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Comments

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Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

mr_mischief Re:Militia, then vs now (1608 comments)

In what universe was the US Constitution written to ensure economic equality. In this one it was written to ensure equality under the law, which we have enough problems realizing.

5 days ago
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How 'DevOps' Is Killing the Developer

mr_mischief Re:You mean devs don't do ops? (225 comments)

Yes. In some organizations developers develop the applications, sysadmins administer the systems, and a dedicated devops team figures out automating deployment of the systems configurations and the applications. This allows the people who aren't cross-disciplinary to focus on their strengths. The devops team will often do some limited development, but it's not development of the application.

DevOps builds tools to enhance system administration and application management like monitoring plugins, configuration management rules, plugin libraries for the configuration management system (like Puppet or Chef), any customizations to service startup and shutdown scripts, and templates for the service configuration files. We build middleware systems and the management and failover setup so that sysadmin can focus lower down the hardware/software spectrum and the application developers don't have to code for which database server is their primary and which is their failover at the application level.

Sysadmins are the ones on call that handle the hardware, the capacity planning, the spin-up of systems, and the troubleshooting of the OS, hardware, and system services like database or mail servers. Application developers design and implement the application. DevOps make sure the deployment and management of the service configurations, system user accounts, config files, the application, and all the supporting software required from upstream by all of those things is repeatable, centrally managed, and documented.

about a week ago
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Seven Habits of Highly Effective Unix Admins

mr_mischief I hate to break it to you... (136 comments)

If you are not doing active improvements, planning for failover, and using good configuration management techniques then your slow time is adding to the number of hurry-up-and-fix-all-the-things times. There are always external matters like heartbleed that will come along, as a sysadmin's job is not to review the memory allocator in the SSL library regularly. However, if your web services or mail services are down because a single system went offline then you're to be blaming yourself.

about two weeks ago
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93 Harvard Faculty Members Call On the University To Divest From Fossil Fuels

mr_mischief Who is best situated to replace oil and coal? (214 comments)

The companies that offer the energy now are in many cases (but not all) the best positioned to invest in future energy sources. They have distribution networks with rights of way for oil, gas, and electric. Deep geothermal needs drills just like gas and oil does. The gasoline sellers have the convenience stores for quick charging stations, battery swaps, or refills of hydrogen or methanol for fuel cells.

If you cut investment in energy companies that plan on being at the forefront of investment of any viable new energy model, all you're doing is making it harder for them to invest in those new models. The worst case is that by cutting investment in the energy giants this way you start a long, protracted battle between new energy companies and old ones rather than getting the old ones excited about new ways to sell energy.

about two weeks ago
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Theo De Raadt's Small Rant On OpenSSL

mr_mischief Re:So what is an alternative to OpenSSL? (301 comments)

GnuTLS, which recently people were being told to avoid in favor of OpenSSL. You see, there was this bug...

about two weeks ago
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Theo De Raadt's Small Rant On OpenSSL

mr_mischief Re:Summary. (301 comments)

That's all true and correct. When you do that, though, you need to do at least as good a job as what you're circumventing. In this case OpenSSL didn't.

about two weeks ago
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Navy Debuts New Railgun That Launches Shells at Mach 7

mr_mischief Re:IANA Physicist, So... (630 comments)

Hydrogen _is_ both fuel and air. So is methane (sort of). Oxygen is not fuel. Oxygen is oxidizer. Hence the "oxi" in "oxidizer".

about two weeks ago
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Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?

mr_mischief Quit bitching and download Visual Studio Express. (226 comments)

Visual Studio Express is Microsoft's zero-cash programming environment. Why do you want a high-cost office suite with a lousy macro engine to be discounted to free when they already offer their actual development suite pro bono. It's upgradeable to more complete Visual Studio versions later. This will encourage Microsoft-centric code, but that can be avoided and it's less specific of a tie-in than VBA. C#, C, C++, and more are included.

If you don't want to be tied to Microsoft-specific tools even on Windows there are other options. Those include other office suites and other actual development tools.

LibreOffice/OpenOffice have OOBasic and can be scripted with Python and Java if you really want. These things are zero-cash and open source.

You can use Lazarus and FreePascal (Wikipedia article about FreePascal) or Eclipse and Java/C/C++ if you'd rather. Or you could use Eric and Python. Or Padre and Strawberry Perl, complete with MinGW. Some of the IDEs are more or less general and language agnostic, while others are mainly narrowly targeted.

Don't forget MsysGit (git for Windows) if you're not using Cygwin and haven't already chosen a version control system.

Really, you could be teaching with a good programmer's editor rather than specifically with IDEs too. vim, Emacs, jEdit, Gedit, and others are applicable. Some of them are powerful enough to make that line between editors and IDEs very fuzzy.

What, exactly, would a free copy of Word get you that isn't already available?

about two weeks ago
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Should Microsoft Be Required To Extend Support For Windows XP?

mr_mischief Re:Linux needs to step up (650 comments)

Hell, you can get a decent non-enthusiast desktop with the new operating system for under $400 now. What people should be bitching about is how much hassle it still is for the average non-geek to get the applications from the old XP machine to the new shiny 7 or 8 machine with settings intact.

about two weeks ago
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Should Microsoft Be Required To Extend Support For Windows XP?

mr_mischief Re:Linux needs to step up (650 comments)

Actually OS X is free now if you own the hardware. The hardware is expensive, though.

about two weeks ago
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Should Microsoft Be Required To Extend Support For Windows XP?

mr_mischief Re:Microsoft still provide support for Windows XP (650 comments)

In the US there's a good chance that medical office software mentioned needs to be upgraded by October to deal with ICD-10 anyway. Anyone who does that large of a code change and still won't support a newer operating system than XP needs to not be writing software that stores medical data.

about two weeks ago
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P vs. NP Problem Linked To the Quantum Nature of the Universe

mr_mischief Re:!P is not NP and NP-Hard is not NP-Complete (199 comments)

P is things known to be solvable in polynomial time on a classical computer. NP is things that may be solvable on a classical computer in polynomial time given some discovery we've not yet made. Therefore NP may be (but probably isn't) a subset of P.

about three weeks ago
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P vs. NP Problem Linked To the Quantum Nature of the Universe

mr_mischief !P is not NP and NP-Hard is not NP-Complete (199 comments)

See the subject.

NP-Hard is not the same thing as NP-Complete the last time I checked. Neither is NP yet known to be non-P nor P. That's why it's NP (nondeterministic polynomial). P would never be equal to NP. NP may be a subset of P. There are problems that are both NP-hard and NP-complete, but not all NP-hard problems are NP-complete. That means that solving one NP-hard problem is not necessarily equivalent to solving the NP-complete problem set.

about three weeks ago
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Your Car Will Tell You How To Hit the Next Green Light

mr_mischief Re:Victoria (364 comments)

Houston, for one, so long as you're one of the first few cars at the light.

about three weeks ago
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Synthetic Chromosomes Successfully Integrated Into Brewer's Yeast

mr_mischief Re:We Can Rebuild It (107 comments)

It would also make higher-alcohol distiller's beer available so less energy has to go into distilling for hard liquor or for fuel alcohol.

about three weeks ago
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Homeopathic Remedies Recalled For Containing Real Medicine

mr_mischief Re:FDA, why not FTC too? (173 comments)

In your dream world you'd involve two huge government bureaucracies when one accomplished the recall without the other? I can see handing off from one to the other if they were still causing the problem and the first agency was unable to change the behavior. Maybe we should think a bit before pulling in all the coordination costs up front though when they may not be necessary.

about a month ago
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Tesla's Fight With Car Dealers Could Help Decide the Next Presidential Election

mr_mischief ummm... the government mandates franchise areas? (282 comments)

No, the government doesn't decide how many car dealerships for a manufacturer there are in a region. That's between the manufacturer and the dealers.

"The widespread franchise rules giving car dealers virtual monopolies in their territories epitomize the government-controlled marketplace Republicans purportedly despise". No. The regulation we're talking about here is whether or not car dealers can ban direct manufacturer-to-consumer sales. There is no government regulation of which I'm aware on geographical monopoly areas for dealerships.

In states that ban direct sales of cars to consumers there's an enforced oligopoly of dealers for new cars. It is nothing close to a monopoly. There is a distinct difference.

about a month ago
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One Billion Android Devices Open To Privilege Escalation

mr_mischief Re:Imagine the reverse (117 comments)

I doubt your claim that "most [...] educational institutions" have access to Windows source code. I'd really like to see documentation for such a bold claim.

I'm also not sure why my post was modded flamebait for pointing out that Microsoft found bugs in someone's open platform (which happens to be the competition they currently appear most worried about) but that their own model precludes that. Are you saying that Google has access to Windows Phone's source? I'd like documentation of that, too.

about a month ago
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One Billion Android Devices Open To Privilege Escalation

mr_mischief Imagine the reverse (117 comments)

Think of all the help Microsoft could get spotting security flaws if Google and Stanford could look through the Windows source whenever they chose.

about 1 month ago

Submissions

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Bill to ban sales of prepaid wireless without ID

mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "The Washington Post headline reads: "New proposal would require identification to buy prepaid cellphones".

According to the Washington Post, "A bipartisan pair of Senate leaders have introduced a first-of-its-kind bill aimed at stopping terrorist suspects such as the would-be Times Square bomber from hiding their identities by using prepaid cellphones to plot their attacks." The proposal says the term of retention by the phone companies should last until eighteen months after deactivation.

At least The Post mentions some of the problems, which is better than many others covering the story. They cover the need for anonymous communications for battered spouses, whistleblowers, and others. They also note the concern that it could be a precursor to registered-only communications on the Internet.

Mobiledia quotes Chuck Schumer as, ""This proposal is overdue because for years terrorists, drug kingpins and gang members have stayed one step ahead of the law by using prepaid phones that are hard to trace," said Schumer. "There's no reason why it should still be this easy for terror plotters to cover their tracks."

Mobiledia goes on to compare freedoms about electronics in the US to, of all places, Thailand, Singapore, and Australia. "Several countries, including Australia, Germany, Japan, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland and Thailand, already require prepaid buyers to register their information."

According to Rueters, Republican John Conryn is quoted as, "A major lesson we've learned from the investigation and arrest of Faisal Shahzad is that we must require individuals purchasing a prepaid cell phone in this country to provide verified identifying information," Cornyn said (emphasis added by submitter to Slashdot).

Michael McAuliff of The New York Daily News editorializes, "We suspect most people will like this measure, but the phone companies, libertarians, and immigrant groups may not be pleased."

Is this really an important power of government, or is it just more grabbing of the privacy and security of normal Americans using a questionable rallying cry?"

Link to Original Source
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Google updates Chrome EULA

mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "According to The Register and confirmed at Chrome's EULA page, the objectionable parts of Chrome's license as reported in Slashdot story Reading Google Chrome's Fine Print have been removed.

Rebecca Ward is the Senior Product Counsel for Google Chrome. When asked about the debacle and the public outcry, she said, "In order to keep things simple for our users, we try to use the same set of legal terms (our Universal Terms of Service) for many of our products. Sometimes, as in the case of Google Chrome, this means that the legal terms for a specific product may include terms that don't apply well to the use of that product. We are working quickly to remove language from Section 11 of the current Google Chrome terms of service. This change will apply retroactively to all users who have downloaded Google Chrome."

Matt Cutts over at Google called the license snafu, "clearly a mistake" and said he should have been "grateful to the people that pointed it out". He apologizes for his initial "strident" reaction in his blog."
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Washington Post labels Kennedy from Illinois

mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "It's a common theme on Slashdot to point out sloppy reporting, especially around tech or science articles. I thought I'd point out this US political snafu from a paper that should know better — The Washington Post has Senator Ted Kennedy labeled as a Democrat from Illinois. Too bad he's from Massachusetts. Perhaps this sloppy reporting problem has as much to do with hurrying the stories as having no clue about what's being reported."
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Fallout 3 deemed unsuitable for sale in Australia

mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "According to GameSpot, PC World, and PSX Extreme, the Office of Film and Literature Classification has refused to classify Bethesda's third installment to the venerable series.

Games apparently need to be classified with a rating to be legal for sale in Australia. The most adult-oriented classification for games is for material suitable for the age of 15 and over. That means the OFLC deems something in the game — rumored to be use of the drug morphine, although there are no details as to why on the OFLC site — is unsuitable for those under 15. There are higher classifications for other media."
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Switchgrass -- a biofuel source for the US?

mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "SciAm reports that farmers and USDA scientists have tracked the energy inputs into a native perennial grass over a five-year period. They've also tracked the output, and they say there's a 540% surplus of energy harvested over what's put in by the farmers. It even grows on land that's not good enough farmland for raising food and fiber crops. The catch is that it requires cellulose to ethanol conversion, which unlike sugar to ethanol conversion is not yet a commercial concern in the US.

The DOE intends to help change the picture by partially funding six refineries for cellulosic biorefineries to the tune of $1.2 billion.

It certainly sounds better than ethanol from corn, but we'll have to wait to see if this is the fuel source of the near future in the US."
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Another Google cross-domain vulnerability fixed

mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "The Register reports that a vulnerability allowed exploiting Google Docs to access information stored in users' GMail accounts. The bug is said to be fixed now. It was possible using proof-of-concept code to grab Gmail contact lists as witnessed by the reporters. The developer of the PoC says he could just as easily grab actual email messages or other user data on Google's servers until the hole was closed."
Link to Original Source
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CNet reporter calls for Microsoft to abandon Vista

mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "As it's hard to miss the stories lately, all of us on /. are likely to know people are underwhelmed with Windows Vista. Well, Don Reisinger over at CNet's News.com is not quite just underwhelmed. He suggests that Vista may be the downfall of Microsoft because the company has really just missed the mark with the operating system. Despite years in development, Reisinger says Vista was delivered to market too early. He also says it's overpriced and plain doesn't work well enough for its users, among other complaints. His suggestion? Support those who are running it, but ditch Vista and move on."
Link to Original Source
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$199 Linux laptop

mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mr_mischief writes "According to Hot Hardware's recent review, Asus is getting ready to unleash a $199 compact notbook running Linux. This is entirely different from this recent $150 Linux laptop story which many Slashdot readers believ to be a scam.

There's a dual-mode menu which offers a simple system for novice computer users, and a slightly more advanced version for others. It's not aimed squarely at the same market as the One Laptop Per Child project's XO, and is expected to be sold to end suers worldwide. It's targeted at new users who don't own a computer or at people who want a cheap, small laptop for basic tasks.

The reviewed version has a 7" screen and a cramped keyboard to match, but a 10" version is available for $100 more. It offers built-in wired and wireless networking,four USB 2.0 ports, and a three-hour battery life. The storage options are a bit cramped, as you only get 4 GB of onboard storage (8 GB on the $299 model) and no optical drive. As the review says, though, USB 2.0 can make up for that if you like, and the lack of moving drive parts makes the machine run dead quiet."

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

mr_mischief (456295) writes "Got Firefox? Get it updated!

The Mozilla Foundation has released an important security update for Firefox 2.0 which fixes eight vulnerabilities (five of them rated critical) among other things.

Patches are also available for Firefox 1.5.0.x and Thunderbird 1.5.0.x as well.

See Secunia's advisory to find out more about security issues with memory corruption in the JavaScript and layout engines, a heap-based buffer overflow handling Windows bitmaps, a couple of arbitrary HTML/script vulnerabilities and what appear to be a couple of arbitrary native code vulnerabilities."
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mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "It turns out that circumcision, which some berate as a cruel and primitive practice while others say helps in cleanliness and disease control, may actually have a significant impact on the spread of certain diseases. In particular, the BBC is reporting a US National Institutes of Health study in whichthe practice cut HIV transmission rates from women to heterosexual men by about 50%.

While doctors understandably don't want to promote promiscuous sex and 50% is still too strong a chance of transmitting such a serious disease, the recommendation is that circumcision be part of a plan to combat the disease.

Although every disease is different, I wonder if it's clear enough to people that if one disease is slowed by this practice that it probably has some effect in slowing some other diseases as well."
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mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "EETimes reports Microsoft is working on standardizing a robotics platform and development for it. They want to make it easier to develop robots, starting with the IDE and development environment and continuing through specifying acceptable hardware, just like for PCs and Windows CE devices.

What's next, the MS directives of robotic behavior, including "Do not allow Microsoft to be harmed through your actions or inactions", and "Do not play music, movies, or games that are not from cartel-approved suppliers?""
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mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "Microsoft has a bulletin about a vulnerability for something called Vector Markup Language. Security Focus has one too.

Vector Markup Language was a proposed web standard that was passed on by the standards bodies and which was both subsumed and superseded by Scalable Vector Graphics.

Despite VML being passed over and another alternative being made a standard, Microsoft implemented it anyway. In the implementation there is a security problem that MS says can allow an attacker total control of a target system.

If it's nonstandard, duplicating functionality offered by a standard, and they can't be bothered to do it right the first time, perhaps they shouldn't preinstall it on millions of computers around the world. How could Microsoft actually get enough of an edge from undercutting a fairly widely implemented standard with a dangerous implementation that it is financially worthwhile for them? Wouldn't be better for them in the long run to just implement the standard, or is there some huge installed base of VML somewhere that I'm just missing?"

Journals

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Is Acclaim really being forward-thinking with Top Secret?

mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  about 7 years ago

I saw this message when I went to their site to look it over using Firefox 2.0.0.3:

Welcome to Acclaim!
We recommend viewing the Acclaim site
with Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0. You can
use other browsers but you may not receive
the full experience.

WTF? And they want to tell me they're a groundbreaking software house? Check out the groundbreaking work they're doing in your favorite browser and see what it says.

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