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Hulu To Require Viewers To Have Cable Subscriptions

Haeleth Re:Of course (648 comments)

I'm really confused now... What exactly is that *outside* you're speaking of?

I think it was a typo for "online".

about 2 years ago
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Animating From Markup Code To Rendered Result

Haeleth Re:What's the point? (72 comments)

When a gui editor can create easily read code that loads faster than something I can do in the same amount of time with notepad

Notepad? Seriously? I mean, I can understand not wanting to use a GUI editor since they all suck, but you're only hurting yourself if you insist on using the second most primitive tool available. (Why not go the whole hog and use EDLIN?)

There are a whole load of things in between that provide conveniences like indentation, tag/attribute completion, on-the-fly validation, etc while still letting you write the HTML yourself the way you want it. You should be using one. It will make you more productive and increase the quality of the web pages you produce; and if you are really refusing to do so, then you, sir/madam, are no more a professional than a "carpenter" would be who insisted on planing wood with a sharpened screwdriver.

about 2 years ago
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Scientists Say People Aren't Smart Enough For Democracy To Flourish

Haeleth Re:Not smart Enough? (1276 comments)

What's the problem with that?

It is 2012, not 1962. Am I seriously reading someone asking what the problem would be with disenfranchising "impoverished and minority voters"?

A few of the poor might be civically involved and responsible, such as yourself.

"I say, boy! You are not like those other poors who are all lazy and stupid! Well done. Have a pat on the head."

But on the average, poor people have been shown to have bad decision-making skills.

By whom? Citations please, preferably to studies that show that middle- and upper-income people are significantly better at making decisions. (Because it sure looks like a lot of rich folk have made some pretty shitty decisions recently. It wasn't poor people who invented subprime mortgages!)

Or do you mean that it's self-evident from the fact that they're poor? Because that would be your privilege talking, not your brain. It is not, in general, straightforward to pull oneself up by one's bootstraps. Being able to make good decisions doesn't help if none of the available options is good.

Also, "minority"? Are you serious?

I don't know about hir, but I am. Yes, of the people receiving state support in the USA today, proportionally more are from minority backgrounds, and skewing the voter pool in favor of the majority ethnic group would be a problem.

You're playing the structural racism card, and that's not a healthy way to play.

Why not? Structural racism is a thing. Pointing out that the policy you are advocating would be a terrible idea because it would disproportionately disenfranchise people who already suffer from the racism endemic in this nation is hardly unhealthy. It's ignoring the problem that would be unhealthy.

Oh no, we can't increase our standards, or else a group that is disproportionately represented in the lower score will be disadvantaged.

Come back and try this argument again when you have a shred of evidence that shows that letting poor people vote is bad for democracy.

Oh, and you're a racist, because the only logical conclusion of your argument is that white people are smarter than any other race. Burned any good crosses lately?

Played one way, why can't they be like Asians, who suffered prejudice and came out ahead?

"Gee whillikers them yellers sure are smart, ain't they? Damn good at math I tell you! And they work real hard, not like those lazy nigfood stamp recipients! Nosiree I am not racist what made you think that."

Played another way, why don't we extend the franchise to undocumented Hispanics, who may have just as much stake in our country as we do?

Good idea. Why not?

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Dealing With University Firewalls?

Haeleth Re:get over it (582 comments)

ultimately these restrictions serve no real purpose and just waste a lot of money in the form of time lost by both IT, administrative and research staff.

I'd be interested to see what evidence you have to support this claim. Dealing with e.g. the malware infestations and DMCA threats inevitably caused by people taking advantage of a network not blocking sketchy websites would probably also waste a lot of money and time.

Are you really claiming that there are more researchers legitimately investigating porn websites than there are horny frat boys who just want to jerk off in their dorm rooms and then steal a movie for later? More software companies who have not figured out a better way to deliver their product than emailing it to random employees than random employees who would install every "screensaver" emailed to them by a criminal? Really? Because that sure sounds pretty implausible to me.

more than 2 years ago
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Lenovo Ordered To Refund 'Microsoft Tax'

Haeleth Re:There is no Microsoft Tax (475 comments)

Random Online Comp Shop Inc. isn't going to get the volume license discount that Dell/Lenovo get for shipping millions of licenses

See my post below. HP considers the additional cost of an OEM Windows license to be US$75 (Home Premium) or $100 (Professional).

Last I checked, HP was the single biggest PC manufacturer in the world. If there's a good volume discount going, I'm guessing they get it.

Now, maybe HP don't add as much crapware as more consumer-focused OEMs. But, well, I don't know how much the shovelware authors pay for each installation, but I really doubt it's more than a few dollars at most per program, and even Dell doesn't ship that many programs. They won't be offsetting a full $100 by any means. That, my friend is why the Microsoft tax is a real thing that costs real people real money if they don't want to use Windows. And that's terrible.

more than 2 years ago
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Lenovo Ordered To Refund 'Microsoft Tax'

Haeleth Re:There is no Microsoft Tax (475 comments)

Does anyone honestly think that retailers would charge you $50 less (or whatever the cost of the Windows License is, probably closer to $15) if Windows wasn't installed?

Well, how about we ask the retailers?

I am looking right now at HP's "configure your laptop" screen in their online store.

The OS selection options they are offering me are:

  • Genuine Windows 7 Professional 32 [add $0.00]
  • Genuine Windows 7 Professional 64
  • Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64 [subtract $25.00]
  • FreeDOS [subtract $100.00]

So, if you are right - if the cost of a Windows license is just $15 or so, there is no Microsoft tax, and computers are subsidized by Windows-only crapware - why is HP willing to refund me $100 on the spot if I choose not to have Windows?

I await your explanation with interest.

more than 2 years ago
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Wikipedia Chooses Lua As Its New Template Language

Haeleth Re:Not a language problem (145 comments)

That's the precise problem. 1. the language was never designed, it accreted, and is mathematlcally impossible to describe fully in most sensible formats. 2. we can't throw it away because there's billions of words of text in it accumulated over ten years. 3. we can't throw it away because the existing editor base demand it stay because they're used to it.

Wait, are you talking about MediaWiki templating or PHP?

more than 2 years ago
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White House Refuses To Comment On Petition To Investigate Chris Dodd

Haeleth Re:You're being silly (765 comments)

The ruling class of Japan is freaking the fuck out because they can't get their people to have kids.

That would be because the ruling class of Japan is a bunch of racists obsessed with the purity of Japanese blood.

So is a good chunk of Europe.

See above, but substitute "European culture".

Stop giving them fodder for their factories and machines.

And watch in amazement as they simply loosen immigration restrictions instead, and millions of Mexicans gladly rush northwards to a better life!

Seriously, the only reason Japan is hurting is because they make it so damn difficult for anyone else to settle there (even Chinese and Koreans, let alone anyone with a different eye shape or skin color), and the only reason western Europe is hurting is because so many of the immigrants offering cheap labor have the unfortunate habit of wearing a turban or headscarf. But it's the poor people in America who are virulently racist against Latin@s, not the rich ...

more than 2 years ago
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On my death, my data ...

Haeleth Who can guess? (201 comments)

If I were to die today, most of my recent stuff would die with me, but my older offline backups are still unencrypted. And goodness knows what Google and Facebook would do with the stuff they have.

But supposing I live a normal lifespan, who has a clue? My data storage and privacy habits have changed unrecognizably in the last decade, just as they changed unrecognizably in the decade before that and the decade before that. Who knows what the next decade will bring, let alone the next 50-70 years, assuming that no medical breakthroughs in that time extend my life even further?

more than 2 years ago
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Open Source Increasingly Replaced By Open APIs

Haeleth It's true! (224 comments)

For example, just this morning I replaced Debian on my computer with the Twitter API. It works great, boot times are much faster. Now I'm going to uninstall Firefox and just access the web via the Facebook API.

more than 2 years ago
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ISO Updates C Standard

Haeleth Re:Lots of Irritating Superfluous (curly) Parenthe (378 comments)

But wouldn't variables declared in the middle of the function still have function scope anyway?

Not in the sense you appear to have in mind. This is C, not Javascript or Python. A variable declared halfway through the function has a scope half the size of one declared at the start, and cannot be accidentally read before it has been initialized.

more than 2 years ago
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ISO Updates C Standard

Haeleth Re:Let's get C99 right first (378 comments)

And safer, too, since it means you can always see at a glance that every variable is being initialized properly before it's used.

(Also it is not always possible, or even desirable, to break code into functions of a few lines. Anyone who claims otherwise is a puritan fanatic whose assertions should be taken with a very large pinch of salt; it is unlikely they have experience with a broad range of complex real-world programming situations.)

more than 2 years ago
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ISO Updates C Standard

Haeleth Re:Let's get C99 right first (378 comments)

OK, let's refine the statement, then: you should not use MSVC if you can avoid it because it is non-free and perfectly usable free alternatives are readily available.

Seems quite reasonable and consistent now. The alternatives are also better, since they implement C language features standardized less than 20 years ago!

more than 2 years ago
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ISO Updates C Standard

Haeleth Re:Let's get C99 right first (378 comments)

"For a decades-old version of the standard that was made obsolete before the end of the last millenium, ..."

I don't even know what you're trying to argue. Mixed declarations and code is standard C and has been for over a decade. It is not a GCC extension. It is a basic part of the standard C programming language that any modern compiler should implement.

more than 2 years ago
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ISO Updates C Standard

Haeleth Re:move on (378 comments)

Age has nothing to do with that. I cut my teeth on 8-bit BASIC, but Microsoft had nothing to do with the implementation. And while I did use Windows for a while in my teens before I matured into a *nix user, those were the days before Microsoft's monopoly abuse had quite destroyed all competition in the markets they chose to enter, so I was able to choose from a range of development tool providers (and chose Borland).

more than 2 years ago
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ISO Updates C Standard

Haeleth Re:Let's get C99 right first (378 comments)

No, it's not. Do Slashdotters really believe this? Clang/LLVM is the driving free-as-in-speech compiler suite these days.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Clang is the up-and-coming challenger, and it looks pretty inevitable that it's going to win eventually. But the world moves slower than you might like. Right now, clang is so far from taking over from GCC that it's not even funny.

Just because Apple uses something doesn't mean it dominates everything else in the world. Everywhere I look that isn't Apple, I see either GCC or ICC. In much of industry, people are only just starting to migrate from old vendor compilers to GCC as part of the slow ongoing UNIX-to-Linux shift.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Assembling a Linux Desktop Environment From Parts?

Haeleth Re:KDE. (357 comments)

I gave up on KDE when I discovered it is practically impossible to copy my settings from one computer to another.

Having a highly-customizable experience is great until you buy a new box and discover you're either going to waste hours reproducing your customizations manually, or try to copy things, have it break, and experience the hell of grepping for hardcoded paths in undocumented XML soup.

That's when I realized I wasn't even using much more than the window manager and the panel anyway, so I switched to FVWM2, whose configuration is stored in a single human-readable text file, and had a setup that was even more to my tastes, cloned across all my computers, in minutes.

KDE is undoubtedly awesome, but simplicity is also a feature, and it's one that the monolithic environments cannot provide -- by design.

more than 2 years ago
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Do Slashdotters Encrypt Their Email?

Haeleth Re:well (601 comments)

The 4-digit PIN normally only applies to buttons that you push with your finger, where brute-force attacks are not really an option. If your bank has ATMs that permit 10,000 attempts before they swallow the card, or uses a 4-digit PIN as a password for their online services, I suggest you take your money elsewhere.

more than 2 years ago
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Do Slashdotters Encrypt Their Email?

Haeleth Re:Why would we? (601 comments)

Does anyone here encipher their paper mail?

lgnge nfiax paavb fxvzv abval agrrh rcjnf zvarp rnrfy agrgj
zvpju rrgrr rnirr qfvvy bfrcn pbfun lgbur oofqf ffbqp vggrz
hrwug vfprn tcagp pupee buegr vnrnf nxpty lhrau nyoay oheva

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

Haeleth hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

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Python isn't fast enough. No, really, it isn't.

Haeleth Haeleth writes  |  about 4 years ago

People constantly say "Python is fast enough! If it's too slow, just throw hardware at the problem! GUI applications spend all their time waiting for user input anyway! And you can rewrite performance-critical sections in C!"

So why is it that, running Fedora on my netbook, I can tell -- with 99% accuracy -- which programs are written in C/C++ and which are written in Python?

There's a simple test. If, when I launch the program, nothing happens for up to a minute, then it's probably written in Python. If, when I click on a button in the program, it becomes completely unresponsive for up to five minutes before anything happens, then it's definitely written in Python.

Today's culprit is the SELinux Administration program. Unbelievably, mind-blowingly slow and unresponsive. This is not a good user experience. I don't care how much programmer time was saved by writing it in Python, or how beautiful the code is, or even how well it performed on the developer's high-end desktop monster -- what I care about is how much of my time is being wasted by twiddling my thumbs while this under-performing, over-rated slug of a language chugs away doing simple things inefficiently.

It's 2010. The future of computing is small, low-powered devices, optimised for portability and endurance rather than raw execution speed. I can't throw hardware at this problem. If Fedora wants to be widespread, it simply can't afford to go on like this, getting slower and slower as more and more core functionality is replaced with fundamentally slow code. It's time to start thinking about execution efficiency again, and -- in the absence of a high-performance Python interpreter -- that means Python is simply not an appropriate language for implementing core OS functionality like system configuration tools. If rewriting bottlenecks in C is good enough, then someone needs to start doing that, because right now they clearly aren't.

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Haeleth Haeleth writes  |  more than 4 years ago

All I want to do is synchronise my Google calendar with my computer, so I can read and add entries even when I don't have an internet connection. That shouldn't be so hard, should it?

Apparently it is.

Google's own Google Gears is read-only. Useless.

The only Linux calendar client that Google supports is Mozilla Sunbird. Yeah, the discontinued one. It does do CalDAV, but it's online-only; if I'm offline, the only way to get my calendar is to use the scary "EXPERIMENTAL!!!111" cache option, and that's read-only and buggy to boot. Useless.

Evolution supports CalDAV. Unfortunately, Evolution wants to take over my entire computer. I had to put in a fake email account before it would even let me look at the calendar options. The UI is frankly horrible. There is apparently no way to get rid of the irrelevant "task" pane; I can shrink it to take up no space, but then when I resize the window, all the extra space is given back to the task pane instead of to the calendar itself. It also insists on trying to add all new entries to the non-deletable "Personal" calendar, even though I have hidden this and set my Google calendar to be the default calendar. I'm not surprised it's useless, of course; all the development effort will be going into supporting Microsoft Exchange, in line with Novell's usual policy of preferring Microsoft lock-in over open standards.

KDE's calendar program looks quite nice. It supports all kinds of synchronisation options. Er... that is, apart from the single useful standard, CalDAV. The absence of which, people have been complaining about literally for years. Apparently they're waiting for opensync (aka Godot; see below). Or possibly something called Akonadi (Godot's little brother). It looks like someone else has recently got sick of waiting and started actually writing some code to fix this gaping hole, which is a pleasant surprise, but their project doesn't actually work yet. Good luck to them anyway.

So, what's left? There's a promising project called opensync that claims to be able to synchronise any sort of calendar I like. This sounds like exactly what I'm looking for! Oh, wait: the last stable release is ancient; the last couple of years have been spent completely breaking the whole API; the Google Calendar plugin is unmaintained and is broken even in the stable version; there is no CalDAV support at all. The current status report labels everything as either alpha-quality or totally broken. Good stuff. Enjoy gazing at your navels, opensync developers! I'm so glad you decided to rearchitect your project instead of making it useful.

Which leaves only one option: GCalDaemon. I refuse to touch this with a bargepole. Not because it's unmaintained, not even because it's written in Java, but because its developers seem to have been totally clueless, and I will not trust their code on my computer. They expect me to put user-specific configuration files under /usr/local/sbin? Um... no.

Never mind, I'll write my own. Sigh.

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Haeleth Haeleth writes  |  more than 6 years ago

So, GIMP. I have this image with lots of layers. I want to create a new image that contains three of them, another that contains a different three, and so on. Are you going to be helpful?

In every other graphics package under the sun, this is a trivial thing to do. You select the layers you want, and copy them into a new image. In GIMP? You select the layers you want, and... no, wait, you can't, because GIMP only lets you select one layer at a time. Let me repeat that, because I couldn't believe it at first either, but it's true. GIMP can only have one active layer at a time. You can only operate on one layer at a time. You cannot select two layers and apply a filter to both at once.[1]

There is one limited capability it does have: you can "link" layers. This isn't the same as the grouping capability that every other graphics package provides - "linking" in GIMP simply means that you have set a flag on a layer. When you move a layer that has the linking flag set, all the other layers with the linking flag move as well. (If you then want to move a different set of layers, you have to unlink every layer in the first set, then link the second set.) It's the clunkiest interface I've ever seen to this kind of feature. And it only seems to work for moving - not for scaling, not for filters, not for copy-and-paste.

It seems the only provided way to do what I want -- to create a new image containing several layers from the old image -- is to copy one layer, paste it into the new image, select the second layer, copy, paste, select the third layer, copy, paste...

(I take a deep breath and count to 10 at this point. I am determined not to conclude that GIMP sucks until I have finished giving it a proper chance.)

Okay. I'm a programmer. GIMP is programmable. So I give myself a crash course in script-fu, which is comfortingly similar to Emacs LISP,[2] and an hour or so later[3] I have 50 lines of Scheme that, when invoked, create a new image containing the layers from the old image that had the linking flag set. I am now able to do what I wanted in a relatively quick and easy way.[4]

But I'm a programmer. Most people who work with graphics are not programmers. Tell the average designer that you're suggesting she should use a package that will only do what she needs after she's spent a good hour hacking away at Scheme code, and she'll laugh in your face.

Why on earth is basic functionality like this not built in? How is an average artist supposed to be productive when they can't even operate on multiple layers at once without writing a program to do it?

Maybe I should ask these questions on a GIMP mailing list. It's been a while since anyone's told me I'm a dumbass.

[1] Apparently there are plugins that do provide a limited capability to apply filters to more than one layer at a time, but I'm blowed if I can find one.
[2] But only vaguely, it turns out. This is Free Software; I guess consistency is too much to hope for.
[3] The actual programming only took about five minutes. The remainder of the time was mostly spent trying to find some script-fu documentation, which basically doesn't exist. No, GIMP fans, tutorials are not documentation.
[4] Script-fu is an example of a thing I
like about GIMP. Now I've figured out its quirks and how to make the most of the very limited documentation, I have to admit it's already saved me as much time as I lost learning it. Shame the REPL sucks, but there are some promising-looking emacs packages that might fix that.

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Haeleth Haeleth writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I've hated GIMP for a long time, after some dreadful user experiences in the 1.x days. Recently I got tired of using VMware for all my graphics editing work, however, and as for once I have some stuff to do that doesn't require CMYK support, I decided it really was time to give free software another chance. Krita turned out to suck even worse than GIMP 1.x, so I gritted my teeth and installed the hated program once more.

I fired it up and decided to open a PNG file. I was presented with an informative dialog box: "The image has an embedded color profile: sRGB built-in. Convert the image to the RGB working profile (sRGB built-in)?"

Okay, so at least it finally has colour management support. That's good. But why is it prompting me to convert when the image profile and the working profile are apparently identical? What exactly does this decision imply? Being somewhat confused, I decided to click on the nice friendly-looking "Help" button.

Oops, looks like I forgot to install the help package. (Why does Ubuntu do this? If I'm installing an application, installing the help files too should be the default action.) So I fixed that and tried again. This time my web browser opened with the GIMP manual. So, what does it say on this subject?

"Eeek! There is missing help", screamed GIMP. "Sorry, but a help item is missing for the function you're looking for. Feel free to join us and fill the gap by writing documentation for the GIMP." It also suggests that I try looking in the online version of the help instead, and provides a handy link. Oops, no, it's a broken link.

This is not the stuff of which positive user impressions are made.

(Thanks to Google I did eventually find some documentation for the dialog box in question, which didn't actually tell me why I was being prompted to convert sRGB to sRGB, but did at least convince me it was safe to click "Convert".)

Next time: either "Mom, why can't I select multiple layers?", or "Manage your own damn windows!", depending on what annoys me most in the meantime.

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