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Student Records Kids Who Bully Him, Then Gets Threatened With Wiretapping Charges

JaredOfEuropa Re:sickening (468 comments)

If you want your kid to learn to stand up for himself, would you pay a couple of other kids to beat him up until he finds the nerve to punch back, or would you send him to a self defence class? The first is likely to end in physical or psychological trauma, the second more likely to instil confidence as well as help keep potential bullies off his back.

What schools like these are doing is teaching him that his place in the hierarchy is being the classroom punching bag, and that he will be punished if he fights back or complains. Yes, life can be like that too, but only if you let it. School should be teaching him how to deal with such issues, not forcing him to suck it up.

3 hours ago

Student Records Kids Who Bully Him, Then Gets Threatened With Wiretapping Charges

JaredOfEuropa Re:Rewarding the bullies... (468 comments)

And, what if this kid commits a Columbine-esque revenge scenario?

Appropriately, the page with TFA has an ad encouraging me to "Win an AR-15 from Sebastian Ammo". Google is getting scary...

As for the action taken by the school, one really has to wonder as to what kind of cretins make up the school administration. And what they could possibly have hoped to achieve by filing charges, other than a nasty (and well deserved) publicity backlash? Although for a society run by lawyers, that's perhaps what one would expect. Squeaky wheel gets a beating, and a teenager gets hauled in front of a judge on charges of "disorderly conduct" in a school. Seriously... Can any of the officials involved in this case look in the mirror and tell themselves that they are doing the Right Thing?

4 hours ago

Google Looked Into Space Elevator, Hoverboards, and Teleportation

JaredOfEuropa Re:Well, who better to... (78 comments)

I think you hit the nail right on the head: besides projects they can undertake themselves if a study shows they are more or less feasible, they are looking for longer term investment opportunities. The article didn't mention any of that, but it seems reasonable that Project X is not just about turning ideas into products, but also a factory of patents, and a way to get the jump on competitors when it comes to buying companies that do actual research into promising new tech.

6 hours ago

How 'DevOps' Is Killing the Developer

JaredOfEuropa Re:Nothing new here (189 comments)

I see plenty of this, but it rarely has me worried. You have to take these Excel / Access "applications" for what they are: they typically exist as job aids for single persons or small teams. Is it pretty or sustainable? No: if the author of the application leaves and something needs to be changed or fixed, no support org will touch it with a 10 foot pole. This is where the difference between risk avoidance and risk management comes in. Risk avoidance means shaking your head in horror, and removing Access and VBA from workstations. Risk management means educating people about when it is appropriate to use such a tool, and when it isn't (like time or mission critical situations). Oh, and if the software does break and the original programmer has left, just hire a contractor to fix things. In my experience, they rarely need more than a few days for a fix or a simple change. Sometimes I just do it myself.

Why do we allow this? Because it is extremely cost effective, and it rarely causes trouble.

8 hours ago

Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

JaredOfEuropa Re:We don''t do tax returns in the UK,you insensit (370 comments)

Same in the Netherlands, with the addition that the tax office will receive from your banks and employer complete financial data on your wages, taxes withheld, bank balances, mortgage payments, assets, and debts. These days they send you a tax return with all the relevant data already filled in; all you have to do is add any additional income they don't know about (not applicable to most people), or any additional expenses that are tax deductible (medical bills & such). For most people that means a quick check and signature before returning it digitally.

Many people with their own company, freelancers, and people with a lot of liquid assets will hire an accountant. We have such a byzantine set of rules on deductions, financial aids and exemptions that it pays to know the rules and be creative, and a good accountant can find the loopholes for you. With a top income tax of 52% (which already kicks in at 55k euro or so), 21% VAT and ever rising council taxes, I feel no qualms for dodging the system where I can.


This 1981 BYTE Magazine Cover Explains Why We're So Bad At Tech Predictions

JaredOfEuropa Re:Surely ironic (264 comments)

No single feature on the iPhone was a game changer, it was a combination of many incremental improvements. For example, the use of a capacitive touch screen that could be operated with a finger, and the UI to match. Back then pretty much all smart phones had to be operated with a stylus or at best a sharp finger nail. A small improvement, but huge in terms of usability, especially for short tasks.

There were already many smart phones around at the time, but if you saw someone dicking around on one for a few minutes at the bus stop, chances are it was an iPhone. Apple's small improvements added up to a lot of usability.


Mathematicians Use Mossberg 500 Pump-Action Shotgun To Calculate Pi

JaredOfEuropa Re:Zombie make it news? (303 comments)

Good enough to be granted a patent on it.

2 days ago

Mathematicians Use Mossberg 500 Pump-Action Shotgun To Calculate Pi

JaredOfEuropa Re:Um, no? (303 comments)

Just keep firing, soldier! Accuracy will improve.

And that is of course the reason these guys used this particular method to estimate pi: not "science", but as an excuse to blast away with a shotgun. As if you need an excuse for that...

2 days ago

GM Names Names, Suspends Two Engineers Over Ignition-Switch Safety

JaredOfEuropa Re:Why not? (236 comments)

Not this "software engineers aren't real engineers" crap again. Those real engineers make plenty of mistakes too,sometimes costly ones, sometimes even deadly. And they too hide behind the "shit happens" excuse from time to time, after signing off on a disaster. I recognize that software engineering is not nearly as mature as other fields of endeavor, but you're doing the profession of software design a disservice comparing it to bloodletting and leeches.

4 days ago

GM Names Names, Suspends Two Engineers Over Ignition-Switch Safety

JaredOfEuropa Re:Why not? (236 comments)

It is good to take responsibility if you screw up, and I would like to see more real engineering rigour in software development. However that doesn't mean the guy making the mistake should be the scapegoat. The best of us can make mistakes, but the fact that these mistakes make it into the final product is not only our failing, but a failing of the procedures in place as well. If your process cannot cope with a single human being making a mistake, then it's the team, manager and company failing, not just the solitary engineer. Software engineering processes suck pretty bad in that regard, but "real" engineering practices have their failings too. Thinking of the famous "woodpecker" comparison between architects and software engineers, I'll say the world is damn lucky that real-world construction is way more forgiving when it comes to small errors translating to big issues, even if it's failure modes are a usually a lot mor noisy, dangerous, and costly.

4 days ago

Heartbleed Coder: Bug In OpenSSL Was an Honest Mistake

JaredOfEuropa Re:on purpose or not, couldn't happen if... (444 comments)

Or the language or its standard libraries contain a vulnerability. That nice bounds checking container or gargabe collector? Maybe they're broken.

5 days ago

New French Law Prohibits After-Hours Work Emails

JaredOfEuropa Re:Short term - long term (476 comments)

French companies can have 24x7 coverage, however they cannot force people to work after hours. Those people who elect to work odd hours or overtime are paid for doing so. Sounds just fine to me: it prevents a race to the bottom, and looking at the statistics French workers do just fine in terms of productivity. From personal experience, I've never noticed that the French liberal (commie, sensible, unproductive, fair, take your pick) approach to work/life balance translates to slacking during the hours that they do work. Working with them gives about the same results as with German, Belgian or Dutch firms (cultural differences aside).

about a week ago

New Service Lets You Hitch a Ride With Private Planes For Cost of Tank of Gas

JaredOfEuropa Re:Having a private pilots license (269 comments)

The point is still valid: if something on a car fails, there is a very good chance you'll walk away from it. On an aircraft, not so much.

about a week ago

New Service Lets You Hitch a Ride With Private Planes For Cost of Tank of Gas

JaredOfEuropa No thanks (269 comments)

"and flyers a taste of their personal pilot.". That sounds... wrong. Or maybe the deal is "ass, gas, or gras"?

about a week ago

Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?

JaredOfEuropa Re:i dont understand this (226 comments)

Learning the concepts of coding can be incredibly useful for anyone using computers in the workplace. It's not about people writing full blown programs, but writing Excel macros or doing a little VBA scripting. Similarly, I know a little about carpentry, tiling, plumbing and electrical work, and I found these to be very useful skills to have for small jobs around the house, but I don't do any of that for a living. Learning a little coding doesn't mean you have to make a career out of it.

"dad...you seem really smart...why in the world did you decide to be a programmer and sit behind a computer 10 hours a day instead of doing something cool?"

Sounds like a perception issue, and one that sadly is perpetuated in schools and society at large. Think of the cliche oft-heard lament in movies, parent talking to son: "You could have been a doctor or a lawyer". My brother's kid provided a nice counterexample; when they had a class discussion on interesting family members: "One of my uncles builds robots, one of them writes iPhone apps, and one of them works for Blackberry" (back then, BB still was a cool brand) which according to the class trumped the other kids with family doctors, lawyers, MPs or directors in coolness factor.

But with that said, it is true that with older kids and adults, coding carries very little glamour or prestige (which does have an impact on pay, by the way).

about two weeks ago

3D-Printed UAV Can Go From Atoms to Airborne in 24 Hours

JaredOfEuropa Re:24 hours compared to what? (77 comments)

Injection moulded UAV airframe produced in.... minutes?

How many minutes and $$$ to produce the mold? It's pretty clear that 3d printing is a poor substitute for bulk production processes. It is however a viable option in case you want to quickly produce a single instance of an item (prototyping, or locations where shipping or stocking items is too slow or too expensive). It's also a good option to produce small runs of complex items. One of my clients started using a (industrial-quality) 3d printer to produce highly complex manifolds for pumps. They had trouble producing that design using injection molding, casting or milling, and they are now using the 3d printer for production runs.

about two weeks ago

Nest Halts Sales of Smart Fire Alarm After Discovering Dangerous Flaw

JaredOfEuropa Re:The internet of things...that might get you kil (128 comments)

Lots of advantages in having things online, or at least connected to a home automation controller. If there's a problem (fire, burglary, water leak) the system can take action and / or notify you. And sometimes there are good reasons to add a few features (adding complexity).

With that said, most home automation enthusiasts recognize that these systems are not as reliable as their more simple counterparts. Current best practice for stuff like this is to use standard smoke detectors wired into a conventional alarm panel, then hook up the alarm panel to the home automation controller. I have some smart-ish smoke detectors, they are regular detectors with a wireless (Z-wave, not WiFi) chip bolted onto the connection meant to go to an alarm panel. That means I'll be notified when it goes off, but if the HA system fails for whatever reason, the detector will still beep is there's smoke.

about two weeks ago

Ad Tracking: Is Anything Being Done?

JaredOfEuropa Re:solution (303 comments)

Exactly. I'm not against advertising, but it seems that advertisers are once again engaged in a loudness war. For a good while, online ads were pretty decent: small banners with relevant information. But it's getting worse again; animated (bouncing) ads, auto-playing movies, roll over sound effects, anything to grab your attention. Interstitials and pop-ups are back in a big way. And that's without even getting started on the "goods" being advertised.

And besides the fact hat ad tracking is an invasion of my privacy (and thus far fails to deliver me relevant ads), it can also be detrimental to the performance of the hosting website. As TFA mentions, on some pages, tracking scripts make up as much as 25% of the downloaded data, and it shows. I increasingly see pages load very slowly or even fail to load at all because of an overtaxed ad server somewhere.

about two weeks ago


JaredOfEuropa hasn't submitted any stories.



Packaging, the scourge of the 21st century

JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 5 years ago Packaging, in the broadest sense of the word, is starting to really piss me off.

Let's start with physical packaging. Whatever happened to the days when a fish would be packaged in yesterday's paper, small parts (screws and bolts) came in a little cardboard box or paper bag, and some stuff wouldn't be packaged at all? These days, some packaging (most notably the so called blister packaging) can be deathly dangerous to open. I'd like to propose one single, simple rule for packaging: one should be able to open it by hand. I'll make two exceptions: stuff that is notoriously easy to steal can go into blister packs, and it's acceptable to require a knife, key or any old sharp implement to cut packing tape.

Then there's labelling and pricing. Another simple rule: either provide a label or price tag that comes off clean, or don't label at all. When I buy a present for someone, a book, a DVD, a bit of wood that I intend to finish properly, a glass ornament, whatever, I would very much like the object in question to look nice. So why is it that shops insist on using labels that will tear when removed, and will leave a nasty gooey residy that won't come off no matter what? I can kind of understand putting such labels on packaging or on paperbacks... but not on expensive gifts.

And finally, there's the matter of "packaging" software. Some more rules:
- I DO NOT WANT software that I run only "on demand" to install some resident "helper" software to check for updates or whatever. You can check for updates when I start your program. Are you listening, Apple?
- I DO NOT WANT to answer the same questions over and over again whenever I install an update of your software. An update should be just that: replace the software that is already there with no questions asked; do not treat it as a more or less fresh reinstall. Are you listening, Zone Labs / Checkpoint?

Major issues to be sure... Come to think of it, if this is what I worry about, I suppose I have a pretty good life.


Cat pictures!

JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 10 years ago *sigh* No words of wisdom or idle banter to write in the journal today. Nevertheless, the question on my last journal entry has been answered, so time to push it off the top.

Today, I offer the bored reader who aimlessly wandered into here: cat pictures of Dolly and Mickey

These two little furballs are my cats. Enjoy!


Hmm, stupidity

JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 10 years ago "Against stupidity the very gods themselves contend in vain". If only I could remember who uttered this particular wisdom.


Suspicious white dot in Slashdot

JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 10 years ago So... what is this funny little white dot that appears on the slashdot pages just under the banner ad? *pokes the dot* I don't trust you.


JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 10 years ago As someone pointed out, it should be

find ~your -name '*base*' | xargs chown us

instead of

chown -R us ~your/*base*
as my sig currently reads. I'll change it later, I suppose...


Redundant posts...

JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 10 years ago From now on, these will automatically be metamoderated 'unfair'. Don't waste your moderator points on insightful posts that happen to be dupes. Mod some other insightfull stuff up, or mod the fluff down. That is all


Most hated words and terms

JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 10 years ago Boredom sets in once again, work is slow today. Anyways... There's a few annoying words that have wriggled their way into everyday idiom, at least in some circles. My personal top 3 of most hated ones.

3) Cracker. The rest of the world calls such a person a hacker, and will continue to use this word, no matter how much you try and drill the hacker/cracker distinction into them. Give it up already.

2) Wardriving. A term that fails in so many ways to convey what it actually means, and makes most people think of something having to do with Osama bin Laden.

1) Blog. An odd way to abbreviate the word 'weblog', and one that sounds like sicking up at that. Blog. Blogging. Yeck. Someone please come up with a better and nicer-sounding word.


Slashdot oddities...

JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 11 years ago Who the hell is Saskboy (id 600063) and what is he doing on my "preferences" page?

Also... one begins to wonder where my moderator points are after over a year of being at this place. What gives? (and yes, I did check the "want to moderate" box).

Oh well, time for another bottle of wine

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