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108 comments

hi? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8428017)

I like jews. A LOT. I just watched The Passion, and now I like jews even more! because einstein was a jew, and so was johnny von neumann, and they were both fairly smart. My favorite jew is Milton Friedman!

Yoyo-hacking? (-1, Troll)

Lord Graga (696091) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428022)

I just checked through the article, no talks about any yoyo's there :P
I think it would be nice if somebody clarified that sentence for the rest of us slashdotters. From a quick look on Google it looks like a newsgroup. Is that correct?

Re:Yoyo-hacking? (-1, Redundant)

spiny (87740) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428037)

from the article:

There's nothing like watching hackers at play. When all of us arrive at the post-CodeCon reception thrown by Google, it turns out we get yo-yos with our free booze. And these are no ordinary yo-yos - they have little LEDs in them that light up. Immediately, everybody has to analyze his or her yo-yo. Ken Schalk, who works on software-configuration management system Vesta, whips out a pocket knife and starts taking his apart. "OK, here's the problem," he opines. "The string in the center needs to be tied a little more loosely, plus the plastic needs to be roughed up a little for a good grip." Once he's hacked it for a while, he shows me a couple of tricks - the yo-yo is zapping everywhere and lighting up and zooming around. The guy is an amazing yo-yo fiend. "You've optimized your yo-yo!" I exclaim. "No," he replies humbly. "I've just modified it."

No need to rant. (-1, Flamebait)

Krapangor (533950) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428025)

In a few years with TCPA and PATRIOT ACT III nobody will be haxoring without being moved to /dev/guantanamo or perhaps getting a mv /dev/micronuke /home/haxor.

No... (4, Funny)

Wiser87 (742455) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428027)

A true geek would've also taken the time to personally post their article on slashdot.

Re:No... (2, Funny)

Gil2796 (585952) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428047)

I think the author is trying to /. a foe's website. A clever ploy! By the end of the day, his webserver will be no more than a pile of steaming slag!

Good tactic, fitting of a true geek!

Re:No... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434591)

Absolutely. Either I'm so throughy emersed into geekiness or I've evolved so thoroughly past geekiness, but this article resembles nothing I could closely identify with geek.

No First post (-1, Troll)

Seft (659449) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428034)

At least nobody techsploited slashdot by making a 'First Post'.

Probably because all the Americans are alseep :p.

Re:No First post - fool (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8428052)

Unlike the unidentified foreigner parent, at least this American knows how to set his threshold low in order to see posts that have been modded down.

Re:No First post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8428055)

First Post!

1337

yo-yo hacking? (4, Funny)

DanThe1Man (46872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428038)

Is yo-you hacking like cracking severs while lissening to Vanilla Ice?

Re:yo-yo hacking? (-1, Offtopic)

DanThe1Man (46872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428065)

Damn, I really tried too hard to get first post.

It should be, "Is yo yo hacking like cracking severs while listening to Vanilla Ice?"

Re:yo-yo hacking? (1, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428456)

I think it's more like hacking while listening to the cello being played really, really well.

Re:yo-yo hacking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8428582)

Wouldn't that be ma-ma hacking?

What if you were cracking servers while listening to a really good cello player covering Vanilla Ice? yo-ma-ma hacking. Oh wait, I guess that's something entirely different.

The real hackers? (4, Insightful)

KludgeGrrl (630396) | more than 10 years ago | (#8430253)

Somehow "hacking a yo-yo" seems much more in the spirit of what hacking (as opposed to cracking) is all about -- playfully seeking to improve the way things work.

But then I suppose that I'm just grasping after an earlier halcyon age, when everything was somehow better (including spelling) ;)

Re:The real hackers? (1)

mrogers (85392) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434007)

Cracking is a natural extension of hacking, because so many of the interesting things have locks on them, and the locks are kind of interesting in their own right...

Re:The real hackers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8435366)

Somehow "hacking a yo-yo" seems much more in the spirit of what hacking ... is

Uh, yeah, remind me of that the next time I "hack" a piece of string.

Ahhhhhhh.... (4, Funny)

Ratface (21117) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428039)

*sighs contentedly*

Takes me back to the days when internet connections were text-based and being a hacker meant being a proud explorer of a new frontier.

Where has all the magic gone eh? Thank goodness there are people out there who are keeping the magic alive!

Re:Ahhhhhhh.... (1)

notque (636838) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429154)

Thank goodness there are people out there who are keeping the magic alive!

Are those the people that still run bbs's via telnet?

What do these have in common? (5, Funny)

arcanumas (646807) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428046)

For those wondering what placebos, yoyos , random numbers, fear , CodeCon and Dune have in common:

Only on slashdot have these been combined in a single sentence.

Re:What do these have in common? (5, Funny)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428063)

And only on slashdot would they have a good chunk of the readers never bat an eye at such a combo.

Re:What do these have in common? (1, Funny)

Gil2796 (585952) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428115)

That's usually because we don't read the article before we set out on our karma gathering expeditions! :)

People like me should be given karma points for not posting!

Ok ok, I'll metamoderate! Please don't hurt me anymore :(

Re:What do these have in common? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8433842)

Isn't this self-congratulatory "aren't we ./-ers the *greatest*" interchange rather pathetic :(

Re:What do these have in common? (2, Insightful)

kmonsen (606584) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428194)

The use of placebo was a bit qute though. Like that new winXP disc is just one big shiny placebo pill. Which is kind of true.

Placebos: The ultimate drug (2, Insightful)

RadarMan (648574) | more than 10 years ago | (#8431672)

The placebo effect is an amazingly powerful tool that western science is just starting to open up to.

Think about it -- a sugar pill can help alleviate pain (and help heal a wide range of disease) with ZERO side effects. Isn't that the ultimate goal of any pharmacologist? This is an area of research we should all embrace, though it requires an open mind to do so. The mind has far more control over our body than medical science has been willing to admit.

More on Integrative Medicine [arizona.edu]

The Placebo effect (1)

Jim the Bad (192095) | more than 10 years ago | (#8431949)

It's one of the great mysteries of science. I read somewhere - Fortean Times, I think - that there is even evidence that it works on animals. I don't have a link, dammit, but that's quite incredible if true.

Re:Placebos: The ultimate drug (2, Funny)

mrogers (85392) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434073)

Nah, people will just imagine the side effects too.

I was wondering the other night why placebos aren't used more widely (at least when all other treatments have failed). And then I realised: they probably are. Doctors just don't talk about it because placebos would stop working if people knew about them. At last, a benign conspiracy theory!

Re:Placebos: The ultimate drug (1)

HaggiZ (68526) | more than 10 years ago | (#8436800)

I'm not sure about internationally, but I know they are regularly dispensed at sporting events here in Australia. I had a friend who regularly worked at such events and spectators complaining of headaches were dispensed a sugar pill or two and a large bottle of water. In most instances they were simply dehydrated (running/yelling & drinking alcohol & hot weather not a real good combination) but informing them they were dehydrated usually caught the ire of the person. As such they are administered the placebo in an attempt to get them to ingest some fluid. Those returning a second time are re-examined and then possible given some paracetamol.

I suspect this would be fairly common practice internationally at most major events.

Placebos: The ultimate in malpractice suits (2, Interesting)

Syncdata (596941) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434820)

Western science can open up to placebos all the like. Lawyers will not.
Lawyer:And on the day of June 2nd, 2003, did your client not come into your office complaining of backpain?
Doctor: Yes.
Lawyer: And what did you prescribe to her?
Doctor: Well her complaints were very general, so I gave her a placebo.
Lawyer: In lieu of Actual medicine?
Doctor:No, you see, the placebo effect is actually a well understood and practic...
Lawyer: No further questions for this witness your honor.

Yo Yo hacking (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8428053)

Is that when you hack a server to bring it down, wait for it to come back up again then down, up, down...

Ignore the FA (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8428054)

There's a link to "Nude Beaches" on the same page, which has got to be a lot more inteersting than guys modifying yo-yos :-)

Re:Ignore the FA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8428066)

yes i want to go to Marin County

is that it ? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8428057)


i know /.'ers have a short attention span but 200 words of thin rambling doesnt really make an article

if i wanted articles of this level of intelectual calibre i would get my lowdown from "TechTV" or "the Screensavers"

Re:is that it ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8428165)

i think im putting michael on my ignore list

Re:is that it ? (3, Insightful)

kmonsen (606584) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428180)

There is another article on slashdot about how 50% or something of americans with net access publish their own stuff. This is an example of why this does not need to be a good thing.

I mean how many blogs with personal info do we really need?

Anallee Newitz? (2, Informative)

mikeophile (647318) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428064)

Ummm, put down the porn for two seconds to spell check, ok?

Re:Anallee Newitz? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8428074)

That has got to be the worst porn pseudonym I have ever heard.

Since when is this news? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8428067)

Is it such a slow day at Slashdot? Why is this dump of mental diarrhea "news for nerds" or "stuff that matters"? Someone is at some geek conference, throws a bunch of sci-fi references with a couple of buzzwords and some piece about a software that doesn't work but "will do soon" and suddenly we have a truly wondrous article about how good it is to be a geek.

Re:Since when is this news? (5, Interesting)

lutefish (746659) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428109)

It's a column. She writes chatty, informal bits on tech and geeks for the SF Guardian. Columns suceed precisely because of their individual tone; although writing in a tech-heavy area, there are still the unwired masses that she reaches, as well.

Although she's been writing for the Guardian for a while, she's been writing, at least occasionally, on geek subjects/the web since Bad Subjects, 1995 [eserver.org]. If you want to fault /. for posting it, why bother commenting on how, presumably as a 'true' geek, that you're completely and utterly unimpressed with Newitz's writings/geek credentials?

Re:Since when is this news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8428179)

You answered the question. It's a column, an "informal" rambling. It's not any research, important news or anything out of the ordinary. If I wanted to read shit like that I'd be in blog.org or any other shitty blog place. All the credentials in the world are not worth a crap if your writting skills suck.

Why bother commenting on it? Because hopefully this way the Slashdot editors will think twice before feeding us such tripe.

Re:Since when is this news? (2, Interesting)

Ath (643782) | more than 10 years ago | (#8430244)

If she is the same Annalee Newitz I went to high school with (and I am pretty sure she is) then she writes to satisfy her own ego more than anything else.

Your interest in the subject is a lot less important than the fact that she is a "writer" and sees things published with her byline.

Of course, I am an asshole so what I write (especially on Slashdot) is not particularly relevant either.

Since when is this +5 insightful? (5, Funny)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428310)

"Is it such a slow day at Slashdot? Why is this dump of mental diarrhea "news for nerds" or "stuff that matters"? Someone is at some geek conference, throws a bunch of sci-fi references with a couple of buzzwords and some piece about a software that doesn't work but "will do soon" and suddenly we have a truly wondrous article about how good it is to be a geek."

Not every article on slashdot is revolutionary brilliant. Neither are all replies. Get over it. I for one can't see what's so insightful about your whining.

Erm (1, Insightful)

cca93014 (466820) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428071)

What the fuck is this? News for 12 year olds?

Sorry to be a troll, but really.

Next on Slashdot...K1nd3rg4rt0n hax0r5!!!

Re:Erm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8428087)

without wanting to be sexist it is more of an emotional article, from the heart. men and women don't see things the same way

Oh boy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8428822)

seems like one of the editors didn't like what we were saying about the "article" and came in with a bunch of -1 offtopic points. Half of the posts here got modded down in like 2 minutes. Heh.

This article is a splendid example of... (4, Insightful)

purduephotog (218304) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428094)

... what is not journalism. It's mostly a rambling trend of thought that, unfortunately, is very publishable on the internet.

"Hacking YoYos" ??? Hardly. That's not new, and it certainly wasn't invented at this conference. People (and self) have always 'modified' a yoyo when it wasn't performing well.

I won't even go into the logic the writer espouses while complaining that doctors are allowed to cause pain in the name of science. Anyone remember the 'call for volunteers' that NASA wanted to lay on their back at a negative incline for months to simulate weightlessness? That's a hell of allot more intrusive and damaging than being poked or heated.

Enough New-Age crap.

Re:This article is a splendid example of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429860)

... what is not journalism. It's mostly a rambling trend of thought that, unfortunately, is very publishable on the internet.
Sadly, Newitz's stuff is not merely published on the Internet. It's a syndicated column that appears in I-don't-know-how-many alternative weekly newspapers around the country. The Web site linked here is that of the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

And yes, she needs to get over it.

This comment is an example of... (3, Insightful)

D-Fly (7665) | more than 10 years ago | (#8430842)

...humorless literalism.

It's foolish and ill-informed when people accuse columnists (or anyone else who isn't a journalist) of being poor journalists. Columnists aren't journalists in the same way that a reporter is: they have a much wider ambit--commentary, opinion, whatever.

Annalee Newitz's job isn't to go to a conference and report the facts: it's to ramble, amuse and, yeah, maybe inform a little.

And it's not merely "publishable on the internet," purdue. As far as I'm concerned, she's one of the few reasons to pick up the Bay Guardian, a very much dead-trees-and-ink city weekly.

I was going to read that article but... (4, Funny)

Zakabog (603757) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428097)

... as soon as the site loaded I couldn't help from clicking the "Nude Beaches" link.

Re:I was going to read that article but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8432917)

You know you're going to hell, right?

What the hell was that? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8428107)

I have no idea what that article was about. What is CodeCon? Nevermind the shiny LED's and the yo-yo's, someone find that writer an editor. In fact, speaking of editors, how the hell did this get posted in the first place?

Oh, and for some reason, the Shmoo site is down. *goes in search of a mirror*

Re:What the hell was that? (4, Informative)

Zakabog (603757) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428163)

What is CodeCon?

I think this gives a decent picture of what to expect at CodeCon: That's sort of the beauty of CodeCon: people come here to share their weird creations, even if all the bugs haven't quite gotten worked out yet. A place people come to share their weird creations. And if you read the entire article it seems like they're tech related creations, with a ton of geeks around. The yo-yos aren't important, they're mentioned because of the REACTION to the yo-yos, the people their were true crackers, trying to figure out how the yo-yos worked, taking them apart, making them better. That was why it was mentioned, not that there was anything special about them. Sure the article does swing between so many different topics (placebos, dune, codecon, geek habits) but it's a little interesting (although I also don't understand how it got posted, there really isn't much of a point to the story.)

Re:What the hell was that? (2, Informative)

Catiline (186878) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429589)

The yo-yos aren't important, they're mentioned because of the REACTION to the yo-yos, the people their were true crackers, trying to figure out how the yo-yos worked, taking them apart, making them better.
I think you mean true hackers; if the subjects were crackers the yo-yos would have been spat upon, stomped, kicked around, and probably thrown into the hotel pool. (Or, if they were the script kiddie kind, simply stared at slack-jawed with an "ooOOhh, teh 5h1nej!!!1!")

Re:What the hell was that? (1)

s4m7 (519684) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429788)

people come here to share their weird creations, even if all the bugs haven't quite gotten worked out yet.

Well, this "article" certainly qualifies as both weird and buggy. I guess it's better than another NYT op-ed posting.

Re:What the hell was that? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8428513)

Shhh, I think the Slashdot editors are looking for their first offical Slashdot writer. We all know the quailty of the editing.

Runns and hides.

This crap got posted.... (-1, Flamebait)

MooKore 2004 (737557) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428108)

Yet my submission about Gentoo 2004 being released got sent into the recycle bin? Slashdot really is a piece of shit these days. In fact, Flamebait is Insightful, Troll is Informatvie and Offtopic is Interesting on Slashdot!

Re:This crap got posted.... (-1, Flamebait)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428148)

that is because slashdot is soviet russia, you insensitive clod.

Re:This crap got posted.... (1)

marcushnk (90744) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428239)

I'm sure it is fully released yet.. Theres been no official statement..

Re:This crap got posted.... (1)

marcushnk (90744) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428248)

yeah its still a pre-release..
http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic. php?t=127764

Re:This crap got posted.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8428257)

But funny is still funny, right?

Re:This crap got posted.... (0, Offtopic)

QQ2 (591550) | more than 10 years ago | (#8430001)

In fact, Flamebait is Insightful,
Well in that case you must be pleased to be modded flamebait

This is not good... (4, Interesting)

miketang16 (585602) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428129)

I read the "article" and then I read the replies and noticed everyone talking about how horribly written and short it was.

I liked it.

Re:This is not good... (3, Insightful)

AnomalyConcept (656699) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428455)

I liked it too. When has a reporter/journalist gone to one of these conventions, and moreover, written about it? This article was a nice way to relax for a bit between classes (having a 7:30 English class), and was amusing to read. Maybe I'm not a 'true geek', but Slashdot doesn't have to just be 'news'. Sometimes I read the comments just for the 'Funny' ones to lighten up my day.

Bit short of an article, but (5, Interesting)

prat393 (757559) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428200)

She does make a good point about how arbritrary perceptions are. I think the most interesting thing she said was that the brain ceases to interpret pain as pain, because this indicates some understanding that the signals are still being processed, just not in the normal way. Thing about it for a second. That's not even the normal "ignore your pain" ideal, it goes even further. What if we really do have the ability to interpret our senses as we see fit?

I say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8428205)

we /. the site of doom in vengance. What say you?

Ken Schalk better watch out... (3, Funny)

coolguy81 (322371) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428263)

...good thing the FBI wasn't around. With the DMCA, he could of gotten into big time trouble with that yoyo.

Re:Ken Schalk better watch out... (3, Funny)

prat393 (757559) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428308)

I'm sorry, but the operation of YoYo's is a trade secret. We're awaiting a ruling from Danish courts, but in the meantime, the YYIA is suing you for everything you've got!

$1 for a random number??? WTF? (0, Flamebait)

Eagle5596 (575899) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428442)

Who would pay $1 for a random number, not even a random number, but one from someone who is such a horrible coder, that they can't even get a program to bound the number between 1 and 10 reliably! Random number generation is one of the easiest and most simplistic algorithms in existance.

I think this Con sounds as amateur as the article, a bunch of wannabes who get together to feel good about the fact that they don't seem so stupid when all the smart people are elsewhere.

Come on Slashdot! You can do better than this!

Re:$1 for a random number??? WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8428629)

Idiot. A random number is *impossible* for a computer to create without input from some other source, such as the sources she cited. The definition of a random number is a number that cannot be expressed by any program shorter than the length of the number itself. Since the output of rand() is the result of a program, it cannot be a random number, because it is the result of (to quote your post) "one of the easiest and most simplistic algorithms in existance". The output of rand() is best described as "pseudorandom", or "random enough".

A truely random number of arbitratily large size is very, very valuable indeed (it's easy enough to get a random number of size [1,6], for example).
jaz
(posted anonymously to keep my mods intact)

Re:$1 for a random number??? WTF? (0, Offtopic)

jazmataz23 (20734) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428695)

d'oh. when did posting anonymously undo mods?

Re:$1 for a random number??? WTF? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8428761)

It always has you fucking looser. The reason the system is there is to prevent you from posting and then modding a comment so you can "have your cake and eat it too".

Next time you try and buck the system, remember: Slashdot is smarter than your dickless cowardly self.

Re:$1 for a random number??? WTF? (2, Insightful)

Eagle5596 (575899) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428711)

You should read up on chaos theory and probability before you call someone an idiot jaz. Random numbers don't exist period, even taking them from external sources is still pseudo-random generation, it just adds the further complication that you cannot control or predict how the noise will interact, and so can't guarentee that it will be uniform, the most useful sort of random number, as it can be translated into any other random number.

Furthermore, my point was not to use a pseudo-random number generator (and by the way, using a Lehmer Congruential Generator will produce better results than sampling a lava lamp for sure, never use rand(), it has horrible properties), my point was this:

Given a source of noise, translating that noise to a number between 1 and 10 is amazingly easy. You are controling your input device's range, and you know what possible values it produces, so it's a simple matter of finding where the generated number lies within that range.

And while pseudo-random numbers which seem more random than others (truly random numbers do not exist period) are valuable, one of them is not. Why the hell would I want to pay $1 to a bunch of wannabe's for a number between 1 and 10? Or any other single random number.

Next time you call someone an idiot, make sure you know what you are talking about first.

Re:$1 for a random number??? WTF? (1)

azzy (86427) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429309)

> Random numbers don't exist period

I suppose this really depends on what you're defining a random number as being. If I defined a random number as being any number my 2 year old nephew came up with, then yeah, random numbers exist. Though they probably range from 1 to 2, and are pretty useless.

Re:$1 for a random number??? WTF? (1)

rholliday (754515) | more than 10 years ago | (#8430652)

Personally, I think a Lava Lamp-derived random number is pretty cool. Now, if you could just factor in an optimized yo-yo-based algorithm ...

Re:$1 for a random number??? WTF? (3, Informative)

lars-o-matic (533381) | more than 10 years ago | (#8432749)

[...] Random numbers don't exist period, even taking them from external sources is still pseudo-random generation

Time series data from radioactive decay will generate truly random numbers in a non-uniform distribution. (Prerequisite: belief in quantum physics.)

[...] one of them is not.

Use one good one (many bits long) to seed your PRNG.

[...] You should read up on chaos theory and probability before you call someone an idiot jaz.

[...] and by the way, using a Lehmer Congruential Generator

Demonstrably wrong statements, an abusive tone and gratuitous play of buzzwords does nothing to make you look less an idiot.

Re:$1 for a random number??? WTF? (1)

Eagle5596 (575899) | more than 10 years ago | (#8432878)

Time series data from radioactive decay will generate truly random numbers in a non-uniform distribution. (Prerequisite: belief in quantum physics.)

Wrong, they are not "truly random" anymore than anything else for which you have imperfect knowlege. Using radioactive decay does nothing more than make your system more expensive, as other forms are just as random for all intents and purposes.

Use one good one (many bits long) to seed your PRNG.

Did you even RTFA? Or my post? We're talking about a single number, between one and ten, and an integer to boot. Your comment is entirely out of context, and similar to saying "Paying $1 for a blade of grass is a good thing, because if I had a few billion blades of grass, I could use it to much my state".

Demonstrably wrong statements, an abusive tone and gratuitous play of buzzwords does nothing to make you look less an idiot.

Since when is an LCG a buzzword? Most people have never even heard of one. As for probability and chaos theory, if we're calling those buzzwords, don't let me ever hear you say Quantum Mechanics, or even Mathematics.

As for demonstrateably wrong statements, I'm sorry but taking things out of context, or making assinine assumptions doesn't prove them wrong. As for an "abusive tone", I'll take what ever tone I like when someone responds in an offensive manner to my posts.

All of this changes nothing: charging $1 for a random number at some Con is about the dumbest thing I've heard; the article itself is amateur and not worthy of notice; you'd have to be dumb to buy anything from a coder who can't even bound his algorithm.

Re:$1 for a random number??? WTF? (1)

lars-o-matic (533381) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433924)

Look, I was just answering your (rhetorical?) questions and picking nits with some of your specific assertions. And yes, expressing irritation with your tone; bad idea, wish I hadn't.

Wrong, they are not "truly random" anymore than anything else for which you have imperfect knowlege.

Actually, yes they are. A specific event of radioactive decay is unpredictable by nature of reality, according to quantum physics: the famous Heisenberg Principal of Indeterminacy, aka Uncertainty Principal. It's not that knowledge of the internals of the nucleus is imperfect or even unmeasurable in principal: the information isn't there. There are theorems proving absence of any "hidden variables" that could track the state of a nucleus behind the scenes.

Did you even RTFA? Or my post?

Yes, both. fwiw, the article didn't claim 'integer'; you didn't mention it either. But whatever...

To spell it out: the context of my answer of the value of one random number is that it be many bits long (I spelled that out), answering your original question in which you included this: "Or any other single random number." See, I did read your post.

Since when is an LCG a buzzword? Most people have never even heard of one.

That's right, most people haven't. It was a gratuitous reference. If you don't like 'buzzword', substitute 'technical term'.

[...] if we're calling those buzzwords, don't let me ever hear you say Quantum Mechanics

'Quantum physics' was part of my response concerning truly random events, and meant as a shorthand justification for my assertion.

As for an "abusive tone", I'll take what ever tone I like [...]

Clearly.

All of this changes nothing [...]

Agreed.

Re:$1 for a random number??? WTF? (1)

mrogers (85392) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434156)

(Prerequisite: belief in quantum physics.)

Will it still work if I don't believe in it? What about if I half-heartedly believe in it for want of a better explanation? ;-)

Re:$1 for a random number??? WTF? (1)

lars-o-matic (533381) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434272)

Then you'll get only pseudo-random numbers, as far as you know... or half-heartedly true (unfaithful? adulterated???) random numbers...

:-)

Re:$1 for a random number??? WTF? (1)

jobh (711830) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434162)

You're probably thinking of linear congruential generators (LCGs), proposed by Lehmer. Old unix rand()s were LCGs but with bad parameter choices.

LCGs can be made OK but the state of the art has moved on. Try a generalized shift register implementation like Mersenne Twister.

Those are all pseudorandom. As another poster pointed out, true random numbers are obtainable for example by observing radioactive decay or in single-photon/slit experiments. (All analogue processes have some degree of true randomness but some more than other, the more chaotic the better; a lava lamp is probably good but sloooow :)

Re:$1 for a random number??? WTF? (1)

jazmataz23 (20734) | more than 10 years ago | (#8436700)

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie =UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=definition+of+random+num ber

Boring article - avoid! (0, Troll)

ycherk (684241) | more than 10 years ago | (#8428830)

Wow, what a boring article... If he'd stick to one subject, it might have been worth the read...

linkage (5, Informative)

doom (14564) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429044)

If you were wondering what this is all about...
Annalee Newitz (with two N's) is the author of a regular print-media column called "Techsploitation", of which this story was an example. More on that:
http://www.techsploitation.com/writing/ [techsploitation.com]
http://www.alternet.org/alsoby.html?Author=2188 [alternet.org]
More about CodeCon:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CodeCon [wikipedia.org]
http://www.codecon.org/2004/ [codecon.org]
http://www.oblomovka.com/search.php3?q=%3Cspan%20c lass= [oblomovka.com]
http://www.financialcryptography.com/mt/archives/0 00050.html [financialc...graphy.com]
The Schmoo Hacker Group: "The Shmoo Group is a non-profit think-tank comprised of security professionals from around the world who donate their free time and energy to information security research and development."
http://www.shmoo.com/ [shmoo.com]
Wi-Fi Remains a Work in Progress [newsfactor.com]
A latte, a Wi-Fi link and a hacker [computerworld.com]
Wireless network worries? Get a dog! [geek.com]
"Need To Know" (a zine in fixed-width font, the way god intended the net):
http://www.ntk.net/ [ntk.net]
Ken Schalk, yo-yo hacker, is the author of Vesta: "Vesta is an advanced system for source code control, versioning, configuration management, and building. It is an alternative to CVS+make."
http://freshmeat.net/projects/vesta/ [freshmeat.net]
http://sourceforge.net/project/shownotes.php?relea se_id=156198 [sourceforge.net]
Sparky's
http://www.milkycat.com/toiletree.htm [milkycat.com]
Jonathan Moore evidentally did a bunch of wifi networking down in Santa Cruz, and is the author of the MobileMesh software
http://wiki.haven.sh/index.php/WikiWikiWan [haven.sh]
Jonathan Moore's CodeCon presentation was about: "Hacking Social Networks part II (Don't search private data)"
http://more.theory.org/archives/000110.html#more [theory.org]
Science Magazine is put out by the AAAS, and does great in-depth coverage of general science (and insanely detailed minutia about biology):
http://www.sciencemag.org/ [sciencemag.org]
Placebos
http://placebo.nih.gov/ [nih.gov] Oh, and about "GenToo 2004":
http://www.gentoo.org/news/20031203-news.xml [gentoo.org]

Heh... note the email address Annalee Newitz is using here... she evidentally creates a new mail alias for every column: sugarpill@techsploitation.com

Ah, slash ids pushing a billion and whining about what a sewer it's become...

Re:linkage (4, Informative)

[Xorian] (112258) | more than 10 years ago | (#8432911)

Ken Schalk, yo-yo hacker, is the author of Vesta

Maintainer, yes. Person who ported it to Linux and got it released as free software, yes. Author, no. (I am Ken Schalk, so I should know. :-)

Vesta was written by researchers at the Digital/Compaq Systems Research Center in Aplo Alto, CA. I've certainly tried to make a useful contribution, but I did not create it.

Great Article! (4, Informative)

burris (122191) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429096)

I loved this article! Of course, I was at CodeCon, at the Google reception, and I stuffed my face at Sparky's. Would anyone like some origami paper (or foil?), I always have some with me...

In case anyone is wondering, CodeCon is what Bram Cohen (of BitTorrent fame) started after getting tired of conferences where you pay a ridiculous fee to hear some marketeer ramble on about some vaporware that won't ever see the light of day. CodeCon is a conference for hackers to show off their projects; the presentation must be made by a developer and you must demo some working code. It was also less than $100 for three days of presentations.

burris

yo-yo hack? no. (3, Informative)

ayeco (301053) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429300)

The first thing you do to a new yo-yo is adjust the string. "mod", "hack", whatever - memes getting old, fast.

Dune (5, Funny)

damiena (263598) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429507)

it reminds me of that cool scene in the movie Dune, when Paul sticks his hand in the pain box for a really long time and you hear that spooky voice-over intoning, "I will not fear; fear is the mind-killer."

Yeah, it was a great movie... Now if only someone would write one of those novelized adaptations. That would be great!

When girls write about technology (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434578)

...this is what happens.

Pure breathless fluff!
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