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Comments

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Top Coders Tell Agents, "Show Me the Money!"

Omnifarious Context dependent (288 comments)

Who the 10x developer or 25x programmer is is often highly context dependent. And it also tends to discount people who play supporting roles, who I think can often be even more valuable than your main developers.

1 year,8 days
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Zuckerberg Lobbies For More Liberal Immigration Policies

Omnifarious H1-B is very problematic, but (484 comments)

I consider H1-B's to be very problematic because of how dependent they make someone on an employer. I think there's a real risk of the employer employee relationship becoming too coercive and akin to slavery.

But, I have no problem with more immigration if the result is full citizens with the same rights as everybody else.

Perhaps we should have an accelerated citizenship process for people who've been here on an H1-B visa for over a year. That, in combination with actually reducing the number of H1-B visas granted would be something I could get behind.

The main negative effect I see from my proposal is that it reduces these large corporations incentive to improve the educational and vocational rehabilitation system to create the workers they need from our existing citizenry.

1 year,8 days
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H-1B Cap Reached Today; Didn't Get In? Too Bad

Omnifarious Re:They're not who you think (512 comments)

H1-B's are not about importing tech workers. They're about both creating a class of workers who are dependent on their employer's good will to stay in the country and about making it easier to ship jobs overseas.

I would be much happier if it became easier for people with certain skills to become full citizens. Then they have a stake in our country and our economy.

1 year,11 days
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Dice employee Dawn Kawamoto's accepted Slashdot stories

Omnifarious Interesting (4 comments)

The first article is a shill for an industry that would dearly love to be able to treat developers poorly. If they can get a whole ton of developers from other countries who are dependent on their employer's good will to even stay here they can lower the standards by which they treat all their employees.

Additionally, of course, it means that the elites can continue to let the US education system slide into uselessness and unaffordability because they can find some other country's education system to parasitize instead.

1 year,11 days
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Should the US Really Limit Chinese-Government Influenced IT Systems?

Omnifarious I would rather they enforce auditability (220 comments)

I would rather they insist that any such equipment bought by the US government be open and fully independently auditable. I think they would do a lot better for everybody if they simply made that a standard requirement of the procurement process.

Though, I can also well understand the paranoia. The US government has done the exact same thing to security equipment sold to other countries that they are now worried about China doing to us. They should be worried about that.

1 year,16 days
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If I could change what's "typical" about typical laptops ...

Omnifarious Durability (591 comments)

The thing I appreciate the most about my MacBook Prop is its durability. The case is a solid machined block of aluminum. It does not flex or creak. Everything inside the laptop is solidly situated and solid-state. I wouldn't purposely drop it from a height or anything, but I'm not too worried about normal wear causing a lot of problems either.

I resent having to buy an Apple product in order to get this. I want something that's not a piece of flexing trashy plastic.

1 year,16 days
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Spanish Open Source Group Files Complaint Over Microsoft Use of UEFI Secure Boot

Omnifarious Re:Making UEFI more Linux friendly (154 comments)

That wouldn't be progress. How many people would bother to figure out how to take the time to do that? No, it has to be so simple to do that it can be done trivially by almost anybody but still require physical access to the machine.

1 year,24 days
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Re: Bitcoin, I most strongly agree with the following:

Omnifarious Re:Crypto, value, etc. (398 comments)

Well, I certainly don't think its value will 'only increase'. I think that the ideal scenario has a more or less smooth S curve in which the value increases to a certain level then plateaus. After that, I would expect the value to fluctuate up and down a bit, and on average increase slowly.

Anyway, we'll likely see how it all pans out. There are enough businesses now that accept it that it's not going away in a heartbeat. And a secure way to pay for things with your smartphone with a similar level of anonymity as cash would be very nice to have.

1 year,24 days
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Re: Bitcoin, I most strongly agree with the following:

Omnifarious Re:What's bitcoin? (398 comments)

That is an interesting take. And you might be right. I'm not sure. I know that I intend to spend bitcoins. I will do that because if I don't they won't end up having any value at all. But that requires a certain amount of long-term thinking that hasn't generally characterized our modern financial institutions.

1 year,24 days
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Man Who Pointed Laser At Aircraft Gets 30-Month Sentence

Omnifarious Re:misuse of sentencing (761 comments)

Did I claim the laser pointer guy should've been charged with 60 counts of negligent homicide? I don't think so.

And the law rightly distinguishes between actions you take and things you don't take proper care with (aka negligence). Actions you purposely take that are illegal are generally punished more harshly than negligence.

You can, in fact, be charged for negligently allowing your attention to wander while driving for precisely the reason you outline.

1 year,24 days
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Man Who Pointed Laser At Aircraft Gets 30-Month Sentence

Omnifarious Re:misuse of sentencing (761 comments)

*nod* I can understand that point of view, and I do not wholly disagree. Jail is pretty inhumane. I'm not sure I agree yet either, but it's certainly worth thinking about.

1 year,24 days
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Re: Bitcoin, I most strongly agree with the following:

Omnifarious Re:Dislike (398 comments)

Under this system virtually all "new money" loans would come from the central bank. The central bank, being an arm of the federal government, could then control the growth or decline of the economy using a variety of tools: amount of loans, interest rates, federal spending in social programs, tax rates, etc.

This is an absolutely awful situation. Essentially a government run organization is now responsible for decided which things people want to do are worthy of extending credit for. You've suddenly killed any kind of creative or disruptive debt-based investment right there.

1 year,24 days
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Re: Bitcoin, I most strongly agree with the following:

Omnifarious Re:Crypto, value, etc. (398 comments)

  1. 1. Crypto - It has been casually audited by several people. I know several people who've been closely associated with the cypherpunks crown who have looked the protocol over and found it fairly secure. Dan Kaminsky is one of these people. I have also personally audited it. Though I think my opinion is worth far less than the other people I've mentioned. The problem here, of course, is who do you trust to do the audit? Why?
  2. 2. Security - This is a good point. They are Open Source projects, so they are available to anyone's inspection. Some flaws have been found in the code, though none that are network breakingly serious (the block size flaw introduced in 0.8.0 is the most notorious here, but that was fairly trivial for the network to handle once it was found). More effort could go on in this area. Again though, who do you trust to do the audit? And why?
  3. 3. Obscurity - Who cares who created it? Why does it matter at all? Everything is up for public inspection. There are no hidden secrets here. For all you know, it was created by a respected cryptographer. I can well understand why someone who created a system like Bitcoin would want to remain anonymous. Phil Zimmer was certainly treated extremely poorly for having created PGP.
  4. 4. Economics - The deflation (Do not mix that up with inflation. The two effects are opposites and have a very different effect on the economy.) problem is interesting. I have not seen any convincing arguments for whether it's a blessing or a disaster. Everybody is expecting it though, and I suspect that will make it better. And while I think it will significantly hamper the availability of credit, I don't necessarily think it will stamp out investment. But those are questions that are pretty hard to answer a priori. One interesting thing is that if enough people think that deflation is really bad, the protocol can easily be altered to allow for currency creation again. But all the participants have to agree.

1 year,24 days
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Re: Bitcoin, I most strongly agree with the following:

Omnifarious Re:What's bitcoin? (398 comments)

I invested a bunch of money in mining hardware. I will be using it. I hope for a return on my investment, but am not depending on it. I'm doing it because I want to help Bitcoin succeed as a mainstream currency. The amount of money I'm investing is not large, even after you factor in the electricity costs.

1 year,24 days
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Man Who Pointed Laser At Aircraft Gets 30-Month Sentence

Omnifarious Re:misuse of sentencing (761 comments)

There are a lot of reasons for punishment. Deterrence is a valid reason. The possible harmful consequences of this action are extreme. This kind of reckless behavior could easily result in multiple deaths. I think a little bit of extreme deterrence is warranted.

Aaron Schwartz's behavior might've hurt someone's profits someday, and really didn't hurt anybody. It took up the time of a few admins who decided to try to stop him and that's about it. There is no societal need for a high level of deterrence there.

1 year,24 days
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Can You Really Hear the Difference Between Lossless, Lossy Audio?

Omnifarious I can't here the difference, but still want it (749 comments)

The reason I because I want audio I can recompress to the format I like without progressive degradation. Better lossy formats might be created in the future, and I want to be able to re-encode in those formats without suffering the losses due to lossy compression twice.

1 year,28 days
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Ask Slashdot: What Is a Reasonable Way To Deter Piracy?

Omnifarious Re:Don't deter it (687 comments)

Ahh, re-read the OP and realized my answer wasn't fully relevant. For software like that...

Release it as Open Source. Put it up on an app store someplace relevant to your target audience for a small fee. Trademark key elements of the interface to force people who try to just clone your project and sell it themselves to avoid using any of your branding.

Again, stop trying to force people to give you money. Just make it really easy for them to do so. Gentle encouragement works. Trust that people know the equation and will support you if they like what you make. Remind them if they seem to forget.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Is a Reasonable Way To Deter Piracy?

Omnifarious Don't deter it (687 comments)

Charge enough for the game before you make it that you won't lose money if all the copies after you make it are pirated. That's the very best way to handle piracy. As a bonus for this strategy, you can make sure people who pre-paid get something nifty (but preferably not gameplay unbalancing) for their faith in you before you even had a product.

Barring that, just ignore it. If you can't make enough money on the game, tell people that you weren't able to make enough money to pay for your time and are thinking of leaving the business. Give figures on how much you made (not on what percent you think was pirated) so people can see that you made squat on making something decent and useful for them.

If you want to, you can try offering people who can prove they don't have a pirated copy stuff that isn't necessary to play the game, but is nifty and shows off that they bought it. This works especially well if your game has a strong online component. This works even better if there's some sort of way to allow people to purchase this item in-game for the cost of the game.

Charge for access to the server if it's an online game.

Set it up so players are solving some random problem for you by playing the game. Make money selling that solution.

Stop trying to force people to give you money. Trust in them to give you money if you make something good enough. People know how it works. And a gentle education is usually all that's needed if they forget.

about a year ago
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If I could (or had to) ban texting in one place ...

Omnifarious Banning texting in cars (417 comments)

Only for the driver. It's clear from the number of stupid things that drivers do while driving that humans are bad drivers in general and most consider it a waste of time. We should stop letting humans drive. Then they can text all they want.

about a year ago

Submissions

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China tries to get the UN to censor the net

Omnifarious Omnifarious writes  |  about 2 years ago

Omnifarious writes "China (along with other member nations) is trying to push a proposal through a little known UN agency called the International Telecommunications Union (aka ITU). This proposal contains a wide variety of problematic provisions that represent a huge power grab on the part of the UN, and a severe threat to a continued global and open Internet."
Link to Original Source
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Wasteland II Kickstarter project now promises Linux support

Omnifarious Omnifarious writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Omnifarious writes "I was very interested in the Wasteland II Kickstarter project in the wake of the hugely successful Double Fine Adventure project. But I was disappointed upon reading their page to discover that they promised OS X support at $1.5M but no mention of Linux was made at all. But today I went back to look, and lo and behold, they've also promised Linux support if they reach $1.5M!"
Link to Original Source
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GoDaddy makes statement in support of SOPA

Omnifarious Omnifarious writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Omnifarious writes "Apparently GoDaddy, a rather popular hosting and DNS registration company, supports SOPA, and is willing to file a statement in support of it with the House of Representativs. One wonders if they have any answer to the current numerous frivolous takedown notices and outright attempts at censorship that currently exist with the DMCA."
Link to Original Source

Journals

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Clearwire forcing NAT on customers

Omnifarious Omnifarious writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Clearwire is rolling out WiMAX in the Seattle area, and that comes with new modems that force you to use NAT. They aren't giving their customers public IP addresses at all. This makes running IPSEC based VPNs or 6to4 tunnels over Clearwire next to impossible, and I consider Internet service that only comes with non-publicly routeable IP address to not be real Internet service at all.

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Microsoft astroturfing Slashdot?

Omnifarious Omnifarious writes  |  more than 4 years ago

I'm wondering with the various anti-google stories showing up on Slashdot, if Microsoft and their anti-google lobby aren't trying to astroturf.

Every single one of these stories has had the quality of seemingly purposefully misinterpreting some move of Google's in a way that's not exactly accurate and much worse than it actually is.

For example, Google getting a design patent on its homepage is more akin to a trademark thing than anything else. It's not really a patent in the sense that people usually think of them.

And I can list a similar kind of twist in thinking in almost all the 'Google is doing this, aren't they evil now!?' stories on Slashdot. Something is fishy.

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First recorded attempt to attack my systems via IPv6!

Omnifarious Omnifarious writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Someone just tried to spam my CAKE wiki via IPv6. The attack came from 2002:c26a:c164:0:216:cbff:feab:b3f5 which is a 6to4 address (you can tell from the beginning 2002) meaning that it corresponds to the IPv4 address of c26ac164, also known as 194.106.193.100 which is the address of some computer in Poland.

It also looks like they're on a network that's using EUI-64 based IPv6 address assignment, so the MAC address it came from is 00:16:cb:ab:b3:f5. Looking that up at the MAC Address Vendor lookup page reveals that this MAC address belongs to an Apple.

Someone's poor hacked Mac is trying to spam my wiki, or this is the computer of the hacker who's running the botnet trying to figure out why none of the spam is showing up.

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DNS cache poisoning on the rise?

Omnifarious Omnifarious writes  |  more than 5 years ago

I run a public DNS server for my own domains and I've been getting a lot of outside attempts to run recursive queries through it. This is something I haven't seen before and I'm wondering if DNS cache poisoning is on the rise.

Here is a sample of the logs:

May 15 01:57:38 foo named[2310]: client 125.17.226.217#4921: query (cache) 'nirvana.admins.ws/A/IN' denied

May 15 02:40:15 foo named[2310]: client 208.72.168.114#54341: query (cache) 'aa36.com/ANY/IN' denied

May 15 03:41:06 foo named[2310]: client 192.172.226.155#56099: query (cache) 'c40431ec875aa6d0.a4a1b82e01a13ddb.test1.openresolvers.org/A/IN' denied

May 15 03:44:21 foo named[2310]: client 124.173.20.186#2898: query (cache) 'nirvana.admins.ws/A/IN' denied

May 15 05:09:01 foo named[2310]: client 88.228.100.29#1598: query (cache) 'nirvana.admins.ws/A/IN' denied

May 15 06:08:46 foo named[2310]: client 201.47.54.80#61320: query (cache) 'nirvana.admins.ws/A/IN' denied

May 15 19:33:27 foo named[2310]: client 221.208.250.186#12899: query (cache) 'nirvana.admins.ws/A/IN' denied

May 15 23:24:55 foo named[2310]: client 71.110.123.103#4547: query (cache) 'nirvana.admins.ws/A/IN' denied

One of these is a definite probe for poorly configured DNS servers in an attempt to be helpful. And that's the query for c40431ec875aa6d0.a4a1b82e01a13ddb.test1.openresolvers.org.

The others appear to be an attempt to query for the DNS records of a spam trap. This could be one of two things. It could be an attempt to get emails destined for the trap to go elsewhere. It could also be an attempt to get unwitting open DNS resolvers to be a part of a DDOS attack against the spam trap. I don't know which.

Does anybody reading this have any idea?

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Vista and IPv6 6to4 auto-tunneling (not completely correct)

Omnifarious Omnifarious writes  |  more than 6 years ago

In looking at the various logs I keep to monitor what's going on on my home network, I've noticed an interesting fact about Vista that I haven't seen published anywhere. This is something of a guess, but it's supported by the increased activity in my logs, the fact the packets are coming from the US, the User-Agent strings and the curious and regular form of most of the new IPv6 connections I've been seeing. This fact is that Vista is fairly aggressive in supporting IPv6.

Now, Windows XP supports IPv6 fairly passively right out of the box. If you put it on a network with other nodes that speak IPv6 and a router or DHCPv6 server advertising a prefix, it will happily pick it up and gain a globally routable IPv6 address. But Vista goes one step further. If it figures out that it's been assigned a globally routable IPv4 address it sets up its on 6to4 tunnel so its IPv4 address can be used to route IPv6 packets to it.

This is slightly worrisome as the IPv6 packets stuck inside the IPv4 packets represent a potential attack vector that may slide by all the filtering. But so far all the machines I've been able to portscan with some confidence that the computer at the IP I saw was still there look like they're heavily firewalled. This is better than I expected, but I did notice a different, more worrisome trend.

I expect that what firewall manufacturers will do when they learn of this is just block all IP packets with a protocol field of 41 (0x29), the IPv6 in IPv4 protocol. This is because in most Internet discussions IPv6 is treated either with "it will never happen" or "it's evil and stupid and NAT is enough". Basically, people are afraid of something new and don't want to have to learn it, so it's easier to dismiss it than embrace it.

I have some evidence that this is already happening. I think all the Vista originated 6to4 tunneled packets all have IPv6 addresses of the form 2002:hexip_upper16:hexip_lower16::hexip_upper16:hexip_lower16. When I ping the associated IPv4 address I often get a response, but when I ping the IPv6 address I don't. But I do in a very small number of cases. My guess is that something is filtering incoming IP packets with a protocol field of 41.

This means that whenever such computers try to visit my website (which has an IPv6 address) they will likely get absolutely nothing in response, or a long wait until the browser decides to fall back to IPv4.

This is actively hostile and wrong. IPv6 is happening. Learn it and get used to it. Fix your broken hardware and software. The specs have been relatively stable for the base protocol now for more than 4 years. There is no excuse for not knowing something about it.

Useful links

In fact, that's a big problem here. No pictures, no overview, just an explosion of technical detail. There are some sites that have an overview that are put up by the IPv6 task force, but they are so badly designed I don't want to link to them for fear of crashing someone's browser with the evilness.

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Slashdot tag system

Omnifarious Omnifarious writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Has anybody else noticed how the tagging system seems to have changed. Gone are the tags like 'fud', 'itsatrap', and 'haha'. No more 'slashvertisement' and the like either. I find the current set of tags bland and useless. They are OK for hunting down an article, but horrible for being able to tell anything about an article before you click on it.

I found 'slashvertisement' and a few of the other tags about chronic problems that the Slashdot editors tend not to acknowledge to be particularly helpful. Does anybody know how or why the tags became so bland?

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Looking for a job in or near Seattle

Omnifarious Omnifarious writes  |  more than 7 years ago

So, I'm looking for a job now. My résumé is updated and I've called a few people I know. I'm curious if any of you know anybody.

Here is what I'm looking for:

Ideally someone would point me at an investor who was interested in funding CAKE development for a couple of years with possibly another couple of people. The focus would be on creating a web-service that provided various services for CAKE users, not selling CAKE itself. A business model like LJs is the idea.

Barring that, I would really like to work for a company that wasn't so interested in someone who was capable of cranking out code. I'm not any good at that. I can program well, but I'm not fast, and I'm very cautious about working with a system I don't fully understand, especially if it's not easy to play with and test. OTOH, I am pretty good at talking to people about technical stuff, talking about design, pointing out flaws in designs, and creating new ones. So, a job that focused on the latter more than the former would be good.

And here's a few bullet points:

  • Working on code that was going to be published as Open Source code would be a huge plus.
  • I know Python and C++ best out of all the programming languages I know.
  • I would really vastly prefer working with a POSIX-like environment like Linux. :-)
  • I do best when working with systems level software, not UI software

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If people want to get together anyway

Omnifarious Omnifarious writes  |  more than 10 years ago

If people would like to get together anyway, despite the cancelled meetup, let's use this entry to arrange a time and place. :-) I was thinking of doing that anyway, and then droleary suggested it as well, so I'm all for it. :-)

I bought a new PowerBook as well, so I'd have a toy for people to ogle. :-)

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I have a job now

Omnifarious Omnifarious writes  |  more than 10 years ago

I'll be working for Amazon in Seattle. I'm going to have to move. So please, people here in Minnesota, sign up for this month's Slashdot meetup so I can say goodbye to you all before I go. :-)

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CAKE

Omnifarious Omnifarious writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Well, I have a name for my project, and a website. It will be known as CAKE. :-)

I need to set up a Wiki and a mailing list for it, and some other ways of getting feedback from people. I want to build a community around this project fairly quickly as there will be a number of aspects of the project that others would be much more suited to attacking than I.

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What's in a name?

Omnifarious Omnifarious writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Well, it's starting to come together a bit, and I'm needing a name. I'm building a protocol in which all objects are named with self verifying names that aren't human readable. Messages are sent to a public key, and are always signed by the sender's public key. Files are named by secure hashes of their contents. That kind of thing.

I have grand plans of using this protocol for email, instant messages, web browsing, remote filesystem and database access, and almost anything else you can imagine. I intend for the basics of the protocol to form a layer above TCP or UDP, though it should be able to be layered inside of almost anything. I intend to write layerings for SMTP/IMAP, and AIM/Yahoo/MSN/ICQ/Jabber (via a gaim plugin).

I have some of the basics working using a mixture of C++ and Python, but it's not quite ready for public consumption. One obstacle is a name. I made a post in my LiveJournal about naming it. I'd like input from people here, if they're interested. Please feel free to make posts (anonymous or otherwise) to my LiveJournal with opinions or suggestions.

I don't consider the non-human readability of the names to be an obstacle. After all, IP addresses aren't particularly human readable either.

Also, if you care to look at the source at it currently stands, it can be found at: http://www.cakem.net/

Subversion is great, and MUCH better than CVS, even though it's still in alpha/beta.

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Lost my job today

Omnifarious Omnifarious writes  |  more than 11 years ago

*sigh* The company I used to work for is barely staying afloat. They decided to jettison more development staff today in the attempt. They cut some really excellent people today. They won't be able to move things forward much at all now with so few people. :-(

Oh, well.

If anybody knows someone in MN who wants a really good C++ programmer who also knows enough Unix administration to be a good sysadmin, and who knows Python, Perl, some Java, and a whole slew of other stuff, post them here. :-)

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XML may not be answer, but I'm writing a parser anyway

Omnifarious Omnifarious writes  |  more than 11 years ago

Well, my XML parser understands XML well enough now to turn this:

<fred> <went> <down> <to> <the> <street> </street> <br/> </the> <a><store></store></a></to> </down> </went> </fred>

into this:

<fred>
  <went>
      <down>
        <to>
            <the>
              <street>
              </street>
              <br/>
            </the>
            <a>
              <store>
              </store>
            </a>
        </to>
      </down>
  </went>
</fred>

Yeah, maybe it doesn't seem like much, but in order for the code to do that, it has to understand what a start tag looks like, what an end tag looks like, and what an empty tag looks like. It also has to keep track of the nesting level.

I'm happy about all this because the parser is carefully designed to for two requirements. The first requirement being that it be as fast as possible. The second being that it give me pointers into the original text where the various elements and tags are. The second requirement allows me to cut out or replace pieces of XML documents without altering the parts I'm not changing.

Since the XML messages I'm working with may have pieces that are digitally signed, it is vitally important I leave them exactly as I found them. Any alteration, no matter how slight, would render the signature invalid, and the message would be rejected by the destination. Most XML parsers forget the original document as they construct an internal structure describing the various elements and their relationships that throws away superficial features (like spacing) found in the original document.

Anyway, I'm pleased with my progress. I've had to stop for careful thought along the way to make sure that it was as flexible and fast as possible. I think it'll be fairly widely useful when I'm done.

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Disappointing Slashdot meetup

Omnifarious Omnifarious writes  |  more than 11 years ago

Despite 8 people claiming they'd show up, only 3 actually did. It was still fun, but still something of a disappointment. Especially after I reserved a table for 6-12 people on Wednesday. :-(

I wish meetup.com had a way of leaving feedback for other people who claimed they would show up.

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Wiki's are fun

Omnifarious Omnifarious writes  |  more than 12 years ago

I'm trying to convince various groups I work with to start using Wiki's to collaborate. They seem like a collaboration method that has an impressive degree of flexibility and open-endedness. It makes them kind of fun to use and quick to create.

I've put up a Wiki for my homepage, and am hoping I get random people writing in it. :-) I should probably stick links to and from Wiki pages to documents in my technical section to try to spark debate and ideas.

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XML is not the answer

Omnifarious Omnifarious writes  |  more than 12 years ago

I've been discovering how bad XML is for designing protocols. For some non-technical reasons, I decided to design my next protocol in XML, and taught myself a lot about it.

Aside from the bloatedness of a tag system, the main thing about XML that makes it totally unsuitable for protocol design is its lack of a decent way to do enveloping or encapsulation.

Most protocols will carry data that has nothing to do with the protocol. They will be used in some capacity as a transport. XML makes it very hard to design protocols that can do this easily.

Anyway, this is less well written than I hoped, but I think my point is clear. :-)

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