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Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet

Calibax Customer service? (861 comments)

Pulling a family off a flight and threatening to summon the police seems pretty intense. They must have done something very bad. What? One of them tweeted about poor customer service before entering the aircraft? That's it?

Did the SWA agent seriously think that threatening the family with not being able to fly and reporting the man to the police (for what?) unless he deleted the tweet would be the end of it? Did the agent think the whole thing would be erased from everyone's memory and it would be as if nobody complained? That's not the way it works. Now everyone in her management chain knows who she is, and not in a good way. Creating a PR incident like this will not go without notice. It's a variant of the Streisand effect.

It's not important to the story, but at least one airline I've flown has figured out that it's good customer service to allow people who spend a lot of money travelling on their airline have their children treated to the same boarding privilege - especially as it costs the airline nothing to do so.

3 days ago

Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

Calibax Re:Cry Me A River (608 comments)

I agree. Most of the time it's trivially easy to adapt to new procedural languages. And the more often you do it, the easier it becomes.

However, a primary problem is that although the syntactical differences are comparatively minor, the libraries may be structured very differently. You may well spend a great deal more time adapting to the gross differences in philosophy as well as the discovering the idiomatic nuances of the libraries.

about three weeks ago

One Developer's Experience With Real Life Bitrot Under HFS+

Calibax Re:ZFS, Apple! (396 comments)

I would hesitate to call GE Healthcare a small company. I doubt that Lawrence Livermore National Labs would be considered small as it's part of the government. Joyent is the company that supports node.js.

Anyone can sue anybody about anything, but winning is different matter. ZFS is considered safe from a legal point of view.

about a month and a half ago

One Developer's Experience With Real Life Bitrot Under HFS+

Calibax Re:ZFS, Apple! (396 comments)

No they would not be sued by anyone.

Sun open sourced ZFS under a permissive license. Oracle close sourced it again. However, a number of companies are supporting derivatives of the open source version.

ZFS is available for a number of operating systems today. A non-inclusive list:
FreeBSD from iXsystems
Linux from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and also Pogo Linux
SmartOS from Joyent
OmniOS from Omniti
Osv from CloudOS

In addition a number of companies are using ZFS in their products:
GE Healthcare
Great Lakes SAN
Nexenta Systems
Spectra Logic
WHEEL Systems

ZFS can detect and correct silent corruption when configured to do so. I have a NAS that has 24 TB of raw storage, 16 TB of useable storage, running under OmniOS. I have well over 10 million files on the NAS (it is used as a backup for 8 systems) - I haven't lost a file in 4 years and I don't expect to lose any.

about a month and a half ago

White House Pressures Legislators Into Gutting USA FREEDOM Act

Calibax I'm very confused by this story (284 comments)

The GOP has made it very, very clear that anything that Obama favors will automatically receive a negative from the House of Representatives that they control. They have done this multiple times. They have openly stated that their primary objective is to oppose Obama on everything.

Now I'm supposed to believe that Obama pressured the GOP to weaken the bill? That seems... laughable. The GOP would never bow to Obama's requests - they have their image to consider. It seems more likely that the GOP revised the bill because Obama said he supported it in its original form.

It's also strange that the mainstream press doesn't seem to have picked up on such a monumental achievement by Obama. I'd have expected that any such successful pressure from the White House on the GOP would be a major headline in most newspapers that cover US national politics. But the best we get is a press release from the Center for Democracy and Technology. The EFF also had a press release about the amendments to the bill but they don't suggest that the White House or Obama was generating any pressure for the changes.

about 2 months ago

Who controls the HVAC at work?

Calibax Re:Nobody Works from Home? (216 comments)

I work from home often. However, I installed solar energy about 11 years ago. I have to rent the meter (around $6 a month) but other than that I haven't paid for electricity since that event. I have natural gas heating, and the cost of that has been reduced substantially over the past few years.

My point is that I leave the thermostat set to a low of 72 degrees and a high of 76 degrees and let the system figure how to keep the house in that range. Works well, all year around. Very comfortable.

about 2 months ago

Programming Education Making A Comeback In Primary Schools

Calibax Re:Just don't make programming classes mandatory (138 comments)

The items you mention are all extremely useful when using a computer and should be taught in schools.

Speaking generally, programmers need to be proficient users but it is a separate skill that requires a substantially greater amount of energy to acquire.

about 3 months ago

Programming Education Making A Comeback In Primary Schools

Calibax Just don't make programming classes mandatory (138 comments)

Understanding computers in one thing. Understanding how to program them is something else entirely.

My 17 month old understands my iPad, sort of, and has done for a few months. She can unlock the device, page through it to find the couple of apps she likes, fire them up and interact with them. On my laptop she knows ho to use the trackpad and left-click on buttons. I have no idea where she will be computer-wise by the time she's in first grade, but one thing seems sure, she will know how to use one.

But programming is not necessary to understand how to use a computer, no more than being able to repair your car's brakes is necessary to use a car. In some fairly rare circumstances extremely useful, but not something that NEEDS to be learned to be a good driver - mostly it's sufficient to know how to use the brakes.

By all means, offer programming classes, but don't require people to take them to graduate. Attempting to learn programming if your mind doesn't work the right way (detail oriented, highly logical) would be torture indeed. Understanding how to use them should be sufficient for most people.

about 3 months ago

How the Code War Has Replaced the Cold War

Calibax Re:good (79 comments)

Instead of global thermonuclear war, we now have to worry about WoW going down. Seems like a good tradeoff to me.

Instead of WoW, worry about the national infrastructure. Imagine all the SCADA devices insecurely connected to the Internet going down more-or-less simultaneously. No electricity, natural gas, or water distribution systems, no sewage treatment, etc. After a few hours/days without electricity the backup systems would start dying, so no phones or Internet either.

So no WoW, as you pointed out. But that would be the least of our problems :)

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Can an Old Programmer Learn New Tricks?

Calibax I've been programming for 45 years (306 comments)

I started programming professionally in 1969 with Fortran, followed by COBOL in 1970, Algol and IBM 360 Assembler in 1972. Since then I've coded projects in Basic, Simula, ESPOL, NDL, Databus, PL/1, PL/S, Rexx, Forth, Pascal, and half a dozen different assembler languages such as 6502, 6800, 68000, x86, Datapoint, PDP-11 and PowerPC. My current languages of choice are C, C++, C#, and JavaScript, although I can do Transact/SQL, Visual Basic, and Python if needed.

Here's my point. A computer language is just a way of expressing simple commands. The concepts are pretty much the same across most procedural languages. A DO loop is a DO loop, regardless of what you call it and the exact syntax. A much bigger issue is learning the idioms and the libraries associated with each implementation of a language. Just like human languages, the more of them you know, the easier it is to pick up the next one.

I've never had any formal computer classes. Back when I started there was no such thing as a computer science degree - most university classes in computing were done the math department. But you still have to learn. Buy books, read them, do small projects to familiarize yourself with the languages. Make yourself learn. It's your career, manage it. Make certain you have the skills that are needed, and if you think you don't have the skills you need then be proactive in getting them. Use the Tiobe index to see what's trending up.

I'm at my sixth company at present. I have never been unemployed. I don't code as much as I used to because I'm in an architectural role now, but I still can code and I enjoy it immensely. I'm still the go-to guy in my areas of expertise. I made the mistake of going the managerial route at one point and discovered I hated it. Computers are easier to handle than people - they don't lie, they do what you tell them, and they don't have hidden agendas, and they don't backstab.

18 years is less than half of your working life. Coders will be needed for long time. Application coders will needed for years to come. People will be needed to code operating systems, drivers, environmental software, IDEs, compilers, etc. for many years. Don't give up, and don't believe all you read about ageism. I interviewed for my current gig with a full head of grey hair.

about 4 months ago

Man Jailed For Refusing To Reveal USB Password

Calibax Re:Cry me a fucking river... (374 comments)

In the UK, the right to remain silent has been around since the 17th Century. However, it was removed by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1984.

Since the UK doesn't have a written constitution, it's impossible to argue that a law is unconstitutional. The question cannot be taken to the European Court of Human Rights, because the tight to remain silent is not mentioned in the European Convention on Human Rights, although the majority of E.U. countries have laws giving that right.

Further, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 make it a crime not to disclose an encryption key to police when asked.

about 6 months ago

Man Jailed For Refusing To Reveal USB Password

Calibax Re:Cry me a fucking river... (374 comments)

In the USA there is a constitutional right against self incrimination, and the right not to answer questions from the police has been the subject of many movies, both fictional and non-fictional. It's generally considered that "taking the fifth" is a well known act by criminals.

Without doubt it is possible to argue that not answering questions is impeding an investigation and therefore obstructing justice, but it is balanced by a suspect's right to remain silent when questioned by police. Now whether a person can be compelled to answer questions about a password is a different twist on the question "where did you hide the key the safe" or whatever, but I think the answer is well settled in U.S. jurisprudence.

about 6 months ago

Man Shot To Death For Texting During Movie

Calibax Re:It's about time! (1431 comments)

You do know that this occurred BEFORE the movie started? The guy who was shot dead (whom you call a jerk) was not texting during the movie, but during the opening adverts. You know who the real jerk in this story is?

The man who shot him had to go to his car to retrieve his gun. This was an intentional and premeditated act of violence that deserves severe punishment.

Now a child will grow up without his father. A wife will have to bring up the child without her husband's help. All because some jerk didn't like the adverts being interrupted.

about 6 months ago

What Would It Cost To Build a Windows Version of the Pricey New Mac Pro?

Calibax Re:The Mac tax is not just cost, it's expandabilit (804 comments)

The title of this story is "How much would it cost to build a Windows version of the Mac Pro", so I described a system I specced that is very similar.

The user wanted a system, I specced it for him. It was built and he's happy. Your comment notwithstanding. And I am hideous :)

about 7 months ago

What Would It Cost To Build a Windows Version of the Pricey New Mac Pro?

Calibax Re:Very Doubtful (804 comments)

The title of this story is "How much would it cost to build a Windows version of the Mac Pro". I claim that the system is an equivalent system to the Mac Pro - and that's the whole point of my listing the system components and the system cost.

In this case the user can't use a Mac Pro because it doesn't support his applications which are written in CUDA - an NVIDIA proprietary language that the user claims is vastly superior to OpenCL for his needs.

I understand that the Mac Pro GPUs are being build specifically for Apple by AMD and are not available elsewhere, so I don't know how you can claim anything about their speed unless you have benchmarked them with the code they are intended to run. Similarly, you say it's "very likely" that the storage is slower, again without doing any benchmarks in the setting they are being used with the intended applications.

In this case, the user needed a new system. He gave me the requirements, and I specced a system that has made him happy. In addition, I think it has some serious advantages over a Mac Pro. And it's fast enough for the user, and in the end, that's all that matters.

about 7 months ago

What Would It Cost To Build a Windows Version of the Pricey New Mac Pro?

Calibax The Mac tax is not just cost, it's expandability (804 comments)

I recently specced a system quite similar to the Mac Pro. I used a SuperMicro motherboard, a similar Xeon 6-core CPU, 128 GB of ECC RAM, two Samsung 512 GB Pro SSDs (primary and a local backup), and an NVIDIA Quadro GPU. All the other components (case, power supply, CPU cooler, fans) are top quality. My supplier ordered the parts and charged $100 to assemble and test it. The user is running Linux and he's happy with the system - happy enough that he's demoed it around his department and says it has generated much interest. In any case, a new Mac Pro wasn't an option for him as he's using CUDA rather than OpenCL.

The total cost was $4,150. The system has twice as much RAM as the Mac Pro supports, an upgradeable GPU, space for many more drives in the box, and a savings of about $1,500 over an equivalent Mac Pro with 64GB RAM. OK, the box doesn't look as nice, but since it's under the user's desk that's not so terrible.

The cost saving is not the biggest improvement over the Mac Pro. The big items are having an upgradeable GPU and expandability inside the box - Thunderbolt just doesn't have the product base yet. I'm beginning to doubt it ever will with higher speed USB in the pipeline.

about 7 months ago

Netflix: Non-'A' Players Unworthy of Jobs

Calibax Can you run a Tech Company on Grade A folks only? (397 comments)

Here's the problem. Grade A people expect to do grade A work. In almost every organization there is a ton of work that doesn't fit into this category but still needs attention. Code gets old and has to be updated, and there's a ton of work that doesn't require the brightest and best but still has to be done.

Now the grade A people don't want to know that. They want to work on the sexy new stuff that makes them look like the superstars they are. They might put up with maintenance coding for a while, but they won't stay there. They will want to move to better things, and if they can't they will move to another company - and because they are grade A, they can do that with relative ease.

Google used to have the same issue with a grade A requirement, and they found that products stayed in beta for years as a result of engineers moving on when the interesting parts of the code was done. They even had to cancel some products because they couldn't get engineering resources that wanted to work on them. So they lowered their standards a little and things improved somewhat.

By the way, I'm not knocking maintenance programming - that's often difficult work. Maintenance guys have to come up to speed quickly on systems they never wrote and then make the code do things it was never designed to do, and finish it in an impossible short deadline, because it's "only" maintenance. But it's not sexy enough for most grade A folks.

about 7 months ago

Intel Open-Sources Broadwell GPU Driver & Indicates Major Silicon Changes

Calibax Intel is keeping pace (103 comments)

It's not like AMD, nVidia, PowerVR, etc. are standing still Every year brings better graphics, and Intel needs to keep pace.

But since they came late to the game, they have a patent minefield in front of them.

about 9 months ago

Bill Gates: Internet Will Not Save the World

Calibax Bill is doing the right things (247 comments)

Years ago, when I was a zoology major in university, I spent some time working on a study of elephant migration paths in Africa.

It was an eye opening experience. I was staggered by the sheer poverty, the lack of access to safe drinking water and food, the high rates of preventable illness, and the high rate of child deaths. I remember a woman living in Uganda who made "biscuits" for children made with washed dirt simply so they could get something into their stomachs that would reduce the hunger pains and not kill them. I don't give to USA charities since then. I give all my charity dollars to people who are doing outstanding work in areas of disease and poverty.

I have no idea what people struggling to find food would do with the internet. Would it enrich their lives? I don't see how. Would it save them from disease? Would it allow their children greater likelyhood to see their fifth birthday?

Bill Gates has the right idea. I just wish other very rich people had as much sense and willingness to spend their money to help people.

about 9 months ago

Ten Steps You Can Take Against Internet Surveillance

Calibax Do you think you are special? (234 comments)

According to news reports, there are around 1000 analysts at NSA engaged in surveillance. Let's assume half of them are looking at foreign traffic and half at domestic traffic. That's 500 analysts for 350 million population, or 1 analyst for every 700,000 people. What makes you think you are special enough to deserve their attention?

Personally, I'm much more concerned about the way commercial organizations are spying on us. I think the loss of privacy to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, and other social media is much more creepy than some secret government bureau knowing that I called my parents 3 times last week.

Of course, there are those that worry about cops knowing when they are calling their drug supplier to set up a buy, but all indications so far is that the data is not available to regular police organizations.

about 9 months ago



Parallels Update Installs Unrelated Deamon Without Permission

Calibax Calibax writes  |  about a year ago

Calibax (151875) writes "Parallels recently released version 9 of Parallels Desktop, their popular hypervisor application for Mac. They also released a new product named Parallels Access that offers access to Windows applications from an iPad for $80 per year. Access has received less than stellar reviews.

When a user upgrades Parallels Desktop, he is asked if he wants a free six month subscription to Parallels Access. Even if he says no, the product is installed on his system and the application is started each time the system is rebooted. It is installed with ancillary files scattered around several directories in the system and Parallels has not supplied an uninstaller or listed the steps to fully uninstall the application, despite a number of requests.

In other words, Parallels has decided it's a good idea to silently install a difficult to remove deamon application on the system, even if the user has explicitly stated they do not want it. They have not provided an uninstaller or a list of files installed or instructions on how to remove the application files. These are scattered to at least four Mac OS X OS system level directories."

Low IQ & Conservative Beliefs Linked to Prejud

Calibax Calibax writes  |  about 2 years ago

Calibax (151875) writes "A recent study by a psychologist at Brock University in Ontario finds that children with low intelligence are more likely to hold prejudiced attitudes as adults and that low-intelligence adults tend to gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies. Those ideologies, in turn, stress hierarchy and resistance to change, attitudes that can contribute to prejudice."
Link to Original Source

88 Year Old Scientist Hassled by DEA

Calibax Calibax writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Calibax (151875) writes "30 years ago Bob Wallace and his partner came up with a product to help hikers, flood victims and others purify water. Wallace, now 88 years old, packs his product by hand in his garage, stores it in his backyard shed and sells it for $6.50.

Recently, the DEA has been hassling him because his product uses crystalline iodine. He has been refused a license to purchase the iodine because it can be used in the production of crystal meth, and as a result he is now out of business.

A DEA spokesman describes this as "collateral damage" not resulting from DEA regulations but from the selfish actions of criminals."

Link to Original Source


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