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Comments

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Users Want Matte LCDs While Glossy Screens Dominate

SloppyElvis Re:Methodology and sample population are ignored h (666 comments)

I'd mod you up if I had the points. This whole debate reminded me of what I saw at the Apple store last weekend. The 13" MacBook Pro comes only with a glossy screen. The 15" model (which is targeted more at the likely PC Pro reader)? It comes in matte.

more than 3 years ago
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Valve's Newell: One-Price-For-Everyone Business Model 'Broken'

SloppyElvis The Perfect Teammate? Good luck with that. (374 comments)

The problem is that people have fun playing with different types of people. For me, the underlying issue is that team-based games are frequently ruined by the constant issue of joining a team with a group of people who I'd rather be playing against than playing with.

Players rating other players based on fun is a good idea, IMHO. I'd rather they match teams based on such metrics (similar to how Netflix or Pandora decide what you may prefer in their offerrings), than to see a price incentive. Combining this with a system that matches teams for competitive play would help the fun factor immensely (particularly if you're an old fart like me with molasses reflexes).

Besides, Valve games, being episodic, have the price-to-fun ratio built in already to some extent (don't like it, don't buy the next episode). The initial cost is still prohibitive in some cases, and sale prices for old games help this somewhat (common on Steam).

more than 3 years ago
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Sergey Brin: Windows Is "Torturing Users"

SloppyElvis Re:For most, system admin is a total waste of time (645 comments)

I sense and share in your frustration. I think the problem isn't that everyone is doing a crap job; rather, the problem is that it only takes a single person doing a crap job to bring a perfectly good machine down. Considering how many people have their code running on any given machine, it isn't surprising that crap gets on there.

Also, I think there's another hidden issue that comes into play, that being the task of designing a really intuitive API is also not easy. Abstraction is inherently imperfect and carries a subjective penalty in that the audience is teased into assuming they fully understand something they do not (or else there'd be no need for abstraction of course). The deeper down the rabbit hole this goes with higher and higher level abstractions, the more these penalties are manifested.

There's hope though... Resilient systems are not only possible, they've been built in many forms. While they may never be perfect, one should hope that they will eventually get out of the way.

more than 3 years ago
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US Students Struggle With Understanding of the 'Equal' Sign

SloppyElvis Re:I guess I'm stupid, too. (1268 comments)

The parenthesis are a poor attempt and rendering that in text.

Very poor I'd say. Parentheses already have a purpose in mathematical notation. I would solve 4 + 3 + 2 = () + 2 like this: 4 + 3 + 2 = (4 + 3) + 2 by the Associative Property of Addition

more than 4 years ago
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Voting Machine Attacks Proven To Be Practical

SloppyElvis Secure == Predicting the Future (225 comments)

Besides this being a very nice piece or work in Computer Science, it appears the point of this study is that in order for a software device to be considered "secure", it needs to stand up to exploits that have yet to be discovered at the time of release. This is, of course, seemingly impossible to do since undiscovered exploits are, well, undiscovered.

Return-oriented programming defeats security measures like DEP, but there are other measures that may be effective against attacks of this sort, such as Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) and Stack-Smashing Protection (SSP). Of course, these measures weren't yet invented when the voting machines were created according to the very best security practices of the time. The lesson is there can be no guarantee that employing the very best security measures we know today will stand up for the lifetime of a device. Very interesting implications...

more than 5 years ago
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What's In an Educational Game?

SloppyElvis Games That Children Play (160 comments)

I suggest you ask some children in your target audience what games they like to play (not strictly video games, all games). You might also take a walk down to the toy store and see what's there. Here are a few timeless examples that translate well in the video game medium:

  • Dolls / House / Pretend / Stuffed Animals (The Sims, Webkinz, Nintendogs)
  • Tag, Cops and Robbers, kill-the-guy-with-the-ball (FPS & Action genres)
  • GI Joe, Transformers, Pokemon, Bakugan (WOW & fantasy)
  • Blocks / Trains / Legos / Sandbox (Civilization, RTS)
  • Sports (should be obvious)
  • Kick The Can / Ghost in the Graveyard (stealth)
  • Puzzles / Mysteries / Riddles (another obvious one)
  • Coloring / Painting / Singing / Play-Doh (art and music composition games)
  • Dancing (rhythm games)
  • Stories / Reading (adventure)

...and all of these are of course more fun to play with friends and family.

All of these activities have intrinsic educational value. For science, I suspect Puzzle games would perhaps best develop problem-solving, experimentation, and observational skills. Just remember to make it fun.

more than 5 years ago
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Psychopaths Have Brain Structure Abnormality

SloppyElvis Re:To be used in court cases how? (438 comments)

Interesting points...

I have to think that for matters of the law, the ability to "choose" or "free will" or not is not what is in question, but it is the "intention" of the person who committed the crime. The person who ate cereal intended to do so, just as the person who stabbed puppies. If it was not an accidental puppy stabbing, then they are morally culpable, whether they *could* have chosen otherwise or not. There is a subtle difference between "choice" and "intent", and both are all but impossible to judge of another person, but intent fits better with general moral beliefs that accidents are less evil than wrongdoings done on purpose.

On the other hand, if there truly is no free will, then the courts will do whatever they are programmed to do with the puppy stabbers regardless of what we discuss as "options"... that's kind of a depressing thought. *sigh*

more than 5 years ago
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Can We Abandon Confidentiality For Google Apps?

SloppyElvis Re:Searched Google for ya' (480 comments)

Thought about this on the way home... I work in medical software, and HIPAA is not something to be taken lightly...

Consider this hypothetical situation... Di$neyCo's latest summer blockbuster High School Music Video bombs on reports of the lead actress Miss Starlet recieving an abortion at your client's clinic. Information was obtained through a violation of HIPAA. Miss Starlet's multi-million dollar contract for High School Music Video 2 was terminated. Now, Di$neyCo has an army of lawyers seeking damages for the bomb, Miss Starlet is represented pro bono by Publicity-Seeking-Leather-Fringe-Wearing-Super-Lawyer, the Physician has the finances to hire on a top personal lawyer, the Phyician's liability insurance carrier has several law firms hired on to divert liability, and Google has a legal army re-stating Google's "we don't claim compliance" statements. That leaves you in a serious predicament.

Companies that claim compliance have a number of things you probably don't have:

  1. A legal team
  2. A full time Regulatory and Compliance staff
  3. A Quality Management System that complies with the Code of Federal Regulations
  4. A documentation trail that proves the companies product was designed and engineered according to the Quality System
  5. Insurance against liability damages
  6. The ability to raise large amounts of money for legal defense

You'd be well advised to hire a lawyer to protect you against such a situation.

more than 5 years ago
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KDE 4.3 Released

SloppyElvis Re:making progress (432 comments)

For starters, why is everything gray.

Three reasons:

  1. Generic minimalist designs have broader appeal
  2. Keeping the majority of the UI neutral affords using color for emphasis/focal points where appropriate
  3. Some third thing

more than 5 years ago
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Student Sues University Because She's Unemployable

SloppyElvis Re:Depressing, but not uncommon (1251 comments)

be noticed and promoted is one big fat illusion more often than not kept alive by manipulative managers wanting to get extra free hours from us (so that THEY get fat bonuses)

The resentment of management is so thick in this forum you could cut it with a knife.

The mid-level manager gains from promoting successful people up the corporate ladder. Managers are graded on their ability to build an effective team and recruit/develop high performing talent. An effective manager knows to provide the top people with the tools and environment they need to do their best. While it is true that the promotion carrot is often dangled to push someone harder, only a lousy manager believes they can dangle carrots without coming through on their end. We have an engineer on the team right now who was told he'd get a promotion if he took the role of lead engineer on a recent project and succeeded. He worked hard, impressed his teammates with his skill and ethic, and earned the promotion. That is no illusion. He was given an opportunity and he took it.

You've observed that outgoing type A's get noticed and are promoted more frequently than technical experts. I do agree with this (to some extent) having seen that the road to "Staff Engineer" is longer than the road to "Engineering Manager". There are basically two career paths for engineers: technical and management. The technical path is ascended by demonstrating technical expertise, the ability to guide large scale projects from the technical side, and the ability to mentor less experienced engineers. The quiet and reserved person can and will ascend through this path by demonstrating their technical ability, and accomplishing this takes years of good work. A quiet and reserved person who is also skilled at mentoring young engineers is perhaps more promotable due to the high demand and greater contribution a mentor can bring to the organization. On the management path, outgoing individuals tend to be noticed more for their management potential. A large part of a manager's job is working with other managers and reporting to executives, the majority of which are themselves open and outgoing. Likewise, a successful manager needs to be able to effectively work with people of varied personalities, some of which reserved people find reprehensible. On a similar note, negotiating for pay also demonstrates a skill a manager needs to have. The manager is graded on their ability to negotiate to get the best value for the company and not having the ability to negotiate will hurt their chances of being successful managers. For these reasons, outgoing people shining a light on their work are showing skills of a different sort, and may be promotable based partly on that display which you regard as purely superficial.

When a person earns a senior technical position, it is reasonably certain that they will succeed in this appointment. They can succeed in these positions for many years and have great careers all the way up to retirement, all the while mentoring the next batch of experts. On the other hand, when a person earns a management position, there is no guarantee that they will succeed, and most of them will probably fail (perhaps by committing the ills you've indicated in your post). Then they will either leave or be canned, opening positions for the next batch of potential managers. This is one driving reason for outgoing people to be more frequently promoted.

My advice would be for a person to examine what it is they want out of their career. "Success" doesn't equate to happiness, and if you've sacrificed your personality in efforts to gain pay, you have little chance at happiness in your career. If you aren't going to claim credit for everything based on your principles and your personality, then by all means stick with your principles a go about quietly getting the job done. In a well-functioning organization, real accomplishments do not go unnoticed, and there will always be a place for unassuming technical experts.

more than 5 years ago
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Nielsen Recommends Not Masking Passwords

SloppyElvis Re:Indeed lack of imagination (849 comments)

4) How difficult is it to create a script that takes screenshots - how difficult is it to create a script that captures keyboard entry as well. Answer: the first can be done in userspace (and in the hands of an experienced script kiddie would be unnoticed), the latter usually has to go as a request to a driver, kernel or other layer that requires admin rights. This is true for Windows, Mac and (depending on your GUI) Linux

hmm...

SetWindowsHookEx()

...I don't believe this requires admin rights. Windows is designed for usability! I could write an Internet Explorer browser add-on that superimposes over password editboxes and displays your password so you (and I) can see it!

more than 5 years ago
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A Mathematician's Lament — an Indictment of US Math Education

SloppyElvis Old habits die hard (677 comments)

Excellent argument on the frustrating habits of culture... and well written too.

You could substitute nearly any area of study into this analysis, and find a great deal of truth in the result, and in this, The Lamenting Mathematician has uncovered a very subtle and elegant habit of culture. The fact is that there are a great many musical technicians, incapable of creating the art of music, just as there are a great many mathematical technicians, who will never contribute to The Masterpiece. Software, Politics, History, Leadership... All have their share of artists and technicians alike. The key element is that the cultural perception of mathematics is that there is no art; that it is but a technical discipline.

The truth is that all disciplines are both artistic and technical in nature, and that society would do well to discover this and promote this duality through education.

The first advanced math course I took in college consisted entirely of proofs and abstract discoveries such as described in the article, and it was eye-opening. The clever approaches and solutions discussed gave that intuitive appreciation... no less artful than capturing a feeling with a photograph or instilling instant familiarity with a speech.

more than 5 years ago
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Ideal, and Actual, IT Performance Metrics?

SloppyElvis Before you apply metrics... (321 comments)

Before you apply metrics you need to define the problem you are trying to solve.

  1. Determine what it is that needs improving
  2. Determine the symptoms/indications that either contribute to or result from the thing that needs improving
  3. Determine the metrics which can quantify the symptoms/indications
  4. Create a plan to improve the thing that needs improving
  5. Execute the plan to improve the thing that needs improving
  6. Measure if plan execution is having any affect on the symptoms/indications using the metrics
  7. Evaluate if you have the proper execution
  8. Evaluate if you have the proper plan
  9. Evaluate if you have the proper metrics
  10. Evaluate if you have the proper symptoms/indications
  11. Evaluate if you have the proper thing to improve
  12. Rinse and Repeat

It is madness to measure for the sake of measuring.

more than 5 years ago
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Australian Gov't Offers $560k Cryptographic Protocol For Free

SloppyElvis Re:I laugh ... (163 comments)

The likelihood of breaking it is genuinely 1 in 2^n and can only be broken by brute force attack.

That's not strictly true. Although the discrete log problem is hard it is still a computational assumption. Proving that 2^n is a lower bound would be a significant achievement. This scheme is only "unbreakable" in the sense that RSA is - breaking it requires solving a problem that we suspect, but are unable to prove, is very hard.

Unless I am mistaken...

  1. MIN(A,B) <= SQRT(C)
  2. SQRT(C) < 2^n for all cases where n>1

...that can still leave a huge brute force search space of course.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Netflix deal expands instant watch catalog

SloppyElvis SloppyElvis writes  |  more than 4 years ago

SloppyElvis (450156) writes "Netflix Inc. has announced a deal, reportedly worth $1 billion, to bulk up its increasingly popular Internet streaming service with Hollywood blockbusters such as "Star Trek," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "The Godfather."

"What's exciting here is it really reaffirms that the Internet is a serious delivery channel," said analyst Colin Dixon, a senior partner for the research firm the Diffusion Group. Netflix has really been the catalyzing force on the market and it has illustrated very graphically that consumers are very comfortable consuming quality content directly from the Internet and in some respects, it's their preferred medium."

Read more: here"

Link to Original Source
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US Supreme Court Rules Against NFL Monopolies

SloppyElvis SloppyElvis writes  |  more than 4 years ago

SloppyElvis (450156) writes "The [US] Supreme Court unanimously ruled against the National Football League over its exclusive contract with an apparel maker in one of the most important sports law cases in decades.
In a 9-0 decision Monday, the justices said the league can be considered 32 separate teams, not a single business.

What remains to be seen is how this ruling may effect the EA Sports exclusive contract for the Madden series of video games."
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Microsoft "Mojave Project" Videos Posted

SloppyElvis SloppyElvis writes  |  more than 6 years ago

SloppyElvis (450156) writes "Microsoft's "Mojave Experiment" (as you may recall from this Slashdot post) now includes videos showing the not-so-surprisingly positive results of this "scientific experiment". Beware, the site uses Flash (Gasp! no Silverlight!?) and takes longer to load than Vista takes to recover from hibernation. A truly hilarious example of egregious marketing, you can even hear the "WOW" features being validated by unsuspecting "misinformed" users with "preconceived notions of Vista"."

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