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Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

Dimwit What do we use a phone for? (307 comments)

I would argue that there should be some sort of regulation that ensures that phones are interoperable with one another for "phone stuff". That is, if you sell a phone in this country, by law it should be able to make a phone call to every other phone sold in the country. The problem is, what qualifies as "phone stuff" is rapidly expanding.

iMessage is a good example. Apple is trying to leverage its dominant market position to make text messaging something that's iPhone only. Remember the whole debacle with people who had an iPhone and then didn't suddenly not being able to receive text messages from other people who still had iPhones. Apple's solution was broken and only partially effective - and I think at least somewhat intentionally so. Same with FaceTime. You want to talk to your friends with an iPhone? Well, you need an iPhone too!

So yeah, we as a society need to decide what we define as "phone stuff". Having the ability to communicate with every other phone for "phone stuff" is critical from an economic perspective, and eventually will also be so from a safety perspective. Requiring inter-phone communications to be standardized isn't too far-fetched of an idea.

(Requiring the same non-phone-stuff apps to work on different platforms though is stupid.)

5 days ago
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The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

Dimwit So...don't be disposable. (263 comments)

This sounds a little insensitive, but, don't be disposable. You're a Windows admin. Great. So are a million other people. If you're a Windows admin who also knows some programming, there are maybe 250,000 people with your skill set. If you add in that you know some Linux, maybe 100,000 people.

What I'm saying is, if you want to be safer than the average employee, don't be average. Enhance your skill set.

about a week ago
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Eric Holder Severely Limits Civil Forfeiture

Dimwit Waiting for Republicans to come in and defend this (311 comments)

You know someone is going to come in and say this is awful because reasons, because it was done under the Obama administration by Eric Holder.

about two weeks ago
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Scientist Says Potential Signs of Ancient Life in Mars Rover Photos

Dimwit Re:Slashdot today. (142 comments)

This isn't even my first Slashdot account, my old one dates from 1998 or 1999.

When I first got on Slashdot, there was meaningful, technical discussion. A good number of actual experts in scientific and technical fields were present. Yeah there were always trolls and people racing to have the initial comment, but I feel like the entire tone of Slashdot has changed. You rarely get technical experts on here anymore, the trolls are just as prevalant if not more, and the entire readership has turned a lot to the reactionary right - scientific stores get inundated with "but that's socialism!" comments. There's even a fair amount of junk science in the comments now.

I read Slashdot now solely for the headlines, primarily because I never got the hang of Reddit. The comment section has been basically useless for a while now.

about three weeks ago
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Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive

Dimwit Re:Any actual examples? (598 comments)

There was the botched iOS 8 update that broke phones' data connectivity, and required lots of phones to require reinstallation via iTunes. Then the fix they released was broken and they needed to release a fix for the fix. There might have been a third fix, I can't remember.

about three weeks ago
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Is the Tablet Market In Outright Collapse? Data Suggests Yes

Dimwit I have a laptop and a phone, why a tablet too? (328 comments)

Seriously, if my phone isn't capable of doing whatever task I need to do, it means I probably need my full-on laptop anyway. Add in the fact that a tablet either requires wifi or requires cell service but can't make calls and it becomes obvious why the market is behaving this way.

about a month ago
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In IT, Beware of Fad Versus Functional

Dimwit Some practical examples (153 comments)

So over my nearly 20 years in IT/CS, I've seen a few:

I worked for a large retailer. We migrated from an old frame-relay leased-line network to a much more capable multihomed IP-over-VPN configuration to connect all of our retail locations around the country back to HQ. This new system worked well. Our CIO retired, and a new one was brought in. CIO Magazine a year or so later had an article about "Satellite Internet, The Future?" Our CIO then "spontaneously" started lobbying to get us to scrap our efficient, inexpensive, high-bandwidth network for a satellite system.

I can't tell you how many projects I saw rewritten in Ruby on Rails just because that was the new hotness, only to be abandoned later when everyone realized that Ruby is awful.

I myself wrote a bunch of stuff in Erlang not because it was the best language but because that was the new hotness.

Two unchanging things I've noticed are:

A lot of time, the new hotness makes common problems go away or common tasks easier, but ends up making more complex things harder. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but people tend to get stuck in the model of thinking that the new technology has to be used for everything, and they end up shoehorning their complex projects into frameworks that aren't the best choice.

No matter what the new technology is, and no matter how fantastic it is, it's not going to replace C/C++ for systems-level work, and Python and Perl aren't going anywhere. Truly successful technologies have long tails.

about a month and a half ago
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Virtual Reality Experiment Wants To Put White People In Black Bodies

Dimwit Re:Easier method (448 comments)

I would genuinely appreciate any stories you have to share - not because I don't believe you, but because Slashdot has recently become so "angry white male" that it's depressing.

(I've been on Slashdot since 1998. I remember when article comments were a welcoming forum. Now it's yet another forum where "liberal" on its own is conisdered an insult and labeling someone as such immediately means they are no longer worthy of consideration.)

about a month and a half ago
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The Case For Flipping Your Monitor From Landscape to Portrait

Dimwit Re:Depends (567 comments)

Heh, right, I mean...I guess I don't understand why one is rotated 180 degrees...It's not that important. :)

about a month and a half ago
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The Case For Flipping Your Monitor From Landscape to Portrait

Dimwit Re:Depends (567 comments)

Reversed?

about a month and a half ago
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Five Years of the Go Programming Language

Dimwit For those interested... (82 comments)

Go was developed in large part by Rob Pike who has a long history of concucrrency programming going back to Plan 9 from Bell Labs and earlier.

Some of his more interesting papers about concurrency are:

http://swtch.com/~rsc/thread/n... (The Newsqueak Programming Language)
http://swtch.com/~rsc/thread/n... (Newsqueak Implementation)
https://www.usenix.org/legacy/... (A Concurrent Window System)

You can even see some hints of what was to come in his paper outlining the design of the Blit terminal for Unix:
http://doc.cat-v.org/bell_labs...

about 2 months ago
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Study Shows How Humans Can Echolocate

Dimwit Chocolate (136 comments)

I read that as "eat chocolate" even after readreading it twice. I still would've been interested, though, since it's toxic to some mammals.

about 2 months ago
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HBO Developing Asimov's Foundation Series As TV Show

Dimwit Re:While you're at it... (242 comments)

Greg Egan's stuff wouldn't translate well to the screen, I think. I absolutely love his work (Permutation City is one of my favorite books, and I loved Schild's Ladder, Quarantine, and all of his short fiction). The problem is that there's too heavy of a cognitive science/philosophical bent to them. You'd have to have a character sit down a monologue for a while to get everything out.

about 3 months ago
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HBO Developing Asimov's Foundation Series As TV Show

Dimwit While you're at it... (242 comments)

Make a Rendezvous With Rama movie, would ya?

about 3 months ago
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Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

Dimwit Dear lord... (459 comments)

Okay, here's the deal. I am passionate about computer science and programming. It's what I do, both for my job, and as my only hobby. I write code for open source projects, and I write code for work, and I design little one-off projects for my own entertainment.

I stayed up all night every summer growing up teaching myself how to code. When I go to the used book store, I go to the section and buy old computer science textbooks talking about esoterica (I'm the only person I know under 45 who knows any APL, for example). My bedtime reading last week was the Oberon System manual that I got off eBay for $5.00.

All this was despite the fact that I grew up in rural Texas and got my ass beaten on a daily basis for being a "geek". The fact that my family was the only non-Christian family in town meant that I couldn't go to the school administration for help; when I tried it turned into a "let's pray for you, son." And yet, I kept doing it because I was passionate about it.

And guess what? If you're that passionate about something, you'll do it regardless of what your peers think. You'll *make* it happen. We didn't have any money growing up, so I'd stay after school and work on the computers there. When we finally scraped up enough money to buy a used Commodore 64 in like 1992, I had that hooked up to an old black-and-white TV and taught myself 6502 assembly.

So yeah, I'm sick of people saying "it's someone else's fault that I can't do this." No, it's not. If you're passionate enough about it, you'll *make* it happen.

about 3 months ago
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President Obama Backs Regulation of Broadband As a Utility

Dimwit Re:They ARE a utility. (706 comments)

Except that in other parts of the developed world where ISPs are much more regulated, speeds have gone up and prices have gone down. So, you know, the exact opposite of what you said.

about 3 months ago
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In this year's US mid-term elections ...

Dimwit Re:no dimocrats (551 comments)

"I don't believe in hateful divisions on the lines of gender, race, heritage, etc, so therefore I'm logically going to vote for a party whose official platform includes denying women the rights to their own bodies, homosexuals the rights to marry the people they love, and actively attempted to limit access to democracy to people of color."

Look, when you've got a shit sandwich and a crazy guy who wants to shoot you in the head, well...shit sandwiches aren't that bad.

about 3 months ago
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Google Fiber To Launch In Austin, Texas In December

Dimwit I live in the Northeast part of Austin... (88 comments)

...and I'm never getting fiber internet. Certain parts of the city are completely ignored for infrastructure upgrades. We just spent $10 million putting bicycle repair kits and air pumps in the richer parts of town, while delaying the sewer installation in my part of town (we were annexed by the city in 2007 and were supposed to have sewers hooked up in 2012...it's 2014 and now they're saying they "hope" it'll get done by 2015). We spent another $1-2 million on "sharrows", which are little arrows that go in the roads to show that we should share those lanes with bikes. We also just spent something like $30 million finishing a bicycling bridge over Town Lake.

In other words, rich people in the south and southwestern parts of town get whatever they want on the taxpayer dime while people in the north and east have to put up with roads without sidewalks, failing sewer systems, and lackluster police protection. Yay.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Practical mathematics for programmers?

Dimwit Dimwit writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Dimwit (36756) writes "The best part about programming is that I can decide that I want a new text editor or a new video game or a new multiprotocol router, and I can write it, and when I'm done, I have a new text editor or video game or multiprotocol router. Mathematics has never been that way for me — I never sit and think "I sure would like to find the area under a curve!" and then come up with a way to do it. So what's a good path for the practical programmer to take towards mathematics? One with goals and problems to solve that aren't the same old boring word problems?"
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Mathematics for Programmers

Dimwit Dimwit writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Dimwit (36756) writes "The best part about programming is that I can decide that I want a new text editor or a new video game or a new multiprotocol router, and I can write it, and when I'm done, I have a new text editor or video game or multiprotocol router. Mathematics has never been that way for me — I never sit and think "I sure would like to find the area under a curve!" and then come up with a way to do it. So what's a good path for the practical programmer to take towards mathematics? One with goals and problems to solve that aren't the same old boring word problems?"
Link to Original Source
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A New Scheme in the Heavens!

Dimwit Dimwit writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Dimwit writes "The R6RS electors have cast their votes, the Steering Committee has counted them, and the results are in: there is a new Scheme out there! Major improvements include a formalized module subsystem, new syntax (you can use square brackets now for clarity!), and many others. It sure made my day."
Link to Original Source

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