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In Japan, a Billboard That Watches You

Lucas.Langa Slow news day (133 comments)

The same technology is used even in Poland, which is still seen by the western world as a "developing country". By the way, see this.

more than 5 years ago
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Postfix's Creator Outlines Spam Solution

Lucas.Langa Obligatory checklist (253 comments)

Your post advocates a

(x) technical
( ) legislative
( ) market-based
( ) vigilante

approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
(x) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
( ) Users of email will not put up with it
(x) Microsoft will not put up with it
( ) The police will not put up with it, anywhere other than Russia
( ) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
(x) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
( ) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
( ) Asshats
( ) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
(x) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
( ) Extreme profitability of spam
( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
( ) Technically illiterate politicians
( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
( ) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

( ) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
(x) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) Sending email should be free
( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
( ) I don't want the government reading my email

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(x) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, asshole! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!

more than 5 years ago
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Microsoft's "Mojave Experiment" Teaser Site Goes Live

Lucas.Langa 10 minutes? (464 comments)

So... it just finished booting up?

more than 5 years ago
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Best and Worst Coding Standards?

Lucas.Langa [Java] Use Checkstyle (956 comments)

If you are using your computer right, it does not only enable you to do things, it does the boring things for you, automatically.

Checkstyle is one of the tools in a company toolkit that is often overlooked but in fact VERY handy. It enables you to define a ruleset for your source code, finding stuff which is incompatible with the coding practice in your company/team/project/whatever. Moreover, you can stick it into Eclipse using the free Eclipse-CS plugin, so it will automagically mark the places which need to be change. Last but not least, you can put Checkstyle as an Ant task in your building environment (and in your continous integration toolkit) so commited code that does not conform certain standards does not build.

As for the rules themselves, we've found these to be the most successful:

  • limit the length of the method to be visible on one 1280x1024 screen; if it's longer it's probably handy to extract smaller methods from it - which will be far more easy to read
  • similarly: set a file length limit (e.g. 1000 lines should be enough for everybody)
  • an upper limit on the allowed number of method parameters seems to be a good idea as well
  • ensure that new code is commented by marking structures which could be javadoced but aren't
  • any naming and formatting convention is better than no convention; Checkstyle can use regular expressions to validate type, variable and other names. It can also check for whitespace constraints, new lines, etc.
  • avoid star, redundant and unused imports
  • enforce or forbid the usage of the tabulator character to have all code clean no matter where you open it
  • warn on redundant modifiers
  • enforce the usage of braces everywhere (e.g. disallow if (something) action; ): no misformatting will hide a trivial but dangerous bug
  • a major one: Checkstyle can warn if it discovers a typical coding problem (of course this has some false positives but better to be on the safe side): double checked locking, lack of hashcode when overriding equals, switch fallthroughs, illegal catches and throws, lack of super.clone() or super.finalize(), etc.
  • you can also constraint the number of returns from methods (we found it to be very useful to set this to 1, using a result variable everywhere else - it's far easier to get hold of the code flow then)
  • we also constraint the if depth and boolean expression complexity to manage the cyclomatic complexity - also for easier reading
  • it's useful to make Eclipse clean up your code on every save: to add "final" where it can, to fix imports, format the code to the specified form, etc.

Of course, we let developers to add suppresions for the 1% of false positives. In fact, there are very few suppresion rules set.

more than 5 years ago

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