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Comments

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Verizon, Cable Lobby Oppose Spec-Bump For Broadband Definition

Rob Riggs The Quality of One's Democracy, Internet Edition (255 comments)

One of the tell-tale signs of the quality of a country's democracy in the internet age is the difference in upload versus download bandwidth allocated to the average internet user. Do the people get a voice, or is the internet a receive-only medium?

2 days ago
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By the Numbers: The Highest-Paying States For Tech Professionals

Rob Riggs Re:Salary versus cost of living in each city (136 comments)

Cost of living (COL) is one thing... quality of life (QOL) is another. I moved from Colorado to Chicago. I did that because the pay was better and it seemed that the COL was about equivalent based on a number of online COL calculators. What one realizes when one gets here is that the COL for the same QOL is actually quite a bit higher. Now, I feel like I came out ahead, but not as far ahead as I had imagined.

Here's the deal: the COL is based on the average cost of housing, food, energy, transportation, taxes, etc; the stuff that makes up the average household budget. Housing and taxes typically account for the largest factors in COL differences. For Chicago, housing prices includes some real hell-holes, where the likelihood of getting shot is higher than some places in the world we consider war zones. This accounts for a surprisingly large part of the city's south and west sides. Buying a home in a "safe" part of the city is rather expensive, or one lives way out in the suburbs and spends hours and $$$ commuting each day. Overall, the average quality of life for the same income in Chicago is much lower.

So, if you consider moving for money, take into account not just COL but also QOL.

I have yet to see an online COL calculator take both into account. If you know of one, post a link.

4 days ago
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Tiny Fanless Mini-PC Runs Linux Or Windows On Quad-core AMD SoC

Rob Riggs Re:Benchmarks for that AMD chip look bad... (180 comments)

Really? For 4W TDP? Versus the top tier Intel i7 @ 47W? It depends on what you are measuring.

about two weeks ago
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Tiny Fanless Mini-PC Runs Linux Or Windows On Quad-core AMD SoC

Rob Riggs Re:Cluster (180 comments)

In Soviet Russia, Beowulf cluster imagines you!

about two weeks ago
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How To Hijack Your Own Windows System With Bundled Downloads

Rob Riggs Re:I think the term you're looking for is.. (324 comments)

Some lawyer is going to make a boatload when he organizes the class action lawsuit against CNET and download.com. There's money to be made here.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

Rob Riggs Skipping Record (790 comments)

You no longer hear a skipping record as the needle hits a scratch and bounces out of the track. Or pops and clicks from dust. Or the pop of the needle jumping the groove every other second when you've reached the end of the record.

about three weeks ago
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How Close Are We To Engineering the Climate?

Rob Riggs Re:Start with Venus... (319 comments)

Transferring an ice moon across Earth's orbit is something I'd rather avoid for the next 50 years or so. You are welcome to play planetary billiards when I'm gone. Thanks.

about three weeks ago
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Thync, a Wearable That Zaps Your Brain To Calm You Down or Amp You Up

Rob Riggs Re:Placebo effect? (154 comments)

How do you know it's not a placebo effect, though?

Test it against people with fake brains.

about three weeks ago
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Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ

Rob Riggs Re:islam (1350 comments)

Marxism is a religion? If that is the case then Capitalism is a religion.

OK, I see your point.

about three weeks ago
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Little-Known Programming Languages That Actually Pay

Rob Riggs Re:ASN.1/SMI (242 comments)

Well, they are not languages that you will be paid to program in either. The are domain-specific knowledge that a programmer in a common language (C++, Java) may need to know for a specific job. Companies may be looking for a "C++ programmer for network development that preferably knows ASN.1". If they are hiring an "ASN.1 programmer for network development that preferably knows C++", run away fast.

about three weeks ago
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Who's Responsible When Your Semi-Autonomous Shopping Bot Purchases Drugs Online?

Rob Riggs Only Semi-Autonomous? (182 comments)

If it were autonomous, you'd be free and clear. But this "semi-autonomous" bit leads me to believe you were semi-involved.

about three weeks ago
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Professor: Young People Are "Lost Generation" Who Can No Longer Fix Gadgets

Rob Riggs Re:some modern electronic gagets can not be fixed (840 comments)

With the exception of BGA a decent soldering iron is fine for SMD. I can solder a 144 pin 0.5mm QFP quicker than I can solder a through hole 40 pin DIP component.

I would love to see you fix a board with a bad QFP with only a soldering iron. A hot-air rework station is a far more appropriate tool for removing said QFP if it is in need of replacement. We are talking about fixing broken electronics after all.

about three weeks ago
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Professor: Young People Are "Lost Generation" Who Can No Longer Fix Gadgets

Rob Riggs Re:Also (840 comments)

And they're terrible with cave drawings.

We call it "graffiti" these days. And, yes, I agree it is terrible.

about three weeks ago
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Professor: Young People Are "Lost Generation" Who Can No Longer Fix Gadgets

Rob Riggs Re:some modern electronic gagets can not be fixed (840 comments)

A soldering iron? You are using the wrong tool. We have new tools for handling surface mount components that work just as well as a soldering iron does for through-hole work. Real humans can and do fix surface mount electronics.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Progressive Glasses a Mistake For Computer Users?

Rob Riggs Re:Optometrist? (464 comments)

You totally massacred the recent research that was in the news

Take it up with my lawyers: Dewey, Cheetham and Howe.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Progressive Glasses a Mistake For Computer Users?

Rob Riggs Re:Optometrist? (464 comments)

This is "the boat payment is due" theory of medical and automotive malpractice first postulated by Click and Clack, the Tappet Bros. This was later bolstered in a recent landmark article in JAMA. The upshot is when the doctor is away and unable to schedule unneeded costly procedures, the patient is more likely to survive. The corollary is that the doctors have their best interest in mind, not the patient's.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Should We Do About the DDoS Problem?

Rob Riggs Global Cops (312 comments)

We need the global equivalent of a police force. We no longer live in a world divided by borders. We need an elected (not appointed) global government, with global laws, and with a world police force that can go after people whose crimes cross international boundaries.

OK.. now tell me one reason why this is a really bad idea. And then tell me how you would address that specific problem.

about a month ago
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Designing the Best Board Game

Rob Riggs The Drinking (155 comments)

If you can't make a drinking game out of it, it's not worth playing.

about a month 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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