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The Pirate Bay Is Back Online, Properly

Marginal Coward Re:SubjectsInCommentsAreStupid (69 comments)

How do we know it's legit?

Hey, it's The Pirate Bay - what's not to be legit?

3 hours ago
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Most Americans Support Government Action On Climate Change

Marginal Coward Re:Human-induced climate change is a hoax (401 comments)

Good points. May I add one?

g) That anything that happens in c) is likely to be irreversible. (Just think how hard it will be to re-freeze the polar ice that currently reflects significant energy from the sun. Has anybody got any idea how to do that?)

It fascinates me that anyone would think that releasing carbon which was sequestered over the course of millions of years back into the atmosphere over the span of just a few hundred would have no effect at all on the climate - especially when said carbon (as CO2) has a known, measurable warming effect.

yesterday
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Anonymous No More: Your Coding Style Can Give You Away

Marginal Coward Re:No Kidding (218 comments)

I once worked on a project that had a handful of developers, where each developer was in charge of one code for one of the software subsystems of the project. We didn't have much of a coding standard there - only about one page - but we ended up with a consensus coding style in the project that everybody could live with. Even so, you could always tell who wrote what by the personality shown around the edges of the coding style of a given module, function, or even over just a few lines.

3 days ago
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Anonymous No More: Your Coding Style Can Give You Away

Marginal Coward Re:Can they do it with corporate code? (218 comments)

It seems like using the applicable features of the corporate version control system would be a lot easier - and possibly even better than 95% accurate.

3 days ago
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Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

Marginal Coward Re:poor cops have it so hard (423 comments)

I just realized that the common practice among current dictatorships regarding the Internet seems to be limiting access more than monitoring. We hear about this recently in North Korea and Cuba. It seems that they prefer that people not be able to communicate electronically at all rather than to allow them to communicate but monitor (and presumably go after) people who communicated the wrong thing. I can see the logic of that: it's much cheaper to limit access than it is to monitor what's communicated.

That's in stark contrast to the "Big Brother"-style monitoring that folks have become afraid of post-Snowden. Still, if a country already has a widely available system of electronic communication that The People aren't going to give up, I guess monitoring is the only thing that can be done by the would-be Big Brothers of the world.

3 days ago
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Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

Marginal Coward Re:Fifth amendment zone of lawlessness (423 comments)

The situation is clear. We must take care to ban this subversive document [wikipedia.org] now. For the children! For the Feds! For great justice!

I hear that Seth Rogen's already working up story ideas for that.

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?

Marginal Coward Re:A great developer knows how shitty he is at cod (210 comments)

I guess I've never known a great - or even good - programmer who didn't find it fun. (Imagine, for example, a concert pianist who didn't find playing the piano to be fun. Unlikely, at best.)

Of course, not ever aspect of a programmer's job is fun, so that's where professionalism comes in. Like many programmers, I don't always enjoy the documentation aspects of it, but that's part of what my employer is paying me for.

(BTW, the title of this thread makes me think fishermen are likely to be better at cod than great developers.)

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?

Marginal Coward Re:Good Taste (210 comments)

I agree wholeheartedly. But is good taste born or made? A few years ago, I mentored a new grad who had very good taste in coding from the beginning. It took me a lot longer to develop that. Certainly, experience helps. But I've also met highly experienced people who had poor taste in coding. Like so many things, I guess no amount of experience will make up for a complete lack of talent.

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?

Marginal Coward Re:A great developer knows how shitty he is at cod (210 comments)

Yep, I've never met a really good programmer who didn't use every tool he could exploit to find his bugs.

Good point. In that vein, the best programmer I ever worked with once said he had an "anti-fetish" for bugs. I think that at least partly explained the extremely high quality of his work.

For most of us, though, finding and fixing bugs is a chore that we'd rather avoid because writing code (and therefore more bugs) is more fun. I try to emulate the anti-fetish mentality of my friend, but that remains something that I sometimes have to discipline myself to do rather than something that comes naturally.

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?

Marginal Coward A related question (250 comments)

Here's a related question I've been wondering about. Assuming that cloud storage is used as part of a solution to archive personal data, what are some easy tools that can do strong encryption on file sets such as a directory tree? 7-zip looks like it may be a good choice, but is there something better for that?

It would also be nice if such a tool automated the upload/download process to/from the cloud, was open source, and was easily to compile on a variety of systems (yes, including Windows) in order to reduce the possibility of any back doors.

4 days ago
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Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister

Marginal Coward Out of the frying pan, into the fire (327 comments)

Assuming Alexis Tsipras is unsatisfied with his old job, maybe he's leaving just to blow off steam. But I don't know how much good that will do him: the job of Finance Minister of Greece is bound to be a pressure cooker. I just hope the problems there don't boil over.

4 days ago
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Scientists Determine New Way To Untangle Proteins By Unboiling an Egg

Marginal Coward Re:Wow .... (155 comments)

Un-boiling an egg, the mind boggles.

Yes, but if these researchers think they're so darn smart, let's see 'em put toothpaste back into the tube...

5 days ago
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Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

Marginal Coward Re:Who knew? (200 comments)

I guess we just disagree about what the definition of object-oriented programming is, but I think of it simply as a set of operations that you are associated with a particular user-defined data type. In that sense, I've done plenty of object-oriented programming in C by just passing a pointer to a structure into a function that was intended to operate on that "object". Of course, you can do deriviation, inheritance, and virtual methods using the mechanisms C provides. The system of classes that C++ provides makes that easier, but it's perfectly possible to do object-oriented programming in C - as evidenced by the fact that the earliest C++ compiler just translated C++ into C.

In contrast, object-oriented programming wouldn't be possible in C if it lacked not only "classes" but also structures and function pointers.

It's hard for me to understand why you would think that "no OO is involved in STL", but I guess we'll just have to disagree on that point.

about a week ago
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Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

Marginal Coward Re:Who knew? (200 comments)

I guess I was fooled by the fact that all of the STL things I've ever used are classes. In fact, offhand, I can't even figure out how you'd do generic programming without some manifestation of objects to allow you to provide overloaded operators.

To be fair, though, the only two forms of generic programming I know a little about are the template approach in C++ and the duck-typing approach in Python. Both of those rely heavily on classes. Maybe there's something else that doesn't. I guess in C++, for example, you could leave objects out of generic programming by limiting yourself to implementing whatever algorithms you could implement using just the built-in types. Seems like more of an exercise than something you'd really do.

Going back to the STL, it seems like most of the things in the STL rely on objects - either to implement the construct (e.g. strings) or for the user to use them (e.g. vectors). So, I guess I still think the STL guy still deserves some sort of object-oriented prize.

Hopefully, though, the object-oriented prize folks will discover Guido first. I don't know how important he really was in the development of object-oriented programming (since Python draws ideas heavily from many other languages), but Guido just generally deserves a prize.

about a week ago
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Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

Marginal Coward Who knew? (200 comments)

Who knew that there was an annual award for such a specialized field? It's surprising that Stroustrup hasn't gotten this award already. Based on the Wikipedia entry about this prize, it looks like in 2013 and 2014 they couldn't think of anyone else who created a popular object-oriented language. Maybe somebody should tell 'em about Guido Van Rossum and James Gosling. And what about the STL guy who was just interviewed here? Not to mention the Objective-C guy, whoever he is. (I'm sure I've left many other deserving candidates out - sorry about that.)

about a week ago
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Linus Fixes Kernel Regression Breaking Witcher 2

Marginal Coward Re:Linux (126 comments)

I was thinking the same thing: why isn't Linus spewing his usual foul, withering, tirade at the guy who just broke something? Heck, maybe he even deserves a second meta-tirade for not providing the first one.

I recently saw a series of video interviews on YouTube that he gave. In light of the email tirades I've seen from him, it seemed remarkable that he spoke so quietly and thoughtfully in that context. And not a single curse word was uttered. Kindda makes you wonder whether his wife and kids get Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hide. Hopefully, it's the former (the mild one.)

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Anti-Virus Software In 2015? Free Or Paid?

Marginal Coward Re:ClamWin (467 comments)

Clamwin is not an active scanner and relies on it manually being ran and then removing any unwanted stuff manually.

I actually consider that a major selling point (along with being free.) Since ClamWin is non-intrusive, it happily coexists with other AV products, though some of them complain about it when your install them. So, I use ClamWin in conjunction with whatever commercial anti-virus product I happen to be running at the moment as a secondary check when I download things. It can also be used to do a second independent quick system scan.

I don't know if adding on ClamWin actually makes me any safer, but at least I feel safer. And isn't that mostly what AV products are all about?

about a week ago
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U.S. Gas Stations Vulnerable To Internet Attacks

Marginal Coward Re:Once more (100 comments)

I don't think it's to get rid of people, but taking away a responsibility from unreliable people.

You're startin' to scare me. Have you been hanging around Nomad again?

about a week ago
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Silk Road Journal Found On Ulbricht's Laptop: "Everyone Knows Too Much"

Marginal Coward Re:Journal? (180 comments)

Isn't it the first thing they teach you in Criminal 101: Don't keep a journal!

It just shows what happens when you take drugs: you end up losing interest in your education and dropping out, just before you get to the part of your Criminal 101 class that you really needed. Here's the transcript:

Dear Diary,

Criminal 101 class was really, really, boring today. I don't know how much longer I can take it. We learned about a bunch of junk about how not to leave fingerprints and how to wipe a hard drive. Duh - everybody knows that. When are we gonna learn something really useful?... I think I'll just drop out.

your friend,

Ross

about two weeks ago
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Time For Microsoft To Open Source Internet Explorer?

Marginal Coward Re:Why just IE? (165 comments)

Why not make the same arguments for Office? Or for Windows?

Unlike those two, they give IE away as part of "the Microsoft/Windows system". So, on the face of it, IE is an expense but doesn't directly produce revenue. However, it does add some genuine value to Windows in terms of giving users a useful tool for immediately downloading a better browser.

about two weeks ago

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