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Comments

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Are the Hard-to-Exploit Bugs In LZO Compression Algorithm Just Hype?

Midnight Thunder Safe Buffer? (65 comments)

Given the number of security issues related to buffer over-runs, I wonder whether C/C++ should provide a safe buffer that would help alleviate these issues? Sure it might compromise performance slightly, though it might be acceptable when faced with the alternative of unexpected issues due to an unforeseen buffer overrun.

about a month ago
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Apple Announces New Programming Language Called Swift

Midnight Thunder Multi-platform matters (636 comments)

I haven't yet decided whether this is yet another programming language we needed, but I will be interested to see whether Apple release the Swift support in LLVM as open source. One thing that I dislike more than new programming language for the sake of doing so, are single-platform languages.

about 2 months ago
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Huawei Successfully Tests New 802.11ax WiFi Standard At 10.53Gbps

Midnight Thunder Re:Nyquist (116 comments)

I didn't see much in the article, but seeing the following PDF there appears to be multiple technologies at play. One of them being 'channel bonding':

http://www.kics.or.kr/Home/Use...

about 2 months ago
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Huawei Successfully Tests New 802.11ax WiFi Standard At 10.53Gbps

Midnight Thunder Re:I'm so excited (116 comments)

Better, faster ways to access inept content.

Its not the content that matters, but the bragging rights on how you access that content.

about 2 months ago
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Apple To Face Lawsuit For iMessage Glitch

Midnight Thunder Re:Anti-competitive (238 comments)

It does, but you should never under-estimate the ability of people to bother reading or paying attention to such details.

Apple does have a way to deactivate iMessage, but when you leave the Apple eco-system people don't realise that something that they were taking for granted suddenly gets in the way.

BTW the knowledge page for deactivating iMessage (never tried it): http://support.apple.com/kb/TS...

about 2 months ago
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Apple's Revenge: iMessage Might Eat Your Texts If You Switch To Android

Midnight Thunder Re:Fix according to Apple is (415 comments)

Well, this isn't any different that a friend stopping using Google Talk.

about 3 months ago
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ARIN Is Down To the Last /8 of IPv4 Addresses

Midnight Thunder Re:About time! (306 comments)

Network infrastructure. Despite the writing being on the wall, it has been considered as comedy. The comedy is now laughing at them. As usual it is going be a question of people panicking over something that could have been planned for.

about 3 months ago
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Dyn.com Ends Free Dynamic DNS

Midnight Thunder Re:Alternatives (242 comments)

They are by default, but there is the IPv6 privacy extension RFC4941. Also if you use DHCPv6, then you can decide exactly what IP each host gets.

about 4 months ago
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Classified X-37B Space Plane Breaks Space Longevity Record

Midnight Thunder Re:Funny how (123 comments)

Civil expenditure vs military expenditure. It's sad that it takes a military budget to do stuff, when a civilian space agency could do just as well.

The reality is that when asked the question 'why are you doing this?', the answer in one case will be a fuzzy 'important defence stuff' and people will stop asking questions, while in the other "researching technology for future manned space flight" and then people will start questioning it even more and each want to be a stake holder in the budget.

about 4 months ago
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Geologists Warned of Washington State Mudslides For Decades

Midnight Thunder Re:Crying wolf? (230 comments)

Not quite the same thing. Nature works at its own pace, but when you have geological evidence you should take heed of it. Geology can only help so much, because the exact time element is where things are fuzzy. On the flip side there are geologists who are more cautious about announcements and then get put in jail (case in Italy) - it's hard to win when everyone wants a scape goat.

For me it's like buildings or bridges that were built badly. You know they will fail, but not when. You know when the failure happens it won't be a pretty sight.

about 4 months ago
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Elon Musk Addresses New Jersey's Tesla Store Ban

Midnight Thunder Re:Yes! (229 comments)

I am not aware of the documentary indicated, but a quick search turned up this "60 minutes" video, also covering the subject: http://www.styleite.com/news/l...

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What's New In Legacy Languages?

Midnight Thunder Re:Why .Net? (247 comments)

I think the problem comes from living in a bubble. We all live in a bubble and think of the reality around us being the reality for everyone else. It's not until you step outside of the bubble do you realise the assumptions ions aren't necessarily true. What will often be the case is different people solving different problems with different languages. Sometimes it's down to the suitability of the language, sometimes it's down to the local skill set and sometimes down to what's considered to be the latest trending language.

Learning a new language takes a time investment and changing the way we approach coding problems.

As a Java developer I am still wrestling with whether Scala will end up supplanting Java or whether it will be a side language that will simply influence the direction Java takes in the future?

For me languages fall into three main categories, those that stay in the main steam, those that influence the main steam languages and those that simply fade away, because they have been replaced by something 'better'. For the influencers they sometimes stay in the background because while innovative don't necessarily add a reason for such a radical change and by the time the look like they may be gaining steam, they lose it to the fact the 'mainstream' languages have picked up the best features.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What's New In Legacy Languages?

Midnight Thunder Re:C/C++ (247 comments)

From what I see the game engines are still C/C++, but are scripted in things like Python. At the same time, using the right APIs a lot of the hard processing can be handed off to specialised hardware, such as GPU, whether for graphics or physics.

BTW while JS is not generally thought of a choice for high performance games, this demo shows what may be a sign of the future:

http://www.unrealengine.com/ht...

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What's New In Legacy Languages?

Midnight Thunder Re:C/C++ (247 comments)

Garbage collection is only as good as the algorithm in place and the load it places also depends on the type of application in place. In most cases it hasn't really caused me much pain.

There are cases where Java is actually more performant than C/C++, but can get brought down by the GC. The performance gains are down to the JIT.

At work, a team that uses Java in high performance application presented to us way of analysing program performance and ways of addressing them. One of the things we were made clear about was the way you analyse performance can actually mask a performance issue, so you need to be careful of how you analyse your application.

One other thing I learnt from this presentation is about a JVM called Zing. It was amazing how much better in certain circumstances it was than the Hotspot JVM. From what I understand the improvements are very much around the JVM. The only catch is cost. They know that companies are willing to pay for the gains it gives, so you'll need to decide whether the project warrants the extra cost for the performance boost.

about 5 months ago
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Canadian Health Scientists Resort To Sneaker Net After Funding Slashed

Midnight Thunder Re:To the dump!? (168 comments)

What a horrible waste. I hope they at least had the libraries open to the public as a well-publicized "everything's free bookstore" for a few weeks before hauling the leftovers to the dump.

I must admit I got the image of book burning, without the burning. The end result is pretty much the same, in the sense it is destruction of knowledge and culture. Then again I see a lot of common with Harper and a certain historic figure with a narrow moustache (not Charlie Chaplin).

about 6 months ago
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How Can Nintendo Recover?

Midnight Thunder Re:Better Hardware (559 comments)

The current Zelda offering for the Wii U is an 'HD' version of a previous generation game. Unless you were planning on replaying the game, it doesn't offer anything than 'HD'.

I am happy Mario World 3D came out, but Nintendo really needs to get their act together. They need to review their business model, possibly taking a page out of the tablet market. Non-game offerings are important too. In those terms Netflix and YouTube are the only offerings in Canada. Hulu is offered on the Console, but once you launch it (which requires an initial download) you get told it can only be used in the US - WTF!?

Nintendo generally succeeds on first party games, which aren't existing as a healthy selection at the moment. Nintendo also needs to get a third-party to make one serious outstanding title. Oh and they also need to improve their operating system.

about 6 months ago
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How Can Nintendo Recover?

Midnight Thunder Re:Better Hardware (559 comments)

wii/u is seriously underpowered.

Possibly, but many of the issues I see with the Wii U are software related, in other words ones that can be fixed without new hardware. Things I feel that could help:
    - making it easier for small Indy developers, in terms cost and ease of distribution. Android and iOS show the way of the future.
    - copying the Apple App Store pricing model
    - getting more content onto the console, including non-gaming stuff. Things like the AppleTV and XBMC are offering.
    - use network time (okay, may not fix anything, but an example of a limited OS)
    - get some good third-party games
    - improve the marketing. Sometime I feel the 3DS gets too much focus.

about 6 months ago
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An Iowa ISP's Metered Pricing: What Will the Market Bear?

Midnight Thunder Re:50$ (479 comments)

I take the attitude that you can show me commercials if I don't pay for TV, but if I am paying for TV thn I shouldn't see commercials. The problem is that if I have cable or IPTV I have to pay for the service and get commercials and every 10 minutes at that.

I prefer the antenna too, though it can be a challenge finding one with a clear signal in the city.

about 6 months ago
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Facebook Being Sued Over Mining of Private Messages

Midnight Thunder Re:User of service (170 comments)

It is attitudes like this that encourages treating users like crap.

You didn't read what I said. Without the users they have zero value of what they have to offer the advertisers. Also people should have legal rights with what they should expect from a service and what can and can't be done. In Europe this is certainly the case.

about 7 months ago
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Facebook Being Sued Over Mining of Private Messages

Midnight Thunder User of service (170 comments)

While people using Facebook aren't necessarily paying customer, they are users of the service. Without users Facebook has no point of existing and therefore has no need of sponsors. For this reason we are using a service provided to us and in doing so there are expectations of fair treatment. Even cattle have certain rights.

Brushing users off as 'non-paying customers' is a port excuse, since they are both users and customer of the service. If we don't 'like' as sponsor's message, then they can't ask for a exchange of fees from the sponsor.

about 7 months ago

Submissions

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How to get out of developer's block?

Midnight Thunder Midnight Thunder writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Midnight Thunder (17205) writes "I have spent the past six months working on a software project, and while I can come up with ideas, I just can't seem to sit down in front of the computer to code. I sit there and I just can't concentrate. I don't know whether this is akin to writer's block, but it feels like it. Have any other slashdotters run into this and if so how did you get out of it? It is bothering me since the project has ground to a halt and I really want to get started again. I am the sole developer on the project, if that makes a difference."
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Monitoring your TV viewing habits?

Midnight Thunder Midnight Thunder writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Midnight Thunder (17205) writes "Most TV ratings are selected from a small portion of the population, by one monitoring system or another. How accurate the end results are is arguable and in turns affects what is shown on TV. How would you feel if you cable company or your satellite company started anonymously monitoring what their subscribers switch to, on the condition they provide you with an option to opt-out? It could mean better TV."
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Midnight Thunder Midnight Thunder writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Midnight Thunder (17205) writes "Today I was contacted by support staff of a company, whoes software solution we use, because we were having issues installing the upgrade software. Their product runs on, amongst others, Solaris. To help them, they establish a conference session to the local computer, so they can see what the user is doing and help them along. The catch is the conferencing solution requires MS-Windows and Internet Explorer to run. Luckily for me I was using an X-Windows server on a Windows based PC, but would have had issues if my workstation was Solaris or any other non-Microsoft system. My question is whether there are any similar solutions that a support site could use in this manner, but which works on multiple platforms?"
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Midnight Thunder Midnight Thunder writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Midnight Thunder (17205) writes "In a move that makes everyones fears about the limitations of DRM encumbered media files a reality, Microsoft will not allow you to play files purchased through the MSN store on the Zune. Their answer is for you to buy your files again. Is this another death blow to DRM or just Microsoft shooting itself in the foot?"

Journals

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Computing's accessibility advantage over Sciences

Midnight Thunder Midnight Thunder writes  |  more than 11 years ago

Computing has a great advantage over other sciences. This advantage is defined by its level of accessibility. The level of accessibility is defined by the cost of the tools required to experiment and the minimum amount of knowledge needed before you can even try to be taken seriously. Computers are readily accessible, they can be bought for a relativley low cost at your local electronics store. Once installed you can download, buy or write software fairly easily. Try doing this with any science and the first sticking point is where do you buy the stuff? You also need to get a fair amount of maths under your belt and then you can start learning about the subject. You can't get a job in a science field without at least a Masters degree.

Since you have to learn so much before you can do anything in most science fields, it has the effect of scaring many people off (the attitude of many people in the field doesn't alway help either). I feel that this has the effect of reducing the amount of unorthodox ideas that can enter the field, and thus slowing down the rate of progress. Because IT has the advantage of it accessibility, almost anyone get take their crazy idea and try to make it work. Try doing the same thing in sciences.

Sure you can see knowledge as an upside down pyramid, getting built up one brick at a time. What happens when there are bricks missing at given levels because orthodox thinking makes it difficicult to see what is missing. This is where I like to use my description of a pink elephant in multi-faceted sphere. Conventional thinking will look at the elephant through one of the facets and see just a trunk or just a leg. Without the ability to look at the elephant from other angles, then it is easy to conclude that what you see is a trunk. You could also just see two points of view, a trunk and a leg and not understand how they are related. You can then have people thinking that there is nothing is no link between the two. Of course there will always be the small group that believes that there is more than meets the eye, but they tend to be shuned because no one can see what they are getting at. Like brute force computing where you have many computers trying different combinations, science could have a huge advantage if more people were able to participate. Sure there the possibility of a lot of noise, but like any forum, you find ways to deal with this, for you realise that sometimes it there is an advantage in numbers.

What could be done to make science more accessible I am not sure. Maybe one method is to take advantage of the accesibility of computers and make advanced science applications easy enough for any fools to use and understand.

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The killer application

Midnight Thunder Midnight Thunder writes  |  more than 11 years ago

In the computer industry there is something known as the 'Killer Application'. Basically it is an application as revolutionary as the internet that will change the way we see and do things. Being able to create the killer application is the dream of many, as it is their chance to be able to say they made history.

I believe that anyone wanting to make a killer application shouldn't bother trying. What I mean by this is that it is the wrong way to about things. Such an application will result in someone doing what they are good at and just trying to make something different. The killer application is not defined by the application itself, but what effect it has on people's lifes. For example you could make a program that is wonderful and revolutionary in what it does, but for one reason or another it has zero effect on people's lifes. Maybe there isn't a need, maybe it is too hard to use or maybe you're trying too hard to make money from it, amongst possibilities. The internet succeeded because it was free and there was no cost in adopting it. It was only later, once it was established that businesses hard a market to make money in. Another possibility is that we expect so much these days that we may not recognise an application that has or is making a revolution.

Making a difference is what counts, not trying to make a revolution.

If you can make a tool that can simplify a task, or make it more accessible, then you have already achieved plenty. Imagine what astronomy would be like with out the telescope. In this case the telescope is the tool that provided the means to look beyond our solar system and even our galaxy.

If you are looking for applications that could make a difference, then, IMO, the best place is to look at professional applications and work out how they could be made simple enough for an idiot to use and understand. If an idiot can understand and do something that was once inaccessible to them, then you have already made a big difference. Another place to look at making a difference in, is something that you are interested in and understand, and wish others could share. Yes, in making such a tool you may invalidate your current advantage, but in doing so you open up doors to new opportunities, for you and everyone else.

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