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PHP Finally Getting a Formal Specification

Bacon Bits Re:its why devs cringe. (75 comments)

Putting aside the whole whitespace debate(*), I'm pretty sure that python has its own list of issues. Maybe not to the same extent as PHP, but they exist.

Picking a programming language is like picking an application, though. It's not about picking the syntax. That's not particularly relevant unless you're looking at Brainfuck or INTERCAL or GW-BASIC. You start by deciding what capabilities you need. There are inevitably several choices that meet your technical requirements, so in the end you're picking a language based on whatever set of limitations and issues you're willing to work with.

4 hours ago
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PHP Finally Getting a Formal Specification

Bacon Bits Re:Formal specifications are pretty useless for th (75 comments)

I should also add that what they are doing is at best a "semi-formal specification". Still pretty clunky.

That seems appropriate considering the topic.

5 hours ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is Running Mission-Critical Servers Without a Firewall Common?

Bacon Bits Re:Its Fine. - not (337 comments)

Application support always says to turn off everything that might possibly interfere with their precious application. They would have you shut down the operating system if they didn't need it. Application support lives in a fairy land where the only thing they have to worry about is their application. They don't have to fix anything if the application isn't broken. They have no interest in anything else. A good vendor will program their application to work with the system standards. Most ISVs are not good vendors.

As a system or network admin, you have to protect the application from the rest of the network and protect the rest of the network from the application and protect everything from the users and the Internet. Part of doing that is firewalling the crap out of your core network, and if you can't do that you should be looking at adding more VLANs and controlling traffic that way.

yesterday
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Ask Slashdot: Is Running Mission-Critical Servers Without a Firewall Common?

Bacon Bits Re:Its Fine. (337 comments)

The possibility of a resonance cascade scenario is extremely unlikely!

yesterday
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How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads

Bacon Bits Re:Completly Blindsided. (285 comments)

The school district wasn't blindsided. The county was.

I work at a school district, so let me tell you how public schools get their Internet. Obviously it's going to vary, but from what I've seen our situation is the most common.

Every building in a district runs fiber between their buildings to a central building where the district's servers are kept. It could be in the basement of the high school or some administrative building, but that's what happens. It's easy enough for the district to do capacity planning. Each school district may then connect to an intermediate school district, but ultimately then connects to the county's municipal network. This network is the ISP that connects every municipal office, such as city, village, police, fire, public works, etc. to the Internet. In my state, Michigan, the county connects to a statewide municipal network originally put in place to connect the public universities to the proto-Internet for research (our ISP, Merit, was founded in 1966).

In this story, the problem is at the county level, the middle man between the school and the state-wide network. This is not particularly surprising, since since in every case I've seen, the county is a) poorly funded, b) poorly staffed, and c) tends to be forgotten about. When a neighboring district went 1-to-1 at the high school level with lots of online classes, they did reasonable capacity planning for the district's small network and quadrupled the bandwidth from the high school to the district servers, and the district to the county (the district consists of 3 buildings on the same plot of land, so it was fairly simple). What they didn't do was consider that the county level needed upgrades as well. My district is about 8500 students across more than a dozen buildings, and this was about 200 students in just one building (grades 9 and 10). They were using about 90% of the bandwidth on our connection. That district got moved to a different connection pretty quickly, but until then nobody in our district could use the Internet during the school day.

about two weeks ago
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Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say

Bacon Bits Re:Dumb dumb dumb advice... (280 comments)

And what if you have a house fire, break in, or accident?

about two weeks ago
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NADA Is Terrified of Tesla

Bacon Bits Re:Speculation... (455 comments)

If they actually provide a service that people need, then why are they so afraid of direct sales? It seems to me that, like home realtors, car dealerships ought to be perfectly capable of functioning in a mixed market.

about a month and a half ago
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GM Names and Fires Engineers Involved In Faulty Ignition Switch

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

It depends. If he was a licensed PE he had a professional and legal obligation to intervene with the switch, regardless of how he felt about it. If he wasn't a PE, then whomever the PE was that was managing him and approving his designs is to blame.

about 2 months ago
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GnuTLS Flaw Leaves Many Linux Users Open To Attacks

Bacon Bits Re:Who uses GnuTLS? FileZilla (127 comments)

FileZilla uses GnuTLS because the maintainer decided OpenSSL had an API that was too unwieldy.

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft Won't Bring Back the Start Menu Until 2015

Bacon Bits Re:Any idea what's the motivation to remove START? (516 comments)

It's not for reasons known only to them. It's for a very good reason.

Learning a new interface to do the same tasks you already know how to do is really irritating. Even when the new interface is better, it's irritating as hell, and it takes a long time to get used to. Apple has had a huge amount of success making iPhones, iPads, and iPods all with the exact same interface. The exact same OS. There's even talk that Apple will abandon OS X on the Mac in favor of iOS.

"But," you say, "Apple products for most people are home consumer products. Business and office applications still run on Windows." Ah, true, but the hype is that the cloud is where it's at, and web applications will replace all thick applications just like they've replaced client/server applications. If iOS is the number one platform (it isn't now, but it was looking like it would be when Win8 was being developed) and everybody grows up knowing iOS and there are all these iOS apps and everything else is web-based... what's drawing people to Windows? What happens when iOS Safari has a larger market share than Windows Internet Explorer? And what if Google makes Android work on the PC?! Now you've got two major competitors and you're not even competing with them in the largest portion of the market (i.e., mobile).

"Oh, no!" Microsoft screams. "We need to unify Windows on the PC, smartphones, and tablets! What do you mean we don't have any tablets!? We need a Windows tablet! We need an App Store! We need a touch interface at all costs!"

So, that's what they did. They made a new OS built to run on tablets and smartphones, since those are the fastest growing market segments and those with the most mind share. They cut the Start Menu, which doesn't work that well on a phone or tablet at all, and created the tile menu in Win8. Unfortunately, they missed that you can't increase market share by abandoning your old market in favor of a new market. And just because a common interface is beneficial doesn't mean any common interface is sufficient to the task. You'll notice, for example, that iOS is 7 years old and currently on version 7... and still not on the desktop.

about 2 months ago
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Belief In Evolution Doesn't Measure Science Literacy

Bacon Bits Re:Wait a sec (772 comments)

Some would even say that faith requires belief without evidence.

about 2 months ago
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Belief In Evolution Doesn't Measure Science Literacy

Bacon Bits Re:Wait a sec (772 comments)

No, you misunderstand.

Everything you think is true is something you believe. If someone says, "1+1=2," you say, "Yes, that is true." What you really mean is, "Yes, I believe that to be true." Certainly, things are true or false absent of any belief, but when we're asking about whether or not an individual thinks something is true or false, we're exactly talking about belief. We're not talking about accuracy of scientific or mathematic laws, theories, or models. We're talking about the nature of knowledge, perception, and human understanding.

Think of it this way. For thousands of years humans believed that when they saw a sunrise that the sun had revolved around the earth on a crystal sphere. That's what their knowledge of the universe told them was true, so that is what they believed, and that's what their knowledge told them they saw. That was as true to them as the truth you belive in when your knowledge tells you that the earth is held in orbit by gravity and rotates to bring the sun back into view. The fact that your knowledge might be more accurate or might have more evidence behind it is irrelevant. Your belief that it is true, or belief that it is false, or fundamental misunderstanding of what is truly going on doesn't change what's really going on. Nevertheless, knowing who agrees with your beliefs and therefore agree with what the common knowledge tells us about the universe can be valuable.

You can do the same thing with any scientific model. Consider big bang vs steady state theory. Did you know that, to this day, scientific papers are published in journals relating to the steady state model of the universe? Consider the model of the atom. We've gone from the plum pudding model, to the ring model, to the Bohr model, which is still the most commonly taught model, I believe. None of them really represnt the atom that well, of course, but people still imagine the Bohr model when you say "atom" to them. That's not what an atom actually is or looks like, but that is what people believe.

about 2 months ago
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Emory University SCCM Server Accidentally Reformats All Computers Campus-wide

Bacon Bits Re:backups (564 comments)

Pretty sure it was a joke.

Many managers and business owners mistake fault tolerance for disaster recovery (and vice-versa).

about 2 months ago
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Wikipedia Medical Articles Found To Have High Error Rate

Bacon Bits Re: Let's get this out of the way... (200 comments)

Oh, I'm not disputing that. I'm just saying what my experience has been. Every time I've encountered the "osteopathy is bunk" rhetoric, it's invariably from someone outside the US where, I assume, you can't get a medical license as a DO.

Modern osteopathic physicians in the US practice evidence-based medicine and are trained essentially identically to any other medical doctor in the US. DOs and MDs have essentially converged. There are some minor philosophical differences, but that's it. Outside the US, though, I don't think they were ever accepted as practicing physicians.

about 2 months ago
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Wikipedia Medical Articles Found To Have High Error Rate

Bacon Bits Re: Let's get this out of the way... (200 comments)

Part of the issue here is that osteopathy outside the US has much lower credibility. I'm not sure if there's regulations in the US about who can call themselves an osteopath or apply osteopathic treatment, or if osteopathy has a stronger tie to traditional medicine in the US, or exactly what the reason is for the difference.

about 2 months ago
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Chelsea Clinton At NCWIT: More PE, Less Zuckerberg

Bacon Bits Re:Wait... (255 comments)

Because she works at NYU as an assistant vice provost recruiting students. One of her jobs is to go out and find academic talent and bring it to NYU. So her job is to determine what skills are most valuable in an academic sense, which is exactly what NCWIT is talking about with concerns about women in technology.

about 2 months ago

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