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UN To Debate Taxing Internet Data

CowboyRobot Nonsense (284 comments)

The United Nations is not a government and does not have the ability to levy taxes even if they wanted to. The debate about taxes happened in a U.N. forum, but the U.N. itself would have no role in collecting taxes. It would be the U.S. and European countries that would collect and keep the money.

about 2 years ago
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Of currently dead inventors, my favorite is ...

CowboyRobot Philo Farnsworth (542 comments)

I'm not the first to mention him, but I add Philo Farnsworth because he's the most relatable of the bunch. I simply don't have the brainpower or industriousness to be like Tesla or Leonardo, but I think if I really applied myself to a few core, solvable problems, I would be able to come up with something that no one had done before.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Book For 11-Year-Old Who Wants To Teach Himself To Program?

CowboyRobot JavaScript (525 comments)

I had taken some programming classes when i was younger. First in C and then in Java but it was only by fooling around with JavaScript that I really got the concepts of coding down. With JavaScript all you need is a text editor and a web browser, no compiler. And the feedback you get is so immediate that debugging is much quicker and less frustrating than with other languages. All the instruction is free on the Web, and with HTML5 gaining traction, JavaScript is again a useful language to know.

about 2 years ago
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Utah's Medicaid Data Breach Worse Than Expected

CowboyRobot Round numbers (1 comments)

The nice, round numbers they quote suggests to me that they have no idea how many records were actually compromised.

about 2 years ago
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What Color Is Twitter?

CowboyRobot Synesthesia (1 comments)

I like the idea of a collective synesthesia of online content. I think a few options should be added: - Give a history of color changes - - and map it to significant changes in content - Don't just track the median average, also track the most-occurring color references - - avoiding brown is a good start, but 'most frequent' may be more telling than 'average'

about 2 years ago
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Emergency Landing Due to Snakes on the Plane

CowboyRobot Crocodile (3 comments)

The crocodile being loose on a plane is probably a more interesting story

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What are your top work-from-home tips?

CowboyRobot Exercise (2 comments)

I've been working primarily from a home office for about 10 years. At first I was good about maintaining my discipline, waking up at the same time, showering and dressing - but then, instead of an hour commute, I started work right away, an hour early. Then, undisturbed by meetings and co-worker's phone calls, I found i was able to get all my work done by about 1pm. It was all great, until a month or two into it when I started getting lazy, waking up later, delaying showering and dressing and procrastinating the work whenever I could. The solution for me was to make sure I got out of the house and got some exercise every day, even if it was just a walk around the block. That put me back on track to having at least a minimum of discipline.

more than 2 years ago
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The Lost Film That Accompanied Empire Strikes Back

CowboyRobot Re:Star Wars (195 comments)

...is likely to get you flogged and/or hung.

You will surely get hanged. Alas, none of us here are, or ever will be, hung.

more than 4 years ago
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Web Release of the Open Movie Elephants Dream

CowboyRobot Re:Anyone Interested In Making a Re-Edit? (290 comments)

Agreed, there is potential to actually communicate a message/story that has meaning using what is there. It's almost like a cartoon where you have to fill in the caption yourself. A shame that with all the hype and the quality graphics that the narrative is so opaque.

more than 6 years ago

Submissions

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Samsung's Position On Tizen May Hurt Developer Recruitment

CowboyRobot CowboyRobot writes  |  2 days ago

CowboyRobot (671517) writes "Samsung isn’t making it easy for developers. The company may have released a handful of SDKs for its latest devices, but Samsung’s non-committal approach to its Tizen platform is probably going to cost it developer support. Samsung’s first smartwatch, released in October last year, ran a modified version of Google’s Android platform. The device had access to about 80 apps at launch, all of which were managed by a central smartphone app. Samsung offered developers an SDK for the Galaxy Gear so they could create more apps. Developers obliged. Then Samsung changed direction."
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Please Put OpenSSL Out of Its Misery

CowboyRobot CowboyRobot writes  |  4 days ago

CowboyRobot (671517) writes "Writing for the ACM, Poul-Henning Kamp claims that "OpenSSL must die, for it will never get any better." The reasons being that OpenSSL has become a dumping ground of un-organized contributions. "We need a well-designed API, as simple as possible to make it hard for people to use it incorrectly. And we need multiple independent quality implementations of that API, so that if one turns out to be crap, people can switch to a better one in a matter of hours.""
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Can't Find a Parking Spot? There's an API for That

CowboyRobot CowboyRobot writes  |  about a week ago

CowboyRobot (671517) writes "California-based Streetline has partnered with cities, universities, parking garages and transit agencies in the United States and internationally to build a large, smart parking network. The network is powered by ultra-low-power wireless sensors that it deploys in its partners’ locations. The data collected by those sensors is analyzed by the company’s Smart Parking Platform to determine parking availability. The system distinguishes between metered and unmetered spaces, and it can identify special kinds of spaces, such as electric vehicle (EV) and accessible spaces."
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A Primer on Provenance

CowboyRobot CowboyRobot writes  |  about a week ago

CowboyRobot (671517) writes "Lucian Carata and colleagues at the University of Cambridge describe the importance of knowing where data comes from and what processes may have altered it. In "A Primer on Provenance", they describe how sometimes the transformations applied to data are not directly controlled by or even known to developers, and information about a result is lost when no provenance is recorded, making it harder to assess quality or reproducibility. Computing is becoming pervasive, and the need for guarantees about it being dependable will only aggravate those problems; treating provenance as a first-class citizen in data processing represents a possible solution."
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Converter Makes JSON as Understandable as a Spreadsheet

CowboyRobot CowboyRobot writes  |  about two weeks ago

CowboyRobot (671517) writes "Eric Mill, a developer at the Sunlight Foundation, has created a JSON-to-CSV converter where users can simply paste JSON code into a box and have the code automatically reformatted and re-colored, then converted into an easily readable table of data. A complete CSV of the table data can also be downloaded. The converter uses JavaScript so it runs without a server and the JSON conversions happen inside the browser."
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Multipath TCP

CowboyRobot CowboyRobot writes  |  about a month and a half ago

CowboyRobot (671517) writes "The Internet relies heavily on two protocols. In the network layer, IP (Internet Protocol) provides an unreliable datagram service and ensures that any host can exchange packets with any other host. Since its creation in the 1970s, IP has seen the addition of several features, including multicast, IPsec (IP security), and QoS (quality of service). The latest revision, IPv6 (IP version 6), supports 16-byte addresses. The second major protocol is TCP (Transmission Control Protocol), which operates in the transport layer and provides a reliable bytestream service on top of IP. TCP has evolved continuously since the first experiments in research networks. MPTCP is a major extension to TCP. By decoupling TCP from IP, TCP is at last able to support multihomed hosts. With the growing importance of wireless networks, multihoming is becoming the norm instead of the exception. Smartphones and data centers are the first use cases where MPTCP can provide benefits."
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Eventually Consistent: Not What You Were Expecting?

CowboyRobot CowboyRobot writes  |  about 2 months ago

CowboyRobot (671517) writes "Storage systems continue to lay the foundation for modern Internet services such as Web search, e-commerce, and social networking. Pressures caused by rapidly growing user bases and data sets have driven system designs away from conventional centralized databases and toward more scalable distributed solutions, including simple NoSQL key-value storage systems, as well as more elaborate NewSQL databases that support transactions at scale.

Eventual consistency is increasingly viewed as a spectrum of behaviors that can be quantified along various dimensions, rather than a binary property that a storage system either satisfies or fails to satisfy. Advances in characterizing and verifying these behaviors will enable service providers to offer an increasingly rich set of service levels of differentiated performance, ultimately improving the end user's experience."

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Rate-Limiting State

CowboyRobot CowboyRobot writes  |  about 2 months ago

CowboyRobot (671517) writes "Writing for ACM's Queue magazine, Paul Vixie argues, "The edge of the Internet is an unruly place." By design, the Internet core is stupid, and the edge is smart. This design decision has enabled the Internet's wildcat growth, since without complexity the core can grow at the speed of demand. On the downside, the decision to put all smartness at the edge means we're at the mercy of scale when it comes to the quality of the Internet's aggregate traffic load. Not all device and software builders have the skills and budgets that something the size of the Internet deserves. Furthermore, the resiliency of the Internet means that a device or program that gets something importantly wrong about Internet communication stands a pretty good chance of working "well enough" in spite of this. Witness the endless stream of patches and vulnerability announcements from the vendors of literally every smartphone, laptop, or desktop operating system and application. Bad guys have the time, skills, and motivation to study edge devices for weaknesses, and they are finding as many weaknesses as they need to inject malicious code into our precious devices where they can then copy our data, modify our installed software, spy on us, and steal our identities."
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IBM Invests $100M to Help Developers Build Cognitive Applications

CowboyRobot CowboyRobot writes  |  about 3 months ago

CowboyRobot (671517) writes "Hard on the heels of a recent move to make its Watson supercomputer a service that developers can invoke via RESTful APIs, IBM is now making $100 million available to help developers build cognitive computing applications that can run on top of Watson. The funding is part of a larger $1 billion investment that IBM is making to create a formal Watson Group and is designed to encourage independent software vendors to become part of an ecosystem that IBM is trying to build around Watson."
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Node at LinkedIn: The Pursuit of Thinner, Lighter, Faster

CowboyRobot CowboyRobot writes  |  about 3 months ago

CowboyRobot (671517) writes "Node.js, the server-side JavaScript-based software platform used to build scalable network applications, has been all the rage among many developers for the past couple of years, although its popularity has also managed to enrage some others, who have unleashed a barrage of negative blog posts to point out its perceived shortcomings. Still, while new and untested, Node continues to win more converts. In 2011 LinkedIn joined the movement when it opted to rebuild its core mobile services in Node. The professional networking site, which had been relying on Ruby on Rails, was looking for performance and scalability gains. With its pervasive use of non-blocking primitives and a single-threaded event loop, Node seemed promising. Kiran Prasad joined LinkedIn as senior director of mobile engineering in 2011 and led the company's transition to Node. On the server side, LinkedIn's mobile frontend is now built entirely in Node. Prasad admits Node isn't the best tool for every job, but upon analyzing LinkedIn's system, Prasad and his team determined that what was needed to improve efficiency was an event-driven system. Node also proved attractive because it's thin and light while allowing for the direct manipulation of data objects."
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BitPay's New Payroll API Enables Bitcoin Paychecks

CowboyRobot CowboyRobot writes  |  about 3 months ago

CowboyRobot (671517) writes "BitPay, virtual currency payment processor, has announced a beta trial for its new Bitcoin Payroll API. The API allows employers to offer a portion of employee pay in bitcoin.Targeted at employers and payroll service providers, the API allows employees to opt-in to receive a payroll deduction in bitcoin on a recurring basis."
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The Emergence of API-First Development

CowboyRobot CowboyRobot writes  |  about 3 months ago

CowboyRobot (671517) writes "How an API was designed and implemented is usually of little interest to consumers of the thousands of APIs available today. What matters most is that an API works, is easy to integrate and solves a real problem. But for the growing number of companies looking to take advantage of the booming API economy and considering developing APIs, design is an important subject. Historically, API design has been a consumer-first exercise: a company develops a data-rich application and at some point, decides to build an API through which that data can be accessed. In recent years, however, more and more companies have opted for an API-first approach under which APIs are designed, implemented and documented before the application that will consume them even exists. “Don’t be afraid to break the structure of your API” in the early days... “Find a few key customers that are willing to work with you and keep in constant communication with them. This will allow you to change the API given their comments.”"
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Unikernels: Rise of the Virtual Library Operating System

CowboyRobot CowboyRobot writes  |  about 3 months ago

CowboyRobot (671517) writes "What if all the software layers in a virtual appliance were compiled within the same safe, high-level language framework? Cloud computing has been pioneering the business of renting computing resources in large data centers to multiple (and possibly competing) tenants. The basic enabling technology for the cloud is operating-system virtualization such as Xen1 or VMWare, which allows customers to multiplex VMs (virtual machines) on a shared cluster of physical machines. Each VM presents as a self-contained computer, booting a standard operating-system kernel and running unmodified applications just as if it were executing on a physical machine. While operating-system virtualization is undeniably useful, it adds yet another layer to an already highly layered software stack now including: support for old physical protocols (e.g., disk standards developed in the 1980s, such as IDE); irrelevant optimizations (e.g., disk elevator algorithms on SSD drives); backward-compatible interfaces (e.g., POSIX); user-space processes and threads (in addition to VMs on a hypervisor); and managed-code runtimes (e.g., OCaml, .NET, or Java). Are we really doomed to adding new layers of indirection and abstraction every few years, leaving future generations of programmers to become virtual archaeologists as they dig through hundreds of layers of software emulation to debug even the simplest applications?"
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Not All Bugs Are Random

CowboyRobot CowboyRobot writes  |  about 4 months ago

CowboyRobot (671517) writes "Andrew Koenig at Dr. Dobb's argues that by looking at a program's structure — as opposed to only looking at output — we can sometimes predict circumstances in which it is particularly likely to fail. "For example, any time a program decides to use one or two (or more) algorithms depending on an aspect of its input such as size, we should verify that it works properly as close as possible to the decision boundary on both sides. I've seen quite a few programs that impose arbitrary length limits on, say, the size of an input line or the length of a name. I've also seen far too many such programs that fail when they are presented with input that fits the limit exactly, or is one greater (or less) than the limit. If you know by inspecting the code what those limits are, it is much easier to test for cases near the limits.""
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SSDs Cheaper Than Hard Drives? Not In This Decade

CowboyRobot CowboyRobot writes  |  about 4 months ago

CowboyRobot (671517) writes "If you shop carefully online, you can buy a general purpose enterprise SSD, such as Intel’s DC S3700 for about $2.65/GB or a read oriented drive like the Intel DC S3500 for $1.30/GB. By comparison, a 4TB nearline SATA hard disk such as Western Digital’s RE or Seagate’s Constellation cost under $400 or $0.09/GB. Interestingly, consumer/laptop SSDs are well below the magic $1/GB level with Crucial’s M500 selling for about $0.59/GB — about what hard drives cost in 2005. If we assume that SSD prices will fall at their historical 35% annual rate and hard drive prices will fall at a more conservative 15% by 2020, the enterprise SSD will cost almost 13 cents a gigabyte, more than the hard drive costs today, while the 20TB drives the hard drive vendors are promising for 2020 will cost under 3 cents a GB. The price difference will have shrunk from 30:1 to around 5:1. If drive prices fall at a closer to historical 25%, they’ll still be a tenth the cost of SSDs at the end of the decade."
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Google Opens Data Centers in Asia

CowboyRobot CowboyRobot writes  |  about 4 months ago

CowboyRobot (671517) writes "Google opened its newest data centers earlier this month in Taiwan and Singapore, setting up the Internet giant to capitalize on one of the Internet's fastest growing regions. "While we've been busy building, the growth in Asia's Internet has been amazing," wrote Joe Kava, the company's VP of data centers. "Between July and September of this year alone, more than 60 million people in Asia landed on the mobile Internet for the first time. That's almost two Canadas, or three Australias." Meanwhile, Mike Matchett, a Taneja Group senior analyst, said that it may be more than just a matter of cloud strategy; it could be Google's way of protecting users in far-off lands from the kind of snooping to which Americans have been subjected. "In light of the Snowden revelations, we would expect companies to require more and more of their data to stay local.""
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Is REST losing its flair?

CowboyRobot CowboyRobot writes  |  about 4 months ago

CowboyRobot (671517) writes "The adoption of REST as the predominant method to build public APIs has over-shadowed any other API technology or approach in recent years. Although several alternatives (mainly SOAP) are still (very) prevalent in the enterprise, the early adopters of the API movement have taken a definitive stance against them and opted for REST as their approach and JSON as their preferred message format. But while REST is still the poster child of the API movement, there are a number of initiatives, technologies and discussions that are starting to nibble at the crust of the REST de-facto standard. These include: Asynchronous APIs, Orchestration / Experience APIs, the distinction between SDKs vs APIs, and Binary protocols. Common for these is the need for an interface definition in a protocol-specific format, which is then processed by included tools to generate code for supported languages. All have support for most popular languages today."
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Google, HP Recall Faulty Chromebook 11 Charger

CowboyRobot CowboyRobot writes  |  about 4 months ago

CowboyRobot (671517) writes "One month after halting sales of the HP Chromebook 11 following complaints about charger failures, Google and HP, in conjunction with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, have issued a recall of the micro-USB charger that comes with the device. The recall notice says that Google has received nine reports about these chargers overheating and melting. Though no fires have been started as a result of the malfunction, one person reported minor burns, and another reported minor damage to a pillow. The recall affects about 145,000 units, a figure that reflects distribution, rather than sales."
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The Software Inferno

CowboyRobot CowboyRobot writes  |  about 4 months ago

CowboyRobot (671517) writes "The Software Inferno is a tale that parallels The Inferno, Part One of The Divine Comedy written by Dante Alighieri in the early 1300s. That literary masterpiece describes the condemnation and punishment faced by a variety of sinners in their hell-spent afterlives as recompense for atrocities committed during their earthly existences. The Software Inferno is a similar account, describing a journey where "sinners against software" are encountered amidst their torment, within their assigned areas of eternal condemnation, and paying their penance.
"CANTO 2 — LUST: As the countess and I approached the Inferno's second circle, pine we did for the relative comfort of the circle we had just departed, as the inundating and blinding light emanating from the circle ahead bothered our eyes. It originally appeared as if the glow ahead was born of a single source, but our ever-growing nearness showed that it was actually an assemblage of many individual light beams, each specifically focused on a single one of the circle's many inhabitants.""

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NSA's Malware Heroics Questioned By Security Experts

CowboyRobot CowboyRobot writes  |  about 4 months ago

CowboyRobot (671517) writes "The NSA helped foil a "nation state" that planned to launch a BIOS-bricking malware attack against the United States. That claim was delivered Sunday night in an 'Inside the NSA' segment on CBS's 60 Minutes that was partially filmed inside the intelligence agency's headquarters. The agency, of course, is struggling to repair its image — and stave off additional oversight or curtailing of its intelligence-gathering techniques — since documents leaked by former agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed how the NSA has created a massive digital dragnet that's been intercepting millions of Americans' communications and related tracking data. Industry analysts have said that the fallout from those revelations could cost technology businesses billions in lost revenue over the next few years. Miller's interviewees included NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander, who first approached CBS about doing the news segment. But Alexander relied on evasion and doublespeak when it came to addressing some of the NSA's more contentious practices, for example when responding to questions about whether the agency hacks into datacenters run by the likes of Google and Yahoo. "We do target terrorist communications. And terrorists use communications from Google, from Yahoo, and from other service providers. So our objective is to collect those communications no matter where they are.""
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