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Comments

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North Korea's Home-Grown Operating System Mimics OS X

jasnw Beta Comment (252 comments)

The new beta looks like a bad case of ReCode (recode.net) envy to me.

about 8 months ago
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Hacker Says He Could Access 70,000 Healthcare.Gov Records In 4 Minutes

jasnw Re:Then Why No Hack Job? (351 comments)

Granted, but I would have expected that this flood of hacked information would be showing up in the black markets somewhere. As I recall, the way we first learned of the Target hack job was because the stolen information was showing up in these markets and was being used. Is there any evidence that this is the case for this treasure trove of information?

about 8 months ago
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Hacker Says He Could Access 70,000 Healthcare.Gov Records In 4 Minutes

jasnw Then Why No Hack Job? (351 comments)

OK, so if the site is so damned vulnerable why hasn't it been cracked by a Black Hat yet? Access to this sort of information is the wet dream of most hackers-for-hire. TFA quotes a Government person saying that the site is secure. The White Hat hackers say it isn't. Unless someone is lying about there having been no break-ins yet, then I have a hard time accepting that the site is a plum waiting to be picked by the next script kiddie that comes along. I could see that there would be a desire to cover up any hack job, but I don't know that a cover-up of something that juicy could hold up for long. Some missing pieces to this story.

about 8 months ago
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Mobile Banking Apps For iOS Woefully Insecure

jasnw You Must Be Crazy ... (139 comments)

... to bank from your cellphone. Call me paranoid and old-fashioned (I admit to being both), but if I do on-line banking at all I do it from my own home computer on a wired LAN. OK, so I can't do all the wild-and-crazy things these mobile banking apps allow, but I also am likely to have my money in my bank in my account at the end of the day and not in a bank account in Siberia somewhere.

about 9 months ago
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Cygnus ISS Launch Delayed Due To Sun's Coronal Mass Ejection

jasnw Apples and Oranges (30 comments)

The summary (at least) is a bit off on the description. dtmos is close, but still no cigar. The large flare produced three outputs of concern: high levels of x-ray radiation (photons), high levels of high-energy protons, and the CME which is a blast of low-energy (for the sun, anyway) plasma into the solar wind. The x-rays arrive first (at the speed of light, natch) with the high-energy protons not far behind. The shock wave produced by the CME arrives several days later. All of these can cause problems with spacecraft in near-earth orbit, but I suspect that the concern here was those high-energy protons which can damage electronics (and people - this is radiation in the bad old sense). The flux level of those beasts is dropping, but I'm sure NASA is concerned about this sunspot region producing another large flare with another hit from high-energy protons.

The CME, if the shock it produced in the solar wind indeed reaches the earth (this one likely will), can alter the fluxes of high-energy electrons in the earth's radiation belts and will generate active auroral conditions. The ISS is well below the radiation belts, so the CME-produced effects near the earth probably aren't as much of a concern here.

about 9 months ago
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Is Earth Weighed Down By Dark Matter?

jasnw Bullshit Flag (247 comments)

I work with GPS a lot, and there are many MANY people around the world who spend their entire lives making sure that there are very precise measurements of where those satellites are and how good predictions of where they'll be going are. These orbit calculations take into account the pressure of light from the sun on the satellites along with several other very small effects, so if there was some large extra mass in a ring around the earth it would have been noticed many years ago. I think this guy needs to recheck his calculations.

about 9 months ago
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Object Blocking Giant Tunnel Borer Was an 8" Diameter Pipe

jasnw Re:"Presume" there's no pipe? (141 comments)

I don't see this coming out of the contractor's fee. From local news reporting (I live in Seattle) this looks to me like the state is the up-gefucking party here, and if I were the state I'd be looking to avoid being sued by the contractor for providing misleading/incomplete information during the bid process. I expect that total cost of this little mishap will be well into the $1M+ range, and it'll come out of contingency money. Since we're still early in the dig process and haven't even gotten to the hard parts (digging under large buildings, for example) it's not good to be eating big chunks out of the contingency money at this point.

about 9 months ago
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Do Non-Technical Managers Add Value?

jasnw Cuts Both Ways (249 comments)

Just as there are nightmare PHB managers, there are useless waste-of-space techies. Assuming that we're talking here about apples and apples (competent managers and competent techies) they bring different, and damn-near equally important, skills and assets to the table. I have spent several decades in the science-for-hire business (research in a private company, not university related), and you see the other side of this problem quite often. Highly competent science types who take on management roles rather than hire someone with the right skills because "I am a PhD and can do this silly management stuff with one hand behind my back." Those are the companies that run into problems big-time. Any good science/tech business of any size needs to have good managers who have been trained for what they do and are competent at it. If both sides recognize the inherent worth of the other (again, assuming competence all around), and if they stay off each others turf and call on the other when their expertise is what's needed, this is what makes a company run.

about 9 months ago
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Apple Pushes Developers To iOS 7

jasnw Devs Know, Or Should (336 comments)

There's an old story (and a song, as I recall) about an old woman who finds a sick snake and takes it home to nurse it to health. After the snake is healthy, it bites her and when she complains tells her to stop complaining because she knew what it was when she took it in. Same goes for Apple devs in the current situation. This is SOP for Apple and has been for years. If you're going to develop apps for Apple machines you gotta be ready with your snake-bit kit at all times.

about 9 months ago
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Former Microsoft Exec To Lead HealthCare.gov

jasnw Polilitical Link (214 comments)

He is the spouse (husband, I assume) of Congressperson Karen DelBene (D-WA), also an ex-MS person.

about 9 months ago
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How Safe Is Cycling?

jasnw Re:Bike lanes... (947 comments)

Seattle has a similar situation and has a bike-friendly mayor who's pushed the issue and is likely to lose his upcoming bid for re-election (not solely because of bike issues, but he's known as Mayor McSchwinn and it's one of several things that voters are unhappy about). I lived in Los Angeles in the mid-1970s and bicycled from near Culver City to the UCLA campus in Westwood the entire time. I feel very fortunate to have avoided an accident during that time and had many near-misses. US cities are not set up for bicycles, and making them so is an expensive proposition. (OK, so Boulder is an exception, but they've a lot of money to spend in stuff like this). Yes, bicycling is better for you than sitting on your ass in a car, but spending a lot of scarce tax dollars catering to the biking minority is a very inefficient use of transportation money.

about a year ago
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How Science Goes Wrong

jasnw Money (316 comments)

Assuming TFA's numbers are correct, I'd bet that much of the problem is that no agency, be it government or commercial (and particularly commercial) wants to spend it's money seeing if published results are reproducible. Additionally, no one ever won a Noble Prize for excellence in reproducing others' results. Verification of results is key to science, but this is one of several aspects of doing science right that the funding agencies either don't want to, or can't (as in Congress looking over the shoulders of managers at the NSF), pay for. Everyone wants "everything, all the time" without paying for it, and this is the sort of thing that happens when decisions are driven by the money people (who may be scientists, to be fair) and not the people who know what the hell is going on.

about a year ago
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How To Develop Unmaintainable Software

jasnw Programmer not the whole story (211 comments)

Yeah, yeah - code clean, test-test-test, document-document-document, have separate test/run machines that are configured the same, yada yada. This is all well and good, and any halfway-decent developer knows all this. However, software development is not done in a vacuum and each and damn near everything mentioned is involved in cost/time benefit analyses when crunch-time comes (which it always does). With some exceptions, when I see a company that's saddled with horrible old legacy codes that nobody can understand, often a large measure of this is paybacks (for not adequate funding and poor schedule planning) being the bitch that they are. How to do things the best way are well known, it's just that the best way is more expensive (in the short term, which is the only term business understands these days) and takes more time than the average business will wait. If the bottom line is get something done that sorta-kinda works as fast/cheap as possible, you get spaghetti code that even the guy/gal who developed it can't follow.

about a year ago
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What Developers Can Learn From Healthcare.gov

jasnw State Sites Also (267 comments)

The Washington State's exchange website, for which the state paid $54 million to Delloite LLC, hasn't been a rollicking success either. I'm trying to wrap my head around why it costs $54 million to set up a pretty straight-forward website (costs evidently do not include hardware, just people/time/software). I believe that cost was over half what the state received from the feds to set up the exchange. Details here (such as they are).

about a year ago
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My favorite season:

jasnw Winter, of course (346 comments)

Because, as we all know, "It's Coming"

1 year,6 days
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Dialing Back the Alarm On Climate Change

jasnw Sigh (490 comments)

(Sound of pooch being screwed.) This is how real science works, particularly with highly complex issues like the earth's climate. We learn new things as we go along, and when new knowledge means we need to adjust our undestanding, that's what is done. The next update by the IPCC (if it gets funded, that is) may well show that what we learn in the interim indicates that the current estimates of climate change were too small. Unfortunately, the polarization of politics will take this latest IPCC report (if it indeed says what the article states) as an indication that these science types have been lying to us all along and they should now be ignored and driven from the temple. Efforts to deal with the effects of the upcoming changes will be killed off and nothing will be done until it's too late to do much of anything other than hope to cope.

1 year,15 days
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New Research Could Slow Human Aging

jasnw What exactly is slowed? (180 comments)

Does this sort of thing cover both the aging of the body and the brain? What's the gain in living to be 150 if your brain stops functioning at any sort of useful level at age 70? Yeah, "lots of people" are still firing on all mental cylinders at age 70, but most are not. If everyone is alive up to age 150 but is a non-productive consumer of stuff starting at age 70 this whole "live long and prosper" thing will be a total nightmare. Even if brain aging is held in check, do we have the resources to support that many human beings on this planet?

1 year,21 days
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Inside OS X Mavericks

jasnw Hopeful (362 comments)

My working Macs (at the office) are still on Snow Leopard, but my home systems are newly bought and are stuck on (now) Mountain Lion. The two Lions are broken in many ways. The two that I dislike most are the "looks just like your paper calendar" craziness that was overflowing the whole UI and whatever it is that they've done with memory management that causes 4GB to be too little to really work on. This last one gripes me because I bought a 4GB MacBook Air because (silly me) 4GB had been more than plenty for my Snow Leopard systems. I had to bump the wife's MacBook Pro up to 16GB so she wouldn't keep running into the spinning beachball after a day's work, something I never run into with 4GB Snow Leopard systems after weeks of heavy lifting. I will be switching to Mavericks at the .1 release point hoping that both of these will be improved if not fixed.

about a year ago
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New Tech Money, Same Old Problems

jasnw Not Just Silicon Valley (372 comments)

My company is located very near Microsoft's Redmond campus, and the situation is the same here. MS runs a large fleet of various people-carrying vehicles that pick up Microsofties all around the area. All the while the mass transit that serves the rest of us is going downhill fast. Every time I turn around MS is working hard to avoid paying more taxes. Gotta love those guys.

about a year ago

Submissions

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Is NASA a Hammer Looking for a Nail?

jasnw jasnw writes  |  about 8 months ago

jasnw (1913892) writes "Slate has an article, or hit-piece if you're a NASA fanboy, about whether NASA has any further purpose in life . My own personal feeling as a researcher in the space sciences that NASA became a jobs program, often called welfare-for-whitecoats, quite a few years ago. The space fanboy blogosphere is full of loud screeching and ritual rending of garments over this piece — what do slashdotters (classic or beta) think of this?"
Link to Original Source
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Ask Slashdot: Untapped Use for Large Touch-Screen Devices?

jasnw jasnw writes  |  about a year ago

jasnw (1913892) writes "I’ve not been a fan of the rush by certain parties (cough...Windows-8...cough) to bring touch-screen functionality to the desktop. However, I am now thinking there might be a market for large touch-screen devices. One thing I really hate doing is trying to read technical books, magazines, and particularly newspapers on even the largest tablet. What would be nice is essentially a large (at least as big as a 24” monitor screen) touch-screen tablet that is not meant to be a mobile device, nor a general purpose computer. It would be just for reading or viewing media, perhaps browsing the web, maybe doing email, but that’s it. Minimal local storage, only enough CPU power to handle these types of chores, WiFi, and minimal battery. Power would be mainly from a cord connection, with just enough battery to go off-grid for a couple of hours maximum to keep it light and inexpensive. If the price was right, I might be interested in buying one for home use. Is this a niche market that could be tapped by the right device?"
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Ask Slashdot: Mac to Linux Return Flow?

jasnw jasnw writes  |  about a year and a half ago

jasnw (1913892) writes "I'm one of apparently many people who moved to OS X from Linux in the early/mid 2000s for their desktop system, keeping Linux boxes around for the heavy lifting and server work. I may also be part of a large segment of that group now considering a return because of all the iOS-ification of OS X, despite the fact that the Linux desktop still falls short in the "it just works" area. I'm pissed enough at Apple, and wary enough of Linux, that I might just go to using Windows 7 for the desktop (not Win8, however). What is the feeling/experience of other "traitors" who run OS X for the desktop and Linux for everything else?"

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