Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!



Linus Torvalds: "GCC 4.9.0 Seems To Be Terminally Broken"

Zenin Re:I know you're trying to be funny, but... (739 comments)

Smoothly? Maybe, if you never upgrade. Linus/Linux has badly botched nearly every major transition they've done.

a.out to ELF
libc to glibc
VM flavor of the month
filesystem of the month
32bit to 64bit
sound, oh god..
MAKEDEV / devfs / udev

And that's the short list...and just the kernel. If we actually talk about the full OS (aka distributions), my's a configuration manager's worst nightmare.

What the hell, I've got some /. karma to burn:

The reality is, Linus is the quintessential asshat. Not a fraction as smart as he thinks or boasts that he is, happily takes credit for everyone else's work (while simultaneously chastising them), dismissing his own failures as the peons not able to understand his greatness. And for all this the "community" regards him as a living god.

If you look at it all honestly, it's difficult to find any "contributions" that Linux has done that weren't/aren't already done first and better by others. I'd even go so far as to say the computing world would have been better off never having been exposed to the plague that is Linux, which didn't win the market through technical merit.

about a month ago

Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

Zenin Re:Server 2012 already looks like Windows 8. (322 comments)

I'm sorry, PowerShell is a trainwreck of a language. Extremely unintuitive, inconsistent, cryptic.

Using a function? Call it as function($arg1, $arg2). Oh, did you write the function? Sorry, you'll have to call it as function $arg1 $arg2.

Want to pass a path to something? It's easy: -Path $path. Oh wait, $path is actually a real path and not a glob? You'll have to use -literalPath...if it's supported. Yep, we kept the same failed idea of CMD and decided argument expansion should be done by each command/function/program/cmdlet independently so that we can make damn sure nothing at all is ever consistent. There's a reason why every Unix shell, bash much included, handles argument expansion in the shell.

Sane variable scoping? Not from PS.

Want to use something from .Net? It's built in, a major selling point! Oh...sorry if the syntax is so incredibly buggered that it makes real world PowerShell/.Net code look like a bid for the Obfuscated Perl Contest. And once you get it "right", PowerShell can't grok anything beyond trivial. God help me, I had to craft and populate an IEnumerable of Tuple of String, String in PowerShell to pass to a .Net method (from DacServices). Finally crafted (looked like a spell incantation), it couldn't get through PowerShell to the method call in one piece. Flat out broken. Finally had to give up and just code a real C# console app to handle the 10 lines of code.

Want output/trace to display in the order you actually write it? When it actually happens? Better | Out-Default all of it or strange things happen.

Most sane languages, especially so-called "OOP" languages, actually stop when an exception is thrown by default. Typically with a default global catch that offers you a nice stack trace, or something. PowerShell? By default it keeps on trucking, not even a peep (bad old habits of CMD are hard to break I guess).

Misspell a variable somewhere? Or a method name? Not even a warning until runtime when it fails (but then keeps on trucking right along, happy to double down on the fail). Even Perl isn't that bad (at least with "use strict;").

PowerShell is better than CMD/Batch. But then, so is a swift kick to the head. It's a horrid language and a bad shell. Bash via Cygwin is a hell of a saner and more powerful way to use a shell on Windows. And if you ever need .Net something, do yourself a huge favor and do it from C# as a console app and call that...1,000,000,000 times better than trying to use the fugly hack of a .Net interface that PowerShell provides.

about a month ago

Amazon Seeks US Exemption To Test Delivery Drones

Zenin Re:Shrug. (155 comments)

Sure, but it's a much, much easier problem to solve.

For starters, flying is analogous to driving only if every road had 1,000 lanes and there were such 1,000 road lanes leading directly in any direction from any point.

Or in other words, it's not at all analogous to "traffic" as folks typically think of it. A GPS module, a few cheap sonic sensors and/or slightly more expensive transponders, with basic collision avoidance software would easily solve the problem entirely. All of which I must add, are already on board any and all drones for the simple fact you can't navigate autonomously (more or less the definition of a "drone") without it. Anything less and you have a traditional R/C model aircraft, not a drone.

about 2 months ago

Amazon Seeks US Exemption To Test Delivery Drones

Zenin Re:Why in America? (155 comments)

And you would be completely correct....except for SEC. 336. SPECIAL RULE FOR MODEL AIRCRAFT, which effectively exempts the FAA from almost any authority over anything that could legitimately be called a model aircraft used in a legitimate way. Effectively it puts the AMA in charge of regulating model aircraft, just as the organization has done with astounding success and safety for the better part of a century.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Unattended Maintenance Windows?

Zenin Re:Murphy says no. (265 comments)

In general, don't do anything that isn't your core business. Or another way of saying it, Do What Only You Can Do.

If you are an insurance company, is building and maintaining hardware your business? No, not in the slightest. You have no more business maintaining computer hardware as you have maintaining printing presses to print your own claims forms.

Maintaining hardware and the rest of the infrastructure stack however, is the business of Amazon AWS, Windows Azure, etc. The "fantasy" you're referring to is the crazy idea that you, as some kind of God SysAdmin, can out-perform the world's top infrastructure providers at maintaining infrastructure. Even if you were the best SysAdmin alive on the planet, you can't scale very far.

Sure, any of those providers can (and do, frequently) fail. Still, they are better than you can ever hope to be, especially once you scale past a handful of servers. If you are concerned that they still fail, that's good, yet it's still a problem worst addressed by taking the hardware in house. A much better solution is to build your deployments to be cloud vendor agnostic: Be able to run on AWS or Azure (or both, and maybe a few other friends too) either all the time by default or at the flip of a (frequently tested) switch.

Even building in multi-cloud redundancy is far easier, cheaper, and more reliable than you could ever hope to build from scratch on your own. That's just the reality of modern computing.

There are reasons to build on premises still, but they are few and far between. Especially now that cloud providers are becoming PCI, SOX, and even HIPAA capable and certified.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Unattended Maintenance Windows?

Zenin Re:Murphy says no. (265 comments)

Or it's not at all dependent on those factors.

It's much more a matter of how much someone cares to put redundancy in place. Doing it right affects the entire stack: Code architecture, deployment tooling, infrastructure architecture and costing.

It's a large reason why PaaS is gaining momentum: This is all assumed and it ends up being easier to do it the right way (that includes all this) from the start than doing it any other way, given that most all of the boiler plate aspects are already built.

If you're building services that still require "regular maintenance windows" in 2014, you're doing it wrong.

about 2 months ago

The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

Zenin Re:What with all the other debris? (200 comments)

Extremely unlikely bordering on impossible.

Nearly every possible failure condition would result in the quad-copter falling more or less straight down and into the water.

These things do not glide. Even a partial motor failure would send it tumbling end over end...more or less straight down. When they fail they fall out of the sky like a rock.

about 2 months ago

The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

Zenin Re:Illegal and Dangerous? (200 comments)

Hit who?

No one hangs around under a fireworks display and in this instance it was all over water.

The worst think it's going to hurt is a fish swimming too close to the surface.

about 2 months ago

That Toy Is Now a Drone

Zenin Re:Not surprised, mixed feelings (268 comments)

We may need to see something similar.


The current issue is that the FAA has decided to "interpret" that section by more or less pretending it does not exist or apply to them:

The FAA isn't interested in the law. They consider themselves to be a country unto themselves, consisting of all a space greater then 12" above the land.

about 2 months ago

Google, Detroit Split On Autonomous Cars

Zenin Re:detroit vs SV? (236 comments)

There are plenty of cars now with thermostats. And they suck big, fat donkey balls.

Give me old fashioned fan speed and air temp knobs any day.

The issue is that the environment instead a car just isn't stable enough for a simple thermostat to be effective. The small size and large number of strong temperature influencing features (windows, hot seats, your body, external air every time a door or window opens) mean that maintaining a single temperature throughout is incredibly impractical. To do so would require a massive amount of over-engineering (far more insulation than a car typically receives and a massively larger heating/cooling system to counter the still large external temperature influences).

And then why is 76 degrees or whatever "comfortable"? If I'm getting into a car after being under a bright sun and 100 degree heat, nothing short of 50 degree air blowing powerfully on me is going to be comfortable. Yet, that won't be the case three minutes later where I'll want it to ease up. That is...unless I'm doing a bunch of errands and so I'm frequently going back out into that 100 degree heat.

Car environment systems have completely different problems to deal with and needs to satisfy than building environment systems.

about 2 months ago

LAPD Gets Some Hand-Me-Down Drones From Seattle, Promises Discretion

Zenin Re:Figures... (108 comments)

Yes, and precisely because it's so large.

The larger the organization the more and larger nooks and crannies to hide in and the greater the resources to "defend" (cover up) incidents. Far more ability/resources to do harm, far more opportunities to do harm, far more reward from doing harm, far more ability to get lost in the woodwork and get away with it. The PD isn't unique; the rest of Los Angeles's governmental departments are much the same. From the school district, to the building codes, to street maintenance, to parks and rec.

The economics of scale are never more apparent than when it comes to corruption.

about 3 months ago

The Big Biz of Spying On Little Kids

Zenin Re:Wow! (111 comments)

Thank you for bringing up issues like healthcare: Today's "socialist" ObamaCare plan was yesterday's fringe extremist right-wing health plan when it was proposed as an alternative to (center-left) HillaryCare. It's a fantastic example of just how far the "center line" of politics in the US has been pushed far, FAR to the right.

On the whole your essay either oversimplifies the (lack of) distinctions to the point of being invalid, or just gets the points wrong on all counts.

With a few notable social issue exceptions (that honestly don't really matter, but have been great for riling up "the base" on both sides), the debate has marched fast and steadily to the right for decades. Largely not by arguing for right-wing ideas and winning, but rather by cunningly moving the center line allowing them to argue what had been solidly "center" for the better part of a century was now "left wing extremism". The reframe was clever, undeniable, and incredibly effective. It's even snowed you.

about 3 months ago

The Big Biz of Spying On Little Kids

Zenin Re:Wow! (111 comments)

It's...not easy to follow.

"Liberal" is a pejorative in the US, typically thrown at folks who are anywhere slightly left of the far right-wing that drives much of US politics. In reality what is "left" or "liberal" in the US would be center-right or even hard-right anywhere else on the globe. In the US the "center line" between left and right isn't anywhere near where you'd expect it to logically be.

That said... "Libertarian" in the US is the polar opposite of "Liberal" and generally means the far right fringe of the batshit crazy extremist right wing. All the policies of pure anarchy, yet refuse to accept the title.

ALL debate in the US spans a range that the rest of the world would consider center-right (Democrats) through far right (Republicans) and extremist right-wing separatists (Tea Party, Libertarians). There are left-wing groups in the US (the Green Party, Socialists, etc), but they get absolutely zero air time and are effectively a non-entity in our politics (although they get a nod in San Francisco every once in a while).

about 3 months ago

The Big Biz of Spying On Little Kids

Zenin Re:Wow! (111 comments)

Ya know, it's kinda funny.

When you ask the American people, "Do you want more government or less", they answer less on the whole.

When you ask them about specifics however, ask them about actual issues. On healthcare, safety standards, environmental protection, education, labor rights, military, taxes, etc, etc, etc, etc... They come out overwhelmingly progressive.

The right can't win on the issues, and they know it. Their playbook has remained unchanged for decades if not centuries: Obscure, reframe, redirect, deceive. They rarely if ever speak out their motives or ideology in plain language, because when they do they get absolutely flayed by the regular public and abandoned by their cohorts.

about 3 months ago

The Big Biz of Spying On Little Kids

Zenin Re:Wow! (111 comments)

The Tea Party started a bunch of regular people who just wanted change.

You've been had. That was a great marketing back story, but it was always a work of pure fiction.

The Tea Party was created from whole cloth by the Citizens for a Sound Economy, itself a creation from whole cloth (and cash) by the Koch Brothers. It has never been "regular people", other than the regular people TTP has been able to con into declaring allegiance.

Although it's true The Tea Party and the Republican Party "joined forces", a product of common goals (takith from the poor and givith to the rich), and common tactics (lie and deceive "regular people" into rising up against their own self-interests), and frankly gullible constitutes (ignorant enough, unintelligent enough, or crazy enough to swallow the bullshit the Parties spoon out to them). The Republicans are political pragmatists however, and know not to feed their sheep too much bullshit at once else they risk it upchucking back in their faces (as it has in recent years). The Koch Brothers aren't so pragmatic however, which is why the two are now at odds: TTP overplayed and overextended the con.

The truth is "The Tea Party" has always existed. It's always been that extreme fringe element of the right that proper society never took seriously. What made TTP finally take root in the national conversation was a combination of great marketing powered by massive funding by the likes of the Koch Brothers. And that's it. This "grassroots" back story is no less bullshit than the rest of TTP propaganda.

about 3 months ago

The Big Biz of Spying On Little Kids

Zenin Re:Wow! (111 comments)

That's interesting. Especially given that the right have been driving the entire political landscape in the US for the last 30+ years. We're at the point now where we have three parties, "Batshit crazy extremist right-wing nuts" (The Tea Party), far right extremists (Republicans) and right-wing (Democrats).

The reality is that Obama is solidly to the right of Reagan on nearly everything. Reagan, if he were alive to run today, would be denounced as a RINO and destroyed in the primaries. Hell, even if he converted to a Democrat he'd get denounced as being too liberal for the mainstream.

America doesn't know what left or progressive is, given they've rarely ever seen a progressive candidate in much of the last century.

about 3 months ago

Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate

Zenin Re:Who'll spit on my burger?! (870 comments)

I guess it depends.

Fresh & Easy stores are entirely self checkout, with fantastic success across the board.

The key difference seems to be that the machines that F&E use don't suck ass. Get a bar code anywhere vaguely near them and poof, *beep* you've got it. It doesn't take some special practiced skill like the old, crappy bar code readers that many stores still employ. Anyone can wave items past the table and checkout at far faster speeds then traditional checkout personal ever could. And it shows: Despite a steady clip of customers, there's practically never any checkout line whatsoever.

It's in sharp contrast to the self-checkout scanners at Home Depot. You spend ages with each and every item, waving it over and over, spinning it round and around, nothing works. Not even the trained helper who comes over can make it work and eventually just types the code in manually.

Investing in quality equipment makes a huge difference. Most of the places that tried and failed with self-checkout tried to do it on the cheap.

about 5 months ago


Zenin hasn't submitted any stories.


Zenin has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>