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Comments

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Ask Slashdot: Is Running Mission-Critical Servers Without a Firewall Common?

holophrastic Absolutely it is, and that's ok (345 comments)

You drive your car quite fast on roads with on-coming traffic separated by nothing more than a stripe of paint.

There's no limit to the amount of security that you can add to a network. But in the end, the odds are fairly good that fixing the few problems likely to occur is far simpler and more cost-effective than preventing them in the first place.

Obviously, we're talking about a small business, that isn't subject to large and persistent attacks. And should the day come when it is, that's when increased security can come around.

Regarding the ecommerce side of things, most small companies use ecommerce to receive money. So the worst thing that can happen is that they receive more money. That'll be noticed. Providing they aren't storing credit cards, then there's nothing to lose.

Safety third: first the job needs to actually get done, otherwise there was no point in starting it. second, the job needs to be worth doing, or there was no benefit to having done it. third it needs to be done safely. think of all of the great achievements that came from numbers one and two without any degree of reasonable safety. think the discovery of new worlds, exploration, animals, major construction, and every dangerous job out there. the line of what's considered "safe" moves quite freely to accomodate the other two priorities.

Safety Third.

2 days ago
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Better Living Through Data

holophrastic Hmmm, how much computer use is healthy (38 comments)

just a guess: none. Unless, of course, we're comparing it to other activities like running, cycling, playing with children, sex, and driving the right kind of car. Then it's less than none.

Compared to alcoholic drinking, computer use is very healthy.

3 days ago
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Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

holophrastic Risk vs Reward (547 comments)

It's never been about cost. Even at the early prices, it was "affordable" for a one-off life-changing surgery.

The issue is the same as it's always been. There is risk. There is virtually zero reward. My vision isn't poor enough that I can't go to the bathroom at night. I wear glasses all day every day, minus sleeping, sex, and swimming. Right now, I have zero problems, and a set of light glasses on my face.

Why would I ever risk damage to my eyes -- which I use to earn every dollar of revenue to fund my life -- when I can do nothing and having everything that I plan to have?

It's an easy decision. I don't opt for voluntary surgery. That's the rule.

about a week ago
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Hair-Raising Technique Detects Drugs, Explosives On Human Body

holophrastic Re:400'000 volts (162 comments)

Depends on the humidity.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Unattended Maintenance Windows?

holophrastic Name things that shouldn't be automated. (265 comments)

Consider all of the tasks that you do as a part of your job. Identify which ones should absolutely never be automated -- maybe they're too dangerous, maybe the risk is too great, maybe they're too much fun. I'd bet that upgrading the OS would be pretty well the top of your never-automate-this list.

about three weeks ago
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Hair-Raising Technique Detects Drugs, Explosives On Human Body

holophrastic 400'000 volts (162 comments)

Yeah, um, just, no. Once a decade at the science centre is one thing; weekly in public is something totally different.

I ain't touching that with a ten-foot pole.

about three weeks ago
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By 2045 'The Top Species Will No Longer Be Humans,' and That Could Be a Problem

holophrastic How original (564 comments)

So let me get this straight. Humans are bad because they create computer viruses. . .that apparently the conscious computers can't easily resist. Thanks for re-iterating 100 years of sci-fi non-sense.

I, for one, look forward to living the life of a pet. Like a puppy; safe and happy.

Of course, I may be a wee-little-bit different from most. I guard ants in my house and spiders have my full protection -- but that's because I'm smarter than most humans.

about three weeks ago
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IEEE Spectrum Ranks the Top Programming Languages

holophrastic Most discussed = worst (197 comments)

So if a language is particularly awful, and troublesome to use, or used by students discussing homework exercises, then it'll score high here. Thanks for the useless popularity sketch.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Rapid Development Language To Learn Today?

holophrastic Re:What's wrong with html and javascript? (466 comments)

v5.8.8. So yeah, it winds up suddenly auto-vivifying a few million array elements. You must have gotten lucky that your memory address just happened to look like a negative number.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Rapid Development Language To Learn Today?

holophrastic Re:What's wrong with html and javascript? (466 comments)

Yup, that's what I did too! Now I laugh hysterically at it in hind-sight.

Ok, here's another simple bug that had an unexpected symptom..
my $spi = [5,6];
my $ind = [2];
$spi->[$ind] = 7;

Why might line three take thirty full seconds to execute?

about a month and a half ago
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Chinese-Built Cars Are Coming To the US Next Year

holophrastic Re:The difference is obvious (431 comments)

A bit of a difference though. I'm Canadian as well. Our economy doesn't struggle the way theirs does.

about a month and a half ago
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Chinese-Built Cars Are Coming To the US Next Year

holophrastic The difference is obvious (431 comments)

I can tell the difference quite easily. Americans buying european cars improves european economies. Americans buying chinese cars improves chinese economies. What I can't figure out is what would happen if Americans were to buy american cars. hmmm.

about a month and a half ago
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Starbucks Offers Workers 2 Years of Free College

holophrastic Very neat (169 comments)

I have no intention to take away from the good-will intentions here. What Starbucks is providing is very nice, and very neat. But you just know that it's profitable too right? So much is likely left out. Obviously starbucks isn't paying full price, business relationships are discounted all the time. And obviously the university is offering retail space to starbucks as a result too. In two years, you'll see government agencies giving money to starbucks for this program, especially as retail profits get channeled through this program's obvious expenses and losses, which will again save starbucks some money in the form of taxes. They'll likely also have avenues where they qualify as a charity, or as an educational agency. And since they are funding later-year students (only teasing early-year students) they'll wind up getting employees who plan to finish university, which means they'll get higher-quality employees from the start -- for those four years at least. And parents won't argue with students working more if that's what's paying for the school.

It's a great business tactic in every way.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Rapid Development Language To Learn Today?

holophrastic Re:What's wrong with html and javascript? (466 comments)

Wow, you are incredibly confused. b = {}; doesn't modify b, it re-assigns b. Please learn how variables work. And if you think that "1" and true are different values, then you don't understand what a "value" is.

So you and I are obviously done here. You're either really old, used to bit-registers not complex objects, or you're really young reading text books, or you've navigated the industry by avoiding business-level programming. I've focussed on business-level programming. In this sub-industry, everything you've said simply isn't true. a==b, b==c, would never presume a==c. It's never true in real-world business, so I'd never want it to be true in business programming.

So I'll leave you with this, because it makes one angle very clear. Have you ever used perl? Perl does something interesting in this regard. Printing a reference to a variable (we'll call these objects conversationally here) never attempts to cast anything. It simply prints out the type and memory address. So a = {foo:1,bar:[123]} might be "HASH(32598763)". It actually is the memory address, but it's more than that. Because if you're numerically comparing it to another variable, it'll get cast as a number -- the memory address. In perl, using the value of a reference requires explicitly dereferencing it, making this particular issue quite straight-forward -- especially since casting is done on operators, not on values, which is awesome by the way.

Javascript does some of the same stuff, but conceals it all. Like most languages, lvalues are cast differently than rvalues. But because javascript is designed, primarily, for non-algothimic and non-scientific use, of course [] is 0. There are six versions of nothing, and whether you have nothing once or you have nothing multiple times, you still have nothing. But you've only gone half-way with your last example there. Add a numerical 0, as well as a null value, then the fun really happens. Try "0happy" too. Woah the fun you'll have!

Here's the skinny. I've been using javascript for professional profit for 17 years. I've needed to use === merely four times. Let's ignore, for the moment, how stupid javascript is in many ways, and especially in this crazy-casting way -- because it is crazy-cryptic to anyone who hasn't memorized it all, and there's always one thing that's forgotten. The real question is what would a programmer expect from string == object? Why would a programmer be comparing a string to an object in the first place?

If we're talking about a complete logic error, then I don't really care what a language does when I screw up my entire concept. If it's a convenience service, then as long as the language is consistent then I'm fine with whatever it's going to do.

Pop quiz. What do you think perl does with "5" + "information". The answer may surprise you. Here's a hint, it actually casts "information" to a number because the first three letters match a defined numerical value.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Rapid Development Language To Learn Today?

holophrastic Re:What's wrong with html and javascript? (466 comments)

Well, seeing as how I guarantee that my clients won't need stuff re-written, that I maintain their loyalty for years and sometimes decades at a time, and that I guarantee minor changes forever for free, if that were me I'd have gone bankrupt long ago.

But I certainly agree that my previous reply is consistent with what you describe. Alas, it was one of many replies, each incomplete as a character description of my business.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Rapid Development Language To Learn Today?

holophrastic Re:What's wrong with html and javascript? (466 comments)

var a = {'v':[{'a':1,'b':2},{'a':1,'c':5}],'z':[1,8,4]};

What do you think the value of a is?

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Rapid Development Language To Learn Today?

holophrastic Re:What's wrong with html and javascript? (466 comments)

Like I said elsewhere, I didn't say 20 years. I didn't say linearly. I didn't say only. I didn't say as an adult. Learn to do business math.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Rapid Development Language To Learn Today?

holophrastic Re:What's wrong with html and javascript? (466 comments)

Dude, I'm not 40. I said well over. I own a house, a sprotscar, travel 40 days per year, and am semi-retired at 35. Learn to do business math. You dropped the "well over", you averaged linearly, and you took two decades to mean 20 years. In business, 2 decades can mean as little as 2 years, but usually means at least 12 years. Most people make more money as they grow their business from the age of 14.

At the height of my full-timeness, I was making $150'000. Today, semi-retired, I choose to stop at $100'000 because I'd rather spend the time enjoying my hobbies than making more money to spend on them.

Enjoy your life. I sure won't.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Rapid Development Language To Learn Today?

holophrastic Re:What's wrong with html and javascript? (466 comments)

The bow wasn't an analogy. It was real.

You might have noticed that the two decades began at a very young age, includes a large house, a sportscar, and semi-retirement at age 35.

Why would I choose to write weird branched code that can't be debugged atomically when I can instead write atomic code that branches? I don't use a debugger. I use something called "truth statements". Truth statements don't need to get debugged as a whole; they get debugged individually -- atomically.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Rapid Development Language To Learn Today?

holophrastic Re:What's wrong with html and javascript? (466 comments)

That concept of multitude is completely foreign to a C programmer. It makes them fail every time. You simply cannot introduce a C programmer to Perl and expect them to have any kind of easy time with it. You might as well introduce a cyclist to a horse.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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Why haven't other businesses sparked like IT?

holophrastic holophrastic writes  |  more than 5 years ago

holophrastic (221104) writes "So, when I was young, I was the typical "computer guy" on the block. Be in neighbours, friends, family, family-friends, neighbour's friends, or friend's neighbours, I was often called upon to put together some kind of computer setup. Nothing too professional — I was twelve and this was 16 years ago — but something that worked to run a small home business, or a family, or a small start-up company. No one expected very much, and everyone got well more than they expected. And lo the IT industry began.

So now I'm 28, and I want some things done. I'd like my home to benefit from solar/wind energy. I know nothing of such things. I run a successful business and have no time to figure it out. I'd like to know a neighbourhood young-person who dabbles in such things, and give them a few thousand dollars to use my home as a canvas. I find that no such people exist, or I don't know where to find them.

How come "computer nerds" and "grease monkeys" pervail, and maybe a gardner or two, but no other enthusiasm- or passion-based mini-businesses exist from which I can benefit the way that I helped oh so many people in my youth? Everyone knows a "web-guy", how come I don't know a "solar" guy? Or the many other things that I'd love to have done to my life/home/business by a twelve-year-old with enthusiasm?"
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Vista games for my grandparents

holophrastic holophrastic writes  |  more than 6 years ago

holophrastic writes "So my grandparents are now touching a computer for their very first time! (she's 75, he's 85) They've got a nice and creamy-smooth Vista machine to play with. I want to buy them some games, and I'm looking for some suggestions. Ultimately, duplicate bridge online (acbl.org's Bridge Base Online) is keeping them many hours per day. I've got them learning to type with The Typing of the Dead, and they love it, funny as that is. Any other ideas? I'm thinking that it has to be something with a flat interface that they can easily use, since they've never seen anything before — so that rules out FPS, Sierra quest games, and galactic conquest. Most arcade games are going to be too frustrating for them when they forget which sprite is them, and which sprites are the baddies. I'm thinking the incredible machine, myst, and tetris. But I haven't the foggiest as to where to find Vista versions. Any other ideas? (oh yeah, on-board video/audio/nic, core 2 duo, 1.8GHz, 2Gb, vista ultimate, 24" wide)"

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