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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

dkleinsc Re:And that's exactly what I asked for. (2219 comments)

Don't you remember the rules of Slashdot polls? "If you're using these numbers for anything important, you're insane."

Of course, there was one poll that was for something very important, and thankfully it worked out well. Ahh, the memories.

about 10 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

dkleinsc Re:Resurrecting Technocrat.net (2219 comments)

The other point I'd make is that there are some /. users in the process of resurrecting old-skool /. in a different venue, so Bruce could give it a try, but I don't think he needs to: one way or another the user base will be giving a big goodbye to Dice.

about 10 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

dkleinsc Re:The title says it all. (2219 comments)

Also, it's worth noting that this response from timothy was written only after a fairly serious effort to replace slashdot.org with something better (as noted in both our sigs). The suits are thinking something along the lines of "We're going to lose to a competitor! Do something!" and decided that we'd trust timothy more than some PR flak. Of course, the fact that they'd think that indicates to me that they do not know their community - timothy is actually one of the less-respected "editors".

about 10 months ago
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Lawmakers Threaten Legal Basis of NSA Surveillance

dkleinsc Re:Protest Beta (206 comments)

I concur: They should have simply put in the OMG Ponies! design and been done with it.

about 10 months ago
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Audience Jeers Contestant Who Uses Game Theory To Win At 'Jeopardy'

dkleinsc Re:They'll stop him (412 comments)

<SEAN-CONNERY>
I have to ask you about the Penis Mightier.

Gussy it up however you like, the question is does it work?
<SEAN-CONNERY>

about 10 months ago
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How Voter Shortsightedness Skews Elections

dkleinsc Re:In short... (269 comments)

Under an evil dictator we're stuck until the dictator dooms us with one of the classic blunders -- getting involved in a land war in Asia.

Of course, no democratic leader would ever make that mistake, right? How soon we forget ...

about 10 months ago
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US Democrats Introduce Bill To Restore Net Neutrality

dkleinsc Re:There's no need for a new bill ... (535 comments)

What the ISPs really want is all the benefits of being a common carrier without any of the responsibilities. And that's exactly what they got with the Net Neutrality ruling. Given that AT&T is in the running for the top campaign donor in the country, it's unlikely that will change anytime soon (Seriously, it would be easier to list the politicians not on the take from AT&T).

about 10 months ago
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US Democrats Introduce Bill To Restore Net Neutrality

dkleinsc Re:It's incredibly frustrating... (535 comments)

And then I won't want my hard earned money going to poor people like I was.

Also, if the government didn't force me to give any of my money to those people, then I'd be rich.

(Seriously, a lot of people think that this is the only effect of government programs designed to help poor people, even when they know people who are benefiting from those programs.)

about 10 months ago
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Why Games Should Be In the Public Domain

dkleinsc Re:And A Rebuttal (360 comments)

There's another argument here as well: If you've made a really successful game, but the copyright is going to run out before you retire, you'll be more motivated to make a second successful game because you know your gravy train is going to dry up. And yes, that works for all kinds of copyrighted things: For example, many one-hit wonders happily call it quits because that's good enough, rather than trying to write more hits.

about 10 months ago
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Many Lasers Become One In Lockheed Martin's 30 kW Laser Weapon

dkleinsc Better Austin Powers reference (202 comments)

Gentlemen, phase three. We place a giant "laser" on the moon. Let me demonstrate. ... The laser is powerful enough to destroy every city on the planet at will. We'll turn the moon into what I like to call a "Death Star". ... Since my "Death Star" laser was invented by the noted Cambridge physicist, Dr. Parsons. I thought we'd name it in his honor - the Alan Parsons Project.

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Do If You're Given a Broken Project?

dkleinsc Re:Developers are like dentists (308 comments)

That's not entirely true though: There is such a thing as objectively bad code. Bad code takes forever to run, has security holes a mile wide, is extremely verbose and repetitive, makes unwarranted and undocumented assumptions about how the universe interacts with the code, and of course has no automated tests whatsoever.

Now, when you discover this, the right approach is not to rewrite the whole thing, but instead to isolate and fix one small part of the problem. Fixing that one small part of the problem usually goes like this:
1. Create a complete (with 100% case coverage) and passing unit test suite for the one small piece. If there's a bug in the program that makes correct unit tests fail, first verify that it is in fact a bug in the program and not your tests, then make the smallest possible change to make the tests pass.
2. Write the new and better version that satisfies all those tests.
3. Put the new version in place in a test environment, and manually poke at it for a while to ensure that everything that relies on it works properly.
4. Then, and only then, make it live.

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Do If You're Given a Broken Project?

dkleinsc Re:Make a real assesment (308 comments)

If you're a contractor who's just started, there's also a polite way to bow out or reset their plans: "After evaluating the situation more closely than I was able to during contract negotiations, this is not a task I am capable of completing to your expectations. I have put together this estimate of what it would take to do what you asked for. Would you like me to continue with the goal of meeting this new estimate, or would you like to find another contractor that might be able to better suit your needs?"

about 10 months ago
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Atlas of US Historical Geography Digitized

dkleinsc Re:TWO 21st century public domain distribution mod (24 comments)

Doing A does not preclude doing B. In fact, they'd probably enjoy it if someone volunteered to do B.

My guess as to why they did A is:
1. There's the "ooh, shiny" effect that makes donors to the project know that their money went to what the grant applications said it was for.
2. The people who put it together probably believe (with good reason) that they might have expertise in fitting the maps together, and the goal of the project was more to make use of that expertise to make things more coherent than it was to simply put the maps online.
3. The maps are almost definitely available in their library to those who want them. They may even already have simple digital scans of the book available since it's public domain.

about 10 months ago
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James Dyson: We Should Pay Students To Study Engineering

dkleinsc Re:No, never! (321 comments)

Well, you're right that it would be bad for you personally: Supply and demand means that scarcity of qualified engineers raises the price (a.k.a. your income) of engineering services, whereas a surplus of qualified engineers lowers the price.

That doesn't mean that all immigrants are bad for you: Immigrants engaged in any other profession increase economic activity overall, which increases demand for all sorts of things, which may well increase demand for engineers.

about 10 months ago
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Senator Makes NASA Complete $350 Million Testing Tower That It Will Never Use

dkleinsc Re:One senator can't do this alone ... (342 comments)

but a lone senator can't keep a program funded

Sure he can. Here's how: Put a hold on all legislation going through his committee. Any senator can do this, and the effect is to gum up the works so much that the rest of the Senate can either do as the one senator asks, or not be able to engage in any legislative activity at all that relates to whatever committee he's on. The other senators will likely decide that it's easier to fund his pork project than to deal with the hold.

about 10 months ago
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Senator Makes NASA Complete $350 Million Testing Tower That It Will Never Use

dkleinsc Re:Duh - help his state out (342 comments)

If he gave money to the poor, who would it trickle down to?

My view of trickle-down economics is that it's better described as tinkle-down economics: It's just dandy for those who are on top and don't care about anyone else, but the rest of us just get pissed on.

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Linux Desktop Users More Pragmatic Now Or Is It Inertia?

dkleinsc Re:Classic Desktop (503 comments)

Is there a new rule that desktops have to look the same as tablets now? Why wasn't I consulted?

That does in fact seem to be all the rage, for reasons that I have yet to figure out, beyond people looking at tablets and going "Ooh, shiny!"

about 10 months ago
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Confessions Of an Ex-TSA Agent: Secrets Of the I.O. Room

dkleinsc Re:Greetings from your new foe.... (393 comments)

You apparently failed to read the last paragraph: GP blames both Bush and Obama for the TSA, which I think is fair.

I react somewhat differently as to what should be done with them, because I think George W Bush and Dick Cheney should be in roughly the same situation as the defendants at Nuremberg for their crimes against humanity and crimes against the peace - I want them to experience a humiliating trial in which the entire world sees exactly who these guys were and what they did, and then send them to the firing squad.

about 10 months ago

Submissions

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EU Charging Microsoft for Violating Anti-Trust Agreement

dkleinsc dkleinsc writes  |  more than 2 years ago

dkleinsc (563838) writes "Three years ago, Microsoft came to an agreement with EU regulators that required them to provide users with a choice of web browsers. Last July, they found Microsoft in breach of that agreement. Today, they announced that this will result in charges, potentially resulting in fines as large as $7 billion.

Coverage: CNBC, New York Times, Computer World"

Link to Original Source
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Profile of a Real-life Jedi Academy

dkleinsc dkleinsc writes  |  more than 2 years ago

dkleinsc (563838) writes "The NYTimes ran a profile of the New York Jedi Club, an organization dedicated to teaching the ways of the Force. Jedi Grandmaster Flynn Michael, a sound engineer and (by his own proclamation) an "over-the-top geek", connected the ideas of the Jedi with dance, martial arts, sword-fighting and Tibetan Buddhism to form the curriculum."
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Artificial human brains 10 years away

dkleinsc dkleinsc writes  |  more than 5 years ago

dkleinsc (563838) writes "The BBC is running a story on a remarkable announcement by Henry Markram, head of the Blue Brain Project. He predicts that the electronic equivalent of human brains will be available in about 10 years. I'm thinking of getting one when they come out, since I can barely remember what I groceries I planned to buy this week, but right now all the prototypes can do is say 'What?' and 'Where's the tea?'."
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NSA Email Surveillance Pervasive and Ongoing

dkleinsc dkleinsc writes  |  more than 5 years ago

dkleinsc (563838) writes "The NY Times has a piece about Congressman Rush Holt's (D-NJ) and others' efforts to curb the NSA efforts to read email and Internet traffic. Some idea of the general tone:

Since April, when it was disclosed that the intercepts of some private communications of Americans went beyond legal limits in late 2008 and early 2009, several Congressional committees have been investigating. Those inquiries have led to concerns in Congress about the agency's ability to collect and read domestic e-mail messages of Americans on a widespread basis, officials said. Supporting that conclusion is the account of a former N.S.A. analyst who, in a series of interviews, described being trained in 2005 for a program in which the agency routinely examined large volumes of Americans' e-mail messages without court warrants. Two intelligence officials confirmed that the program was still in operation.

"

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