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Comments

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Finding an ISIS Training Camp Using Google Earth

dkf Re:Time to build a cruise missile and send it over (112 comments)

I did and they have another hostage ready to chop his head off.

The way to deal with these people is to ignore whether they have the second hostage (assume he's already dead, even if that's technically premature) and to bomb the area, preferably with something like white phosphorous incendiaries. It also needs to be done soon, because people regard such actions less favourably when it is longer from the event which the punishment is being meted out for. Make it very clear that once someone starts killing hostages, reprisals will come. If you don't, the next damn terrorist group will think they can get away with this sort of thing too; you're not protecting those already captured, you're protecting everyone else.

It's a shame, but being this nasty is the only way of hammering home to idiots that fucking with is a seriously bad idea (unless you can act with more precision and kill just the terrorists). And it does work: it's been proved to work over and over throughout history. It probably needs to be accompanied with a full apology to any innocents caught up in the crossfire to mitigate incidental downstream trouble.

11 hours ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

dkf Re:Expert?? (436 comments)

Gravitational potential energy cannot be used as an energy source.

But you can use it to store energy, and this has indeed been done and it is an important part of how the Grid works. Look up pumped storage hydroelectricity some time.

5 days ago
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Are Altcoins Undermining Bitcoin's Credibility?

dkf Re: Self Serving Story? (267 comments)

Really ? you are kidding right ? It's clearly not backed by gold anymore. So what's it backed by ?

It's backed by the fact that the government can shoot people until everyone agrees that it is valid. We could beat around the bush a lot more, but the threat of force (together with the ability to pay taxes that follows from that) is a key thing in making a currency valid.

5 days ago
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The Technologies Changing What It Means To Be a Programmer

dkf Re:Yes, no, maybe, potato salad (291 comments)

There is no table, that I know of, that lists all the features versus all the paradigms versus all the languages.

That would be a very large table indeed, as there are a lot of critical nuances and a lot of languages (even if we exclude the ones without the ability to do a useful subset of all system calls).

about a week ago
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The Technologies Changing What It Means To Be a Programmer

dkf Re:Some of us do still assemble, even now (291 comments)

Many (most?) AAA games use C++ to build a specialized runtime and the actual game logic is implemented with scripts running on it.

If you're lucky, the scripts are in Lua (or possibly even one of the other embeddable scripting languages). If you're unlucky, they're in something custom...

about two weeks ago
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The Technologies Changing What It Means To Be a Programmer

dkf Re:COBOL was better than JavaScript. (291 comments)

We probably would have ended up with some variant of REXX or TCL on the client-side.

Almost certainly Tcl; the right engineers knew it at the time, but JS managed to get to a shipping browser slightly sooner.

about two weeks ago
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Gas Cooled Reactors Shut Down In UK

dkf Re:Jaw dropping (120 comments)

I think England is culturally tied to the idea of keeping the home fires burning which give nuclear power a kind of hold on them that technically it does not merit. That may explain the huge price they are willing to pay.

The English power consumption profile is winter-biased, and that's when loss of power can really cause trouble. Politicians think it is better (in electoral terms) to over-spend than to have the lights (and heating!) go out; they may be right on that.

about two weeks ago
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Gas Cooled Reactors Shut Down In UK

dkf Re:not big in UK (120 comments)

And the study itself notes, "Silver in PV cells might be replaced by other metals".

What's more, the total amount of silver required by world industry has been dropping a lot recently due to the switch to digital photography. Silver availability really isn't a problem.

about two weeks ago
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Algorithm Predicts US Supreme Court Decisions 70% of Time

dkf Re:Useless (177 comments)

According to http://www.scotusblog.com/stat... the Supreme Court recently affirmed 27% of lower court decisions and reversed 73%. This means that if you guess that the Supreme Court reverses the lower court every time, you'll be 73% accurate. 70% accuracy is ridiculously low if you can get 73% accuracy *without* taking into consideration the records of each justice or any other kind of details.

Of course, the usual reason why the case got to the Supremes in the first place is because there were two cases by different Appeals Circuits which conflicted.

about two weeks ago
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Verizon Throttles Data To "Provide Incentive To Limit Usage"

dkf Re:cretinous because (316 comments)

Speaking strictly about wireline ISPs, no wireline ISP sells a consumer grade plan as 20Mbps for 24/7 usage.

Mine did, but doesn't now: their lowest grade plan is now faster than that. The upper tiers might have throttling, but I don't thing the base grade tier can hit the level at which they care.

But then I'm not in the US. We have real competition between communications providers.

about two weeks ago
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Driverless Buses Ruled Out For London, For Now

dkf Re:Public transport will be obsolete (84 comments)

Once driverless car technology has sufficiently matured, there will be no need for buses, underground trains, or any other current public transport system.

Are you sure about that? You seem to be assuming that everyone will be travelling from and to different places and that there will be no concentrations of people attending the same location at the same time. It's been my experience that people don't work like that. I also suspect that the price that these vehicles would charge would make them rather less economic than you think. Unless there's evidence that what you propose would be cheaper than public transport currently is, or that there will be no common locations and times for people to go somewhere, there will be an incentive to have public transport of some form.

about three weeks ago
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Driverless Buses Ruled Out For London, For Now

dkf Re:Trains sound like a good idea. (84 comments)

US moves 10 times as much over rail as Europe does, over 25% of all freight is moved by rail in the US

I suspect that this difference may be in large part due to the more widespread use of water-based transport in the EU; it's a lot more efficient than even rail (provided you've got a suitable river going in the right direction or are close to the sea, which describes more of the EU than the US).

about three weeks ago
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Driverless Buses Ruled Out For London, For Now

dkf Re:ATO - GoA 4 (84 comments)

Operating the doors in a safe manner. (hard)

How so? You don't even need a computer. Just make it so the train doesn't move if the doors aren't closed, the doors move with little force, and if they fail to close they re-open and try again in 5 seconds.

I've seen a few driverless trains around the world (e.g., in Paris, Copenhagen and at ORD in the US for transfer between terminals) and they usually operate with two sets of doors: one set on the train, and the other on the platform. This keeps people from accessing the track area except when the train is there to let them board. Combine this with obstruction detection when the doors are closing (without which millions of automatic doors wouldn't be safe) and I think we can say that this particular problem is solved.

Or was the GP foolishly assuming that they had to use the existing equipment? That no investment was possible?

about three weeks ago
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Popular Android Apps Full of Bugs: Researchers Blame Recycling of Code

dkf Re:Laziness (150 comments)

Amazingly, security libraries are often in this category. Is there a really good writeup ANYWHERE about SSL, certificates and signing practices? And IPSec with all its intricacies?

Funnily enough, on Stack Overflow! Not all of the security-related questions are overflowing with shitty misinformation. (SO might not be great, but it's better than the squillion shitty places for question answering that preceded it.)

about a month ago
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Bose Sues New Apple Acquisition Beats Over Patent Violations

dkf Re:bad vs bad (162 comments)

play a FLAC file through them and OMG, they sound like sex

Your audio collection is... not like mine.

about a month ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

dkf Re:National Boundaries (186 comments)

Nor do these arrogants "USA and other countries" (merrily forgetting there is something else in the world than Europe and the USA plus its satellites) who think there is no second chance ever, and no right to ensure one's personal data are correct, and no rigth to privacy either -- to mention only some of the personal-data-related rights that are given to me by my own European country (note that, as some have said, other European countries may have these rights in a less formal way, as a result of case law) and that I can successfully use to deter French spammers while I still have to suffer US ones. :/

You do not have the right because the government says so, but rather because you are a human being. Though that is a principle that is explicitly stated in the US constitution, it applies everywhere. However, it is a right that is made explicit in the EU and where the conditions under which the right may be infringed are perhaps more clearly stated (and better enforced) than elsewhere. There is a danger in explicitly stating rights, in that some stupid people might think you have no other rights — not true! — but leaving them all implicit has other risks in that it becomes hard to say for sure when they've been unreasonably infringed and to get other people to help you out defending them.

about a month ago
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New SSL Server Rules Go Into Effect Nov. 1

dkf Re:Group Policy (92 comments)

Cheaper and easier to convince the PHB to buy a certificate signed by a public CA, than install your own CA certificate on every browser in your company.

Then your organization's IT department needs to learn about Group Policy and its counterparts on other common personal computing platforms.

Yeah, but getting all that to work when dealing with the reality of BYOD in many organisations (universities have a particular problem with this) is massively more complicated and expensive than ponying up for an externally-signed certificate. Heck, even getting an externally-signed local CA certificate is cheaper. Group policy (and equivalent) works relatively well for desktops and other wholly-owned devices, but ceases to be nearly so useful once you have to deal with anything external, and that's more and more common.

Get with the programme.

about a month ago
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No Shortage In Tech Workers, Advocacy Groups Say

dkf Re:it depends on what "skilled worker" means. (401 comments)

To put things in perspective - the old owners had plants in 5 different states. Each of the other plants consistently lost money. Our plant consistently MADE MONEY, despite mismanagement. Quarter after quarter, the accountants posted profits from our plant. In effect, we carried four other money losing plants for years. The owners could never bring themselves to unload the money losers, instead taking the profits we earned to shore up the other plants. They followed that policy until bankruptcy put them out of the game completely.

Were any of those plants making key inputs for yours? If they were, and it wasn't practical to consolidate that function, then closing them down would have crippled you. Which individual plants make money is one thing, but where there's internal transfer of items between units of the business, the value attached to those items is fairly nominal in practice; it's the overall business that really makes the profit or the loss.

Or maybe they're just incompetent fucks. That could be true too. Hard to say without the full facts, but the fact that bankruptcy hit is strongly indicative.

about a month and a half ago
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IEEE Spectrum Ranks the Top Programming Languages

dkf Re:So what are good languages to get into? (197 comments)

A masters in computer science program means taking about 10 three credit courses to get the degree. That means learning potentially 10 different languages. Which 10 would you choose? Which of those 10 are a must to learn, which would be merely advantageous to know?

Take at least one OO language (Java's fussy and bureaucratic, but its a pretty good example of the breed and is likely to be useful after you get your masters), at least one functional language (probably Haskell these days), at least one declarative language (Prolog or SQL), and don't just learn programming languages. You also need to learn about data, about data structures, about algorithms and their analysis, about parsing and compilation, and about concurrency; these are all independent of any programming language.

But computing is well served by not just learning about computing. If you have time, learn about math, stats and logic too, and learn how to communicate your ideas effectively; you'll never get far if you can't communicate with other people well.

about a month and a half ago
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IEEE Spectrum Ranks the Top Programming Languages

dkf Re:How did Java beat C (197 comments)

The default 'package' access is rarely used.

Huh. I use it quite a bit when implementing an API. (You hardly need to use public at all inside interfaces.)

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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Apple rapped over misleading iPhone ad

dkf dkf writes  |  more than 5 years ago

dkf (304284) writes "The BBC is reporting that Apple have been ordered by the Advertising Standards Authority to stop showing their current iPhone advert in the UK. The heart of the issue is that the iPhone does not support either Flash or Java, and this means that significant parts of the content of the internet were not available despite Apple's claims otherwise. It seems that Apple's determination to control their mobile platform has come back to bite them."
Link to Original Source
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Tcl/Tk 8.5.0 Finally Released

dkf dkf writes  |  more than 6 years ago

dkf writes "OSNews reports that Tcl/Tk 8.5 has been released for all major platforms after 5 years of development. There are many new goodies in it, including significant speedups through an advanced bytecode engine, stronger localization of applications, integrated arbitrary-precision arithmetic, a whole bunch of brand new skinnable widgets, anti-aliased text support on all platforms, and a new code module management system to make maintenance of installations a snap.

A lot more in-depth information about the features of both this release and Tcl/Tk in general is available at both the official Tcl/Tk website and in Mark Roseman's blog."

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