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Ask Slashdot: Can a Felon Work In IT?

3dr Re:I've hired people with misdemeanors before (720 comments)

What's the crime? A lot of nonviolent crimes are felonies. If I were looking for candidates, my consideration of an employee would entirely depend on what the crime was, and what my legal counsel thinks.

And also, especially in drug-related offenses, the felony limit can be quickly reached by an exaggeration of drug mass. LSD charges, for example, are typically trumped up because they weigh the grams of paper, not the micrograms of LSD on it. Or here in Austin, where a guy was facing PCP possession charges partly based on the weight of the tray of brownies he baked (couple pounds), instead of the mass of PCP actually in the brownies. (But, he did have a bottle/supply of PCP which *was* a serious issue, but the charges based on the brownies was absolute nonsense.)

about two weeks ago
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GNOME Project Seeks Donations For Trademark Battle With Groupon

3dr Re:Trademark breadth (268 comments)

The federal trademark website works in "sessions" that time out. You can easily redo the query to begin a new session instead of posting that the link is bad. Come on, try just *a little bit*.

about a month ago
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Washington Dancers Sue To Prevent Identity Disclosure

3dr Re:Why ask the government? (461 comments)

Something tells me the man from Tacoma is lacks faith in the Omnipotent One (according to doctrine). The FOI request seems a bit ... redundant.

about a month ago
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EFF Hints At Lawsuit Against Verizon For Its Stealth Cookies

3dr Re:AT&T doing same but here's the opt-out link (81 comments)

I don't know what they have access to, but by disabling wifi, they see the traffic directly from the mobile device (which has a couple different IDs on the cellular system), and that's how they know (a) you're a verizon customer, and (b) what device & account it is.

about a month and a half ago
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Google Announces Project Ara Developer Conference, Shows Off First Prototype

3dr Link to the video (66 comments)

Dear submitter, if you want to include text that says "they have released a video, here's the link" then link to the video, not some ad-laden secondary site.

The video is on youtube, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

about 1 month ago
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Why CurrentC Will Beat Out Apple Pay

3dr Re:Not a chance (631 comments)

You know what? Pretty well, actually.

Several years ago on a whim I began asking for discounts everywhere. "Do you have any promotions you could apply to this?" is what I would typically ask. I was shocked to find that most of the time, there is something, like a 10-20% coupon or similar that they can throw at it. Or, if not a direct discount, say at a restaurant, they may give a voucher for a free dessert or appetizer. The worst answer is they say "no, sorry, don't have anything I could do" and you leave it at that.

So, while the peon running the register may not be able to change prices, they are often empowered to provide a discount if prompted.

about 2 months ago
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National Security Letter Issuance Likely Headed To Supreme Court

3dr Re:DOJ Oaths (112 comments)

Leave him alone, it's a typing impediment.

about 2 months ago
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Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

3dr Re:If you wanted us to believe your Op-Ed... (547 comments)

Python is my go-to language for quick code sketches, framework ideas, etc. That's the power of dynamically typed languages, it's very easy to throw code together to test ideas, and is what I value in "scripting" languages.

As much as I like Python, even with it's quirks like len() is a function on a sequence not a member, the one thing I despise is the whitespace-describes-structure. I have lots hours due to an auto-format of code run amok. Suddenly, all the code following an if-statement is now the body of that statement. It just doesn't make sense to not have block delimeters. With every other meaningful language under the sun using curly braces, why couldn't Python? I like the *idea* of clean code like Python code, and I enjoy reading Python code, but I prefer to have explicit block syntax.

As an aside about spelling mistakes, I agree, and Python doesn't help you there (unless you are reading a misspelled class field). One trick I use to fortify larger Python programs is to define slots on each class to explicitly define the members. If your code accesses a mistyped member name, that name will not be in the __slots__ list and the python runtime will raise an exception. Not only do __slots__ protect you from name typos, they are faster than regular fields for some reason. I've shared this tip with other pythonistas, and nobody else has heard of doing this; I can't believe others aren't doing this, too.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Software Issue Tracking Transparency - Good Or Bad?

3dr Two takes on this (159 comments)

First of all, I'm of the mindset that it's probably best to not list every issue fixed, and especially not list every bug reported publicly. Many bugs reports are bogus, and it's certainly possible for a large number of "reported issues" to detract from the true quality of the current version. For a new product I would never make this information public. But that's neither here nor there since in the OP's situation, they are public. So, let's go with that.

What I would do is based on a Freakonomics episode where a company (furniture company, or appliance company, whatever it doesn't matter) inadvertantly stopped advertising in some of their major-market newspapers. While it was an intern's mistake that this happened, what they found was that there was no impact (i.e. no reduction) of sales in those markets. So while a logical person would say, "Let's scrap advertising in those markets forever and keep the cash," the people in charge instead said "but we *have* to advertise." Preserving expectations/status-quo won out over rational thinking, and the difference was millions of dollars.

I would put a challenge to the marketing and sales departments. If they think public disclosure is hindering sales, let them prove it. Pull the publicly-visible bug tracking for a period of time and if the marketing and sales people are right, sales will go up compared to similar periods in previous years. If, however, customers are unhappy with the "secrecy", take that into account as a ding against the approach. But I'd be firm -- if you pull the bug info, the sales better increase.

Of course, before you issue a heavy-handed challenge to M&S, maybe just ask your existing customers about it. "We are considering pulling our publicly-visible bug tracking/reporting but have no plans to change our update cycle, just the reporting. How does this impact your business, and how does it impact your decision to use Product X?" Use that as a basis to continue current practice, or start the M&S challenge.

I also acknowledge I am anothing but a keyboard jockey in this horse race. :)

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Swift Or Objective-C As New iOS Developer's 1st Language?

3dr Re:They are wrong... (316 comments)

Although they plan to have translators to move old code forward, do you really trust automated translators enough to run them on huge chunks of production code?

Yes, certainly. It's called running the automated translator and NOT blindly checking in the generated code. There's no concern here.

about 3 months ago
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GM Names and Fires Engineers Involved In Faulty Ignition Switch

3dr Re:That guy is going to need a lawyer real fast (307 comments)

True. It's a shame, really, since his PRIDE is what apparently kept him from sucking it up and fixing it. His pride killed these people. And no design reviews of the switch for torque and electrical capacity? The managers have a role in this, too.

But in this whole scenario, I think the one thing that surprises me is how they are designing yet another ignition switch. How many switch variants do there need to be across a manufacturer's models? I'd divide it across RFID-enabled keys vs. plain-Jane metal keys.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Consider Elegant Code?

3dr Re:Duff's Device (373 comments)

It's just optimizers all the way down.

about 9 months ago
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Interview: Ask Richard Stallman What You Will

3dr Re:GPLv4 (480 comments)

The GPL is a license on the software source code controlling its distribution policies, not on the software's end-use. The GPL is not an EULA.

about 10 months ago
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Facebook Puts 10,000 Blu-ray Discs In Low-Power Storage System

3dr 1993 Datamation called... (153 comments)

...and it wants its HSM back!

Hierarchical storage systems, and hierarchical storage managers (HSMs) have been migrating lesser-used data to cheaper (and sometimes offline) storage for decades. So what's new about it, the use of contemporary yet inefficient Blueray discs?

about a year ago
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Lawsuit: Oracle Called $50K 'Good Money For an Indian'

3dr Re:Shocking (409 comments)

Response 1: It was sales, and that's what they do.

Response 2: Even if he got $60K in California, it still means the transplant was getting screwed.

about a year ago
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Streaming and Cord-Cutting Take a Toll On the Pay-TV Industry

3dr Re:Here is why... (261 comments)

Yep, we don't watch live TV anymore since it's a better use of my time to wait for the recording, then FFwd over the copious commercials. That's like a 40% productivity increase! That and the fact that "cable" companies keep bumping up the total costs. TWC was careful to not change the specific service cost, but they would routinely increase the various bullshit fees appended to the bill. "1848 Reparations Bill Utility Access Fee, $5.00" "CEO New Car Assurance Fee, $1.29"

1 year,4 days
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Firefox 26 Arrives With Click-To-Play For Java Plugins

3dr Re:A good start.. (208 comments)

Possible in Chrome, I don't remember using an extension for that. That's how I roll, with videos off by default.

1 year,10 days
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Why Reactive Programming For Databases Is Awesome

3dr Re:recent? (165 comments)

Exactly. So far RP in the article sounds a lot like data-flow engines (spreadsheets, various visualization tools, DB triggers, even make builds). It has spanned decades and fields, too. Many artificial intelligence systems used this type of reactive engine; for example, the CLIPS engine "reacted" by matching conditions to a subset of currently-asserted facts to trigger actions (which can then cascade by asserting new facts and causing other patterns to match). The common aspect to all these applications of a data-flow engine is that a Result has Dependencies, and those Dependencies may be "atomic" (like a file timestamp in make), or a Result from an earlier conclusion. At any point in time, the entire scenario can be paused, and each pending Result has a list of Dependencies that may or may not be satisfied at that point. Spreadsheet calculation 101.

1 year,13 days

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