Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!



Microsoft's Asimov System To Monitor Users' Machines In Real Time

Spinlock_1977 Hire the right people? (269 comments)

Lots of other companies manage to produce a great UI without telemetry. It's pretty sad that a company of Microsoft's depth needs telemetry data to break the management deadlocks that are contributing to the 'designed by committee' feeling of Windows 8. Talent and balls seem to be absent in these decisions.

about 4 months ago

Microsoft Won't Bring Back the Start Menu Until 2015

Spinlock_1977 This proves... (516 comments)

This proves Windows 9 will have no likeable features - so they're 'saving' the start button for Windows 9 to balance the scales. Or at least, that's what a hater would say :-)

about 8 months ago

One-a-Day-Compiles: Good Enough For Government Work In 1983

Spinlock_1977 Punch Cards in College - and Poor Peggy! (230 comments)

My college, in 1980, was running a Honeywell Level 2 GCOS mainframe. It had 208k of memory, and could run up to four concurrent tasks. The workstation I'm writing this post on has about 82,000 times the memory as that old beast, which physically approximated a large fridge laying on its side. The removable disk drives were sized like washing machines, had five 14-inch platters, and held 80k.

I took some Cobol courses, using keypunch machines and Hollerith punch cards. When assignments were due, you'd often see students lined up at the card reader, waiting to read in their programs. The first six columns of a punch card for Cobol programs was reserved for an optional sequence number, equivalent to a Line Number today. Nobody filled those in - not even our instructors. If you had to re-order your program, you really wanted to avoid having to re-type cards with new sequence numbers.

However, at the end of the last semester, minutes before the final assignment was due, my fellow student Peggy came running in to the data center with her purse and coat in one hand, and a six-inch deck of Cobol cards in the other, tripped in her haste to the card reader queue, and scattered 2000+ cards across the data center floor. And on the final day of the final semester, we learned why its sometimes good to put sequence numbers on your punch cards.

And btw, nearing the end of each semester, it ALWAYS took 24 hours to get a compile back.

about 9 months ago

Fishing Line As Artificial "Muscle"

Spinlock_1977 Fishing Line Sales Spike Dramatically (111 comments)

News Alert: Fishing supply stores across the world are being mobbed by crowds of fidgety nerds buying up all the fishing line their moms' will let them buy.

about a year ago

Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

Spinlock_1977 #ImWithPerens (2219 comments)

And I wasn't at the first round-table :-)

about a year ago

HP To Charge For Service Packs and Firmware For Out-of-Warranty Customers

Spinlock_1977 Sitting on your own nuts (385 comments)

Now that I'm no longer an OpenVMS customer, it's kinda fun watching the owner who mistreated it sitting on its own nuts, wondering why it hurts.

Coming Up Next: HP develops unexpected limp after whacking itself in the knee with a ball peen hammer.

about a year ago

Oracle Attacks Open Source; Says Community-Developed Code Is Inferior

Spinlock_1977 Wrong Value Proposition - NSA Baby! (394 comments)

Oracle would do better by not mimicking Microsoft of 10 years ago, and instead simply state the REAL value of corporate software development for government use: Built-in back-doors for the NSA.

about a year ago

Researchers Report Super-Powered Battery Breakthrough

Spinlock_1977 Re:The Fine Print (244 comments)

... WITHIN logical...

would be more concise :-)

about 2 years ago

How Viable Is Large Scale Wind Energy?

Spinlock_1977 Climate Damage? (345 comments)

Is anyone going to study what happens when you suck a bazillion joules of energy out of the the wind? Why don't we convert the entire gulf stream to energy? We don't need that pesky gulf stream that bad, do we?

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Is Outsourcing Development a Good Idea?

Spinlock_1977 Use GitHub (403 comments)

We work with development partners. We use GitHub as a shared repository - works good, and separate repositories can ensure nothing goes to production without you pushing it. Manage permissions correctly to prevent them from going places you don't want them.

On the merits of outsourcing in general, in our case it makes sense. I can't make sense of your case.

more than 2 years ago

New Study Suggests Wind Farms Can Cause Climate Change

Spinlock_1977 No-Guilt Massive Energy Transfers (384 comments)

I think this almost falls into the 'no shit, Sherlock' camp. I'm glad someone with credentials is finally saying it. Please pass it along to the geo-thermal guys, who seem to think that sucking energy from the inside of this planet will never have an effect. Oh, and the wave-power-generation guys need to know too - they'll be disturbing ecologies and water flow patterns for miles around - who knows how far those effects will cascade? Scale counts - oil consumption wasn't a problem until we scaled it out - the same fate awaits any terrestrial energy source we scale.

There are only two places to get energy: 1. Earth, 2. Not Earth. Given a choice, I'll choose 2.

more than 2 years ago

Windows Admins Need To Prepare For GUI-Less Server

Spinlock_1977 The Ancient Battle (780 comments)

GUI vs. Command Line. I lived through that argument in the 80's and 90's. With a GUI, syntax problems go away - IF you can figure out how to find/launch the GUI. On the command line, all commands are available in one spot, but the syntax can be challenging. We really just traded one problem for another.

But for those of us who run production shops, a GUI isn't scriptable and is therefore not testable. Command line scripts can be tested in an offline environment, emailed around, put under version control, and printed out for enjoyable bathroom reading. Who doesn't love command line scripts???

about 3 years ago

Ex-Board Member Says HP Is Committing 'Corporate Suicide'

Spinlock_1977 Re:Not _sui_cide - destruction by external party (394 comments)

John Stewart had an author on a few weeks ago that claimed a disproportionate percentage of CEOs were sociopaths - i.e. those for whom guilt and conscience have little meaning.

more than 3 years ago

Sciencey Heroes For Young Children?

Spinlock_1977 Re:NIKOLA TESLA (614 comments)

Couldn't agree more. He was my science-hero when I was a kid. Besides, he threw LIGHTNING BOLTS!

more than 4 years ago

The Science of Battlestar Galactica

Spinlock_1977 99% Fi and 1% Sci does not a sci-fi make! (465 comments)

99% Fi and 1% Sci does not a sci-fi make. Wake the fuck up sci-fi writers! It's the heretofore unthought-of gizmos, and the unique ways they're used to get out of mind-blowing situations (replete with explosions and such) that makes a sci-fi. The crap you guys have been writing lately (I'm looking at you, SG Universe and Caprica!) got you your commercially-viable mainstream audience, but you alienated (ha ha) us real sci-fi fans. You suck, go away. And hence forth, be known as Fi-Sci writers, correctly leading with the ratio of drivel, to cool.

more than 4 years ago

BSG Prequel Series Caprica Canceled

Spinlock_1977 Sucked like BSG and SGU (602 comments)

I've been watching Caprica, and Stargate Universe. Both suffer from the same disease that infected BSG from the start: Tooooo much 'Fi', and not enough 'Sci'. Do we really have to sit through 57 minutes of character/story-building crap to get 3 minutes of the science-y part? Cripes, these new sci-FI's are more like soap operas than anything else - a total fucking snooze-fest. These writers better get over themselves and figure out what makes a sci-fi show cool to watch. Hint: If it could happen in a western or a soap opera, cut it from the script.

more than 4 years ago

Ray Ozzie's Departing Memo a Warning To Microsoft

Spinlock_1977 Sadly Obvious (345 comments)

What he's saying about all these devices about to happen probably rings true for most /. readers, including me. The problem is that visionaries have been saying it for years. Legal chafing between content providers, carriers, patent holders. et. al. has slowed the roll-out of super-toys to a crawl. He who can predict how fast the lawyers will move is the true visionary.

more than 4 years ago

West Virginia Is Geothermically Active

Spinlock_1977 Geothermal Ain't Green (239 comments)

How much heat can we suck out of the earth before we start noticing effects? When we first sipped from oil deposits we thought the supply was unlimmited - so we built billions oil-fueled cars and painted ourselves into a corner. Would someone with real credentials please stand up and say what needs to be said: Geo-thermal is a finite supply - and at some level of human consumption mining it will destabilize our planet.

more than 4 years ago

Why NASA's New Video Game Misses the Point

Spinlock_1977 Totally boring (205 comments)

I lasted 15 mins max in this game. Woke up when my head hit the keyboard.

more than 4 years ago

Better Development Through Competition?

Spinlock_1977 The Fat Part of the Bell Curve (251 comments)

Given that, in the majority of cases, solution #1 will be no better than 10% better than solution #2, is paying 200% worth it? What guarantee do you have that the succeeding project (of a slightly differing nature) would be better executed by the team winning the first? Life is fraught with such complications, rendering generalizations of this sort moot.

more than 4 years ago



Violate Quantum Physics, get Free Power?

Spinlock_1977 Spinlock_1977 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Spinlock_1977 writes "Blacklight, the company mentioned previously on Slashdot here and here, is back in the news, claiming they're close to commercializing a power generation system capable of generating electricity for once cent per kilowatt-hour. They claim they'll have a commercial plant in operation in 2009, despite the fact most quantum physicists say the 'hydrino' that the process relies on doesn't and can't exist. A full read is here."
Link to Original Source

McAfee Admits GPL Violation Publicly... oops!

Spinlock_1977 Spinlock_1977 writes  |  about 7 years ago

Spinlock_1977 writes "The Inquirer (UK) is running an article on a recent public statement by McAfee effectively admitting they've stolen GPL-licensed code, and are now concerned that their products that include it could pose a liability. One could argue which demonstrates greater stupidity: Using GPL'd code without abiding by the terms of the GPL license, or admiting it publicly. Either way, McAffee's management could now face a litany of legal actions ranging from a GPL suit to a shareholder class-action-mismanagment-angst one. From the article:

"To the extent that we use 'open source' software, we face risks," McAfee stated.

McAfee explained: "Use of GPL software could subject certain portions of our proprietary software to the GPL requirements, which may have adverse effects on our sales of the products incorporating any such software."

That statement says several things. First, it reveals that McAfee does use at least some open source software derived code in its products. Second, it betrays that McAfee has misappropriated that open source software and thus is committing copyright infringement, because it doesn't distribute that open source software derivative source code.

Link to Original Source

Users, Web developers vent over IE7

Spinlock_1977 Spinlock_1977 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Spinlock_1977 writes "ComputerWorld is running a story about developers frustration with IE 7, and Microsoft's upcoming plans (or lack thereof) for it. From the article:

But the most pointed comment came from someone labeled only as dk. "You all continue to underestimate the dramatic spillover effect this poor developer experience has had and will continue to have on your other products and services. Let me drive this point home. I am a front-end programmer and a co-founder of a start-up. I can tell you categorically that my team won't download and play with Silverlight ... won't build a Live widget ... won't consider any Microsoft search or ad products in the future."

Cheap Home Lead Testing - How?

Spinlock_1977 Spinlock_1977 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Spinlock_1977 writes "I received a gift from a friend — a tea ball. It was made in China. And it's metallic. Home lead-testing kits seem to start at a hundred or two dollars and go up from there. I'm loathe to spend that much to test a five dollar item. Does the slashdot community have suggestions for how to test for lead at home, on the cheap?"

Open Source Clustering Software - soon from Sun

Spinlock_1977 Spinlock_1977 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Spinlock_1977 writes "In a world first, Sun will open-source its clustering code. Since the first clusters (IBM) to the generally agreed upon best (OpenVMS), clustering code has long been considered a Secret Sauce in large scale and high-availability computing installations. Does this move by Sun put pressure on other vendors such as Microsoft?

Infoworld has more details here: http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/06/27/Sun-dona tes-Cluster-to-OpenSolaris_1.html"

Spinlock_1977 Spinlock_1977 writes  |  about 8 years ago

Spinlock_1977 writes "We've all seen the MS bashing and inevitable "If Microsoft built cars..." analogies here on slashdot, but now The Register is running an article on Microsoft's latest hardware foray — a car whose media player accepts your voice commands.

From the article: "Microsoft is to work with Ford to supply voice-activated software that will allow drivers to make mobile calls or play songs stored on digital music players without taking their hands off the wheel."

This makes one hope they don't introduce Windows Genuine Advantage product activation scheme in vehicles, doesn't it?"



World's first Open Source Clustering Code - Soon by Sun

Spinlock_1977 Spinlock_1977 writes  |  more than 7 years ago In a world first, Sun will open-source its clustering code. Since the first clusters (IBM) to the generally agreed upon best (OpenVMS), clustering code has long been considered a Secret Sauce in large scale and high-availability computing installations. Does this move by Sun put pressure on other vendors such as Microsoft?

Infoworld has more details here: http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/06/27/Sun-donates-Cluster-to-OpenSolaris_1.html


Spinlock_1977 Spinlock_1977 writes  |  more than 8 years ago

No Support for Linux users says Time-Warner NYC

I called Time-Warner for the 4th time about this months-long problem of my high-speed internet connection cutting out four or five times a day (for a minute or so). They told me to connect my Windows box directly to the Internet - bypassing my Linksys router. No way I said - it may get compromised (it's a fully-patched Win 2K box). I offered to connect my Linux box (a fresh Slackware 10.2 install) directly, and they said "no way". I went round & round with the guy, even asking, at one point, if he realized this conversation was being recorded. He wouldn't even run some of the tests to help ME diagnose the problem.

If you don't use Windows, Time-Warner's Tier-3 "National Help Desk" - and I suspect the lower level tiers - will refused to support you. Why isn't Linux supported? Makes me wonder if they support Apple. Also makes me wonder if Microsoft has some weird corporate toe-lock on Time-Warner - somehow encouraging their Road Runner support group to drag their saggy corporate asses on Linux support.


Is It Too Late to Want to Work at Google?

Spinlock_1977 Spinlock_1977 writes  |  more than 9 years ago (Disclosure: I'm a grey-haired software engineer of mid-range talent)

It seems my favorite computer companies turned to crap after the power-hungry business-manager types over-ran them. I include Microsoft (circa 1987), Digital Equipment (same era), and HP (again, and possibly later) in this list. All have been over-run by the same ilk of business-savy, substance-shy fast-talkers, as has my current employer, which leads me to this question I'd like to ask the /.er's :

Is It Too Late to Want to Work at Google?
How will we know when Google has been over-run? What signals will the company send out? Are those signals present now? (eg. big publicity, huge stock gains, fondling Sun, etc.)


FRACKED-UP Battlestart Gallactica Details?

Spinlock_1977 Spinlock_1977 writes  |  more than 9 years ago If you watched the season finale of the new Battlestart Gallactica, you just saw this: Starbuck tackles the bad guy, they fall 10 feet, and bad guy (girl, actually) gets skewered. Starbuck gets up, and there's 6 extra inches of steel poking through the corpse - clearly enough to penetrate the tackler - Starbuck. But she's ok, and un-penetrated (in this particular incident, anyway), she just shakes it off.

Later, Adama gets shot and his #1 has the presence of mind to press on the entry wounds, but is too daft to tell Adama's son to plug the exit wounds. Nobody runs for a sheet of plastic. Not one FRACKIN bridge officer or pilot or the CAG knows penetrating-wounds-first-aid-101?

I could certainly be wrong, but is there a notable shift here in the reality-factor that's been present in the series until now-ish?


Spinlock_1977 Spinlock_1977 writes  |  more than 9 years ago

I've written applications in both - and here's a difference no one talks about. When you open up MS's ASP environment, all that great GUI stuff is there and it's pretty easy to get going. Then as often happens in a development environment, you need a quick script to munge a long list of field names. Is ASP your first choice? It wasn't mine, because I couldn't find a way to get input into/out of it from the command line. So I whipped up a temporary web page with a text box to do it. More overhead than I wanted to spend for what should be a 2 minute job given an editor with macro key abilities.

Then a couple of years later I built my first app in PHP. The first thing I noticed was how easy it was to script from the command line. Since I'm not a perl junkie, it was real useful for small scripting jobs. I'd use a shell language for this, but fankly, I'd rather poke a fork in my eyes.

The next thing I noticed in PHP was I needed an modern editor (the free download doesn't come with an IDE), so I bought one from zend.com for a couple of hundred bucks. It's getting better, but like ASP, it too has no macro key ability (maybe I'm wrong and someone will tell me?), and other nits I'd pick given the chance.

But the big discovery in PHP was that all my ASP data-type problems magically went away. Hours and freaking hours I spent debugging situations where an int was returned from a DLL and ASP string'ed it, or vice versa. There were byref/byval issues I recall as well. We had to build test local harnesses for all our middle tier ASP components because these problems rendered ASP too lame for a debugging platform.

But my original point is really that PHP is useful along a continium of the problem space. Need a quick script? Need a nightly job that cleans up your app? Need web pages? PHP works well for all. ASP, from my experience, hits one for three.


Spinlock_1977 Spinlock_1977 writes  |  more than 10 years ago

I'm not sure why jounal entries on Slashdot are good for me. Perhaps making one will make visible the benenits.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?