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Earth Barely Dodged Solar Blast In 2012

Walking The Walk "From the Reuters article" - What Reuters article? (202 comments)

The summary says "From the Reuters article", but none of the links point to a story by Reuters. The links go to Nature, Wikipedia and UC Berkeley. The Berkeley article one doesn't mention Reuters; the Nature paper is paywalled, I can't check it's sources without forking over $32, but I would doubt it would rely on a news report as a source.

about a month ago

Hungarian Law Says Photogs Must Ask Permission To Take Pictures

Walking The Walk Use long exposures then (149 comments)

I guess it's back to old school photograhpy then. 100 years ago, photographs of landmarks didn't have people in then unless they were willing to stand perfectly still for 20 minutes or more. So just get a tripod, set up at your chosen landmark, and open the shutter. None of the people moving around will show up in your picture, and if you want to be in your own photo, just walk in front of the camera and strike a pose that you can hold for a half hour or so.

about a month ago

Lies Programmers Tell Themselves

Walking The Walk Performance (452 comments)

"We can tune for performance after we're done implementing the required functionality."

about a month ago

US Carriers Said To Have Rejected Kill Switch Technology Last Year

Walking The Walk Protection against seizure by TSA / police? (197 comments)

While I agree with others worried that a kill switch could be abused (by carriers / government / MPAA / RIAA / etc), I'm now wondering if it would be a handy way to counter (un)lawful search and seizure of a device by various authorities? Say you're transiting through the US and a TSA agent decides they want to confiscate (and presumably search) your smartphone. If the kill switch is easy to activate (maybe a number you call and enter a code, or via your laptop or friend's smartphone), you could wipe your device before they get the contents.

about 2 months ago

Scientists Study Permian Mass Extinction Event As Lesson For 21st Century

Walking The Walk Bad math (235 comments)

6,000,000 cubic kilometers of molten material - enough to cover the continental U.S. at a one mile depth.

I don't think the submitter understands math. One mile is about 1.6 km, so 6,000,000 km^3 of lava would cover an area of 3,750,000 km^2. Yet when I check Wikipedia (and Princeton, and the other top 5 Google results), they all say the Contiguous United States has an area of just over 8,000,000 km^2. That's an awfully big mistake. I hope the actual Stanford paper is of better quality than the Slashdot summary.

about 2 months ago

CES 2014: There's a 'Pre-Show' Before the Consumer Electronics Show (Video)

Walking The Walk No video for mobile users? (43 comments)

I'm on m.slashdot.org with my iPad, and there's no video. Not even a placeholder for a video (if they were using Flash or Silverlight.) So I also checked the CES Unveiled link in the summary, but it just goes to the schedule, no details. Not impressed guys...

about 3 months ago

Encrypted PIN Data Taken In Target Breach

Walking The Walk Re:Can encyption experts chime in? (213 comments)

knowing that each pin is exactly 4 digits?

I didn't see anything in the stories saying the pins were all exactly four digits. The examples of bad pins given in one story were four digits long, but most debit systems in North America accept larger pins. For the past 25 years, I've banked primarily with RBC (the largest bank in Canada), and I've always had a 6 digit pin. I have travelled a fair bit in that time, and the only place I had problems was at the ATMs for smaller banks in New Zealand, which had GUIs limiting pin input to 4 digits.

about 4 months ago

FOIA: NSA Contracts Stored In Paper Files, Unsearchable, Unindexed

Walking The Walk Misleading summary (114 comments)

That summary is misleading. It's based on an NSA response to a FOI request, worded as follows:

A search for overly broad keywords such as "CNO" and "computer network attack" would be tantamount to conducting a manual search through thousands of folders and then reading each document in order to determine whether the document pertains to a contract.

(emphasis mine)

That could be network folders (ie: directories) and Word documents, they never said anything was on "paper". The way I read that quote was that they've got heaps of contracts, stored in lots of directories, and even if they did a search they'd have to read each document returned to see if it was a contract pertaining to the FOI request. They're trying to say that's too burdensome, which in theory gives them a way of not supplying the information. In practice, a judge might decide they should be able to do the search in a reasonable amount of time, and force them to comply.

about 5 months ago

Will New Red-Text Warnings Kill Casual Use of Java?

Walking The Walk Might kill the Java4K contest (282 comments)

This update might be the death knell for the Java4K contest. That would be a real shame - lots of great developers have submitted games over the years, such as Markus Persson of Minecraft fame. But after the recent changes and now this red text warning, I'd bet most casual users will turn off Java in their browser (and who can blame them?) A contest with only developers can still be fun, but not as fun as having several hundred or thousand people play your game.

about 7 months ago

Flies See the World In Slo-Mo, Say Researchers

Walking The Walk Re:Makes complete sense (176 comments)

I've thought of this too every time I try to swat a fly that found its way into my house. Flies seem to be able to do aerial maneuvers in reaction to threats that you would think impossible given their tiny brains.

I thought it was because your hand creates a big buffer of air in front of it, like a bow wave. The fly is so small, it's easily buffeted ahead and aside, so any manoeuvring gets it out of the line of your hand. Even easier when your hand approaches a hard surface - then the air squishes out to the sides, and the fly goes out with it. This is probably easier to visualize in a body of water - float a cork or a small piece of plastic in your sink, put your hand in the water, then try to squish the item up against the side of the sink. It won't work most of the time, as the bow wave will push the item off to one side, and it only gets worse the faster your move your hand.

I expect that's why fly swatters are just a mesh - so the air can flow through without creating an air buffer.

about 7 months ago

The History of The Oregon Trail

Walking The Walk Rehash from 2011 story? (58 comments)

Looks like a rehash of the story we saw here a couple of years ago. I've only read the first few paragraphs of this new article, but I haven't found anything different from the previous one. I'm not suggesting plagiarism, I'm just saying it looks like the author just took the information from previous stories and rewrote it in his own words, without adding anything new.

about 9 months ago

Slashdot Asks: How Will You Replace Google Reader?

Walking The Walk Repeat question, already asked 3 months ago (335 comments)

This question was already on slashdot, back in March. It was titled "What's the Best RSS Reader Not Named Google Reader?" I mean really, does Slashdot's search suck so bad that the editor's couldn't find that previous question? If so, then Let Me Google That For You. First three results:

  1. This page
  2. Google Reader Being Retired
  3. What's the Best RSS Reader Not Named Google Reader?

about 10 months ago

Amazon Debuts Multi-Platform Indie Games Store

Walking The Walk Humble no, Bundle yes (67 comments)

It's like the Humble Bundle but not humble and not a bundle!

It may not be humble, but the front page clearly lists nine indie game bundles (5 games in each), under a heading "Indie Bundles - 100% of sales to developers".

about 10 months ago

CRTC Unveils New Wireless Code To Protect Canadian Customers

Walking The Walk Re:Still sucks to own a phone in Canada (230 comments)

Mobilicity (now telus) ...

Telus is intending to buy Mobilicity, and Rogers is attempting to purchase the spectrum [michaelgeist.ca] originally allocated by the CRTC to new entrants to increase market competition.

Apparently Telus' deal to buy Mobilicity got blocked by the government yesterday. When Mobilicity won their spectrum block in 2009, it was on the condition that it not be sold to any of the existing wireless providers for at least five years. As you said, the intention was to bring in some competition for the big three. Mobilicity had been warned the sale would be blocked on that reason alone, but they went ahead and got approval from everyone else first (shareholders, regulatory approval, etc.) I guess they were hoping that the government would just rubber-stamp the sale if all other parties had approved it.

I expect Rogers will get the same response.

about 10 months ago

MariaDB vs. MySQL: A Performance Comparison

Walking The Walk Re:Competes? (112 comments)

in the case of their free (or is that "free") alternatives, competition for dollars (which is all Larry cares about) probably doesn't really exist. Also, I think when people think about "Oracle" in the general sense of databases, they are thinking of the traditional, large, non-free versions...

Agreed on both points. I think the free Oracle offering is designed to encourage adoption and ease upgrade. So you start with the free Express edition, and build up a nice little business, but then performance or space becomes an issue and so the easiest course is to upgrade to Standard Edition for $$. And the developers working for you are all now familiar with Oracle and PL/SQL, so big business and government that run Enterprise edition for $$$$$ have plenty of developers to choose from.

about a year ago

MariaDB vs. MySQL: A Performance Comparison

Walking The Walk Re:Competes? Oracle reminds me of IBM Assembler (112 comments)

MySQL and most of the other commercial databases have richer data types allowing for more a more modern feel.

I'm not sure what datatypes you're referring to. Enum and Set are kind of neat, but other than that both MySQL and Oracle seem to stick to the datatypes defined in the SQL standards.

Sort of like IBM assembler vs. Java. IBM assembler allows screaming fast apps, but at a cost, when that cost approaches the complexity of a modern language, the playing field levels, and suddenly you are better off writing in Java, since you can maintain the code.

Funny you should mention Java - were you aware that Oracle databases provide Java integration? It's kind of like MS SQL Server's dotNet integration. So you can do stuff like add your own Java libraries, or store Java objects directly in the database. I've never used it, but I suppose that would qualify as a "rich data type", right?

about a year ago

MariaDB vs. MySQL: A Performance Comparison

Walking The Walk Re:Competes? (112 comments)

I would think the appropriate usage areas for MySQL and Oracle DBs overlap marginally

I am a DBA, and FYI there are multiple editions of Oracle. I'm not sure what use cases you were thinking of, but if you're looking for a free edition there's always Oracle Express Edition. Free to download, use and distribute, and allows databases up to 11GB. I've worked at companies that run bigger MySQL installations, but I would venture that they are less than 1% of the MySQL user base. The majority of MySQL installations are small ones to back websites, such as Wordpress installations. You could easily replace them with Oracle Express. For other use cases, there's Oracle's NoSQL database, or Oracle's In Memory database (called TimesTen for some obscure reason), and they used to market Oracle Database Lite for mobile apps.

So in summary, Oracle has a bunch of products that would compete with MySQL, and we can't understand why they don't just give MySQL away to Apache or some other foundation. Maybe they have support contracts that actually bring in some money.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Setting Up a System Integration Room At VAR?

Walking The Walk Re:VAR = what? (70 comments)

All I could think of was Value Added Reseller. I agree, the asker should have spelled it out at least once.

about a year ago



Heartbleed: Revenue Canada breached, 900 SINs leaked

Walking The Walk Walking The Walk writes  |  4 days ago

Walking The Walk (1003312) writes "The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) released a statement yesterday explaining that they had been notified of a breach of their system. The CRA attempted to avoid being compromised by halting online tax returns, taking down Netfile and other related websites affected by Heartbleed. The statement indicates that affected individuals and businesses will receive notification by registered mail, "to ensure that our communications are secure and cannot be exploited by fraudsters through phishing schemes.""

Snowden Document: CSEC spying on Canadians

Walking The Walk Walking The Walk writes  |  about 3 months ago

Walking The Walk (1003312) writes "It seems the NSA isn't the only agency doing illegal domestic spying. According to a Snowden document obtained by the CBC, Canada's Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) has apparently been tracking domestic travellers, starting from when they first use free wifi at an airport, and continuing for days after they left the terminal. From the article:

The document indicates the passenger tracking operation was a trial run of a powerful new software program CSEC was developing with help from its U.S. counterpart, the National Security Agency. In the document, CSEC called the new technologies "game-changing," and said they could be used for tracking "any target that makes occasional forays into other cities/regions."

The CBC notes early in the article that the spy agency:

is supposed to be collecting primarily foreign intelligence by intercepting overseas phone and internet traffic, and is prohibited by law from targeting Canadians or anyone in Canada without a judicial warrant.

Predictably, CSEC's chief is quoted saying that they aren't allowed to spy on Canadians, so therefore they don't. As observed by experts consulted for the story, that claim is equivalent to saying that they collect the data but we're to trust that they don't look at it."


Canadian Spy Agencies Deliberately Misled Courts

Walking The Walk Walking The Walk writes  |  about 4 months ago

Walking The Walk (1003312) writes "Canada's spy agency deliberately withheld information from the courts in an effort to do an end-run around the law when it applied for top-secret warrants to intercept the communications of Canadians abroad, a Federal Court judge said Friday. CSIS assured Judge Richard Mosley the intercepts would be carried out from inside Canada, and controlled by Canadian government personnel, court records show. However, Canadian officials then asked for intercept help from foreign intelligence allies without telling the court. 'It is clear that the exercise of the court's warrant issuing has been used as protective cover for activities that it has not authorized,' Mosley wrote in redacted reasons."
Link to Original Source

Company offers scholarship to Dawson student who exposed security flaws

Walking The Walk Walking The Walk writes  |  about a year ago

Walking The Walk (1003312) writes "The Dawson College computer science student who was expelled after discovering a security breach in a system used by students across Quebec has been offered a scholarship by the company behind the software.

"We will offer him a scholarship so he can finish his diploma in the private sector," said Edouard Taza, the president of Skytech.

Taza said he also reached out to Hamed Al-Khabaz, 20, and offered him a part-time job in information technology security."

Link to Original Source

Quantum measurements leave Schrödinger's cat alive

Walking The Walk Walking The Walk writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Walking The Walk (1003312) writes "Your co-workers who keep using Schrödinger's cat metaphor may need to find a new one. New Scientist reports that

by making constant but weak measurements of a quantum system, physicists have managed to probe a delicate quantum state without destroying it – the equivalent of taking a peek at Schrodinger's metaphorical cat without killing it. The result should make it easier to handle systems such as quantum computers that exploit the exotic properties of the quantum world.


Link to Original Source

Walking The Walk Walking The Walk writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Walking The Walk (1003312) writes "Jaycar Sunswift III broke the Transcontinental World Record today, by an incredible 3 days! As previously mentioned on slashdot, the UNSW Solar Racing Team started their 4000km journey across Australia 6 days ago. Cloudy weather the first two days couldn't slow them down, and they raced into Sydney in 5.5 days, surpassing the previous record of 8.5 days with ease. Several news agencies were on hand to meet the team on their triumphant arival. Read about the team's history and previous attempts on their site, www.sunswift.com"


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