Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!



Why Are the World's Scientists Continuing To Take Chances With Smallpox?

DarthVain Smallpox: The Movie (190 comments)

Sounds like a script from a movie...

Earth 2110 A mutated smallpox pandemic is sweeping the world.
Researchers desperately need an original sample from which to make an vaccine.
Man foolishly destroyed all samples back in the dark years of 2014.
Now a ragtag group of adventurers attempt to find the last remaining sample, the world depends on it!

about two weeks ago

Dungeons & Dragons' Influence and Legacy

DarthVain I put on my robe and wizard hat... (127 comments)

Table top gaming made its way early into the Internet and computing. Things like MUD, and NetHack (Mines of Moria, etc), Dwarf Fortress. In fact I remember some of my first video games being Curse of the Azure Bonds, and Pools of Radiance, which were both officially licenced AD&D products. Later things like Neverwinter nights, etc... even Skyrim.

Not to mention all the writing (some good, others no so much), such as Forgotten Realms, etc... Much of it had an birth with D&D.

Hell I was at a pub last week and was able to answer a crazy trivia question about an evil fiery demons in Islamic mythology being called Djinn because I remember them from the Monsters Compendium.

about two weeks ago

Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

DarthVain "treating it as an accident" (503 comments)

As someone pointed out in the first thread of this tragedy, this is not the first time something like this has happened.

Obama may be being diplomatic so as to not call the kettle black so to speak. The US accidentally did the same to Iran years ago, except they were in Iran air space, the weapons were fired from a warship, by professional soldiers. Consequently rebels accidentally (and I have no doubt they did) shooting down an airliner, using stolen unfamiliar technology with little or no training by militia in the middle of a civil war seems rather less bad.

Also it dredges up the result which was all dead, and the USA not admitting any blame or fault, and instead writing a check for a few million to throw at the hundreds of victims families.

about two weeks ago

The debate over climate change is..

DarthVain Disagree (278 comments)

It isn't really the science that is being debated, but the economics. They might make a show about it being about the science, but it is really a political debate on economic development. This is the same as "environmental groups" debating wind power citing bird strikes, when really it is about preserving real estate values on cottages.

It is a political debate, because political lines are crossed by climate change. Meaning any meaningful action also *requires* significant change from all parties. However the folks proposing the change, are also those that caused most of the issue by burning fossil fuels to enhance economic and industrial growth over the last 100 years. The same that are now trying to tell booming growth centers like China and India, that they are not allowed to do the same? Yeah, that's going to go over well. Add to that any plan going forward that doesn't include such large producers, is pointless, not to mention politically impossible domestically.

So ya, the debate is entirely political, only the debate isn't really about the actual science at all.

about two weeks ago

Seat Detects When You're Drowsy, Can Control Your Car

DarthVain Engineering Challenge! (106 comments)

Now if they can only design a seat for my computer at work...

about two weeks ago

Obama Administration Says the World's Servers Are Ours

DarthVain Re: Maybe, maybe not. (749 comments)


They can do whatever they want. If they aren't currently able to do it, they can create a law that will allow them to do so.

Look at China and Google a few years ago. China said, you must do this. Google said take a hike. China said get out of our country. If you want to do business in a country, you need to follow their rules, no matter how much you dislike them, or move your operations elsewhere. That said the end result of the above was Google doing exactly that. Now which would hurt more, MS not doing business with the US or the US not doing business with MS?

The again this has more far reaching than just MS, as all companies doing business with the US may be affected, so perhaps the US will back down.

That said this is ALREADY happening to entire countries, so I am not sure how a corporation is going to matter much. The US has already done this to the banking system, basically saying that all banks everywhere must comply and give all personal information over to the US in their search for tax evaders. It is supposed to only be used against US citizens, however in practice that will not be the case as many will be fishing trips for possible citizens. This is done. Countries were given the option of not doing business with the US banking system (how many do you think agreed to that?).

So I have a feeling that MS and Co. will bitch and moan for PR purposes, but in the end will capitulate.

about two weeks ago

Leaked Build of Windows 9 Shows Start Menu Return

DarthVain Re:Microsoft is wasting people's time (346 comments)

It does exist. It just costs about twice as much at 3000$+

And then really doesn't function very well as a laptop, as it is too big, and uses enough juice on gpu/cpu to give it less than great battery power.

about two weeks ago

With New Horizons Spacecraft a Year Away, What We Know About Pluto

DarthVain Reclassification (128 comments)

I can't wait until Pluto is reclassified again, this time as a derelict alien spacecraft orbiting at the edge of our solar system.

about two weeks ago

How Deep Does the Multiverse Go?

DarthVain Re:It's turtles all the way down (202 comments)

It's turtles everywhere!

That extra mass everyone is talking about? Dark Turtles.

about two weeks ago

Asteroid Mining Bill Introduced In Congress To Protect Private Property Rights

DarthVain Space Cadets (181 comments)

I for one would like to be the first of these space mercenaries!

Even now I am thinking up cool sounding names to call ourselves... :)

about three weeks ago

Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth the Investment?

DarthVain AOpen AX4B 533 Tube (502 comments)

I'll see your dedicated audio card and raise you the AOpen AX4B 533 Tube!

Don't waste your time with a audio card, integrate a GD vacuum tube into your motherboard for the best integrated sound around! If you are an audio nut, nothing like going retro back to putting analog tubes into your digital computer! Time Travel to 2002 may be required however.

I never bought one, but I kind of wish I had just so I had one... maybe I can find a used one for cheap.... :)

about three weeks ago

Today In Year-based Computer Errors: Draft Notices Sent To Men Born In the 1800s

DarthVain 01/01/1900 (205 comments)

Meh. Crap like that happens all the time, Y2K or no. Migrating 400k records stuff is bound to come up, particularly with old data, likely legacy systems, and probably shoddy migrations the 3 previous times this occurred. What is more concerning is the lack of QC or validation that led to the issue. Meaning likely those doing the migration no nothing of the DB contents, or are understaffed and underfunded to the point that no one has time to do it properly.

I've seen 01/01/1900 time date mix ups which is likely a formatting issue combined with assigning NULL values. When you analyse the data (even 400,000) a boatload that say 01/01/1900 sort of stick out as a red flag. From the sounds of it, not only did they not understand the content, but perhaps not the structure and relationships either as how else are you going to mix up data like that? Some weird composite key using two digit birthdays? Yuck. Then again I have had to interpret some pretty ugly "designs" without a shred of any real documentation and it isn't easy. I'm sure they made sense at some time, but after the nth migration, and the nth attached application, and nth half completed enhancement, what you are left with can be pretty confusing.

about three weeks ago

Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

DarthVain Re:Pascal (415 comments)

I had the last year of intro programming using Pascal at University in 1995. Which was messed up, as they switched over to C. Soooo my second year, not only did I have to do the course material, but I had to figure out an entirely new language. Thanks for that. Though in retrospect, something to get used to in life really, I don't do much real coding at my job (other then SQL), but have dabbled with both Java, and Python more recently. That said I also took a courses on COBOL and Assembly which I haven't exactly used since either... Then again I can also safely say I have never used Calculus again either ;), so it isn't like this sort of thing is limited to programming languages. I know it sounds terrible, but I have probably used more from my old VB days, doing .NET stuff and little scripts for VBA in access and excel (data processing/collection mostly) etc... Most of my recent stuff has been PL/SQL which is a bit of a different cup of tea.

about three weeks ago

Indie Game Developers Talk About Why They Struck Out On Their Own

DarthVain Disney (49 comments)

Since Disney bought the rights Starwars and Lucas Arts, I would think it would be a much more attractive prospect. Who doesn't want to work on the next Starwars videogame!

Then again if you want to make the next X-Wing VS Tie Fighter, and all they have you do is Cantina Simulator, Degobah Swampville, or Princess Amidala Fashion Workshop for facebook... that might also be very depressing.

about three weeks ago

The AI Boss That Deploys Hong Kong's Subway Engineers

DarthVain Re:I can't imagine something like that in the U.S. (162 comments)

The guy obviously has no clue. Look at ANY large IT project in the US.

1) Unions not involved. It is all outsourced to consultants.
2) Consultants hire overseas employees, and overcharge services
3) Blame government, make off like bandits with all the loot.

My favorite recent example was the 600 Million wasted by NY city trying to automate payroll called CityTime.
Please tell me how "Laws, paperwork, unions, paperwork, regulations and paperwork" caused that?
The same "Laws" that sentenced three of the contractors to over 20 years prison?
So much oversight and regulation that a 63$ million dollar contract was able to spend 700$ Million?

Soooo pretty much the EXACT opposite of what that guy is saying. Tighter control and responsible and answerable employees might make IT projects more feasible. However when you have no in house staff, because you outsource everything, well prepared to get hosed.

about three weeks ago

The AI Boss That Deploys Hong Kong's Subway Engineers

DarthVain Expert System (162 comments)

Makes me recall the project I did for AI class back in university. Built an Expert System using VB (v6 probably) and Access (ya ya I know), where I took a pub that was a favorite in the City, that had 30+ different beers on tap. I then classified each beer by a number of different metrics (dark, light, ale, etc...). The user would then answer a number of questions about what their drink preferences were, and at the end, the system would spit out beer recommendations.

Was a pretty small easy fun system to build! As I recall I got a pretty good mark. Probably helped a lot of the professors used to frequent the pub. Wonder if any of them had some fun with the system "testing" how accurate it was....

about three weeks ago

IeSF Wants International Game Tournaments Segregated By Sex [Updated]

DarthVain Beach Volleyball (221 comments)

I think the real reason is popularity and ratings.

I think it is very easy to say that there are WAY more guys playing video games than girls. Of that ratio, I would also say it is very easy to assume that of that subset it is even further segregated by having WAY more guys interested in playing e-sports than girls also. Due to the simple inequity in numbers, girls and guys being equal at e-sports aside, very few girls will make it anywhere in e-sports. The same way as making a hockey team out of Canadians who have a population of say 1,000,000 who play the Hockey, VS say Italy who have maybe 1,000. If you make a sports league, how many Italians will make the big show? Answer: Zero.

Add to that, the ONLY people that actually watch or pay any money to e-sports, are people already in e-sports or gamers, who as already discussed are predominantly all male. Do you know what would be more popular than today's e-sports? Female e-sports, the cuter the better. Well they be as good as the guys? Hell no. Does it matter? Nope. They would probably have more viewership than the guys, simply due to the audience. Bare in mind these are all YOUNG guys also for the most part.

Anyway, call it right or wrong, but I would bet that is where it was coming from. Probably even more so if lead by a bunch of sexist Koreans. Heck I remember a thing in gamer news a few years ago about a girl gamer group that had everyone fixated for awhile... Anyway if you market is young males, combining girls and video games is not a bad way to make money and popularity.

I think it is a numbers game, and to include girls on any meaningful level you need to segregate, and while maybe not for completely altruistic reasons, not really in the sexist guys are better at video games than girls... Heck if you wanted to really spin it, I would say it might be a good way to draw more interest of girls to the sport, increasing population, allowing for fairer competition eventually among the sexes...

about a month ago

Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

DarthVain Re:I'm not so sure... (185 comments)

Pretty sure the differences between "fantasy" and "conspiring" are what ACTIONS you actually take to plot or do something.

Writing about how to make a bomb, or talking about it, could just be fantasy. Buying the components, constructing things, etc... point to a more real intent.

Likely it is a judgement call, but likely based on what evidence. Context is likely a big thing. Talking on a forum is one thing, then again directed cooperation, and planning might be something else.

In this case, the act of using a police DB to select victims was probably seen not only as an illegal act in itself, but also an ACTION towards perpetrating a conspiracy. Logically the police officer knew what he was doing was illegal, would put his job in jeopardy, is it likely that this was only done to satisfy a fantasy, or in preparation for committing a crime?

One Judge clearly thought that it was, the other has read more 1984, but should maybe read it again... As it was about people in authority abusing power for their own ends in the future... Either way it isn't really a clear case, and the guy did serve max sentence for the DB access crime...

That said I just finished watching Hannibal so this is probably all part of his master plan...

about a month ago

On 4th of July:

DarthVain Re:A Day That Shall Live In Infamy (340 comments)

To replace the Acadians (French) the British all kicked out of Nova Scotia in 1755 who migrated to New Orleans...

So basically a net zero move, with the benefit that the south obtained some culture and some (more) funny speaking folks.

about a month ago

What To Do If Police Try To Search Your Phone Without a Warrant

DarthVain IANAL... (286 comments)

The first thing you should do is avoid eye contact, slowly back away, making calm reassuring noises. You should also keep your arms wide; it makes you look bigger and less like prey. Finally, you should lie on the ground, and play dead. They will quickly lose interest and move on. Do not run, as it will trigger their hunter/prey instincts.

If however they start to eat you, you should start to fight back vigorously.

Or if you are really worried about it, encrypt your phone and lock it...

about a month ago



Man 'Controlled By Satellites' Makes 100 Calls To 911 In A Month, Vows To Contin

DarthVain DarthVain writes  |  about a year ago

DarthVain (724186) writes "A man who called 911 more than 100 times in one month says he’s not going to stop until his concerns are heard by the federal government.
Jimmy Shao keeps a log book of every 911 call he’s made. So many that he boasts he’s probably set a world record.
He doesn’t believe he’s wasting the time of emergency responders because he has an emergency of his own: Shao believes he’s being watched by shadowy government authorities.
He claims to believe his body is controlled by satellites.

If ever there was a story for slashdot..."

Link to Original Source

Limewire being sued for 75 Trillion.

DarthVain DarthVain writes  |  more than 3 years ago

DarthVain writes "Apparently 13 record companies are trying to sue Limewire for 75 Trillion. The NYC judge thinks it is "absurd". Its almost like these media companies are their worst enemy trying to make themselves look ridiculous."
Link to Original Source

George Lucas loses court appeal over Star Wars

DarthVain DarthVain writes  |  more than 4 years ago

DarthVain (724186) writes "I remember it was reported by Slashdot sometime ago that Lucas sued his old Prop guy (Andrew Ainsworth) for trying to sell Replica Star Wars costumes. The Prop guy lost that battle it seems in the US back in 2006, but they haven't been able to get the British courts to enforce it. It seems now the British court has ruled to "Sod Off", and "that the helmet and armor of the Stormtrooper costumes had a "utilitarian," rather than an artistic, purpose" and as such is apparently exempt.

I am not sure if anyone in the court room actually saw Star Wars, but I think I know some Ewoks that might argue how "Utilitarian" those suits of armor actual were..."

Link to Original Source

Waterboarding and Comic books.

DarthVain DarthVain writes  |  more than 5 years ago

DarthVain (724186) writes "I noticed something last night when I was re-reading Superman: Red Son. There appears to be water boarding in it. It is clearly described as torture. It appears in a scene in which Hal Jordan (The Green Lantern) is captured by the enemy and held as a POW and tortured, Vietnam style, or so it looks. It was not too long ago that I didn't even know what water boarding looked like, however I saw this video of a republican radio personality that didn't think it was a big deal and submitted himself to water boarding with horrific results. Comparing those two images, the one from the video, and the one from Superman: Red Son, they are clearly the exact same event. Even the posturing of the persons performing the water boarding is the same, it is pretty surreal. So what does this really mean? Well for starters I think it is a pretty good indication of what is considered torture and what is not. The comic was written in 2002 (before all the hullabaloo), and this was the worst torture image they could print to illustrate Hal Jordan's discomfort. So folks that do not get it or fail to understand that it is torture, you can point them to this comic book with its pretty pictures. I also think it is a bit iconic that the image in the book is portrayed as a sort of Vietnamesque torture scene, one that I think most US citizens would identify with "worst torture ever". Anyway just something interesting I noticed while reading last night."

Rogers - "We're A Dumb Pipe"

DarthVain DarthVain writes  |  more than 5 years ago

DarthVain writes "Rogers Communications the second half of the telecommunications duopoly with Bell in Canada had some interesting things to say to the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission).

Apparently when asked about Canadian content, they are a "Dumb Pipe" however later when asked about Bittorrent they are suddenly able to be a smart pipe and monitor every single packet.

It will be an interesting saga to see if the CRTC actually has some teeth and does something about the questionable practices of Bell Canada and Rogers Communications."

Link to Original Source


DarthVain has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>