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US Supreme Court Invalidates Patent For Being Software Patent

Carcass666 Shock and Awe (220 comments)

A unanimous decision, authored by the most conservative voice on the court (Thomas) with a concurring opinion by one of the most liberal (Sotomayor). If this were the beginning of April, I would say this story was a prank. Yeah, it doesn't completely kill software patents, but it does seem to mortally wound the "business process + software = patent troll profit" problem that is plaguing software development. This is a good day for the judicial branch. It's a good day for the USA.

about a month ago

EU's Top Court May Define Obesity As a Disability

Carcass666 Re:Please make it a mental one (625 comments)

Health insurance != Health care costs. Health insurance is largely an American problem. You can argue its merits versus single-payer, but in countries like the UK and Canada, health insurance is largely seen as a queue cutting mechanism, and most people get on without it. Costs are going up everywhere, but per-capita, the US has among the highest cost in the industrialized world.

I don't understand how forcing people to buy private insurance is destroying the market, although it is certainly distorting it (types of plans are way more regulated than they ought to bbe). You can argue that forcing the purchase of insurance is beyond the powers of the federal government (which I agree with), but it's pretty far from single-payer socialism. States can set up their own exchanges, and choose whether or not they want to take the federal money for Medicaid expansion. I fully agree about the state of oligopolic competition with regards to medical insurance, but that is hardly a recent phenomenon.

Somehow you read my post complaining about subsidies (agricultural and Medicaid) and taxation as an endorsement of Obamacare, I'm not sure how you got there. If you live in the US, unless you are rich enough to have tax shelters sufficient to keep you from paying federal taxes, you are helping to pay for health care of those aren't paying for their own healthcare, you are helping to pay subsidies for corn farmers, and you are, in fact, one of "us". Like it or not, you are helping to pay for that person stroking out that has been living on snacks and fast food.

about a month ago

EU's Top Court May Define Obesity As a Disability

Carcass666 Re:Please make it a mental one (625 comments)

Who is "we?" I'm not obese. Nobody in my family is obese. My family does not manufacture nor sell food. Therefore, it is not my problem. I do not care if others are obese and die ae a result of their obesity. It is not my concern. You live your life your way, I'll live my life my way. There is no "we."

Yep, no obese people in my family either. I work and have health insurance (I'm in the US, it's a big deal here). And yet, I still care. Why? There are unpaid hospital bills in the amount of $41 billion. Except those bills really aren't unpaid now, are they? You might want to let the obese die, but doctors operate under the Hippocratic Oath and cannot turn people away from the emergency room because they are obese or poor. High insurance premiums and, of course, our friend taxes (which fund state-level Medicaid entitlements) are how the costs get covered. Prices rise because insurance (public and private) will only pay a portion of actual costs.

There is a "we" in US. Your federal taxes fund the subsidies to the corn syrup producers so politicians in the Midwest can remain relevant. The crop space used to grow subsidized corn used in corn syrup and ethanol make you more dependent upon product brought in from South America (not so bad, but does make our food supply vulnerable to political instability in that region) and food products from China (ask Fido how that's working out for him). Market distortion is a problem, and it affects all of us.

about a month ago

Physical Media: Down, But Maybe Not Out

Carcass666 Re:Collector here (116 comments)

if you have a roku2 you can cache them for later viewing when it is convenient for you.

Do they put a time limit on how long you can cache items?

about a month and a half ago

The Coming IT Nightmare of Unpatchable Systems

Carcass666 Integrated Appliances Already Hit by This (240 comments)

I have an Onkyo amplifier (mid-range) and an LG BlueRay player (low-end). A few months back, the Onkyo no longer could connect to Rhapsody (yah, I know, Rhapsody, but the wife likes it). Onkyo knows about it, and basically says "tough" because it's an old model (~ 4 years). I can use Chromecast, but it's an annoyance, because now I have to have a phone or tablet around to listen to music. The BlueRay player no longer shows images for Netflix in its bundled application. I can use Chromecast, but again, it's annoying. It's apparently in neither company's interest to update the firmware (which is updateable on both devices) to fix these issues, because they believe I will go out and by a more recent device (if I do, obviously it will be from neither of these companies).

The whole concept of integrated A/V appliances continues to underwhelm me. Fortunately, I didn't drop extra coin for a "smart" TV, but it seems that it's how the market is moving.

about 2 months ago

Microsoft Cheaper To Use Than Open Source Software, UK CIO Says

Carcass666 Re:Microsoft cheaper on the very short run (589 comments)

I dunno... I think since the Server 2008 days, Microsoft server OSs and application stack, such as IIS Microsoft SQL, plays pretty nicely in the SMB space, and are reliable and decently priced. You can throw up the servers and sites pretty quickly, and as long as you aren't talking about thousands of current transactions you're going to have good success, even without huge amounts of specific training. We run both Microsoft (mostly custom applications) and Oracle (mostly e-Business Suite) and when I compare the difficulty of managing the two from a server and updates point-of-view, I am shocked that Oracle gets away with what they do. Even Oracle's database, arguably their best technology, takes constant tweaking and tuning to perform fewer transactions than Microsoft databases. Granted, a lot of this is due to the poor coding of Oracle's EBS, but still...

It's when you have to scale the Microsoft stack out (when you get big enough to think about words like "enterprise") where it all sort of starts going downhill. Your standard server and SQL licenses have to be upgraded to their enterprise brethren to get real load balancing and fault tolerance, and it's not an incremental cost update, it's balance sheet altering. Your in-house team likely aren't going to have the expertise to stand up clusters and such, so your consulting and/or training budgets go way up. And eventually somebody gets convinced that Sharepoint is a must-have, and then your days of smooth sailing are forever over, and you start wondering if open source really would have been much worse.

about 3 months ago

Lucasfilm Announces Break With Star Wars Expanded Universe

Carcass666 Re:But wait... (157 comments)

Heh, Carrie Fisher might have a shot at pulling off a reverend mother superior. And, if you put Idaho Duncan in a stormtrooper uniform..

about 3 months ago

Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

Carcass666 Clickbait (1633 comments)

That is all.

about 3 months ago

LA Police Officers Suspected of Tampering With Their Monitoring Systems

Carcass666 Re:Easy fix (322 comments)

Just deduct the repair bill from their pay. They'll soon start working.

Good luck with that given the power of their union.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Reviewing 3rd Party Libraries?

Carcass666 Re:Source code can come with proprietary libs ... (88 comments)

In this particular case, the library is a component of a deployed system (put into place before I got here) for inventory management. The library is the "documented" way to be able for our website to be able to query the system and to be able to perform operations on the inventory (take some out of stock, put some back in, etc.). I could deal with the database directly, but then I don't have any guarantee that I am implementing the same business logic as the library. This particular vendor is very touchy about their proprietary code (and, after seeing a bit how it is built, I can certainly see why).

So, I guess the point I'm trying to make is sometimes, you're screwed, and you have to deal with the mess somebody else made. At least, that's where I'm at right now...

about 5 months ago

Nokia Turns To Android To Regain Share In Emerging Markets

Carcass666 Re:Actually, it IS that easy (146 comments)

Directly speaking, that's true. Indirectly speaking, a phone vendor effectively must forgo any revenue potential for providers of services that compete with Google, given Google's restrictictions around prominence of their apps, and the defaults they enforce around search and location. Coincidentally, there is another Ars article on the topic.

about 5 months ago

HTML5 App For Panasonic TVs Rejected - JQuery Is a "Hack"

Carcass666 Re:Why jQuery? (573 comments)

Completely agree. I think Panasonic is pushing back on the idea of using jQuery as an abstraction layer around Javascript. If I understand this use case, code is getting written to execute on a browser embedded in a TV. In this case, I'm not sure what jQuery gets you, other than making it easier to code Javascript.

about 6 months ago

HTML5 App For Panasonic TVs Rejected - JQuery Is a "Hack"

Carcass666 Why jQuery? (573 comments)

I use jQuery, a lot. But I use it because it allows me to worry less about what browser I am running on. If I am coding an embedded application for a known, fixed platform, I would be inclined to avoid the overhead of something like jQuery. If you're not worrying about what brain-damaged version of IE your code is running on, just use XMLHttpRequest. Manipulating the DOM isn't that bad, especially if you are leveraging CSS for your appearance attributes.

about 6 months ago

Watch Bill Nye and Ken Ham Clash Over Creationism Live

Carcass666 First Impressions - Not Much of a Debate (593 comments)

I got through the first 2/3 of this, and gave up after Ham kept repeating the same themes:

  • That we cannot observe the past, and that science should be divided into "operational" and "historical" science. Ham did not explicitly state he does not accept that we can observe the speed of light, but in doing so he would have discredited his point about not being able to observe the past (i.e. every time you look up in the night sky).
  • Ham seemed to infer that if you are not directly observing an event as its happening, the best you can do is to find an authoritative reference (i.e. the Bible). He explicitly rejected the idea that continuity of natural law could be used to infer history (i.e. rings of trees or ice strata can be used to determine age).
  • Nye a few times offered points that are testable (i.e. find a fossil swimming through rock strata, that sort of thing), whereas Ham admittedly started with the Bible as absolute truth, and then inferred history from there.
  • I did learn about the creationist concept of "kinds" - which basically said that all current species were bred (not evolved) from 1,000 base "kinds". Nye pointed out the math of the millions of species that would have appeared after the flood, which was ignored by Ham (at least as far as I got in the video). The concept of "kinds" as an origin for current species sounds like a big cop-out. It basically exists to validate the Noah story.

On the other hand, I'm not sure Nye was that great of a counterpoint. He focused far too much on the flood, I suppose because if creationists start from the Bible as absolute truth, and infer creation from that, disproving any part of the Bible would disprove creation. I don't think it's effective. The idea of "creation" is not predicated upon the flood actually happening and an ark; attacking the flood only rebuts the Bible as an authoritative source, there are plenty of other myths and legends of spontaneous creation. I am guessing that Nye's very valid point that splitting science into "observable" and "historical" is bogus was lost upon the attendees that were creationist-friendly. So was the point that non-testable beliefs are not science.

For me, this was a discouraging insight into the mindset of a religion I had walked away from. These people feel free to hijack terms, ignore evidence that leads to conclusions they don't agree with, and do so only so they can try and feel superior over their secular countrymen and co-opt education. If you don't believe science supports a truth that you don't believe in, fine. Science does not answer all questions. But don't wrap scholarly terminology around bogus arguments and call it science. I will return the favor and not call my lack of belief in the divine a religion.

about 6 months ago

US Democrats Introduce Bill To Restore Net Neutrality

Carcass666 Re:policy is more than 'posture' (535 comments)

My premise was not that the Democrats did not have good intentions with regard to net neutrality, but that the GOP is not the exclusive party of huge corporations. If one is looking for base motives for this legislation, there are plenty of media companies (far more friendly to Dems than Reps) that would like to get easier access to our TV sets. The bill, such as it is, is likely not all about altruism and the love a free net. It also has no chance of passing. The FCC needs to classify Internet connectivity as a common carrier service. Anything else is bluster and, yes, posturing.

about 6 months ago

US Democrats Introduce Bill To Restore Net Neutrality

Carcass666 Re:It's incredibly frustrating... (535 comments)

If you think that sort of behavior is exclusive to the GOP, you don't pay attention to campaign finances. Obama's top donors were almost identical to Romney's, with few exceptions.

Judging by that metric, Goldman Sachs runs America, regardless of who gets elected.

Fair enough, although to me it's less about the behavior being exclusive as much as the branding. Plenty of pork barrel spending and obstructionism to go around. And yes, I guess in a tinfoil hat kind of of way, I do believe that the banking sector does have undue influence on our government. "Too big too fail" was an idea introduced during the Bush II administration and continued on by Obama's. For some reason, and I'm sure it has nothing to do with campaign contributions, banks making bad bets on their investments could not be allowed to go bankrupt the way individuals making bad bets on their investments were expected too, even though corporations are people and all of that. It's a stacked deck, the winners are pre-ordained.

about 6 months ago

US Democrats Introduce Bill To Restore Net Neutrality

Carcass666 Re:It's incredibly frustrating... (535 comments) see just how in the pocket of huge corporations the GOP is, and yet people continue to vote for them, against their own interests.

What will it take to wake people up? I fear it may not happen until it's too late, if not already.

I don't buy that the GOP is necessarily in bed with corporations any more than the Democrats, it's just more of a position of political posture. The GOP takes care of their corporate masters by fighting against regulations, while the Democrats handle the tax breaks, subsidies and programs that ensure their campaign contributors are happy.

The anti-regulation dogma of the GOP is disheartening because while I agree with a decent number of GOP principles around spending restraint, tax reform, etc.; I don't agree that the free market can be trusted to handle finite public resources like spectrum and last-mile connectivity. This is especially troubling given the nature of the last-mile providers (COX, Time Warner, AT&T, etc.) who have vested commercial interests in maximizing their bandwidth performance at the expense of others (Netflix). It's too simplistic to say that all regulation is "bad", just as it's too simplistic to say that any social or green energy program is "good".

about 6 months ago

Peanut Allergy Treatment Trial In UK "A Success"

Carcass666 Re:Feed your kids, people (192 comments)

This works for some things better than others. I grew up allergic to just about everything (including peanuts). Easing into things, I can handle milk and poultry just fine as an adult. I have dogs but can still get stuffy if I don't clean up after them. Eating a peanut will still have me in full-blown anaphylaxis and needing medical care in about three hour (it happens by accident every couple of years). Sitting on a Southwest flight I will still get hay fever like symptoms due to the peanuts being served.

about 6 months ago

Should Facebook 'Likes' Count As Commercial Endorsements?

Carcass666 What is a "Like" worth? (189 comments)

A lot of commercial "likes" are generated as opt-ins to contests and the like. For example, a local news channel will instruct its viewers to like a certain Facebook page to be eligible to win something. To me, the commercial value of a "like" would be low, I don't know of anybody who says "I will buy XXX instead of YYY because they have more likes on their Facebook page" (or more followers on Twitter, whatever). I don't ses the ROI on social media engagement, unless you are a marketing firm or consultancy charging by the project or hour.

about 7 months ago



Ask Slashdot: Reviewing 3rd Party Libraries

Carcass666 Carcass666 writes  |  about 5 months ago

Carcass666 (539381) writes "It is usually good to use existing libraries, rather than reinventing the wheel, especially with open source. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to work with closed source implementations. Recently, we were diagnosing a .NET assembly and, after getting nowhere with the vendor, ran it through a decompiler. The code was a morass of SQL concatenation, sloppy type conversions, and various things that are generally thought of as insecure.

My question is: What are Slashdot readers' preferred tools for analyzing .NET and Java compiled libraries (not source code) for potential security vulnerabilities? Ideally, I would like to know if a library is a security liability before I code against it. For example, Microsoft used to have something called FxCop, but it hasn't been updated for current versions of the .NET framework."


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