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Comments

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Is Alibaba Comparable To a US Company?

jandersen Re:Style (118 comments)

...if the Chinese government wanted to "close the loophole" investors could be out $20B+ in a day.

Here's a TLA for you: FUD. Most countries in the West could in principle do the same, and forbid foreign investors in national companies - and the reasons they don't do it are the same that tell us that China wouldn't do this either. They are, as I think I may have mentioned in the past, not idiots.

yesterday
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Europeans Came From Three Ancestry Groupings

jandersen Re:Fair and darker skin (85 comments)

But that is perhaps less likely - a farming culture is more sedentary, and therefore less like to go out on raids - although they could be looking for more farming land, of course. Interesting. Good point.

yesterday
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Scotland Votes No To Independence

jandersen Re:Everyone loses (471 comments)

While not a fan of homosexuality (I admit I find it strange and disgusting) I feel no particular hatred either. More like indifference. I definetly do not support persecution but the outright lies from proponents of that lifestyle are so fucking outrageous.

Lies are never acceptable, of course; but I think we have to give a little bit of leeway. It is a very emotionally charged issue for the victims of discrimination.

I expect most people's view on homosexuality is similar to yours; I used to think the same way, but as I have grown older, I have become better informed and less scared of it. What I find helpful is to keep in mind that people are gay, not because they make An Evil Choice, but because they are genuinely attracted to their own sex and digusted by the opposite - probably exactly the way heterosexuals feel attracted by the opposite and repulsed by their own. Gay men are no more ravening, sexual monsters than heterosexual men, and just like men and women can be friends in an un-sexual way, the same hold for gays and heterosexuals. Why would it be any other way?

yesterday
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Oracle CEO Larry Ellison Steps Down

jandersen Re:Good riddance (141 comments)

Just to represent another side to the argument, and because I like getting modded down for expressing my opinion - I don't think Oracle deserves ALL the flak it gets. Just to make it clear - I work for them as an engineer, so I may come with a certain bias, but I also have more actual insight than most on /.

Firstly, I don't think anybody can deny that Oracle RDBMS is top notch; I have worked with many other databases - MS SQL Server, Informix, DB2, MySQL, and I still prefer Oracle. The documentation is better than what you get from the competition. DB2 is the only one that comes close. Plus, you can legally download even Oracle Enterprise Edition for free and use it for development and testing. I think it is excellent.

Secondly, Oracle was amongst the first of the big companies to come out in support of Linux with version 8 of their database. I think that was before IBM came out with an official port of Linux to their mainframe. To me that counts for a lot in terms of street cred.

Thirdly, in my experience Oracle is a very decent company to work for. They are not hugely generous, but they have some good benefits and I feel valued as an employee. I don't whether Larry Ellison is good or bad; I don't expect to find out for myself, but so far I have no complaints.

4 days ago
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Mystery Signal Could Be Dark Matter Hint In ISS Detector

jandersen My speculation (55 comments)

The fact is that we have too little evidence to guide us, and we can all speculate to some extent. My favourite, based on nothing more than my own wishful thinking, really, is that dark matter consists of not just 1 kind of particle, but of a whole 'phylum' (to borrow a word from biology) of particles that interact with themselves much like the particles we know; there may be several phylums (or phyla, if you prefer). The reason I like the idea is simply that it allows me to fantasize about a kind of parallel universe that we can't see - even life; a sort of ghost universe. Wouldn't that be cool :-) ?

4 days ago
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Europeans Came From Three Ancestry Groupings

jandersen Re:Fair and darker skin (85 comments)

Did you read the original article rather than just skim over it? One of the surprises is that there is a third component in European ancestry. Another surprise is that the blue eyes apparently came with dark skin and the lighter skin colour came with brown eyes.

The third interesting thing is that two of our lineages are very old, but a third contribution came in around 7000 years ago, just at the same time as agriculture. It makes sense, IMO - agriculture meant that this particular group became dominant and thus contributed disproportionately more to the gene pool in a relatively short time.

4 days ago
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Europeans Came From Three Ancestry Groupings

jandersen Re:fuck a bgn^aa (85 comments)

If you want to post goatses as a surprise to people, don't do it in slashdot, because

1. We have all seen him enough times to find him a bit trivial,
2. The way slashdot presents links gives it away by attaching [goat.cx]

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Remote Support For Disconnected, Computer-Illiterate Relatives

jandersen Linux + VM? (334 comments)

I would recommend Linux- perhaps Ubuntu - certainly if they have no previous experience that has clouded their minds to believe that Windows is the only possible choice. If they must have Windows, I would suggest that you install Linux + a VM with Windows in it, and configure it to log in and start the VM automatically. The reason being that you can then create a backup copy of the Windows disk and leave it somewhere on the Linux disk. This is for when Windows inevitably gets so infected that it doesn't work, at which point you shut the VM down and restore it to its original, freshly installed state.

(hmm, come to think of it - would it work? I have never actually done it; there may be problems with the activation code or something)

5 days ago
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Logitech Aims To Control the Smart Home

jandersen Stupid luxuries? (115 comments)

This issue keeps being pushed from time to time, but I am not at all convinced that there really is a good justification. It's not that I'm a luddite - or, I hope that I'm not - but introducing technology that doesn't solve a problem is idiotic - like eating oysters despite disliking them, simply because it is a luxury. I can see the use of being able to find free parking spaces in real time - that would be very useful - or having cheap, networked sensors measuring things like temperature, wind speed etc. But other things I have heard of - like being able to check what's in your fridge over your smartphone - that just solves problems that we don't have.

about a week ago
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Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

jandersen Re:This isn't scaremongering. (491 comments)

Before you start comparing Scotland's wish for independence to anything, you might check up on the historical background, so you understand why it is many Scots feel strongly about the issue. Florida wishing to break away from the US doesn't really compare - for one thing, they don't have 1000+ years of history as an independent nation, nor did they hold back the Romans 2000 years ago; to my mind that's got to count for something.

Personally, I don't think it means the end of the world, objectively speaking, whether Scotland stays or leaves. The fact is that the two sides are about equal in size, so whatever happens after the referendum will necessarily have to reflect that - seeing that Scotland and the UK are democratic nations. And it has been clear for a while, that the UK needs a shake-up in some form or other any way.

If Scotland does break away, there are some things that will be more difficult, of course; but other things will be better. It can work very well - I can't see why not. If they stay, there will still have to be changes - again, that can work very well. I don't have a vote in this referendum, but if I did, I would probably vote no because it seems more comfortable in the short term - however, if the yes side wins, I wish them all the best and feel that we should support them in getting the best out of it.

about a week ago
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What To Expect With Windows 9

jandersen Re:The Year of Windows on the Desktop (541 comments)

I'm not sure I follow you. Is your complaint that Windows doesn't have X for you to remotely run an installer for a different machine running UNIX?

No - that was just an example. I was replying to the OP which seems far too smug and condescending for my taste. Especially the idea that Linux somehow is just a toy, not fit for real work. My point is that from where I sit, "real work", when it comes to IT, is done on UNIX - and now-a-days mostly Linux - whereas Windows is mostly a hindrance, at least in the server room. It all depends on what your job is.

Does your flavour of UNIX happen to come with Windows remote admin tools installed by default?

How would I know? I hardly ever touch Windows, and only wearing gloves :-) Do you mean rdesktop? Remote access to Windows was added as a sort of afterthought, and it still doesn't have very good support for multiuser timesharing. UNIX, on the other hand, was always built around that concept, and even X is mostly a networking protocol.

That is another thing about Windows: you always have to use specialised tools for doing anything. That's why you even ask the question about remote admin tools; in UNIX you just log on to a command line session and edit the relevant files etc. There is rarely any need for specialised tools beyond a text editor, and the idea of having remote admin tools is a bit alie.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

jandersen Re:Ya, but... (391 comments)

Ah, you've got it wrong; 'critical thinking' means that you are able to agree with the CEO.

about a week ago
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What To Expect With Windows 9

jandersen Re:The Year of Windows on the Desktop (541 comments)

I get Linux, I do. I have used it on spare PC's before. But I just don't have time to use it on my main machines, because while I'd love that much time to tinker around and do all kinds of clever things with it to hone it to be the ultimate OS for me

IOW, you are saying that Linux is only a toy; that you for your condescending attitude.

For your information, I use Linux exclusively because I don't have time to tinker around with Windows. There are things that Windows is good for - apparently it is a good gaming platform, but then I don't play much - but there are so many things where Windows is simply not worth the hassle. And of course, in Windows you have to go out of your way to use open source - every time I've had to install Windows, it seems to come springloaded with incentives to buy applications for things you get for free in Linux. And the reason to use Linux is even stronger in a professional setting - unless you are working exclusively with non-technical administration, Linux (or any UNIX, really) is a must. Just one example: installing databases like Oracle or DB2 on a network of UNIX servers. The installers invariably require X - which is not the slightest problem for Linux; you just connect from your X based desktop with 'ssh -X' and you're set. In Windows you have to first realise that there is such a thing as X, then you have to figure out how to get it to work in Windows, etc. In effect, if you run Windows, you are faced with an uphill struggle.

I haven't used Windows at all for the last 15 years, give or take, except for when friends and family run into problems - again. Every time I have to fix things, it turns out that large parts of the interface have changed, the control panel calls things something new and puts the old things in new boxes etc; it doesn't help make it easier. In UNIX these don't change much over time, and they are pretty much the same across different platforms too. I suppose Windows is OK if all you do is inside the walled garden of MS Office.

about a week ago
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Artificial Spleen Removes Ebola, HIV Viruses and Toxins From Blood Using Magnets

jandersen Snake oil? Perhaps not quite (106 comments)

Harvard scientists have invented a new artificial spleen that is able to clear toxins, fungi and deadly pathogens such as Ebola from human blood

The what? I would have expected that to be all over the news, if it was actually something as momentuous as it is presented. Looking at the fact that this has been accepted in Nature after peer review would suggest that it isn't complete nonsense, however, and the abstract makes sense in a way. I suspect this is about coating very small, magnetic particles with antibodies; these will likely be specific to the pathogen, but the strategy is to let the antibodies bind to pathogens and then use magnets to ectract them. Sounds like something that could work.

about a week ago
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European Space Agency Picks Site For First Comet Landing In November

jandersen Re:Sounds challenging. (35 comments)

But classical gravity varies with the inverse square of the separation, and half of a sphere will be more separated than the other half - hence the tidal force experienced by an orbiting satelite. This effect will only vanish if the two bodies are moving on a straight line through the two centres of gravity of each.

about a week ago
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European Space Agency Picks Site For First Comet Landing In November

jandersen Re:Sounds challenging. (35 comments)

It would be very strange indeed to find an object in space that doesn't rotate at all - any external influence on an irregularly shaped object is likely to result in a change in rotation. In fact, it holds true even for a spherical object in a gravitational field, since that field will vary over the diameter of the object.

about a week ago
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Apple Outrages Users By Automatically Installing U2's Album On Their Devices

jandersen Re:It's not your phone (609 comments)

There may all sorts of good reasons for why it has happened and why it isn't an evil conspiracy to pollute the minds of young people, but it misses the point, really.

Happily, I don't own a smartphone, but I think I would have been rather annoyed too. It's like being spammed or getting a huge wad of unwanted advertising in garish colours through the door - it's something you never asked for and wouldn't have wanted if you had been asked, it's simply inflicted on you and you now have to do something to get rid of the useless crap. At the root of this lies the feeling that you're not being given a choice, because your opinion doesn't matter, and whoever makes the decisions thinks you are just a mindless automaton who will go out and spend money on whatever the loudest advert tells you.

In the end, it's about respect: you show respect to earn respect. But if producers of eg. music don't respect their potential customers, why should people respect them back? Particularly, why respect the copyright they claim ownership of? I don't condone piracy, but I do understand where it comes from.

about a week ago
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Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

jandersen Re: RT.com? (538 comments)

Full blown communism requires tyrants

Full blown anything requires tyrants.

Communism isn't the same thing as "whatever some regime calls Communism"; just like Christianity or Islam or Capitalism isn't defined by what they are being used for. Just look back at the horrifying atrocities committed in the name of Christ throughout history; or look at what is called Capitalism in the US today. Is Capitalism really about huge corporations monopolizing the marketplace, buying political influence and bullying anybody who tries to threaten them? Of course not - capitalism at its best is a force for good, because it gives people an incentive to improve their lives, and in the process improving society. In the same way, communism seeks to improve society by sharing resources and caring for everybody. Both principles are necesary, and no society is good if there isn't a good balance between the two.

about a week ago
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Scientists Capture the Sound Made By a Single Atom

jandersen Re:forest (100 comments)

We are talking about EXCITED atoms here - what they say is 'Wheeeee'.

about two weeks ago
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German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

jandersen Re:define "customer" (290 comments)

here, there's no payment involved, therefore there is no contract of sale.

Not true - what happens is a 'payment in kind': the customers pay with their use of Google, and by allowing Google to use their data (emails etc), which is why Google is a business, not a charity. Read about it on Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P...

Another tip: you can improve the legibility of your postings by using upper case at the beginning of sentences.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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10 TB cloud storage for free

jandersen jandersen writes  |  about 10 months ago

jandersen (462034) writes "Chinese Tencent are going to launch a free, 10TB cloud storage service:

http://pandodaily.com/2013/11/18/tencent-to-launch-international-version-of-free-10tb-storage-service-new-photo-sharing-app-coming-soon-to-us/

10TB is some 5000 times more than Dropbox, and 666 times more than what you get with Google (Yes, I know, that number keeps cropping up, doesn't it?)

What will no doubt worry people is that it is a Chinese company, although they are planning to store the data outside of China. I guess, with the NSA scandal unfolding, it is just a question of choosing your poison."
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Arctic thaw may be first in cascade of tipping points

jandersen jandersen writes  |  about a year and a half ago

jandersen writes "Here's an article from New Scientist that's guaranteed to arouse yet another controversy (from http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21729064.500-arctic-thaw-may-be-first-in-cascade-of-tipping-points.html):

ONE climate domino has fallen, and it may start toppling others. A recent study outlined an interconnected web of climate tipping points, some of which make the next ones more likely. Now, an analysis of data from the last 23 years suggests we passed the first of these tipping points in 2007, when Arctic sea ice flipped into a new, less stable state. That may speed the world towards the next tipping point – the thaw of a vast expanse of Siberian permafrost.

New Scientist is sometimes criticised for being sensationalist, but this article seems sober to me: it is well referenced, and they try to include opposing viewpoints to balance it. If what they say is true, we may be in for a series of increasingly dramatic changes, and sooner rather than later."
Link to Original Source

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EU to spend 1 billion euro on graphene and brain research

jandersen jandersen writes  |  about a year and a half ago

jandersen (462034) writes "The EU is going to spend 100 million per year over the next 10 years to boost research and interdisciplinary cooperation by launching two flagship projects in March:

- The Human Brain Project: Aims "to develop a large-scale ICT infrastructure for the specific purpose of understanding the brain and its diseases, and of translating this knowledge into new computing technology." Basically, they want to build a working computer model of a human brain. (http://www.humanbrainproject.eu/in_brief.html)

- The Graphene Flagship: Aims "to take graphene and related layered materials from academic laboratories to society, revolutionize multiple industries and create economic growth and new jobs in Europe." (http://www.graphene-flagship.eu/GF/index.php)

How cool is that? For more info, see http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/ict/programme/fet/flagship/home_en.html — but be warned: this is EU, and understanding the whole setup is fiendishly complicated."
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Ask Slashdot: Server room toolbox?

jandersen jandersen writes  |  about 2 years ago

jandersen writes "I am the system manager in charge of a smallish server room (~50 servers, most in racks), and I am going to buy a set of tools; but first I want to hear what other people think would be a good idea.

Certainly a range of good quality screwdrivers — slotted, Phillips, Pozidriv, Torx (here for the whole range of strange screwdriver standards: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_screw_drives). But what else? Tape measure? Spirit level (for aligning the racks)? Any meters or cable testers? A wood lathe? I can probably get away with a budget of a few hundred GBP, but there ought to be some mileage in that."
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The revolution is coming

jandersen jandersen writes  |  about 2 years ago

jandersen writes "According to Peter Turchin, University of Connecticut, we may be heading towards serious, social unrest within a decade (article on New Scientist — registration (free) required: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21528781.800-calculated-violence-numbers-that-predict-revolutions.html?full=true):

The mathematics underpinning the rise and fall of empires suggest that the US faces imminent and bloody unrest. How worried should we be?

Is he on to something? Note, this is not a head-in-the-clouds-prophet speaking, but a real scientist, who proposes a real theory: a falsifiable hypothesis; and as he says ""It is easier to predict timing than the height of the peak. My feeling is that it's going to be worse than we expect. Hopefully I'm wrong — I have to live through this."."
Link to Original Source

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A sad tale: US gov online visa app

jandersen jandersen writes  |  more than 4 years ago

jandersen (462034) writes "It was recently my fortune to have to assist in applying for a US visa for a Chinese citizen living in London. This turned out to be a very painful journey, not least because of the online application form — give it a whirl yourselves:

https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/

- and here is the video that introduces it:

http://www.youtube.com/user/USEmbassyLondon#p/u/1/LSd6gYr-aSs

Don't worry, it isn't dangerous, and the effects can mostly be fixed with counselling, eventually.

On top of the horrors of this supremely inept piece of code, you get to be treated with a mixture of hostility and indifference at the embassy plus constant demands for further documents about trivial nonsense — like "You state that you went to primary school x until such and such date, but didn't enter secondary school until 6 months later; what did you do in that time?"; presumably they have words like "training camp" rolling around the vast empty spaces in their heads (makes you wonder what they would think of an American teenager who has been to "boot camp" — now there's damning evidence if ever there was)

And what do they expect to hear when they ask "Are you coming over to commit terrorist offences?" — "Oh dear, it's a fair cop, they've caught me now, right enough. And there was I, wondering if terrorism would require a work permit.""
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What Open Source Forum SW is best

jandersen jandersen writes  |  more than 5 years ago

jandersen writes "I want to do something about improving morale and team-spirit in the company where I am the UNIX manager; and I thought it might be good to run some sort of social forum where people can engage in intellectual discussions on a high level, just like on Slashdot. People will, of course, waste time there — at least if you ask management — but I don't think of it as wasted. After all, people tend to "waste time" talking about sport and solving the great problems of the world any way, so why not put it on a server? And the thing is — this is a global company, and we don't really know our colleagues in India, China, Europe and so on. But which software should I choose? There seems to be a lot of for forum/BSS software around; what I want is something similar to /. — I like the concept of users being able to mod each others up and down — and it has to be open source, rather not Java, and run on Linux. Other than that, I am open to suggestions. What does the people think?"
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Non-violent, cooperative games?

jandersen jandersen writes  |  more than 5 years ago

jandersen writes "While I generally don't really play computer games, I do occasionally play games like Crossfire or The Mana World, because they have more of a story line and allow you to go at your own pace; they require a little bit more intellect and less testosterone, perhaps. What I don't care much about, though, is that they are still basically about killing monsters and amassing wealth, and it gets very tedious after a while.

Are there really no games where the goal isn't so much about increasing your own power and defeating others, but where you instead grow by doing things that benefit others, where enemies shouldn't be killed out of hand, but befriended, where learning, teaching, research and social skills are more important than killing and conquering? Would people be interested in a game of that nature?"

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