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Coca-Cola and Pepsi Change Recipe To Avoid Cancer Warning

Xaroth Re:California (398 comments)

A group of Priuses is called a 'smug'. As in: a murder of crows, a pride of lions, a smug of Prius.

more than 2 years ago

Rosette Wins Loebner Prize 2011

Xaroth Off in the weeds in two sentences... (57 comments)

Rosette: Good evening. My name is Rosette. What is your name?
You: None of your business.
Rosette: OK. We will remain formal.
You: You're damn straight we will.
Rosette: I like card games, but never for money.
You: You only play strip poker, eh?
Rosette: I like board games, and played a lot as a child. I haven't that much time these days.

Alternately - and here's a hint, chatbot devs - my favorite test for chatbots is to simply echo back whatever they say to me. Rosette takes a while to start to get the nonsensical sentences going, but that's because almost every sentence in the DB seems to be pre-formed. Eliza is still the best when this technique is used, incidentally. ;)

Any chatbot worth its salt should get annoyed really quickly and terminate the conversation when this situation is detected if it's to be believable, not ramble on into gibberish or simply spout random lines from its DB.

more than 3 years ago

CDC Warns of Zombie Apocalypse

Xaroth Really, the solution is easy. (300 comments)

"...and how patients can best be treated."

Romero gives the best advice, of course:
    I keep telling my men to shoot those things in the head. Head... dead. Anyplace else, those things just twitch.

more than 3 years ago

Book Review: Alfresco 3 Records Management

Xaroth Alfresco: 3 Records Management: 20 (31 comments)

Thanks to the new feature listing the number of posts directly after the story title, I had some trouble parsing this entry. For a moment, I was worried that sports had somehow infected our site, like:

Alfresco: 3 Records Management: 20
Records Management: 7 Manchester United: 4

more than 3 years ago

Cassandra 0.7 Can Pack 2 Billion Columns Into a Row

Xaroth SELECT * FROM stupid (235 comments)

I can hardly wait to see the first story on The Daily WTF about someone doing a SELECT *... on a 2-billion column row, whether intentionally or not. Bonus points for excluding a LIMIT clause, too.

about 4 years ago

A Mind Made From Memristors

Xaroth Re:Artificial Brains? (320 comments)

From the "soul" vs "mechanical consciousness" standpoint, what you'll probably want to use for the discussion is the notion of a "Philosophical Zombie". There's a lot of existing philosophical arguments about this sort of conundrum, but to whet the collective appetite, the short version is this:

Imagine a ( memristor brain | android | doppleganger ) which has no soul *or* consciousness, but which reacts to all stimuli exactly the same as a real human. Kick it in the shin, it hops about cursing at the pain even though it can't "feel" anything. Show it a scary movie, it complains about nightmares the next day. Ask it if it has a consciousness, and it'll say 'yes', even though it only does so because it is ( programmed | emergently behaving | magically enchanted ) to do so in response to that stimulus. I'm sure you get the idea. Such an object we'll call a philosophical zombie for the sake of discussion.

Now, given one of these "p-zombies", how should you treat it? Does it have the same rights as a human, even though it isn't one? If you injure it or cause it to cease functioning, should you be treated as though you maimed or killed a human? If everything about you and your memories were transitioned into one of these as the basis for its behavior, does it become you, your twin, or just an overgrown Teddy Ruxpin?

Have fun hashing it out in the /. comments, or just wikiwalking your way through the associated corpus of literature!

more than 4 years ago

Long Takes In the Movies, Antidote To CGI?

Xaroth Re:As a film editor (295 comments)

Don't know why, but at first, I misread:

...and that hurts the film just as much as if someone threw in a fury of cuts just to make it exciting.


...and that hurts the film just as much as if someone threw in a fury of cats just to make it exciting.

I thought "that's strange... I've never seen a film do that before," but upon reflection I'm now convinced that this is a technique which should be used in more films.

more than 4 years ago

US Army Develops Tooth Cleaning Gum

Xaroth Re:Nothing new... (160 comments)

Guns aren't toys - they’re for family protection, hunting dangerous or delicious animals, and keeping the King of England out of your face.

more than 4 years ago

Devs Grapple With 100+ Versions of Android

Xaroth Re:Missing some key information, I think (386 comments)

That's exactly my point. One specific example I remember from a while back had to do with telling a list view to redraw itself. For most devices, it would work without difficulty. On a certain set of devices, the exact same call would happily return without actually updating the listview, because the handset manufacturer and/or carrier thought they knew better and tinkered with the underlying functionality of the OS and subsequently broke something.

That sort of fragmentation - a million tiny undocumented forks - can't be gracefully handled by abstractions, capability querying, or API versioning. And the only way to discover that this sort of problem will occur is to actually run the software on the afflicted devices to see what breaks. *That* sort of problem is what TweetDeck is referring to when they say "more than a hundred different versions of Android", and is the sort of problem that causes people to complain about Android fragmentation.

more than 4 years ago

Devs Grapple With 100+ Versions of Android

Xaroth Missing some key information, I think (386 comments)

Many of the highly modded posts right now seem to be missing some key information about exactly how Android is fragmented. It's not just the hardware - that can usually, but not always, be worked around in the ways they suggest. But it's also the software - every carrier and handset manufacturer likes to put their own little spin on the underlying software, and this causes more problems than one might expect.

You get scenarios where some functionality is partially implemented or simply broken on some devices but not others, so you can't rely on simply querying to see if that functionality is available. The OS will happily tell you it's working, but it won't, so you have to find ways to work around it and/or implement long lists of special cases in the code. On some devices, the way that some input elements are displayed will have forced styling that's inconsistent with the rest of the platform, which you won't learn about until you've actually tried it on that device and seen your layout get destroyed. The autocomplete functionality or keyboard input method can vary substantially from device to device, potentially impacting how one's UI flows work. The list goes on.

Limiting supported major OS versions and querying for hardware only solves part of the fragmentation problem. The fact that most every device has its own little fork of Android is more what causes the QA challenge. Since - generally speaking - one doesn't have these kinds of problems for mainstream desktop OS's, that's why people keep bringing up fragmentation of the Android platform as a major sticking point.

more than 4 years ago

Software (and Appropriate Input Device) For a Toddler?

Xaroth Actually Answering the Question? (417 comments)

I think my favorite thing about asking parenting questions on the internet is the number of "holier than thou" answers you'll get in response. Actually, scratch that - if you ask a straightforward, scope-limited parenting question specific to your needs and situation anywhere in the world and you'll get an answer that basically boils down to "you're doing it wrong." It's all part of the experience, so I've learned to chuckle at the cognitive disconnect that comes from asking about the right age to introduce popcorn and getting a lecture on the best way to wring out dirty rags in return.

Anyway, to actually answer your question, I believe you're looking for this:

As for software, I've found that creating a password-protected guest account on the machine with a limited number of pre-screened options to be best. Individual hyperlinks to YouTube videos on subjects your child enjoys (for us, it's Pocoyo videos, parrots, and babies laughing) on the desktop largely do the trick, along with links to kid-friendly sites ( http://pbskids.org/ , http://www.nickjr.com/kids-games/ being two examples, depending on your tolerance for advertising ). Others have mentioned games like minesweeper, solitaire (even if they don't grasp the actual game itself), or even Portal. These are all good choices. I'm sure you'll know of some more options based on what your child enjoys.

Best of luck!

more than 4 years ago

Good Database Design Books?

Xaroth Art of SQL (291 comments)

This one was reviewed by /. some time back ( http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/06/07/1458232 ), and I've found it to be an invaluable tool for tackling precisely the sort of problems you're describing. It's a book on how to think about SQL, with a lot of good insight into how the DB engine will be doing it (so you can plan accordingly for the shortcomings). After reading this book, I felt much better prepared to tackle schema and query design, including all the big questions that come with large tables and projects such as "Should I denormalize this?" or "Should I add more indexes to this already heavily indexed table?" I found the writing to be quite accessible, and recommend it highly to others.

more than 4 years ago

Security For Open Source Web Projects?

Xaroth Project Name / Location? (105 comments)

While we all appreciate your aversion to slashvertisement, I'm sure some of us would enjoy seeing what you've put together and/or contribute. Since it's in response to an explicit request for the information, can you point us at your project?

more than 4 years ago

Newsweek Easter Egg Reports Zombie Invasion

Xaroth Go Go Gadget Contextual Advertising! (93 comments)

I would have to say that my favorite part of this conversion is the unaltered ad that shows a recent cover of Newsweek featuring Michelle Obama and the caption "FEED YOUR CHILDREN WELL".

more than 4 years ago

Man Swallows USB Flash Drive Evidence

Xaroth Obg. Tex Murphy (with apologies) (199 comments)

It was only a matter of time before the newly merged Frito-Kingston corporation cornered the chip market.

more than 4 years ago

Myths About Code Comments

Xaroth Cliche, but true... (580 comments)

Clean code tells you how, good comments tell you why.

Fixing the "how" becomes significantly easier when you know "why" the code was there in the first place.

more than 4 years ago

OS Performance — Snow Leopard, Windows 7, and Ubuntu 9.10

Xaroth You heard it here first! (688 comments)

"With the nearly simultaneous release of Apple's Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" (available right now) and Microsoft's Windows 7 (available Oct. 22)..."

You heard it here first - August 28th is the new October 22nd. Update your calendars appropriately!

more than 5 years ago

Voyager Clue Points To Origin of the Axis of Evil

Xaroth Axis of Evil? (293 comments)

I could've sworn that 'yaw' was the axis of evil.

more than 5 years ago

Vista Post-SP2 Is the Safest OS On the Planet

Xaroth Re:The winner of Pwn2Own seems to agree (1010 comments)

My only question is, where is Vista SP2? Last I checked, it was not yet released.

What do you think makes it so secure?

more than 5 years ago

Is JavaScript Ready For Creating Quality Games?

Xaroth PseudoQuest! (165 comments)

I'm always happy to see stories like this go by, because it gives me a chance to shamelessly plug my own webgame. ;)

In this case, PseudoQuest is a great example of some of the crazy stuff one can do when combining existing libraries (Prototype, Scriptaculous) with custom code.

Interesting bits relevant to the JS portion of this article include: realtime PvP combat, a spiffy windowing system, drag/drop quickbar, in-game chat, easy-to-use player housing customization interface (drag/drop), and - of course - a host of non-JS related features.

As a caveat, it's just me creating it, so I haven't had time to polish it in IE - it's best viewed in Firefox 3 or Opera 9.6.

I also maintain a development blog of sorts in the forums (under "Status Updates"), for those that might be interested in such a thing.



more than 6 years ago


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