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What 2D GUI Foundation Do You Use?

ericferris OpenLaszlo (331 comments)

If the OP is looking for a Web-based GUI, then consider OpenLaszlo (http://www.openlaszlo.org/).

about 4 years ago
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Hard-to-Read Fonts Improve Learning

ericferris Re:Maybe they're misinterpreting the results (175 comments)

I think you are up on to something here. The conclusions are based on the assumption that Arial is the easier to read font.

Well, it's bunk. Arial sucks dead rabbit eyes. It is a poor derivative of the universally derided Helvetica, itself designed only for short signs and since there overabused. Arial is NOT easy to read. Capital i and lowercase L look the same (lI), not to mention a few other glyphs.

Bodoni is much easier to read. It has been selected by a few companies (IBM notably) as the official communication font because it was shown as... wait for it... easier to read than many others.

So Bodoni _is_ considered by many as one of the most readable fonts. This invalidates the whole premises of the conclusion.

more than 4 years ago
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Re-Purposing the Netherlands' Dike System For Power Generation

ericferris Re:Bad efficiency, bad idea (132 comments)

Believe me, the next guy who invents a better turbine is going to make a name for himself. It's not like nobody is looking for improvements. It's just that the physics is tough.

You can look online for "ceramic turbine" and "diamond coating" to get an idea of the current state of material science.

more than 4 years ago
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Re-Purposing the Netherlands' Dike System For Power Generation

ericferris Bad efficiency, bad idea (132 comments)

Tidal power plants are not new. See La Rance in France, an old project that stayed experimental because of numerous problems.

Basically, you get a very low efficiency because you have to generate power with low-pressure water due tu a small height difference; Also, salt water is not easy on turbines. This means you have a sizable investment and high maintenance costs that have to be amortized on a pitiful amount of power. A bad idea.

This is a bounty for whoever sold this pie-in-the-sky idea to the Dutch. For every one else, a disaster. It'll end up with the taxpayers sponging off the red ink, as usual.

more than 4 years ago
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Huge Phishing Attack On Emissions Trade In Europe

ericferris Even the article photo is a scam! (114 comments)

The photo illustrating the article has a caption saying "Trading in CO2 emissions allowances has been hampered in several European countries as a result of a phishing scam." The image shows cooling towers that reject nothing but water vapor. Unfortunately, 99% or the population will conclude that cooling towers reject horrible, polluting CO2.

Scamminess seems highly contagious. Or maybe it's the natural state of most journalists these days.

more than 4 years ago
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Company Trains the Autistic To Test Software

ericferris Re:I see it coming... (419 comments)

Very true. A non-profit cannot afford to have a deficit because they are forbidden to accumulate the profits necessary to withstand bad quarters. The "no-profit" requirement also sometimes leads to poor management, if not irresponsible waste. Literally, since there is no profit and no shareholders, nobody is responsible for avoiding waste. This becomes a problem in some large institutions. For example, a very famous Pennsylvania-based charity running an orphanage has repeatedly been accused of wasting donors money because of their non-profit management structure, at a time when there is record poverty in the country.

So finding income sources and assuring the continuity of the institution is not a small matter for a non-profit.

about 5 years ago
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What the iPod Tells Us About the World Economy

ericferris Then why does China has a huge trade surplus? (380 comments)

I have doubts about the article's numbers. If that was true, how could China have a huge trade surplus? If the article was correct, all of the export gains would be spent on IP fees to non-Chinese companies, and would reduce their trade surplus. That's not what we observe.

So, while it's important to have a sound R&D and to have plenty of licenses ready to sell for lots of product, this does not replace a good manufacturing basis.

about 5 years ago
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Collaborative Software For Pair Programming?

ericferris Re:Jazz/Rational Team Concert (302 comments)

I second that. You can track work items, check in code and view the changes made by your team members, and IM/email them, among others. And it's OSS.

more than 5 years ago
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America's Army 3 Has Rough Launch, Development Team Canned

ericferris Re:Unfortunately, this sounds typical (150 comments)

I've noticed a pattern in a lot of talent-based industries. On a small scale, or with an upstart CEO you can have talent-driven companies. But, as soon as they hit a critical mass, the bureaucracy becomes the dominate force and turns the talent into powerless labor.

This is very true. It even extends beyond the corporate world into all kind of organizations because it deeply relates to human nature.

It is so prevalent that it has been named "the Iron Law of Bureaucracy". This law states that any organization above a certain size will be taken over by people who use the organization to advance their career instead of contributing to the organization's goals.

This is why you want to keep organizations competing with others so that the rotten ones can be replaced with healthy competitors. When organizations don't have competition (such as monopolies or government), the Iron Law reigns supreme, unchecked and unbound.

more than 5 years ago
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First Floating Wind Turbine Buoyed Off Norway

ericferris Re:Why not (265 comments)

Actually, you don't have to "guard he waste". The MOX process "burns" (transmutes, actually) more plutonium than is generated. It's used in Europe and it allows France to reduce its plutonium stockpile. The remaining mass is about 600 liters (two barrels) of medium radioactivity waste per reactor per year, which can be stored in a warehouse until their decay sufficiently. Google "nuclear fuel reprocessing mox" for much more details.

I am against the idea of burying waste (especially the nuclear kind) becausereprocessing technology will improve and we'll find ways to neutralize today's unprocessable waste.

The nuclear waste problem is a political one, not a technical one. Get the stupid politics out of the way. Solutions already exist.

more than 5 years ago
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US Trustee Asks To Send SCO Into Chapter 7

ericferris Re:Liquify what? (259 comments)

Are we talking about Darl McBride here? Then it won't work. Remember, Soylent Green is people.The Soylent Green recipe requires protein of at least vaguely human origin. I'm afraid McBride doesn't qualify.

more than 5 years ago
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Pentagon Lost Billions, Pennies At a Time

ericferris Most fantastic pile o' loot on the planet (323 comments)

The American taxpayers' dollars are the single most fantastic pile of loot on the planet. It is so big that pilfering it is a full-time job for millions of people. It's like a horde of scavengers around a perpetually gushing cornucopia.

Defense contractors are not even the big time scavengers here. No, the real T-Rexes in this game are the Federal employee unions, believe it or not. A defense contract comes and goes, and is generally audited. A union benefit is forever.

Disclaimer: I have nothing personally against unions, contractors or T-Rexes.

more than 5 years ago
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Cablevision To Offer 101 Mbps Down, No Caps

ericferris Re:Great for botnets (375 comments)

Hey, stop giving away my business plans!

more than 5 years ago
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Cablevision To Offer 101 Mbps Down, No Caps

ericferris Re:Great for botnets (375 comments)

A good point. But I also could see the Ethernet port, an old-fashioned card with two LEDs for TX and RX (yes, old machine). And both were blinking furiously.

Otherwise, yes, you are right, the activity light of some cable modems is blinking simply when there is some traffic on the local segment, not necessary from or to the attached machine.

Sorry I wasn't more specific.

The concern is that many cable companies don't have even a minimal firewall in their cable modems. This changes every unaware consumer's PC into a potential zombie.

more than 5 years ago
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Cablevision To Offer 101 Mbps Down, No Caps

ericferris Great for botnets (375 comments)

The last Cablevision subscriber I saw was a friend who had a Windows machine plugged in directly into the small cable modem, with a world-routable IP address. The machine was idle and the modem was blinking constantly during the whole time I was there, without any one logged it. Needless to say, my friend complained his machine was "starting to get slow". Translation: the machine was pwnd.

I shudder at the thought of having botnets take hold of vulneratble machines sitting on 100 Mbit/s pipes.

more than 5 years ago
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Paper Companies' Windfall of Unintended Consequences

ericferris Gaming the system (284 comments)

Gaming the laws is as old as mankind. How about NOT passing laws that haven't gone through the same level of cursory inspection that is routinely given to newspaper editorials?

If a law is badly written, it will be abused.

The more complex a system is, the worse the abuse possibilities. That's true for an OS as well as a legal system. That's why all tax laws and subsidies regulations should have an expiration date, or not be passed altogether.

more than 5 years ago
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Powerful Sonar Causes Deafness In Dolphins

ericferris Re:Dolphin stranding in ancient Greece (323 comments)

If the drummer's noise is your hypothetic cause then you need to be consistent. To be consistent, you should blame boom boxes in the Navy ships' mess, not sonar.

See, outlandish hypothesis are OK, provided you are consistent with them. Remember: a good hypothesis supplies a theory which explains the observed facts, predicts more facts yet to be observed, and can be falsified by an experiment. Otherwise it's not science, it's slashdot.

more than 5 years ago
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Powerful Sonar Causes Deafness In Dolphins

ericferris Re:Dolphin stranding in ancient Greece (323 comments)

> Fag. Better?

Thank you for restauring cosmic equilibrium. This is now an average Slashdot discussion. :-)

And you are absolutely right, I am a history buff.

You are also right about multiple causation and the fact that a known cause A for a given observation doesn't preclude the existence of an unknown cause B.

Here, scientific prudence recommends that we correlate an observation with historical occurrences before we attribute it to a new factor. If there was any obvious inner ear damage in stranded mammals, the obvious cause would be sonar. To the best of my knowledge, no such damage was found in stranded mammals. This seems to go against the man-made sound explanation.

On the other hand, some dolphin autopsies showed evidence of bacterial infection of nervous tissue. Now that is an interesting finding. I also read an interesting hypothesis about cerebral amoeba infection. I'd like to see these plausible causes eliminated before going after a less-than-obvious possible cause. Occam's razor and all that.

more than 5 years ago
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Powerful Sonar Causes Deafness In Dolphins

ericferris Re:Dolphin stranding in ancient Greece (323 comments)

I am disappointed. By now, my bringing up of the ancient Greeks should have degenerated into a discussion about homosexuality and why the average slashdotter is a bloody queer. Must be slow today.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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ericferris ericferris writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ericferris writes "The SCADA system is used to control power plants, refineries, factories, and an awful lot of vital infrastructure. Researchers from security company Neutralbit have revealed that the SCADA system has remotely exploitable flaws. Namely, SCADA relies on Microsoft OPC for communication, and vulnerabilities have been found in OPC.

Does this mean that script kiddies will soon be able to take down the local power plant in order to get school cancelled?"

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