Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!



Can ISO 29119 Software Testing "Standard" Really Be a Standard?

NReitzel Consensus? You have to be kidding... (152 comments)

The free dictionary (by Farlex) defines consensus: 1. An opinion or position reached by a group as a whole.

That's very democratic. Unfortunately, reality is not democratic.

Software testing is designed to unveil real vulnerabilities and errors in a complex system. Having a bunch of people hold up their hands and say, "Is this a problem?" is flatly ludicrous. In point of fact, it's the error that isn't noticed by the majority that constitutes the deepest problem. Remember the Columbia shuttle? A group of people got together and came to the concensus that the ice impact at launch was not a problem.

Testing, by it's very nature, is not subject to regimentation. It's a lot like "Job Descriptions" -- in real terms, establishing a job description is publishing a whole list of things that don't need to be addressed. Why does anyone think software testing will be different?

"Your piece of software has problems." "No, it doesn't. We fulfilled the standard for testing."

Giveth me a break.

about two weeks ago

IBM Gearing Up Mega Power 8 Servers For October Launch

NReitzel Hullmetal Plated Armor, Dudes (113 comments)

Why go non-X86?

Well, gee, let's see what kind of viruses there are for PowerPC architecture now that Mac has gone Intel.

Uh... None?

If you're building a server farm, who cares about the architecture?

Now, having said that, I do agree with the comment that says there ought to be high-horsepower workstations available. Not all of us are Windoze Gamers. I work at a University and do a lot of SCF chemical simulations. That, my friends, takes guts. If I can't cram in additional CPU/GPU, it kind of leaves me out.

about three weeks ago

UK Police Warn Sharing James Foley Killing Video Is a Crime

NReitzel Re:Benjamin Franklin said once (391 comments)

It's certainly true that America doesn't have the talents of the UK.

In particular, Brits have an absolute monopoly on rampant pomposity.

It's a good thing you guys leaned to grovel properly, sonst sie Deutsch sprechen werden.

about three weeks ago

Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

NReitzel Are You Kidding? (541 comments)

Oh, come on. Political Correctness has no place in discussions that are scientific in nature.

Northern Europeans clearly evolved to have fair skin and hair, and they evolved from ancestors who did not have fair skin and hair.

How the *BLEEP* is this racist?

about a month ago

Hackers Demand Automakers Get Serious About Security

NReitzel While you're at it... (120 comments)

Since people are now talking about car computer security, now is the time to start thinking about including a secure keyed police shutdown mode.

When we get to autonomous vehicles, the nay-sayers are are already worrying about how this would permit alleged felons to drive off form robberies all the while taking pot-shots at the police (not having to drive, and all).

If we're building a Star-Trek ® flavor of car, start thinking about including Command Authorization Codes on a per-car basis.

about a month ago

Austrian Tor Exit Node Operator Found Guilty As an Accomplice

NReitzel Re:Whatever way we want it to be (255 comments)

My apologies. I searched myself for the quotation and did not find it. The person in question was Charles Schumer (US Senator), and his remarks were in response to a rather over-the-top NRA assertion that the government was trying to take guns away from "Law Abiding Citizens" subsequent to some multiple shooting event. The event made at least one video outlet -- which is how I saw it -- but apparently was not recorded. This I actually understand, and find nothing nefarious about it -- after all, there was a hugely more serious event to report on.

Since I was unable to provide an actual citation, I did not "name names" -- and the comment was more to illustrate an attitude by lawmakers (not necessarily Mr Schumer personally) that government should have the power to go after someone that "they think" is a Bad Guy, and screw the legal process.

In the US, there have been countless cases of cops trying to charge someone recording their actions on video, because having their actions stand up to careful scrutiny seems (to them) to be an undue burden. The current trend towards categorizing all "illegal immigrants" as drug mules is another example. "They are here illegally, right? So we know they've broken a law." Yes, but _drug mules_ ? That's a stretch.

As a person who witnessed the 1968 events in Chicago, I know that there are some police forces who have the attitude of "We know who the bad guys are and we need to be able to go after them" and the phrase "burden of proof" seems to be missing from their repertoire. Thankfully, in the US, the majority of police forces are not there, at least not yet.

about 2 months ago

Austrian Tor Exit Node Operator Found Guilty As an Accomplice

NReitzel Whatever way we want it to be (255 comments)

In the post-911 world, police departments all over the world are moving into Orwellian territory. They spot someone that they "know" is doing a crime, and they go searching for a law to hammer them.

With laws that don't sunset, and legislative organizations (worldwide) passing more rules and regulations and laws as fast as they can write them down, the state is moving to consolidate it's power. Once, a congressman from the United States said of his constituents, "There are no law-abiding citizens, there are only citizens who haven't yet broken a law."

Wait for it. The police are choosing to persecute (sic) whomever they want to, and due process seems to be fading into the sunset.

about 2 months ago

New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

NReitzel Not to mention poisons... (380 comments)

Well, bureaucratic idiocy ignored, there is another small wart on this process.

Catalysts are very sensitive to "poisons" - chemicals that stop their catalytic activity. Sodium amide used as a catalyst has a vulnerability to a potent catalytic poison - that being water. A little moisture in the fuel tank, a little moisture in the fuel lines, and presto. No catalyst.

I'm not saying it's not possible, I just don't know how one would keep that pestilential dihydrogen monoxide carefully excluded from the process. It's cumulative, every tiny scrap of moisture kills off some of the catalyst.

about 3 months ago

Evidence of a Correction To the Speed of Light

NReitzel Don't mess with "c" (347 comments)

There's an alternative explanation. Space-Time could have non-zero viscosity, and slow down photons.

There are a lot of reasons to consider that space might have a viscosity. For one thing, it would neatly explain the expansion of the universe, without the necessity of invoking dark matter and dark energy.

We live in interesting times!

-- Norm Reitzel

about 3 months ago

Despite Project's Demise, Amazon Web Services Continues To Use TrueCrypt

NReitzel Re:More NSA sponsored anti-Truecrypt FUD (75 comments)

Nice comment, until the end when you found it mandatory to take a shot at Slashdot's reporting as anti-Truecrypt advocacy.

Giveth us all a break.

about 3 months ago

The Latest Wave of Cyberattacks On the West Is Coming From the Middle East

NReitzel Let's see, who created stuxnet? (56 comments)

Gosh, the West went and hacked industrial infrastructure, where? The Middle East? Omigawsh.

Turnabout is fair play, guys. You started the fight, now don't weep that it's come home.

about 3 months ago

The Coming IT Nightmare of Unpatchable Systems

NReitzel Re:This "nightmare" rigns a bell (240 comments)

Unpatchable systems are a problem, but if you view them as a black box, they are no different than non-logical systems that break.

I'm rather fervently against systems that cannot be upgraded on the fly, but I understand why manufacturers might not like this.

Consider, if you buy a traffic light controller that can be improved and modified, then where is the motivation for a second round of purchases when "upgrade" becomes necssary. After all, I certainly want the person who sold me a refrigerator to be able to brick it when they want, or on a certain date. I can't understand those Commie Sympathizers who think that a sale means that you actually -own- the product, and can use it as long as you see fit.

about 3 months ago

TrueCrypt Cryptanalysis To Include Crowdsourcing Aspect

NReitzel Re:Crowdsourcing (131 comments)


Since Truecrypt has decided to drop their project, and the project has been opensourced from day one, I'm going to suggest this is a good time for a fork.

It would (will) be educational to see who goes to court to stop it.

about 3 months ago

B-52 Gets First Full IT Upgrade Since 1961

NReitzel Let me guess... (190 comments)

Let me guess. The New B-52 IT upgrades feature a raft of combat-certified computers, all running Windows XP.

That thought makes me smile. Can you plan Hack-a-Bomber ?

I'm not serious, but the Pentagon and USAF have done dumber things.

about 4 months ago

Has the Ethanol Threat Manifested In the US?

NReitzel Re:Comment from a Chemist (432 comments)

Of course it uses carbon (and nitrogen, and a raft of other things) from the soil. However, unless you're planting that corn on a tar pit, the carbon in the soil isn't fossil carbon that's been in the soil for a million years. You might make the case that plants use marine carbonates dissolved in water, but that amount is very small compared to the mail building block of plants, and for photosynthetic plants, that's carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

I may not be a botanist, but I can work the numbers.

about 4 months ago

Has the Ethanol Threat Manifested In the US?

NReitzel Comment from a Chemist (432 comments)

The thing is, ethanol has a lower energy density per litre (or gallon, if you are metrically challanged) than does gasoline, just as gasoline has a lower energy density than diesel fuel.

You get better mileage out of diesel than gasoline, and better mileage out of gasoline than ethanol, all things being equal. Laws of thermodynamics aren't to be bypassed. No amount of "clever" can change the basic fact that gasoline holds more energy than ethanol.

However, and this may count for something for you, as it does for me, ethanol releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that was taken out of the atmosphere to grow the crop that led to the ethanol. There is no net increase of CO2, as there is with fossil fuels. Of course, a cynic might point out (and I might be one) that the carbon in the fossil fuel was also in the atmosphere at one time, to the tune of no less than 1500 ppm in the Carboniferous period.

Using ethanol isn't for getting better mileage, it's for reducing carbon footprint, the amount of carbon added to the atmosphere when you go down to the corner store to buy a six-pack of beer. The beer, btw, doesn't add carbon to the atmosphere, because like the ethanol that's in it, that carbon came -out- of the atmosphere when the crops to make it were grown.

about 4 months ago

NASA, France Skeptical of SpaceX Reusable Rocket Project

NReitzel Origami Space Station (333 comments)

Does anyone remember the history of the space station?

NASA spent billions (with a B) of dollars, and for a decade we had not one bolt flying in orbit. I used to call the project the Origami space station, made out of paper. It wasn't until the Russians went ahead and launched the first module that NASA got around to giving up on Powerpoint and Viewgraphs and meetings, and actually -did- something.

I just love it when people proudly proclaim that something isn't possible.

History shows that such pronouncements have a very poor track record.

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Good Print Media Is Left?

NReitzel Who Cares? (285 comments)

Good print media?

Really. Local newspaper provides enough to wrap up stuff to ship, and a few sheets to use to light charcoal.

Other than that, who cares?

about 5 months ago

Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

NReitzel Back to One Man, One Vote (818 comments)

Perhaps it's time for a constitutional amendment.

In times of past, when it took weeks and months to communicate between far away places (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles) it made sense to structure the political organization of this country as a railroad organization. Today, it does not.

What we need to do is simple: We need to define, in simple print, that corporate fictions are not in fact citizens, and as such, do not have political freedoms or civil rights as such.

The concept if a corporate fiction as a person is a bit ridiculous anyway. A corporation can engage in activities that kill people (against the law) but they cannot be imprisoned. Finding General Motors (say) criminally liable for something that they have done corporately is a joke. They are already immune from such prosecution and bringing criminal charges that stick against board members or management is a very difficult thing.

If corporate entities cannot participate in the democratic process; there is no proxy for voting in a general election. We should formalize this and extend it so that corporate fictions simply cannot make political contributions of any size whatsoever. If management has strong political feelings, let the members make a personal contribution in their own name and not from corporate funds. If a CEO wants to contribute millions to a political candidate, well, they're paid enough to write the check. If a corporation feels strongly about a political issue, they can encourage (but not require) that their employees write their own checks to whatever political cause is extant. A vote, and a political contribution, should only be permitted to come from someone who can be demonstrated to be a living, breathing person and not some vacuous entity dreamed up by invisible attorneys.

This moves us back to the "one man, one vote" ideal our forefathers envisioned. Right now, we're moving ever closer to merchantilism and "One Dollar, One Vote" -- which, in my humble opinion, is not a good thing at all.

about 5 months ago


NReitzel hasn't submitted any stories.


NReitzel has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>