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Fields Medal Winner Manjul Bhargava On the Pythagorean Theorem Controversy

Crazy Taco Re: Umm, no. (187 comments)

Please re-read the comment. I was not referring to any photo. I was referring to a diorama. As in, a 3D replica of the moon landing. It is definitely there. Go in the front door of the Nehru planetarium into that main room where they have multiple exhibits, and the loudspeakers call everyone to go from place to place. In the back right of that room there is a diorama of the moon landing, and they stuck one of those toothpick flags in there next to the astronaut. And it's an Indian flag, not an American flag. Obviously you didn't look close enough.

about two weeks ago
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What Will Google Glass 2.0 Need To Actually Succeed?

Crazy Taco Bigger issues than privacy killed glass. (324 comments)

The hardest problem I've seen people have with Google Glass is how obvious it is you are wearing the glasses. People in public assume you are recording them and it bothers them.

Actually, I don't think that's the hardest problem. Our innovation team at work brought in a pair of Google glasses and let us try them out. Frankly, they are exceedingly underwhelming. The screen is really small, but worse, the resolution seems low and the colors aren't very great, so it's actually really hard to read. And it's not really like a HUD or anything like that. You have to really take your attention away from everything else to read the screen, so in that respect it's not very immersive and it feels like you are doing two things at once: interacting with the real world or interacting with glass (just like how you can either look at the world or look at your smartphone). The real potential would be if you could walk around and have immersive information show up around products, etc, without you having to take your eyes completely off them.

And another design problem with them is that they get really hot. Like uncomfortably hot when you touch them, like those old laptops always were when you set them on your lap.

So to me, privacy concerns matter, but I don't think the average citizen thinks about privacy all that much. I think to them, as well as myself, the big issue is an underwhelming design, combined with an exorbitant price ($1500) and really no practical application for it yet. It doesn't mean it won't ever succeed, of course. I just read an article reminding people that cars were around about 40 years before they became actually decent, and PDAs have been around since the 80s but only really took off when the smartphone craze kicked off. Someday, we may look back on this as the first step towards a technology that everyone has, but for now, they really aren't that great and there are many reasons they failed.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Has the Time Passed For Coding Website from Scratch?

Crazy Taco Re:About 7-8 years ago? (302 comments)

One other thought... while the time for coding animations, events, etc for a front end UI without a framework *may* have passed, doing coding for webpages from scratch probably does still exist in some large, complex web applications, especially if you are working on server side processing code of some sort (though I would still expect you would use some kind of framework, like the .Net framework or PHP). But obviously something like Amazon.com would require armies of developers writing a lot of code from scratch. But that isn't what you run into anymore on your typical small to medium websites. So I guess it depends where you work and what you work on.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Has the Time Passed For Coding Website from Scratch?

Crazy Taco About 7-8 years ago? (302 comments)

Yeah, the time for coding them from scratch probably passed about 7-8 years ago. Can you still code them from scratch today? Yes, technically you can, but at most employers you would be way to slow on the productivity side. As a web developer and web hosting guy for a large Fortune 500 company, I can tell you that marketers expect to be able to get a very nice site with lots of bells and whistles up within just a few days anymore, with all kinds of custom features that allow them to edit the page without a developer. To meet that kind of demand, you can't code from scratch. You really need to use a CMS tool to handle the editing/admin functionality, and then some sort of RAD framework, whether it be .Net MVC, JQuery, AngularJS, etc (or multiple of these frameworks) to quickly set up the rest of your custom functionality. Otherwise they'll just go to someone else who can do it faster so that they can meet their ever shrinking time to market campaign goals. This, by the way, is one of the reasons I'm no longer a developer. I personally enjoyed the nitty gritty of coding from scratch, and got bored quickly from just doing "information plumbing", where you pull from one or two databases, get to do a tiny bit of code but mostly the framework does everything interesting. I know lots of people prefer that because they don't want to deal with low level stuff, but that's not my bag.

about two weeks ago
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Fields Medal Winner Manjul Bhargava On the Pythagorean Theorem Controversy

Crazy Taco Re: Umm, no. (187 comments)

I was in Mumbai just over a year ago and went to the Nehru planetarium. They had a diorama there of the first moon landing. Everything looked perfect, from the Apollo spacecraft to the little astronaut in a space suit standing on the Lunar surface. There was one blatant problem though... they replaced the American flag with the Indian flag! My boss (also American) and I had a good time laughing about that.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is an Open Source .NET Up To the Job?

Crazy Taco Re:Why bother? (421 comments)

.NET is slowly beeing weeded out of the enterprise though and that's a trend I don't want to see diminished by devs picking up .NET because it's now "open source". It's OK to hate .NET, open source or not.

Lol, are you serious about that? That's not true at all! I work at a fortune 500 company and it's the exact opposite: it's Java that everyone is trying to weed out. There are several reasons for this, but they include these three things: Java's performance is slower than .Net, Java's IDEs are not as good as .Net's (Visual Studio is probably the best IDE ever built), and most importantly, the constant daily updates of Java to fix security flaws are driving everyone crazy and causing support nightmares. When haven't you recently turned on your computer only to have Java say an update is ready to install, and then pop up it's really slow installer to do it (that tries to install Ask.com as your homepage to boot)?

And one other thing about Java and another reason enterprises are trying to weed it out... the various Java application servers sprawling all over the place are seriously annoying and make supporting Java well a massive undertaking of training and manpower. In my organization, we have purchased Java applications from vendors that are based on all of these: Oracle Weblogic, IBM Websphere, Apache Tomcat, Redhat JBoss, and Apache Geronimo, and we have to figure out how to admin and support them all. And worse, none of these are as good as .Net/IIS, which is what we've chosen for all custom development that we do in house.

Plus, there are other things about .Net that make it better than many alternatives. For one thing, it's not a language, it's a runtime. There are all variety of languages you can use, which means you can use .Net whether your programmers come from a C syntax background or a Visual Basic type of background. And when it comes to web technologies, MVC and other .Net contributions are excellent: much better than the Java equivalents. And IIS is a fantastic web servers these days. True, it got off to a rocky, buggy start and trailed Apache for years, up through the IIS 6 days, but with IIS 7 and above it's actually much better than Apache, both in ease of administration and more importantly, in performance (why is Apache still spawning processes for every request that comes in... don't they realize the overhead of that??). A lot of the performance reasons that are behind people switching from Apache to Nginx are also capabilities that IIS has.

So I really don't understand where this bashing of .Net comes from, but I'm guessing a lot of it is from open source fanboys that love to hate Microsoft and have never taken time to use the recent (last 3-5 years) iterations of it's products. I totally get that a lot of people up to now have certainly preferred open source because it is free, but with .Net going that way a lot of you should try it. Having used Java and .Net both, I'd never in a million years pick Java over .Net. And I'd never pick PHP over .Net either, because that technology is pretty much the equivalent of what Microsoft's classic ASP was a decade ago, and .Net is far ahead of it now.

about a month ago
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Schneier Explains How To Protect Yourself From Sony-Style Attacks (You Can't)

Crazy Taco Sure, I'll dispute your "CO2 blanket analogy" (343 comments)

Look, CO2 is like a blanket on the bed. Making it thicker makes you warmer. You wish to deny this?

Partially, yes, for three reasons:

  1. Your body is a heat source. Cover it with a blanket and you get warmer because the heat energy is trapped and cannot easily escape, and you body is constantly adding additional heat energy. By contrast, the Earth is not a heat source in that same way. Any heat it has is generated by an external body: the sun. It's like a rock sitting next to a fireplace with a blanket over it. Take away the fire, and rock is ice cold regardless of the blanket. Same with the Earth. This makes the CO2/blanket analogy very flawed, because the climate can be totally independent of the thickness of the blanket, and get much colder or much warmer based almost entirely on the current energy output of the sun.
  2. Secondly, CO2 is a tiny trace gas in our atmosphere. This is not Venus where it makes up the majority of the atmosphere. Our atmosphere is 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen, and everything else is a trace gas. People like to claim there has been a dramatic rise in CO2, but zoom the scale of your graph out, and you see that the "big jump" is considerably less than a fart in a windstorm. Right now CO2 makes up 0.04% of our atmosphere. 100,000 years ago it is estimated that it was 0.03%. So even assuming humans are 100 percent responsible for the 0.01% increase, it is extremely tiny. In your blanket analogy, you claim that making the blanket thicker makes you warmer. I would dispute that and say that it does not make you warmer if the blanket is negligibly thin. If a human is covered by a blanket that is 0.03% the width of an average thread, and you "thicken" it to 0.04% the width of an average thread, I submit to you that that is so negligible that you do not, in fact, find yourself feeling warmer from the thickening of the blanket. We really do need to keep our perspective on CO2 percentage and not commit fallacies based on graphs of CO2 concentration that are far too zoomed in to show context.
  3. Thirdly, we do not understand all the interacting, chaotic systems on our planet at all. We see clearly that CO2 percentage and temperature have both varied considerably over the course of the planet's history, but frankly, we really don't know why. Why should there be a difference between 100,000 years ago and 50,000 years ago? We certainly know humans didn't have anything to do with that. And because we can't say what the causes are, we can't say definitively that thickening the so called blanket leads to warming. Historically, we know that CO2 increased only to find that in later eras it decreased. This would suggest the planet has some kind of feedback/absorbtion systems that can at times remove CO2 and thin the blanket. We also know temperature can increase or decrease by large amounts naturally with no involvement from humans, and that temperature does not always move in sync with CO2 concentrations historically. In short, we don't understand the relationships between the CO2, temperature, and the systems on this planet, so even though a CO2 increase may lead to a temperature increase in an isolated system, we don't know that CO2 increase leads to predictably higher temperatures (or even permanently higher CO2 levels) in the highly complex planetary system of Earth.
  4. So yes, I wholeheartedly dispute your blanket analogy on the grounds that is a flawed analogy, and that we don't know enough about our planet to make any intelligent predictions or models at this time. Indeed, every model we have, when fed historical temperature data, says we should be at much higher temperatures than we are now. Most assume some kind of blanket model, but since none match our measured results, we can conclude that a simple blanket model does not match the complex reality of the systems on Earth.

about a month and a half ago
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Schneier Explains How To Protect Yourself From Sony-Style Attacks (You Can't)

Crazy Taco Re:Sure... (343 comments)

No, foo. It's called basic common sense -- keeping confidential medical records, SSNs, and personnel files in paper format only, and not allowing them to be scanned or placed in a system connected to the general business intranet, or "the cloud".

That really seems like unnecessary effort. Why go all the way back to paper when you could set up computer systems in a back room on an isolated network, which is not connected to any other network (especially the Internet)? Then it's air gapped pretty nearly as effectively as paper, and you could get all the advantages of computerization without having to deal with the pain of paper only records. And if you are really worried about physical security, like thumb drives walking off, just put good physical security around the room with multiple locks on the door, with the keys to each lock spread among multiple people so no one can be in there alone copying data.

To me, that seems like a lot more effort than most companies would be willing to go to. Certainly it's a lot more painful because employees can't go in and update their personal records on their own remotely (things like W4s, address changes, etc). But it's a far better option than going all the way back to paper.

about a month and a half ago
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Linux 3.18 Released, Lockup Bug Still Present

Crazy Taco Not until Linux version 10 (106 comments)

This is just the sort of bug to get people to adopt Linux on the desktop, since it will be more similar to what they expect from Windows.

Not me! I refuse to use software as immature as version 3 of Linux. Mac is on OS version 10, Windows is about to release version 10, and by golly, I'm not wasting a second of my time on Linux until it catches up!

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Any Certifications Worth Going For?

Crazy Taco Re:Just Lie (317 comments)

You obviously are a bit hazy on what ethical means. To me it is ethical to kill a retarded person under certain circumstances. To sum things up, morals are the values instilled by society, ethics however are the values you aspire to. Personally for me it is highly ethical to lie as much as I am being lied to, especially to the people who are lying to me. Of course always considering the risk and benefit ratio. You might find that is highly immoral but I think you guessed it by now I am a very ethical person albeit not a very moral one.

You are neither ethical nor moral, nor are you correct on your definitions. No one believes ethics are "the values you aspire to, completely uncoupled from morality". If you aspire to have the worst moral values possible, that's not considered ethical. Only aspiring to high moral values is considered ethical.

Aspiring to kill retarded people is not ethical, not moral, and your posturing fools no one. Frankly, you must work at an IT shop full of the lowest talent possible, because you'd never for a second get away with lying where I work. I had someone try that on an interview once: I'd ask him questions, and rather than saying "I don't know" he'd very calmly and matter of factly tell me wrong answers as though he knew them. Problem for him was, I knew the actual answers and new he was lying... we have real IT people doing tech interviews, not HR. My immediate comment in the HR meeting afterwords was that he's a liar and he should never be on our team, and he never was. You'd never be allowed in the door.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Any Certifications Worth Going For?

Crazy Taco PMP, if you aren't a technical person (317 comments)

Since it sounds like you aren't really technical anymore and don't have a desire to be technical, then I wouldn't recommend any of the technical certifications (RHCE, etc). Those are going to get you job offers for things you don't want to do. You should probably look for something more along the lines of Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, or something of that ilk. That will really help you manage projects and it probably looks good on a resume. Just my 2 cents.

about 2 months ago
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Highly Advanced Backdoor Trojan Cased High-Profile Targets For Years

Crazy Taco Re:Microsoft Windows only (143 comments)

There's now an entire generation of IS/IT managers, directors, and CIOs who not only prefer Microsoft technology but have an active dislike of anything related to Unix(tm)

I don't know how much the "actively dislike Unix" part is true, but yes, there are a lot of IT people that prefer Windows. And there are very good reasons for that. Microsoft makes some exceptionally good products in a number of areas. Here are some examples:

  • Visual Studio, probably the best IDE known to exist. I've used it and competitors like Eclipse, and it is MUCH BETTER than Eclipse. This alone makes a lot of devs prefer Microsoft. And as of the announcement last week, is now going Open Source.
  • .Net and ASP .Net, which are better than PHP (which is like classic ASP) and WAY better than Java, which needs a security patch daily and performs like a turtle. And as of the announcement last week, .Net and ASP .Net are going fully open source and multi-platform.
  • Powershell, which for management is really, really good. It's gotten to the point now where it is better than competitors like Bash. Objects in the pipeline, rather than just text, is just so much better than any other shell.
  • SQL Server, which is finally reaching performance/feature parity with Oracle, but has better management tools and is generally preferred by a lot of devs.
  • IIS, which in it's latest incarnation has better performance than Apache, is easier to manage and is easier to get security isolation of websites out of (I do web hosting for a living, and I can easily stack 350 sites onto IIS and have them all be completely isolated in different processes with different security accounts as well, and it's REALLY easy.
  • Windows Server, which admittedly is a tossup but depending on what you want may cause IT people to prefer it. It admittedly doesn't run on as much variety of hardware as Linux or scale up to supercomputers like Linux, but really is a very competent OS that is simple to manage and has probably the largest ecosystem of software written for it.

In summary, I don't get the bashing of Windows or all the "My Linux is teh best!" kind of comments. Linux has it's strong points as an OS, but Microsoft does too, and they have some fantastic products out there that can handily beat some open source equivalents. Depending on your workload, it can be very appropriate to prefer Microsoft products. (Of course, I'll be the first to say Microsoft has it's terrible products too... Network Load Balancer anyone? Linux based load balancers like F5 beat the pants off that thing.)

about 2 months ago
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Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph

Crazy Taco Moving towards the speed of an airliner?? (419 comments)

The OP said this:

500kph is moving towards the average speed of an airliner. Add the convenience of no boarding issues, and city-centre to city-centre travel, and the case for trains as mass-transport begins to look stronger.

Airliners routinely cruise at 550 mph, which is nearly 900 kph. So I guess trains are moving towards the speed of an airliner in a strictly technical sense, but in reality, even this one, which is not representative of the norm, is still only just passing 50%, so not even close yet.

The OP also said this:

The Japanese Shinkansen is now running over 7 times times as fast as the average U.S. express passenger train.

It should be noted that there are almost no US express passenger trains anywhere in the country, except within a few large east cost cities. In the rest of the country, there are none city to city or coast to coast, except for one, maybe two Amtrak routes that appear to exist only for nostalgia reasons, not for routine travel.

Add the convenience of no boarding issues, and city-centre to city-centre travel, and the case for trains as mass-transport begins to look stronger.

Nope, not really. It only looks stronger if your cities are very densely populated AND very close together. Neither of those are true of the average US city. If I'm going from the city center of Minneapolis to the city center of Atlanta, that's 1815 km, and I'm not going to sit around for a whole day on a train getting there. And since the majority of the US population lives on the East and West coasts, what about going from the city center of New York to Los Angeles, a common route? That is about 4,500 km. So yeah, rail travel in the US continues to be a pipe dream that makes no sense. I don't understand why people are so hot on bringing the premier travel method of the 19th century back into the 21st century in the US, when we now have airliners for city to city travel and cars and buses for intra-city travel, both of which make far more sense and are far faster than rail. Rail in the US continues to be an expensive, money losing boondoggle almost everywhere.

about 2 months ago
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Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph

Crazy Taco Re:240km/hr? (419 comments)

The problem with North American rail travel has never been a technology barrier, it's always been about having any interest in doing better.

Or more precisely, the problem with North America is that it's a country where most people would never even benefit from having high speed rail.

The root cause of the lack of interest is that our nation's population is so spread out, you can't get rail to move you to your destination faster than a car, no matter how fast the train runs. It's not like densely populated areas of Europe or Japan where a million people all want to go from the same point A to the same point B. Americans are so spread out that you have many tiny groups wanting to go from many thousands of different point As to different point Bs. You'd have to make hundreds of thousands of train lines, traveled by only a handful of people, and even then you'd have to switch lines so many times as you travel the sprawling cities and suburbs that you'd never beat the car anyway.

That's why most large American cities have bus lines instead of subways as well. Americans built their cities out, not up, and you can cheaply throw tons of small capacity buses on the roads going all kinds of different directions to move people about. It's really the only kind of transit other than a car that makes any sense in American cities like Houston, Minneapolis, Kansas City, etc. And even then, your car is going to easily beat the bus unless it's during rush hour when the bus drives in a dedicated lane. But at least the bus can go anywhere in any direction, so they still will easily beat rail in almost all scenarios, with the exception of a few densely populated East Coast cities like New York. They also do much more to relieve congestion, since more people can get where they want to go via bus than train, and are therefore more likely to take it.

about 2 months ago
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Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph

Crazy Taco Only KPH, meh (419 comments)

I was excited till I saw the units of measurement. 500 mph, WOOOHOO! 500 kph, not so cool.

about 2 months ago
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Creationism Conference at Michigan State University Stirs Unease

Crazy Taco Re:It makes you uneasy? (1007 comments)

I criticize Christianity more than, say, Islam, because there are more Christians around me than there are Muslims. I find it more interesting and relevant to discuss phenomena inside my own culture than phenomena further removed, affecting me less.

That's a bizarre attitude. Christians are peaceful, Muslims are not. Christians will debate origin theory with you. Muslims will behead or stone you for even discussing it. When children go missing, Christians search and put up wanted posters. Muslims like Boko Haram are the ones who did the kidnapping. Christians run next to you in the Boston Marathon. Muslims blow the people next to you up. Jesus went without protest to an execution on the cross. Mohammed raided caravans, kidnapped the woman, raised and army and conquered and killed everyone who disagreed with him.

Clearly not every Muslim is totally violent, but there are tens of millions in the Middle East who support these things and are trying to bring every back under 6th century Sharia law. You are completely irrational if you are more scared of Christians than that.

about 3 months ago
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Creationism Conference at Michigan State University Stirs Unease

Crazy Taco Re:It makes you uneasy? (1007 comments)

There is no place for PSEUDOCIENCE in universities. Not for Homeopathy, not for creationism, not for astrology. They can be discussed as curiosities or historical analysis (like when you analyse Greek mythology), but can not be presented as scientifically proven facts. If you want to promote irrational beliefs, the place is in the church, not in the university.

Then prepare to say goodbye to the following:

  • Sociology
  • Philosophy
  • African American Studies
  • Political Science
  • Keynesian Economics
  • The list could go on and on...

Point being, there's a lot of so called psuedo-science going on at universities already. Don't be a bigot about religions; if you are going to demand only things that can be experimented on in a test tube be taught, then a whole lot of other stuff should be leading the way out the door.

about 3 months ago
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NASA Asks Boeing, SpaceX To Stop Work On Next-Gen Space Taxi

Crazy Taco Re:Ridiculous (139 comments)

Sorry, but nobody wants your miniature space shuttle, Sierra Nevada. Probably should have thought a little harder before copying one of the most expensive and unreliable space systems used in recent times. Heat-shield > Everything. Now SpaceX/Boeing have to bite the bullet and stop work? Something very wrong with this way of doing things.

Actually, the Dream Chaser is 900 million cheaper than Boeing's system, with equal or more features, and Sierra Nevada also argues compellingly that their delivery track record is at least as good as Boeings (anyone remember Boeing's Dreamliner delays)? Since the selection was supposed to be based on three factors: price, suitability and track record, with price weighted as heavily as the other two metrics combined, it seems very odd that Boeing was selected. Both competitors are far, far cheaper, so unless Boeing is massively better on the other metrics (and again, there isn't much evidence of that), it doesn't look fair that they were awarded the contract.

Personally, I hope they reverse the decision, because I think it will save the taxpayer a lot of money over Boeing, and it would be nice to have a refined version of the landable spaceplane that can improve on the shuttle. I still don't think the shuttle was a totally bad idea (ie - an idea that can never work)... it just needed improvements. Capsules aren't the only way to go, despite what people in some circles say.

about 4 months ago
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Past Measurements May Have Missed Massive Ocean Warming

Crazy Taco Re:please no (423 comments)

Weather modeling and forecasts are very good, boasting >95% accuracy over the first 3-4 days, with accuracy decreasing the further ahead you go.

Not a chance. Bring some data before I will believe that accuracy rate. I don't even believe 95% is accurate for forecasting on the day of, let alone 3-4 days out, since our forecasts here in Minnesota have predicted sunny skies in the morning when I go to work, and we later get storms that drop four inches of rain. And I'm not using the "main on TV", but forecasts that are based on NOAA, which does have actual meteorologists working there. So again, bring data... I think your accuracy ratings are hugely inflated, especially for 3-4 days out.

about 4 months ago
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Past Measurements May Have Missed Massive Ocean Warming

Crazy Taco Re:please no (423 comments)

What? Your weather forecasts are wrong every day? And in every conceivable way (Temperature, Cloud cover, Humidity, Rainfall, Windspeed, etc.)?

No one claimed they are wrong every day, just that they aren't nearly 80% as the grandparent claimed. They seem to be wrong about 50% of the time (at least) here in Minnesota too. We are talking major, predicted sunny skies and got one of the worst storms of the summer with four inches of rain kind of wrong. And when I say wrong 50% of the time, I'm talking about major wrong. I'm not talking about "predicted 83 degrees but it ended up being 85" kind of wrong (in which case the models would approach 100% wrong). They are wrong in some more major way, such as predicted temp off five degrees or more, wind off by several mph, heavy rains when sun was predicted, snowfall either doesn't arrive or has way more inches than predicted, etc. I know that's anecdotal to you, but I'd have to see some very good data to concede that they are correct 80% of the time. My observations make me believe it's probably otherwise (although maybe other parts of the nation are more accurate and bring the average up).

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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New Home Sales Plunge 33 percent with tax credits

Crazy Taco Crazy Taco writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Crazy Taco (1083423) writes "

Sales of new homes collapsed in May, sinking 33 percent to the lowest level on record as potential buyers stopped shopping for homes once they could no longer receive government tax credits.

The bleak report from the Commerce Department is the first sign of how the end of federal tax credits could weigh on the nation's housing market.

The credits expired April 30. That's when a new-home buyer would have had to sign a contract to qualify.

"We fear that the appetite to buy a home has disappeared alongside the tax credit," Paul Dales, U.S. economist with Capital Economics," wrote in a note. "After all, unemployment remains high, job security is low and credit conditions are tight."

Not to make this too political, but there have been many free market economists predicting that this exact event would happen for some time. They have been warning that housing may not have bottomed out yet and that the apparent recovery was just government stimulus in the form of tax credits, and that the house of cards would come crashing down when the tax credits expired, just like cash for clunkers did. Given that this US administration frequently calls on its critics to "listen to science" (global warming, etc), should they be called out and held accountable for ignoring good economic science? And is this also a sign that we ought to do an about face on our economic policy and return to capitalism?"
Link to Original Source

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How much geek cred do ./s really have?

Crazy Taco Crazy Taco writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Crazy Taco (1083423) writes "The "Computer Nerds Acronym" quiz gives you four minutes to define twenty computer related acronyms. I would be willing to wager that a higher percentage of /.s will be able to get a perfect score than the general population, but that most won't have the breadth of experience to get them all.

http://www.jetpunk.com/quizzes/computer-nerd-acronyms-quiz.php"

Link to Original Source
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Judge orders Microsoft to stop selling Word

Crazy Taco Crazy Taco writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Crazy Taco (1083423) writes "Ars Technica has a story about a patent lawsuit by an obscure company that has resulted in Microsoft being court ordered to stop selling word.

Yesterday, a judge issued an injunction that, if it remains in force, would compel Microsoft to stop selling recent versions of its phenomenally popular program, Word. The injunction is the latest round in an intellectual property battle that's been brewing since May, when a jury found Microsoft guilty of infringing a patent held by a Canadian company called i4i. Ironically, the patent in question covers a method of separating formatting information from runs of text when documents are written to files--something Microsoft itself received a patent for just this week. Unfortunately, the folks in Redmond filed theirs six months behind the competition.

So the 10,000 dollar question: Is this a legitimate case, or another case of a patent troll just waiting to sue somebody?"
Link to Original Source

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Microsoft donates 20,000 lines of code to Linux

Crazy Taco Crazy Taco writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Crazy Taco (1083423) writes "p>Tom's Hardware is reporting that Microsoft is finally giving something to Linux for free: 20,000 lines of code released under the GPLv2. According to the article:

The code is for three Linux device drivers, which will enhance the performance of the Linux operating system when virtualized on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V or Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V.

"This is a significant milestone because it's the first time we've released code directly to the Linux community. Additionally significant is that we are releasing the code under the GPLv2 license, which is the Linux community's preferred license," said Tom Hanrahan, director of Microsoft's Open Source Technology Center (OSTC). "Our initial goal in developing the code was to enable Linux to run as a virtual machine on top of Hyper-V, Microsoft's hypervisor and implementation of virtualization."

In all likelihood, this will be a win for Microsoft as well as Linux, because it allows companies to settle on a single virtual machine platform (Microsoft's) and consolidate all their Linux and Windows servers on top of it."
Link to Original Source

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Not Again... Windows 7 comes in multiple versions

Crazy Taco Crazy Taco writes  |  about 6 years ago

Crazy Taco (1083423) writes "Tom's Hardware reports on newly discovered screenshots that reveal that Microsoft is planning to release their newest version of Windows in multiple confusing versions... again. The information comes from the latest version of the Windows 7 beta, build 7025 (the public beta is build 7000), and shows a screen during installation that asks the user which version of the OS he or she would like to install. Who's up for guessing what the difference is between Windows 7 "Starter" and Windows 7 "Home Basic"?"
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UCLA group discovers humungous prime number

Crazy Taco Crazy Taco writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Crazy Taco (1083423) writes "Researchers at UCLA discovered the 46th known Mersenne prime last month on a network of 75 computers running Windows XP. This particular prime number is a whopping 13 million digits long, and is the eighth Mersenne prime discovered at UCLA. The discovery makes them eligible for a 100,000 dollar prize which could be awarded when the new prime is published, probably next year."
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Spore DRM protest appears to have been successful

Crazy Taco Crazy Taco writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Crazy Taco (1083423) writes "The heavy Amazon.com protest of Spore's DRM appears to have caught the attention of executives at EA. After receiving a 1 star rating for Spore on Amazon, ign.com reports that the DRM for the soon to be released Command and Conquer Red Alert 3 will be scaled back. Unlike previous Command and Conquer games, the CD will not be required to be placed in the drive to play, the online authentication will be one time (rather than periodic phone calls home), and up to five installations will be allowed, as opposed to three for Spore.

While I still think 5 installations is too small (I've probably re-installed Command and Conquer Generals 20 times over the years due to PC reformats, getting a new PC, etc), EA says they will have staff standing by to grant more installations as necessary on a case by case basis. So while this isn't optimal, at least we are getting a compromise, and hopefully if the piracy rate for the game is low, perhaps EA will get comfortable enough to ship with even less DRM in the future."

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Chrome Day 2, Vulnerability 1

Crazy Taco Crazy Taco writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Crazy Taco (1083423) writes "The chrome browser has only been out one day and already a vulnerability has been found. Interestingly enough, the bug is in the webkit rendering engine, which is used by both Chrome and Apple's Safari. However, Apple's browser, despite having been out for much longer, is actually more current than Chrome. Safari uses the newer version of webkit (which incidentally is patched for this), whereas Chrome uses an older version and remains wide open to the exploit.

This problem brings up the question of why people still haven't gotten their act together when it comes to patching in a timely fashion. Especially in this case, since there is no easier time to fix problems than BEFORE you launch and put something into production."

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Flash may hinder further Firefox, Chrome adoption

Crazy Taco Crazy Taco writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Crazy Taco (1083423) writes "According to a review done by Peter Svensson, the performance of Flash may be the biggest driver of IE 8 adoption, and the lack of performance in Firefox and Chrome may be deal killers for those platforms.

Flash is a tremendous resource hog in Firefox, eating up processor time to the point where there is nothing left for other programs. It does this even if you're not actively doing anything. Merely having a YouTube page open on your screen will suck power from your computer's central processing unit, or CPU. This is outrageous behavior for a browser. It's my CPU and I want it back.

When playing a YouTube video, Firefox 3 took up 95 percent of the CPU time on a three-year old laptop running Windows XP. Chrome came in at 60 percent — still too much. Especially since Google owns YouTube! You'd think it could make its browser work well with that site in particular. Internet Explorer barely broke a sweat, taking up just a few percent.

Is Adobe going to kill off the browser competition through poor coding and optimization!?"
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Comcast "RoXed" by hackers

Crazy Taco Crazy Taco writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Crazy Taco (1083423) writes "At 11 PM EDT yesterday, the front page of the Comcast web portal was defaced by hackers.

Hackers took over and defaced Comcast Corp.'s Web portal for several hours overnight, leaving a cryptic message on the site that the company's 14.1 million subscribers use to access e-mail, news and technical support.

The front page of Comcast.net went down shortly before 11 p.m. EDT Wednesday and was replaced with a note saying the hackers had "RoXed" Comcast, according to postings at BroadbandReports.com.


While the main page is back up, some users apparently remain unable to access their email. No definitive word yet on what else the hackers might have done besides the defacing."

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DOS saves Columbia scientific data from doom

Crazy Taco Crazy Taco writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Crazy Taco (1083423) writes "A Minneapolis based company has been able to recover almost all scientific data on one of the hard drives from Columbia. The scorched, partially melted drive was found in Texas, and recovery certainly appeared to be a longshot. However, the fact that the computer was running DOS saved the data from destruction.



However, at the core of the drive, the spinning metal platters that actually store data were not warped. They had been gouged and pitted, but the 340-megabyte drive was only half full, and the damage happened where data had not yet been written.

Edwards attributes that to a lucky twist: The computer was running an ancient operating system, DOS, which does not scatter data all over drives as other approaches do.
"

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Olympic torch repeatedly extinguished in Paris

Crazy Taco Crazy Taco writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Crazy Taco (1083423) writes "The olympic torch is having a difficult march this year, as it faces human rights protests in every major city. In Paris, police had to extinguish the torch five times and put it on a protective bus, eventually giving up on the march and just driving it to the final destination, where an athlete carried it the final 15 feet. The protests center on Chinese censorship, jailing of political prisoners and the current crackdown in Tibet. From Yahoo! News:

In various locations throughout the city, activists angry about China's human rights record and crackdown on protesters in Tibetan areas carried Tibetan flags and waved signs reading "the flame of shame." Riot police squirted tear gas to break up a sit-in protest by about 300 demonstrators who blocked the torch route.


The torch disappeared back inside the bus a fourth time shortly after a protester approached it with a fire extinguisher near the Louvre art museum. Police grabbed the demonstrator before he could start to spray.
"
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Lakota Indians claim 5 US states; Issue Passports

Crazy Taco Crazy Taco writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Crazy Taco (1083423) writes "The Lakota Indians have just delivered a message to the state department saying they are unilaterally withdrawing from all treaties signed with the US government, some of them more than 150 years old. According to the article:



The group also visited the Bolivian, Chilean, South African and Venezuelan embassies, and would continue on their diplomatic mission and take it overseas in the coming weeks and months.

Lakota country includes parts of the states of Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

The new country would issue its own passports and driving licences, and living there would be tax-free — provided residents renounce their U.S. citizenship, Mr Means said.
The article also states that:



The Lakota relaunched their journey to freedom in 1974, when they drafted a declaration of continuing independence — an overt play on the title of the United States' Declaration of Independence from England.

Thirty-three years have elapsed since then because "it takes critical mass to combat colonialism and we wanted to make sure that all our ducks were in a row,'' Means said.

One duck moved into place in September, when the United Nations adopted a non-binding declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples — despite opposition from the United States, which said it clashed with its own laws.


Somehow I doubt this is going to get very far, especially with the people who live in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. I haven't been hearing a lot of agitating from those states for forming the Confederate States of Lakota, v 2.0."
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US Internet control lead topic in Rio

Crazy Taco Crazy Taco writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Crazy Taco (1083423) writes "It looks as though the next meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is about to descend into another heated debate about U.S. control of key Internet systems. Although the initial purpose of this year's summit was to cover such issues as spam, free speech and cheaper access, it appears nations such as China, Iran, and Russia, among others, would rather discuss US control of the Internet. In meetings leading to up to the second annual meeting of the IGF in Rio de Janiero on Monday, these nations won the right to hold an opening-day panel devoted to "critical Internet resources." While a number of countries wanting to internationalize Internet control simply want to have more say over policies such as creating domain names in languages other than English, we can only speculate what additional motives might be driving leaders such as China, Iran, and Russia, nations which specialize in censoring the Internet and locking down the flow of information across it."
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Renegade Astronomers: 'Dark Matter' Is Bunk

Crazy Taco Crazy Taco writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Crazy Taco (1083423) writes "


Last August, an astronomer at the University of Arizona at Tucson and his colleagues reported that a collision between two huge clusters of galaxies 3 billion light-years away, known as the Bullet Cluster, had caused clouds of dark matter to separate from normal matter.

Many scientists said the observations were proof of dark matter's existence and a serious blow for alternative explanations aiming to do away with dark matter with modified theories of gravity.

Now John Moffat, an astronomer at the University of Waterloo in Canada, and Joel Brownstein, his graduate student, say those announcements were premature.

In a study detailed in the Nov. 21 issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the pair says their Modified Gravity (MOG) theory can explain the Bullet Cluster observation.
"

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God sued by Nebraska lawmaker

Crazy Taco Crazy Taco writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Crazy Taco (1083423) writes "According to Yahoo! News, the mystery of one response to a lawsuit against God has been solved. Eric Perkins, an attorney in Corpus Christi, Texas, said Friday he filed a response to the lawsuit from Nebraska State Sen. Ernie Chambers. "It's kind of a turn on 'What would Jesus do?'" Perkins said. "I thought to myself, "what would God say?"

"Defendant denies that this or any court has jurisdiction ... over Him any more than the court has jurisdiction over the wind or rain, sunlight or darkness," according to Perkins' response.

As for Chambers' contention that God made terroristic threats, inspired fear and caused "widespread death, destruction and terrorization," Perkins wrote that God "contends that any harm or injury suffered is a direct and proximate result of mankind ignoring obvious warnings.""

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The 63,000,000,000 billion dollar lawsuit

Crazy Taco Crazy Taco writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Crazy Taco (1083423) writes "This has to be the most ridiculous lawsuit ever filed in the history of the United States court system. Apparently a South Carolina inmate wants to sue Michael Vick for 63,000,000,000 billion dollars (and I don't believe the amount is a typo). He claims Michael Vick stole two white mixed pit bull dogs from his home in Holiday, Fla., used them for dogfighting operations in Richmond, Va., and then "used the proceeds to purchase missiles from the Iran government." His complaint alleges Vick would need the missiles because he pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda in February of this year. The complaint goes on to state that "Michael Vick has to stop physically hurting my feelings and dashing my hopes" and requests that the money, "backed by gold and silver," be delivered to the front gates of the Williamsburg Federal Correctional facility in South Carolina."
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Russia working to claim Arctic

Crazy Taco Crazy Taco writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Crazy Taco (1083423) writes "
Two deep-diving Russian mini-submarines descended more than 2 1/2 miles under North Pole ice to stake a flag on the ocean floor Thursday, part of a quest to bolster Russian claims to much of the Arctic's oil-and-mineral wealth.


So, according to Russian thought in this article, does the United States just get the moon then? After all, we went there and planted our flag. Should that be ours? Should we just give in and accept that the Russians get the Arctic for planting a flag, since that gives us the moon (which is WAY better in the long run)?"

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Crazy Taco Crazy Taco writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Crazy Taco (1083423) writes "Researchers at Carnegie Mellon have discovered a way to use the popular CAPTCHA puzzles as a method to digitize books. While books are ordinarilly digitized using scanners and then turned into readable text using optical character recognition, some books are too old or faded for this technique to work. In that case, humans are needed to help decipher the text so that it can be digitized. This particular method can harness many humans to help in this time consuming process.

"Humanity is wasting 150,000 hours every day on these [CAPTCHAs]," said Luis von Ahn, an assistant professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon. He helped develop the CAPTCHAs about seven years ago. "Is there any way in which we can use this human time for something good for humanity, do 10 seconds of useful work for humanity?"


Apparently he found the answer to his own question."

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