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The Future According To Stanislaw Lem

RabidReindeer Re:So we're doomed to the world of Wall-E? (187 comments)

you don't read Lem for hard science.

Lem's concern wasn't on science, per se, it was on exploring alternative human conditions. The "science" was just a prop.

Like many Sci-Fi authors in the 1960s and later, Lem wasn't interested in the gee-whiz march of technology. At that point technology was marching fast enough that you either had to resort to problematic tech such as FTL drives and telepathy or risk having your science be disproven and your tech be obsolete within your own lifetime.

I too, am a Cyberiad fan, incidentally.

yesterday
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City of Turin To Switch From Windows To Linux and Save 6M Euros

RabidReindeer Re:maintenance costs (244 comments)

think about the savings from tech support & maintenance...

... because they won't need to support Linux or perform maintenance on it? Or do fairys do that for you with Linux?

Yep. The apt-get fairy does the maintenance. And it's considered axiomatic that a single operator can ride herd on about 10 times as many Linux machines as a Windows operator can on Windows machines.

The "retraining cost" boogeyman argument no longer carries any credibility. It's a lot easier for most people to adjust to a Linux desktop than it is to adjust to that montrosity that Windows 8 foisted on us.

2 days ago
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UK Ham Radio Reg Plans To Drop 15 min Callsign Interval and Allow Encryption

RabidReindeer Re:Scrap all the rules (104 comments)

You obviously haven't been paying close attention to Bugs Bunny if you think that he's a magic shelter. There's some really wicked humor in there. It just happens to go over our heads when we're young.

There is this ridiculous delusion of "innocence" when it comes to young children and sex. Children are are born aware of sexuality. One of the most embarrassing things about parenthood can be convincing them not to display that awareness in polite company.

Of course, there's porn and then there's S&M. But that's not so much sex as sex+violence, and as far as I'm concerned, it's the violence part that I'm worried about, just as much as I am when there's no sex, but lots of pistol-whipping, waterboarding, guns, and fists.

Our closest genetic relatives are chimpanzees and bonabos. Chimps have very rigid sexual controls, and they also display a lot of aggressiveness - including sexual attacks. Bonabos are very free and open about sex and reportedly a lot less inclined to be violent. Maybe they're on to something.

3 days ago
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UK Ham Radio Reg Plans To Drop 15 min Callsign Interval and Allow Encryption

RabidReindeer Re:Scrap all the rules (104 comments)

I entirely agree one should supervise children. Children should only be watching safe channels, and adults should supervise them. But your proposal is to invade the safe channel - to replace Cartoon Network with snuff movies. This is not putting porn where the unsupervised can find it, this is forcing porn into areas where reasonable people would not expect to find it.

It is not "children might", it is "you are forcing on children". The difference between consensual sex and rape, the difference between guns in self defence and firing at random in a shopping mall.

BS. It's putting objectionable material out in front of them, but unless you're doing a Clockwork Orange on them, the nasty little buggers don't have to watch it. They can switch channels or turn it off or leave the room.

It's called Free Will. And it's amazing how many of God's Anointed want to take it away from us.

Ultimately, it says that A) other people cannot be trusted to find their own way into Heaven, so we have to force them there. and B) we don't trust God to ensure that other people's life experiences won't allow them to become worthy in their own right.

Porn or no porn, for most of us, life is going to consist of all sorts of unpleasant experiences. It's what we make of the sum total of those experiences that counts. Parents - and other authority figures - are expected to train children, not control them. Leave that for the physical dangers of life. If they see porn and it traumatizes them, counsel them. Just like you should be counselling them over scenes of violence and destruction.

And if you don't believe in God, then the "Think of the Children" argument is pretty weak and you need to present scientific evidence.

3 days ago
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UK Ham Radio Reg Plans To Drop 15 min Callsign Interval and Allow Encryption

RabidReindeer Re:Scrap all the rules (104 comments)

You're not misunderstanding. They are encoding schemes and/or modulation techniques.

One of the differences is that anyone who knows the standard can decode the above. They don't need possession of a decryption key or device.

3 days ago
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UN Study Shows Record-High Increases For Atmospheric CO2 In 2013

RabidReindeer Re:Meanwhile in the real world... (427 comments)

Or maybe accept ALL the evidence and weigh the overall statistics instead of extrapolating from cherry-picked points. Realizing that the difference between statistical behavior and deterministic behavior is that there's a joke about a statistician who drowned in a lake averaging 2 inches deep. Because statistics are what you use when analyzing things that fluctuate a lot and occasionally do the exact opposite of what is expected. But only occasionally.

about a week ago
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Fedora To Get a New Partition Manager

RabidReindeer Re: So.... (170 comments)

Microsoft wasn't thoughtful enough to provide a port of Visual Basic for Linux. But there are lots of programs that deserve something between quick-and-dirty and full-on C or Java. Perl and Tcl were kind of filling that space, but one's write-only and the other isn't a complete system, but rather a way of stringing system tools together, one step up from raw shell scripts.

Python is Linux's version of Visual Basic. It's easy to understand, has a rich set of system interface libraries (which install without the frustration I tend to get from CPAN), is easy to write in, and even has code optimization support.

You could do worse.

about a week ago
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Fedora To Get a New Partition Manager

RabidReindeer Re: So.... (170 comments)

I considered moderating you, but I think this is really a case of <whine> "C++ is haaardddd, learning it enough to understand how to plug in a new module is going to take me months. Instead I'm going to rewrite it" </whine>

Or similar bullshit by people who think "scripting" languages are appropriate for base system tools. Now you will have python dependency hell every-time you want to do something simple like repartition your disks. Oh, and is that project python 2 or python 3? On and on..

Frankly, its fsking stupid and its another sign that redhat is jumping the shark.

Plus, do you really want to depend on the skills of some "leet" hacker that thinks python is an appropriate tool for this?

Considering that Anaconda itself is written in python, that shark is about 15 years in the rear-view mirror. They didn't pick the name "Anaconda" for nothing.

I guess that python was an appropriate tool after all.

about a week ago
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IT Job Hiring Slumps

RabidReindeer Re:bringing in more H1Bs will solve this problem (249 comments)

The problem is, there's no separation of concerns.

Fred Brook's Chief Programmer Team concept was based on the idea of a set of specialists each with separate concerns. In modern projects that would mean something like 1 (or more) person(s) for the web page design, possibly another (maybe on loan) for the artwork, maybe even 1 JavaScript expert and at least one person on the backend for the business logic and database interactions. Plus someone to co-ordinate it, architect it and - the horror! someone to document it.

However, getting people who are really good together and getting them to work together is espensive. In the current climate, it's considered smarter to demand that one single person fulfill (and be expert in) all of the above functions. This actually can take longer, since there's no opportunity for parallelization, but since it's less people, it's cheaper. Bonus points for getting it done offshore.

Quality? Security? Pffft! We'll do that in 2.0. Or maybe 4.0. Or not.

about two weeks ago
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Mozilla 1024-Bit Cert Deprecation Leaves 107,000 Sites Untrusted

RabidReindeer Re:FTFA (67 comments)

Yes. It's being dropped because it gave the illusion of security without the actuality.

Unfortunately, a LOT of very public websites are running on old expired certs, which isn't really any better.

People need to stop thinking that "software doesn't wear out" - meaning in this case, the security vouchers. Bits may remain unchanged, but the world does not, and if you expect the entire cost of the system is what you paid for at the "cash register" without accounting for ongoing maintenance, you're a fool.

about two weeks ago
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IT Job Hiring Slumps

RabidReindeer Re:bringing in more H1Bs will solve this problem (249 comments)

Unfortunately, a lot more employers are demanding quick-and-dirty JavaScript-style solutions than rigorous close-to-the-metal C solutions.

Because getting a pretty UI up in a hurry makes it look "done", but making something with quality takes time without "doing anything" that PHBs and users can see.

about two weeks ago
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You Got Your Windows In My Linux

RabidReindeer Re:What's wrong with Windows Server? (613 comments)

nobody with brains installs a GUI on the server.

And will someone PLEASE tell IBM and Oracle that?

I like Systemd in concept. It potentially allows setting up dependencies from the outside, much as Inversion of Control does in software. Meaning that the systems don't need to know as much about other systems because it's wired into the overall system configuration. And, unlike init scripts, you can make the management of subsystems dependent on the actual state of other subsystems, not simply assume that because one was scheduled to come up before another that that's what actually happened.

However, the one thing you should absolutely positively NEVER do is replace a major product with one that lacks critical commonly-used functions of the original product, and that's the fatal problem with not only systemd, but Gnome 3, and some would argue various versions of Nautilus.

And when developers ignore the angry mobs, tell them that they're unappreciative or stupid, or otherwise incapable of recognizing a Superior Product when they see it doesn't do any good for anyone. If your new shiny toy doesn't cut it, you either need to add those critical functions before shoving the old system off the pier or admit that your design is too flawed to handle it and go back to the drawing board.

I like systemd in concept and am prepared to become a full convert. But only when it restores the essential functions that systemd provided.

However, I totally loathe systemd's partner in crime journalctl and frankly don't see myself ever learning to love it. Too much replacing simple functions with complex commands and too much opacity in the log storage itself.

about two weeks ago
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You Got Your Windows In My Linux

RabidReindeer Re:What's wrong with Windows Server? (613 comments)

ActiveDirectory has less functionality than OpenLDAP. As for ease of administration, I set an OpenLDAP up last week. The hard part isn't setting up the server, it's maintaining the data in the server and for that I've used a Java GUI app for years.

I have installed Windows and Linux quite a bit over the years and for a long time, Windows was the ease-of-use winner. Especially in the very early days when I had to crack open the box, read off all the vendor and model information on the video and network cards, fiddle with DIP switches and hunt down drivers. For about 5 years now, however, it has actually been easier to install a Red Hat/Fedora or Ubuntu Linux for desktop use than it has been to install Windows.

And OSX isn't that different from Linux. If it's really easier to use it's simply because Apple corrals specializes in that. One of the ways they do that is by restricting what you can do with it. Linux is messier, true, but not really that much harder to administer via a DDD (drag/drop/drool) UI these days.

Ease of installation of commercial products can be problematical, definitely. A lot of the complex products are inexcusably difficult to install regardless of the target OS. However, that's really up to the vendor. And yes, it's true that commercial apps are frequently available only on selected distros. But that's partly because since they're closed-source and don't want to pay for the extra work to make their stuff run on every distro in the world no one else can handle the porting.

about two weeks ago
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Researchers Say Neanderthals Created Cave Art

RabidReindeer Re:Neanderthals = Humans (90 comments)

To say that Our ancestors mated with Neanderthals is not correct. Neanderthals are our ancestors, at least in some small part.

If the latter is correct, then so is the former, especially given the apparent lack of IVF technology at the time.

Not necessarily. There's only one alleged case of a Minotaur, for example.

about two weeks ago
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Research Shows RISC vs. CISC Doesn't Matter

RabidReindeer Re:isn't x86 RISC by now? (161 comments)

x86 instructions, are in fact, decoded to micro opcodes, so the distinction isn't as useful in this context.

They're not the only ones. The IBM mainframes have long been VMs implemented on top of various microcode platforms. In fact, one of the original uses of the 8-inch floppy disk was to hold the VM that would be loaded up during the Initial Microprogram Load (IMPL), before the IPL (boot) of the actual OS. So in a sense, the Project Hercules mainframe emulator is just repeating history.

Nor were they unusual. In school I worked with a minicomputer which not only was a VM on top of microcode, but you could extend the VM by programming to the microcode yourself.

The main differences between RISC and CISC, as I recall were lots of registers and the simplicity of the instruction set. Both the Intel and zSeries CISC instruction sets have lots of registers, though. So the main difference between RISC and CISC would be that you could - in theory - optimize "between" the CISC instructions if you coded RISC instead.

Presumably somebody tried this, but didn't get benefits worth shouting about.

Incidentally, the CISC instruction set of the more recent IBM z machines includes entire C stdlib functions such as strcpy in a single machine-language instruction.

about three weeks ago
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Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

RabidReindeer Re:The US slides back to the caves (528 comments)

Riiiiight. And you don't eat French fries, you eat FREEDOM fries.

So there.

Who says we don't do metric? They can hardly keep those 3-liter bottles of Coke on the shelves at Wal-Mart!

about three weeks ago
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Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

RabidReindeer Re:The US slides back to the caves (528 comments)

Because of the size of the population (which exceeds that of all Europe)

It always surprise me how americans see the world: in their head.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W...

Europe: population is 742 millions
USA: population is 352 millions

Yes, there are people outside the USA, and MUCH MUCH more than inside. And you still don't know it and display your ignorance right out there for everyone to see... Nice job, really.

Then there's Indonesia. Population approx. 247 million. Most of them MUSLIM!

There's other continents besides Europe and North America, too.

To be fair, Europe is a continent while the United States is a country. A more accurate comparison would be North America versus Europe, which would be 742M to 565M. Of course the continent of Europe includes Russia, which most people don't include. Take out Russia and the two populations are very closely matched. If you want to compare by country, then the US still is many times larger than most European countries.

about three weeks ago
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Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

RabidReindeer Re:The US slides back to the caves (528 comments)

Of course the continent of Europe includes Russia, which most people don't include.

I think you'll find that most people include Russia as part of Europe.

Or maybe it's Russia the considers Europe as part of them.

about three weeks ago

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