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Lego NXT Bot Beats Rubik's Cube Record

eison Re:Question (50 comments)

It's shutting off the camera. Switching camera on/off has a slight visual delay.

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Do I Give IT a Login On Our Dept. Server?

eison Take your personal server home (1307 comments)

At the large company I worked for, hooking up personal computers to the network was a terminable offense. So no, you don't give them a login - you don't set this up at all.

The chief reason appeared to be fear of viruses and hackers, but there are many, many more. The hacker front can be a bit obscure: What if your CEO read the article about RSA getting hacked by an excel file with an embedded flash object, and the CIO assures the board that all computers will have flash removed and tasks IT with identifying and removing flash everywhere? How are they going to look having to explain 'well, we got everything, except for the personal computers that we don't have access to'?

Lets say people start relying on the service you are providing with a personal computer under your desk. What if it goes down? Helpdesk will get called, and need to know what to tell the caller so they don't appear incompetent, and need to be able to address the problem. What if IT is required to certify that all of their computers have X patch applied as part of a compliance audit for certification? What if a corporate policy goes out that no computer can run unecnrypted ftp regardless of port # they run it on? What if your company is obligated to ensure that terminated employees can't log in to servers? What if a lawsuit is served and your company is required to provide copies of all records pertaining to meetings with client xyz, and your calendar server has meeting info on it but your IT department doesn't even know it exists? None of these things are unreasonable, but none of them can be done easily if you're allowed to set up whatever box you want doing whatever.

Sure, it makes your job harder if you have to go through official channels to get the things you need to get your job done. But your company needs to be able to get their job done too, and a bunch of random whatever-somebody-set-up-under-their-desk systems makes that really hard.

more than 3 years ago

Tcl Announces NaTcl: Native Client Tcl

eison I'm Torn (124 comments)

I miss doing web work with Tcl, but I don't want to support yet another does-this-client-support-this testing and special casing nightmare.

more than 3 years ago

Consumers Buy Less Tech Stuff, Keep It Longer

eison Re:You have to keep buying (507 comments)

We had a very different system in the US.
Specifically, banks invented a whole ton of things that don't work like that.

Example: "Interest only" loan (you pay 0 principle for say 5 years, at the end of 5 years you still owe everything and your loan expires. Sounds terrible, but if you think the house will appreciate significantly, in five years you will owe X but it will be worth X * 1.5 - boom you now have a 25% down payment automagically when you refi the next loan. The payment can be a fair bit smaller each month if you aren't factoring in "eventually pay the darned thing off".

Fails miserably if the house goes down or even stays about the same and you can't refi. So people 'walked away' from the house - just quit paying, moved out when the bank made enough fuss. Technically they can still owe money, but if they have no money, and lots of people are doing it, who's to collect what?

They also did stunts like short-term adjustable rate mortgages- give you a introductory rate for a while (a few years, a few months, many variations) to get the initial payment down, bump it up hugely when the time is up. You have probably seen something like this with credit cards, now imagine the same introductory teaser offers but on a half a million dollar house. Sure, if you can make the payment for 30 years you keep the house - but the payment doubles or triples after a little while, and how can you keep paying it?

Finally, even with normal loans, people would participate in taking out way more loan than they could afford on the idea that they will make more money later. Banks were happy to cooperate, encourage, even help them lie about their income, sometimes even lie for them with outright fraud, because the bank was paid only for closing the loan and immediately flipped it on to an investor (often quasi-government institutions Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) who would divvy the loan up and resell it in packaged slices to other investors. So the person making the initial loan wasn't directly on the hook for any extra risk they took on, unless a court could prove outright fraud occurred. Encourages people to play fast and loose with any rules that might be in place because they judge their personal risk to be very very low, and if somebody else takes on extra risk, well, heck, "Buyer beware" and "sucker born every minute" etc.

more than 3 years ago

The Death of BCC

eison Nope (366 comments)

BCC was killed by spam filters, not facebook.

more than 3 years ago

Nokia Gives Some Hints On the Future of Qt

eison Re:This is probably great news for Qt (329 comments)

You know, Netflix's silverlight player runs great on my Mac. I actually prefer it to Hulu's Flash player, because it can maintain full screen on a second monitor, which is a feature they added after complaints in forums. The Flash player got the same complaints, but no fix. Flash users have to hex edit their dll for that feature.

I was worried about suboptimal multi platform support, but in this one useful-to-me-example, I haven't seen it. Have you seen other features where it's a problem?

more than 3 years ago

The Dirty Little Secrets of Search

eison Bing (154 comments)

I see they are currently #1 on bing for Comforters and #4 for dresses. I wonder if it would be possible for the search engines share data on who is cheating?

I'm actually really surprised by the article, that it took so few sites to affect results and that such obviously off-topic links still helped. I thought the algorithms were already smarter than that.

more than 3 years ago

Retailers Dread Phone-Wielding Shoppers

eison Re:So, the system works? (725 comments)

The chains don't have a good supply either. You can find book #4 and #7 in a popular series, and anything else they will be happy to special order for you. But if I'm going to be ordering and waiting for things, why shouldn't I just do it myself online and save some money and avoid having to drive back to the store?

more than 4 years ago

Spring Dynamic Modules In Action

eison What am I missing? (63 comments)

From the article summary, this is a *500* page book on the topic of using an app framework with a packaging system.
How can that topic take 500 pages? It sounds like it should be a 2 page FAQ? What does a packaging system change so much that it needs 498 more pages?

more than 4 years ago

Larry Ellison Rips HP Board a New One

eison Re:Yes (326 comments)

I'm pretty sure their HR department has a zero tolerance policy on stealing from the company. How much money do I have to be worth before the rules don't apply to me anymore? Do you really think it's only unacceptable to steal if I'm on the bottom half of the org chart?

more than 4 years ago

Just One Out of 16 Hybrids Pays Back In Gas Savings

eison Re:UK gasoline (petrol) currently approx $6.60 (762 comments)

My 5.7L V8 gets 23 mpg average in daily driving. I figure that's good enough that I don't need to trade it in over green guilt for some lawnmower that might get 5mpg better. Further improvement gets real diminishing returns, cars are only driven so much each year. See for example http://green.autoblog.com/2009/07/23/greenlings-where-are-the-most-important-mpg-increases-at-the-u/

more than 4 years ago

Sifting Authorities From Celebrities On Twitter

eison Re:Twitter Twaddle (86 comments)

Do you really want them to teach you 140 characters at a time?
Aren't web pages (blogs, RSS feeds, wikis, forums) a better way to actually convey information?

more than 4 years ago

Servers Ahoy — Startup To Build Floating Data Centers

eison Why? (219 comments)

Ships aren't cheap, and marine environments are rather hostile (salt, water), and data centers can already be reasonably mobile by putting it in a shipping container and moving that shipping container somewhere... so what need is this filling?

more than 4 years ago

iOS Update May Tackle iPhone 4's Antenna Problems

eison How? (282 comments)

How could a software update fix a hardware problem with the antenna? Isn't basic physics involved?

I would genuinely like to know. Plenty of people here (who aren't me unfortunately) know how antennas work, anything that could be done without changing the hardware involved?

more than 4 years ago

Security For Open Source Web Projects?

eison Web game security 101 (105 comments)

1) First, you have to protect your users. I'd say there are three things to worry about here:
  - SQL Injection. "Little Bobby Tables". This one is easy - use bind variables for all sql, and don't -ever- have dynamically interpreted sql with user inputs.
  - Cross Site Scripting ("XSS"). This one is harder. If you ever display something to one user that could have been entered by another user, user b can own user a with some html. It's very hard to check for bad html because it can be disguised in various ways. A whitelist filter of allowed html is safer than a blacklist, but you still have to manage to consistenly scrub input.
  - The fact that passwords are essentially inadequate, but it's hard and/or expensive to come up with anything better. So force decent passwords, remind your users not to give them to their friends, and anticipate there will be some level of "my angry ex boyfriend deleted all my stuff" support requests so history logs of important actions and the ability to roll stuff back will be useful.
  - There *are* more types of things that can be done ("clickjacking", "sidejacking", dns poisoning) but I think the above cover most problems you really need to plan on.

2) Next, you have to protect your game.
  - Malicious users. It's particularly easy to be a malicious user with HTML - the web app provides a nice form variable "itemid=12", I can change it to "itemid=1", poof I have your super wizard staff. You can't trust your users, ever, so write your app so that impossible things aren't permitted.
  - Bots - if there is any instance where user activity is rewarded, somebody will find a way to automate it. It's a problem from a purely technical server load perspective, and it's also a problem from an upsetting good users viewpoint. Good luck here.

more than 4 years ago

How To Get a Game-Obsessed Teenager Into Coding?

eison Present a surmountable task (704 comments)

What worked for me was my dad gave me a copy of Zork and a copy of Quick Basic.
My thought process went:
"This is fun, and doesn't seem so hard I can't even imagine where to start."

If text adventures hold insufficient appeal, some more modern versions of surmountable tasks are:
WoW mods
Neverwinter Nights module
Get the kid hooked on Eve and then make him learn VB to build profit & loss spreadsheets in Excel

more than 4 years ago

Busting, and Fixing, Frame Busting

eison Re:Same Origin Policy (111 comments)

Nope. Jquery isn't magic, it still follows the same rules under the hood, it is still using xmlhttprequest. The exception to the same origin policy for javascript code is you can load .js files from wherever, so the way around it is jsonp. See for example http://ecmanaut.blogspot.com/2006/01/jsonp-why-how.html

more than 4 years ago

Judge Orders Gizmodo Search Warrant Unsealed

eison Re:Priorities (526 comments)

Well, in the anecdote game, my car was stolen. When it was recovered beat up and broken and abandoned out of gas on the side of the road, the cops didn't even bother to check for prints. They advised me to feel lucky I got it back and then went back about their business.
I get the general impression that your positive experience is the exception, not the rule.

more than 4 years ago

Gulf Gusher Worst Case Scenario

eison Horrible article (799 comments)

This article is not 'reporting' and should not be presented as 'news', not even news for nerds, stuff that matters.

There are some very interesting details, things that might perhaps be facts, but after presenting a string of them they are always followed with utterly unsubstantiated wild ass guesses that claim to be absolute facts and firmly grounded in expert opinion etc etc. While the Wild Ass Guesses may actually be true, they aren't facts, and presenting them as facts makes it impossible to believe any of the other information presented. At the end of the article all of this much vaunted expertise that the guesses are based on turns out to be this guy is some random programmer with a pond in his back yard.

This topic definitely needs some real reporting, but this sort hysterical speculation (includes quoting Revelations and speculating on this being an "Earth Extinction" event under the general premise of "they said this couldn't happen but it did so this other thing that also can't happen is obviously worth speculating about now") is downright irresponsible. Even if the premise that the news is massively underreporting the size of the spill is true, this is not the way to correct it.

more than 4 years ago


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