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Comments

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Putin To Discuss Plans For Disconnecting Russia From the Internet

Tom Re:What could possibly go wrong (240 comments)

Is Russia as internet-dependent as we are?

Russia is independent of the USA part of the Internet to a degree you can hardly imagine. They have their own Facebook (vk), their own Google (yandex), two DNS root-server anycast instances, and even for credit cards they'll not be very sorry as Russians prefer debit cards from their own banks over Master/VISA credit cards.

Sure it'd be noticeable and some stuff would stop working, but it is certainly feasable.

3 days ago
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Google's Doubleclick Ad Servers Exposed Millions of Computers To Malware

Tom Re:And there's the reason why... (223 comments)

If they ask, I'll consider it and I may decide this way or that.

If they lock me out without ads, I'll never visit their site again. I don't want ads, they don't want me as a visitor, we seem to have a concord.

3 days ago
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Netropolitan Is a Facebook For the Affluent, and It's Only $9000 To Join

Tom Re:"Affluent and accomplished" is not the criterio (177 comments)

I can't see wasting money just to say I have money to waste.

Exactly. You're the kind of people they want to keep out. People who think that $5k is a waste. For their target audience, $5k is either not worth even thinking about, or a fair price to pay for making sure you spend your time only with people who fall into either of these categories.

4 days ago
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Netropolitan Is a Facebook For the Affluent, and It's Only $9000 To Join

Tom Re:"Affluent and accomplished" is not the criterio (177 comments)

That $9000 bouncer will be just as happy to let in every reality TV star, pop artist, flash-in-the-pan record producer, a

Those TV and music starlets will stay on FB because they want and need to stay in touch with their fans.

The wealthy have always segregated themselves. That $10k membership fee in the golf club is not because keeping the grass short is so expensive, either. It is to make sure everyone you meet there is in your class.

Frankly speaking, I'm mostly surprised that this doesn't already exist.

4 days ago
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An Open Source Pitfall? Mozilla Labs Closed, Quietly

Tom not important (111 comments)

So it closed last year, but you only just noticed and posted an article? It doesn't seem like it's going to be missed very much, if the corpse can decompose and start to smell before someone sends the police to check on aunt Mozlabs.

5 days ago
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Tom Re:they will defeat themselves (952 comments)

[Kurds] but we don't want to support them too much because we don't want them demanding their own state,

Also because we already betrayed them once and they're not necessarily our best friends because of it.

If we stopped working towards keeping the region unstable,

Mostly by changing allies the way other people change their underwear, yes.

5 days ago
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Tom Re:they will defeat themselves (952 comments)

Americans killed two or so orders of magnitude more civilians in the middle east than arab terrorists killed in the USA. Somewhere on that road, the justification became a cruel joke.

5 days ago
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Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

Tom purpose? (730 comments)

If I'd say I'm underwhelmed, it would be a big understatement.

Every major device announcement that Apple made in the recent years was always driven by one thing: It had a purpose. It provided something that was lacking in the world. Not a totally new invention in many cases, but a solution. Smartphones existed before the iPhone, but it is clear that the smartphone market history can be divided into "before the iPhone" and "after the iPhone" - just look at pictures of smartphones from those two periods.

iWatch? I know it was rumoured for two years or so, but in all that time I couldn't see which problem it solves and what meaning to life it has, and I still can't. It seems the Jobs spirit has left, because this is clearly a device that was made in response to the rumours about it, not because someone knew what he was doing.

about two weeks ago
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Tesla Plans To Power Its Gigafactory With Renewables Alone

Tom Re:Musk worship (260 comments)

He gets tax breaks to entice bringing lots of jobs to THAT state instead of some OTHER state.

That's the problem there, can you spot it?

about two weeks ago
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Bill Gates Wants To Remake the Way History Is Taught. Should We Let Him?

Tom Re:Hell no (363 comments)

Parent comment is living proof that the lameness filter on /. is broken.

about two weeks ago
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Protesters Blockade Microsoft's Seattle Headquarters Over Tax Breaks

Tom Re:Voliunteer workers for the IRS? (246 comments)

It would be very interesting to run the numbers.

In government, inefficiency and bureaucracy and corruption cause friction, resulting in only $1 cents of every tax dollar to actually be spent on something.

In corporations, inefficiency, shareholder payouts and top-level management salaries (which have no equivalent in government) cause friction, resulting in only $2 cents of every dollar revenue to be spent on creating goods or services.

I wonder if $1 > $2 or the other way around. I do consider the evidence-free assumption that corporations are more efficient than government to be naive. Show me your evidence or shut up.

about two weeks ago
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Bill Gates Wants To Remake the Way History Is Taught. Should We Let Him?

Tom Re:You are a SLAVE (363 comments)

You BOW to these "experts".

You know nothing about me and yet assume a lot.

You cannot imagine that YOU could be part of the government and have a rifle at your home. Like these "swiss" men.

Guns have nothing to do with it at all. Here in Europe, it is very clear. We have countries neighbouring each other with very similar culture and economy, one of them has lots of guns and the other has very little. Differences in wealth, political corruption or empowerment? Negliegable.

This "I have a rifle, fuck the government" romantic misconception is from a time when the rifle you had was a match for the weapons the government had. What, exactly, will it do for you when the government comes with an APC, assault rifles, drones and all that shit?

about two weeks ago
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Protesters Blockade Microsoft's Seattle Headquarters Over Tax Breaks

Tom Re:Misleading Headline (246 comments)

Some of the more prosperous years in our history were when the government was not in schools, limited themselves on the roads, did not deliver water and so on.

You conveniently ignore the fact that in those years, that infrastructure was owned and/or maintained by communities, not by multinational corporations with a fanatical profit-maximizing agenda.

about two weeks ago
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Protesters Blockade Microsoft's Seattle Headquarters Over Tax Breaks

Tom Re:Voliunteer workers for the IRS? (246 comments)

Therefore, it would be irresponsible of it NOT to take advantage of legal tax loopholes or tactics to minimize costs.

That is in one sentence what's wrong with our western society. Maximise profit at all costs, dodge responsibilities to the world around you, and then justify it all as being the proper way to do things.

The crux of the problem here is the way the laws are written, so only your legislators can correct it.

The crux of the problem is the assumption that your responsibilities to society begin and end with the laws, interpreted to your advantage as much as possible.

about two weeks ago
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Bill Gates Wants To Remake the Way History Is Taught. Should We Let Him?

Tom Re:Hell no (363 comments)

That's beside the point though, if you had the money, how would you use it philanthropically to make the world a better place?

Grants to existing scholars, scientists and researchers in their fields who are making actual scientific progress, instead of making their lives more difficult by founding some hot shot idea you found interesting.

Someone as allegedly smart as Gates, who spent all his life in a company whose success is first and foremost based on marketing and manipulation of perception could be expected to understand that if you read, hear or watch someone telling his great idea and you're fascinated with it afterwards, you can be sure that you have seen a good sales man, but you have no clue whether or not you've seen a good idea.

about two weeks ago
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Bill Gates Wants To Remake the Way History Is Taught. Should We Let Him?

Tom Re:Hell no (363 comments)

But to understand possible causal connections, timing is most helpful.

If you come across a theory that event A caused event B (via some intermediate links), but you know that event A happened in 1676 while event B happened in 1669, you don't have to scrutinize the causal links.

Likewise, if two wars between the same countries were fought 30 or 40 years apart, you know that it was the next generation fighting and that the cause must have been important enough to span that transition of power to the heir.

about two weeks ago
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Bill Gates Wants To Remake the Way History Is Taught. Should We Let Him?

Tom Re: So long as it is consential (363 comments)

The mayor of my city and the parliament of my country I can elect and their doings are at least partially subject to public scrutiny. Moreover, their primary interest is staying in power, which means at least partially pleasing me.

The CEO of Big Bad Corporation I cannot elect nor scrutinize. His primary interest is $$$, which means if he can earn a buck by fucking me over, he's almost legally required to do so.

For all the faults in our current political system, I'd rather have the former have the guns. And I'd rather have the government control corporations instead of the other way around. In fact, much of what's fucked up with our politics is that corporations have too much influence on politics.

about two weeks ago
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Bill Gates Wants To Remake the Way History Is Taught. Should We Let Him?

Tom Re:Hell ya (363 comments)

History can be interesting, the way it's taught in [my] school is a sham.

FTFY.

I had a great history teacher, who taught us about the difference between cause and occasion, about webs of alliances and interdependences and how they create unintended consequences, and who made us understand why names and dates are important (to figure out the proper order of things and the connections between the people responsible).

If your teacher sucked, don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.

And if you want to refresh, find "Crash Course World History" on YouTube.

about two weeks ago
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Bill Gates Wants To Remake the Way History Is Taught. Should We Let Him?

Tom summary (363 comments)

'Frankly, in the eyes of the critics, he's really not an expert. He just happens to be a guy that watched a DVD and thought it was a good idea and had a bunch of money to fund it."

Best summary, ever. The primary problem with american culture today is this attitude of "money makes right", which is simply a modern version of "might makes right". There is a deep-rooted, often unconscious, assumption that because someone was successful (in business), he is smarter or more correct than someone who is not so bright and public. This ignores the fundamental truth that skillsets do not always overlap, and that celebrities main skill is very often self-marketing.

Just like Athens won the Persian War, not Sparta as "300" wants us to believe, in real life the tale of the lone hero, or the bright, misunderstood inventor, is usually just that: A tale.

And history is full of rich people giving money to total bullshit ideas.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

Tom Re:Powershell (729 comments)

C is for grown-ups. It is solidly based in the same core assumption as the Unix commandline: That the user knows what he's doing and the system shouldn't try to know better.

if (a = b) is crazy useful and I'm most happy that PHP retains this convention. I use it all the time because it does the same but is much more readable than

a = fopen("filename.ext");
if (a) {
...
}

sizeof tells you what you ask it, and if you ask it about a pointer (strings are pointers in C), then it will tell you about the pointer because it assumes that is what you want to know and if you'd wanted to know the length of the string, you would've asked for the length of the string via the strlen() function, for example.

String termination as well is an example of doing only what is needed, revealing how close C still is to assembler. Not doing nonsense like manipulating counters that may never be needed is one of the reasons C is fast.

Kids grew up with this idiocy, I program in Fortran, Cobol, even Assembler to avoid that mess.

You program in Cobol and talk about mess? This ranks high in the top list of crazy things I've heard on /.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Supreme Court strengthens First Sale Doctrine

Tom Tom writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Tom writes "The Supreme Court has sided with Supap Kirtsaeng regarding the resale of textbooks. Publisher Wiley had tried to keep a $600,000 judgement from the lower courts because the student had sold textbooks in the US that he had imported from his home country Thailand, where they are sold much cheaper. The Supreme Court ruled that while it realizes that US companies often try to get different prices in different markets, the copyright law does not provide a right to such business models."
Link to Original Source
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Hotfile countersues Warner

Tom Tom writes  |  about 3 years ago

Tom (822) writes "Hotfile went out of its way to bow to the movie industry and gave the likes of Warner a special account that they could use to delete content — any content. Apparently, that's just what they did as Hotfiles countersuit claims after Warner sued them anyways. They claim Warner deleted Public Domain content, Free Software and many other items that could not possibly be confused with copyrighted movies if one took even a single look.
The funny part? They are suing Warner under the DMCA, the very law the music industry bought/bribed for themselves."

Link to Original Source
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MS loses European anti-trust case

Tom Tom writes  |  about 7 years ago

Tom writes "The court has spoken in Microsoft's case against the EU anti-trust commission, and the result is even more damaging to the monopoly company than analysts expected.
The court upholds all major decisions of the commission, including the record half a billion Euro fines. Most importantly, it smacks down MS entire defense line of "we can't make interoperability possible because we need to protect our copyrights and patents"."

Link to Original Source

Journals

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The Trolls

Tom Tom writes  |  about 6 months ago

Wow, it's been 15 years but I've finally got my own personal troll! :-)

I must apologize to everyone I've ever called a troll now that I've seen a real one. Yeah, there are trollish comments, but this... it's a different league. If you ever wondered who these brain-damaged morons were who set up geocities homepages with blinking purple text on blue background with red dots in Comic Sans - that kind of different league.

Now it does make me wonder about trolls in general. Has there been a study on this? I really wonder if psychologists have tackled this because quite honestly, you cannot be mentally stable and post in this and this content at the same time. So I do wonder if trolls on the Internet (the real trolls, not the people occasionally posting something stupid) do have a mental problem. It definitely looks like it. Probably insecurity issues, definitely an exaggerated need for attention, might be related to borderline syndrome or schizoprenia.

And, of course, the Internet provides:

As someone who has had to deal with family members suffering from mental illness, let me tell you that it's not funny. So despite the fact that they are, in fact, obnoxious, aggravating assholes, these sad little fucks also need help and their miserable little existence is not something you'd want to trade for yours, no matter how much you think your life sucks. Trust me, with a mental illness on top, it'll suck more.

Obviously, we can't offer therapy to people who usually comment anonymously and will often go to great lengths to avoid being tracked down. What we can do, however, is get a better understanding for how they act this way (they can't help it, mental illness is stronger than your conscious mind) and that the best thing we can do for them is to not continue the feedback loop. "Don't feed the trolls" - old wisdom there.

The last link in that list contains a few more ideas.

Now that I'm at the end, I kind of regret the smiley face at the top. But I'm leaving it in because this journal entry is a bit of a journey, even if it is short. Thanks to some Internet resources, a bit of research and connecting the dots, I've come a short way, changing my mind a little on this particular sub-sub-sub-part of life.

-----

A short additional statement on how to treat trolling. From what I've gathered from the resources above, a few comments (both here and in the various spammed threads) and my own life experience:

First, don't feed the trolls. Most of them seek attention, so if you stop giving it to them, they become frustrated and go away. Notice that they seek attention, not validation. A rebuke or an angry rant or even a shootout of personal insults satisfies them as much as anything else. Much like the old PR saying "there is no negative publicity", it is all about the attention itself, not about its content.

Second, stand your ground. Do not leave the site or stop commenting just because you're being trolled. It takes a bit to do that, yes. Trolls consider it a "victory" if they shut you up, either by simple flooding or by frustrating you enough to disappear. In their twisted minds, it gives them validation and somehow proves that they were right.

Third, if you see someone else being trolled, give them support. Doesn't take much - a single sentence is more than enough. Someone under attack by a real troll is being flooded. The troll will commonly post under multiple aliases or otherwise attempt to appear as more than one person. Psychological experiments such as Solomon Asch's show how we humans as social animals experience conformance pressure. So give that other person support by showing him that the flood he's getting is no the only opinion around. It doesn't matter if he consciously knows it's just one troll, the pressure is subconscious.

-----

I'd like to have comments disabled on this journal entry, for obvious reasons, but you can't publish a journal entry with comments disabled, so... 1000:1 bet that he's stalking the journal as well and will add his drivel below?

Also, if the formatting looks atrocious, turn off beta and revert to classic. Seriously.

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The "new" and "de-improved" Slashdot

Tom Tom writes  |  more than 5 years ago

If you've known /. for a while, you've certainly noticed all the recent changes. The front page articles auto-load-extend (presumably through AJAX code), the link to get to your own page has moved twice, and now there are two (that both look alike - your username - but work differently), and checking if anyone has replied to your comments has been a two-click journey instead of the old one-click for a while now.

Then there's the annoying inline popup (so it's not caught by popup blockers) that tells you that "Firehose is paused due to inactivity". Whatever that means, it doesn't seem nearly important enough to interrupt my reading.

Quite frankly, from a user interface design standpoint, the "new" slashdot sucks. Badly. Maybe I'll try disabling all javascript for slashdot.org and check if that improves the experience.

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Giving up on Wikipedia

Tom Tom writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I'm giving up on Wikipedia today. Which means no more editing, and a lot less using it.

The reason is one word: Deletionism.

The details are three points:

a) It goes so against the spirit of Wiki, because a deletion is a non-reversable, non-reviewable change. The history gets lost, all work of everyone gets lost, and nobody can see and check it later. Every other change in a Wiki is documented, and you can see exactly what was changed, by whom, and when. Not so with a deletion. If you are lucky, you can find out that there used to be a page named this, but nothing about its contents.

b) It is destructive. You put hours of work into something, and it just gets deleted. Not updated, changed or even vandalised, but deleted. Poof, gone, as if it never existed. Have you ever lost your documents folder with no backup? Then you know the empty feeling. Don't do that to people, especially not those who might be new (and could have become worthy contributors, if they hadn't be hit in the face for their first attempt).

c) Notability-Nazis. Some time ago, the main reasons for deletion where actually valid. Nowadays, the main reason for deletion is notability, or in simpler words "I've never heard about this". My position on notability is very simple: Add a "non-noteable" category, namespace or at least archive and move stuff there, but it should not even be on the list of reasons for deletion. To me, an encyclopedia is where I look up the stuff that I've never heard about, so it'd better be there.

So for all these reasons, and a few minor ones, I've really switched sides over the past few weeks. I think I even begin to understand why large parts of the science community view Wikipedia with scepticism, and that much of the media's portrayl of their reasons is grossly simplified.

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