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Comments

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I'm most interested in robots that will...

Rob Riggs Re:Pleasure (306 comments)

I'm sure you have those filed under "Documentaries", along with your "Gilligan's Island" collection.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft To Open Source .NET and Take It Cross-Platform

Rob Riggs Re:"Server Stack"? (524 comments)

Sure, but Xamarin doesn't target the Linux desktop for their development tools or desktop/GUI apps. I have a whole bunch of software engineers that would switch to Xamarin if it meant they could do .NET development (including GUI development) on Linux.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft To Open Source .NET and Take It Cross-Platform

Rob Riggs "Server Stack"? (524 comments)

Does this mean that the client-side stuff (WPF) will be missing? .NET is a lot less useful if the GUI components are still missing.

about two weeks ago
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PC Cooling Specialist Zalman Goes Bankrupt Due To Fraud

Rob Riggs Re: Just (208 comments)

Classically, capitalism relies on producing goods that people want at prices people are willing to pay for them.

Bullshit. Classically, capitalism has a solitary defining feature: the private acquisition of capital. It is solely about who controls the resources used to produce goods. Lying and cheating are time-honored practices of modern capitalism.

about two weeks ago
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Physicists Resurrect an Old, Strange Dark Matter Theory

Rob Riggs Re:"Baseball-sized" (138 comments)

Baseball sized? No, no no,no. I have a much more plausible theory: the Universe is just god's Croquet course.

about two weeks ago
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Android 5.0 Makes SD Cards Great Again

Rob Riggs Re:Have they fixed the permissions system yet? (214 comments)

So that I can control an installed apps permissions one by one? Or do I still have to grant all apps all permissions (which is what it was in practice)?

As an Android user, I really appreciate this sentiment. I would love to control the permissions of my apps, especially the ones that I know are designed to violate my privacy.

As an Android developer, the thought of how this would impact the testing of my apps is troubling. Much of my code depends on being able to do certain things. The simple fact of software development is that "all untested code has bugs". So now I need to test my app with all combinations of requested permissions disabled. That would, even for my simple app requiring only 5 permissions, result in a 32x increase in testing effort. Far more likely scenario: I would make sure that all needed permissions are available and, if not, just refuse to start.

about three weeks ago
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Computer Scientist Parachutes From 135,908 Feet, Breaking Record

Rob Riggs Re:Being a computer scientist (175 comments)

The word "of" has no meaning in the context you typed it.

If he wanted your opinion, he'd axe for it.

about a month ago
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FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

Rob Riggs Re:Probably Not (572 comments)

Two years ago I had no clue that counterfeit chips existed. All I would have known is that there is a chip marked FTDI on the board and the serial drivers worked. What more QC is expected from a board supplier who may be producing a few hundred boards for a niche market and making a few thousand dollars per run?

about a month ago
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FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

Rob Riggs Re:Probably Not (572 comments)

Pardon the stray comma.

about a month ago
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FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

Rob Riggs Probably Not (572 comments)

As a "maker" who sells small runs of boards that I have manufactured in China by an assembly house, I trust that they will build the board to spec. But I do not have the wherewithal to manage and secure my supply chain from start to finish. If I specify a part, I trust that the assembly house uses genuine parts. If they do not, I don't know what sort of recourse I have if, two years, later, all of my parts start being bricked. But I certainly see it from FTDI's perspective (and Prolific, another serial chip manufacturer with the same problem). It's a really tough problem. I don't know what the right answer is. Maybe create a standard for USB serial interfaces that everyone can use? I think that already exists (the CDC).

about a month ago
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FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

Rob Riggs Re:On the other hand... (700 comments)

Fake chips are a problem. Bricking equipment that includes fake chips is also a problem.

Companies are responsible for protecting their trademark. This is trademark protection, pure and simple. It's the cyber-equivalent of a Cease & Desist, where the companies have the power to enforce the C&D on their own.

One of the things that they are going to get out of this is the names of all the big products that use counterfeit chips. The makers of those products are going to be responsible for fixing the problem.

My guess is that many of these are going to just trace back to PCB manufacturers in China that were buying fake chips to cut costs and boost profit. The product manufacturer may have specified legitimate parts, but fakes were substituted by the contract manufacturer. If that is the case, it will be interesting to see how the Chinese deal with this.

about 1 month ago
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Isaac Asimov: How Do People Get New Ideas?

Rob Riggs Re:Bell Labs (150 comments)

And yet C and Unix came about because someone wanted to play games.

So what is the excuse for the existence of emacs? Surely it wasn't editing text.

about a month ago
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Isaac Asimov: How Do People Get New Ideas?

Rob Riggs Re:Gosh! A friend of THE Isaac Asimov! (150 comments)

Nobody expects the grammar inquisition!

You haven't been on /. long if you didn't expect the grammar inquisition.

about a month ago
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Developers, IT Still Racking Up (Mostly) High Salaries

Rob Riggs Re: How many really make $140k ? (198 comments)

Any big tech area where you can wear shorts year round is a hell hole.

about a month ago
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Developers, IT Still Racking Up (Mostly) High Salaries

Rob Riggs Re:How many really make $140k ? (198 comments)

When someone says "Megacorp", they typically mean this. There are a few companies on that list that will pay that (GS, INTC, JPM, MSFT), depending on where you work. But the majority will not.

about a month ago
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Developers, IT Still Racking Up (Mostly) High Salaries

Rob Riggs Re: How many really make $140k ? (198 comments)

You can made decent money outside the big tech areas, in the smaller cities where quality of life tends to be higher. The trade-off is that you have to be willing to uproot and move to a completely different small city to chase other job opportunities. The demand for tech workers (and the commensurate pay) exists -- they just are not concentrated in a small area. But if you are unwilling to move (and your potential employer knows this), then they have a huge advantage when its comes to negotiating salary.

about a month ago
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Ubuntu Turns 10

Rob Riggs Re:debian to be forked (110 comments)

We definitely need a place for these dinosaurs to roam freely. It is really the perfect solution. They will build their own zoo. We can keep an eye on them from a distance.

about a month ago
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Fighting the Culture of 'Worse Is Better'

Rob Riggs I agree!! (240 comments)

All of my competitors should adopt the author's philosophy of software development immediately. His ivory tower FP idealism is worthy of emulation by all.

I will keep muddling through based on years of experience, leveraging existing code and know-how, maintaining backwards compatibility, planning long-term changes that sometimes take years to complete, deprecating unneeded features in as non-disruptive a manner as possible. And then, when the opportunity arises to do something radically different (like with the C++ "auto" keyword), make it happen. We're called pragmatic programmers. We are clearly losers. Do not emulate what we do.

about a month ago
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The Malware of the Future May Come Bearing Real Gifts

Rob Riggs Re:Malware (103 comments)

It's already here. They're called smartphone apps.

Exactly. If the ${INSERT_SPY_ORG_HERE} wants to know what you are doing, you will only be presented with a notice that one of your apps has been updated. The government with the most influence over the companies that control the app stores wins the spy war. There are three majors. They are all multinationals based in the U.S.

When any one of these companies stops playing ball with the U.S., their IRS tax bill will come due. That's your clue to how well they are protecting your privacy.

about a month and a half ago
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It's Banned Books Week; I recommend ...

Rob Riggs Nabokov - Lolita (410 comments)

Lolita is considered by many to be one of the 100 best books of the 20th century.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Economists: selfish bastards

Rob Riggs Rob Riggs writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Rob Riggs (6418) writes "Cory Doctorow has started an interesting discussion at Boing Boing based on research he's doing for a new book. The conclusion from the research he has found? Economists are more selfish than non-economists, and the more one studies economics, the more selfish one gets. Cory writes:

In the course of researching my next novel, I happened upon this old paper by Robert H. Frank, Thomas Gilovich, and Dennis T. Regan, "Does Studying Economics Inhibit Cooperation?" Its conclusions: Economics grad students are more likely to free ride than the general public. Economists are less generous than other academics in charitable giving. Economics undergrads are more likely to defect in prisoner's dilemma problems. Students are less likely to return found money after studying economics but not after studying another subject like astronomy.

"

Journals

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JPackage is Evil

Rob Riggs Rob Riggs writes  |  more than 10 years ago I am leading a project at work where we are building components to extend an enterprise-scale software system. We are mostly a Sun shop. Most of the new components are being built to run primarily on Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (AS3) to be exact. Some of the new components are being written in Java.

Most of the software installs for our in-house software is done using a rather archaic system and I want to do better on the Linux systems.

Being a long-time Linux user and admin, I wanted to make sure that we were managing our software installations and dependencies using the excellent package manager, RPM. When it came time to do the initial rollout of the first Java components, I looked around for pre-packaged components and was excited to find the JPackage Project. These guys have all of the most useful Sun and third-party Java software packaged up in RPM format.

I had no idea how evil these people were at the time.

Red Hat AS3 comes with its own set of Java components, including a JVM, ant (a common java build tool used to replace make) and a few others. The development servers seemed OK and the packages build. I installed the missing dependencies from the JPackage Project and everything was looking good. My workstation is a Fedora Core 1 box, so I had to install a few more components from JPackage on my machine than I did on the development servers.

I had all of the dependencies met for the software I was about to package up, and it took only a few minutes with wget and rpm to get there. I was ready to start building the package for the new software.

Here's where things start to go horribly wrong.

Ant would not work on my machine. I kept getting tracebacks about dependencies not being found. This was bizarre. Ant all worked on the development server. And ant worked on my workstation when run as root! I took me a while to look into all of the obvious potential causes: paths, environment, permissions, etc. Everything looked like it should work.

Then I decided to trace the script that instantiated the JVM and ran ant. It was setting different (and wrong!) environment variables. It was looking for its jar files in /opt/abacus, the location I have RPM configured (through my own .rpmmacros file) to use as the location to build packages for (the %_prefix). Why the hell was it doing that?

It took me a couple minutes looking at the the JPackage configuration system to discover, to my horror, that it was using the RPM build environemnt for runtime configuration. WTF?!? The RPM build environemnt is not a runtine configuration system. It is a build configuration system.

So now I am a bit disturbed that anyone would do such a thing. I sent an email to the person who built the ant RPM for the JPackage project:

I got your contact information from the JPackage RPM of Ant. I am trying to use Ant with RPM, but it seems to me that the Ant shell script that is provided with the RPM is doing some (IMHO) screwy things to set up its environment. It is invoking rpm to evaluate various rpm build variables to set up various environment variables. This completely breaks Ant when I need to change the %_prefix variable for RPM. The RPM build variables are just that: build variables. They have no relation to the runtime environment, which is what the Ant script is assuming. Do you know who is responsible for maintaining that script and how I can contact them?

This was forwarded to the JPackage mailing list and conversation ensued. There was at least one person who agreed with me about the problem, but the majority of responses were from the incredulous (saying I am doing something wrong) to the blasé.

The last quote in the thread were:

> I am still
> holding that %_bindir must be defined to `/usr/bin', and that if your
> build environment does not match your runtime environment then you're in
> serious trouble.
I agree. However it's not worth the arguing IMHO. Let people discover by
themselves the joys of using non-standard paths in a shared env.

And that, my friends, is just evil. Anyone who know RPM will know how evil that is. The JPackage developers do not understand RPM and are usurping it. This sort of attitude can harm RPM in the long run. And they don't care.

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