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Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

Halo1 Re:Pascal (648 comments)

It teaches good habits (but with the demise of Turbo Pascal I am unable to suggest a worthy compiler).

May I suggest the Free Pascal Compiler with Lazarus as IDE. There's even a Lazarus add-on to automatically configure it for pupils/beginners.

Disclaimer: I am and have been one of the FPC developers for the past 17.5 years (also starting originally with Turbo Pascal, and then moving on to FPC once it became clear Borland wouldn't come out with a 32 bit DOS version).

about two weeks ago
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European Countries Seek Sweeping New Powers To Curb Terrorism

Halo1 Re:To curb terrorism (219 comments)

If you are convinced that part of the population has the destruction of a lot of what you hold dear as their secret agenda

How it is a secret agenda? It seems pretty out in the open to me.

Well, I thought that in case of the moderate muslims it could be a secret agenda in your view. In any case, feel free to ignore the "secret" in that sentence.

about two weeks ago
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European Countries Seek Sweeping New Powers To Curb Terrorism

Halo1 Re:To curb terrorism (219 comments)

And yet there large numbers of moderate muslims that do not feel at all obliged or even inclined to impose the sharia on the rest of the Western country they live in.

Are you sure?

About as sure as you can be from watching documentaries, listening to interviews, reading opinion pieces, talking to people etc.

Maybe they don't feel a need to do it by force, but that's not really the whole story, is it? That's far morally superior to those who do, but it's still going to be an unending source of conflict.

If you are convinced that part of the population has the destruction of a lot of what you hold dear as their secret agenda , then I don't see a possibility besides endless conflict either.

about two weeks ago
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European Countries Seek Sweeping New Powers To Curb Terrorism

Halo1 Re:To curb terrorism (219 comments)

This is an inherent contradiction between Islam and western society, and it cannot be reconciled without either giving up on religious freedom, or throwing away the Quran. They're not allowed to edit it.

And yet there large numbers of moderate muslims that do not feel at all obliged or even inclined to impose the sharia on the rest of the Western country they live in. Maybe they're not real muslims in the eyes of fundamentalists, but why should we take the same view as fundamentalists in this regard while we reject them on all other points?

about two weeks ago
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European Countries Seek Sweeping New Powers To Curb Terrorism

Halo1 Re:2nd/3rd generation of immigrants are IMMIGRANTS (219 comments)

Australia belongs to...

. . . the largest concentration of deadly, poisonous critters and creepy-crawlies on the planet.

:)

about two weeks ago
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European Countries Seek Sweeping New Powers To Curb Terrorism

Halo1 Re:2nd/3rd generation of immigrants are IMMIGRANTS (219 comments)

America is a civil state.

The Americas were, for the most part, colonised by European immigrants that kicked the shit out of the people that already lived there. I really don't see how that's different than what happening now (or is about to happen) in Europe in the mind of many scared/aggressive people. And for the record: I don't hold current day Americans responsible for that, it's not like they got to choose what their forefathers did or did not do, although of historically/societally you do have some kind of responsibility (just like e.g. Belgium has one vis-a-vis its ex-colonies).

The European countries are ethnic states, have been for thousands of years, and their borders are almost literally written in blood.

Ethnic states? Our borders are indeed written in blood (then again, so are many in the Americas), but I doubt there are many "ethnic Belgians" in existence. Or have ever existed, other than one tribe in a distant past that was termed as "the bravest of all Gallic tribes" by Julius Caesar.

While Europe is exceedingly liberal and politically correct in general, it would be 'unwise' indeed, to mistake generosity and kindness for weakness.

The way many people are reacting, it seems they did find a quite weak spot though.

about two weeks ago
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European Countries Seek Sweeping New Powers To Curb Terrorism

Halo1 Re:2nd/3rd generation of immigrants are IMMIGRANTS (219 comments)

... are second and third-generation immigrants ...

France belongs to the French

Germany belongs to the Germans

Sweden belongs to the Swedes

Italy belongs to the Italians

In other words, they are the indigenous for their ancestors, for thousands of years, have settled in that place

And immigrants ? No matter if they are 2nd / 3rd / 4th or whatever generation, once they have decided to harm the indigenous they should be kicked out, immediately !

America belongs to...
Australia belongs to...

Ah, never mind.

about two weeks ago
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Belgian Raid Kills 2, Said To Avert "Major Terrorist Attacks"

Halo1 Re:Come On (257 comments)

Boko Haram has stated openly they are an Islamic group and are trying to form an ISIS like African Caliphate . What more do you need to see the truth?

Have a look at http://www.cfr.org/nigeria/bok... . Yes, Boko Haram is a very violent and abhorrent group (or rather a set of groups) right now, but they weren't always like that. Their current actions also have little or nothing to do with Islam (a bit like how "spreading democracy" had little to do with the Iraq war). At the same time, the Nigerian "Joint Task Force" of Nigerian police, army and private security forces (primarily funded by oil companies) is regularly accused of "summary executions, use of excessive force, and widespread arrests of suspected extremists, many based on little or no evidence" (words of the US Department of State, not mine) in the Niger delta (where Boko Haram is active). The paragraph in which that sentence appears also sketches the situation after 2009 (when Boko Haram became violent) quite well.

The JTF has been active since 2003 though, and some people directly argue (albeit in a mess of many missing/broken links that make it hard to check several argued points) that they basically made Boko Haram into what it is today with the objective of being able to justify the use of excessive force against them.

I still have to read up more on it from different sources, but from what I've read until now it seems that really has very little to do with Islam. It's just the banner they use due to their origins, just like we in the West (not just the US) justify almost all of our actions with "helping democracy", "supporting human rights", "increasing free trade" etc, even when that banner doesn't cover the actions at all. In many cases, it's mainly a cultural reference to something that the people involved (on the "aggressor's" side) can identify with as "good" or that they can relate to.

about two weeks ago
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Dragon Age: Inquisition Reviewed and Benchmarked

Halo1 Re:Support the developers! (91 comments)

Divinity: Original Sin was a Kickstarter game.

So is Pillars of Eternity. Both are nevertheless AAA games by established developers.

about 2 months ago
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Dragon Age: Inquisition Reviewed and Benchmarked

Halo1 Re:Support the developers! (91 comments)

At least one of us is. I basically gave up on AAA games after (a) DRM stuff got silly, and (b) several titles in a row had such serious bugs that they just weren't enjoyable to play, and often they were never fixed.

A couple of AAA games have been/will be released on day 1 via http://gog.com/ without DRM: Age of Wonders III, Divinty: Original Sin, The Witcher 2 and 3, Pillars of Eternity.

about 2 months ago
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Interviews: Ask Florian Mueller About Software Patents and Copyrights

Halo1 Re:Can I have my money back? (187 comments)

Florian Müller and the FFII always have been different entities. No money donated to the FFII ever went to Florian Müller (even if we had wanted to, there was no way we could ever afford his salary). The FFII did cooperate with him while he was being funded by MySQL and later Red Hat, but even at those times the cooperation was everything but easy.

about 4 months ago
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Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

Halo1 Re:Thinking back to my undergraduate days (late 70 (547 comments)

Pascal was/is a much better language than Fortran or Cobol.
I would be shocked if it completely died out.

Me too. Especially since I've been contributing for 17 years to the Free Pascal Compiler, and it supports more platforms than ever. I also don't see any particular declines in our download statistics or the bug reporting rate. Whether Borland-Inprise-CodeGear-Embarcadero Delphi will survive, that's another question. If they'd disappear, that would however be unfortunate for us too though, since many of our users use both products (Delphi for its polish and commercial support, ours for the multi-platform support).

about 4 months ago
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Single European Copyright Title On the Horizon

Halo1 Re:Just to get through the misleading stuff: (94 comments)

this is the first term that the European Parliament's members will presumably have the power to block EU directives (something that remains to be seen how it works out)

That's incorrect. Look up the codecision procedure, it's been around since a long time. Since the Lisbon treaty, directives on more topics have come under codecision, but that one has been in effect for quite a while now.

and this is the only part that they will have in the law-making process

No, it's not just blocking or passing. They can, and do, also amend directives. These amendments then have to agreed upon with the Council of Ministers, but the opposite is also true.

--the European Parliament DOES NOT have the power of legislative initiative.

That's true, only the Commission has this power.

FYI, so you do not get carried away by flashy designations and think that this is an actual parliamentary representative democracy akin to national parliaments: it is not.

It's indeed not, since a lot of member states are heavily opposed to a "Federated States of Europe"-style organisation.

about 7 months ago
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Following EU Ruling, BBC Article Excluded From Google Searches

Halo1 Re:Article is wrong (239 comments)

You can go first by defining such a rule about the first, second, fourth, ... amendment to the US Constitution. I'll even let you include all judgements by the Supreme Court on that particular amendment. Laws and judgements involving fundamental/inalienable (human) rights are never condensable into a simplistic rule.

Which is totally and completely irrelevant to this discussion and a rather poor attempt at a straw man.

How is asking you to do exactly the same as what you were asking of me a straw man? I was just trying to illustrate what I wrote above: "Laws and judgements involving fundamental/inalienable (human) rights are never condensable into a simplistic rule."

Your argument of Google not being a civil rights NGO (even leaving aside the issue that, once again, this is about a clash between different civil rights rather than against the oppression of civil rights period), or me spending money on fighting the ruling, are however great straw men: I never claimed they would fight it out of altruism, and I literally said I didn't mind the judgement at all (so why would I want to spend money fighting it?).

Google would try to convince judges that it interpreted the judgement in a reasonable way simply because the alternative seriously threatens their business model. As to the drama about Google risking fines and whatnot: companies skirt tax, employment, competition and other laws/judgements all the time if those even threaten to reduce their bottom line. Not to mention that, again, this judgement explicitly gives search engine companies the mandate to decide in part for themselves what is reasonable and what is not, unlike tax/employment/competition laws.

about 7 months ago
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Following EU Ruling, BBC Article Excluded From Google Searches

Halo1 Re:Article is wrong (239 comments)

Define "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant".

Keep in mind your definition must apply to every single situation and under no circumstance a judge will disagree with your assessment and assign damages.

You can go first by defining such a rule about the first, second, fourth, ... amendment to the US Constitution. I'll even let you include all judgements by the Supreme Court on that particular amendment. Laws and judgements involving fundamental/inalienable (human) rights are never condensable into a simplistic rule.

Because that is what Google is facing, people can have any search result that lists their name removed if it meets whatever arbitrary definition of those three words a judge wishes to interpret.

The judge has to interpret the entire judgement by the ECHR, which is quite a bit more elaborate than that.

There is a very legitimate argument that those terms are so vague Google has no choice whatsoever but to simply delist every single thing they are asked to delist.

And there is a very legitimate argument that it does not have to do that. Such expressions don't say very much.

Given that Google strongly opposed the judgement and given the fact that the further interpretation of the judgement has not yet been set in stone, it's a bit silly to conclude that Google now doesn't have any choice, in particular since the judgement also explicitly mentions that search engine operators only have to act ‘within the framework of their responsibilities, powers and capabilities’. A good and fairly short analysis sketching the picture of the various points of interest can be found here.

There is simply no black and white argument to be made either way right now, because while the judgement does start from considering the right to privacy as trumping both economic interests of search engine operators and the public's "general" interest into details about other people's lives, it does counterbalance/nuance this in various ways. Given the beating that the right to privacy has been getting lately, I personally don't mind at all that it now got a pretty strong reinforcement.

about 6 months ago
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Following EU Ruling, BBC Article Excluded From Google Searches

Halo1 Article is wrong (239 comments)

What it means is that a blog I wrote in 2007 will no longer be findable when searching on Google in Europe.

That is plain wrong. The judgement only requires that people can ask that searches for their name (and /only/ their name) no longer turn up results that are "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant".

Searching for Merrill's mess, Merill Lynch subprime etc will all still include his article in the results and no one has any right under the ruling to object to that, even if it mentions Stan Oâ(TM)Neal's name in connection with shady business deals a thousand times (just like no one can object against this post turning up in response to such queries).

Keeping that in mind, I do agree with the author that the article should not be excluded even when searching for Stan Oâ(TM)Neal's name, as the inadequacy/irrelevancy test does not fly here in my opinion either. He did say Google will get back to him on that point.

about 6 months ago
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WikiLeaks Publishes Secret International Trade Agreement

Halo1 Re:Not sure what the "secrecy" fuss is (222 comments)

All treaties are negotiated in secret.

Secret from the general populace: yes. Secret from large corporations and lobby groups: hell no.

Furthermore, at least in the US, no treaty is in effect until it is ratified by the Senate, at which point all the elements of the treaty will be public and heavily debated down to the last comma.

It's great that Wikileaks is giving the world a heads-up view into what is being negotiated, but I don't understand why every Slashdot story about international treaties harps on "negotiated in secret" like that's unusual, or that a treaty can somehow take effect silently and invisibly.

I'm not sure whether you've ever tried influencing a non-binding agreement that was reached in diplomatic circles and which supposedly still needs to be ratified by politicians in public. I can tell you that by the time a completely negotiated deal ends up in a parliament, senate or council of ministers, there is an enormous amount of political pressure to approve it because of all of the efforts that went into negotiating that text. At that point, the negotiating parties have basically all said "yes, we agree with this and are willing to defend this text before our national politicians", and a very much used argument (that also carries a lot of weight) is then "we don't want to seem unreliable to our negotiation partners".

Sure, they may sometimes make a little bit of fuss about small details to "demonstrate" they're not just rubberstamping it, but actually completely changing positions on a matter of substance almost never happens (unless there is a huge public outcry, or a very big business interest). And even if that happens, it means all those negotiations were largely for nothing, which could have been solved by having more transparency in the first place.

about 7 months ago
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OpenSSL Cleanup: Hundreds of Commits In a Week

Halo1 Re:I would think (379 comments)

but it's a rather bad example if the intention is to show how badly OpenSSL is supposedly maintained.

The intention isn't to show how badly OpenSSL is maintained. The intention is to create a good version of OpenSSL. One easy way to do that is to reduce OpenSSL to a reasonable, clean core without all the complexity of cruft and hacks that are clearly no longer understood or maintained by even the OpenSSL team themselves.

You may want to read my entire message again. It was about comments like yours, not about the cleanup initiative itself.

about 9 months ago
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OpenSSL Cleanup: Hundreds of Commits In a Week

Halo1 Re:I would think (379 comments)

Does OpenVMS still require the byzantine workarounds that were in OpenSSL, or can it compile modern software without substantial changes?

The message I linked to at least adds several lines to a file called "symhacks.h" to deal with limits regarding the length of symbol names (which is probably required due to a limitation of the used object file format on that platform, and hence not easily resolvable by changing the compiler or linker).

I think part of the problem is that the OpenSSL developers are publishing code paths that they never test;

Conversely, I think part of the current cleanup is that it's not just a cleanup of bad/dangerous code, but also throwing away functionality/support that the people performing said cleanup personally don't consider to be relevant. It's their full right to do so, of course, but it's a rather bad example if the intention is to show how badly OpenSSL is supposedly maintained.

If there's a demand for OpenVMS SSL libraries

I'm not sure why you put this conditionally, since there obviously is such a demand.

about 9 months ago
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OpenSSL Cleanup: Hundreds of Commits In a Week

Halo1 Re:I would think (379 comments)

This is actually the OpenBSD developers diving in because the upstream (OpenSSL) was unresponsive. If you look at the actual commits, you will see removal of dead code such as VMS-specific hacks

That code is not dead, there are actually still people using OpenSSL on OpenVMS and actively providing patches for it: https://www.mail-archive.com/o...

about 9 months ago

Submissions

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Chevron gets 9 years worth of activists' internet metadata

Halo1 Halo1 writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Halo1 (136547) writes "A US Federal judge has ruled that Microsoft must provide Chevron with IP usage records and identity information for email accounts owned by more than 100 environmental activists, journalists and attorneys. Chevron ask for this information in an attempt to prove that it fell victim to a conspiracy when it was convicted to pay $18 billion for dumping 18.5 billion gallons of oil waste in the Ecuadorean Amazon. Opponents, such as the EFF and ERI, criticise that this could allow Chevron to determine the countries, states, cities or even buildings where the account-holders were checking their email, so as to 'infer the movements of the users over the relevant period'."
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Fairphone project crowdfunding initial production run

Halo1 Halo1 writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Halo1 (136547) writes "The Fairphone project has designed an GSM/WCDMA Android-based smartphone (specs) and associated production process for which they need 5000 pre-orders at 385 euro a piece (incl. VAT) to go into production by September. While they openly admit that not every single component or part of the process is completely "fair", by making every step of the production transparent and improving several of them they aim to to demonstrate and facilitate improved product life cycles. Examples include sourcing a number of their raw materials conflict-free (tin, coltan; working on gold), having subcontractors pay workers a living wage, and contributing part of the proceeds to e-waste recycling facilitator Closing the Loop. The user also gets a "fair" deal: the device can be rooted, it has dual sim support, and they're working with Ubuntu and Firefox OS communities to offer alternative OS choices. The main downside is that pre-orders are limited to EU citizens. The deadline for pre-ordering is 14 June and they're currently at 52% of their target goal (if it is not reached, pre-orders will be refunded). Dutch-speaking readers may also be interested in a candid interview with the head of the project and a Dutch diplomat involved in the organisation and certification of conflict-free mining operations in the DR Congo."
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European Commission paints itself in ACTA corner

Halo1 Halo1 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Halo1 (136547) writes "Last week, the European Commission published a rebuttal to an extensive and strongly condemning opinion document about ACTA by prominent European Academics. Ante Wessels from the FFII went through the Commission's reply and discovered that after correcting the mistakes they made, they actually confirm the opinion they were trying to refute. The Commission primarily appears to suffer from a lack of reading comprehension, amnesia regarding what it said earlier, and not being fully aware of its competences."
Link to Original Source
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iPhone SDK Agreement Shuts Out HyperCard Clone

Halo1 Halo1 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Halo1 writes "Demonstrating it's not just about Flash, Apple has officially rejected for the first time another alternative iPhone development environment following its controversial iPhone SDK Agreement changes. Even though RunRev proposed to retool its HyperCard-style development environment to directly expose all of the iPhone OS' APIs, Steve Jobs still rejected their proposal. The strength of RunRev's business case, with a large scale iPad deployment project in education hinging on the availability of their tool, does not bode well for projects that have less commercial clout. Salient point: at last February's shareholders' meeting, Jobs went on the record saying that something like HyperCard on the iPad would be great "but someone would have to create it"."
Link to Original Source
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Halo1 Halo1 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Jonas Maebe writes "Someone thought up another way to profiteer from the software patent system: when a security hole is discovered, they'll try to patent the fix in order to collect money when the affected vendors close the hole in their product.. The company in question is not shy about its intentions: Intellectual Weapons will only consider vulnerabilities in high profile products from vendors with deep pockets. Let's be thankful for yet another way software patents are used to promote science and the useful arts."
Link to Original Source

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