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Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

Dr_Barnowl Re:This guy hasn't done his research. (647 comments)

> difficult to dump a piece of data to the disk without converting it into text first

Sounds like you need to add some pickle

about a week ago
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Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

Dr_Barnowl Re:instant disqualification (647 comments)

I won't use VB.NET because it would destroy my VB6 knowledge to use something almost, but not entirely, completely different.

about a week ago
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Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

Dr_Barnowl Re:instant disqualification (647 comments)

Nope, the default is machine code, p-code is an option.

Older VBs compiled to bytecode (p-code) by default, but the compiler for VB6 produces proper executables. p-code is a selectable compile time option (along with some optimizations and the ability to disable some checks).

What it does do it LINK to a runtime. Most of the datatypes are in there, the arrays are bounds checked, etc. The performance of VB datatypes are responsible for most of it's reputation as slow - in particular it's string handling (it lacks an inbuilt StringBuilder type).

If you're aware of it's limitations, you can do some good stuff with it. It's ideal for small (or even large) GUI apps, with a few libraries to replace some it's more egregious emissions you'd even call it professional.

What it's not is modern, object-oriented, possible to get documentation on the web (easily - the best source of documentation is the last MSDN Library disk set that contained it's docs).

about a week ago
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Windows 10: Can Microsoft Get It Right This Time?

Dr_Barnowl Re: There's nothing wrong now... (489 comments)

The main thing you have to do is...

* Turn on indexing service
* Configure it to index unknown file types
* Turn it off again (presuming you have it off)

Now the basic file search will look in files with extensions it doesn't grok when searching for text. Insane that this option isn't in the advanced search panel.

about two weeks ago
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Adobe Patches Nine Vulnerabilities In Flash

Dr_Barnowl Re:Any chance of a non Chrome linux version? (95 comments)

That's version 11.2

Yes, they've fixed the bugs in it. But it's not the mainstream version, which is 16.

There are plenty of sites that already depend on newer versions of Flash. Try running Card Hunter on Linux : you'll need Chrom(e|ium) with it's bundled Flash for that to work, and that's just over three minor versions (it requires 11.5)

So for given use cases, Flash already stopped working in Firefox for Linux. Supporting PPAPI probably is the only way it will work again.

But personally, I'd vote for "Long Gone". Why bother with Flash when you can do stuff like this directly in a modern browser?

about two weeks ago
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How Close Are We To Engineering the Climate?

Dr_Barnowl Re:Carbon not a source of heat (319 comments)

Until the temperature goes up enough for all those frozen methane clathrates at the bottom of the ocean to destabilise... or some idiots go looking to disturb them for fun and profit. Oh, they are already.

Then, whoof! Up it goes.

about three weeks ago
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UK Government Department Still Runs VME Operating System Installed In 1974

Dr_Barnowl Re:It is called good coding. (189 comments)

The requirements in those fields don't change.

"Drop the bomb on the target" is a problem defined by the laws of physics. I've seen artillery pieces with old brass analog computers that still work perfectly.

"Make a system that automates the processing of the asinine new rules for Job Seekers Allowance" is a moving target.

about three weeks ago
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UK Government Department Still Runs VME Operating System Installed In 1974

Dr_Barnowl Re:Does it still work? (189 comments)

Depends what the requirements are.

Usually, this sort of thing happens because requirements are changing faster than the old system can be maintained to keep up.

I wouldn't be surprised if this is to help automate the swingeing series of "sanctions" that are carried out to remove the benefits from job seekers in this country.

Things like suspending their payments for...

* Being late for an appointment at the job centre (by approx 2 minutes).... because they were attending a job interview
* Not attending a job interview
* Applying for 6 jobs one week, and 3 jobs the next, and not realising that the directive to apply for 4 jobs a week is not met by an *average*
* Applying for jobs on Monday and Friday, then being sanctioned because the accounting is done Tuesday and the count of jobs on Monday wasn't high enough

about three weeks ago
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Over 30 Uber Cars Impounded In Cape Town

Dr_Barnowl In Cape Town? Corruption... (160 comments)

This is South Africa.

The "delays" are more likely to do with the fact that Uber have failed to grease the right palms.

about three weeks ago
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Toyota Opens Patents On Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology

Dr_Barnowl Re:Charging time still issue (124 comments)

Indeed ; combine it with a cargo trailer and you have a sale : I have a small 2-door car that's a little snug when loaded with three people and their Christmas luggage. That Christmas trip is one of the few occasions I drive it more than 130 miles in a day. I'd happily rent a range-extending trailer with some cargo space in it for those occasions.

about three weeks ago
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Toyota Opens Patents On Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology

Dr_Barnowl Which oil industry shill bribed them? (124 comments)

As a post above points out, the hydrogen supply isn't up to it.

The main supply of hydrogen today is ... yes, you guessed it, fossil fuels. Electrolytic production of hydrogren doesn't even come close. And it's ridiculously inefficient compared to battery electric vehicles.

The only useful thing that hydrogen has going for it is a fast fill time. On every other metric, it sucks balls - range, complexity, safety, price of storage equipment, price of equipment to convert it into useful work, energy efficiency.

This is a play by the fossil fuel industry aimed at either preserving some market for them or delaying the adoption of electric vehicles, they don't care which.

about three weeks ago
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Professor: Young People Are "Lost Generation" Who Can No Longer Fix Gadgets

Dr_Barnowl Re:speak for yourself. (840 comments)

You're the second person to make this mistake in the thread.

"Danielle". Not "Daniel."

ie, a woman.

Interesting bias. A professor of engineering has to be a man, right?

about three weeks ago
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Writer: How My Mom Got Hacked

Dr_Barnowl Re:The real lesson should be... (463 comments)

And to a system not directly mounted as user accessible files, or they'll encrypt your backups too.

So you want a network storage server specifically configured to only permit create and append, but not delete.

about three weeks ago
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Writer: How My Mom Got Hacked

Dr_Barnowl Re:CryptoWall (463 comments)

Backup to Dropbox would probably be acceptable.

It keeps the prior versions of files for the last 30 days, and AFAIK the API does not expose the ability to delete them.

Mum's computer (well, aside from running Ubuntu) is set to make a weekly incremental backup to a cloud folder.

about three weeks ago
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Sony, Facebook, Google, Samsung, Apple, and Microsoft Now All Have a Hand In VR

Dr_Barnowl Re:Degree of reality (61 comments)

The limitations of the technology have historically been terrible.

Ever been to Disney World? They have an arcade building with a bunch of old games and new in there.

One of the rides is an Aladdin Magic Carpet VR ride. Possibly the cause of the most horrible motion sickness of my life.

I'm not prone to motion sickness. I was born in a coastal town. Ships pitching in the ocean are part of my natural environment. I play FPS and sim games without problems. I love most rollercoasters. This thing left me pale and sweating and nauseous.

Oculus made the first big pubic thrust at solving the problems that cause this - latency between the viewpoint input and the display being primary amongst them.

about three weeks ago
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War Tech the US, Russia, China and India All Want: Hypersonic Weapons

Dr_Barnowl Re:Wait what? (290 comments)

Shaft them with a Rod from God

about a month ago
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The Open Office Is Destroying the Workplace

Dr_Barnowl Re:Let the environment fit the task. (420 comments)

We used to refer to this phenomenon as "needing a cardboard developer" ; I've both experienced and witnessed it many times.

about a month ago
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The NSA Uses the Same Chat Protocol As Hackers

Dr_Barnowl Re:stupidest. revelation. ever. (81 comments)

It's likely to be something which they can read easily, so not OTR.

SIGINT dudes are not just keen on encryption. They are keen on reading communications too. To this end they usually advocate systems with key escrow at the very least, because they want to be able to keep tabs on their agents and analysts.

I saw a brief prepared for the UK National Health Service by GCHQ on data security, it heavily emphasised key escrow, which reveals the bias of the agency that produced it. A crypto brief prepared by doctors would most emphatically not include the capability to forge signatures - no doctor is going to sign up for a system where his word might be brought into doubt.

about 1 month ago
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Know Your Type: Five Mechanical Keyboards Compared

Dr_Barnowl Re:just curious... (190 comments)

This.

My mother was employed as a legal secretary most of her life. When they graduated from electronic typewriters to computers, they issued her at some point with the standard squishy membrane keyboard. Her finger joint arthritis flared right up, because the feedback cues she had got used to from a lifetime of typing on proper keyboards had gone.

As her loving son, it was my duty to mail her a Cherry MX keyboard (A G80-3000). Her IT support griped and bitched about having to replace her keyboard, but she told them I was both an IT guy *and* a doctor, which shut them up.

Her finger arthritis was markedly better in a couple of weeks. She took the keyboard home with her when she retired and it's still in use on her workstation at home.

IMHO, giving professional typists a membrane keyboard should be considered a health and safety violation. It staggers me that so-called ergonomic layouts are usually membrane boards.

about a month ago

Submissions

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UK Prime Minister seeks to resurrect the zombie of compulsory key escrow

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  about two weeks ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The BBC Reports that UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, has vowed to introduce a "comprehensive piece of legislation" aimed at there being "no piece of communication" .. "which we cannot read", in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.

The only logical means by which this could occur would be by the introduction of compulsory key escrow, and the banning of forms of encryption which do not use it. While the UK already essentially has a legal means to demand your encryption keys (and imprison you indefinitely if you don't comply), this would fall short if you have a credible reason for not having the key any more (such as using an OTR plugin for your chosen chat program).

The US tried a similar tack with Clipper in the 90s.

As we all know, terrorists with any technical chops are unlikely to be affected, given the vast amount of freely available military-grade crypto now available, and the use of boring old cold war tradecraft.

Ironically, France used to ban the use of strong cryptography but has largely liberalized it's regime since 2011."
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Eric Schmidt urges regulation of mini-drones

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  about 2 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The BBC reports that the CEO of Google thinks that drones should be regulated. Drones are certainly a hot topic, with appearances on both side of the divide in Cory Doctorow's novel Homeland — with the authorities using them to distribute riot gas, and the noble hackers using them to post the video of them doing it. Is Eric really concerned over how the public will use drones against each other, or is he more concerned that they might eat into Google's pie somehow?"
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UK Government - "Pay a £20 fee to acquit yourself of file-sharing (maybe)"

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The BBC reports that the UK government plans to introduce a £20 fee if you wish to appeal against an allegation of copyright infringement, within 20 days of your accusation. Note that this doesn't guarantee acquittal, as only "excuses" covered in the Digital Economy Act will be valid even for consideration. This scheme could be in place as early as 2014, so John Smith, General Secretary of the Musicians' Union says "We urge ISPs to begin building their systems now and to work constructively with rights holders, Ofcom and government to get notice-sending up and running as soon as possible,". What are the thoughts of Slashdot?"
Link to Original Source
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EU Proposes HFT Transaction Tax

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The BBC reports that the UK opposes a proposed new tax on transactions with at least one end Europe. Why is this "News for Nerds"? The proposal includes tax on derivatives, an instrument the High Frequency Trading stories we've been chowing down on recently. With the proposed tax being 0.1% or 0.01% for derivatives, the story highlights the sheer volumes involved — it's speculated that the tax would earn some €57B a year ($78B), around 80% of it from the City of London. A transaction tax like this is something frequently proposed in Slashdot HFT discussions. The UK says that it will veto the tax "unless it was imposed globally" — should the USA follow suit and impose a similar levy targeted at the trading desks of the NYSE?"
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Sony to convert online bookstore to open format

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The BBC reports that Sony are to convert their online bookstore to the EPUB format.

While this format still supports DRM, it's supported on a much wider variety of readers. Is this a challenge to Kindle? It's nice to see Sony opening up to the idea of open standards ; even if you still have reservations about buying a Sony device, you might be able to patronise their bookstore sometime soon."
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Google to release another open-source OS

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The BBC reports that Google are planning to release another operating system : Google Chrome OS.

This is apparently going to consist of the Google Chrome browser, running in "a new windowing system". The browser is the platform, much like it is in the Palm Pre smartphone, part of the intention being to provide a fast boot time.

They are setting their sights first on the growing market for netbooks, with ARM and x86 compatibility planned out of the starting gate.

A "browser OS" would probably do just fine for the majority of users, but I don't think I'm ready to give up my heavy client-side platforms just yet. What will be interesting to see is the Microsoft response to this — they have enjoyed an alleged "96%" share of the netbook market OS recently, so anything designed to eat into that will not be popular in the Redmond boardroom."
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EA releases license deactivation management tool.

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "Electronic Arts have posted a link to a SecuROM De-authorization management tool. Once downloaded, the tool will search your drives for EA games infested with the draconian online DRM system, and help you download their respective individual de-activation tools.

This isn't a perfect solution, since it's still possible to run out of activations in the event of hardware failure or other source of data loss, but since the announcement that this particular DRM system will be dropped for The Sims 3 , it would seem that EA has had a minor epiphany about DRM."

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British IRS loses database of every child in UK.

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "News breaking in the UK is that the HM Revenue & Customs (the UK version of the IRS) has lost in the post discs containing the entire Child Benefit database. Every child in the UK is entitled to receive Child Benefit, so this covers some 25M people (out of the UK population of some 60M), 7.25M families, and contains names, addresses, dates of birth, bank account numbers and national insurance number (aka SSN).

The lost data has failed to turn up under a search by HM Customs (famous for rooting contraband out of tight spaces) and the UK police.

This is data loss on an unprecedented scale. Many of the people questioning the Chancellor of the Exchequer at this moment are using the issue to raise questions about the UK government plans for a national ID database.

The data was apparently "password protected". The word "encryption" has also been used, but not in connection to the data, so it could well be something as simple as a passworded ZIP archive. The data was placed onto a couple of optical media and sent to another government office, for audit purposes, via the internal post system provided by a third party courier. This was not the first occurrence of the database being transferred in this way.

While there is no evidence so far that the data is being put to nefarious uses, this will cause total chaos in the UK banking system ; affected accounts are being flagged and mothers across the country will be phoning their bank in a panic."

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Swedish company trials peer-to-peer cellphones

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "TerraNet is trialling a p2p based mobile telephony system. Phones are used to route calls onto other phones, constructing mesh networks of "up to 20km".

The BBC reports the natural tendency of the big telecoms providers to want to squash this. I can see other problems though. The advantages in an environment with sparse cell coverage are obvious, but network effects mean that the number of connections in a heavily populated mesh grow exponentially. What happens to your battery life when your phone becomes a node? And while the company is optimistic that they have a viable technology model from IP licensing, the demand for devices supporting this is going to be proportional to the number of devices that it can connect you to.

On the plus side, it would provide some great experience with mesh networks."

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Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The BBC reports in prose and in video that Robert Soloway, an alleged user of zombie spamming networks, has been arrested in Seattle. He will be charged with aggravated identity theft, the first such charge since the relevant law was passed in 2003.

While it's highly encouraging to see spammers brought to book, the spam level has not noticeably decreased since his arrest, testimony to the more prevalent spam output of eastern European and Asian sources."

Link to Original Source
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Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The CEO of Sun Microsystems blogs that "no amount of fear can stop the rise of [...] free software". While he avoids specifically mentioning a certain software company by name, he links directly to the interview in Fortune that started all this brouhaha.

He makes a special point that Sun "... decided to innovate, not litigate."

You have to wonder who else from the corporate world may pitch in at this point."

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