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Ask Slashdot: Best Book For 11-Year-Old Who Wants To Teach Himself To Program?

BlortHorc Not any of the above ancient languages (525 comments)

Speaking one who learned BASIC on various micros , and then taught himself more complex coding using http://www.commodore.ca/manuals/c64_users_guide/c64-users_guide.htm, pretty sure that was the book, assembly code in any case, tom fooled with fortran and pascal, can I just say: none of those languages are well suited to learn coding on one's own, especially. Most importantly, all of those were designed when computers were far more expensive than programmers
And for fuck's sake: not C. Pointers and memory management are not things one should learn when grasping simple coding concepts, as we all know, the only result of this will be: segmentation fault and a bemused look

more than 2 years ago
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Hunters Shoot Down Drone of Animal Rights Group

BlortHorc Re:If they hadn't brought their drone (1127 comments)

The rapist is like a wild animal - you have to protect yourself from it. If covering up reduces the chance or you being raped even by 1%, then you should probably cover up. After all, if you do get raped, it won't matter that the rapist will go to prison - you will still be raped (compared to theft where police may be able to recover your property).

This is absolutely horrific thinking, if I can even dignify this drivel with such a description. There may be people at bars who may make friends with you with a view to killing you and keeping your head in the freezer, so if you do go to a bar, it is _your_ fault?

Fuck me dead with a goose, this is such Ye Olde thinking, it disturbs me beyond words that people would even spout such shit in a day such as this.

A rapist is "like a wild animal"? No, he is a civilised human being. In all likelihood, you know several, and have slapped them cheerfully on the back, since you are clearly clueless as regarding how duplicitous the "civilised" person can be.

more than 2 years ago
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Canonical Pulls Kubuntu Personnel Funding

BlortHorc Re:Good (356 comments)

Me too. I think the Kubuntu developers did some great work pushing the envelope on what KDE can do on the desktop and netbook, and a lot of their work has appeared upstream. Kudos to Jonathan Riddell and the other Kubuntu devs! Personally, though, I needed stability more than shiny new features so I switched to Debian (ironically) unstable. Not only does it offer a more stable desktop experience with KDE 4.6 than does Kubuntu, but because its a rolling release distribution the packages are usually fresher than the latest Ubuntu release and I haven't had to reinstall in over a year. Hopefully now we will have more manpower to work on stable, vanilla KDE 4.7 and 4.8 on Debian.

As for Ubuntu, I now have zero reasons to install it.

You may have zero reasons to install, but it made a great deal of sense to many people I would point at a distro. Yes, KDE 4 is craploads better than Gnome [23]. Really.

However, as much as I love debian, I am not pointing raw users at a distro that expects the users to be able to deal with massive breakage when certain libs and so on are updated, and yes, that shit happens all the time in unstable. Hence the name. So now I have to point them at ubuntu, maybe suggest they install kubuntu-desktop and hope it isn't broken now, or just leave them with Unity.

Either way, debian unstable does not want a crapload of kubuntu refugees, trust me, no one will enjoy that.

more than 2 years ago
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Justifications For Creating an IT Department?

BlortHorc Re:So let me get this right (214 comments)

I knew a company that did just that... Outsourced company milked that company for money for a few years, while making short term decisions (often bad ones). Then, one day things started to break constantly and consultant was hired to locate source of the problems. Later, that IT was brought back "in house" to avoid making messes like that in the future. People that work under same roof as your company, tend to care a little more about your operations. This is just one example out of many, where short term thinking of cutting IT spending ended up costing company a lot more in a long run.

I, as head IT guy of a company that was acquired by another company who had previously outsourced their IT and hence became head IT guy of a larger company spent a great deal of time tearing at my non-existent hair and railing "why would you do that?", because much of the time, these IT companies will do as little as possible, probably as ill-informed as you could possibly imagine, and charge 5x (at least) what it is worth, because they know the sales/marketing types in charge will have moved on and others will cop the blame rather than the gold diggers who caused the problem to no detriment to themselves. The new sales/marketing types are now free to make all new stupid decisions. Note: I have no problem with good sales or marketing people, however, it has been my experience that those people represent less than 5% of the people actually working in those roles.

more than 2 years ago
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Recent Discovery Contains Oldest Depiction of the Tower of Babel

BlortHorc Re:Tower of Babel (309 comments)

Need to do a bit more reading, my friend. The account doesn't have anything to do with women performing manual labor:

"(The Babylonians) said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

5But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. 6The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

8So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9That is why it was called Babelc—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth."

So, it had nothing to do with labor practices. Many scholars think the tower was some sort of astrological artifact, and that the scrambling of the languages had to do with dispersing the population of the earth. That is, according to the scripture.

Mod -1: Believes evangelicals when they claim to be "scholars"

more than 2 years ago
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Recent Discovery Contains Oldest Depiction of the Tower of Babel

BlortHorc Re:Tower of Babel (309 comments)

Some of the smaller minded people in incapable of separating socialism from communism

Is that anything like the people who can't distinguish between supporters of market economics and Christians? Or those too caught up in their own high dudgeon to realize that it's possible to have principled reasons for disliking both illegal immigration and racists? Do you also consider "small minded" those who scream that anyone opposed to Obama's policies on one matter or another are racists? Or are people who fail to note your choices of appropriate labels for two kinds of Nanny State collectivism "small minded," but people who knowingly spout nonsense about the racism behind differences of opinoin on tax policy are ...what, politically articulate geniuses?

I'd shake my head and wish you knew better, but of course you do know better, and you're just being a typical hypocrite, awash in your own faux condescension. You're not as clever as you think you are, and far more transparent.

Mod -1: Confused Asshat

more than 2 years ago
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Hobbit Film Trailer Posted Online

BlortHorc Re:Bah, humbug. (257 comments)

Have you ever seen a single movie that followed the book more than rudimentarily?

Starship Troopers?

No, he meant followed the book accurately, not followed in a rudimentary fashion.

Seriously, in the middle of re-reading it now, it is very little like the namesake movie(s).

more than 2 years ago
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In Australia, Immunize Or Lose Benefits

BlortHorc Re:Seems fair... (680 comments)

I clicked through to that.

You can take your "naturopath" website and interstitial "can't even close it without an email address" ad and shove it squarely up your ass.

Furthermore,

Fuck you, you nutjob anti-vaxxer.

--
BMO

Not wanting to take away any of your perfectly reasonable rant, but you can actually get rid of the interstitial but hitting Esc.

What I usually do with those interstitials that you really truly cannot get rid of is to enter billg@microsoft.com, works every time.

more than 2 years ago
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Andrew Tanenbaum On Minix, Linux, BSD, and Licensing

BlortHorc Re:You Never Really Heard About BSD (480 comments)

I think I looked into it in '89, as a potentially free alternative to SCO Xenix, which my company was running at the time. They'd bought the base OS, but didn't feel like shelling out an extra $1200 for the C compiler. I don't recall finding a whole lot of information on BSD, though I do seem to remember something along the lines that they'd send you some tapes with the system on it. It sounded like it'd take a whole lot more investment of my time than I or my company was willing to commit to even try to get it running.

A few years later I heard somewhere (May have been Wired) about this spiffy new Linux operating system. By then I had a (more or less) stable internet connection and the instructions were quite easy; download 20-some-odd slakware diskettes from Sunsite and you were in business. Nothing was mentioned about BSD. So I downloaded 20-some-odd diskettes from Sunsite and I was in business.

At least in my case, Linux won out over BSD largely due to marketing and the easy distribution method. No one every really talked about BSD, and Linux worked brilliantly for me, so I used Linux.

This is pretty much my experience, I knew of BSD, but it was not available, and I needed a modern C/C++ compiler, so I installed something like the UNIX system at uni on my home PC (good old slackware), and hilarity ensued.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Spoof an Email Bounce With Windows?

BlortHorc Seriously, guy, Kmail has not done this for years (244 comments)

At least since KDE 4, and from what I recall, maybe 3.4 or even 3.3, this feature was dropped.

Your time to bitch about it? That would be thataway.

more than 2 years ago
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How Do You Educate a Prodigy?

BlortHorc Re:Sounds a little like me (659 comments)

Yes their is more to life than science. He is going to need friends and social skills. Frankly the idea of pushing him as far and as fast as possible strikes me as being selfish. It is using him for the good "Society, world, whatever" more than for his own welfare.
Find him enough work to keep him challenged. Maybe more classes on litter, art, music, and history to round him out. Maybe dancing lessons, sports of some kind. Their maybe some long term benefit to getting your PHD at 24-26 over 17. Instead of on prodigy you may have generations of brilliant people that way.

I know it was a typo, yet now somehow I can't get the crazy idea of an elective class on litter with Professor Oscar the Grouch out of my head.

more than 2 years ago
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Apache Fixes Range Header Flaw, Again

BlortHorc Re:Quick fixes (21 comments)

I would say that fixing the range header denial of service attack twice is nothing to be ashamed of. Firstly, you get a tested fix out quickly that protects sites that are likely to be under attack [targets]. These early adopters get the fix which stops the attack which is known in the wild. Two weeks later, you get the belt-and-braces fix which fixes the issue even for new variants of the known attack.

I think their response has been more than reasonable, given the actual flaw is a somewhat vaguely worded paragraph in the HTTP RFC regarding multiple requested ranges and how they should be treated. Sometimes the real bug is inherent to the protocol, and all vendors need to work together to seek a sensible remedy.

about 3 years ago
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Announcing Opa: Making Web Programming Transparent

BlortHorc Re:Which open-source license? (253 comments)

So in other words, yes, you have to release the user name and password, since it's part of the source and compiled into the binary, and the AGPLv3 requires that it all be released.

The GNUstapo strikes again. Last week it was FUD to try to get people to encourage Linux to move to the AGPLv3, which would kill Android on mobile devices, and now this. No thanks. Keep chipping away at the various freedoms - you just end up making the *BSDs look better and better.

Dude.

AGPL3 != GPL3

I mean, yes, the difference in name is slight, the difference in license is not. Indeed, the difference between the two is essentially what is being discussed here.

If you are actually interested and not simply *BSD license trolling, you can read about it here.

about 3 years ago
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Debian, SFLC Publish Patent Advice For Community Distros

BlortHorc Re:What's wrong with software patents? (63 comments)

The basic idea behind the patent system is sound. There's no economic incentive for individuals and small to medium-sized businesses to invent things when a big company can just take the idea and easily outcompete due to greater resources. And without the patent system, there's no incentive to release inventions into the public domain rather than try to protect them as trade secrets.

This applies just as much to software as to physical objects. Suppose I came up with a method to dramatically increase a car's gas mileage. What's the difference if the method is a change in the physical structure of the engine or an improved algorithm in the car's software? The same logic applies: if my method is not protectable by patent law, I lack economic incentive to put the necessary time and effort into developing the invention.

I understand (and agree with) arguments that the patent time should be less for software, that the thresholds for patentability and enforcement are far too low, and that the whole system in general is being abused and needs major changes.

But I have yet to see a rational argument for why physical inventions but not virtual inventions should be patentable.

Wow. This has to be the best troll I have seen in years.

And yeah, I know, don't feed them, but +5 insightful? Sheeeeet

Indeed, the basic idea behind the patent system is sound. However, a software patent does not need to provide an actual working solution, all it needs to do is for someone to say: I reckon I could make something like this work. This, as opposed to a physical patent, which needs to describe an actual thing, and how it actually works.

Benefit to society from the "I reckon" patents: virtually non-existant

more than 3 years ago
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US Senate Votes For Repeal of Ethanol Subsidies

BlortHorc Re:Do you think they know what a thermodynamic is? (395 comments)

yes, and if we say we live in a democracy, we get the pikers who have to insist it's a constitutional republic

and if we say something was hacked, we get the pikers who no, the system was cracked, or socially engineered

yes, pikers, we KNOW THAT ALREADY

hey pikers: the general meaning of a word often strays from narrow definitions. don't think you are in a position to correct that. understand you are in a position to learn, for once in your life, what common usage means

Speaking of common usage: you clearly have absolutely no clue what the term piker means, either in common or uncommon usage. Pretty much makes your rant meaningless.

more than 2 years ago
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Tasmanian Dept. of Education Wants Anti-Virus for Linux, OS X

BlortHorc Re:Passing on Viruses (396 comments)

Do have it set up to receive mail from Postfix, and then pass it on to Dovecot for distribution?

Or does ClamAV get a crack at mail first before Postfix?

Is there a way to scan an email as you're receiving it, and then stop in the middle of the process, making it look like you have a bad SMTP server, which hopefully spammers won't bother with again?

Oh, and, are you running Amavis, and SpamAssasin, too?

Short answer: Postfix is awesome

Long answer: You can (and I have) set up postfix with clamav so any emails with virus laden payload is rejected at initial delivery time, and no, this is not having a bad SMTP server, a "550 - rejecting email containing a virus" is a perfectly cromulent response. And FWIW, you will get much better results using postgrey, clamav and DSPAM than you will ever get with amavis and spamassassin. Plus you can hook clamav in to the DSPAM queue, keeps your postfix configuration clean.

more than 3 years ago
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Forging a Head: The Upside of Scientific Hoaxes

BlortHorc Re:Fake Dogs?!? (201 comments)

Wait...

Labradoodle's are fake? I bet all the Labradoodle owners would be shocked to learn their dogs are not real.

Maybe the author should research before he declares what's real and what isn't. I mean, his bad science isn't actually helping here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labradoodle

Glad I am not the only one thinking that, I've known people who breed Labradoodles all my life.

more than 3 years ago
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America's Tech Decline: a Reading Guide

BlortHorc Re:Want to see the future - look at education (611 comments)

Innovation and discovery comes from people with inquisitive minds - minds that have been nurtured by a well rounded education system; one that encourages critical thinking, experimentation, and a good understanding of what scientific knowledge we have already. Now look at what is happening in the US - a drastic cutback in public education, "teaching to the test", and in many areas, official dismissal of science and scientific discoveries. Quite a few school districts are actively pushing creationism against evolution, dismissing global climate change, and many "non-essential" curriculum activities.

I was once told "If you think the cost of education is expensive, consider the cost of ignorance."

Of all the comments I have read, this is the one that holds water.

You want a society that leads in science, technology, innovation, then promote those qualities in your society. Clearly China has, and just as clearly the US has not. Nor does this disease of promoting anti-intellectualism restrict itself to the US, or indeed to the west. Knowledge, through education for all is what lifts societies up, ignorance breeds only the crippling of societies.

Do I see Fox News pontificators, or radical jihadist Imams, or indeed any authority that seeks to curtail independant thought and enforce a regimen of blind acceptance as being different in any meaningful way? No, they all seek to keep the masses in ignorance.

Education. REAL EDUCATION, not just what some turkey who got elected somewhere thinks is education, but education where those things taught as science can at the very least pass the most important test of any scientific hypothesis, falsifiability. Where history does not need to reflect the political bias of the current government. Where truth is valued over spin, and intellectual talent is valued over social or physical prowess.

Treasure your nerds, or join the barbarians.

more than 3 years ago
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Old Media Says Google Will Destroy Film & Music

BlortHorc Re:Prize for no.1 *facepalm* in that article goes (336 comments)

"Nine out of the first ten websites which pop up on Googleâ(TM)s search engine are run by pirates who have downloaded Adeleâ(TM)s output and offer it online far more cheaply than official copyrighted sites and High Street retailers."

This isn't the only piece of fiction in this article but this is so damingly wrong I'm in disbelief that an editor of a newspaper could make such a error. Anyone can easily type in Adele into Google to reveal this piece of fiction. As evidence I offer: http://www.google.com/search?&q=adele

Not that I disagree with the conclusion, but are you in Britain? You need to remember that although Google is global, their search results are biased by region and it's possible that the top 10 results in one country will be different from the top 10 in another (I think it depends on Google Trends' interaction with PageRank). That said, if the top 10 sites are actually all pirated then I'll eat broken glass, in all likelihood they probably added extra keywords that the aren't bothering to mention (intentional confusion with misleading statements is one of the most common weapons in the inflammatory editorialist's arsenal).

This is true, however you can get the regional difference by going to the regional domain directly:

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=adele

http://www.google.com/search?q=adele

For me (in Australia), I get slightly different results for those two links. That said, not one pirated song in either list, at least the first page.

I took the comment about pirated music results in the same spirit I took the rest of the article: witless prattle from someone who hasn't the slightest clue regarding their chosen subject matter.

more than 3 years ago

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