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Australian ISPs To Disconnect Botnet "Zombies"

arotenbe Re:Sad, isn't it? (213 comments)

Pardon me, but isn't protection against security breaches the OPERATING SYSTEM'S JOB???

Partially, but it isn't the operating system's job to stop the user from being an idiot. If you want to run executables from suspicious websites, that's your right. And if the rest of the world wants a device to stab you in the face over the internet, that's their right, too.

more than 4 years ago

Sum of my now-open windows, desktops, terminals:

arotenbe Re:tabs (258 comments)

I have two browser windows open at the moment, but they have probably 200 tabs between them - most of them from... well, take a guess.

Even if we cut out the TV Tropes tabs, I'm still probably in the 20 or 30 region.

more than 4 years ago

Has Sci-Fi Run Out of Steam?

arotenbe Re:Reality closer to SciFi, SciFi != Fantasy (479 comments)

The giant corporations are winning. Ask people if they think it more likely that genetic research will result in exciting new medical treatments or be used by enormous health insurance companies to deny coverage.

What people think is not the same as reality. In the U.S. at least, using genetic information to deny insurance coverage is illegal. Of course, people will believe what they want to believe, which just emphasizes the GP's point. I'm sure plenty of my beliefs are wrong, too.

more than 5 years ago

"Time Telescope" Could Boost Fibre-Optic Communications

arotenbe Re:salesman speak (183 comments)

But "cloud computing" is a long-distant descendant of the "client server" model. They aren't the same thing anymore than a nuclear bomb is just "a really strong TNT bomb".

If "cloud computing" is so different from the client-server model (with the server being provided by someone else), then surely you can name some differences between the two models.


more than 5 years ago

AU Government To Build "Unhackable" Netbooks

arotenbe Re:I long for the day... (501 comments)

A government with tech experience is not a nice thing.

I disagree. If all governments understood technology, then they would understand...

  • ... why censorship of information is impossible.
  • ... why software should not--and cannot--be regulated.
  • ... why copyrights and patents are entirely artificial constructs, not sacred property rights.

The problem we have now is that governments know technology exists but don't understand it.

more than 5 years ago

Texting Toddlers, How Young is Too Young?

arotenbe Re:Maybe not as bad as we might expect? (286 comments)

Kind of a thread jack / off topic. But, have you looked into a montessori school? It introduces children into learning in a fun way and adapts to tasks and styles of learnign that the child enjoys.

While we're offtopic, here's an anecdote. I know that the plural of anecdote isn't data, and certainly the singular isn't, but...

When I was a kid, my parents put me in a private Montessori school because I was bored out of my skull with a regular school. Less than two years later, we changed to homeschooling. I was literally coming home every day crying because I was so miserable. I don't know if the school actually followed Montessori principles, but they claimed to and it was horrible. It was literally just like the traditional school system, but with "hands on" activities and ten times the busywork. The last straw was when they tried to get me to do a science project that involved dropping parachutes from a second-story balcony three hundred times for "accuracy".

more than 5 years ago

Pi Calculated To Record 2.5 Trillion Digits

arotenbe Re:Well... (432 comments)

There are, however, irrational--indeed, transcendental--numbers that follow a discernible decimal pattern, like the Liouville constant.

more than 5 years ago

Games That Design Themselves

arotenbe Re:Me too! (162 comments)

Sorry to reply to myself, but here's another link you should look at. The first story in there describes exactly why finally blocks should never be used as a poor man's transactions system.

more than 5 years ago

Games That Design Themselves

arotenbe Re:Me too! (162 comments)

In nicer languages than C that have exceptions, you often also have try...finally blocks, where you can guarantee that your cleanup code will be called, even if you call some function which calls exit(). Essentially, it gives you nice atomic/transactional operations, at every level of code you want them at.

At least in Java, System.exit() calls the shutdown hooks and then kills every thread without mercy. To quote the excellent book Java Puzzlers, which had this as one of its puzzles: "the presence of a finally clause does not give a thread special permission to continue executing". In fact, you can read this this puzzle in the sample chapter on their website.

more than 5 years ago

UK Police Told To Use Wikipedia When Preparing For Court

arotenbe Re:They would be better off using snopes.com. (180 comments)

Do you have any evidence of snopes.com being incorrect? I've never heard of anyone challenging their credulity.

Ahem... I believe that in this situation someone is supposed to say "whoosh".

more than 5 years ago

Another Question Of Search Engine Legality and Infringement

arotenbe Re:DMCA (95 comments)

10 years ago the US Congress had the foresight to pass the DMCA which protects search engines, ISP caches, and similar technologies from this kind of nonsense. Too bad other nations haven't followed the USA's lead in this respect.

Indeed, while lots of people on Slashdot hate the DMCA for its lack of penalties for abusive takedown notices, the protection for search engines and the like is definitely necessary for the internet to continue in the form we know it today.

more than 5 years ago

Google Outlines the Role of Its Human Evaluators

arotenbe Re:Google is PEOPLE (62 comments)

Wolfram Alpha isn't a search engine.

Saying Wolfram Alpha isn't a search engine is like saying that Linux should be called GNU/Linux. It might be more technically correct (emphasis on might), but it won't change the public's perception of it.

more than 5 years ago

The Psychology of Collection and Hoarding In Games

arotenbe Re:Um, finishing? (183 comments)

Now, I never played Mario 64, but in most games there are stars or flags or some other widget scattered all over the place, and collecting them is completely tangential to the plot. A normal play through might have you find 20% of them. But some people then go back to find every last one. Those are the sort of people being discussed here.

In fact, I would argue that Mario 64 is a terrible example. You need more than half the stars to finish the game (unless you're tool assisted). Also, they aren't just random achievements--all the stars except the 100-coin and 8-red-coin ones are completely original.

more than 5 years ago

The Case For Working With Your Hands

arotenbe Re:Err... what? (386 comments)

The problem is that you're confusing "goods vs. services" with "in-person services vs. potentially-distant services". You can outsource production of goods (like textiles), and you can outsource information services (like programming), but you can't outsource "in-person" services (like plumbing).

more than 5 years ago

Old-School Coding Techniques You May Not Miss

arotenbe Re:True story (731 comments)

Even more puzzling to me is how someone could decide to use a data structure without understanding its behavior (and without at least checking the Java APIs or simply Googling).

Easy. They learned that they should use *insert class here* in Intro to Programming 1 or 2 and never thought about it again since then. Horrendous overuse of StringBuilders is probably the most common example of this, but it can apply to just about anything.

more than 5 years ago

Microsoft Office 2007 In Linux With WINE

arotenbe Re:Err... (224 comments)

Linux + Office 2007 = all-Linux?

Yes. Remember, as GNU fanatics like to say, Linux is just the kernel. "All-Linux" here refers to Linux on every computer the person uses.

more than 5 years ago

Copyright and Patent Laws Hurt the Economy

arotenbe Re:10 Years, not Infinity+ years (597 comments)

But if nobody can figure out another way to do the same thing, the patent does indeed stifle innovation (since other inventions often build on top of existing ones).

I think the key point is that there is no "magic number" that is the length of time during which a patent is guaranteed to not stifle innovation--other than zero. What if C. A. R. Hoare had gotten a patent on the original quicksort? Even modern general sorting algorithms like introsort are based on quicksort. Science and engineering are built, fundamentally, on iterative improvement of existing designs, and patenting just stops progress in a direction of research for the length of the patent.

more than 5 years ago

Favorite on-screen calculator?

arotenbe Re:It's a little overkill... (776 comments)

I do the same thing, except I don't have Mathematica or Maple, so I use wxMaxima.

more than 5 years ago



Which option will you choose?

arotenbe arotenbe writes  |  more than 6 years ago

arotenbe (1203922) writes "Which option will you choose?
* This one
* The next one
* The previous one
* The one two lines up (relative to the option after the next one)
* The CowboyNeal option
* The missing option
* Ron Paul"



Where did Java go wrong?

arotenbe arotenbe writes  |  more than 5 years ago

A couple days ago, I was trying to figure out how Java's cryptography packages work. I quickly came to the conclusion that they are an absolute horrible, horrible mess - just like everything else in the standard library. For example, while converting an RSA public key to a byte array is as simple as:

byte[] publicKeyByteArray = publicKey.getEncoded();

... getting the byte array back into a public key object is:

PublicKey publicKey = KeyFactory.getInstance("RSA").generatePublic(new X509EncodedKeySpec(publicKeyByteArray));

The real problem, though, is the abundance of objects for doing things that shouldn't need objects. Want to encrypt or decrypt a message? Use a Cipher object. Want to hash a string? Use a MessageDigest object. Doesn't seem so bad, right? After all, it has some nice applications for polymorphism (e.g. who cares if it's SHA-1 or SHA-256, it works the same). But after a while, it starts to get ridiculous. Want to generate a symmetric key? Use a KeyGenerator object. What about an asymmetric key pair? Grab a KeyPairGenerator object. Want to convert a byte array to Base64 and back? You need not one but two objects: a BASE64Encoder and a BASE64Decoder. And for some reason, decoding (but not encoding) a Base64 string can throw an IOException. God only knows why.

And, of course, those two Base64 classes are in the unsupported sun.* hierarchy, meaning they could change from platform to platform and even between releases. If you want to actually guarantee that your code will work, you have to write your own Base64 implementation.

This is not an isolated problem. Every part of the standard library is like this. And thanks in part to the standards recommended by Sun, most Java APIs written by other people are a mess as well. Combined with the absence of syntactic sugar that other languages consider essential, like properties and function references, Java code can quickly become a bureaucratic disaster.

Where did Java go wrong? Before Python and Ruby came along, Java was the language of choice (read: maximum hype). Now no one believes that Java is a practical language for some of the applications for which it was originally designed, such as applets.

So, Slashdot: what can we learn from the failure of Java?

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