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Comments

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5 Out of 11 Crashed Unity In Canonical's Study

jefu Re:Surprising (468 comments)

I think I looked at it for a minute or two, clicked on a couple things, then fired up synaptic and loaded awesome. If awesome hadn't been available I might well have opted for twm, it is indeed that bad.

more than 3 years ago
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US Has Secret Tools To Force Internet On Dictatorships

jefu Re:Satphones (282 comments)

Instead of sat phones, just regular cell phones with built in encryption (should be configurable by user so someone can decide who to share info with). And solar powered mesh nodes, some of which go either to countries nearby which access outwards, or to satellites, or to whatever other relays might be made available. Maybe make it all wifi based. The hardware should be cheap enough these days.

more than 3 years ago
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Most Readers Don't Like Customized News

jefu iGoogle vs Google News (107 comments)

I have an iGoogle page with a number (25 at the moment) of selected RSS feeds in boxes (but no hamster gadget). Several of these are news feeds (general news, NY Times, BBC, Al Jazeera), some are tech (slashdot...), others are just interesting stuff (metafilter...). I guess this is customization (as opposed to personalization) and it works for me.

I used to have Google News open more or less permanently in a tab, but since their new look this summer, it has become less than useful for me and I don't think I've looked at it more than twice since they changed it (once was just now to see if it had become any better). I suspect this was personalization. (Well and twittization with the "popular" cruft and adization with the "spotlight" cruft.) To echo that New Yorker cartoon - "I say it's spinach and I say to hell with it."

more than 3 years ago
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FBI Prioritizes Copyright Over Missing Persons

jefu New TV Series (372 comments)

So, "Without a Trace" would now be "Without a License". A thrilling hunt through thousands of wiretaps to prove that Little Johnny did indeed torrent "2012"!

about 4 years ago
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Germany Takes Legal Steps Against Facebook

jefu Re:From TFA (138 comments)

The hyperinflation certainly pushed things along, but I suspect that it helps to look at things as being a long war starting essentially with Napoleon, with smaller and larger shooting wars more or less interrupting a long period of arms building, Germany was falling apart by the end of the the first world war and the Versailles treaty didn't help, but I find it hard to see it as being the the most important factor. But I'm not a historian by any means, just someone who finds that flow of events interesting.

more than 4 years ago
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Unique ID In India Causes 'Fear of the Beast'

jefu Re:Educated, not crazy and not afraid. (725 comments)

I've seen it suggested several times that if you're going to prison, finding Jesus is a Good Thing as it means that there will be guards, administrators and the like who may prefer to help out Christians as opposed to those of other religions or atheists.

more than 4 years ago
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SCOTUS Rules Petiton Signatures Are Public Record

jefu Re:While I agree that anonymity is a good thing... (780 comments)

This year in Washington state there are more than 50 initiative petitions filed. To actually get on the November ballot, each such petition needs 241,153 valid signatures. Most of these are unlikely to get anywhere near that, but if even a half dozen do, that leaves a million or so signatures to be verified between July and whenever the ballots are finalized (September?). Surely making these public would help remove invalid signatures, do it quickly and well - and how is this a bad thing?

more than 4 years ago
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First Superbugs, Now Superweeds

jefu Re:Monsanto v. Schmeiser (435 comments)

There's the solution then. Just have Monsanto sue everyone who gets superweeds on their property. Guaranteed win!

more than 4 years ago
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Another WW-I Chemical Site In Washington, DC

jefu Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (249 comments)

If you read very much about German preparations for the war (which they seem to have been working towards, though not in quite the same brutal way as the Nazis did a couple decades later) and the way that they (certainly Wilhelm and probably Moltke with Krupp stage managing more than a bit) managed the first few months of it, you may think differently.

more than 4 years ago
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All the Best Games May Be NP-Hard

jefu Book on the Complexity of Games and Puzzles (322 comments)

There is a fun book on this topic called "Games, Puzzles and Computation" by Hearn and Demaine that is well worth a read if you're interested in puzzles or complexity.

more than 4 years ago
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Amazon Reviewers Take on the Classics

jefu Re:Great Literature != good read for most (272 comments)

This is one of those things that many don't seem to realize. A book (or movie or whatever) may be great without you actually liking it. You see this in reviews all the time : "Worst movie evar! I was bored all the way through it." Reviews like these conflate the writers opinion with some kind of consensus opinion that has formed over time and usually built from thoughtful consideration of the subject. We all do it to some extent, but with time and education (good self education counts), we can separate out our personal reaction from a considered critical reaction.

For example, I quite like the movie "Jumping Jack Flash". But I also know that it is far from being a great film. On the other hand, "Rashomon" is a very very good film indeed, but I find it difficult to watch and don't like it all that much, though I can appreciate why it is considered great.

more than 4 years ago
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Bill Would Require Public Information To Be Online

jefu Re:One place where they could mess up... (139 comments)

PDFs are pretty bad for reading in many ways. All the paging bits (numbers, margins) takes up space and the margins and flow tend to be inflexible, so resizing a PDF reader window tends to just chop off bits or add whitespace on the edges. Worst are double column documents which (especially in PDF readers with noisy toolbars and on monitors that don't have lots of vertical resolution) often mean you need to scroll to read the bottom of one column, then back up to get the top of the next one, then down again. Aaarggghhh! (I just read a 130 page document like this, would have printed it, but it was just a draft).

Be nicer to have them in a well designed xml markup (I know, I know...) with support for real semantic markup (this term gets indexed, this one goes in the glossary, this refers to court decision X, this sentence refers to this marker in document Z) and a toolset to produce PDF, HTML and other formats as required. Support for reader generated annotations could also be useful.

more than 4 years ago
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US Immigration Bill May Bring a National Biometric ID Card

jefu Re:Papers Please! (619 comments)

"Now repeat after me as we say our next three words in Turkish...
Towel
Bath
Border
May I see your passport please? "

more than 4 years ago
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USPTO Won't Accept Upside Down Faxes

jefu Re:simple reason. (427 comments)

In the comments to TFA one suggestion is that the patent office people may not be allowed to modify the submitted forms in any way (which seems a good idea in general to prevent fraud) and that even a simple rotation of the text could be interpreted as modification, so they can't rotate the text. Taking a good idea a step too far, I suspect, but such is the nature of bureaucracy.

more than 4 years ago
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Ursula Le Guin's Petition Against Google Books

jefu Re:Doublethink (473 comments)

I suspect that the publisher (and related folks) who own the rights to her works are wining and dining her, and in the process telling her how awful this whole situation is. A bit of operant conditioning as it were - training her that certain stances result in pleasurable times, do that often enough and I suspect the subject will not only support the conditioned stance, but even find better justifications for it.

more than 4 years ago
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Analysis of 32 Million Breached Passwords

jefu Re:Silly password requirements (499 comments)

The password strength checkers seem odd to me sometimes. I recently had to generate a new password for a site and used my standard method, pick a sentence related to the site (sometimes rude, sometimes nonsensical), then use the first letters, changing one or two to numeric or symbols (so the first sentence in this post might have given me "Tpscs02ms"). My first picked sentence gave me 16 characters (even all lower case that would probably have been good as there were no dictionary words or other simple patterns). The site told me that that password was seriously insecure - and playing around a bit I discovered that the same string truncated at 13 characters was rated highly secure. I should have looked at the code (javascript) to see why adding three characters made it so much worse but was trying to get things done.

more than 4 years ago
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US DOJ Says Kindle In Classroom Hurts Blind Students

jefu Re:ADA? (492 comments)

At my university we get notes from the Disabilities Office, one for each student with a disability, saying what we need to be able to do to make the course accessible. I think that is becoming more or less standard practice.

more than 4 years ago
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2010 AL30, Asteroid Or Space Junk, To Pay a Close Visit

jefu Re:Oblig. Futurama reference (136 comments)

You mean Bruce Willis? (oblig Armageddon reference).

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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J G Ballard

jefu jefu writes  |  more than 5 years ago

jefu writes "J.G. Ballard, an author (of science fiction and other fiction) has died. His works include some of the strangest and most compelling novels ever, including "The Crystal World", "Crash" and "The Atrocity Exhibition". For a truly weird read, try his "Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Considered as a Downhill Motor Race", compared with Alfred Jarry's "The Cruxcifixion Considered as an Uphill Bicycle Race" . His BBC obituary is here."
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ICFP Contest Registration Opens

jefu jefu writes  |  more than 6 years ago

jefu writes "One of the most fun (and most difficult) programming contests held, the ICFP Programming Contest is now open for registration. The contest itself will last from July 20 to July 23. Problems tend to be (um) difficult and will often take most of the contest period to solve well. Past problems (links to previous contest sites are available on this years web site) have ranged from building a raytracer to building a program to optimize an odd HTML like markup language (and more).

Even if you don't compete, just thinking about the problems is worthwhile and often quite instructive."

Link to Original Source
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jefu jefu writes  |  more than 7 years ago

jefu writes " A story about plagiarism popped up in my RSS feeds today in which a doctoral student is accusing her advisor of plagiarism. This was interesting enough (and regrettably does occur). But the interesting part comes from the short sentence in which the story tells that the student is proving her claim by saying she has applied for a patent on and been granted a basic patent on the idea ("Power Chip") in question. A quick search turned up the patent. It seems to cover "a psychological development system" (the kind of thing that may be found in any number of self help books) based on "quasitative" (??) research. Claim number 2 (of two) is :

A psychological development system comprising evaluating at least three things in at least three ways in at least three levels that is repeated at least three times.
and the description has nice statements like :

The power of three is universal and is the tripartite nature of the world...


All those slashdot jokes going "Wait, I'm going to patent..." may actually be patentable!"
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jefu jefu writes  |  more than 7 years ago

jefu writes "In a front page article today, the New York Times discusses "manners and blogs". They say that Tim O'Reilly and Jimmy Wales are working together to create a set of guidelines for online debate. One of the ideas put forward is banning anonymous comments. There is also a suggestion for creating "several sets of guidelines for conduct" and attaching "badges" on the page indicating what class of comments is encouraged. Not quite the same story as was covered here ."
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jefu jefu writes  |  more than 7 years ago

jefu writes "In an emerging case, doubt has been cast on the originality of classical piano recordings. It seems that CDs of piano musicby Joyce Hatto were lifted wholesale from other recordings and published as hers under her own label. According to a NY Times op ed piece on Feb 17 not all the originals have been identified as yet. The RIAA seems ready to jump on people downloading music from the web, but this seems to indicate they may not be capable of identifying a real large scale commercial copyright infringement. Schadenfreude anyone?"
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jefu jefu writes  |  more than 7 years ago

jefu writes "The New Yorker (Feb 2) has a story on Google Books (an attempt to index every book around) and its legal problems involving copyright. Interestingly, the conclusion seems to be that Google might settle the lawsuits brought against it, and by doing so, make it more difficult for others who want to do similar things. One good quote : "The suits that are filed are a business negotiation that happens to be going on in the courts.""
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jefu jefu writes  |  more than 7 years ago

jefu writes "According to the New York Times, the US Department of Homeland Security is funding AI tools to monitor the foreign press (registration required and all that) in order to detect threats to the United States. While the article says there are restrictions on doing this kind of monitoring within the US, there are no restrictions on media outside the US. (No hint is given as to how this would apply to syndicated articles written in the US and published abroad.) This is as yet experimental."
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jefu jefu writes  |  about 8 years ago

jefu writes "In a /. story today on advertisement supported texts, there was a discussion of the expense of textbooks. There may be an alternative : Bookmooch is a book trading site where you can send books you have to someone who wants them, and "mooch" books from someone who has them. Total cost: Postage. There are already a good number of technical and text books listed, as well as a wide variety of other titles. No guarantee that you'll find what you need — but if a lot of students started using the site, the chances would surely improve."
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jefu jefu writes  |  about 8 years ago

jefu writes "There have been a few recent Slashdot articles on the Fields Medal in mathematics, and more specifically on the Poincaré conjecture. The August 28 New Yorker has an article on the conjecture and on two major figures involved : Gregory Perelman and Shing-Tung Yao. This article focusses more on the people and process than on the mathematics and is quite a good read."

Journals

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jefu jefu writes  |  more than 5 years ago My housemate is from New Mexico and tried to call there recently on our landline. And he can't reach his parents because they recently added a new area code in NM (575) which seems to be the same as a local exchange (in Washington State). So when you dial you get as far as 1-575 and the system tells you that it can't complete the call unless you dial 1-509 - but thats in Washington. The nice(?) people at centurytel told him to "unplug all the phones in the house and plug then back in". Right. For more fun (and information) try : his livejournal entry and this followup where they toss out the trouble ticket.

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Patent weirdness

jefu jefu writes  |  more than 7 years ago Here's a fun patent worth reading. I think it shows just how bizarre the patent granting process has become. It might also help you if you are inclined toward the kind of vague psychological help you find in cheap self-help books. Also, perhaps, if you're a fan of the Madam Blavatsky school of philosophy.

Here are the two (thats all) claims, which seem to me to cover almost anything as long as it has 81 things grouped in threes:

1. A psychological development system comprising triangulation, categorization and interpretation.
2. A psychological development system comprising evaluating at least three things in at least three ways in at least three levels that is repeated at least three times.

And a description that reads rather like Madame Blavatsky and achieves impressive levels of buzzwordy, symbolist vagueness. Just one sample :

The Triangle symbolizes the Personal Realm and relates to the Qualitative Research approach...pointing upwards it stands for ascent to heaven, fire, and the active male principle: reversed, it symbolizes grace descending from heaven, water, the receptive female element.

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jefu jefu writes  |  more than 10 years ago In a followup to the previous entry, I went to the web site listed and found this page where you can report "certain parties" that send out spam advertising their product. This page is great fun, it uses the standard kinds of javascript junk (unescape) to obfuscate a function (named, "o" so nicely) o which actually builds the page. Now why they need to do this escapes (so to speak) me, as it took all of about five minutes to write a bit of python that decodes the page. If you take the following (you'll need to replace the "_"s with spaces and watch the long quoted string in the second line) and use this function o in place of theirs, you'll easily see the text of their web page - it makes interesting reading.

Even more interesting, the decoded web page does not work in mozilla. Sigh.

w=""
b="a6=mDbFJfS|c&%iPY;!-3?R#Wq.rCgl+dyE 4wMU/j)Tz:"
l=78
g=""

def iii() :
_global g
_w=""

def o(s) :
_ global g
_ res = ""
_ k=''
_ for n in range(len(s)) :
__ f=s[n]
__ e=b.find(f)
__ if e>-1 :
___ y=((e+1)%l-1)
___ if y ____ y+=l
___ k+=b[y-1]
__ else :
___ k+=f
_ g +=k

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jefu jefu writes  |  more than 10 years ago Just wanted to make public this wonderful spam. Note that it claims to be legal under the can spam act - so I guess we have our elected (and probably well paid off) representatives to blame.

As usual it has all the typical signatures of spam including the (hidden) random crap wordlist, the image load to check to see if it was read, the email addresses on a machine that wont respond to anything on port 25.

I've changed my email in thisto their whois email just because. I've also disabled the html.

From - Mon Apr 19 11:45:29 2004
X-Mozilla-Status: 0001
X-Mozilla-Status2: 00000000
Return-Path: <Effie@online-pmktg.com>
Received: from 65.182.134.215 ([65.182.134.215])
by previa-mktg (8.12.8/8.12.8) with SMTP id i3JIburB017625
for <previa-mktg@yahoo.com>; Mon, 19 Apr 2004 13:37:56 -0500
Received: from 65.182.134.215 ([65.182.134.215]) by 65.182.134.215 ([65.182.134.215]); Tue, 20 Apr 2004 14:25:03 +0600
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2004 03:33:03 -0500
From: "Millard" <Millard@online-pmktg.com>
Reply-To: "Millard" <Millard@online-pmktg.com>
Message-Id: <632824102935.4441845087896572311@online-pmktg.com>
To: previa-mktg@yahoo.com
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