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What is your computer most often plugged into?

Zmobie Re:UPS (136 comments)

Actually, my company has been seeing a particular airport having a lot of power outages that has seen at one field workstation be lost per outage (not hardware dead, but the PC has to be re-imaged). Considering how long the UPSs I have will last (and I got the UPS for my PC for like $80 and my network equipment for like $90), its worth it considering the thousands of dollars they are protecting and the headaches they are saving. Data loss is my bigger concern, especially since I am in an area prone to brown outs. Before I got mine, I lost things several times because of a random ass power outage.

yesterday
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Ask Slashdot: Unlimited Data Plan For Seniors?

Zmobie Re:wi-fi repeater (170 comments)

Na, pretty simple, however you bring the wifi to the room, just turn the antenna power down so it doesn't cover 3 rooms over if there is an issue a neighbor and his pacemaker "or something." Most stock firmware on wifi routers and such has that capability.

about three weeks ago
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Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"

Zmobie Re:Active imagination (583 comments)

Oh you poor mis-informed man. We absolutely do not have the processing power equivalent to a human brain. We can outperform it on one TYPE of task, but not even close to the general case (and even then it requires supercomputers and distributed computing clusters). The main problem exists with learning, highly abstract reasoning (i.e. logical leaps), and oddly enough some of our more "mundane" things such as speech. Unsupervised learning is so incredibly hard in AI because there really isn't any way to signal what is correct and what is not correct within the current context of an AI. For one to actually surpass us we would have to impart all of our specific knowledge and exact modelling to the AI first, and even then it would be very difficult to map out. Watson from IBM is probably the most advanced as far as imparting all of our knowledge, and it really still can't handle anything on that level. Almost all programming is done in one of two ways, either we tell the computer how to obtain the correct answer, or we define parameters of what a correct answer looks like. When the machine has no guidelines and has to decide what is right, wrong, or even useful things get really confusing and complicated for it.

In the wikipedia article for watson they even point out that it had trouble with questions that did not have many terms, which shows they were not able to take into account a lot of context of the question or naturally how a human would say that to one another. The machine was specifically designed to be a giant query bot and it still had problems because if it didn't have enough keywords or a long enough sentence to do decent natural language processing, so it bombed out. That kind of goes directly into the abstract reasoning. Machines work in a very step by step logic model, they don't do well with jumping steps at all and when a problem becomes insanely large, again wikipedia for quick reference combinatorial explosion, the AI pretty much loses it shit. These are also system that have been designed for ONE particular task, and while in a lot of cases they alone can outperform a human, that is the only thing they can outperform in while the human can do thousands of others tasks.

Finally, my last point about speech is less AI related just more showing how much computational power the human brain actually has. Robotics, specifically has had serious issues with a lot of the human aspects of speech and conversation (I couldn't find any good links, I read several articles and had discussions on this back in college, but those are kind of walled behind university stuff...) such that it takes a massive amount of the robots processing power to perform these functions. Even layering on things to try and brute force the problem "creating" natural speech (sort of turing test actually) and then having the bot spit it out caused some ridiculous problems.

Our models and algorithms for creating these kinds of "dangerous AI" are so hilariously far behind from what the tin foil hat community believes we will probably be dancing on a terraformed planet several galaxies away before we actually get that figured out. Unless someone stupidly stumbles across the correct "voodoo" spell of an algorithm for truly efficient and complete machine learning, it is hard to model it when WE don't even fully understand how the human brains works (see neuroscience and psychology).

Full disclosure, I am a computer scientist/software engineer that has actually had some education on the subject of AI. It was a small focus of mine in college out curiosity, but then I saw I would be better served in other focuses so I just kept up with it on the side.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Would You Build a Home Network To Fully Utilize Google Fiber?

Zmobie Looooong Cable (279 comments)

Depending on how ridiculous you feel like getting you could just run a really long Cat6 cable... I mean, as a temporary solution until I finish wiring my house I have that right now (I absolutely hate it, but its motivation to finish the new network faster I guess?).

about a month and a half ago
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Invasion of Ukraine Continues As Russia Begins Nuclear Weapons Sabre Rattling

Zmobie Re:Why the fuck is this on Slashdot? (789 comments)

Playing devil's advocate here, but technically by asserting that you should go by the subjective nature of the tagline here you are insinuating that nerds do not need to know about politics, current events, pop culture in general (unless it is "nerdy"), or any such like in their lives what-so-ever. I don't know about you but I feel that I can identify myself as a nerd and feel that I do need to know about an impending war that Russia has decided to potentially spark and most of the other subjects I mentioned (arguably most of pop culture should be excluded, but current events and large political dealings do still matter for nerds). This is still news for nerds, as it is really news for everyone, there is just more stories that only nerds would consider important mixed into the feeds of the site.

Again, I am really just playing devil's advocate here, but I feel it is petty semantics when people argue about this crap. They are not posting about what George Clooney wore to "insert awards show or event here" which is the type of thing I would think qualifies as unimportant to nerds. I really don't care personally, the posts are pretty much fine with me, but just pointing out that there are some issues with the argument you try to make.

about 3 months ago
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It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights

Zmobie Re:What are they waiting for? (144 comments)

Interesting points. The amber light timings though I would think should have a hard floor/ceiling inside the PLC. Not sure how much adjustment you could do because when the PLC write happens it has certain limits for the logic to even recognize what is told to it via input. The cameras are a very intriguing point and probably the most dangerous. I vaguely recall a story on slashdot a while back about the camera networks though having terrible security, but don't remember the details.

about 3 months ago
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It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights

Zmobie Re:What are they waiting for? (144 comments)

This right here. The problem with any "unsafe" scenario is that these lights are usually logic controlled by PLCs or some such. I had a professor in college that used to work for one of the state roadway departments and he did work on traffic light controllers for a while. Most of them have to physically prevent anything like that from being possible just like how a civil engineer is supposed to prove their bridge is safe within x parameters. From what I understand this isn't even a concern for all traffic light controllers because ones outside of the big metro areas are not even interconnected to a central controller (this was just what I was told and know from the small towns I have lived in, if someone knows otherwise feel free to correct me here).

I personally am a huge security advocate and believe that, yes these things need to be secured to a reasonable extent, but it is overblown to think this is going to get a bunch of people easily killed just because someone wants to play around with it. Now, someone building a DIY "make light go green" device is not outside the realm of possibility... In fact, I may have a new project just to see if I can do it!

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

Zmobie Re:Beards and suspenders. (637 comments)

We had the same thing and I was in college less than five years ago. Most of the instructors for junior level and higher classes told people I really don't care what language you write in, you just better understand the concepts we are teaching. Most people I knew, wrote in C++ because java was just annoying half the time. Some classes required different languages, but none of them were Java (literally the only two courses that required Java were CS one and two for the beginner students). I had php, C, C++, Prolog, Haskell, MIPS assembly, and then a little Java thrown in to compare as an example OO class (except when I took mobile development which was all Android in, duh, Java, but that was learning more about the platform and ecosystem really, nothing Java specific).

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

Zmobie Re:Beards and suspenders. (637 comments)

My assembly was rolled into our computer organizations course. We ended up doing some fairly simple assembly problems, like creating a binary tree class in pure assembly that could handle variable memory sized objects. We then had to design a simple processor that it would run on. We got the option of doing multi phase or single phase, I ended up doing single for the project and multi later just to understand more.

Algorithms was absolutely required for my program too and we had a lot of the higher level course where they didn't teach you a database language per se (except I guess prolog half counted in my programming languages course), but you ended up having to learn one to complete the work and study in the class.

Now granted I graduated in 2011 (still somewhat recent) and I don't know how much the programs have changed now (other than graduate programs because I still want my MS), but honestly if a person is going to be a decent software engineer/developer or computer scientist the curriculum is only building the foundation. I did tons of stuff outside my classes when I was in school. If someone isn't curious enough to do research and such on their own about the subject, they are probably going to do poorly after college anyway.

I learned a large chunk of databases, web development, language integration, general IT and computer modeling, etc. because I just wanted a deeper understanding of what I was doing. My bit-wise math is probably not near as good as people that have worked in C for years, but I can handle it with some time and refresher documentation. In my opinion that is the more valuable thing, can the person learn to adapt their knowledge and take on new things?

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is Running Mission-Critical Servers Without a Firewall Common?

Zmobie Re:Its Fine. - not (348 comments)

To be fair, just because the network is properly setup and allows for certain behavior etc. does not mean the application will play well with that setup. I've seen it happen before (and have been able to demonstrate it with proprietary software) that sometimes the network will not react correctly with certain network setups. At my company we have had to implement special protocols and features in our software just to overcome some inherent network limitations that our IT group pretty much said, "we have no way around this issue, sorry."

I only have limited experience with Oracle though, so take that statement as what you will. I have seen other software exhibit this kind of behavior though.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Preparing an Android Tablet For Resale?

Zmobie Re:Advice: Android Device Manager (113 comments)

Does that actually do a secure rewrite though? I haven't honestly looked at how the device manager does the remote wipe, but I would guess it is just like deleting or doing a factory reset and the data is still recoverable through standard computer forensic software.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Preparing an Android Tablet For Resale?

Zmobie Re:It has 2GB internal memory. (113 comments)

I agree, not sure if you could jury rig it to get an active connection to a PC (potentially it may be booting just the screen is out or loose etc.? I have seen that with other devices before such that it looks like it won't boot). A lot really depends on why it is doing this. If it just flat won't come on at all (100% know that it is never getting there) I don't believe there is a way to wipe the data.

If OP just really wants to, best bet I would say is open it up and try to fix it. Not really losing anything if you have to wipe data before selling it, because otherwise as AmiMoJO put it, only other option is a hammer.

about 4 months ago
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Favorite "Go!" Phrase?

Zmobie Re:Jurassic Park (701 comments)

This. Samuel L. Mother Fucking Jackson is always the winner.

about 4 months ago
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Marvel's New Thor Will Be a Woman

Zmobie Re:Congratulations? (590 comments)

or a great ape in disguise.

I don't know about you, but I would probably read the shit out of Thor becoming a great ape in disguise...

about 4 months ago
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Want To Ensure Your Personal Android Data Is Truly Wiped? Turn On Encryption

Zmobie Re:And then throw it in a fire (91 comments)

That would be why I posted that caveat... Obviously it isn't a 3.5'' or a 2.5'' platter drive, those are literally bigger than the phones most of the time, but conceptually it is the same principles for OS data storage and access (probably isn't using magnetic platters, but neither do SSDs and you can do the same things to both).

about 4 months ago
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Want To Ensure Your Personal Android Data Is Truly Wiped? Turn On Encryption

Zmobie Re:And then throw it in a fire (91 comments)

As far as I know, the hardware is no different than a standard platter drive and since most phones can be mounted to and read/written from a normal PC, I really see no reason why you couldn't use a secure rewrite with something like CCleaner or even use killdisk if you want to WIPE the phone. Don't quote me on it, because I've never tried myself on a phone but I would think it is fine.

Most people who say to "destroy" the drive are just being overly cautious. For anything that does multiple overwrites on all drive sectors you should be fine for the most part. Technically yes the only way to guarantee the drive is unreadable is destruction, but for an individual that is normally over the top (says this as I've destroyed a few old drives myself...).

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Computer Science Freshman, Too Soon To Job Hunt?

Zmobie Re:Go with the Education (309 comments)

I disagree. I've got the experience now, but the foundation you get from the degree I feel is more valuable. And as I stated, you also pigeon hole yourself into a technology set. You may learn *something* related to the field, but not the specifics to build a general foundation for software development. Some people may vary from that, but that is my opinion and experience.

Based on what I've heard from friends and family too, in their fields and in software development, having the degree makes a huge difference because many companies will leverage the fact that you don't have a degree to drive your salary down. When you have a degree, they have no leg to stand on, especially if it is a general computer science degree. I've heard/seen some people that had something somewhat related to computer science (telecomms engineering and the such) they even used that against them to get their salary lower. When you have a computer science degree, there is very little they can say.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Computer Science Freshman, Too Soon To Job Hunt?

Zmobie Go with the Education (309 comments)

My advice is invest in the education. I had a similar situation when I was in my second year (I had been doing software development as a hobby for about six years by then). A guy came to me who had a small business developing business websites and managing them. He wanted me to come work for him, but it would have turned into a full time job and I likely would have had to cut back on study time. Yes, I would have made a lot more money earlier, but there were several pitfalls I identified and they kept me from doing it.

First, pigeon-holing yourself into a technology set is a bad idea. You may know HTML/CSS/PHP/mySQL, but those technologies have somewhat limited job opportunities. If you have a very strong fundamental understanding of Computer Science (and in spite of the nay-sayers, the piece of paper to back it up), that becomes a huge asset in the job market. I work with the .NET framework now and a variety of enterprise level applications and language types (I think the count is up to twelve distinct ones that I have done professional work with now), which is a lot different than what I did six years ago.

Second, even taking the money now, you will limit the amount you make in the future and in the long run end up making a lot less. The guy offered me pretty good money, but I already make double what I would have made with him. In three years I have out-earned what I would have made in six working there, and on top of it I have a LOT more room to move up still doing what I love. Not to mention I have the option to go back for my master's now and open up even more future opportunities. There are always outliers that will drop out into some great thing and make tons of money (Gates, Zuckerburg, etc.), but the odds are really not in your favor. If you are going to make tons of money, it will probably be later on in life anyway.

Third, you don't truly know what you may enjoy yet. I went through several iterations of what I wanted to do within the field before I settled on what I do now (heavy business logic and engines as well as architecture software development). I originally wanted to do game design, then moved a bit into web, and then a bit into securities (I still do a bit of these three, but they are not may passion). My senior year is when I really figured out where I wanted to go because I saw and tried a bit of each part of the field. You may end up sticking with web development as a passion, but I would give it some time first. The experience and such you get from going through a CS program is very different than just reading up on the subject and playing with things yourself. Not to mention having a basic understanding of the other aspects of Computer Science will help your chosen field. I honest to god hate graphics work, but understanding the basics of it makes it a lot better when I write code other people have to hook into.

The one thing you will want to do though, work on some personal projects, which it sounds like you already do. I did several in my spare time when getting my degree and it greatly impressed the employers that looked at me. Prioritize your studies first, but the side projects can give them an idea of what kind of initiative you take, your level of creativity, and even let them somewhat see how you've grown as a developer (which gives them good indicators how much you can grow with a professional entity and access to much better resources). Keep with it I say, once you graduate you will see how valuable that degree ends up.

about 6 months ago
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Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Lately, Coding

Zmobie Re:Silicon Snake Oil (125 comments)

There is always a way to game the system. In my own anecdotal experience I agree that the professor makes a massive difference. In both CS and non-CS courses I understood subject material so much better when I had an engaging professor. Hell when I took data structures the concepts that I was shaky on from discrete math became substantially clearer thanks to the instructor I had (and he was just a teaching fellow!). I can program and automate a lot, but a proper teaching program? I believe there are way too many cases to make it truly effective without some crazy break-through in something like adaptive AI and human simulation.

about 6 months ago
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Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Lately, Coding

Zmobie Re:Math is hard! (125 comments)

To be fair, unless you actually GET a STEM degree, that is pretty much what everyone does. It was rather pathetic when I took my math placement test for college, out of the entire probably 300ish people that were taking it during my introduction block/week, about 2 maybe 3 of us (I know because the lab tech told me) tested out to Cal 1 which was the highest you could get (Me and another guy were from the same high school class and both took our AB Calc exams, already had credit). 70% tested either college algebra or one class higher. When reviewing other course catalogs, there was not hardly ANY requirement to get to Cal 1 unless you were doing a STEM degree.

Hell, when I did digital logic, half the class was fucking horrible at boolean arithmetic of any form and they WERE engineering students. I quickly discovered most of them were cheating off of the handful of us that actually understood how to do it.

about 6 months ago

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