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Why Competing For Tenure Is Like Trying To Become a Drug Lord

esme Re:Overstating their case (168 comments)

Though this is because the only people who get tenure-track jobs in the first place are those who've already gotten a PhD., and so by definition have the self-control to resist the urge to kill the back-stabbing bastards who deserve it.

Reminds me of the shooting at SDSU in 1996 -- I knew several grad students who were stunned that a master's student had gunned down his committee. Not that he's shot them (which they could sympathize with), but that he'd done it over a master's degree.


about 10 months ago

Can a Court Order You To Delete a Facebook Account?

esme Re:Stupid question .. (761 comments)

the court can take away your life, proprty, freedom of movement & association, right to vote, etc. there is no reason speech related to the crime committed should be any different.

about 2 years ago

Will Speed Limits Inhibit Autonomous Car Adoption?

esme What the rich hate even more? Wasting time. (650 comments)

Except for the rare drive for fun, driving is mostly just wasted time. So I expect self-driving cars to mostly be attractive to people rich enough to buy luxury cars who would rather be reading, checking email, etc. while driving.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Finding an IT Job Without a Computer-Oriented Undergraduate Degree?

esme Re:Start small (504 comments)

I think all skilled jobs are hard to get unless you have connections or experience. From the other side, I can say that hiring someone is always a crapshoot, so unless someone has one of those things, it's hard to trust that they'll be any good, no matter what they tell you.

Though one thing I will say about being a programmer with an English degree is that I used the skills I learned in undergrad (critical thinking, close analysis, communication) all the time. I just laughed every time I heard a CS grad say all the stuff they learned had nothing to do with the actual programming we were doing.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Finding an IT Job Without a Computer-Oriented Undergraduate Degree?

esme Start small (504 comments)

I graduated with an even less practical degree (English/Creative Writing), and also didn't get into grad school. I also wasn't able to find a job in publishing or anything else related to my degree. I had a lot of computer skills (mostly sysadmin) and wanted to find a job using them, and also had no luck with that.

This was more than a decade ago, but I think I'd still recommend the same strategy I went down to a temp agency, and filled out all the skills inventories. I took the typing test, etc. And I got a job answering phones, typing letters, working weekends, etc. This was at a small company (15 employees), and I eventually got promoted when the "computer guy" quit. This gave me some decent computer-related experience to put on my resume, and got me taken seriously when I applied for jobs.

My temp job wasn't fun. There was a lot of crap work and overtime. But it got me started, and my next job was much better.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Statistical Analysis Packages For Libraries?

esme A suggestion... (146 comments)

I suggest you post your question to the code4lib mailing list. It's going to get you much more informed and practical advice. You might even find some people who already have a good workflow who will share their tools.


more than 2 years ago

Investors Campaign To Oust Murdochs From News Corp

esme Re:Tech news? (150 comments)

And this matters? No it is News for Nerds this is News for bankers and stock brokers.
Heck it is even tagged Business!

yes, a possible change in the leadership of a company that is very influential in politics, news and entertainment matters -- at least to me, and probably most nerds who care about government or entertainment, which is probably ~100%.

Slashdot is dead.

/me checks poster's id

cry me a river, kid. people have been complaining about /. going downhill since forever. if you don't like it, quit bitching and read something else.


more than 2 years ago

OpenStack Spun Out From Rackspace Control

esme this is great news (33 comments)

i've just started working with openstack recently, and my university is adopting it in a big way. so it's great to see it get a little independence from rackspace. not they had ever done or said anything that had me worried, but any time a project is controlled by a single vendor (whose interests might diverge from mine at any time), it makes me a little worried. so having that resolved make me even happier about working with open stack.

more than 2 years ago

Mozilla Issues Do-Not-Track Guide For Advertisers

esme This is the FIRST step (74 comments)

What I think a lot of people are missing is that these are the necessary first steps in the process of stopping tracking:

1. Provide technical infrastructure for users to express their prefs.
2. Provide advertisers the tools to see those prefs, how to handle them, etc.
3. A few ethical advertisers implement those tools and demonstrate that it's feasible.
4. Make it illegal to ignore the prefs.
5. FTC comes down like a ton of bricks on anybody who tracks people who opted out.

about 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: CS Degree Without Gen-Ed Requirements?

esme In Defense of the Liberal Arts (913 comments)

While these fields are useful and perhaps enriching, they will not contribute to making me better at my job.

That's where you're wrong. Speaking as a developer with a BA in English, I can tell you that your English, History, and Art classes will make you better at your job. They will make you better able to relate to people outside IT fields, better able to reason and argue logically, and give you a broader perspective of your (and your code's) context.

I can't tell you how many CS graduates I've seen at my workplace, lamenting how worthless their CS classes were because the tools we work with, and the problems we're trying to solve, bear no resemblance to their coursework. I've never heard the same from a liberal arts graduate, because everybody knows the point of a liberal education is to make you able to think critically, and give you the foundation you need to learn anything you need to learn later in life.

more than 3 years ago

NASA Rejoins Space Race With Manned Deep Space Craft

esme 10x safer? (179 comments)

So they think this will only kill 1.4 people?

more than 3 years ago

Why Has Blu-ray Failed To Catch Hold?

esme Dead End (1162 comments)

Why would you buy into a format like Blu-Ray when it's such an obvious technological dead-end? When DVDs came out, they were so much better than VHS, that people pretty much switched over when the price got low enough for them. But with the Blu-Ray, the advantages are much subtler, you really need HDTV (which already excludes a big chunk of the market), and DVD quality is good enough. And with the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray format war, I think many people who might have adopted Blu-Ray sat on the sidelines waiting for that to be settled. By the time Blu-Ray finally emerged victorious, it seemed pretty clear that it was already obsolete.

Sure, there are a lot of problems with online video services right now, and the quality is not as good as Blu-Ray. But physical media is obviously going to be replaced by online video in the near future, and the quality and selection problems will work themselves out with scale. So unless you're not bothered buying into something only to throw it out in a year or two, I can't imagine adopting Blu-Ray now (and if that applies to you, you've probably already done so).

more than 3 years ago

Dropbox Authentication: Insecure By Design

esme Not what I think of... (168 comments)

This isn't what I think of when I think of "insecure by design". This term is usually applied to things like DRM, where it would be impossible, or very very difficult, to fix, and would require completely redesigning how the access control system works.

In this case, dropbox writes a sqlite db after authenticating, and then doesn't check to make sure that it's valid later on. So you can alter the db file to access other people's accounts without having to re-authenticate.

It would be trivial for dropbox to update their app to at least check that the sqlite db is internally-consistent, and require re-auth if not. So there is no giant design issue preventing them from fixing this.

more than 3 years ago

Tolkien Estate Says No Historical Fiction For JRR

esme Re:do-not-meddle-in-the-affairs-of-greedy-offsprin (337 comments)

Why? Because copyright is a bargain. We temporarily give up our right to copy an artist's work in exchange for that work eventually going into the public domain (and not just being squirreled away unread in an attic somewhere).

In the last generation, copyright holders have systematically broken this bargain, extending copyright terms to insane lengths, expanding copyright scope, stifling fair use, etc. Using the threat of legal harassment to deter new writers from writing about long-dead public figures is just another in a long chain of abuse of wealth, power and a broken copyright regime.


more than 3 years ago

USCG Sues Copyright Defense Lawyer

esme Re:Ok, someone who understands this stuff... (360 comments)

I doubt very much they are trying to argue that he's doing too good a job of defending people. My guess is that they are going after him for providing legal advice to people where he's lot licensed, providing legal advice to people he's never talked to, or some similar rule that's setup to prevent lawyers from ripping off clients. The amount of money they are asking for is probably justified as recouping their expenses that came from his "malpractice".

I don't know the details of the case, or have any idea if he's technically in violation of some rule or not. I do know that retail-packaged legal advice (like make-your-own-will computer software) sometimes runs into problems in some jurisdictions, so it's not that big of a stretch to think this might stick.

more than 3 years ago

Cooks Source Magazine Apologizes — Sort Of

esme Re:Have a little pity on the magazine (290 comments)

You are making a false equivalence between different kinds of copyright violations. Private individuals downloading copyrighted music for non-commercial use is against copyright law. But it doesn't deprive musicians of much (if any) income, since they make most of their income from performance and merchandise sales anyway. But when a magazine publishes articles from a writer without attribution, they are profiting off the writer's work and depriving her of the income (since selling articles to magazines for publication is how a lot of writers earn their living).

Granted, this magazine was a shoestring operation, not some big multinational conglomerate that had a legal team to cover all the ins-and-outs of copyright law. If they had legal advice or a decent understanding of copyright law, they obviously wouldn't have done this. But that's just the thing: music companies are suing private individuals who accidentally shared a few songs, and getting hundreds of thousands of dollars of damages. Their ignorance of copyright law doesn't get them out of jail free.

And just to be clear, I think copyright law should be abolished, and replaced with a requirement for attribution. I think downloading music and movies is fine, and artists should find a new way to make a living, because charging for copies is untenable now. But I think artists, writers, etc. should get credit for their work. So I think it would be fine to take a book, change the last paragraph because you don't like the original ending, and publish it, as long as you make it clear that it's a derivative work. So you might not agree with my opinion, but it's perfectly consistent to be for non-commercial downloading, but also against magazines ripping off writers.

I am also sick of the "slashdot thinks X and slashdot thinks Y, so slashdot is a bunch of hypocrites" line of reasoning that crops up on almost every copyright story. slashdot is made up of hundreds of thousands of people. Maybe the people who are all for downloading are mostly different from the people are against ripping off writers. Or maybe most people think non-commercial downloading is OK, but ripping off a writer for commercial gain isn't. Who knows? If you want to accuse a person of hypocrisy, go ahead. But slashdot isn't a coherent entity to have an argument with, and it doesn't have to have a consistent opinion on anything.


more than 3 years ago

Time To Rethink the School Desk?

esme Re:Return on Investment (405 comments)

So instead of getting into trouble in the afternoons, kids would get into trouble in the morning, and then skip school, too. I think we should just make the school day to 9-5, and use the extra time to add back the art, music, exercise, etc. that's been cut to make more time for test prep. Of course, that would cost real money, so it's not going to happen any time soon...

more than 3 years ago

Pay Or Else, News Site Threatens

esme Re:How Much? (549 comments)

Wow, I didn't even get that far. I only got as far as the "Unable to connect. Firefox can't establish a connection to the server at" So I bet I only owe them half as much.

more than 3 years ago

All Your Stonehenge Photos Are Belong To England

esme Re:In *England* (347 comments)

Yes, and assuming England is still located in the UK (I haven't been over for a few years, and I understand there have been some changes recently...), then saying they manage sites in the UK is correct, if inexact.

Granted, your average American doesn't know the relationships between England, Wales, Scotland, Britain, Northern Ireland and the UK. But I would think you could save your snark for when they actually say something wrong, which is often enough.

more than 3 years ago

All Your Stonehenge Photos Are Belong To England

esme Re:It's really simple, copyright expires. (347 comments)

I could understand if English Heritage wanted to instate a new policy that required permits for commercial photography. They really want to improve the tourist facilities at the site, and have had trouble getting the money to do so. I think they'd have a very hard time of it, since Stonehenge is clearly visible from public roads and the air. So unless they want to build a giant dome over it, they really couldn't control access.

But trying to retroactively apply that policy to photos taken before the policy was in place is stupid.

more than 3 years ago



Obama admin opposing copyright exception for blind

esme esme writes  |  more than 5 years ago

esme (17526) writes "Over at Boing Boing, there's a scoop on the Obama administration joining with other western countries to block a treaty that would create international standards for copyright exceptions for the blind and others who need technology to read. Activists at the WIPO negotiations are trying to get the word out that lobbying from publishers has caused the US, Canada, the EU, Australia, New Zealand, the Vatican and Norway to oppose the treaty."
Link to Original Source

esme esme writes  |  more than 7 years ago

esme (17526) writes "There's a forum thread over at doom9 where user arnezami has posted the keys needed to decrypt all HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs. This post has details of the strategy he used for getting the keys, though he pointedly doesn't say which player he used."


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