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Google Receives Takedown Request Every 8 Milliseconds

Sigma 7 Re:An easy fix. (155 comments)

Obviously there should be a way to report copyright issues. However to do so there should be a deposit required, say $1000.

A.k.a. justice for the rich rather than the starving artist.

The actual fix is to require the plaintiff to sign the whole statement under penalty of perjury rather than just that they represent someone - or at the very least, put a punishment for flinging out fradulent DMCA takedown in the same way filing frivilous lawsuits is punished.

about a week ago

Oracle Hasn't Killed Java -- But There's Still Time

Sigma 7 Re:Oracle Forms (371 comments)

If its so easy then you should have it done by teatime.

"Easy" is besides the point, and said easy portion is not a bottleneck.

Let's look at MinGW/MSYS, which I discovered omits certain critical definitions (e.g. EILSEQ etc.) from a recent download. Fixing them is "easy" but not of that helps the hard portion - getting the fix into the main repository so that others don't have to keep fixing it in the build environment - especially when that bug causes a violation of ANSI C specification.

Something like that can be picked up in an easy smoke test (e.g. ensuring that MinGW/MSYS packages are self-hosting). Yet, it hasn't.

Writing software is easy. Getting it distributed, or even trying to get everyone to agree on the color of the bike shed, is hard.

Nobody in the FOSS community wants it to be ported

The alternative is to write a framework that's superior to C#, .NET or other propriatery technologies - and get it deployed so that anyone can dive in with minimal difficulty (including initial learning time.)

about three weeks ago

The FBI Is Infecting Tor Users With Malware With Drive-By Downloads

Sigma 7 Re:Hide behind todays popular hate-topic... (182 comments)

Download checksum are usually one or more of MD5SUM, SHA1SUM and SHA256SUM.

A simple transposition of bytes will not generate identical hashes.

From RFC793:

The checksum field is the 16 bit one's complement of the one's complement sum of all 16 bit words in the header and text. If a segment contains an odd number of header and text octets to be checksummed, the last octet is padded on the right with zeros to form a 16 bit word for checksum purposes. The pad is not transmitted as part of the segment. While computing the checksum, the checksum field itself is replaced with zeros.

The extremely weak checksum of the TCP header (or even IP header) will not detect byte transposition.

And no amount of checksumming will stop drive-by-downloads from browsers that still don't understand basic security. (Really, Javascript permissions should have been introduced in Netscape 2.0.)

about three weeks ago

Mozilla Doubles Down on JPEG Encoding with mozjpeg 2.0

Sigma 7 Re:Hard to get excited. (129 comments)

video is the vast majority of the internet. Seems like a better use of their time to focus on making HEVC or VP9 more capable.

Most videos (at least those linked to from meme-based image sites) are stored in GIF format, despite them taking twenty times the bandwidth/file size of the Youtube video they're based on.

Thus the best way to save space/bandwidth is to find a way to optimize compression of .GIF files.

about a month and a half ago

How To Fix The Shortage of K-5 Scholastic Chess Facilitators

Sigma 7 Tech for a non-issue (128 comments)

Could technology like RFID-tagged chess pieces

Is this a tech-for-no-reason article?

The article gives a long example where players need to figure out things like checkmate. That's the most trivial of problems, which players need to figure out just to complete the game. Plus, average children at the K-5 (outside of tournaments) have a house rule where capturing the enemy king is a checkmate, which is the same effect.

An easy question if you are an avid chess player, but what if you are not?

If you're at a tournament for that, then you really need to play a few chess matches yourself - even if it's against BattleChess, Chessmaster, or plenty of other free computer programs that can have their difficulty significantly reduced.

about a month and a half ago

Florida Man Faces $48k Fine For Jamming Drivers' Cellphones

Sigma 7 Re:In other news (358 comments)

In Florida, only for text messaging. They don't ban hand-helds or cell phones.


Also, officers don't pull you over simply because you are on the phone, they only enforce it if they catch you doing something else at the same time.

about 2 months ago

The Feature Phone Is Dead: Long Live the 'Basic Smartphone'

Sigma 7 Re:WTF Is A "Feature Phone"? (243 comments)

Technically, a feature phone is a class of cell phone half-way between conventional smart phones and cellphones that only allowed dialing.

It's also a back-dated definition.

As for programming software for one - don't bother. There's so many variants that it's easier to aim for an Android or iOS.

about 4 months ago

MA Gov. Wants To Ban Non-Competes; Will It Matter?

Sigma 7 Re:Uhm... since when are non-competes a bad thing? (97 comments)

Don't they stop employees from taking any kind of IP and running away with it, which would basically kill the industry?

That would be confidentiality agreements Non-competes are meant to prevent employees from leaving, and immediatly undercutting the employer.

As for why they're bad, I didn't find what I was looking for (a Texas software engineer sued for work before and after employment at a company), but one sample non-compete is more of a restraint-of-trade, requiring an employee to be unemployed for a period of three years (no regional limitation and no consideration.)

Such non-competes don't prevent innovation from being released into the wild, but instead choke the supply of available workers.

about 5 months ago

Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?

Sigma 7 Re:Requires Windows 8 (226 comments)

Bleh. Last paragraph should read:

I think the point is that Visual Studio encourages programmers to code to APIs available only on Windows.

I think that's a problem with any system. For example, if you write something for Mac OS's Carbon, it still takes a bit of effort to port that to anything else (unless you have some standard middleware library.)

about 5 months ago

Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?

Sigma 7 Re:Requires Windows 8 (226 comments)

For one thing, nothing on the page you linked even runs on Windows Vista, which is still in extended support.

You have to scroll down to find Visual Studio 2010, but it's there. Granted, the latest version should still run on something in extended support...

I think that's a problem with any system. For example, if you write something for Mac OS's Carbon, it still takes a bit of effort to port that to anything else (unless you have some standard middleware library.)

about 5 months ago

Blender Foundation Video Taken Down On YouTube For Copyright Violation

Sigma 7 Re:Guilty until proven innocent. (306 comments)

I've been wondering if it already exists in already-existing copyright law:


Sect. 106. Exclusive rights in copyrighted works


Sect. 106A. Rights of certain authors to attribution and integrity

Subject to section 107 and independent of the exclusive rights provided in section 106 [17 USCS Sect. 106], the author of a work of visual art--

(1) shall have the right--

(A) to claim authorship of that work,

This is probably meant to prevent other people from placing their name on your work, and probably should be tested on Youtube copyright claims. After all, a video does qualify as visual art.

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Handle Unfixed Linux Accessibility Bugs?

Sigma 7 Re:Mmm (266 comments)

Yeah, and it should be reverted to the prior behavior because it doesn't fix the issue.

Prior behavior was with Windows 95/98 and really old versions of Netscape, where the browser blindly loaded an image from c:\con\con because that's the file found in the img tag. Unlike the BSoD, you needed a 110 reset.

And no, you should never revert to a revision that provides worse control over malicious scripts.

you get a never-ending stream of "would you like to stop the script?" dialogs

The script-stopping dialog would kill all scripts on that page, not just the individual one. Stopping the script includes stopping all timers produced by the script.

A "modal dialog" is a DENIAL OF SERVICE to all other application features.

Correct, and as the other anonymous poster said, an application is free to freeze itself to show that modal dialog.

What isn't acceptable is sandboxed or semi-sandboxed code running under that application capable of freezing the parent, and blocking everything else running. It is the duty of any application capable of running arbitrary code to allow the user to instantly block anything malicious or faulty, with minimal impact to things that should remain running.

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Handle Unfixed Linux Accessibility Bugs?

Sigma 7 Re:Mmm (266 comments)

do it yourself (I get that this is often not an option, but including for completeness)

Sometimes it isn't an option because your fix gets rejected (or left to idle in an obscure bug report)

For example, one build utility had a bug where it checked for the presense of a compiler, but not if it was functional. The fix was rejected because the build utility doesn't check path - despite the fact that it does so for a different compiler. (Explicitly defining which compiler to use defeats the purpose of using said tool in the first place - I'd just use Makefile instead.)

Did you know it took 10+ years for Mozilla to fix the alert() denial loop? That bug is older than Mozilla itself, and the most obvious fix of "checkbox to stop further dialogs" was dismissed as a hack (compared to the destructive hack of force-killing Mozilla.)

about 5 months ago

Jimmy Wales To 'Holistic Healers': Prove Your Claims the Old-Fashioned Way

Sigma 7 Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (517 comments)

Placebos are "real" medicine.
We just don't know how they work.

You're confusing placebos with the placebo effect. It works based on the patient's expectation on how its going to work (i.e. the mind makes it real).

There's also a person who did an experiment that negated the effect of placebos, by an injection that blocks opiates.

about 5 months ago

The Poor Neglected Gifted Child

Sigma 7 Re:Anger (529 comments)

For Christs Sake! It is NOT The governments Job to attend to MY child.

Then make sure it's not the government's job to attend your child once they should become self-sufficient. (i.e. isn't forced to welfare because they couldn't find employment in their field.)

It's bad enough that we're forced into using these shitty public schools

There's a concept known as homeschooling. As long as your child can pass specific benchmarks in education (i.e. is literate and can do math), you have no need to worry. You might even assist him in getting a job so that he can prepare for college.

then to take even more resources away from us to fund special programs for kids that don't need extra help in the first place is ridiculous.

Either you're suggesting they're taking resources away from average students to fund average students, or you're suggesting that gifted students already have access to material they need to become the best the can and aren't ostracized by their peers.

In either case, moving stuff around in education should result in a negligible loss of resources - especially with the internet age where stuff can be freely copied, searched, and edited.

Speaking of which, the best flutes should go to the best flute players, because that's what flutes are for.

about 5 months ago

Does Relying On an IDE Make You a Bad Programmer?

Sigma 7 Re:Yes (627 comments)

Non-ansi C either means a version that has extensions, or some implementation made before it became standardized.

The former is be trivially checked by comparing version numbers or whatever you use to detect library versions. The latter should be taken out, hung from a tree, gutted, shot and run over by a Buick.

If one still wants to test for outdated C, it's better to do a global smoke test where you cover a series of #include files and function calls in one program, rather than calling the compiler+linker several times in a row. (I don't know where, but there's a short delay between starting gcc and the first error message that prints out - indicating at least some overhead with multiple invocations.)

about 6 months ago

Does Relying On an IDE Make You a Bad Programmer?

Sigma 7 Re:Yes (627 comments)

Visual Studio IDE doesn't have makefile support, but it does include nmake.exe which is good enough. However, it doesn't support autotools, since that's a Unix-specific script.

I don't like autotools myself - modern apps that use it still perform checks concerning string.h in addition to trying to detect if something is Ansi C. Anything failing those checks should be considered too outdated to be worth bothering about (especially with the software not being designed to run on ~20 year old hardware.)

about 6 months ago

Does Relying On an IDE Make You a Bad Programmer?

Sigma 7 Re:Yes (627 comments)

It leads people to rely on building the application with the IDE instead of issuing standard Makefiles

In other words, it causes the programmer to rely on an automated build system instead of an automated build system.

about 6 months ago

Computer Geeks As Loners? Data Says Otherwise

Sigma 7 Re:Computer geeks != tech workers (158 comments)

Using your definitions, not mine.

You seem to be confusing "my" "definition" of computer geek with someone who uses a computer. Using a computer as a hobby is different than using a computer as a means for a hobby.

And taking pictures of their overpriced wireless routers to post on MyFace, Spacebook or some other vanity page is on par with showing off a phallic symbol. Most commonly done by fakers.

about 6 months ago

Computer Geeks As Loners? Data Says Otherwise

Sigma 7 Computer geeks != tech workers (158 comments)

A "computer geek" is a person who specializes in comptuers.

A tech worker is someone who works in the computer field.

Despite them being similar, they aren't the same. For example, call center tech support is filled with tech workers, but given the scripts and stuff they have, they don't have to specialize in the field.

The computer geek accepts computers as a hobby. This is different than a tech worker, as they end up with a general lack of scripts and go directly into the free-form world.

For this data analysis IT job categories were: IT managers, computer scientists, a broad range of IT analysts, as well as programmers, developers, support specialists, network and database administrators.

And this is basically stuffing a wide variety of carrers into one "tech worker" category. Programmers may be in a less social environment (although this varies), tech support specialists may be in a social environment while feeling socially isolated, etc.

about 6 months ago


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