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Comments

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US Army May Relax Physical Requirements To Recruit Cyber Warriors

RyoShin Re:What a great idea! (307 comments)

I enlisted in late 2009, right before the Army significantly raised the enlistment requirements, and before going in for the pre-enlistment stuff (urinalysis, medical check, etc.) my recruiter had myself and others going to enlist fill out a yes/no questionnaire. After that they took us into the office, closed the door, and told us that if we didn't answer "No" to every one of those questions (which included prior drug use) we would be turned away from the military.[1] So I was a good little lemming, did so, and went to Basic four months later.[2] While I never thought to poll my fellow enlisted, I would not be surprised if this was a common thing.

[1] And then said that he would outright deny ever saying that if we told anyone. In hindsight, this should have been a red flag to me.
[2] I have no prior drug use, but I did answer yes to things on the recruiter's questionnaire, like if I had seasonal allergies

yesterday
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British Army Looking For Gamers For Their Smart-Tanks

RyoShin Re:Great (163 comments)

ger-happy twitchy gamers who are able to follow commands, complete objectives, ask no questions, question no commands.

Don't forget Achievements!

2 days ago
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The Inevitable Death of the Internet Troll

RyoShin Re:Holy fucking wrong (570 comments)

Learn the fucking laws people, and I mean you too police officers, and fucking use them properly.

While I agree with your statement in full, it belies the problem. You see, law enforcement has not caught up with the ease of harassing people online.
1) Most police units are barely aware of online activity past trying to catch people boasting on Facebook about breaking the law.
2) Even if they were aware, most don't see this harassment as more than some form of bullying (and most adults don't see bullying as anywhere near the huge problem it really is)
3) If they are aware and see it as a real, law-related problem, they probably have no funds to pursue it
4) If they have funds to pursue it, they need to be able to identify the perp
5) In most cases the harasser, the site(s) where s/he does most of the harassing, or both are in another jurisdiction. Now their legal system has to be involved.
6) GOTO 1

This ignores the barriers to getting the identity of the harasser, even if you can get the site to cooperate (unlikely without a subpoena/warrant, unlikely without cooperation from their area's law enforcement, etc.) such as tor, throw-away accounts, and proxies. I fully agree that existing laws can be used against these kind of horrible people, but only if those existing laws actually apply to that person and you jump through a number of other hoops (and pursuing even one of the harassers will likely make the others up their antics.)

Even a civil suit would be incredibly hard, because you have to have the money to hire a P.I. to get that information, then still go through juridstictions. I don't know if restraining orders even hold across state lines, or how you would set them up (the accused has to stay at least 10 hops away? Cannot maintain an account on another website held by the protected?)

Taking legal action against the nastier harassers (like the person who called in the shooting threat when Anita Sarkeesian was going to give a speech) would likely help a great deal. A lot of these kind of people get power from their pseudo-anonymity, so the threat of removing the mask will scare many of them off. But this success would require cooperation on a national if not international level, with the likes of the FBI or Interpol spending considerable time and money for even just a few.

Fucking anti not nice to be law bullshit.

Ah, but politicians! Politicians don't actually care about doing anything, they only care about the appearance of doing something. Raise taxes and/or retask law enforcement efforts to go after online harassers? You'd have all sorts of people calling for their heads in an instant, saying it's a waste of resources that will give little reward that requires tremendous effort. Now, laws... laws are easy and relatively cheap. You make some new law/bill, give it a cute name ("NONETBULLY Act of 2014"), and write overly-broad definitions and penalties that would get struck down quickly when challenged in court, but give the people the idea that something has been done. So you get overwhelming bi-partisan support because it also distracts from any more local and tangible problems and, boom, you get to hit the campaign trails declaring you took a "firm" stance against online harassment.

And, in the end, all the bill actually did was fund a number of riders: the park has a new bird bath, the library on fifth was renamed to Steve Irwin Memorial Library, Barbara down in the cafeteria is recognized for Best Sloppy Joes of the 20-Aughts, and some corn farmers get an extra bump in their water subsidy. Effect on curbing online harassment: none.

2 days ago
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Will Fiber-To-the-Home Create a New Digital Divide?

RyoShin Re:Healthcare? (291 comments)

Why exactly do I need Gbit service to bring healthcare into my home?

While I can't speak directly to what the OP was thinking of, I can think of a future where regular examinations or long-term monitoring are done in the person's home, talking to nurses and doctors over the internet using "pedestrian" versions of medical equipment we have today.

Your doctor/insurance provider sends you a relatively inexpensive set of electronics that you can store in the closet when not in use. When you see your doc via the internet, a few 3D cameras and these items can do most stuff. Stomach problems? Swallow this tiny camera and the live feed goes to the doc. Ear ache? Put a disc to your ear and a telescopic arm will move about to find the proper viewing angle for your canal, along with a light source.

Such things are quite a bit off, obviously, but will trickle into the home eventually, the same way that computers and the internet did. There will be limitations, of course, but over time those will decrease as well.

Though your average person might not get used to the idea of using a tool to probe their rectum...

2 days ago
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The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

RyoShin I wish it wasn't (350 comments)

I've spent years trying to pretend that Coldfusion isn't real, but somehow I keep running into it now and then.

...oh, cold[space]fusion? Nevermind, then.

about two weeks ago
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Michigan About To Ban Tesla Sales

RyoShin Re:Exclusivity is a great marketing ploy. (294 comments)

It also works great as a bargaining tactic in the future. "What's that? You would like us to build our second GigaFactory in Detroit? Well, we might consider, but it sure is a pity that your state bans our sales. 'Course, we probably lost all kind of sales revenue from that move, and that will need to be made up somehow..."

about two weeks ago
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Michigan About To Ban Tesla Sales

RyoShin Re:Wonder How Much? (294 comments)

They didn't have to Michigan is the home of Detroit the former "Motor City".

FTFY. Detroit is a shadow of its former self, thanks in large part to its heavy reliance on the Big Three. While it may still be referred to as "Motor City", the auto companies took much of their production lines and moved them to Mexico or elsewhere, even if HQ is still around there. Flint is much the same.

That the state legislature has no problem banning Tesla direct sales despite such actions speaks volumes about where the interests of the legislators truly lie.

I would love to see this get signed and, rather than spending money on a lawsuit, Tesla opens a factory in Detroit/Flint. No state rep is going to fight against jobs (even if the plants are mostly automated and make few permanent jobs, there's at least construction,) so all of them will be eating crow when people find out that all of these nice, shiny, and by-that-time-affordable cars are being moved to other states and can't be sold in Michigan. Once the plant is up I'd expect the law to be reversed quickly.

about two weeks ago
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HBO To Offer Online Streaming Without TV Subscription

RyoShin Re:Total Isolation? (139 comments)

Considering that HBO is always an extra charge over regular cable (AFAIK), that the cable companies pay HBO to carry it (as opposed to some other channels, as I understand, like Shopping Network, that pay cable to carry it), and that this isn't the end of HBO on cable, I would be heavily surprised if it caused any change in cable prices.

And if they do go up, good: just gives people more of a reason to abandon them.

about two weeks ago
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Technology Heats Up the Adultery Arms Race

RyoShin Re:Already gone (304 comments)

I'm pretty sure that not everyone agrees to such a thing.

While I've not had the pleasure of a relationship, I would think that a healthy, long-term relationship would involve knowing the boundaries of each other, both mentally and sexually (and maybe politically.) There will be some bumps (excuse the pun) as those boundaries are felt out (okay I'll stop now) early on, but eventually each one will know what they can and can't do both in public and private without explicit permission.

Another way to look at it is personal space in general. As a kid (and even the rare occasion as an adult) my mom can wipe a stain or smudge on me without asking me, or my dad can hold my shoulder while talking to me about something serious or to comfort me, and I wouldn't feel uncomfortable at all. But if a stranger or even a loose acquaintance did that it would make me incredibly uncomfortable and be seen as a massive invasion of private space (the wiping more than the shoulder.)

There's also implicit vs. explicit trust. A long-term relationship has implicit trust, but marriage makes it explicit.

about two weeks ago
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HBO To Offer Online Streaming Without TV Subscription

RyoShin Re:Total Isolation? (139 comments)

Interesting, thanks for the link.

I admit that I don't follow football myself, but--from what I recall of time with my family--watching live games was often a very social event and important amongst many fans. I'm sure that core fans will go back and re-watch old games, but in my limited experience I think that a stand-alone package that shows games live (even if that's all it shows) would be far, far more appealing.

about two weeks ago
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HBO To Offer Online Streaming Without TV Subscription

RyoShin Re:Not quite. (139 comments)

Where did you read that? At least per this NPR article:

Beginning in 2015, HBO will offer a streaming service to cord-cutters and other nonsubscribers on an a la carte basis. It should be noted that the announcement HBO released to the media does not explicitly say the service will be HBO GO (or that it won't), only that it will be "a stand-alone, over-the-top, HBO service." And, of course, it doesn't say how much the service will cost. It doesn't even say it will carry every HBO show, let alone what archival material will be available — HBO GO has a lot.

The announcement says HBO will "work with our current partners" and "explore models with new partners," but it seems inevitable that an arrangement like this will unsettle cable providers who have been able to use legitimate access to premium networks like HBO as one of the remaining barriers against cord-cutting, the practice of declining to have a cable subscription in favor of watching online.

Emphasis mine. While that incredibly vague part about partners could suggest tying it to ISPs, the straight-up statement of "stand-alone" contradicts such an idea.

But, even if it was a package deal, that's not new to ISPs: many have bundles with anti-virus subscriptions and some might do Hulu or Netflix trials. None of these are big pushers, however, and HBO would be a game changer in that.

about two weeks ago
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HBO To Offer Online Streaming Without TV Subscription

RyoShin Re:Total Isolation? (139 comments)

This was just announced today; I guess the submitter assumes everyone is plastered to their many-tech-related RSS feeds and already read about it.

Of course, "announced" is a lose term here. As far as I'm aware, all they've said is that they're going to offer a new streaming option. That's it. No price, nothing about what HBO content it will have (just the live feed? Can you watch individual episodes? Can you watch past series?). Just that it's coming.

Considering that HBO is one of the main reasons a lot of people don't abandon cable, I wonder if the various cable companies are worried. I can just imagine them rounding up the lobbyists, telling them to throw money at whatever Congresscritter they have in their pocket to somehow make this illegal.

Live sports are the other "main" reason, of course. If the likes of ESPN and the NFL make stand-alone streaming services (I believe they have the "requires cable subscription" offerings at the moment, like HBO already has) then it could be the death knell of cable subscriptions in our country.

about two weeks ago
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Facebook and Apple Now Pay For Female Employees To Freeze Their Eggs

RyoShin Re:Wow! (253 comments)

Yeah, that was my thought on skimming TFA. If the company pays, what happens if the woman leaves the job (be it quitting, fired, laid off)? Does she have to pay back some or all of the amount the company paid in order to keep access to her eggs? What if the company goes under? I couldn't find mention of this in the article.

Also, the line quoted by jargonburn ("helping women be more productive human beings") is the parting quote from the article said by Christy Jones, founder of Extend Fertility. I expected this to be a line from some old male, so seeing it come from a woman is a tad boggling as I also think the line is demeaning towards women.

about two weeks ago
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"Double Irish" Tax Loophole Used By US Companies To Be Closed

RyoShin Re:Why..... (259 comments)

they use their current nightmare system to manipulate companies into doing their bidding

If there's a conspiracy behind our current corporate tax policy, I'm sure that it's the large corporations manipulating the government to create these onerous tax laws so that the government can manipulate any growing competition to the large corporations. Those tax breaks? Feel good fuzzies for the common people that are easy for the large corporations to deal with but harder for the growing ones.

Large corporations are the ones manipulating our government, not the other way around.

about two weeks ago
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Oxytocin Regulates Sociosexual Behavior In Female Mice

RyoShin Re:Firefly reference (216 comments)

Yup. http://firefly.wikia.com/wiki/...

[T]he Alliance tried to chemically modify its populace to be peaceful. This worked perfectly; it eliminated violence, but in the process it had a fatal side effect. The inhabitants lost all ambition ;they stopped doing any work, stopped talking to each other, stopped reproducing and eventually stopped even feeding. For 0.1% of the population it had the opposite effect and caused extremely violent behavior, beyond mere psychosis but animalism. The "survivors" of Miranda were the Reavers who started to menace the Rim planets.

about two weeks ago
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Independent Researchers Test Rossi's Alleged Cold Fusion Device For 32 Days

RyoShin Re:They didn't TEST anything... (986 comments)

It should be noted that he was watched at all time by several people though

So are magicians.

about two weeks ago
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Outsourced Tech Jobs Are Increasingly Being Automated

RyoShin Re:What was automated? (236 comments)

A clerk has zero incentive to get you through the line as quickly as possible.

While I agree with your first line, I disagree with this.

It's been a while since I worked retail, and I never worked registers as a regular thing, but even these days I can see boards hanging on the walls of stores (sometimes back in an employee-only area, sometimes right out in front of the lines) that show rankings of either Customers Per Minute (CPM) or Items Per Minute (IPM). While I have no personal knowledge about these, I would bet they're used for, at worst, some bad management "incentive" like "you get a bag of chips if you're highest at the end of the month!" or, at best, part of promotion and raises.

I love self-checkout lines myself; as long as you only have a few items and they aren't packed with families trying to check out a cart full of groceries, you can zip right though. I get to avoid human interaction most of the time (idle chit-chat severely annoys me), bag groceries my (anal) way, and get out quickly. There's also a space-saving feature: six machines and one clerk can replace three lines that might not all be open at the same time, anyway. But, for all of that, I doubt you will ever completely get rid of cashiers. Maybe once all items have their own RFID tags and a cart can simply be scanned without having to remove stuff, but that is still quite some time off.

about two weeks ago
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Is It Time To Throw Out the College Application System?

RyoShin Re:If yes then what ? (389 comments)

Not to mention that creativity often coincides with critical thinking, and critical thinkers are more likely to realize that something a company doing is illegal and have the moral fiber to blow the whistle.

So not only are creative types unnecessary to giant companies, they are an active threat and so should be avoided unless they are a known quantity (i.e. plays golf with the CEO every Saturday.)

about three weeks ago
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Is an Octopus Too Smart For Us To Eat?

RyoShin Re:Most animals? (481 comments)

And so we can bring this subthread back around to the main article: Octopus (octopii?) will also engage in cannibalism. http://www.livescience.com/479...

When octopuses go hunting for prey, they sometimes end up "dining" on members of their own species, and the cephalopods seem to have a taste for their victims' arm tips.

Divers have captured video of this octopus-on-octopus action in the wild for the first time on video.

In a new study, researchers described three cases of cannibalism in the common octopus — Octopus vulgaris — recorded with a camcorder by scuba divers in Ría de Vigo, Spain, located on the northeastern Atlantic coast. In two of the cases, the predators had started to eat the tips of the arms of their prey by the time the divers found them. [...] And, in one of the cases, the predator had access to more "traditional" prey in the form of mussels, but it still chose to feed on another, smaller octopus.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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Ask Slashdot: Best software for charity/animal shelters?

RyoShin RyoShin writes  |  more than 2 years ago

RyoShin writes "I volunteer for a no-kill cat rescue shelter. After learning my background in software development, they've asked me to come up with a solution that will make it easier for them to keep a database of the felines currently in their care (including things like vaccinations, background (if any), etc.) as well as donors and potential donors. They've dropped hints that I should roll my own, but I'd rather get them something tried and tested and preferably with support; however, I have no knowledge of this area, so I turn to Slashdot users. What are good pieces of software for use by charities, especially animal shelters? An all-in-one would be great, but I will consider multiple programs. And, as always, free or open source is highly preferred (they are a small shelter), but I also want to research paid-for options and present those if they are high quality, easy to use, and can be afforded."
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Telling Kids They're Smart is Stupid

RyoShin RyoShin writes  |  more than 5 years ago

RyoShin writes "A recent Scientific American article entitled "The Secret to Raising Smart Kids" (print version) looks at research on motivating kids in school. From the article: "Many people assume that superior intelligence or ability is a key to success. But more than three decades of research shows that an overemphasis on intellect or talent--and the implication that such traits are innate and fixed--leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unmotivated to learn. [...] Teaching people to have a 'growth mind-set,' which encourages a focus on effort rather than on intelligence or talent, produces high achievers in school and in life." Another finding is that "a belief in fixed intelligence also makes people less willing to admit to errors or to confront and remedy their deficiencies in school, at work and in their social relationships." So don't go telling your kid he or she a genius, but rather a studious, hard worker."
Link to Original Source
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Do Zebra Stripes actually help?

RyoShin RyoShin writes  |  more than 6 years ago

RyoShin (610051) writes "A List Apart, an excellent resource for web development and related aesthetics, has put together an article based on original research by Jessica Enders into "zebra striping". From the article: "Zebra striping [, coloring alternate rows,] is used when data is presented in an essentially tabular form. The user of that table will be looking for one or more data points. Their aim is to get the right points and get them as quickly as possible. Therefore, if we set a task that uses a table, and zebra striping does make things easier, then we would expect to see improvements in two things: accuracy and speed." The conclusion of the peer reviewed paper? It's a wash. Striped tables offered only a slight increase in accuracy and speed overall. The article notes a few other benefits to using Zebra striping, so it's all up to the individual."
Link to Original Source
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Up or Out: Solving the IT Turnover Crisis

RyoShin RyoShin writes  |  more than 6 years ago

RyoShin (610051) writes "Alex Papadimoulis, head of TheDailyWTF, has put together an interesting article about turnover in the IT industry and why quitting is okay (and employers should like it). Using ideas like the "Cravath system", why good people quit while slackers stay behind, and how ex-employees can be a good thing, Papadimoulis offers some interesting ideas for both employers and employees. "In short: embrace turnover, encourage separation, and don't even think about saying 'careers, not jobs.' Oh yes, it's Employment 2.0.""
Link to Original Source
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RyoShin RyoShin writes  |  more than 7 years ago

RyoShin writes "Even after the conservative members lost control of the old Kansas school board, evolution still remains a large issue for the Board of Education in Kansas. Well, in video games. Specifically, one video game: Pokemon. On Monday, the Kansas Board of Education approved a measure to ban most content related to Pokemon, including the games themselves and trading cards "because of the franchise's blatant promotion of evolution". Furthermore, they instructed teachers to "search their students at the beginning of the school day to make sure that they aren't carrying any copies of the game". The article is sparse on further details, but states that the ACLU will challenge the decision."
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RyoShin RyoShin writes  |  more than 7 years ago

RyoShin writes "Signs of the apocalypse: seven-headed beasts, cats hanging out with dogs, and a video game that combines two previous rivals. Well, according to USAToday, we're one-third of the way there. From the article: "Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, due in stores this holiday season for Nintendo's Wii console and DS handheld system (prices not yet set), will also include other popular characters such as Luigi and Yoshi (from Nintendo's Mario games), as well as Knuckles and Tails (from the Sonic games), all competing in such summer Olympic events as running, swimming and table tennis." Furthermore, Shigeru Miyamoto is giving oversight to the project. Could this be a sign that Sonic might appear in Super Smash Brothers Brawl?"

Journals

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How to StumbleUpon StumbleOver and StumbleOn

RyoShin RyoShin writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Like many on the internet, including other /. members, I am a user of StumbleUpon. For those who don't know what StumbleUpon is, the short and simple is that it is a gateway to the internet at large. It's great for lazy afternoons when you just want to find new webpages. You set some preferences, some content filters, and boom, you're off. It covers topics from architecture to zoology, and most everything in between. A great way to read new and interesting scientific discoveries or watch sleeping cats fall off of whatever shelf they happen to be sleeping on. Or both, if that's your thing. But not at the same time.

However, StumbleUpon reveals one of the larger annoyances of the internet: data redundancy. Site after site, blog after blog will host the same content (usually video or pictures, but it can even be word-for-word text), meaning that you'll wind up Stumbling Upon it time and again- and it really gets grating after you see the eighteenth LOLcat collection. To my knowledge, SU has no way to deal with this. You can rate things up or down and perhaps have less of a chance of seeing them, but that's not always the case.

To this end, I feel that StumbleUpon would do well to introduce two new features: StumbleOn and StumbleOver. Both features would be user preferences. You could choose to StumbleOn, StumbleOver, both, or neither (seeing the internet in a pure, unadultered form).

StumbleOn is a feature that would reference all citing pages to the main page or site that the citing pages talk about. This is the harder of the two features to implement. The idea is that instead of stumbling upon a page that is either a rehash or just a quick blog entry about another page (usually done for ad hits), you would instead be redirected to (or On) the original page. Slashdot will see things like this- a summary for an article will contain a link to a blog that contains a link to the actual article. StumbleOn would cut out the blog entry, giving focus where it is rightly due: the original authors.

As stated, this is harder to do. Some things see circulation for so long that pinpointing the "original" is tedious (assuming it still exists). Then there are sites that jump up simultaneously, such as the smattering of lolcat sites that appeared within a few days/weeks of each other. Content can give some help. For instance, if a blog entry directly links to the original, you know you can StumbleOn to that original. Perhaps the video being shown lists a URL to use; failing that, you could StumbleOn to where it's hosted on Youtube/MediaCafe/whatever.

Part of the problem here is ballot stuffing. Someone might get a bunch of friends/paid hacks to all say that that person's site is the "original", though it would clearly be just a lame blog entry for ad hits. But, as with most systems like this, it can be overcome with other user adjustments. Then there's the risk that a blog entry that is actually useful, like dissecting a video or giving further insights, gets marked as StumbleOn. A second level might be introduced for these, but that would start making this very complex.

StumbleOver is likely easier to implement, and, in my opinion, far more useful of the two. In the case of StumbleOver, you don't care what the original site is. You only know that you've seen it before and, even if you liked it, don't want to see it again from another site. Whereas StumbleOn would be pictorially represented as a tree, with one main site (the "root" site) being lead to from many others, StumbleOver would be seen as a nice, round circle. By seeing one part of the circle you've seen them all, so you don't need to see them again. This would lead to a lot less repetitiveness in your stumbles.

However, this is not without it's own problems- how specific should content be measured? Most would agree that a word-for-word copy, a single image or set group of images, or a video would all be easy to StumbleOver. But what about a blog entry that restates the original text in the user's own words? Is one lolcat page with 10 images the same as another with 15? (This case can be kind of solved with StumbleOn, using something like icanhaschezburger as the main source) What if someone has a higher quality version of another's video (quite unlikely, but possible)?

These aren't perfect ideas, and I have no idea how to submit them to StumbleUpon, but I think they would make great strides in making StumbleUpon a better product and the internet easier to browse.

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Facebook Phone Number Folly

RyoShin RyoShin writes  |  more than 7 years ago

I, along with most of the Slashdot community, know much about social networking sites. I, probably unlike much of Slashdot, am a member of a few. One of these sites, Facebook, came under fire about a year ago for their News Feed feature, which allowed users to see updates made by their friends in one convenient form. This resulted in a massive and seemingly unexpected backlash by the Facebook crowd, which caused Facebook to lock it down only a few days later.

So users of Facebook are not ignorant of the privacy hazards that sharing information like that can lead to. However, it seems that some haven't learned their lesson. Through my own News Feed, I learned that one of my friends had recently joined a group. However, the group had a very odd title, almost like it was a personal journal entry. Curiosity got the best of me, and I clicked through to find out.

To my utter surprise and slight discomfort, I found that it was a group set up for someone that lost their phone. He had set up the phone for the express purpose of retrieving the phone numbers he had lost in the old one. This can seem like a mis-guided attempt with only one example, as doing this may be an easy way to notify all of your friends. Facebook does allow for closed groups- close the group, and only the friends you've invited can see your new phone number or post their own. Perhaps this poor fellow merely misunderstood how the process worked.

With this in mind, I decided to plug "phone lost" into Facebook's search engine. The result is so many groups that it stops counting at 500. Yet not all is lost; once again, this could be a matter of convenience, and other users had closed their group. I decided the best way to test this theory was to do a sample of the first three pages of results and compile some (simple) stats. (Note that all numbers are assumed unique, which may skew the results in favor of panic.)

Total Groups: 27 (Facebook returned the same group a few times)
Open Groups: 81%
Total Members: 523
Phone Numbers (with Area Code): 184
Phone Numbers (no area code): 14

Percentage of Group Members with posted numbers: 37%

Average Membership per Group: 19
Potential Amount of Numbers available (with 500 groups): 3515

Sadly, I was very wrong. The number of users willing to post their phone numbers in an open location such as that is worrisome. While Facebook does have the option to enter your number in your profile, it can be restricted only to friends. Furthermore, by default profiles are locked to friends-only. The combination of these two elements may have set a false sense of privacy within the users who did post their numbers.

A few users had the fore-thought to at least withhold their area code. Even so, Facebook provides their primary network (area, college, or high school), which could be used to figure out the area code in relatively short time. One group owner did ask for numbers to be e-mailed rather than posted, citing the desire not to broadcast them to Facebook. He was ignored by nine people.

While I hate the "Protect the Children" argument, I believe it has some merit in this case, and extends beyond that. These numbers are readily available for anyone on Facebook to use for their own malicious pleasure. Even if all they can do is leave psychotic voice messages at odd hours, it can still be enough to emotionally scar a person, as happened to another friend of mine earlier this year.

Still, it is no surprise that many in this generation, especially high schooler students, don't understand the potential ramifications for posting such personal information online. I do plan to contact Facebook and ask them to attempt to send out a notice to these users or Facebook in general, but even that may go ignored.

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Practicing Practices

RyoShin RyoShin writes  |  more than 7 years ago

So much for that idea.

Working as a lowly intern for an internal programming department of a Fortune 500 company, it's amazing the quality of the code I read. Despite being a department just for one of the local facilities, you would think big money == big talent, right?

The apparent answer is no. I am in charge of maintaining over four dozen small internal web applications, written mainly in ASP and Coldfusion. (Not even .NET and MX - ug.) I've read through and fixed up code done by a dozen other "programmers", some of them interns such as myself, some of them full-time "specialists", and rarely do I look at a page and not think "WTF?".

Part of the problem could be the "rigorous standards" put in place here- and by that, I mean there are none. Very few of the applications are used by more than 20 people in the entire building, so the general process of new program creation goes like this:

  1. Program request goes to manager
  2. Manager approves/denies program
  3. Program is assigned to one of the available programmers
  4. Programmer works as quickly as possible to finish project
  5. Project is tested for approx. two hours
  6. Manager makes sure that project looks good to requestor
  7. Project is booted out door, and any bugs are fixed as they come up

Since none of the programs are large scale (even the few used by more than 20 people), this doesn't work too bad, though it doesn't have anything useful like code review.

The other problem, one more glaring even in those programs that did have a better quality control (such as those where the programmer took the time to write out a scope and get it approved), is the large absense of proper programming practices. Repeated If-Thens where Switch-Cases should be used, code copied and pasted instead of put into a function/method, the same header code repeated on every page instead of put in a file to include, horrible naming schemes, bad use of whitespace, etc. Granted, programming styles will vary from person to person, but some of the things done within these are ludicrous.

Thanks to sites like TheDailyWTF (an excellent time waster, which is also beneficial for programmers to see what not to do), I believe that this is not a local problem, but one that affects many of those who get into this because they're looking for big bucks, especially when they start using languages like Coldfusion and Visual Basic (easy to write, and therefore easy to mess up). In my courses as a Computer Science major, I have yet to see anything that deals with proper programming practices. I realize that Computer Science is intended to go beyond programming itself, but even in the classes dedicated to programming it is not touched on much.

I would almost say that an entire course could be devoted to it, but I think that would be too much time. The various practices I'm thinking of are fairly simple; a week or two at most would be needed to go over them and make sure people understand them. Potential points would include:

  • Whitespace indentation
  • Descriptive Naming practices (I prefer lowerCamelCase, myself)
  • Programming for efficiency (redundant IF checks, using SWITCH-CASE instead of IF, proper loops, code reuseability)
  • Function creation (as well as some talk about recursion)
  • Truth logic (using such things as truth tables)
  • Database setups (my college actually has an entire class for Databases, but this would be useful for those who aren't CS majors)

I'm sure others have more things that should be added to the list (feel free to comment), but if colleges would put heavier emphasis on covering these kinds of things, maintaining programs would be easier for the rest of us.

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The Road to Inlightenment is Paved with Gummy Bears

RyoShin RyoShin writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Cause they're tasty.

I've decided to use my Slashdot journal as a sort of "blog". Whereas I have a LiveJournal to rant about my personal life and day, this "blog" will deal more with issues that affect everyone, and not necessarily only topics that Slashdot as a site is concerned with (but I still get to rant).

Some entries will be long, some will be short, some will have no point. Regardless, this blog will be open to the public and comments will be on, though I will never "Publicize" any entry, unless I find it relevant to Slashdot somehow, as well as being well written and containing references. This will be one of those "choose two" things.

Ideally, I update every weekday. Gives me a good side-thing to do at work when I get bored. If I do it at work, I doubt I'll have much in the way of references- internet use is fairly restricted. If I save it and complete it at home, then I can include helpful links.

So, if you ever visit my profile, get ready for more stuff to ignore.

Here's looking to tomorrow.

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