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Workers On Autism Spectrum Finding Careers In Software Testing

crankyspice Re:Speed of Dark (109 comments)

Elizabeth Moon. Someone's apparently been reading it.

I was drawing parallels to the Emergents' use of the mindrot virus to create "Focus," in A Deepness in the Sky (Vernor Vinge).

about 2 months ago

How Sony, Intel, and Unix Made Apple's Mac a PC Competitor

crankyspice Re:Lol... (296 comments)

I'm assuming this was a trolling attempt but I'll take the bait.

OSX is *NOT* rebranded FreeBSD. It's rebranded NeXTStep/OpenStep where they updated the userland w/ the FreeBSD userland to replace the ancient 4.2BSD underpinnings.

"The BSD portion of the OS X kernel is derived primarily from FreeBSD." https://developer.apple.com/library/mac/documentation/Darwin/Conceptual/KernelProgramming/BSD/BSD.html

about 3 months ago

Feds: Sailor Hacked Navy Network While Aboard Nuclear Aircraft Carrier

crankyspice Re:Not in trouble for hacking... (43 comments)

That's the bummer about hacking, you can't brag. If you're black hat, you get caught, if you're white hat, the NDA hits you.

So, kids, hacking ain't cool. Even if you hack the worlds best secured fortress, it's like doing the once in a lifetime stunt that nobody will believe you did but you forgot to record it.


about 9 months ago

Using Handheld Phone GPS While Driving Is Legal In California

crankyspice Re:Still should be hands free (142 comments)

Except ironically that would require repealing laws in California since windshield mounts were made illegal many years ago.

Whatchotalkin' 'bout Willis?

Cal. Veh. Code 26708(b)(12): “A portable Global Positioning System (GPS) ... may be mounted in a seven-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield farthest removed from the driver or in a five-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield nearest to the driver ...”

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How Many (Electronics) Gates Is That Software Algorithm?

crankyspice Re:The key to success. (365 comments)

Do not ask a computer scientist to be an electrical engineer.

Except ... Wow. An early course in my computer science curriculum was:

201. Computer Logic Design I (3)
Prerequisite: MATH 113 or equivalent all with a grade of "C" or better.
Basic topics in combinational and sequential switching circuits with applications to the design of digital devices. Introduction to Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools. Laboratory projects with Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA).
(Lecture 2 hours, lab 3 hours) Letter grade only (A-F).

(We used Verilog and a Xilinx FPGA board.) I'm surprised a reputable CS degree wouldn't require at least a basic course in digital logic; Cal State Long Beach is a great school, but it's certainly not a standards bearer...

1 year,19 days

Ask Slashdot: Why Do Mobile Versions of Websites Suck?

crankyspice Re:Slashdot being a prime example of bad (382 comments)

So spoof your browser id string.

Oh. Let me guess. Apple and Safari won't let you do that.

Safari (desktop version) has a developer menu that lets the end user specify any HTTP_USER_AGENT string:


Apple (all iOS versions) will let browsers change their HTTP_USER_AGENT; here's the Mercury browser doing just that:


about a year ago

Should Google Get Aggressive About Monetizing Android?

crankyspice Re:But that's not a company's goal (168 comments)

If they don't focus on making money, their shareholders can sue them. Companies are there to make money, they can't be twisted into innovation factories. If they could we'd probably have free energy and plentiful drinking water by now.

Anyone can sue anyone for anything. (Whether or not they can do so successfully, or without being sanctioned, is another story -- I just won a nice attorney fee award from a father (lawyer) son (douchebag) team that sued a client of mine in state court, and then dismissed when we filed the Anti-SLAPP Motion to Strike I'd warned them repeatedly was coming... sigh...)

That said, the "must increase shareholder value" trope is a myth: "This common and widespread perception lacks any solid basis in actual corporate law." http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2012/6/18%20corporate%20stout/stout_corporate%20issues.pdf (p. 4)

If a business wanted to spend three years on R&D, as long as the directors embarked on that path in good faith, with appropriate consideration and care, and reasonably believed that they were acting in the best interests of the company, they'd be able to do so under, e.g., the Business Judgment Rule.

about a year ago

Canon DSLR Hack Allows It To Shoot RAW Video

crankyspice Re:This is not news anymore (171 comments)

Most device manufacturers do not have a lot of budget on their firmware development, so, what they do is to have a generic-enough firmware developed, then they add and/or delete a couple of options, depending on the price point of their device model, package it as the firmware for that particular model

Back in the olden days when we were using USRobotic dial up modems we used to buy 2400 baud modem and then re-flash them to run at 4800 or even 9600 baud

Dating back to at least 1990: http://steveblank.com/2009/04/16/supermac-war-story-7-building-the-whole-product/

about a year and a half ago

Accountability / bug submission for services providers?

crankyspice Re:Legislation? (3 comments)

My fear is that we're getting away from the "market forces" that used to work. Netflix couldn't care less if they lose me, the Windows Media Center folks with the same problem, or the thousands(?) of Apple TV users with the same error message who haven't dug as deep into troubleshooting. With 30 million subscribers, 2,500 of us is a rounding error.

Maybe I'm showing my age, but I remember when there were but a handful of Linux users (I've had a Linux shell account since '93), and we were perpetually in danger of being steamrolled by the Big Corporations who could change things on a whim (Winmodems... Microsoft's SMB protocol...) and shut us out.

This isn't quite that, but it's similar. (It's also 2:45 a.m. and I'm not sure I can express myself as coherently as I need to right now...)

After a bit of brainstorming / research, I put up this Google Doc draft, that more clearly outlines what I'm talking about...

about a year and a half ago

80FFTs Per Second To Detect Whistles (and Switch On Lights)

crankyspice Prior art from the 1950s... (156 comments)


about a year and a half ago

USAF Strips 17 Officers of Nuclear Launch Authority

crankyspice Re:Take them out of the loop (173 comments)

“We've had men in those silos since before any of you guys were watching ‘Howdy Doody!’ Now I myself sleep pretty well knowing those boys are down there ... Mr. McKittrick, after very careful consideration, sir, I've come to the conclusion that your new [automated electronic] defense system sucks.” - Gen. Beringer.

about a year and a half ago

Bill Gates: iPad Users Are Frustrated They Can't Type Or Create Documents

crankyspice Re:And... (618 comments)

PRINTING would be awfully nice from a tablet. Too bad both Android and Apple have clunky hacks (well, I'm not too familiar with the Apple one, but I understand it's not a native print-to-printer thing).

Modern printers can be printed to directly. For everything else (my trusty Canon multi-function, my 8 year old cheap-when-it-was-new Samsung GDI contraption) that are shared via my Linux fileserver, it was a simple setup for CUPS and now those printers are iOS-accessible, too.

Same with typing.

The iPad has supported Bluetooth keyboards since day 1, and Apple (and countless third parties) have sold such keyboards since day 1 (of the iPad). I use one (a Zagg model with a slot that can be used to conveniently stand the iPad) with an iOS 4.3.3 first-generation iPad, routinely...

about a year and a half ago

Lenovo To Drop Iomega Brand On Joint EMC Products

crankyspice Re:Forget ZIP drives (58 comments)

I just got served with Requests for Production that read, in part, "Electronic Media devices may include, but are not limited to, computer memories, hard disks, diskettes and cartridges, network drives, network memory storage, archived tapes and cartridges, backup tapes, floppy disks, CD-ROM, removable media such as Bernoulli Boxes and their equivalent, magnetic tapes of all types, microfiche, punched cards, and any other vehicle used for digital data storage and/or transmittal."

about a year and a half ago

9th Circuit Affirms IsoHunt Decision; No DMCA Safe Harbor

crankyspice Re:The law is an ass (211 comments)

Well, the DMCA was a compromise between the interests of ISPs and those of copyright holders -- so, the result of lobbyist dollars. But secondary copyright liability (vicarious or contributory liability for the direct infringement of third parties) is entirely judicially created. There's no statute on the books w/r/t secondary infringement liability. (Federal judges are appointed for life -- they don't campaign, they don't need to run for re-election, I've worked "on the inside" of enough MPAA etc. litigation to know that the rights holders are as much at the mercy of the judiciary as are the tech heroes. Witness how Grokster was decided by Judge Wilson, then by the 9th Circuit, before SCOTUS used it to graft the doctrine of inducement liability onto copyright law...)

Anyway, for everyone asking "why do we let judges rule on / lawmakers govern the Internet" -- the Internet is us. We are the Internet. Just because something occurs over TCP/IP packets instead of in an alley, doesn't make it any less a part of 'the real world,' where real laws apply.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Stay Fit At Work?

crankyspice Work it into the commute. (635 comments)

I knew I'd never reliably hit a gym, etc. (BTDT, repeatedly), and working out *at* work wasn't really feasible, so I worked out by going to / from work by bicycle. At first it was 5 miles each way, then I changed jobs and it was a 35 mile round trip, daily. Lost ~100 lbs in about 8 months. Have kept ~80 of those off since 2008...

about 2 years ago

France Demands Skype Register As a Telco

crankyspice Re:Why Silicon Valley did not happen in France (209 comments)

Ah, France. You’re so dynamic and quick to embrace change From the Toubon Law to propping up Minitel to the stoic way you embraced labor regulations aimed at easing ridiculously high unemployment by making the first two years of employment somewhat more flexible with your non à la précarité movement... (Does make for decent wine, though, and likely will for centuries.)

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Can Quickoffice On Chromebooks Topple Microsoft's Office?

crankyspice In a word, no. Compatibility. (242 comments)

Over the years, I've kept tabs on, and used to one degree or another, various Office alternatives. Apple's Pages. OpenOffice.org and now LibreOffice. Etc. None of them are 100% compatible with Microsoft's file formats. For the type of work I do (law-and-motion briefs, appellate briefs, etc.), there are strict formatting requirements (e.g., line numbers 1-28 down the left side of the page, double-line borders, specific font and margin requirements, page limits, etc). There's also quite often a need to exchange documents with opposing counsel, for, e.g., joint stipulations. Finally, I need to be able to submit documents to the judge's chambers in Microsoft Word (or WordPerfect .WPD) format, and they have to look right when the judge opens them. The judiciary isn't going to go with OOo anytime soon (they're still slavishly tied to WordPerfect!)...

None of the 'Office alternatives' has been able to work with a document created by 'real' Office and retain its formatting; likewise, none of the documents I've created using Pages or OOo or ... has looked anything close to what it should (all line numbering/borders gone, etc) when opened in 'real' Office.

For even moderately complex documents, the alternatives, including Google Docs (a/k/a/ Drive), QuickOffice, etc., do not create or properly work with fully Word compatible documents, and hence I cannot use them in my profession. Office 2011 is a cost of doing business for me.

about 2 years ago



Accountability / bug submission for services providers?

crankyspice crankyspice writes  |  about a year and a half ago

crankyspice (63953) writes "Thinking on the topic of consumer frustration and our increasing reliance on tech. Currently brainstorming a solution to corporations providing IaaS/SaaS/PaaS type services with no way to bring technical issues to their developers' attention (customer support drones reading from scripts who don't even know what an RFC is — not the solution). (In the past, when your POTS line went out, Ma Bell rolled a truck; when your cable went out, Time Warner rolled a truck... What do you do when you've "cut the cord" and suddenly Hulu stops working with your WiFi-equipped Panasonic DVD player?)

Thinking something akin to a DMCA Registered Agent system, where if a tech company provides an email address that at least ties in to their bug tracking system, they get a safe harbor for interoperability liability or something... (At the moment, one-sided terms of service provisions mandate ~$10,000 arbitration, limit damages to what was spent on the service ($8/month?), and eliminate the ability to bring class action suits, so the service providers have basically immunized themselves from liability anyway; not sure how to handle that...)

As our world becomes increasingly complex and interconnected, accountability and reliability are becoming more and more critical. It's soon going to be essential that there be a mechanism where the providers of services can at least be made aware that their stuff is broken...

Two situations I've had recently highlighted this (and caused hair pulling); both ultimately minor in the grand scheme of things, but both point to harrowing futures:
  1. Sending a PDF to fax via email was failing from my iPad. TrustFax.com (an eFax service) just wasn't seeing the attachments. The script-reading customer service drones kept saying (once I got past the stock answers about how I had to send a message to @trustfax.com, etc., which I was obviously doing since their system was reporting back to me a specific issue — no attachments found) they didn't support Apple, didn't support the iPad, etc., but I knew it had to be a problem on their end, as I'd sent PDFs from Pages on my iPad before and they'd been picked up and sent successfully by that service. Turns out the issue was with a longer filename; Pages and/or Mail on the iPad uses RFC 2231 sect. 3 multi-line encoding for parameter values, and TrustFax's email-to-fax system evidently wasn't written to support that standard. A relatively simple fix, once / if the developers are aware of it, but how to get it to their attention?
  2. My AppleTV won't play Netflix. Just reports "Netflix is currently unavailable." Apple says it's a Netflix problem. Netflix, after swearing up and down it was because my Apple TV "couldn't connect to Netflix" (demonstrably not true) finally pointed the finger at Apple. Finally I ran 'tcpdump' on my DD-WRT router and fed the results into Wireshark to see what was going on: api.netflix.com (actually an Amazon AWS instance) is reporting "X-Neftlix-Error-Cause: Error from API Backend." Seems like a Netflix problem to me, but it could be that Netflix isn't properly handling bad input from the Apple-supplied application. Customer support drones on both sides are useless, so how do I get this into the hands of someone who can look at it, see what's broken, and put it in for a bug fix?

If you were going to design simple, effective legislation to address this lack of accountability / access to developers' attention, what would it look like? (From a consumer's perspective, and/or from the other side of the corporate firewall.) Is legislation the answer? Can corporations be shamed/spotlighted into voluntarily agreeing to some sort of industry-specified "best practices" when it comes to these issues?

I'm ready to agitate, but I don't want to go off half-cocked without considering, well, those aspects I haven't yet considered! Hence, I'm Asking Slashdot... :)"


Federal judge shoots down ReDigi

crankyspice crankyspice writes  |  about 2 years ago

crankyspice (63953) writes "ReDigi's attempt to create a virtual marketplace for pre-owned digital music has bee shot down by Judge Sullivan of the Southern District of New York, in his ruling and order on cross-motions for summary judgment: http://www.scribd.com/doc/133611615/ (“The novel question presented in this action is whether a digital music file, lawfully made and purchased, may be resold by its owner through ReDigi under the first sale doctrine. The Court determines that it cannot.”)"

9th Circuit affirms IsoHunt decision, no DMCA safe harbor

crankyspice crankyspice writes  |  about 2 years ago

crankyspice writes "The federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed, in Columbia Pictures Industries v. Fung (docket no. 10-55946), the summary judgment and injunctions against Gary Fung and his IsoHunt (and 3d2k-it) websites, finding liability for secondary copyright infringement for the sites' users' BitTorrent (and eDonkey) file sharing, under the 'inducement' theory (set forth by the Supreme Court in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. v. Grokster Ltd. , 545 U.S. 913 (2005)). The injunctions were left largely intact, with modifications required to make it more clear to the defendants what BitTorrent (etc) related activity they're enjoined from."
Link to Original Source

Best electronic prototyping platform?

crankyspice crankyspice writes  |  about 2 years ago

crankyspice (63953) writes "Having recently picked up the Erector set I've wanted since I was a kid, I quickly found myself wanting to plunge deeper into makerspace by adding more sophisticated electronics to moving devices (rovers, maybe eventually flying bots). My first instinct was Arduino (maybe because of brand recognition?), but that got me thinking — what's the "best" platform out there (most flexible)? Arduino with its myriad options (Nano, Mega, Uno, Mini)? PICAXE? BASIC Stamp? Raspberry Pi? (The latter seems like it would easily be the most flexible, but at greater cost in terms of weight and complexity.) I'm a hobbyist programmer, having learned C and C++ in college and recently re-learning Java (took and passed the Oracle Certified Professional exam, FWIW)..."

Which Java web framework?

crankyspice crankyspice writes  |  more than 2 years ago

crankyspice (63953) writes "I'm a somewhat-lapsed developer / IT guy, "somewhat" in that, during and after law school, I've done it as a hobby and smaller projects here and there. I'm about to embark on a Java web app tied into my law practice, though, and find myself bewildered by the various framework options out there — Spring, Hibernate, Tapestry, Struts2... The built-in stack in J2EE 6... What to use? Is there a good resource that objectively compares the various options, and/or provides insight as to which frameworks might be appropriate in different circumstances?

I've done a lot of Java coding over the years, but almost all of it was Swing desktop stuff; the last time I touched anything web-related, it was ATG Dynamo circa J2EE 1.3! Most of my web app experience was in C, Perl, or PHP. I roughly know my way around the MVC pattern; my last big project was Perl + Class::DBI + Application::CGI (including HTML::Template. But nothing too heavy."

Which sub-$200 Android tablet?

crankyspice crankyspice writes  |  more than 2 years ago

crankyspice (63953) writes "Wanting an Android tablet to expand a Java/iOS client/server app for more users. What's the groupthink on, say, hacking a Kindle Fire, grabbing an IdeaPad A1, holding out for Google's rumored ICS tablet ... Are any of the no-name cheap "lightinthebox" tablets worth experimenting with? (I'd like it to be as 'usable' as a 'real' tablet as possible, so I can take it out in the field and live with it for a day at a time, "dogfooding." So, e.g., a device with a weak battery — notsomuch.) I've read the specs and skimmed the various reviews, but still can't get a sense for what would be the best "second tablet." Don't need cameras, don't (much) care about weight. Speed/responsiveness/good WiFi connectivity are musts, as is the availability of good PDF/ePub/CHM software (mentioned only because apparently not all Android software runs on all Android devices)..."

BlackBerry devices to run Android apps

crankyspice crankyspice writes  |  more than 3 years ago

crankyspice (63953) writes "RIM is allegedly prepping the QNX-based operating system running their forthcoming PlayBook tablet to run Android applications, according to a Bloomberg article. As RIM has stated (http://www.engadget.com/2010/12/07/rims-mike-lazaridis-qnx-coming-to-blackberry-phones-when-dual/) that the QNX platform will run at least some of its upcoming smartphones as well, this could cinch Android's status as the lingua franca of smartphone application environments, especially with BlackBerry's current market leadership (http://www.wirelessandmobilenews.com/2011/02/nokia-iphone-blackberry-samsung-htc-top-smartphone-makers-says-htc.html) and Android's explosive marketshare growth (http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2011/01/android-beats-nokia-apple-rim-in-2010-but-firm-warns-about-2011.ars)."
Link to Original Source

Portables without cameras?

crankyspice crankyspice writes  |  more than 5 years ago

crankyspice (63953) writes "I work routinely in environments where a camera cannot physically be present (e.g., federal court), which really limits what I can carry with me. For instance, I'm a Mac guy, but there's no way to order a MacBook without a built-in webcam (which I've never used on the machines I've owned that have had one). Ditto the iPhone. I'm left with a BlackBerry 8830 and the bottom rung of the [W|L]intel portables. Even then, when I ordered a Dell Mini 9, I had to wait more than a month because I specified no webcam when I placed the order. This is a relatively common (government, law, sensitive corporate environments) requirement; what have other Slashdotters done? Disabling the camera with a script or somesuch won't convince the $12/hour security guard that there's no camera. How can one easily find portable devices without a built-in camera?"

FDA declares cloned meat and milk safe

crankyspice crankyspice writes  |  about 7 years ago

crankyspice (63953) writes "From the article: "The Food and Drug Administration today declared that meat and milk from cloned animals and their offspring is as safe as the natural version, clearing the way for the products to enter the food supply without special labeling." C'mon, if this doesn't deserve a whatcouldgowrong tag, nothing does!"
Link to Original Source


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