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Clinton Calls For "Ground Rules" Protecting Internet

Poodleboy Oh really? (205 comments)

Presumably, then, by "openness" Ms. Clinton means "subject only to regulation by big media," because until the Obama administration makes material strides to back the FCC in regulating real net neutrality, that's what we get. Our internet speech may not be impeded by the red-herring "kill switch," but it surely will by the Verizons and Comcasts and AT&Ts that control the packets.

more than 3 years ago

A 3D Lego Fabricator Made of Lego

Poodleboy Physical recursion! (87 comments)

It would rock if they programmed it in Lisp...

more than 3 years ago

Are Desktop Firewalls Overkill?

Poodleboy Re:Flash drives, tarballs, &c. (440 comments)

Good question. It seems to me that a "firewall" in the normal sense of the thing that allows connections only on particular ports using particular protocols will not protect against such infections, but I got the impression from the article that the author was using the term more loosely than that. His example of the SQL Slammer suggests this, because presumably it arrives through acceptable firewall (in the strict sense) doors...

more than 3 years ago

Are Desktop Firewalls Overkill?

Poodleboy Flash drives, tarballs, &c. (440 comments)

So how does this protect users against infected flash drives, downloaded tarballs, &c.?

more than 3 years ago

September Is Cyborg Month

Poodleboy How about Norbert Weiner? (118 comments)

This is absurd. Dr. Weiner published his seminal book "Cybernetics" in 1948...

about 4 years ago

HTML Web App Development Still Has a Ways To Go

Poodleboy Mostly (279 comments)

I can agree with all of this except the "backed by a major vendor" part, which seems superfluous... Design is all about maintaining a coherent vision of the end product, whereas hammering a tin shed on the side of the Taj Mahal is always a bad idea, particularly for maintainability and robustness. What isn't clear to me is why I need a vendor to supply my vision when I've already had years of education and experience...

more than 4 years ago

Google To Answer Your Questions Directly

Poodleboy "The Last Question..." (145 comments)

With apologies to Isaac Asimov, "Google, is there any way to reverse entropy?"

more than 4 years ago

New Russian Science City Modeled On Silicon Valley

Poodleboy Russian Tradition? (213 comments)

The "Russian tradition of building secret towns?" Towns like Oak Ridge, TN, or Los Alamos, NM, or Hanford, WA, maybe? Explain again how this project is doomed to fail as a government effort to make a technological leap. On the contrary, our own experience is great success doing this sort of thing. Nor is this an American peculiarity--the Germans very successfully built an entire town at Peenemunde to develop and construct V-2 rockets. In fact, here in America we capitalized on this success by moving its authors, notably Werner von Braun, to Huntsville, AL where we created yet another failed government experiment to land men on the moon...

I'm thinking that people should read a bit less Ayn Rand science fiction and a bit more actual history.

more than 4 years ago

Math Skills For Programmers — Necessary Or Not?

Poodleboy Oh, good lord... (609 comments)

You don't need carpentry skills to build a chair, either, just the tools. It will, however, be a piece of junk. It will be wobbly, ugly, dangerous, and short-lived.

more than 4 years ago

The Cloud Ate My Homework

Poodleboy Re:Censorship. (305 comments)

Yes, of course I went from private school library to municipality, that is my whole point. Censorship is not always infringing upon peoples' right to free speech, yet it is still censorship, i.e. the suppression of anything considered objectionable. When practiced by a minority it is simply annoying, but when it's institutionalized it's damaging, because *then* it detracts from free speech.

Once censorship becomes an infringement, though, it's a bit late to address the problem. Instead, we need to keep our eyes open and avoid it while it's still just annoying, particularly when the writing is on the wall, as it were...

more than 4 years ago

The Cloud Ate My Homework

Poodleboy Re:Censorship. (305 comments)

You have a point, ceoyoyo, but I don't think it's a very good one. Your point is that the cloud's servers are private, so the owners are free to use them any way they please. Certainly that is true, but this doesn't exclude the fact that they are censoring content if they disallow the sharing of material that they have, alone, whimsically determined to be "offensive." The building metaphor is persuasive, but misleading--a building is not an information medium. Graffiti is offensive, indeed a crime, not because of its semantic content but because of the paint. A more apt metaphor would be that of a private school library refusing to shelve Salinger's "Catcher in The Rye" because it offends the librarian. He has every right to exclude anything from his library that he likes, but it's still censorship.

The argument that I can share my material elsewhere, like here at Slashdot for example, doesn't change the fact that the cloud owners are censoring content, it only changes the *effect* of the censorship. A sophomore in the private school can always get "Catcher in The Rye" in a public library, or buy it himself. If, however, municipalities ban the book from their library shelves, and then private bookstores prefer not to stock it for fear of offending their customer base, then we have a problem. A bunch of yahoos burning books in a parking lot is pretty harmless, but if the yahoos are the majority or the authority then it becomes frightening. Somewhere in between "harmless" and "frightening" is cause for alarm--the question is, where?

I raised the point (hardly a rant), because I believe that there is some cause for concern here. First, the very private companies that market their clouds have, in the past, colluded with governments in order to censor content. Clearly, for the people of China, this is bad--the equivalent of the "frightening" scenario above. One may argue who cares, we don't live in China, but our own federal government and some states have moved or are planning to shift their information services to privately owned clouds. So ultimately, even here in the USA, a private cloud can actually be public.

That is why we should all be wary of censorship on private cloud computing platforms.

more than 4 years ago

The Cloud Ate My Homework

Poodleboy Censorship. (305 comments)

"Censorship" is the proper word to describe this. The notion that I cannot express myself except in some "inoffensive" manner, for whatever values of "inoffensive" are acceptable to the owner of the cloud. I can see the "great wall cloud of China" already. Haven't big search companies already kowtowed to the Chinese government in order to access their markets? Is it inconceivable that Google would agree to Chinese government review of shared documents in order to serve the Chinese "cloud computing" market? I don't think it is.

Even here, imagine trying to write almost any kind of literary critique of Henry Miller, Ferdinand Celine or Vladimir Nabakov...

more than 4 years ago

Breathalyzer Source Code Ruling Upheld

Poodleboy Re:Double-edged sword... (520 comments)

I agree that there will be such bugs. Reviewing the code may or may not reveal them. It seems to me that if the question is one of whether or not the device works properly, then submitting to testing by an independent laboratory is a much better way to find out, and one that doesn't compromise the company. In my experience, we prove that we meet software requirements by testing, not by peer review.

more than 5 years ago

Finding Better Tech Broadcasts?

Poodleboy Forget your television. (205 comments)

If you want to learn about something complex and nuanced, then your television is the wrong place to look. It has been argued by sociologists like Neil Postman in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death, and even by admen themselves, like Jerry Mander in his Four Arguments for The Elimination of Television, that the medium of television is a poor conduit for complex ideas.

Even the networks which have not arguably been "dumbed down," like the History Channel mentioned here, are a pretty poor provider of accurate detail, although they are certainly entertaining. For example, the "Engineering an Empire" program covering they Byzantines suggested that the Emperor Justinian was a brilliant leader, whereas in fact he was not a visionary at all, but an easily manipulated tool whose military victories in Europe, vaunted by the program, were provided by his general Belisarius (cf. Lord Mahon's The Life of Belisarius).

Personally, I recommend books for the fundamentals and periodicals from the IEEE or ACM for the leading edge. Television is only good for a broad overview of the current buzz, not for diving deep into anything.

more than 5 years ago



Twitter, anyone?

Poodleboy Poodleboy writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Poodleboy (226682) writes "If you're old like me, then you may be wondering what's the use of Twitter. Beyond reading highly epitomized versions of Homer's Iliad, what's the point? Is it a social tool, a business tool or both? This article in Today's Engineer examines the issue, from the arguably frumpy perspective of the IEEE. The question is this: is this just the last generation's view of the thing, or is its analysis consistent with younger users as well? What do you do with it?"
Link to Original Source


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