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Torvalds: No Opinion On Systemd

Warbothong Fortune (380 comments)

After reading the comments, I noticed the following fortune at the bottom of /.

Many people write memos to tell you they have nothing to say.

5 days ago

Torvalds: No Opinion On Systemd

Warbothong Re:Simple set of pipelined utilties! (380 comments)

If you really buy that principle and want to enforce it religiously, then please never use a web browser again (even Lynx!), not to mention any other complex program that isn't formed from a bunch of small "do one thing well!" utilities that are executed in a pipeline.

You seem to think that those hating on systemd like having to use bloated, slow, barely-configurable, GUI-only, privacy-hemorrhaging browsers just to access their {bank/email/news/etc.}.

The existence of some high-profile non-UNIX projects isn't an excuse to dismiss UNIX practices. In fact, popularity is often correlated with barely-adequate, lowest-common-denominator offerings (eg. pop music).

5 days ago

Sci-Fi Authors and Scientists Predict an Optimistic Future

Warbothong Re:Spoiler (191 comments)

Its strange that nobody mentions Paternosters when this elevator event horizon is brought up. I never encountered problems with the one at Sheffield University, and according to Wikipedia Hitachi are working on safer versions.

about a week ago

Microsoft Paid NFL $400 Million To Use Surface, But Announcers Call Them iPads

Warbothong Re:Hahahaha (405 comments)

Wait. You run with a crowd nerdy enough to regularly attend star parties, but none of them are nerdy enough to recognize an operating system?

How does one "recognize an operating system"? Even if there's a fanboi wallpaper, it can't be seen most of the time (assuming the machine is actually used for something). If I'm running a full-screen astronomy app, how would you know the OS?

about two weeks ago

Paypal Jumps Into Bitcoin With Both Feet

Warbothong Ripple/Stellar? (134 comments)

Ripple is a payment network in direct competition with PayPal, which just-so-happens to use a Bitcoin-like internal currency for mediating incompatible transactions. Stellar is a fork of Ripple which has been generating some buzz recently.

I would bet that PayPal's venturing into BitCoin in order to close the gap these systems are trying to exploit: ie. using a purely virtual, unregulated currency to make transaction costs near-zero. Out of all the choices they could make, BitCoin seems the most logical as it's already well established.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

Warbothong Python scope (729 comments)

def mkCounter():
        c = 0
        def counter():
                c = c + 1
                return c
        return counter

count = mkCounter()
print str(count())
print str(count())
print str(count())

You'd expect "1", "2" and "3", right? Wrong!

$ python
Traceback (most recent call last):
    File "", line 9, in
        print str(count())
    File "", line 4, in counter
        c = c + 1
UnboundLocalError: local variable 'c' referenced before assignment

When Python parses the definition of "counter", it sees the assignment "c = ..." and assumes that we must be defining a local variable "c", so it creates a slot in "counter" to contain "c". This local slot shadows the "c" inherited from "mkCounter", so when we get to evaluating "c + 1" we get this "referenced before assignment" error.

Note that it's perfectly fine to *use* inherited variables, just not to *assign* them:

def mkPrinter(s):
        def printer():
                print s
        return printer

p = mkPrinter("hello world")

This prints "hello world" as we'd expect.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

Warbothong Re:Assignement in Python (729 comments)

Assigning a number or a list in Python and many other languages (Julia) is a different operation. Such as

>>> a = 2
>>> b = a
>>> a = 1
>>> b

>>> a = [2]
>>> b = a
>>> a[0] = 1
>>> b

Octave (Matlab) is more consistent on this point, every assignement is a memory copy.

I'd find it alarming if Python *didn't* act that way! In Python, everything is an object and objects are passed by reference; hence altering the contents of "a" in your second example is clearly going to alter the contents of "b", since they're references to the same object. In the first case, you're altering *which object* "a" points to. It's completely consistent.

The alternatives would be crazy (from an OO perspective).

To make your second example act like your first one, we would need to *pass* everything by value. This means we couldn't, for example, use a "Logger" to collect messages from different parts of the program. Instead, each method would end up with its own copy of the Logger, containing only those messages from function activations which are still on the stack. As soon as any method returns, its Logger would be lost, along with all of the messages, unless we bypassed the language via the filesystem or a DB. This is *exactly* the situation you describe, except with "Logger" instead of "List" and "message" instead of "number". Note that this is exactly the situation in Haskell, which is why it needs things like the Writer Monad.

To make your first example act like your second, we'd need to *assign* everything by reference, in which case your first example would replace the "2" object with the "1" object, which is a pretty bad idea ( )

about two weeks ago

Google Serves Old Search Page To Old Browsers

Warbothong Modern Browsers (152 comments)

Thankfully I'm using modern browsers, so I shouldn't be affected:
  * NetSurf 3.2 (released 2014-08-30)
  * Dillo 3.0.4 (released 2014-04-09)
  * lynx 2.8.8 (released 2014-03-09)
  * w3m 0.5.3 (released 2013-04-26)

about three weeks ago

Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year

Warbothong Re:it's not the ads it's the surveillance. (611 comments)

If I could be sure I could be surveillance free I'd pay $230. But I don't see how that is possible. How would I know?

Simple; every site you visit can use cookies, Flash supercookies, third-party Javascript, user-agent sniffing and mouse-movement tracking to identify and monitor everything you do, in order to make sure it's not being surveilled.

Of course, there's always the chance that such power will be abused. To prevent this, we can have an alliance of government spy agencies keep a look out by tapping undersea cables, collating the data in vast stores for data mining, purchase known security vulnerabilities, employ legions of crackers to find more, deliberately weaken security standards, disseminate malware and intercept datacentre traffic.

Of course, there's always the chance that such power will be abused. To prevent this, we can have secret courts hold secret sessions to make secret rulings based on secret interpretations of the law.

Of course, there's always the chance that such power will be abused. To prevent this, we can have oversight committees which publically state that none of this is going on, then when the details emerge they have the choice of either admitting that they completely failed in their job, or that they were lying.

Of course, there's always the chance that such power will be abused. To prevent this, we can hold democratic elections to choose which one of the two available crooks should get that power.

about a month ago

If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

Warbothong Re:Ready in 30 years (305 comments)

Nope. Plasma physics was very young, and nobody had truly studied plasma turbulence.

Likely because their importance was underestimated. There are plenty of fields that are very young or unresearched right now, which might turn out to play an important role.

about a month ago

Why Hasn't This Asteroid Disintegrated?

Warbothong Dark Matter (74 comments)

'Nuff said.

about a month ago

The Quiet Before the Next IT Revolution

Warbothong Re:A rather simplistic hardware-centric view (145 comments)

A lot of the commodity software reached the point of 'good enough' years ago - look how long it's taken to get away from XP, and still many organisations continue to use it.

I find it hard to believe that operating systems became "good enough" with Windows XP. Rather, Vista took so long to come out that it disrupted the established upgrade cycle. If the previous 2-to-3-year cycle had continued, Vista would have come out in 2003 (without as many changes, obviously), Windows 7 in 2005 and Windows 8 in 2007. We'd be on something like Windows 12 by now.

It's good that consumers are more aware and critical of forced obsolecence, but I don't agree with the "XP is good enough" crowd. It makes sense to want the latest (eg. Windows 8); it makes sense to use something until it's no longer supported (eg. Vista); it makes sense to use something that's "good enough" (eg. Windows 95 for features, or 2000 for compatibility). XP is none of those: it's out of date, unsupported and a bloated resource hog.

about a month ago

X.Org Server 1.16 Brings XWayland, GLAMOR, Systemd Integration

Warbothong Re:Systemd? Not on my system... (226 comments)

I use systemd on GobiLinux to launch Gnome3 in Wayland so I can tab-indent, via my Dvorak keyboard, the UTF-16-encoded, dynamically-typed code of my GPLed program in Emacs. While playing Oggs in Amarok2 through PulseAudio on OSS4. /nerd-troll

about 2 months ago

Google's Experimental Newsroom Avoids Negative Headlines

Warbothong Why tell people what they need to hear? (109 comments)

Why can’t we tell them what they want to hear?

Anchorman 3: The Legend Goes Webscale

about 2 months ago

UK Gov't Plans To Push "Emergency" Surveillance Laws

Warbothong Re:"Emergency" laws. (147 comments)

"The government says if there had been no new powers there would have been no obligation on phone and internet companies to keep records if there was a UK court challenge to the retention of data."

So? That's a good thing. It's the reason why the ECJ ruled as it did. Grrrr....

about 2 months ago

New Zealand ISP's Anti-Geoblocking Service Makes Waves

Warbothong Re:Needed to stop anyway (153 comments)

Most publishers sold games on Steam's Russian store for far cheaper than they did on the US or UK stores - a friend of mine bought a 4-pack of copies of Dead Island (back when that was a new-ish game and the 4-pack was going for upwards of $60 on the US store) from Russia for like $20.

Then, Valve started cracking down on cross-region purchases, making it so that you could still add games from other regions but could not actually play them until your IP was detected as being in one of those regions. The problem was that it was applied so that more expensive regions had fewer restrictions - US-bought games can be played anywhere, as can AUS/NZ ones, but games purchased from Russia or a few other regions can't be played outside of those specific regions. This means that if you're from the US and go on vacation in Russia, you can play Counter-Strike GO while in Russia, but if you're Russian and go on vacation to the US you can't play CS:GO while in the US.

It's a ridiculous double-standard, and a counter to geo-blocking would remove a lot of it.

It makes perfect sense, since the market for these games is massively skewed. Many customers are only interested in particular titles; they want GTA V and don't regard "Gangster Sim III" as a viable alternative. Since the publishers have a monopoly over their titles, they can set the prices to whatever the market will bear, regardless of how much it costs them to produce each unit (which, FYI, is $0 since the game's already finished and released).

If the market were allowed to decide, ie. if it was legal for anyone to sell copies of already-finished games, rather than just the publishers, then the prices would crash right down to near-zero.

Keep that in mind next time some copyright troll is denouncing "pirates" for being "anti-capitalist", when in fact it's copyright which is responsible for this anti-competitive crap.

about 2 months ago

Site of 1976 "Atomic Man" Accident To Be Cleaned

Warbothong Re:Faith in God (299 comments)

A few will skip the doctor part and either heal spontaneously (praise the lord!) or die

Thus reinforcing the selection bias.

about 3 months ago

Bug In Fire TV Screensaver Tears Through 250 GB Data Cap

Warbothong Re:Why can't (349 comments)

Or just provide a usage-over-time graph, so customers can see there's a large base-line usage when they're not even at home.

I'm with Andrews & Arnold and I can see this usage data by logging into their Web site.

about 3 months ago



Eff: A pure language with side-effects

Warbothong Warbothong writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Warbothong (905464) writes "The debate between pragmatism and purity in programming languages has been going on for decades. Pure languages forbid side-effects in their computations (eg. changing a variable), since they make formal analysis hard; whilst pragmatists embrace them to allow quick production of 'good enough' code. A new experimental language called Eff, created by Andrej Bauer and Matija Pretnar, is blurring this distinction. Eff is based on a Mathematical model of side-effects, allowing it to harness mutable state, exceptions, IO, random choice and more in a pure way from within a Python-like syntax. The product of on-going research, Eff is still in its infancy and, as its authors state, " an academic experiment. It is not meant to take over the world. Yet.""
Link to Original Source

Tiny generator runs off vibrations

Warbothong Warbothong writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Warbothong (905464) writes "Researchers at Southampton University in the UK have developed a tiny (less than 1 cubic centimetre) generator which uses local vibrations to output microwatts of power, making it an alternative to batteries, which need replacing regularly. The devices are currently being used in industry where "there is the potential for embedding sensors in previously inaccessible locations", but its creators imagine it could be used in devices such as pacemakers, where the beating of the heart would produce ample movement for the magnetic mechanism inside to work."
Link to Original Source

Warbothong Warbothong writes  |  about 8 years ago

Warbothong (905464) writes "I am going off to University this month, so I have been chasing up payments and deposits, etc. online. The other day I received an email confirming that I am all payed up, which is great. The not-so-great part was the email's header, since after "To:" it had a list of 1343 email addresses, including mine. It is pretty clear that all of these addresses are for students paying their deposits online, and it is also clear that this list has been sent to 1343 people. In our world of datamining and spamming I am pretty concerned that sooner or later this list will get into the hands of someone who might want to make a bit of money from a list of 1343 valid email addresses, all in active use, all owned by soon-to-be students at a particular University in the UK who all have the capability for making online payments, so I am wondering what Slashdot readers make of this? Should I be worried? I have already sent an email of concern to the Reply-To: address, and got a swift response that this matter will be dealt with "immediately", but I am not sure there is much that can be done at this point. I would also like to point out though, that my email address is with Yahoo! and I have apparently already been added to at least two user's Buddy Lists. With that in mind, is this just a subversive way of getting fellow students together before we all leave for the campus, and to hell with the University's privacy policy and the fact that this was my spam-free email account?"


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