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The last time I used a dial-up modem was...

McSnarf Re:Missing Option. (410 comments)

Heh heh... At 52, this is similar to the experiences of my youth. At that time, when 300 baud couplers and HUGE (as in box the size of something you could keep canadian snow boots in) 2400 baud modems, there weren't even LAWS agains that kind of stuff in Germany. And let me guess - you used DATEX-P, an X.25 network, using a stolen NUI.

Oh well. BS2000. For those who do not know what it was: Take some IBM OS meant for a /360 (ancient even at that time), remove all attempts at flexibilitiy. Localize it into German, making sure not to even use one word of English and create a vile command processor. The world's only terminals with an Enter key labelled "DÜM/DÜZ".

At that time, you'd find unprotected SINTRAN-III machines by Norsk Data at CERN...

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Most Underappreciated Sci-Fi Writer?

McSnarf Spider Robinson (1130 comments)

Spider should absolutely be on the list!
With the third Lady Sally book still unsold and currently busy writing sequels to his "inherited" Heinlein book, there's hopefully more to come. Utterly different SF, but worth reading.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Most Underappreciated Sci-Fi Writer?

McSnarf Re:Eric Frank Russell (1130 comments)


"Major Snorkum will bend the cake!"

more than 2 years ago

Wikileaks Releases Video of Journalist Killings

McSnarf Re:Can someone explain what they did wrong? (1671 comments)

Another former soldier here. From a country which learned that war means your country is in ruins afterwards - and you will probably have lost someone you love. War is more than just sending heroes out to foreign countries to kill the "bad guys".

Of course, I would expect everybody up to NCO level to be against the conventions, as it makes their life more difficult. Working to international conventions requires judgement and thinking. But of course, life would be much easier if you could fire at civilians at will, use land mines, chemical weapons, napalm and many other toys.

I've seen the video. In addition, I read the official report, which is ALSO available online.
Look for

Report of Investigation UP AR 15-6
MAJ , Investigating Officer

The official report shows the following in Exhibit O:
AK found on the ground.
RPG-7 photo redacted, nothing to be seen.

In Exhibit R, we see photos which appear to be taken by the journalist before being shot at. You can recognize in detail a US HMMWV in telephoto range.

So, yes, there was at least an AK rifle and the helicopter crew might have at least good reason to see that a RPG attack was imminent. Exhibit C mentions "Probable Telephoto lens", but is this obvious to trigger-happy kids in a gunship? I doubt it. Plus they don't want to be responsible for the results of not taking action.

(Read paragraph 6 on page 12 of 43.)

The helicopter crew reports and requests permission to fire.

So far, this is more or less an unavoidable chain of events. Most likely a mistake, but given the circumstances, understandable.


Have we learned to shoot at wounded combatants? At people trying to help the wounded? Which are obviously not returning fire?

There's the war crime.

more than 4 years ago

Is Plagiarism In Literature Just Sampling?

McSnarf Re:Did She Create Something New? (449 comments)

Not the question here. The (assumed) literary value of a copy/paste novel wouldn't be reduced in any way by some kind of attribution. In fact, it would even be improved.

So why admit to major plagiarism only after being caught?

September 11 was an impressive move in asymmetric warfare. We are still suffering from the attack - just try to board a plane. Was it something novel? Yes. Did it help the attacker's cause? Yes. Did they play by (what we consider to be) the rules? No.

Society has rules. For warfare and for literature.

more than 4 years ago

Is Plagiarism In Literature Just Sampling?

McSnarf Re:Meh (449 comments)

*sigh* It is one thing to quote a well-known work. It is another one to have a well-known father in literarture and creating a copy/paste novel, stealing from lesser-known bloggers and bands. This is not about taking inspiration from other authors. Also not about quoting, either literally (as seen in science) or as an easy-to-get reference, such as an in-joke.
This is not Pratchett's Sam Vimes using a swamp dragon as a weapon, in a hilarious Dirty Harry quote. Also not Blade Runner quoting Metropolis. This is "Oh cool. I'll copy and paste this and make it my own because noone will notice."

Hegemann cannot even remember some major passages of her OWN book, as demonstrated in a recent talk show. No wonder - copy and paste will not leave as strong an impression in someones memory as doing it yourself.

Seriously. There are a lot of web sites comparing text from both sources. And yes, it IS a ripoff.

more than 4 years ago

Is Plagiarism In Literature Just Sampling?

McSnarf Re:Did She Create Something New? (449 comments)

We'll use Google translate to translate one of the samples here:

Axolotl Roadkill, page 23:

"I have a fever, problems with coordinationn, [one part per 1000] in the overheated blood ..."

Strobe, page 106:

"I have a degree fever, and barely [one part per 1000] alcohol in the overheated blood."

By the way - she copied from more than one source.

more than 4 years ago

Is Plagiarism In Literature Just Sampling?

McSnarf Re:The most interesting sentence in the article (449 comments)

Damn. Mod my post down. I shouldn't have done such a name calling to a teen girl.

Make this "Stupid, ignorant, thieving teen girl" and mod him up.

more than 4 years ago

BBC Wants DRM On HD Broadcasts

McSnarf Re:You're obliged to pay for it (267 comments)

Be proud :)

The best part of business trips to the UK is watching BBC. Superb, compared to the stuff in most other countries.

about 5 years ago

Wikipedia To Require Editing Approval

McSnarf Re:Well... (453 comments)

Nope... This feature is more than just time-based, at least in German Wikipedia.

Mind checking facts before bullshitting? :)

about 5 years ago

Wikipedia To Require Editing Approval

McSnarf Re:Well... (453 comments)

Not to mention that this group pf people will elect each other.

Bingo. You defined Germany's Adminipedia perfectly.

One example: Article reverted with dubious cause. Person who did the original change asked for a reason for the revert. Answer? "Because I can."

Second one: Article about an aspect of physics. Person with degree in physics corrects article, quoting publication in peer-reviewed, accepted magazine. Reverted due to "no reference given".

Unlike Usenet, Wikipedia in some areas IS run by a cabal.

about 5 years ago

Arizona Judge Tells Sheriff "Reveal Password Or Face Contempt"

McSnarf Re:On behalf of arizona... (624 comments)

If that made any sense, you wouldn't be allowed to buy nails in the first place. Prohibiting certain breeds of dogs keeps unarmed citizens safe - remember that, in the "good old times", cyclists in the countryside would carry revolvers to protect them from dogs...

more than 5 years ago

Why Should I Trust My Network Administrator?

McSnarf Do not trust ANYbody... (730 comments)

When I was still doing systems and network management, administrators had full, unlimited access. Yes, this means what you think it does. External or internal administrators WILL read all your data, the crooks will sell it to the highest bidder. It is simple to bribe one local administrator, which is all you need.

Expect this to happen. Outsourcing is not the issue. Misplaced trust is.

Your data is yours to protect. If it is important enough, make sure it is encrypted.
I'd get professional advice on that - it is easy to do wrong. (Would you expect your copier to be a security risk?)

more than 5 years ago

Leaving the GPL Behind

McSnarf Re:percentage of GPLd projects is irrelevant (543 comments)

Many business types can't get their brain around the concept of cooperation.

...while many hobbyists don't understand business. A lot of the discussion above reminded me of tree-hugging eco zealots. Living in their small, limited world, believing in what they do, even if they studied liberal arts (and try to turn "life sciences" into liberal arts).

Let me give you an example: A great platform for working with microcontrollers is the Arduino. Google it, if necessary. It is open, you expect open source software with any shields (hardware addons) you can buy and developing applications interacting with the real world is a lot of fun. People built model plane USVs with GPS control and 3D printers with Arduino. Even some non-free spinoffs exist, but noone is really upset about them.

Great fun, useful, brilliant environment built on free soft- and hardware.

Now let's have a look at Mr. Liu. He runs a very small company (jyetech) that produces a very, very cheap, very simple oscilloscope. I own one - and for the things I do with it, it is more than adequate.

You could download the documentation and schematics from his website and build yourself that scope with a little thinking. (To find that it is actually cheaper to buy a kit or a completed device.)

But what about the software? Should be free, shoudn't it?

Someone actually wrote his own software for the scope from scratch. Mr. Liu didn't mind - but HIS software is HIS property. In a forum post somewhere, he explains the reasoning, which I cannot literally quote, but it goes like this:
"In China, a lot of stuff is copied. And bigger companies can build the scope cheaper and sell it more easily. I would be out of business. The competitors can build the hardware, but cannot write the software, and so far, my logo in the boot loader has kept the scope from being stolen."

It sounds a little like security by obscurity - but Mr. Liu seems to know his local competition. Now who would want to force feed the GPL to Mr. Liu because "all software must be free"?

more than 5 years ago

Retired Mainframe Pros Lured Back Into Workforce

McSnarf Re:Cobol vs. Data Entry (223 comments)

COBOL has COMPUTE (which will give you +, -, * and /.)


more than 5 years ago

Wikipedia Censored To Protect Captive Reporter

McSnarf Re:I have no problem with this (414 comments)

The SchrÃdinger effect :)

Wikipedia should report information, not influence it, which might have happened in that case.

more than 5 years ago

Wikipedia Censored To Protect Captive Reporter

McSnarf Re:Double Standard (414 comments)

I have never understood why news about kidnapped reporters is kept in the strictest confidence, whereas the media pretty much never offer the same to a member of the public who is not a part of the media fraternity.

A valid point and I agree. But towards the side of not publishing. This also includes the Wikipedia issue. Some information should not be published - yet.

more than 5 years ago

Wikipedia Censored To Protect Captive Reporter

McSnarf Re:the blackout was a good idea (414 comments)

Superb, thanks!

Wikipedia should publish history, not change it.

more than 5 years ago

Wikipedia Censored To Protect Captive Reporter

McSnarf Re:the blackout was a good idea (414 comments)

The time-value of reporting it early at the risk of death of the subject is not.

LOL. You should have a word with them. Tell them all those "breaking news", "live on the spot", "this just in"s are unimportant....

Grandparent IS correct. The limit in the "right" of the public to up-to-date information is limited by the right of whoevery is involved is endangered. I know that a lot of people do not really care that policemen or fire fighters die for the public's entertainment in the evening news, but it is sickening.

more than 5 years ago

Wikipedia Censored To Protect Captive Reporter

McSnarf Re:the blackout was a good idea (414 comments)

The Abu Ghraib abuse photos are the most obvious example — imagine NYT and wire-agencies respecting a Bush administration's request not to publish them so as not to "negatively affect" the US military's mission — and cost a lot of lives...

What else are the media and Wikipedia valiantly suppressing right now for the "greater good"?..

Publishing these photos saved a lot of lives and had an influence on the policies of a country that still claims to be a democracy.

It would have different to publish a story like "There is an unprotected, but well hidden field hospital near city X in Iraq. We wonder why the US armed forces are not stationing guards there."

"Reporter X has been kidnapped" is information. But is it worth knowing six months in advance, risking to have him killed? Why should you need to know? What could it possibly help you to know? Are you a relative? Then you know...

"The land of the free is sending people to torture prisoners" is also information.


more than 5 years ago



How to check software quality ?

McSnarf McSnarf writes  |  more than 6 years ago

McSnarf writes "Someone In Charge decided that my employer will sell certain third-party software in addition to our own hardware. While this is simple if you think about selling a copy of SuSE Linux or two, the customers in this case are usually bigger corporates with enormous legal departments and the software in question can become mission critical for some of them.

This means risk. But also (according to the SIC) profit.

In this case, the risk is also mine, as I will most likely end up evaluating "software quality". I do not know of any entity that would do this as a service (if there are, I'd love to hear about it), and while there are some classics ("Do they have more than one developer on their staff of sixty who can handle their own code?"), someone might have had a similar problem before.

So — What would a Slashdot Reader do ?"

Spider Robinson starts podcasting

McSnarf McSnarf writes  |  about 7 years ago

McSnarf (676600) writes "Does the name ring a bell ? Sci-Fi author ? Successfully wrote the last Heinlein novel (Variable Star)? Sings and plays guitar ? Writer In Residence for Vancouver's MacMillan Space Centre ?

As the title says, Spider will start podcasting, on a weekly basis. He will read some of his short stories, a couple of his columns, sing and make music as well as comment on current events. The first episodue, "LET'S START WASTING MONEY IN SPACE", is already up."

Link to Original Source

McSnarf McSnarf writes  |  more than 7 years ago

McSnarf writes "Hi ! Let me know if one of the following would make a good interview guest. Authors: Spider Robinson John Varley Musicians: David Crosby Graham Nash No commercial interest here — I just know these people and at least one email address for each and would not mind asking of I could share them with a Slashdot mod. Best, Jens"


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