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Comments

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'Thermoelectrics' Could One Day Power Cars

Vellmont Re:Not so fast, Thermodynamic laws are pesky thing (160 comments)

Umm.. so the article was focused on the abstract idea of increasing efficiency of thermoelectric generators. The practical idea (and even the article title) was about how it might be able to power a car more efficiently. But yet you focus right in on how it's never going to work. (Why yes, I DO understand the carnot limit of heat engines).

The article never talked about massive gains in heat efficiency for power plants, just scavenging waste heat. Right now we have massive cooling towers at power plants to get rid of waste heat, which sometimes provides problems for increased temperatures of waterways. If you could make an efficient thermoelectric device like this you might be able to take some of that waste heat and turn it into usable electricity, reducing your cooling needs and producing power at the same time. A 600MW coal plant going from a 33% efficient to 34% would produce an additional 18MW. That's not bad. At .02 a kilowatt hour, that's nearly $9000 a day.

So no, there's nothing really to "debunk" here, since no claims are really made about large gains in efficiency.

yesterday
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GM Names Names, Suspends Two Engineers Over Ignition-Switch Safety

Vellmont Re:Hero ? (236 comments)

Wow. I don't want you to design anything where my life could be in danger or be in charge of any project. We're accepting the scenario of the OP (The change wouldn't have happened unless the part number was kept the same), and you're telling me that given the decision to save lives, or follow policy, you'll choose policy. Life is rarely so simple, but you've already accepted this conclusion and have not only chosen to go with corporate police, but are DEFENDING this position in public.

While I understand human nature and accept that most people will follow policy and simply put the blame on someone else (This is well researched and called diffusion of responsibility) I'm saddened by the fact that you're advocating this position, and that it was modded up so highly.

5 days ago
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Is Weev Still In Jail Because the Government Doesn't Understand What Hacking Is?

Vellmont I don't know whether it's illegal or not. (246 comments)

What he did seems rather grey to me. I don't exactly buy the argument that this was legit access. Especially when he went and downloaded 140,000 some email addresses.

41 months does seem like a ridiculous sentence for stealing some freaking email addresses though. Is it really supposed to be worse just because he got Michel Bloomberg's email address? Isn't punishment supposed to be based on harm done? For a crime, this sounds pretty penny-anty.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Will Older Programmers Always Have a Harder Time Getting a Job?

Vellmont Re:As a 40 something programmer recently interview (379 comments)


Also, web guys...if you're really concerned about speed, maybe you should consider writing some of this code in a lower level language.

Game guy. Please stick to giving advice about game engines. You don't know anything about the web if your suggestion to improve performance is to "write in a lower level language". Your advice is akin to me saying "Hey game guy, if you want faster games, why don't you get a faster internet connection!"

Everything else I agree with.

about a month ago
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Java 8 Officially Released

Vellmont Re:Damnit (302 comments)


Perhaps you simply haven't done any real Java coding on an Enterprise level? If you had, you'd never had made such a post.

Why is it everyone thinks THEIR situation obviously reflects EVERYONES. "I've programmed on the "enterprise level" (nonsense terminology), so that means that my experience is just like everyone else's.

Sorry, but bullshit. YMMV. While you're right, that sometimes you do run into crap that isn't compatible, by and large I've had few problems going from Java 3 to 4 to 5 to 6 to 7. I've had quite a few issues upgrading Application servers, but that's a different matter.

about a month ago
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School Tricks Pupils Into Installing a Root CA

Vellmont Re:certpatrol (417 comments)

Yup. I tried a different plugin that accomplishes the same thing. I had to uninstall it almost immediately because it worked so poorly and gave false positives constantly. I honestly don't even understand why anyone maintains any of those plugins, since they're useless.

about a month ago
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School Tricks Pupils Into Installing a Root CA

Vellmont Re:In their defence. (417 comments)


It is a difficult role the school has to take on the role of parent or guardian which does mean filtering the content the kids are exposed to.

That's fine, as long as I as a parent would get some say over what gets filters. Personally I feel that Rush Limbaugh is a horrible influence on little minds. He's a horrible person and I'd prefer nobody ever see his ugly face, or listen to his poisonous words.

Can I have him filtered out? Maybe even any website (including this one now) that has the words "Rush Limbaugh" in them.

about a month ago
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School Tricks Pupils Into Installing a Root CA

Vellmont Re:In their defence. (417 comments)


Yep.

Spend your childhood being a child ... that's what it's for.

Ha! This is the classic example of adults either not remembering or projecting their own ideas about what childhood is/was like. I remember being a kid and having sexual thoughts in maybe 3rd or 4th grade. I've asked other people if they had similar thoughts, and they did. By the time you get to HS, EVERYONE has sexual thoughts and urges. Wanting to look at porn and people fucking is PART of being a child. Your ideas of childhood innocense are a drastic distortion of childhood, likely influenced by what society wants us to believe about childhood.

But hey, at least the conservative impulse has settled down to "Wait till you're an adult to look at pussy" rather than "OMG!! NEVER EVER Look at pussy!"

about a month ago
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School Tricks Pupils Into Installing a Root CA

Vellmont Re:In their defence. (417 comments)


I don't like censorship more than anyone else, but this is the real world and sometimes ideology has to take a back seat to practicality and an angry mob of parents.

More like, ideology sometimes has to take a back seat to someone elses ideology, because there's more people who espouse it.

about a month ago
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School Tricks Pupils Into Installing a Root CA

Vellmont Re:Root CA is Only for Your School's Apps (417 comments)

Here you go. I've posted the public CA key as well as the private key so attackers can decrypt your traffic with sslsniff. Slashdot won't let me post long strings of characters, so I put it on pastebin. Please install it at your convienence on all your different devices, since it's no big deal to install a poorly protected root CA on your computer.

http://pastebin.com/dEUeaJSA

Just for fun (and because openssl wouldn't let me NOT do it), I put a really secure password on the private key. It'd take decades to crack this password. I mean, nobody could ever guess the passsword. It's a really secure password, just like I'm sure the schools private key and password is.

Oh, and remember kids. SSLSniff by Moxie Marlinspike.

about a month ago
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School Tricks Pupils Into Installing a Root CA

Vellmont Re:Root CA is Only for Your School's Apps (417 comments)


If you think "Root CA BAAAAD!" then you're not looking deeply enough into ssl or the security concepts behind the certificates to understand their ramifications. Stay in school and dig deeper.

Ok, then you certainly wouldn't mind if you installed a root CA that I just hand out to you,right? No security implications of a root CA since it's only a problem if the school uses a proxy server. I'm sure I could find a root CA for you to install if you really believe this.

But then, what you're saying isn't true. Having a copy of sslsniff http://www.thoughtcrime.org/so... would allow the school to intercept all the traffic WITHOUT using a proxy server. In fact anyone with access to the private root CA could do this as well. How secure do you really think the school keeps this private key? If they're like anyone else.... not terribly secure.

(If you'd still like me to russle up a root CA for you to install on all your machines, let me know and I'll prepare one for you. I'll be sure to distribute the private key widely.)

about a month ago
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Daylight Saving Time ...

Vellmont Re:Time to lose Daylight Savings Time (310 comments)


We live in a 24/7 world that ignore the natural cycle and since it saves nothing,why do we need it?

Because despite your fantasies of being disconnected from the natural world, you're part of it. Our bodies are attuned to the day/night cycle. We SHOULD be getting up earlier in the morning, it's just that clocks and regimented schedules have distorted our connection to the natural world. DST and Summer time adjust our regimented world back to the natural world.

Also, believe it or not some people actually LIKE to go outside and experience the world. (And if you think you can just do this yourself by getting up earlier and leaving earlier.... well, you're either extremely lucky to have such a job, or extremely naive that you'll be able to adjust your schedule to your whims).

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: What's New In Legacy Languages?

Vellmont Re:Depends on your definition of legacy (247 comments)

/It's true, but realistically that's actually more of a problem than people realize.

I travel a lot, and I don't always have data connectivity (it's VERY VERY expensive in certain parts of the world if you don't have a local SIM). I've tried very hard to find a good navigation program with local maps. NavFree USA and NavFreeWorld are pretty good, but there's many parts of the world they don't have maps for.

I really kind of bemoan the fact that phone apps are so data centric. Eventually I'm going to be back within data range, but if I had my wish I'd ask for apps that are designed to be disconnected from the network for a period of time. Why can't my nav app just download all the data for a region if I plan to be offline for a while? (This kind of works for some nav apps... but mostly not). If I'm reading an article on my phone (on a plane for instance), why is it so hard to work in offline mode? If I'm creating a post to put on some social networking site, why is it so hard to save it locally, and post it whenever I have data again?

This is obviously getting off-topic, but I really think the data-centric nature of apps is too reliant on 100% data connections.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: What's New In Legacy Languages?

Vellmont Re:Important question (247 comments)

The jobs are shifting to introspective languages because the way people work with computers is shifting from the desktop to the web. It only tangentially has anything to do with the speed of computers. There's just not as much call for desktop programs anymore because the shift has moved to a networked world that isn't tied to a desktop machine running (OS-whatever). My guess is that you'll still have a job in desktop apps programming in C++ for 20 years at least, but the world will change under your feet, and already is.

So focus less on the language, and more on the general movement in the world. If you feel like your career prospects are waning, find an employer that works on the web rather than the desktop. Or deals with data processing rather than desktop applications.

The same thing happened in the mainframe era because of the invention of the microprocessor. Whether you "double down" on your C++ knowledge is a matter of risk mitigation and work environment. I'm sure there's some indispensable COBOL programmers out there... but you'd also have to accept some rather limited work environments as well surrounding yourself with other people who've chosen the same path. That's fine, but you have to accept that your're really limiting yourself to a small insular world. If that suits you, great. If not, move on.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: What's New In Legacy Languages?

Vellmont PHP? (hope hope hope) (247 comments)

It's not of course, but a man can dream can't he? .net isn't dying by any stretch of the imagination. But let's start with languages most people would agree ARE legacy languages:

COBOL (if you can't agree on this, end of conversation)
VB6
various assembly languages (maaaaybe the 68000 family?)
FORTRAN (starting to get controversial here since I know it's still used by some crazy science people who don't want to learn anything modern)
Smalltalk
ALGOL
Forth

I was about to add Pascal... but then noticed some crazy person is still developing Pascal in the form of freaking Delphi, and even has a port for Android phone. WTF?

So that makes me think... if I can't include Pascal, or possibly even FORTRAN, languages I've never known someone to write code for in the past 15 years, but yet there's still new releases of it in legacy languages... then what can I include? I'm sure some nutter will try to argue with me that Forth is still a viable language. COBOL.... just go away.

The better question is more likely, which languages should you really not put your career prospects on? Personally I'd list any of the above languages, but sadly not yet PHP.

about a month ago
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Massachusetts Court Says 'Upskirt' Photos Are Legal

Vellmont Re:A new law in not what is needed (519 comments)


Because it's convenient to allow creative interpretation instead of actually amending the Constitution, we've lost much of the point of it all!

Pssstt.. I've got a secret for you. The founding fathers didn't know how to interpret the damn thing either. They couldn't agree, so they just made the bill of rights rather vague and put in place the power of the courts to interpret the law. So "creative interpretting" as you put it was always the intent.

If your idea is to amend the constitution to be clear about everything, you're going to have to do a LOT of amending. How many Supreme court decisions are there every year? That's gives you a very small idea of the role of the supreme court. You really want to amend the constitution that much? Think it's hard to interpret now.. think about if we amended it ever month.

Remeber, the constitution was intentionally made to be rather difficult to amend. I sure as hell don't want to make it easier.

about a month and a half ago
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Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience

Vellmont Re:God (794 comments)

Yup. Dr. Bronners is really a great soap product, and it's sold by a company that's not a bunch of greedy bastards. There's even a documentary on the soap and the company called Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox. The founder is a little nutty, but his message is largely just one of unity among people.

I'm not religious, and I don't believe in anything most people would say is a god, but I like the company and the soap.

about a month and a half ago
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Live Q&A With Ex-TSA Agent Jason Harrington

Vellmont 3rd degree in Amsterdam (141 comments)

About a year ago I was traveling home, and the TSA had set up a security checkpoint at the gate in Amsterdam. The screener (A Dutchman, oddly) kept asking me question after question, surely suspicious of something. This only thing even remotely suspicious was that I had gone through Switzerland, and my flight was cancelled so I had been re-routed through Amsterdam.

Do you have any idea why the gate agent gave me the third degree, asking me all these questions about where I had been, etc? I've traveled quite a bit internationally, and this was the hardest time I've had getting back in the US. Is it just TSA being extra-paranoid about anyone coming through Switzerland due to the super-rich trying to take money out of Swiss banks after the banks agreed to turn over records? Or is it just the Dutch TSA agents are dicks?

about 1 month ago
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"Microsoft Killed My Pappy"

Vellmont Re:fake premise (742 comments)

No, it doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad design, but when you hear a chorus of people complaining about the same thing, it's highly suggestive that it is. Both Windows and Ubuntu tried the crazy menu thing and elimating the start menu. Both had to relent and go back. That's a pretty shitty design, and shows both of them weren't thinking.

IMO the UI architects have become too radical for desktop UIs. Many complain the deskop UI hasn't changed in 20 years.... as if that's a bad thing. The UI to my car hasn't changed either. Steering wheel, brake, accelerator, ignition, gearshift all in standard locations. Headlight switches move around, which seems to serve little purpose, but it's a relatively minor complaint. A stable UI isn't necesarily a bad thing, but if you look at how much UIs have changed in MS products, you'd think they change it more often than hairstyles.

Meanwhile 20 years ago I learned shell programming and some simple unix piping output between standard programs, and I've gotten quite good at manipuating the command line. I don't have to re-learn it all every 5 years because someone thought of a "better" way to do it. At the same time I don't really want to go back to manipulating endless system config files with a text editor, or using freaking tar/zip as a package management tool. If a UI improvement solves an actual problem I'm all for it, it's just the stuff MS has done lately doesn't seem to solve any problems, only create them.

To me moving around the UI components is sort of like re-arranging furniture. It might help a bit, but if you want a happier user there's better ways to go about that. If you want to keep the system up to date... instead of forcing the damn machine to restart, why not just re-engineer your system so you don't have to restart? Email really stinks.. mostly because it's a big box with different time requirements for different emails. Why not address that problem instead of putting a fancy ribbon on everything?

about 2 months ago
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"Microsoft Killed My Pappy"

Vellmont Re:fake premise (742 comments)

Yes, exactly. Windows 8 is highly hated. Take away the user paradign for the last 30 years and what do you expect?

I occasionally have to use Windows, and I'm amazed that the user experience has actually gotten much worse from about 10 years ago. I can't figure out how to use the damn thing anymore! Office was perfected about 10 years ago, but yet MS just keeps changing the UI around and re-selling the thing over and over, then tying it into other MS products so you have to buy the damn thing again.

What would happen if the basic way to drive a car changed radically and people had to re-learn how to drive when they bought a new car? Chaos. But yet that's what happens, and massive productivity is lost every year. Outlook and Exchange are probbably the worst MS products ever created. But businesses are somehow addicted to them like heroin. Email itself is a pretty shitty experience these days, but MS manages to make it even worse.

I sure don't think about the anti-trust case from 20 years ago. I think about how the MS monopoly has created bad products that dominated the landscape as MS slowly but surely becomes irrelvent and fades from prominance. I know a lot of non-technical people. Nobody really loves them, some detest them, and almost everyone at least finds them distatesful. We're in the middle of a massive MS decline in power and influence, but the erosion process hasn't been etched away enough quite yet to become irrelevent.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Vellmont Vellmont writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Vellmont (569020) writes "I live in an apartment, and I've recently become enamored with the idea of turning my Linux server into a burglar alarm. The goal would be to provide the same features of a professional burglar alarm (motion detection, keypad de-activation and activation, and a loud alarm) plus some extra features that's easy for an internet connected computer such as paging alerts. Has anyone found hardware that can be fairly easily interfaced with Linux, as well as an open-source project that drives the alarm?"
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Vellmont Vellmont writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Vellmont (569020) writes "Xname.org, a popular provider of free DNS hosting has been taken offline do to a distributed denial of service attack. Their website now reads:
XName is temporarily closed since 08:00PM CEST yesterday evening. We were experiencing the largest DDoS we ever had on both ns0 and ns1 IP addresses, forcing our upstream providers to cut off XName servers in order to preserve their other customers. We're working hard in order to have at least one DNS server answering ASAP, and we already negociated with a premium transit provider to host one of our DNS servers shortly.
Anyone relying soley on Xname.org for DNS hosting should probbably change their domain records to point elsewhere."

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