Ask Slashdot: Has the Time Passed For Coding Website from Scratch?
Frankly, if I delivered that kind of site to my customers, they would never refer me to another prospect. While I applaud your getting it all done with such compact code, it's inflexible, unadaptable, and visually appealing only to the kinds of people who hang out at /. (and they are a small minority in the larger world). Nice job for your particular needs, but for any practical business trying to lure customers, it would could easily be replaced by large boards nailed over the business' front door.
Google Plans Major Play In Wireless Partnering With Sprint and T-Mobile
I would argue it's just Google's way of getting into the wireless market by pouring money (of which they have an inordinate amount) into "weak sisters" in the cellphone business.
The reason I say that is that the lowest penetration of wireless is in rural areas, and the lowest penetration of non-dial-up Internet access is in rural areas (irrespective of speed). So, the biggest need for Internet access is in the very areas where the "weak sisters" have virtually no presence. I believe that puts the lie to the expressed intention of broadening Internet access.
Cell and Internet services in rural areas are plagued by a single problem: Inadequate population density to make capital investments worthwhile. You can roll-out celltowers or fiber in an urban area rather economically, because of the density of customers from whom the fixed costs can be (relatively) quickly recouped. However, getting the capital to do that in a rural area runs up against the need for investors to recoup their investment, which they value as an inverse function of time (i.e., faster ROI is better). Therefore, it is more expensive, and slower to recoup in rural areas, because of a smaller number of potential customers...so, from the contemporary view of investing, "It makes no sense." That's why I claim their just buying their way into eventual ownership of Sprint and/or T-Mobile.
Ask Slashdot: Options For Cheap Home Automation?
Sure: Trade the insecure Insteon IoT for the impenetrable X10. I'm still using X10 around my house, but with no central controller that can be hijacked to send malicious signals to controlled devices.
Until IoT has robust security, you may's well hang your unfirewalled computer directly on the Internet. IoT has the capability of burning your house down if you have the wrong devices installed.
Microsoft Restricts Advanced Notification of Patch Tuesday Updates
...growing problem of BadWare (see http://www.forbes.com/sites/ja...) from Redmond!
Just another slip down the old rabbit hole for Microsoft, once-great company now driving by non-technical management who don't understand their business!
Four Facepalm Bugs In USPS Label-Printing Site
More likely the USPS attitude that pervades: "We Don't Care!"
Gun Rights Hacktivists To Fab 3D-Printed Guns At State Capitol
I don't live in Texas for very good reasons. This Gun Mania is one of them.
Ask Slashdot: Are Progressive Glasses a Mistake For Computer Users?
Progressive lenses are like any compromise: Valuable to some, wrong for most. I liken them to the "flying car:" Equally incompetent on the road as in the air.
First of all, most commenters here ignored the issues of astigmatism, etc. (the distortion of the image on the retina due to other vision issues, exhibiting fuzziness), assuming that all you need is a change in the "strength" of the lens. Proper vision correction requires that the lenses compensate for all abnormalities in your particular vision ability, to the extent possible. Your lens prescription must also have to be updated periodically to deal with inevitable changes in eyes accumulated due to aging.
At 73, I have had cataract surgery in both eyes. The effect of that is that I have a fixed, permanent lens in each eye, focused on infinity. That means I can legally drive without lenses (my uncorrected vision is a permanent 20/30 or so). However, I do need lenses for reading, and for using my monitor(s). What's interesting is that the ideal focal length for reading (for me) is about 18", but I sit 24" from the plane of the monitor at my desk (measure yours to get the precise numbers to the nearest 1/2"). So, one pair of lenses is inadequate. So, I have one for each focal length. I've intentionally chosen one pair with wire rims, and the other in black plastic, so I can tell from across the room which pair is where (but, most of the time, one's on my face, and the other pair is lying on my desk).
I have successfully fought the "just buy one pair" mania of some vision "professionals," which are sometimes promoted so they can sell you a dramatically more expensive pair of lenses. I prefer the two-pair approach, and have been using it for more than a decade without a change in Rx. I hope my experience helps you.
One last caveat: Since I'm advocating for fixed-focus lenses, you need to also change your habits: You must avoid staring at the monitor for long periods. By changing your focus from monitor, to desktop, to whiteboard, to doorway, you will keep your eyes from becoming too dry or the muscles from losing elasticity. For example, I leave my reading (or computer) glasses on while walking about the office or at home, so I am forced to keep changing focus from time-to-time. Like other muscles, those in your eye need a regular workout.
Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?
Because, near the changeover days, I have to take special care to coordinate timing with colleague meetings via the Internet, some of whom live in rational countries that don't let a Charcoal-making company buy a change in clock times (so there's more outdoor cooking time available in the Summer).
I agree with the poster above who said it all in one word: LeaveItTheF*ckAlone!
Ask Slashdot: Unlimited Data Plan For Seniors?
Now I understand why you are an Anonymous Coward. The original question was out of love for his grandmother. It's obvious you're oblivious about love, or caring for others. If you thought this was funny, you're mentally sick!
Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?
Absolutely. If your patents are potentially valuable, you need an attorney's advice on how to handle this, not a bunch of opinionated /.ers without experience in what you're trying to do. Trust any opinion here (including mine) as worth exactly what you paid for it...but, if it sounds reasonable to you, do what you think best.
Microsoft Announces Windows 10
They jumped over 9, it has been posited, because too many programmers looked for "Windows 9" as a substitute for "Windows 95 | Windows 98" in their code.
I wait with bated breath for Windows 10, to see if Microsoft has learned any lessons from NT, Vista, 7 and 8, which have become progressively 1) worse than their predecessors, 2) made irrelevant change to the GUI that confuse users, 3) didn't listen to customers (or even MVP) negative feedback, and 4) will be incompatible with existing, stable applications.
Ask Slashdot: Why Can't Google Block Spam In Gmail?
I virtually NEVER see spam in Gmail; they do a great job.
The reason is that they bought Postini several years ago. That technology looks for the same body text being sent to many people in a short time interval; if the body is never customized, then they know it's spam. It's much, much more effective than looking into the content for key words or phrases, even though it slows down mail by a few seconds to get a decent sample of mails from those @@(%&^ spammers.
If you're still getting spam, go look at your email settings in Gmail to see if you have disabled spam filtering (at the site). If you receive your eMail via IMAP on your computer (e.g., Outlook or Thunderbird), make sure you don't have a "SPAM" folder locally, so Gmail doesn't try to sync it.
The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made
Tactile, provides sound, more compact, and is easy to open up to clean out the accumulated debris endemic to all individual-key keyboards. Connects via USB, and has never failed for me in two years. They are proof that quality CAN come from Taiwan.
The only evident problem is my particular/peculiar body chemistry: My body oils almost always wipe the legends atop the most-frequently-used keys (I can barely see the "E" right now). Anybody got a solution for that issue?
Ask Slashdot: Dealing With an Unresponsive Manufacturer Who Doesn't Fix Bugs?
In my business, we keep a spreadsheet of company names and websites we call "NEVER AGAIN." We check this list before every purchase, to make sure we're not buying from vendors of unreliable products (e.g., WiFi adapters from StarTech), those who don't have responsible software update policies, or those with unreasonable policies (e.g., No returns after one week).
I do not live in fear of legal retaliation. If, for example, StarTech wants to sue me for my opinions about their products, I will stand on my First Amendment rights in the U.S.A. to express my opinion. We also keep scrupulous records when we attempt to install new products (in the case of Startech, they don't even supply the latest versions of software available from THEIR supplier; we logged every version of software we tried).
The only way to punish these kinds of vendors is to deprive them of our revenue. The larger the company, the less likely they are to take customer dissatisfaction seriously (e.g., AT&T)...with some notable exceptions (e.g., Dell).
Ask Slashdot: What To Do After Digitizing VHS Tapes?
I have developed scripts that manage my backups. Because I'm always experimenting with computer systems and apps, I make 100% backups, every day, for every computer. Each computer makes it own scheduled backup, copies it to one central system, then shuts down.
In the wee hours, the central system (an old, low-power XP box) makes it own backup, and then copies ALL the backups for that day to an attached external 1TB drive.
The central external drive has a hierarchy of backups (e.g.: P:\Backup\Backup\Backup). When each computer makes its' backup, it starts a copying process. That process makes sure that any older backups for that specific, named system are pushed down in the queue, and the oldest one is discarded THEN, I copy this evening's backup to that drive.
I have three 1 TB drives: One is connected to the central system and hold "this weeks' backups" (depending on how often I decide to change it); the next drive is the one most-recently retired from service, held nearby in case I have to go back several days or a week to find something; the third drive is stored in a safe place, off-site, so even if my building burned down, I've still got a lot of backups I could use to restore new computers from scratch.
When last months' MS Windows Update fiasco struck, all I had to do was restore the C: partition on the affected machines from last night's backup, and I was back in business without a hitch.
Finally, the reason I wrote these scripts for commercial backup software is that if backups aren't completely automatic, they'll never get made, so you won't have the critical data to recover when you need it. I've been thinking about reprogramming the CMD scripts in another language, to commercialize it, because loss of critical business (or even personal videos, photos, etc.) data is still a problem for those who choose not to use up all their bandwidth on a "cloud" service (although that could be easily added). It may sound like overkill to some, but I nearly NEVER lose my O.S., configurations, apps or data.
The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI
Define "original" with some precision, please.
The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI
You exist. Were you not born from the body of a woman? Pretty amazing, if you ask me.
The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI
I have always respected both Ada Lovelace's and Alan Turing's genius, but the "Turing Test" has always seemed too simplistic for me. For my purposes in discussing the matter I use what I call the Alan Turing "Surprise" Test: Can a computer produce relevant responses with an unexpected but relevant response (aka "surprise") in them? Examples include puns, twists-of-phrase, sarcasm, and other artifacts of a quick-thinking conversationalist. (And, for the record, I don't consider Trolls as members of any of these classes; their range of responses is severely limited in context and devoid of any pretense of humanity. Some of you can prove that in the responses here.)
Eliza and its' various successors have never qualified, and so far only rudimentary steps have been made toward the elementary Turing Test. However, the goal is to determine whether a human can distinguish between another human's responses and a computer's responses.
I'd put my Turing-Surprise test right in between the traditional definition of the Turing Test and the Lovelace Test.
Congressman Asks NSA To Provide Metadata For "Lost" IRS Emails
...in the reasoning behind NSA acting as the national backup.
Some politician (Stockman is not a surprise, by any means) will demand the data, supposedly used for National Security ONLY, must be allowed to be used for political purposes. If the government lets this one work, then think about how Nixon's Enemies List would have been managed using NSA data, and it spells the end of democracy.
Stockman is too dumb to even KNOW this is why the Patriot Act was so BAD: It abolished the pretense that the government wasn't spying on everybody...ala 1984 (only 30 years' later). This is the very abuse of the NSA over-reaching data collection policies that Snowden warned us about (as have others before him). This will be the test case for whether universal surveillance is now national policy...but they'll cover it up by providing the data in secret, publicly denying it, and then claiming, "This is why we can't share information; we need MORE right to trample the Bill of Rights!."
Forewarned is forearmed.
Ask Slashdot: Best Rapid Development Language To Learn Today?
While I started programming in '62, and have used more than 50 languages, I'm now semi-retired and don't write code for a living. While I'll dash off a CMD script on Windows for a "quicky" I write my final code in AutoIt (http://www.autoitscript.com/site/). It's free, and you can go from novice to Windows-innards programming in one tool. While it's a native interpreter (like LISP) you can compile it into an executable program (like C).
You already know the four basic operations (Sequence, Condition, Iteration and Functions; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S...), and the comparable four basic data types (Value, List, Matrix and Linked), because you've used C...but Lots of Irritating Single Parentheses (LISP) is not much use as a utility program creator.
Go download AutoIt's Quick Guide and "Learning to Script with AutoIt," and you'll have a practical tool that's easy to learn, but incredibly deep in the use of Functions (your LISP experience will help), and great on-line community who've shared lots of code and offer ready help as you're starting out.
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