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The Least They Could Do: Amazon Charges 1 Cent To Meet French Free Shipping Ban

mean pun Re:Price floors are subsidies (308 comments)

Sometimes the old way of doing things is not worth saving.

And sometimes it is, despite the supposed inefficiencies. That's what the French government thinks, and there are similar opinions in other European countries.

Personally, I'm not sure this particular law is so helpful, but anything that prevents Europe from becoming a cultural wasteland at least gets my sympathy. There is more in life than just financial efficiency.

about two weeks ago

NASA Launching Satellite To Track Carbon

mean pun Re:Observer effect? (190 comments)

Do you really think that a single launch has a measurable impact on the CO2 levels on earth, or are you just grouching because it feels good to grouch?

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Resolving the Clash Between Art and Technology In Music?

mean pun Re:Is it really about "art"? (121 comments)

And the reality of the matter is that digital instruments do a good job of replicating piano, organ and other keyboard instruments.

My son, who is a talented piano player, disagrees. He has played some of the electric piano `replacements', and he says they are interesting to play, but the real thing is still a far richer and interesting instrument.

There are still plenty of effects in real pianos that are not emulated properly. Two examples: resonances in the other strings of the piano when you strike a string, and striking a key, leaving it half-pressed, and striking again. The piano pedals are also not easy to emulate, I understand, but I don't know the details.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: PC-Based Oscilloscopes On a Microbudget?

mean pun Re:Salae logic (172 comments)

Since the OP asked in parentheses for spectrum analyser suggestions, he seems to be interested in cheap measurement instruments in general. I don't think a logic analyser is too far off topic.

about a month and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: PC-Based Oscilloscopes On a Microbudget?

mean pun For Android sensors: (172 comments)

Not exactly what was asked for, since it only plots the output of Android device sensors, but the price is peanuts: SensorScope:

about a month and a half ago

Mayday Anti-PAC On Its Second Round of Funding

mean pun Re:How does it work? (247 comments)

But at that stage the hope is that the masses of voters like these laws so much that voting against them would be political suicide. Therefore, the Super PACs will have to make these laws controversial in some way, and they will have to start as soon as they can. I have no talent in this area, so I don't know whether these ideas grab your guns, are socialist, harm your children, support terrorism, promote unions/homosexuality/abortion/government, continue the war on christmas, are an IRS complot, don't have a proper birth certificate, land you in FEMA camps, deserve a dog whistle, or introduce death panels, but the mud will be ready.

I'm sure the Eye of Sauron is already on this initiative. The memos have been written, and the mud will start flying as soon as it gathers any momentum.

about a month and a half ago

New OpenSSL Man-in-the-Middle Flaw Affects All Clients

mean pun Re:This is awesome (217 comments)

"He did it too, mommy!" is a valid position to take in a debate only if you're 8 years old.

I totally agree, now please explain how am I using this argument, because I don't see it.

about a month and a half ago

New OpenSSL Man-in-the-Middle Flaw Affects All Clients

mean pun Re:This is awesome (217 comments)

I agree that 16 years for a fundamental flaw like this is bad, but how can you possibly know that closed source is no worse (or no better) than this? Closed-source software vendors are usually not very open about these problems.

about a month and a half ago

UK Seeks To Hold Terrorism Trial In Secret

mean pun Re:Out ye go (240 comments)

What are you blathering on about? It's got nothing to do with the EU.

The ECHR he is ranting about is the European Court of Human Rights. It is one of the reasons rightwing parties all over Europe are against the EU: it annoying insists that humans have rights.

about a month and a half ago

GnuTLS Flaw Leaves Many Linux Users Open To Attacks

mean pun Re:Basic programming principles what? (127 comments)

It seems like taint tracking and sanitation should be pervasive and explicit. This can be partially enforced by type enforcement, no?

This is possible in almost any modern language, although in some languages the code will be so horrible you can wonder if the cure isn't worse than the disease. For example, in C you could wrap tainted data in a struct that is only touched by a few select sanitisation functions. (You would still have to make sure no lazy or malicious code pokes around in the struct, or casts away this protection, but you could write a tool to check that.) Similar for languages like Python, although again it is easy to get around the isolation, so discipline and checking is still required. Languages like Java (or Swift :-)) are strict enough that you can almost completely enforce this isolation rather than rely on disciplined programming (I say almost because you cannot block access to I/O functions, so in principle you could still ignore the isolation, and directly access the tainted data). In C++ you can make the isolating `wrapper' almost transparent, but all the C trickery is still available.

I think it is fair to say that an important reason that these techniques are not used is cultural. Building a watertight taint wrapper in C (the most common language for this kind of code) is tricky and boring, and there is a lot of Real-Programmers-don't-Need-Handholding mentality among C programmers.

about 2 months ago

Apple WWDC 2014: Tim Cook Unveils Yosemite

mean pun Re:Swift (411 comments)

More like a mixture of functional languages, Python, Java, Objective C, and C#, but you have to know those languages to recognise that.

A pretty solid mixture, in fact. So far what I see I like a lot!

about 2 months ago

Apple WWDC 2014: Tim Cook Unveils Yosemite

mean pun Re:Off-topic Maybe (411 comments)

Why do you think Swift is platform specific? I think it is will almost certainly not be; Apple will be more interested in getting the new language adopted rather than locking in people. Therefore at least the core language is very likely to be neutral. In fact, there is a pretty good chance it will be available through the llvm channels, and have a BSD license.

Metal is more likely to be platform specific because the goal is to give more direct access to the hardware.

about 2 months ago

Grace Hopper Documentary Edges on Successful Crowdfunding

mean pun Re:jesus, I knew someone would play the gender car (65 comments)

For sufficiently loose definitions of "working tablet", you are of course right. Like those Microsoft thingies that everyone stayed away from in droves. Or Apple's own Newton.

So why was the iPad the first massively popular one? Because Apple produced one that was actually useful rather than started people cursing in the first few minutes. That took them years of experimentation and polishing; there is a reason there had been rumours about an Apple tablet for years before it was actually introduced.

It's easy to think up the concept of a tablet, and even to build some vaguely functional prototypes, but until Apple came up with hardware that was light and sturdy enough to be practical, and software that made the limited environment useful, tablets were something you only used if you absolutely had to. And Apple had nobody to `sponge off', this was Apple's effort only.

As far as I'm concerned this effort deserves the word 'invented', but by all means go for `reinvented' if it makes you feel better.

about 2 months ago

Grace Hopper Documentary Edges on Successful Crowdfunding

mean pun Re:jesus, I knew someone would play the gender car (65 comments)

Steve did not redefine personal computing, just a designer who sponged off other's engineering accomplishments. He invented nothing, conceived nothing other than perhaps artistic case and keyboard designs.

By that standard the Wright brothers were not inventors either, because all they did was sponge of real inventors, and bolt a lightweight combustion engine to some pieces of wood and cloth. By any sensible definition, Apple invented the tablet. Yes, there had been attempts at tablets before the iPad, but they were just as effective as airplanes before the Wright brothers. You're still allowed to hate Apple and Jobs all you want, but fair is fair: they did invent the tablet.

about 2 months ago

Is Google CEO's "Tiny Bubble Car" Yahoo CEO's "Little Bubble Car"?

mean pun Re:CEO in a Bubble (190 comments)

... The other bubble car - Mercedes Smart is a failure in every sense of the word.

For a failure it is doing remarkably well. Here in Europe it has now been for sale for more than a decade, and there are no signs that its market is collapsing. It's true that not everyone is driving it, but if that is the benchmark, nowadays all cars are failures.

And the Google bubble car will be as popular as Segway.

The Segway also doesn't look like it will go away in the near future, it has found a few niches (e.g. getting around fast in large buildings such as airports and shopping malls, and guided tours for tourists).

Also, Google's bubble car is just an experimental platform for now.

about 2 months ago

VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email

mean pun Re:It's not however... (348 comments)

So because some people might use the information to do harm then no of us are allowed to see it? That makes sense!

It is more like: because the only reason to get this information is to do harm, none of us are allowed to see it. Makes sense, no?

about 3 months ago

Apple's Spotty Record of Giving Back To the Tech Industry

mean pun Re:Steve Jobs' culture (268 comments)

But still, somehow, you know and it makes him even better in your eyes. Interesting that.

There can be many reasons why this knowledge became public. Yet you seem to imply one particular reason. Interesting that.

about 3 months ago

Bugs In SCADA Software Leave 7,600 Factories Vulnerable

mean pun Re:Incompetent programming in a bad language (70 comments)

Nice idea that is long overdue, but perhaps a better way to get this accepted is to implement this in a real high-profile compiler such as llvm/clang.

I'm afraid, however, that the Real Men Don't Need Bound Checks mentality that is prevalent among C programmers will be a big obstacle.

about 4 months ago


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