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Mozilla CEO Firestorm Likely Violated California Law

KagatoLNX Re:Bu the wasn't fired (1116 comments)

So much this.

The statement was very carefully worded "'It's clear that Brendan cannot lead Mozilla in this setting." The thing is, CEOs can have their career end in a heartbeat. Bad quarter? Stupid mistake? Bam! No more jobs. They are trusted to execute; no more, no less. This compromised that. He very likely wanted to leave, not because he was coerced by any action or inaction of the company--just because staying would effectively end his career (i.e. he could win the battle but lose the war, as it were).

There are two issues here--staying at Mozilla and getting hired somewhere else. The latter would have only gotten worse the longer he stayed. The former, well, his job just got infinitely harder no matter how you slice it. The sooner he got out the spotlight, the better off he is (and Mozilla is).

Is it fair to him? No. However, fair is not in the CEOs vocabulary. It's very likely this was his decision so he could go on to salvage what he could of the rest of his life.

about 4 months ago

In-Flight Wi-Fi Provider Going Above and Beyond To Help Feds Spy

KagatoLNX CAPTCHA (78 comments)

Interestingly, the article says that, at the request of law enforcement, they added CAPTCHA support. The article then goes on to say that this must be a deception because they used a plural, it "doesn't make sense", etc.

Actually, it makes a lot of sense. How is every IED detonated these days? Cell phone. Buy a cheap, anonymous phone, wire it up, and call it to detonate it. Wifi that wasn't resistant to automated signup would make this trivial. They could just sign up with an anonymous phone and pre-paid Visa. Then, when it's in the air, *BOOM*

It also makes a lot of sense that they don't want to talk about it. Don't want to give people ideas.

about 4 months ago

What Are the Genuinely Useful Ideas In Programming?

KagatoLNX Actors and State (598 comments)

Most programming confusion I've had to combat in the workplace comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of the two most basic facts of your program:

1. Where is your program's state stored? (NOTE: 90% of the time it's "the call stack" and 90% of the time that's the wrong place to put it.)
2. Where in your code is execution happening?

Threaded program generating weirdness? It's probably because you can't answer those two questions. Distributed program a mess to debug? I bet your state is smeared all over the place. Is your code a pain to port to an evented architecture? Bet you modeled your state badly. Can't map some failure to a certain, detectable set of circumstances? I guarantee your answer starts there.

For me, the answer to understanding these problems was found in functional programming. The no-side-effects stuff causes you to make all of your state concrete and also deeply understand what the call-stack does for you (or, more often than not, *to* you). The cruel reality, though, is that applying this hard-won knowledge *doesn't* seem lie in functional programming (or, at least, not LISP, Schema, Haskell, and crew).

If you're an academic, start with Hoare's Communicating Sequential Processes (, then learn Erlang (or Go, with a heavy emphasis on GoRoutines). If you're less Ivory Tower, try to grok this blog entry (, then learn Erlang (or Go, with a heavy emphasis on GoRoutines).

about 10 months ago

Vivos Founder Builds an Underground City Where You Can Ride Out the Apocalypse

KagatoLNX Welcome to the Vault (150 comments)

This is so Fallout that it hurts.

about a year and a half ago

Accelerator Driven Treatment of Nuclear Waste

KagatoLNX Re:Cue the hippies (226 comments)

I'm quite the proponent of researching molten salt nuclear. It's got some nice properties in terms of failure modes, is inherently anti-proliferation (so I hear), and has some nice options in the way of the thorium fuel cycle (the Chinese seem to have a real interest in this one, unsurprisingly).

Interestingly, molten salt SOLAR is actually quite nice for addressing the chief problem with solar (notably, the whole "sun goes down thing"). See here:

about 2 years ago

New Mac Trojan Installs Silently, No Password Required

KagatoLNX Re:Macs don't get viruses. (300 comments)

Right. You also get logging of the commands executed which can be nice, or can itself be a security problem.

However, unless you carefully restrict the commands, you can do what I do: "sudo bash" (or, if you prefer, "sudo -i")

about 2 years ago

Apple Exits "Green Hardware" Certification Program

KagatoLNX Re:Apple doesn't give a crap about business anyway (405 comments)

A lot of companies aren't interested in full disk encryption and the like without key escrow. Basically, they don't want an employee to be able to lock them out without clearly displaying malicious intent (i.e. no "I forgot the password" defense).

more than 2 years ago

Apple Exits "Green Hardware" Certification Program

KagatoLNX Re:No Surprise There (405 comments)

This is entirely true. Apple is content to let the Nokia's of the world go out of business serving a market segment that pays less.

Is this socially irresponsible? Possibly. However, survival trumps social responsibility (in business as much as life). Apple almost died once, its success is effectively built on that core lesson.

more than 2 years ago

Apple Exits "Green Hardware" Certification Program

KagatoLNX Re:No Surprise There (405 comments)

Arguments about proprietary screws being a sign of corporate malcontent are as old as time. I, for one, don't see what's wrong about establishing a basic line of defense against casual intrusion. Having sat at the table with the lawyers and product guys, I recognize that no ulterior motive is necessary once the lawyers realize that an idiot with a screwdriver can dump a few ounces of lithium acid in his lap. They might actually request proprietary screws just to plausibly say that they tried to keep them out.

Said another way, this is like an ISP port-blocking the default telnet port. It doesn't stop people from hacking, but it does stop the dumbest and it makes it look like you tried.

TL;DR Perverse incentives are perverse.

more than 2 years ago

Apple Exits "Green Hardware" Certification Program

KagatoLNX Re:No Surprise There (405 comments)

Density. Most Apple machines are difficult to repair for the same reasons that Japanese cars are hard to repair. Once you hit a certain density, you just have to give up on making it easy to disassemble. To be fair to Apple, they just decided to go full out. If it's going to be hard to repair at the desired component density, embrace that fact and build it like it's not going to be repaired.

Now, recycling is another matter, but in terms of repairability, if you want a reparable Mac, get the desktops. They're perfectly easy to work on. If you want a mobile device, where weight, size, and battery-life are king--expect it to be hard to repair.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Handing Over Personal Work Without Compensation?

KagatoLNX Who Owns What (848 comments)

Others have addressed many reasons on which road should take. I'd like to chime in on some important factors on which road you can take. Specifically:

        If you have written anything already, your boss may already own it.

This shocks people sometimes, but it's entirely true. If you wrote it on work time, with work equipment, or even over work bandwidth; (in the USA) it legally belongs to them under federal copyright law. As soon as you're being paid to do it, they have a claim. Interestingly, this is why you always here about companies refusing to pay for something to negotiate a lower price, then being all shocked that the author sold it to someone else (or just gave it away). This sword cuts both ways. As soon as someone can squint sideways and see some way you were compensated to produce this software, then that benefactor has a claim.

That said, even if you've done it clean-room, on your own time, and entirely with your own resources; can you afford to defend it? Owning it doesn't mean much if they can just ignore you. Have a lawyer friend that will help you keep your ownership clear and is willing to send scary lawyer letters. This also means you must be willing to lose your job. It further means that your boss must have enough assets that, should they fire you, it's worth suing them.

Most importantly, try to do a better job selling it. Very few bosses will turn down a good opportunity. Even bad ones, when convinced of the savings, will go for it. Don't assume it's their job to know this stuff. It's their job to hire and manage people who know this stuff--that's a two-way street. If you want an opportunity to write some serious software, understand that you need to give them an opportunity to identify talent that can do so. Until you've both helped each other take that step (and both benefited from it), there's no way anyone can benefit. They're taking a risk--so sell them on it.

You'll find that you can do amazing things when your boss trusts in your judgement and will give you freedom. A lot of times the difference between a job and a career is finding management that you can interface with. Being a successful programmer or architect is entirely a people skill--establish trust, find a good boss, and you can make good money writing code without the BS. Alas, that might mean leaving your current job.

Finally (in case I haven't made this obvious yet), don't get so attached to your job. Really. If you're this concerned about how "your" job is going to take advantage of (or fail to take advantage of) your skills, I humbly suggest that you should mistrust your attachment to it. Working is like dating in a disturbing number of ways. It doesn't matter how "great" the place is, and it doesn't matter how much they "deserve" your "help". Find a partner that will appreciate you, or you're just going to be in a dead-end relationship and you won't realize it until you're way out of your prime. There are other fish in the sea (even in this market), and you should keep getting what you need from this one until you can trade up. If you feel dirty doing it, that's great--just don't settle for less than you should.

more than 2 years ago

Taking the Fun Out of StarCraft II

KagatoLNX My Kind Of Game... (293 comments)

This is why I really like Minecraft. Fun stuff can slide in without concerns about it interfering with it being a "sport".

more than 3 years ago

Is Sugar Toxic?

KagatoLNX Re:very bad presentation (1017 comments)

Every one? Even the abbreviated list is pretty long.

Are you making a Hasty Generalization? Then have you committed the Fallacist's Fallacy. For added fun, explain how your use of a fallacy doesn't mean you're wrong--which kind of defeats your point.

Proofs must be constructive. Without a counter-example, this is just doubt. Proof (and consequently counter-proof) generates certainty. This is the mechanic of science.

more than 3 years ago

Chameleon-Like Behavior of Neutrino Confirmed

KagatoLNX Re:What if... (191 comments)

Why couldn't the particle stay the same, but the whole universe oscillates around it?

I actually don't mean to be ironic here. Perhaps they're mathematically the same. IANAPP (I am not a particle physicist). Still, just because something appears to change doesn't mean that it wasn't the observer that changed, right?

more than 4 years ago

Researcher Releases Hardened OS "Qubes"; Xen Hits 4.0

KagatoLNX Re:With KVM in the kernel (129 comments)

Paravirtualization makes this the same thing with Xen. The difference is that Xen is the OS and Linux is the app.

You may not like Xen as an OS, but it does have some very nice qualities that are hard to deliver on Linux alone.

more than 4 years ago

The Duct Tape Programmer

KagatoLNX Re:So, does the Duct Tape Programmer... (551 comments)

Actually, we support JRuby, classic Ruby (a.k.a. MRI), and we're working awfully hard to get Rubinius out the door, too.

more than 4 years ago

Student Sues University Because She's Unemployable

KagatoLNX Re:Depressing, but not uncommon (1251 comments)

Interestingly, this plays into the previous argument that sucking up the otherwise unemployed into menial, subsidized jobs is moderately preferable to just having them on welfare or committing crimes.

In reality, it's all very complex these days because implementing a balanced economic-social-contract requires inordinately enlightened voters.

about 5 years ago

Student Sues University Because She's Unemployable

KagatoLNX Re:And Now, The Vocational Gudance Counselor Sketc (1251 comments)

Have you considered that "having a well-rounded liberal arts education" is critical to employability? It is. If you can cogently discuss the Byzantine Empire, perhaps do Calculus, deliberate the nature of political systems, and can craft a decent metaphor, it says something about your adaptability. That's what employers want, and it's why they considered a real education to be a marker for career-material. While the "customer" sees university as a gateway to employment, they apparently fail to realize why it ever was a gateway.

This fact is lost on people like Ms. Thompson. It is apparently lost on you as well. I'm sorry that you feel that employers are demanding that you have evidenced an ability to adapt functionally to a wide array of subjects. I'm sorry that you don't like that they are more concerned with their studying their subjects than justifying why you want to pay to take a class. Bottom line, you want to pay because your employer wants you to learn something there. If you don't like that, don't get a job. If you want to understand why, ask the employers.

This reminds me of the demotivational poster for Consultants. It states "If you're not part of the solution, there's good money to be made prolonging the problem." The watering down of education is precisely a matter of extracting value from the reputation of the institution. It's literally about capitalizing on the fact that you don't understand why universities are valuable, and it similarly capitalizes on the fact that you don't want to. Yeah consumer! Go ahead, shoot yourself in the foot. It's what Ms. Thompson did.

When universities become trade schools, it's no wonder that you have less chance of getting a job with that degree. Laud the productizing of education as being "what the customer wants". This article clearly shows that this particular segment is only good for taking their money and hopefully redirecting it into something useful. Something that actually generates some educated citizens. Something reinforces the benefits that they provide to our economy. Something that preserves and advances the knowledge of mankind. You know, a *university*.

I just hope that the people in charge of universities don't forget that's what they're doing.

about 5 years ago

Null Character Hack Allows SSL Spoofing

KagatoLNX Re: (280 comments)

Note that certs can and are used for things other than SSL on DNS names. In fact, the field used for the domain name is "Common Name". The CN field is used for a dozen things depending on what the cert is used for.

We should probably blame Netscape and everyone else who pushed using X.509 unchanged instead of trivially adding a field that required a valid DNS name.

This is a mismatch between the X.509 standard and how browsers use it. Most interesting is that the browsers have the information to correctly parse it, whereas the CAs don't have the information to do so, unless they are only issuing certs for SSL. As someone who would like to see widely usable PKI outside of the web-browser, I'd really rather fix the browsers than break the certs.

about 5 years ago


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