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Windows 8 Pre RTM Metro UI Leaked

acooks "Web scale" and hand-held devices (484 comments)

I think the interface is simple, because it's quicker for a vm to draw, scales better to weird screen sizes and pixel densities and compresses better on a remote desktop connection. Maybe MS is betting the farm on the cloud and want the best interactive experience when the installation count of the OS peaks in 5 years time.

more than 2 years ago

IT Positions Some of the Toughest Jobs To Fill In US

acooks Re:Salaries (886 comments)

Don't the H.R. people hate "jack of all trades" people, too?

Yes, but I'm convinced that recruitment agents are even worse. If you don't fit their template, they butcher your carefully structured resume into something that basically says: "This guy has been working for x years, but we're not actually sure what he did in that time." If it's all just buzzword soup to these intermediaries, the connection between the type of problems that the candidate has experience in and the need that the prospective employer has gets lost.

Then there's also the fact that some industries, like banking, believe that their domain knowledge is so absolutely unique and special that nobody could possibly transfer valuable skills from a different sector.

more than 2 years ago

How Lasers Could Help Fingerprint Conflict Minerals

acooks Re:good luck (31 comments)

De Beers already marks their diamonds, which basically means all diamonds. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Beers#Forevermark
  This move is about one thing only: Keeping artificial diamonds from China out of the market.

more than 2 years ago

Details Of FBI Surveillance In Lulzsec Takedown Emerge

acooks The Last Lulz Movie (278 comments)

I hope that whomever makes the movie pays attention to the details. No spinning rubix cubes or hand waving at transparent surfaces, please!

But first, they have to decide who's the Good Guy(s)...

more than 2 years ago

Developer's View: Real Life Inspirations Or Abstract Ideas?

acooks Re:It may be true, however... (144 comments)

The credit card companies have designed the system in such a way that they never carry the risk for fraud. It's brilliant - they're basically printing money.

The consumer was "safe" on the old card-not-present system in the sense that the merchant has to refund the payment when the consumer cries fraud to the card company. If enough consumers cry fraud, the payment processing gateway (another middle man) may decide to stop the merchant's transaction processing.

The new MasterCard SecureCode and Visa 3-D Secure mechanism is kind of like paypal in the sense that you have to supply a "go ahead" instruction to the card company, except that the merchant still has your card details. Whether a transaction requires the extra step or not is determined by the merchant, the payment gateway and the card company. This is an attempt to move the fraud risk to the consumer, though the merchant could still leak card details.

more than 2 years ago

Television Next In Line For Industry-Wide Shakeup?

acooks S-PVS vs IPS Pro vs PLS Panels (381 comments)

"TVs are ultimately about picture quality. ... and there is no way that anyone, new or old, can come along this year or next year and beat us on picture quality"

First thought: Bullshit. Then I saw it's not S-PVA vs IPS Pro anymore; Samsung's doing PLS now.

Need more detail on PLS...

more than 2 years ago

Oracle and the Java Ecosystem

acooks Re:Oracle matters less thank you'd think (157 comments)

Oracle had (has?) its own JVM called JRockit, which is different from the Sun JVM. Which one were you referring to? Java stored procedures is a different matter all together.

about 3 years ago

Patent Troll Says Anyone Using Wi-Fi Infringes

acooks Contact the law firm. (436 comments)

I think everyone should direct their concerns to the law firm. Just make an honest inquiry about avoiding the infringement and litigation. Maybe offer them some free network testing in exchange for not getting sued. Maybe do some testing first as a show of good faith.

Contact the law firm (Niro,Haller and Niro):
Telephone: (312) 236-0733
Facsimile: (312) 236-3137

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Programs To Learn From?

acooks Re:The kernel (329 comments)

Stop "optimizing", you've got bigger fish to fry.

I thought we were talking about a mature project (the kernel), where performance is critical, not a commercial product that started life six months behind schedule and twice over budget which has to play catch-up.

Ok, that sounded more negative than I intended, but if you're arguing that the current kernel development style needs radical change, then I disagree with you and urge you to study it in more detail. My argument is that the efficiency gained from embracing a well-understood (though perhaps flawed) pattern is greater and more predictable than the efficiency gained by radically changing pattern and upsetting the habits of so many highly skilled developers.

When the next generation microkernel is developed by a next generation of people using next generation tools and patterns and it manages push Linux aside you can shout "I told you so!".

more than 3 years ago

Kernel.org Compromised

acooks Re:How did they hack it? (312 comments)

People are half-duplex beings. Sometimes we RTFA and sometimes we skip TFA and go straight to output mode and dump core all over the comments.

more than 3 years ago

Mozilla Aims To Release Four Firefox Versions In 2011

acooks Re:Magic version numbers (263 comments)

Reminds me of Spinal Tap: "These go to eleven!"


more than 3 years ago

Egypt Shuts Off All Internet Access

acooks Re:BGPMon Analysis (840 comments)

How hard would it be to grab these IP blocks that have gone dark? (Ignoring IANA and such)

Seeing as IPv4 blocks are becoming more valuable and assuming that Egypt may not want to cut themselves off forever, could it be used as tool for applying pressure on the Egyptian government?

about 4 years ago

Abusing HTTP Status Codes To Expose Private Info

acooks Re:The idea behind it... (133 comments)

Looks like you've just rediscovered the idea of cross-site scripting.

Wikipedia says:
"Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of computer security vulnerability typically found in web applications that enables malicious attackers to inject client-side script into web pages viewed by other users. An exploited cross-site scripting vulnerability can be used by attackers to bypass access controls such as the same origin policy. "

about 4 years ago

I would pay ___ monthly for a good online newspaper/magazine

acooks Re:What's worth subscribing to, though? (315 comments)

Missing poll option:
Whatever the current Linux Weekly News subscription fee is.

about 4 years ago

What Software Specification Tools Do You Use?

acooks Re:Word to the wise (200 comments)

From the linked Therac article:

Researchers who investigated the accidents found several contributing causes. These included the following institutional causes:
* AECL did not have the software code independently reviewed.
* AECL did not consider the design of the software during its assessment of how the machine might produce the desired results and what failure modes existed. These form parts of the general techniques known as reliability modeling and risk management.
* The system noticed that something was wrong and halted the X-ray beam, but merely displayed the word "MALFUNCTION" followed by a number from 1 to 64. The user manual did not explain or even address the error codes, so the operator pressed the P key to override the warning and proceed anyway.
* AECL personnel, as well as machine operators, initially did not believe complaints. This was likely due to overconfidence.[4]
* AECL had never tested the Therac-25 with the combination of software and hardware until it was assembled at the hospital.

Assuming that the list does in fact list "institutional causes", it seems conceivable that the extra work suggested in the first two points _might_ have prevented the problem, but would have required a change in process (and a lot of CYA, etc).

The last three points boil down to "not doing a proper job" and I guess that is what people are attempting to fix with processes. I don't see how you can draw the conclusion that the "institutional causes" (as listed) necessarily resulted from the processes that were in place.

more than 4 years ago

What Software Specification Tools Do You Use?

acooks Re:Word to the wise (200 comments)

Worse yet, let's say instead of writing a PC app, you are writing software that directly impacts the safety of operators or other people (nuclear reactor, thermostat, aerospace, automotive, medical equipment, etc, etc, etc). It is unlikely that while "faking your way through your audits" you are going to catch those little bugs that cost people their lives. If you don't want to believe me, look up Therac-25, the USS Thresher, Black Monday, various Airbus crashes, and any of the dozens of other incidents that are a direct result of the sort of mentality you are promoting here.

Are you saying that these projects didn't have the necessary processes in place? I thought these kinds of incidents happened despite all the required processes that were in place. In fact, I believe that these accidents happened (and will continue to occur) _because_ people were _relying_ on the processes that were in place. Processes dictated from high above that were not suitable for the task.

In the given examples, it is easy to think up additional processes that could've been used in retrospect. Everyone has something to say about that, but how many people got to read the code to verify that the additional process would've prevented any given problem? How do these processes prevent integer overflow and race conditions?

Let's examine the examples:
Therac-25 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Therac-25
No mention is made of any of the processes that were in place. The list of "institutional causes" can be addresses through process, but how would that solve the specific software-related "engineering causes", like arithmetic overflow, not like "open-loop controller"?

USS Thresher - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Thresher_(SSN-593)
Disaster occurred _despite_ the processes in place. It seems to me disaster could have been prevented by an experienced officer, rather than the inadequate process of the time: "Jim Henry, fresh from nuclear power school, probably followed standard operating procedures and gave the order to isolate the steam system after the scram, even though Thresher was at or slightly below her maximum depth and was taking on water. Once closed, the large steam system isolation valves could not be reopened quickly. Reflecting on the situation in later life, McCoole was sure he would have delayed shutting the valves, thus allowing the ship to "answer bells" and drive herself to the surface, despite the flooding in the engineering spaces. Admiral Rickover later changed the procedure, allowing steam to be withdrawn from the secondary system in limited quantities for several minutes following a scram."

Black Monday - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Monday_(1987)
I don't see how this is related to software engineering. The business requirement of "portfolio insurance" implemented in software that will always cause this kind of crash - see May 6, 2010 flash crash.

Perhaps the GP could've expressed his sentiment differently: Take responsibility. Concentrate on building the piece that you are responsible for as well as you can. Understand how it affects other parts of the system as best as you can. Let the people who care about processes and CYA techniques worry about processes and CYA techniques, but limit their involvement as much as you can.

My point?
1. The more regulated the environment, the more people will focus on CYA and avoiding responsibility.
2. Your process will never prevent all possible disasters, but it will create a sense of comfort that prevents people from worrying about it.

more than 4 years ago

Gosu Programming Language Released To Public

acooks Online help browser sucks. (330 comments)

Gosu people, your help browser sucks caravans.

If I middle-click on a link, I don't want the page I'm currently reading to jump away. I want to read whatever is linked to _later_. Redirecting me and then breaking my browser's "Back" button, without even providing an alternative js back button, is unforgivable.

more than 4 years ago


acooks hasn't submitted any stories.



Dan O'Dowd, CEO of Green Hills Software, a bigger troll than Darl McBride?

acooks acooks writes  |  more than 2 years ago

I'm using QNX at work. It's an interesting OS, but why use it instead of Linux? Well, the argument is that QNX is suitable for safety critical systems, while Linux... maybe? While looking for vendors who offer certifiable Linux distributions, I came across these rants from Green Hills CEO, Dan O'Dowd. He makes a few supertroll statements, like "Windows and Solaris have achieved EAL 4. But to date, Linux has only achieved EAL 2." and "Linux development and support are being outsourced to China, Russia, and other countries from which commercial defense[sic] software would never be purchased." and "Linux has been deployed in few, if any, military systems." Green Hills produce the INTEGRITY real-time OS, which is used in flight control systems like Boeing's B1-B and B-52 bombers, Lockheed Martin's F-16, F-35, and F-22 fighter jets.

I've seen (non-US) defence products that run Linux. In a hypothetical world without EAL and DO-178B, would run Linux on an aircraft control system? Would you fly in such an aircraft?

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