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It's Banned Books Week; I recommend ...

Rob Riggs Nabokov - Lolita (404 comments)

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

about a week ago

Astrophysicists Identify the Habitable Regions of the Entire Universe

Rob Riggs Re:How do we know life can't adapt to it? (80 comments)

To get a sense of the energies involved: if you're a light-year way from a supernova, the neutrinos will kill you, even though they barely interact with matter at all.

Complete and utter bullshit. You are pulling numbers out of your ass. I give you the truth. I stopped reading your post after that sentence.

about two weeks ago

'Why Banana Skins Are Slippery' Wins IgNobel

Rob Riggs Re:It's the early morning people who are nuts (127 comments)

Plural of anecdote = data?

And thus you prove to the world one and for all that all those young whipper snappers really are psychopaths.

about two weeks ago

iOS 8 Review

Rob Riggs Bluetooth SPP (216 comments)

Wake me up when Apple supports Bluetooth SPP on iOS.

about two weeks ago

ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Rob Riggs Re:Anti-math and anti-science ... (981 comments)

You do realize that "gates of Vienna" is a reference to the Islamic expansion into Europe which was only halted at... Vienna?

If you want to know why people are a bit dismissive of the OP's post, please read this critique of the website the OP linked to. Trust me when I say that you don't want to get your history lessons from that site.

about two weeks ago

The State of ZFS On Linux

Rob Riggs Re:Still no SELinux support (370 comments)

many believe that SELinux is causes more problems than it solves

I've met those people. Not impressed.

about three weeks ago

Universal Big Bang Lithium Deficit Confirmed

Rob Riggs !Big Bang (171 comments)

I guess that disproves the Big Bang Theory! Now what show am I going to watch?

about three weeks ago

GM To Introduce Hands-Free Driving In Cadillac Model

Rob Riggs Re:Commercial Vehicles (185 comments)

Actually, that was my point entirely. I would like this stuff vetted by professionals first. My father was a long-haul driver, so I have quite a bit of respect for the profession. They are going to have a lot more valuable input on the safety of these systems than the general public.

about three weeks ago

GM To Introduce Hands-Free Driving In Cadillac Model

Rob Riggs Driverless Indy 500 / LeMans (185 comments)

It's time to start having driver-less automobile races! I'd actually watch the after-race interviews with the pit crews and programmers.

about three weeks ago

GM To Introduce Hands-Free Driving In Cadillac Model

Rob Riggs Commercial Vehicles (185 comments)

I would think that this sort of technology would be tried out on commercial vehicles (long-haul trucks, local delivery vehicles, taxis, etc.) first, before letting it loose on amateur drivers. I also think it is high time to replace Chicago's CTA drivers (especially on the 'L') with this technology.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

Rob Riggs Java Unsigned Int (729 comments)

Lack of unsigned numeric types, especially when dealing with binary (octet) data streams. Drives me up the fracking wall.

about a month ago

Akamai Warns: Linux Systems Infiltrated and Controlled In a DDoS Botnet

Rob Riggs CVEs? (230 comments)

CVEs or it doesn't exist.

Any /. article that talks about security vulnerabilities or exploits and does not reference the relevant CVEs in the summary is a worthless piece of shit.

about a month ago

US Government Fights To Not Explain No-Fly List Selection Process

Rob Riggs Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (248 comments)

Is there any possible way that a 'No Fly List' could be constitutional?

Do American citizens have a constitutional right to fly?

about a month ago

Brown Dwarf With Water Clouds Tentatively Detected Just 7 Light-Years From Earth

Rob Riggs Re:Is this the missing "dark matter"? (85 comments)

You think your argument is strong with Sun containing 98% of the Solar system's total mass? It is actually something like 99.8%!!

Yep. Here's a good source for the relative masses of the solar system object: It does not include the Oort Cloud, which is though to contain about 5 Earth masses of material.

about a month ago

A Movie of Triton Made From Voyager 2's Fly-by 25 Years Ago

Rob Riggs Re:Trying to keep up (34 comments)

So asking questions now equals trolling?

Sure. Sometimes.

How much does it cost to screw your mom? Is it true that she is a cheap whore?

(Note to mods: I am being instructive here.)

about a month ago

A Movie of Triton Made From Voyager 2's Fly-by 25 Years Ago

Rob Riggs Re:How much, and other questions (34 comments)

Might it be one of the most expensive movies ever?

Asks an ignorant troll...

Considering it was made with 25 year old footage, it was probably one of the cheapest movies ever made.

The U.S. spends $324 billion dollars a year on entertainment*. tThe cost of the Voyager II program ($865 million dollars*) over 40 years is equal to about 22 millon dollars per year. A drop in the bucket. The Pioneer and Voyager missions have spawned an entire cottage industry of "science-based edutainment shows" on TV like "Through the Wormhole" and "Cosmos". That program has paid for itself many, many times over.

How do we determine how much to spend on stuff with little or no payback?

I have no idea. But the Voyager mission has certainly paid for itself many times over.

*CONSUMER EXPENDITURES--2012; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

**Voyager, The Interstallar Mission; NASA

about a month ago

Book Review: Social Engineering In IT Security Tools, Tactics, and Techniques

Rob Riggs Sex: a social engineering tool (45 comments)

Please help me with research on my new IT Security book...

about a month ago

Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'

Rob Riggs Re:Well, you have mine. (727 comments)

My primary desktop has been running Linux since November 1994 (Slackware -> Red Hat -> Fedora). We are going to hit the 2 decade mark in a few months.

about a month and a half ago

Selectable Ethics For Robotic Cars and the Possibility of a Robot Car Bomb

Rob Riggs Re:"Philosophically, this opens up an interesting (239 comments)

Just wait until the AI has to keep track of liability awards so that it can make the correct decision regarding minimizing liability. At some point you are going to have a stupid jury award and all the cars are just going to refuse to go anywhere because the AI's cost benefit analysis says "just stay in park".

about a month and a half ago



Economists: selfish bastards

Rob Riggs Rob Riggs writes  |  about 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.




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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