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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

istartedi Re:IBM ThinkPad (603 comments)

Made it through deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, too.

Thank-you for your service. Did you ever dust it out? If so, what was it like opening the thing up? I'm concerned about "losing little screws" and/or "something fell out, now HTF does it go back together?".

yesterday
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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

istartedi Re:Microsoft Windows XP (603 comments)

XP on my ThinkPad that was made before IBM sold the division to Lenovo. The machine will be 10 in August. The battery died a few years ago, otherwise the only problem is with the left mouse button which is cracked from use and held with tape. The machine chugs along in some punishing environments--no AC here, and it flakes out sometimes on hot days. I probably need to open it up and blow the dust out. Yes, I'm concerned about such an old hard drive, and back up in various ways.

About $1500, and worth every penny.

yesterday
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Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

istartedi Re:No, followed by "what's a well-regulated militi (1573 comments)

I'm just going by what I know about the military. If the military and/or police revised their standards to allow drugs other than alcohol, then of course civilians should be allowed too.

2 days ago
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Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

istartedi Re:No, followed by "what's a well-regulated militi (1573 comments)

That's what judgement is for. There is no way to avoid judgement, and if the Justices can't tell when scope creep is being used to destroy the Constitution, then we're doomed. It's arguable that we're already there.

2 days ago
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Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

istartedi Not what it used to be (456 comments)

During the housing boom, a friends father was surprised when we reasoned that he was a millionaire. All it took was his house, which was almost paid off (and probably worth north of $600k at the time) and a decent 401k since he was at or near retirement. Easy millionaire. I'd go so far as to say that if you don't expect to become a millionaire, it simply means you've landed on the wrong side of our increasingly bifurcated economy.

2 days ago
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Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs

istartedi Parents responded by... (352 comments)

Parents responded by waving their hands in a brisk right-to-left motion in front of their eyes. "Hey!" They exclaimed, "Why won't these annoying lecturers just go away".

2 days ago
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Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

istartedi No, followed by "what's a well-regulated militia"? (1573 comments)

The judge wants to gut the 2nd, not fix it. What would be a true and proper fix? IMHO, we need to clarify "well regulated militia" as "those people who are fit for military service". IMHO that means it's within the right of the states, even the Feds to determine that some people are unfit (mentally unstable, etc.) and thus deprive them of this right. If it were argued that the State was declaring people unfit for political purposes, that would wind its way through the court just like anything else. There's no escaping the need for actual judgement in a court.

Thus, I think it might be reasonable for the state to compel you to give up your gun if you buy pot for any reason (medical or otherwise). A pot-head is not fit for military service. Your guns or your drugs, not both. We want sanity at the trigger end.

3 days ago
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Snowden Used the Linux Distro Designed For Internet Anonymity

istartedi Re:Having the souce Code does not make it safe (170 comments)

I would assemble the system myself from discrete transistors, except that I can't be sure the NSA didn't drug me, drag me off and hypnotize me.

3 days ago
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The Security of Popular Programming Languages

istartedi SQL and amalgamations (188 comments)

SQL and amalgamations of languages (e.g., JavaScript generated by PHP) not on the list. XSS attacks involve such "mutt" software.

IMHO, the more code the more opportunities to exploit things. Terse languages to the rescue? Write it all in Haskell, Lisp or something. You'll attract talented developers and the attackers will be like... "Oh crap, we have to analyze that???".

No silver bullets of course. Something has to be able to read/write sensitive information at some point. Something has to determine under what conditions that occurs. It's human nature to make those conditions complicated to the point where vulnerabilities occur...

3 days ago
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Anyone Can Buy Google Glass April 15

istartedi Hey look what I bought (167 comments)

"Hey, look what I bought. I used my tax refu--"

And the next thing he knew, he woke up in an alley. His wallet, keys, phone and shoes were missing. For the life of him, he could not figure out why they didn't take his cool new toy.

5 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

istartedi Re:McGuffey's 4th New Eclectic Reader:"The Colonis (731 comments)

He didn't say there would be no women. He said there would be no "ladies". Think "Lady Diana"s. He also said there would be no gentleman--but that doesn't mean everybody would be rude. Remember, this is a 19th century reader. The language is a bit different.

about a week ago
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PC Gaming Alive and Dominant

istartedi Re:There is no time for gaming (245 comments)

our future begins with tomorrow!

According to signs on the wall at several bars I've been to, there will also be free beer.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

istartedi Apocalypse speculator (731 comments)

I'm an Apocalypse speculator. You might think I'd be at the bottom of the list; but we have been in business since ancient times. We're probably in the top 5 oldest professions. The people who run Slashdot are whoring out to something here, so apparently they will do well also.

about a week ago
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Nat Geo Writer: Science Is Running Out of "Great" Things To Discover

istartedi Re:Actually not true (292 comments)

The setting, a lecture hall in the 23rd century. "Years ago they thought there were limitations on these things. There were even proofs that things could not be measured with certainty. It was thought that transmutation would not be economic, and that the light barrier was unsurmountable".

about a week ago
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Heartbleed Coder: Bug In OpenSSL Was an Honest Mistake

istartedi Re:Open source failed (445 comments)

You're likely to get modded Troll; but this really does remind me a bit of Ford vs. Toyota. For years Ford was fixed in peoples minds as the exploding Pinto company, and Toyota was high quality. Now Toyota isn't what it used to be, and Ford is better... but neither is perfect.

If nothing else this is a good argument against monoculture. We have different systems with different bugs, so it's not a total loss. If the market shares were evenly distributed among 10 different vendors, the black-hat task would be even harder, their impact of success that much less.

about a week ago
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Heartbleed Coder: Bug In OpenSSL Was an Honest Mistake

istartedi Re:for a library... (445 comments)

All these higher level virtual machines and interpreters are ultimately written in C

And C runs on top of a processor. Intel FPU bug, anyone? IIRC, there were also some suspicions regarding hardware RNGs possibly being back-doored.

There are no silver-bullets, and a corollary to that is that there isn't just one monster you have to kill.

about a week ago
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Photo Web Site Offers a Wall of Shame For Image Thieves

istartedi Re:Photographers (126 comments)

Does he have an Ivy League degree too? Let's make him Pres... oh... crap.

about a week ago
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Photo Web Site Offers a Wall of Shame For Image Thieves

istartedi One of the oldest semantic games played on /. (126 comments)

I see this old semantic game blooms anew on Slashdot. "It isn't stealing". Fine. It's fraud. Don't worry that your reputation is shot and/or somebody else is trading on your good name. It isn't stealing. Oh... the victim feels much better now.

about a week ago
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Isolated Tribes Die Shortly After We Meet Them

istartedi Re:Consider the GDP (351 comments)

Are we going to train them to write PHP

Improv. GO!

... yes, because there aren't enough qualified people here, get them H1B ASAP.

... Backward tribes already use PHP.

... Many of them can only count to 3, so... oh, no problem. Carry on.

... for FacePaintBook?

OK, that's all I've got. Thanks for the setup.

about two weeks ago
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Mozilla CEO Firestorm Likely Violated California Law

istartedi Re:Can't fire a Nazi? (1111 comments)

It's not like I've never heard of that. You could file a suit; but I don't recommend doing that until you're close to retirement, have the money, and don't care about ever working in The Valley again.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

istartedi hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

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istartedi istartedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Stop Obama's plan to sell FNMA foreclosures to private investors in bulk. These properties should be made available to all regardless of political or social affiliation.

It's understood that putting the properties on the market en masse could have negative impacts due to supply/demand fundemantals.

Here is a suggested course of action that addresses that issue FAIRLY:

1. Charter a corporation to hold, repair, and rent the properties, with the understanding that they will not be sold into the market for a fixed period of time, and thereafter only a fixed percentage per annum may be sold (e.g., 5 years of holding and no more than 5% of holdings per year sold thereafter).

2. The corporation must be publicly traded so that it will be subject to the full transparency required of any other corporation, and so that anyone who wishes may invest, regardless of who they know or donated to.

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The Microsoft Antivirus

istartedi istartedi writes  |  about 12 years ago

This article is a continuation of a thread that played out rather long, and was in danger of being archived before I was done with it.

Ogerman's words appear with emphasis, and mine in regular text.

I'm sorry, but you're way off here. I would consider myself one of the so-called 'zealots' that you refer to. However, my vision is not some imaginary socialist utopia where everybody blindly works for the good of all and is magically rewarded. GPL is a tool to ensure that control of the technology we embrace remains in our hands rather than being controlled primarily by business interests. Retaining control allows us (developers) to operate in a market with few barriers--a purely capitalist market.

That is one of the great myths of the Free Software movement. Copylefting software actually gives developers *less* control not more. How? Because developers no longer have money, and as people on /. love to point out, "he who has the gold makes the rules". So what if Linux is GPL'd? The suits at RedHat and IBM are still going to make most of the decisions about what areas of development get funded. At it's very best, the GPL does nothing to break the grip of the suits. If we get to the point where code under non-copylefted licenses is not available, it will be impossible for anyone to override the status quo, and the people who are most likely to do that are small developers in the garage, not the suits.

OK, lets assume that happens--for example, the Open Source community comes up with a beautifully written office suite that effectively drives all proprietary ones out of the market. How is this bad? All it means is the wheel will never again need re-invented and perhaps finally a true industry standard will emerge. There's still plenty of room for innovation--new features to the existing codebase.. contributed by anyone who pleases. Where is this scenario bad? It's sure as heck a more optimal outcome for thepublic interest. And if you've really got that great of an idea on how to re-think the whole concept of an "office suite" then sure, it's your right to go proprietary.

The harm to consumers would be similar to the harm done by any other type of monopoly--the lack of choice. It isn't necessary to standardize the software; only the file format. What happens if a customer doesn't like the one-size-fits-all look and feel of this office suite? Very few customers are capable of making code changes, and at the consumer level nobody can afford to hire a programmer. They will simply have to wait for someone in the community to make the change. I'm happy to see you saying "it's your right to go proprietary" in the last sentance. There's hope yet. However, consider the huge barrier now faced by someone who wishes to topple a GPL'd monopoly.

Toppling MSFT would be far easier. In fact, Be Inc. might have had a chance of toppling MSFT were it not for Free Software. Apple competes with MSFT by verticly integrating hardware and software. MSFT is not nearly as impregnable as people make it out to be.

To topple a proprietary monopoly, you can start by providing an inferior product at a lower price. Then, you can feed the revenue back into R&D until your product matches or exceeds the monopolist product in quality and/or price. Yes, nobody has done this in direct competition with MSFT. OS/2 had a shot. I think OS/2 was doomed by crappy marketing for the most part. Back in Win3.x and '95 days, I remember seeing OS/2 ads and coming away not really knowing what it was. OS/2 Warp? That sounded like some kind of ad-on that I didn't really need. If only IBM had said "run 32-bit Windows and DOS applications for half the price of Windows95". If only there had been an "OS/2 compatable" sticker on software boxes (maybe there was) I might have been sold.

However, to topple a GPL'd monopoly is entirely different. You have to either verticly integrate to subsidize the software (like the Intel compiler) or keep plowing massive ammounts of money into your R&D until you have a better product. Nobody will pay for the inferior early versions. If you do get to the point where you have a better product, you have to charge more for it to recoup development costs. That's why the Intel compiler is several hundred dollars; and that's even with a subsidy from chip sales. Can you imagine something as good as the Intel compiler being written by a pure software company?

As stated earlier, I would not take it to that extreme--outlawing proprietary. But on the other hand, if Open Source wins by nature and market forces, then so be it.

Good to know. FWIW, I don't think most people in the OSS/FS movements want to outlaw proprietary; it's just a core group of RMS et.al. that worry me. A /. poll on this might yield interesting results.

Nothing you have said thus far suggests any way in which copylefted software could cause social problems, but if you can provide a solid example, I'm all ears. Decreasing the size of the software industry due to increased efficiency of open development does not count, however, because this type of change is seen throughout all history and in all industries and is not a social problem. (compare: robotics replacing factory workers, etc.)

Of course I can't cite an example in software because like I said, the industry and the FS movement are both just babies. I see parallels to the communist revolution, and less extremely, to the public school system. If copyleft wins in a free market, I see poor people waiting for new features, while the rich pay premiums for software that already has the desired features. If copyleft wins by legal coup, I see a black market for proprietary software, with mafia coders moving in to add features and threatening to break your leg if you tell anybody.

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