top Ask Slashdot: Should Developers Fix Bugs They Cause On Their Own Time?
Wrong! A good QA process prohibits the QA team from changing anything. QA can either approve the product or else send it back to the developers. In the end, QA is paid the same. Thus, QA has no vested interest in either approving or rejecting the product.
top Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!
I very much like the old design. It "scans" very easily. (By "scans", I mean by the human eye and mind, not by an electronic device.)
One thing that needs to be fixed is your use of non-standard HTML and CSS. Your home page has 140 HTML errors. Your CSS has 28 errors.
Also, the yellow box that led me to this page (http://meta.slashdot.org/story/14/02/06/2329227/slashdot-tries-something-new-audience-responds) and is repeated to the top of this page says:
WE HEAR YOU We did tell you we wanted feedback. Hereâ€(TM)s our response. Note the strange characters that appear in place of a simple apostrophe in "Here's".
Before you embark on a new design, make sure you are not propagating your errors.
top Kentucky: Programming Language = Foreign Language
In the University of California system 50+ years ago, a PhD candidate had to pass proficiency tests in TWO foreign languages. In the 1960s, that requirement was modified to allow the candidate to substitute a computer language for one of the foreign languages.
about a month and a half ago
top Searching For Dark Matter From Deep Under an Italian Mountain
The more I read about dark matter and dark energy pervading the universe, the more I think about ether (also spelled "aether" or "æther"), which also was supposed to fill the universe. Dark matter and dark energy will never be found because they are as real as ether. See the Wikipedia article at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.... about a month and a half ago
top Ask Slashdot: What To Do With Misdirected Email?
When I receive misdirected E-mail, it almost always results from someone selecting the wrong David or wrong Ross from their address book. That is, both the intended recipient and I are both known to the sender. The sender's address book is organized by names, not by E-mail addresses.
I used to get phone calls in the middle of the night for a David Ross who was an attorney, either in private practice or in the District Attorney's office. The caller would be drunk and picked out the wrong David Ross from the phone book. Again, this was a problem with my name, not with my phone number.
There are apparently many, many David Rosses. I have met two others face-to-face, both times in doctors' offices. I have exchanged E-mail with several others. I even created a Web page about this situation at
How do I handle misdirected E-mail? On the first occasion, I reply quoting the original message. I tell the sender they have the wrong David Ross. If there is one of those caveats about condfendiality and deleting misdirected messages, I also inform the sender that such warnings are unenforceable, that the sender must bear full responsibility for ensuring correct addressing of such messages.
On subsequent instances from the same sender, I use a small application that returns the message in a format that indicates the stated E-mail address is invalid. That is, the message will appear as if bounced. If that does not work, I finally threaten to make any subsequent messages public by posting them on a newsgroup.
top I decorate my dwelling for the winter holidays ...
I put an electric Hanukkah menorah in a front window. It is now put away, however, because Hanukkah ended over two weeks ago.
top Desktop Browser of Choice in 2013?
With both Firefox and SeaMonkey, it is very easy to spoof agent strings, to lie to Web servers by indicating I am using some browser that I have not installed. Actually, the default configuration of SeaMonkey has the user string
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:25.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/25.0 SeaMonkey/2.22.1 which says it is both Firefox and SeaMonkey.
top Desktop Browser of Choice in 2013?
My preferred browser is SeaMonkey. It has the same "guts" as Firefox but a different user interface that I consider far superior to Firefox. By "guts", I mean the same HTML rendering engine, the same Internet interface, the same SSL processes, and often the same third-party extensions. However, SeaMonkey allows experienced users to tailor the browser in ways that Firefox does not.
It appears that Mozilla has been slowly "dumbing down" Firefox. In the process, the developers have also gone overboard in attempting to make Firefox super-safe for users, which is the main cause of the loss of tailoring. This safety is not restricted to browsing the Web safely but also in configuring the user's own computer. This sometimes means a loss of functionality, overcome by a proliferation of third-party extensions.
Overall, many experienced users feel that Mozilla is trying to make Firefox too similar to Chrome in order to compete against Chrome. What Mozilla refuses to accept is the fact that, if a user wants Chrome, that user will install Chrome and not Firefox.
So far, Sea Monkey has been able to avoid these Firefox deficiencies.
top Get Ready For a Streaming Music Die-Off
I listen to streaming broadcasts sent over the Internet directly by radio stations. Most of these stations are non-profit, many of them part of National Public Radio. They seem not only to be surviving but even thriving. Three of the stations are sufficiently close that I can listen to them over the "airwaves". The rest of them are available only via Internet streaming.
Of course my taste in music is mostly classical, music that is still entertaining and appreciated more than a month after it is first released. In many cases, the recordings are no longer available commercially. If the cited trend in this article is true, perhaps young listeners might learn of the majesty of Beethoven, the emotion of Tchaikovsky, the joy of Gershwin.
top Mozilla Location Service: Geolocation Lookups From Cell Towers and WiFi Data
If you are using Firefox or SeaMonkey as your browser (both Mozilla-based), get the SecretAgent extension from
https://www.dephormation.org.uk/SecretAgent/. Since I installed it in SeaMonkey, not only do many sites have trouble locating where I am, some sites cannot even determine on which continent I am located.
top Cookieless Web Tracking Using HTTP's ETag
For Mozilla-based browsers such as Firefox and SeaMonkey, the SecretAgent extension conflicts with the PrefBar User Agent menulist.
Because some Web sites I visit are sensitive to what user agent they see, I unchecked (disabled) the "Rotate User Agent" checkbox in SecretAgent. Then, if I used the PrefBar User Agent menulist to spoof some other browser, it kept resetting to my actual user agent. Since I consider the PrefBar capability to be very important, I removed SecretAgent. The PrefBar capability was then restored.
top The Greatest Keyboard Shortcut Ever
Install the PrefBar extension in Firefox or SeaMonkey. Enable the Restore Tab button.
By the way, accidentally closing a tab in SeaMonkey should be rare since the X to close is at the far right of the tab bar, not on the tab. Putting the X on the tab itself has proven dangerous because it is then too easy to close a tab when trying to select the adjacent tab on the right.
top Intel, Unisys Partner On New Range of Servers
I worked for Unisys and one of its predecessors for 24 years. At the time Unisys was created -- Burroughs did a hostile takeover of Univac -- the combined company had some 130,000 employees; and about half of its business was with the U.S. military. Now the company has about 22,800 employees and seems to have no military business. I stuck with the company even when they started treating salaried software professionals as if they were hourly assembly-line workers. I stuck with them when they imposed an 18-month salary freeze that did not apply to executive bonuses. I left when it was obvious that any manager who brought new work to our site would be fired.
top "451" Error Will Tell Users When Governments Are Blocking Websites
According to Section 10.4.4 of RFC 2616, 403 means:
The server understood the request, but is refusing to fulfill it. Authorization will not help and the request SHOULD NOT be repeated. If the request method was not HEAD and the server wishes to make public why the request has not been fulfilled, it SHOULD describe the reason for the refusal in the entity. If the server does not wish to make this information available to the client, the status code 404 (Not Found) can be used instead.
top How the Leap Second Bug Led Facebook To Build DCIM Tools
Before 1972, "leaps" were fractions of a second; a UTC second (Universal Time Coordinated) did not have the same duration as a TAI second (the French acronym for International Atomic Time); and "leaps" occurred as often as four times a year. The current form of leap-seconds has been in effect since 1972. By then, software (mostly main frames) handled leap-seconds quite easily.
The reason for leap-seconds is that the earth's rotation is gradually slowing while many critical operations require precise time indicators. Thus, noon at Greenwich -- even average noon, which takes into account annual and semi-annual variations in the earth's rotation -- cannot be used. Instead, those critical operations use TAI. TAI is a uniform, never-varying time system while UTC is coordinated with noon at Greenwich. Since 1972, however, a UTC second has exactly the same duration as a TAI second; and a UTC clock ticks its seconds exactly at the same time as a TAI clock. If this continued indefinitely, noon on a UTC clock would gradually deviate from noon at Greenwich. Since 1972, if the deviation approaches a whole second, an extra second -- a leap-second -- is added to a UTC clock at the end of the last minute of either 30 June or 31 December.
All this became a problem in 2006. During the 7 years from 1 January 1999 until 1 January 2006, the slowing of the earth's rotation was so slight that there were no leap-seconds. Too many young software engineers and other technologists failed to learn about leap-seconds and thus ignored them (just the the Y2K issue was ignored until it was almost too late). A situation that was handled quite well in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s was no longer handled at all in new systems. But on 1 January 2006, there was indeed a leap-second. By then, many of those who were familiar with leap-seconds and how to handle them had retired (including me).
top Compared to my 1st computer's memory ...
The first computer on which I attempted to write code was the SWAC (Standards Western Automatic Computer), "Standards" meaning National Bureau of Standards (NBS). (The NBS is now the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).) It would have filled my home office and had 256 words of memory (no "K", just 1, 2, 3,
... 254, 255, 256). For an entire year, it was the world's fastest digital computer.
Today, I have a PC that I can pick up and put in the trunk of my car to take to the repair shop, which I had to do this past week. It has 4 GB of memory, 16,000,000 times the memory of SWAC. It is also orders of magnitude faster.
top Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Store Data In Hard Copy?
I feel that OCR-A and OCR-B are so stylized that they are somewhat distracting. Thus, it takes more effort to read text in such fonts than reading text in (for example) Georgia or Verdana. Even my recommended Trebuchet is somewhat stylized, but I find it easier to read than either of the OCR fonts.
One way to look at this issue is whether an individual is aware that a font is "different". If so, then more concentration is required to grasp the meaning of the text, concentration to avoid distraction.
top Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Store Data In Hard Copy?
For printing, pick a font that has no ambiguous characters. This makes OCR easier if you have to retrieve the data back into a computer. I suggest Trebuchet, in which I (upper-case eye), l (lower-case ell), and 1 (one) are distinct. Alternatively, use either the OCR-A or OCR-B font, which are not easily read by humans. Place the hard copy in a sealed envelope and store it in a bank safe-deposit box.
Also in the same safe-deposit box, store electronic copies using at least two different media (two so that, if one becomes obsolete and unreadable, the other might still be used). You might want to change the media -- or at least review them -- annually to ensure they are still useable.
top Cornell Researchers Unveil a Virtual Notary
That service is still operating. I used it over 10 years ago to establish priority for a business concept that I then presented to my employer.
All that is needed is a detached digital signature -- via an OpenPGP application, such as PGP or Gnu Privacy Guard (GPG) -- for the file in question. The signature file is E-mailed to the PGP Digital Timestamping Service as described at
http://www.itconsult.co.uk/stamper.htm. The service digitally signs the signature file, creating another detached signature that is E-mailed back to the user. Contained in that returned signature file is the date-time it was signed.
Test files can be sent to the PGP Digital Timestamping Service. The return is still a detached signature that is E-mailed back to the user. The date-time can then be checked to verify that the clock at the PGP Digital Timestamping Service is current.
In the meantime, your own detached digital signature file establishes proof that you possessed the signed file prior to the date-time in the PGP Digital Timestamping Service's detached digital signature file.