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Writing Documentation: Teach, Don't Tell

Aaron B Lingwood Re:Source code (211 comments)

it's perfectly valid for a filename to start with two dashes.

It is also perfectly valid for a filename to start with a single dash. But that is irrelevant to the issue.

The issue is with the parameters / command line options / arguments. This is the part AFTER the program name. $args contains an array of everything after the filename, delimited by breaking space (and a few other scenarios). Single hyphen parameters within these arguments can be automatically parsed and set. Double hyphen parameters are not a documented feature, are unsupported, and may exhibit behaviour that the user does not expect.

The term 'Best Practice' exists for a reason.

1 year,15 days

Writing Documentation: Teach, Don't Tell

Aaron B Lingwood Re:Source code (211 comments)

That's even more stupid - any author of any system could at any time change the rules and break existing programs. In fact, Unix is more prone to this than Windows, going by your earlier statement.

My post is not about changing existing rules, but leaving room to add more features. A single hyphen is to be used for command line arguments. This leaves a double hyphen available for a future use; whether that be implementing GNU-like syntax, some new security paradigm, a switch to set a flag, or any number of uses.

There's no guarantee Microsoft won't decide to break programs using their established conventions too - except that it would be bloody stupid to do so. Not to mention that even their own "conventions" vary significantly from tool to tool.

Standards, conventions, guidelines, and rules are all there for a reason. It is one method of future proofing and is vital to follow for a program to exhibit expected behaviour. Why be a maverick and use double hyphen when there is no need whatsoever other than to be different. That is hipster-coding.

I don't think I'm going to worry about the possibility that Microsoft might stop passing command line options to programs. It's a ridiculous fear, and the fact that you got even one mod point for this shows how far Slashdot has fallen.

Microsoft won't stop passing command line options to programs - that would break every program. What Microsoft MIGHT do, and it would be both safe and fair for them to do so, is have the shell examine the parameter string, cut out double hyphen parameters, pass the remaining string to ARGV, then act on those cut parameters separately prior to or simultaneously with program execution. If developers have acted competently and followed the conventions, this will not cause any issues.

This is not a fear - it is just common sense. I got a single +1 Informative as someone has either learned something, has thought about something they haven't put their mind to before, or thinks that someone else may benefit from the information. I am not a developer. I am not a Windows user. But I read, and I absorb. It is called listening. That more people don't do it shows how far society has fallen.

1 year,15 days

Writing Documentation: Teach, Don't Tell

Aaron B Lingwood Re:Source code (211 comments)

Why do you claim --help is invalid on Windows?

It will work (at the moment) but goes against the conventions set by Microsoft.

Microsoft could, at any time, change the way it interprets a double hyphen, breaking your program.

It is safe at the moment because Windows passes the entire parameter string via ARGV

1 year,15 days

Writing Documentation: Teach, Don't Tell

Aaron B Lingwood Re:Source code (211 comments)

-h? Next time, use all three of these: -?, -help, --help. I'm probably not going to try throwing -h at a program without having a clue what it might do.

For non-Windows systems:
-h is Valid
-? is Invalid as '?' is a special parameter that may be expanded by the shell
-help is Invalid on GNU/Linux (though used often by ported applications)
--help is Invalid on older Unix systems.

For newer Windows systems:
-? is Valid (and mandatory)
-Help is Valid (and mandatory)
--help is Invalid
-help is Valid
-h is Valid

-h is the safest option

1 year,16 days

The Greatest Keyboard Shortcut Ever

Aaron B Lingwood Re:Huh? What? (506 comments)

Thirded. No clue what this is actually about.

I think this is a story about a guy who logs into some banking/trading platform only to leave it idle and proceed to random web browsing in other tabs of the same browser instance.

I'm sure the story doesn't end well.

1 year,25 days

New Linux Trojan in the Wild

Aaron B Lingwood Correction (2 comments)

It appears that a Russia based cybercrime team has set its sights on offering a new banking Trojan targeting the Linux operating system. This appears to be a commercial operation, which includes support/sales agents and software developer(s). It has an anti-research tool box, which includes anti VM, anti-sandbox and anti-debugger features.

The Trojan’s developer claims it has been tested on 15 different Linux desktop distributions, including Ubuntu, Fedora, and Debian. As for desktop environments, the malware supports 8 different desktop environments, including Gnome and KDE.

With recent recommendations to leave the supposedly insecure Windows OS for the safer Linux distributions, does Hand of Thief represent the early signs of Linux becoming less secure as cybercrime migrates to the platform?

about a year ago

Man Formerly Charged With Rigging Student Ballot Exposed As Labor Official

Aaron B Lingwood Re:Both major parties are bad (96 comments)

My rebuttal will come once I sober up. I honestly did not expect a reply and you have proven that my assessment of you as a shill or Jones fan was in fact incorrect. Kudos. I have skimmed through your response and see that I have some homework ahead of me. The shitty thing with politics is that despite having opposing views, we are both likely as right as each other.

about a year ago

Man Formerly Charged With Rigging Student Ballot Exposed As Labor Official

Aaron B Lingwood Re:Aus Labor Party is anything but democratic (96 comments)

Mr McArdle (his lawyer) states that "That allegation [use of prostitutes] in the Fair Work matter is $7,000 - false as it is - out of a case that's $300,000." so I'm not sure where your figure of $900 comes from.

I base the ~$900 figure off the current (not original) charges and a sighted copy of all transactions. After the cited interview, many charges were dropped, and some added.

This is a great reference

about a year ago

Man Formerly Charged With Rigging Student Ballot Exposed As Labor Official

Aaron B Lingwood Re:Both major parties are bad (96 comments)

I would like to apologize for previously calling you a paid shill. I now realize my error. Nobody would pay you for this shit.

Labor only promoted FTTP because Telstra refused to negotiate on FTTN.

Telstra was more than willing to negotiate as is evidenced by their submissions to the RFP 2007/09. Telstra was embroiled in a pre-existing matter of open-access with the ACCC. Telstra's submission was excluded as it was purely based on Telstra winning the battle against the ACCC which Labor could see just wasn't going to happen. On top of this, the Howard Government (Liberal) attacked Labor's FttN plan claiming it wasn't viable due to the ageing copper. The whole process involving public funding, private funding, regulators and politics of the worst kind made Labor realize that, if they are going to pull this off, they need to go all out and do the thing themselves. Telstra did have a lot to do with this but are far from the 'only' reason why Labor updated their plan. We already had access to Telstra's last mile needed by the FttN and they couldn't do dick to stop it. We are no longer dependent on Telstra.

Labor only promised 1Gbps speed because just prior to the last election Google announced Google Fibre.

Fibre has been around long before Google - as has gigabit fibre. Labor highly underestimated the demand for bandwidth, originally looking for a way to get Australians off the typical (upto) 8/1 Mbps ADSL and on to something that resembles current LANs. During public consultation (something LNP have yet to do), Australian techies (your typical Slashdot, Delimiter or Whirlpool reader) kept asking about Gigabit services, pointing out that it would use the exact same infrastructure. It took some time but Labor found a way to be able to offer it and keep the existing pricing. Most people don't (yet) care, but for Australia's forward-thinking technologists, this is a big win

Less than 5% are predicted to connect at 1Gbps in 2028

Predicted by who? You? NBNCo's own corprate plan shows in Exhibit 2.12 that downstream trends from 1985 - 2012 extrapolated to 2025 that demand for and reliance on gigabit services and beyond are more than likely. It is available and it cost us nothing ectra to have it made available.

50% are predicted by Labor's NBN Corporate Plan to connect on fibre at 12Mbps

You, sir, have obviously never written a business plan. Conservatism is the name of the game. You plan for worst case. What we are seeing is that, as of Feb 2013, 41% have opted for the fastest available 100/40 plans and 11% have opted for the entry level 12/1

Huge amounts of money are being wasted by NBNCo (Building a Fibre NBN on a Copper budget)

Our NBN is a project that has been planned, approved and started. We could spend another year, 5 years, 10 years, 50 years fine-tuning the project. Sure, it isn't perfect, but let us just finish it. Simon Hackett is a great man. I use his former ISP Internode whenever possible. He understands technology, he understands networks, he understands users. He does not, however, understand politics. A project as big as this isn't as simple as 'sign this piece of paper and we'll break ground tomorrow'. There is a lot of wheelin' 'n dealin' back-room politics. The unions want something, the greenies want something, the Indigenous want something, the media want something. On top of all this, Hackett is part of the G9, the very same consortium who don't want this NBN because it kills their entire business plan. The very same consortium that wanted to build out a privately-owned NBN and lock out competition.

Under Labor's plan wholesale Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) needs to rise from the current figure of just above $20 to over $100. Retail prices will need to rise even further when you add ISP costs and profits.

Again, where do you get your number from - 2GB? Telstra's ARPU for FY2010 was $56.15. This is for fixed broadband services such as ADSL and ADSL2. Telstra DSL subscribers have an average peak of 9 Mbps according to The NBN expects that these customers would be willing to spend more, perhaps even up to double, for speeds in excess of 10 or 100 times what is currently available. A fair assumption, especially once you consider trends and overseas adoption.

~$3000 to install fibre under the Coalition plan isn't that expensive when you consider that Labor charge $150/month ($1800/year) for 1Gbps

Firstly, the monthly charge will also apply in addition to the $3,000 installation. Secondly, I would love to pay $150/month for 1Gbps. I would actually pay more like $300 plus. I am currently paying $149.99/mo for (up to) 8000/1200 Annex M, twice. That is $300 a month just to stream SD CCTV off-site (and lots of surfing). Lastly, I can pay ~$3,000 now to get fibre installed. This ~$3,000 figure is for those who live within 500m of a node. This will be approximately 40% of the population, much less if you consider Greenfields estates. Another 30% will be in the 500m to 900m mark (The limit of VDSL with vectoring). This will cost them from ~$3,000 for 500m to ~$4,500 for 900m. Those who can't get VDSL due to distance will likely be stuck paying $5k plus. Additionally, every single time somebody upgrades to fibre, part of the road and driveway will need to be dug up. Sure it also needs to be with FttH, but doing it all at once lets you save with economies of scale.

The current Labor Government are building a FTTP network which for half of the customers will be slower than HFC, 4G, FTTN and approaching half of ADSL2+ connections.

Did you really just say that? How is this FttP network with 1:1 100/40 Mbps (later 1000/250) slower than HFC's 'up to' shared 100/8, 4G's 'up to' shared theoretical 60/1, or FttN's unproven 'up to' 25/5 (later 50/5 and for some 100/5)? ADSL2+ has a maximum theoretical speed of 25Mbps (24Mbps in Australia). A tiny proportion of the population achieve consistent sync speeds anywhere near that. Most fall within the 5 - 10 Mbps downstream and very few achieve even 1Mbps upstream without Annex M.

I suggest you spend a bit more time studying the policies.

about a year ago

Man Formerly Charged With Rigging Student Ballot Exposed As Labor Official

Aaron B Lingwood Re:Both major parties are bad (96 comments)

In an attempt to avoid name-calling, I am going to walk around the block, calm down, and then come back and refute every single claim you have just made.

about a year ago

Man Formerly Charged With Rigging Student Ballot Exposed As Labor Official

Aaron B Lingwood Re:Aus Labor Party is anything but democratic (96 comments)

I don't know why I am wasting my breathe on such an obvious paid shill (or worse still, an Alan Jones follower). Hopefully I can translate the above copypasta for everybody else.

The Craig Thomson case is far from over and it is more than likely that he will prevail in court. Craig Thomson was arrested in NSW by Victorian Police on credit card fraud charges. These charges total a little over $900 AUD and Craig was authorized for up to $50,000 per annum in work-related and incidentals.

Expensive meals refers to the time he met with a journalist over lunch for purely work-related reasons. From memory, the bill was ~$55. The 'prostitutes' he supposedly bought with credit card was misreported after another publication printed 'pornographic movies'. Comically, the original publication also misreported as the movie in question was an R-rated action flick watched in his hotel room while staying for official business. The biggest stretch comes from 'Holidays Interstate'. This actually means he bought a soft-serve icecream to have on camera.

Scot MacDonald was a Liberal MP. As for NSW Labor corruption, at least the party is focused on cleaning it up. Two gone already. Eddie's little empire stretched much further than ALP though, most his mates are Libs. No Liberal Corruption, eh?

Disclosure: I am not an ALP, Liberal or National member. I do not intend to give my first preference vote to any of these parties. I have previously been a Young Liberal.

about a year ago

Man Formerly Charged With Rigging Student Ballot Exposed As Labor Official

Aaron B Lingwood Re:Aus Labor Party is anything but democratic (96 comments)

Sure, but that only changes the binary choice into a somewhat finer-grained choice of which of the two coalitions you want to vote for. The next PM is exceedingly likely to come from either the Labor or the Liberal party

I agree that the choice of government is binary - Liberal or Labor. By voting for minor parties, we can achieve a few things. Firstly, we can signal to the other parties that we, the voters, are not completely happy with them. Secondly, we could again force a minority government which will help prevent a further shift to the right. Lastly, your first preference vote will help fund the campaign for that minor party*.

That is right. Each First Preference vote is worth $2.49* .

* = If that minor party achieves 4% or more of votes in any division.

about a year ago

Man Formerly Charged With Rigging Student Ballot Exposed As Labor Official

Aaron B Lingwood Re:Aus Labor Party is anything but democratic (96 comments)

What? . Mate, the ballot paper looks like an Asian grocery shelf and you complain about the lack of choice?

That is just the Senate ballot. The House of Representatives ballot isn't that impressive. Look at Sydney:

Australian Labor Party (Centre Right)
Liberal Party (Right)
Greens (Left)
Citizens Electoral Council (Far Right Fascist)
Palmer United Australia (Right)
Socialist Alliance (Left)
Christian Democratic Party (Right)

No independents. No candidates for truly transformative parties like Pirate Party (Left) and Wikileaks Party (Left). ALP, LP, PUA, and CDP all run the same platform, the Greens are too detached from reality, uncompromising, and unsupportive of incremental improvements, and SA, well, we've seen nothing from them except the 'Free Assange' campaign. Choice? No candidate represents what I want.

about a year ago

NSA Admits Searching "3 Hops" From Suspects

Aaron B Lingwood Re:It's 4.74, not 6 (322 comments)

Good catch. Need a bigger friggin' napkin.

about a year ago

NSA Admits Searching "3 Hops" From Suspects

Aaron B Lingwood Re:It's 4.74, not 6 (322 comments)

With the terror watch list having over 700,000 names, just how many times has Kevin Bacon been investigated?

Statisticians, please reply!

By no stretch of the imagination am I a statistician, but I thought I would share my back-of-the-napkin musings. Feel free to flame me over an errors.

define L as the distance between two nodes
define K as acquaintances per node (relationships/connections)
define N as number of nodes (participating population)
define T as number of terror suspects.

While not actually needed, I am going to take a look at the math that made Kevin Bacon interesting. The original theory suggest 6 degrees. University of Milan suggests 4.74 degrees for Facebook. Six degrees of separation theory specifies 'by way of introduction'. This would require one to have a cognitive social relationship, so I will adopt the theories of Monkeysphere / Dunbar and set K as 150. Participating population (90% of actual population to exclude infants, etc) I will set as N(us)=300,000,000 and N(w)=6,400,000,000. T is, of course, 700,000 (or more). C is average number of connections to terror suspects.

L(us) = ln N(us) / ln K
L(us) = ln 300,000,000 / ln 150
L(us) = ~19.5 / ~5.0 = 3.9

L(w) = ln N(w) / ln K
L(w) = ln 6,400,000,000 / ln 150
L(w) = ~22.6 / ~5.0 = 4.5

There isn't a lot of information available but I am assuming that a hop is simply a degree of separation. Time to work backward.

L = ln N / ln K
3 = ln N / ln 150
ln N = 3 * ln 150
N = e^(3 * ln 150) = 3,375,000

So, for every person, and only considering cognitive social connections, there are 3,375,000 people connected within 3 hops.
So what is the chance of being connected to a terror suspect (assuming a random network - which is not really the case - this is a napkin not a research paper)?

Chance of being connected to a random person = Number of related nodes / Number of nodes
Chance of being connected to a terror suspect = Number of related nodes / Number of nodes * T
C = N / N(w) * T
C = 3,375,000 / 6,400,000,000 * 700,000
C = ~369

So, on average, and of course influenced by the circles we travel in, we are each within 3 hops of not 1, but 369 terror suspects.
What if we include your bus driver, teacher, lawyer, previous classmates, previous colleagues as being connected. Let us say K = 2,000
C = e^(L * K) / N(w) * T = 875,000

So, my shitty conclusion is that the NSA believe they can link every one of us to every, or almost every terror suspect on their list, at least once.


about a year ago

NSA Admits Searching "3 Hops" From Suspects

Aaron B Lingwood Re:It's 4.74, not 6 (322 comments)

On the internet, it's 4.74 degrees of separation.

That's only of people on Facebook. In the us we have very few friends per person.

This has nothing to do with friendship. It is connections in a network. These could be friends, acquaintances, family, your barista, your neighbour, your teacher.

As far as the NSA scope is concerned, there is no requirement that a connection even requires a friendship or even any kind of social relationship. They simply need to connect 2 dots. Do you go to a certain gym on Thursdays? Now you have a connection with maybe 10, 50, or even 200 people. There is no social contract, it is not a cognitive connection. These are exactly the kind of networks the NSA are trying to analyze with its big data. In this case, N (or nodes) is likely in the range of 1,000 to 50,000 depending on your activity and city population.

Let us ignore Facebook because we are not social whores. Think of every email (spam included), phone call, letter, text message you have made or received in the last year. Even for a complete loner, that could be 500 connections. What about 3 years? Ten?

Humans make possibly millions of connections throughout their lifetime. Some of those become relationships. Some of those become friendships.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Automatically Sanitize PDF Email Attachments?

Aaron B Lingwood Re:Be careful modifying documents (238 comments)

I believe that for a PDF document to be a legal document, it needs to be in PDF/A format.

Where does this belief comes from?

Many states have legislation regarding the font, margins and paper sizes used for some legal documents.

US courts, archivists and many case management / COPS systems only accept documents in PDF/A.

about a year ago

Canonical To Ship Mir Display Server In Ubuntu 13.10

Aaron B Lingwood Re:Exciting (122 comments)

--snip screwdriver analogy--

Your analogy holds true only if both projects, being Wayland and Mir, are serving the same purpose - They aren't.

Yes, they are both a display server/protocol, and yes, they are designed to replace X, but the goals of each project couldn't be more dissimilar.

Wayland is a long needed update to X that will fix a number of issues and allows for secure buffers that only the application and server can access. Wayland is being designed for the existing Linux desktop market and is a much needed project.

Mir, while adopting some ideas from Wayland, is a completely different beast that will focus on achieving two primary objectives: A display server that runs natively on both desktop and mobile, and, being actively developed and supported by new commercial partner Valve. It makes little sense for Canonical to wait for Wayland and then extend it for these two purposes as doing so will leave Canonical years behind on a shift that is happening NOW. Everyone has been waiting for the Year of Linux on the Desktop; this will bring the goal one step closer. The same goes for an unadulterated Linux on the Mobile where graphical applications are more easily ported from their desktop counterparts.

There is nothing stopping Wayland importing code from Mir and vice versa. The projects simply have different priorities for the time being and are likely to co-exist or even possibly merge when the race is over.

To borrow from your analogy: Canonical have found a reason to require a triscrew head. They believe it will work in more environments and also, with some effort, work on systems using a hex-screw. You are not locked in to using the triscrew and don't even have to change your screwdriver head should you not be involved in porting hex-screw to tri-screw or developing tri-screws for mobile devices.

None of this affects you. These guys are building a treehouse entirely in their own backyard. You seem a little miffed simply because you know some guys that previously built a treehouse and they are renovating it. Nonsensical.

about a year ago



Step aside CISPA, SOPA, DMCA, PIPA, ACTA. Introducing CTAIP.

Aaron B Lingwood Aaron B Lingwood writes  |  about a year ago

Aaron B Lingwood (1288412) writes "Cory Doctorow unearths a plan by the US entertainment industry to lobby for the legalization of deploying rootkits, spyware, ransomware and trojans to attack pirates. The hilariously named "Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property" has finally released its report, an 84-page tome that's pretty bonkers. But amidst all that crazy, there's a bit that stands out as particularly insane: a proposal to legalize the use of malware in order to punish people believed to be copying illegally."

Hollywood Studios Issue DMCA To Censor Pirate Bay Documentary

Aaron B Lingwood Aaron B Lingwood writes  |  about a year ago

Aaron B Lingwood (1288412) writes "As reported by TorrentFreak, Viacom, Paramount, Fox and Lionsgate have all asked Google to take down links pointing to the Pirate Bay documentary 'TPB-AFK'. The film, created by Simon Klose, is available for no cost and has already been watched by millions of people. The public response to this free release model has been overwhelmingly positive, but it’s now meeting resistance from Hollywood, TPB’s arch rival.

Pirate Party Australia opines 'Hollywood is using takedown notices to censor Pirate Bay doco, is it incompetence or malice? Always hard to tell'. Whichever the answer, the system is definately broken."

Apple Neglects its Pro Userbase - Focus Entirely on Highly Profitable iDevices

Aaron B Lingwood Aaron B Lingwood writes  |  about 2 years ago

Aaron B Lingwood (1288412) writes "RocketJump's film-maker Freddie Wong of Youtube's Freddiew fame compares Mac vs PC for the pro user. The article argues that Apple has neglected their most loyal userbase of media professionals and is instead chasing profits instead of innovation. The shift away from the PowerPC to Intel-based chips as well as the crippling and discontinuation of entire lines of professional software means Mac no longer has the edge over PC for professional use. With PC's costing considerably less and with the PC version of software such as Adobe Suite catching up with features and usability, Freddie, a long time Mac-user, has decided to shift to PC and abandon Mac. Is this the beginning of an entire cultural shift where PC's are for the professional and tech-savvy while Apple products of for the tech-simpletons? Have Apple put all their eggs in the one basket relying solely on marketing for their line of fashion accessories?"


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