the actual terrorists, of course) just tells these guys the truth. And hates the American culture just a little bit more :-(

Comment Disgusting... (Score 1) 175

These "exclusive deals" are disgusting... Imagine that we had the same thing in stores: You would have to go to one store to buy Coca-Cola and a different store to buy Pepsi, or to one store to buy yogurt and a different store to buy cheese, and so on. Basically, every time you go to a store you only would find there 1/2 or 1/3 or whatever of the products on your shopping list, so you need to visit several of those stores to buy everything you want. Wouldn't this be extremely annoying? Doesn't it sound ridiculous?

So, why should we accept this disgusting practice from TV companies? If my favorite two series are each "exclusive" in a different provider, why do I need to use both, and have two sets of hardware or software, and of course double the payment?

In the old days, your two favorite series could have been on two different TV channels. But switching between those was trivial (just a click on the remote). They also didn't increase the cost of cable (or adding a channel increased it slightly). But switching between two different cable/netflix/amazon/etc. provider is not as trivial. And costs WAY too much (each service costs full price even if you want it just for watching a single missing series).

Of course, there is one alternative which carries all the content - BitTorrent. It looks like the TV providers are really encouraging us to use this alternative... Not just because it's cheaper (this is not a big issue for people with a job) but because it simply has the content I want, and none of the other providers do (and will have even less in the future as this exclusivity arms race continues).

Comment Re:Heh, if only it worked (Score 1) 225

The issue is that for mysterious reasons US banks believe Americans are too dumb to remember their PINs.

Maybe not "too dumb", but how can you possibly remember your PIN number if you have more than one different credit cards, like many Americans do?
I have 4 different credit cards, and use at least 3 of them with some frequency, but when I go to Europe (where this PIN stuff is popular) I find myself using the same credit card all the time because I simply can't be bothered to remember all these different PIN numbers.

This whole PIN number thing is pretty stupid - it doesn't protect against fraud, just against use of stolen credit cards. The chip itself (without a PIN) is already enough to protect against fake credit cards with stolen numbers. But why are physical stolen credit cards suddenly a problem, when it hasn't been a problem for more than 30 years? Are there more pickpockets now than ever?

Comment Re: Linus filled a void (Score 5, Insightful) 273

I used GNU and other free software tools on SunOS several good years before Linux existed. The GNU tools were better in every way than the SunOS ones. Each GNU knockoff of a UNIX tool had many more features. The C compiler was better than the Sun one, and so was the debugger. There were many new applications that I used that didn't exist on SunOS. At some point I was running a system where SunOS was just a kernel, and everything else came from free software. Linux mostly replaced this SunOS kernel by a different kernel - nice, but not a mind-boggling innovation.

Comment Incorrect report, now gets copied to Slashdot :-( (Score 5, Informative) 173

It's sad how stupid reporters report wrong "news", the error gets repeated all over the Internet, and finally lands in Slashdot whose editor didn't know the original news report was wrong.

The 16-year-old girl did not invent a previously-unknown theorem. What she did is to re-invent a theorem which Euclid already listed and proved over two thousand years ago ( But Euclid listed hundreds of theorems, most have simple and basic proofs, and most of them are never specifically taught. In this case, the girl was not taught this theorem, but she thought that she could have used such a theorem in her homework, so she went about proving it (with help from her teacher, who was also not familiar with Euclid's mention of this theorem).

The girl's proof is different Euclid's, but still very simple and elementary, and is in no way a profound addition to Mathematics. But this girl is still admirable, in that she had the creativity and resourcefulness to imagine a "new" (to her) theorem, and to go around proving here - rather than sticking to the "cheat sheet" of theorems she was taught in class. This girl definitely deserves an A in her math class, but not worldwide mention on news classes.

Of course, it's not her fault, but rather that of the reporters who blew this story out of proportions, and reported this stuff as a new theorem, a breakthrough, or other irrelevant adjectives - without checking the validity of this "story" with any Mathematician worth his salt. This "story" should never have made headlines, and definitely not slashdot. But the girl still deserves praise, and of course an A :-)

Comment Re:So when was it claimed to be perfect? (Score 3, Insightful) 109

What on earth is it supposed to mean? Has this guy won every game against every other person? Therefore they're not perfect. But those winners, does that mean THEY were perfect? No, can't be because they didn't win all their games.

"Perfect" is an exaggeration, but the human's one win does demonstrates the computer is not vastly superior to the human. If *I* was to play against this computer, I would loose in each and every game. 100% of the games. I didn't even write "99.999%" because I couldn't win a single game against a vastly superior software. Go is not a game of chance, so my "luck" would not have let me win even once. But the Go champion did win some games against the software, so apparently they still are at a comparable playing level (even if one is slightly better than the other). So the software isn't "perfect" at beating humans. Yet.

Comment Re:Seems a little one sided (Score 1) 199

Could you please explain what a non-combat soldier is? Because by any definition I have ever seen, short of them being marked medics, soldiers are by definition combatants.

There are plenty of "non-combat" soldiers, just as you have "non-programmers" in a software company: Every organization have people who are in charge of supplies, medics (like you said), people who fix vehicles, people in charge of HR, and in the particular unit involved (a canine unit), I guess people who train dogs and care for them. As you would expect, *all* of these people, as soldiers, got some sort of basic military training, including how to use a gun - but most of them probably haven't touched a gun since. A couple of "non-combat" soldiers wondering around lost look very different from a platoon of heavily armed combat-trained soldiers with some sort of mission...

Also, it seems, their military vehicle was attacked with what would be rather underwhelming weapons (petrol bombs and stones), at which point both soldiers escaped unharmed. Doesnt exactly sound like they were under a great deal of threat here.

Obviously, if the attackers would have caught them, they could have been killed with those stones and petrol bombs - or even bare hands. This has happened before, to Israelis who were less lucky.

Of course they retaliated by killing one Palestinian and wounding ten more

This doesn't sound like retaliation, but simply extraction of the two innocent individuals who were surrounded by an angry mob who didn't want to disperse and was actually happy (!?) to engage the armed soldiers who came to extract the two.

Comment Re:Almost there... (Score 1) 94

No matter what the marketing wankers and control freaks ("we own your data and we own you") at google, apple, amazon etc would like you to think, cloud storage will never replace local storage.

You can also have private cloud storage, namely NAS: In my home I already have a 3 TB NAS attached to the home network, and all the devices in my home (computers, streamers, cellphones, etc.) can use movies, photos, music, etc. stored on that shared disk. This made it un-important for individual computers to have huge hard disks: My wife's computer has a 2 TB hard disk, which remains 95% free, for example.

So it makes sense that in the future you'll have the really big (and chip low $/GB) disks only in NAS devices, and all other computers, devices, etc., will have smaller disks with less concern to the $/GB and more concern for reliability, speed, power consumption, etc.

Comment Re:This is why (Score 1) 229

This is why we can't have nice things.

This is why Marketing shouldn't promise things that they can't deliver. They should know that "unlimited" has a specific meaning and if they don't mean it, they shouldn't promise it.

If they promised storing an unlimited number of photographs, it doesn't mean they need to promise that each photograph can be of unlimited size. The number of people who have 1 GB bona-fide photos is vanishingly small, and Amazon is of no obligation to serve them.
However, the next step from "abusers" would be, of course, to store huge files as many separate photos on Amazon.
But I'm not sure why "unlimited" is the point here. If they did limit it to 15 GB (like Google drive's free storage), the abusers could still save 15 GB of non-photo files on this service. This would be less of an abuse?

Comment Re:Old Habits Die Hard (Score 1) 442

What? So if my business is, say, making people unable to turn their TVs on, the people in the TV industry should just "adapt" to people being unable to use their product?

If people want this TV-disabling product, then yes, the TV industry should adapt, perhaps by switching to make a different product, or a new kind of TV that people don't want to disable because they actually like it.

Carpet-bombing of ads - sticking them in every TV show you watch, on every website you visit, every newspaper you read and every road you drive on - are not a force of nature. The ad industry can also pick other solutions. One example is inventing ads that people actually *want*, and even collect (remember coupons?). Another example is only advertise when you really are looking for something - like Google's search ads.

Comment Re:How about slashdot fix the headline.. (Score 4, Informative) 91

IThey are not DROPPING anything, they are looking at ADDING the ability to skip updates.
You can still incrementally update of course, there is no hint of dropping that.

Indeed! I was really surprised to read this headline, which implied that "incremental upgrades" are no longer being supported. It turns out, however, that the poster simply has a completely different concept of "incremental upgrade" than I do: For him, the normal upgrade is just "upgrade", and an "incremental upgrade" is when the distro forces you to upgrade in several small steps instead of one big step. The plan is to stop forcing you to take these small steps. And that's it! Upgrades - the normal upgrades that have always been supported - will NOT be dropped.

Comment Re:Rsync could have done this too! (Score 2) 150

Not exactly.

rsync will always have to go through the files and check. Trying to identify stuff like renames will obviously make a difference, but as it's only really going to have any sizeable impact when you happen to have lots of renames, but not actual data changes, it's probably not even worth the effort of implementing it.

The rename issue is actually *very* important. It's not likely that you'll have a lot of independent renames, but something very likely is that you rename one directory containing a lot of files - and at that point rsync will send the entire content of that directory again. I actually found myself in the past stopping myself from renaming a directory, just because I knew this will incur a huge slowdown next time I do a backup (using rsync).

Comment Re:Rsync could have done this too! (Score 1) 150

The crucial difference is ZFS send is unidirectional and as such is not affected by link latency. rsync needs to go back-and-forth, comparing notes with the other end all the time.

But this is *not* what the article appears to be measuring. He measured that the time to synchronize a changes were nearly identical in rsync and "ZFS replication" - except when it comes to renames.

Comment Rsync could have done this too! (Score 4, Informative) 150

Reading this article, it seems that this "ZFS replication" is very similar to rsync, with one straightforward addition:

Rsync works on an individual file level. It knows how to synchronized each modified file separately, and does this very efficiently. But if a file was renamed, without any further changes, it doesn't notice this fact, and instead notices the new file and sends it in its entirety. "ZFS replication", on the other hand, works on the filesystem level so it knows about renamed files and can send just the "rename" event instead of the entire content of the file.

So if rsync ran through all the files to try to recognize renamed files (e.g., by file sizes and dates, confirming with a hash), it could basically do the same thing. This wouldn't catch the event of renaming *and also* modifying the same file, but this is rarer than simple movements of files and directories. The benefit would have been that this would work on *any* filesystem, not just of ZFS. Since 99.9% of the users out there do not use ZFS, it makes sense to have this feature in rsync, not ZFS.

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Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"