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"Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

niftymitch Perception dominated the ... (541 comments)

Perception dominated the knee jerk reaction.

In my experience modern computers and operating systems
are beyond any one person knowing all the answers.

I recall working with an astoundingly clever and smart network type
that was tasked with tuning the lowest nasty bits of the network
stack. However he had no experience in setting a machine up
and installing a base system and adding initial users so he could
test what he was doing.

Same is true for a lady hardware designer. A true wizard at termination
of very high speed transmission lines and world class in coding VHDL
to eliminate random TTL logic on a board... Again the random decisions
made for setting up a user could not be deduced from raw logic....

The toy company should have had an ethnic and gender mixed help desk.
But that does not give the foolish critics a free ride.

2 days ago

Ask Slashdot: Programming Education Resources For a Year Offline?

niftymitch Re:Intro to algorithms. (223 comments)

Solar charger, battery, Raspberry-Pi side loaded with compilers
extra boot memory cards..... Hunt the new RasPi with microSD slot
and improved USB power. HTML5 is new enough to study.

Haskell is high on my list as is a good lisp. Never ignore Python.

about a week ago

The Great IT Hiring He-Said / She-Said

niftymitch Re:There's a clue shortage (574 comments)

X years... and product/ language only out for Y...
So true...
In 1996 I saw a job description mandating ten years of experience with Java.

about three weeks ago

Russia Takes Down Steve Jobs Memorial After Apple's Tim Cook Comes Out

niftymitch Re:Never mind that Steve Jobs was not gay (430 comments)

Evidently gay is highly contagious. Scientists say it's not airborne, but some of them have got it, so there's obviously a lot they don't know about how gay is spread. It stands to reason we should do everything we an think of to reduce the public exposure to gay.

I can see the global angst now as a current US president sits down
in front of a fireplace with a handful of trusted but silent aids to reassure
the nation and the world that "gay" is not contagious if you wear
head to toe protective....

Then in less than a week he or she imports a word like tzar from Russia
to explain it all.....

about three weeks ago

Russia Takes Down Steve Jobs Memorial After Apple's Tim Cook Comes Out

niftymitch Re:Because (430 comments)

You heard it here first, folks-- no shirt? You gay, buddy.

These pederasts. I swear, m8.

Burqas for boys... seems to be the next step....

about three weeks ago

New Clock May End Time As We Know It

niftymitch Does it run Android? (1 comments)

I was hoping this was a new Android wrist watch.
Sadly it was not when I looked at the original article.

Sill it is cool as heck.... Recall the palmdale bulge that might have
been a 10cm uplift of the bed rock. This could measure this...

An array of these clocks in well chosen places might tell us a lot
about this little blue ball we live on.

Since this is the first week after some of the globe flipped off Daylight Savings Time
it is obvious to me that the old WWV radio controlled clocks are so last year.
I would like to see some NTP-WiFi + WWV + GPS clock designs. Perhaps with
better displays than the current pile of fixed 7 segment type display.

Cool as heck... but I doubt I can afford one today.

about three weeks ago

Space Tourism Isn't Worth Dying For

niftymitch Everest was so last year. (594 comments)

Climbing Everest has become so last year that a new
expression of "stuff" is needed.

So up up and away....

BTW: Everest is lethal too.

about three weeks ago

Pianist Asks Washington Post To Remove Review Under "Right To Be Forgotten"

niftymitch Selective.... I say not. (257 comments)

If he wants to be forgotten then "forget him".

Invoking the right to be forgotten should not be selective.
Flush it all and let us not visit this again.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?

niftymitch Moving... (613 comments)

Moving back to Arizona I am...

about three weeks ago

FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

niftymitch Re:On the other hand... (700 comments)

If they work, I don't care. The scumbags bricking devices are the problem.

There are a couple dirtbags here.
First the math:
Three dirtbags does not equal a scumbag.

The initial dirtbag would be the clowns that made parts that reported that
they were a different part but not also acted differently but were a lame
subset of the original. Fraud on the data sheet or marking on the part
is worthy of prosecution.

The second dirtbag is FTDI that can effectively disable a vastly more extensive and
expensive device and deny the purchaser that did nothing wrong and has no possibility
of auditing the content of the device they purchased.

The third dirtbag is the vendor that knowingly uses a less costly part or the distributor
that delivers a less costly part knowing or turning a blind eye to the fact that the
alternate part is a sad knockoff.

Counterfeiters are a real problem and in the modern age of 3D printing
are likely to find another media to abuse.

I dislike the strategy taken by FTDI it attacks the end user and risks others -- furthest from the fraud
and least likely to know or be able to know anything about the abuse of the trespassing on FTDI's
design intellectual property.

about a month ago

How Nigeria Stopped Ebola

niftymitch Re:That works fine if you manage to nip it in the (381 comments)

Do not forget that the EPA shut the incinerators off in these hospitals.

As for the dozen or so high isolation beds in the US that FoX and others wants
all patients to be sent to... Oh wait there are many in isolation and only
13 beds... 1,2,3, many... none can count high enough for sure.

The way to think about these 13 beds is that they are 13 lab rat cages.
Not designed for anything beyond experimental access to astoundingly
ill individuals.

about a month ago

The CDC Is Carefully Controlling How Scared You Are About Ebola

niftymitch Flat footed a bit. (478 comments)

The CDC is a bureaucratic machine.
It has a US centric view... it does not have a global charter.
It does watch for things outside the US but depends on others.

They seem to be almost flat footed on this. Had the folk in
Texas not stumbled they would look good. The folk in Texas did
step on it and now are trying to catch up.

If they had done their job and the politicians done their day job
we would have seen Governors, Mayors, President Obama formally
introduce experts then sit down and listen. However they wanted
camera time, they wanted to be in charge and here we go.

Early on I had a question about Ebola and because I could I submitted
a question that took a day to frame (unlike this 40 second /.). A week
later I got a reply... that was in effect "good question, we do not have
an answer today, we will and here is where you need to look.
Very responsible, very organized but navigates like three oil tankers
and two aircraft carriers tied together with half a million rolls of duct
tape. Slow ponderous relentless... comes to mind. Something about
five captains and a couple dozen tug boat captains applies too.

I went looking for my favorite kitchen rubber gloves today at my
favorite big box shop.... None. Like bottled water after the Napa
quake they have apparently been shipped to high demand locations like Texas
and I hope Africa. There were still gloves that work fine but not
my favorite type in the large economy box. Lots of them at the
local flu shot clinic today so the medical community here is golden.

I should give the important SUMMARY:
My meatloaf smushing and habanero slicing is still safe.

about a month ago

Who's In Charge During the Ebola Crisis?

niftymitch Re:No the constitution is fine.. (279 comments)

As scary as Ebola is it may not qualify as an emergency we have
common problems from influenza, food poisoning, pneumonia that
kill more...

Wait, the flu, food poisoning and pneumonia kill 70% of those infected!?

WTF, why didnt you start telling us all that beforehand! This is a global catastrophe!!! Once the flu season hits again, billions of people are gong to die! BILLIONS!

FUCK, the end of civilization is less than a year away! What are we going to do!? ...oh wait a this for real, or are you talking absolute shit and know figuratively nothing about ebola and its previous outbreaks?

Please let me know, so I can decide whether to start planning for the end of the world or not.

In one case we have tens of thousands infected and in the other case we have (today) less than a dozen in the US.
70% is nasty but 70% of a dozen small compared to the thousands of fatalities associated with influenza alone.

My point is that if we diminish the impact of viral infections we know how to manage we would free up
staff to address Ebola correctly. Todays news noted that there had been 5000 false alarms.
The same news noted that it takes 20 trained professionals to care for a patient in full quarantine.
If Ebola and influenza+49 others get mixed at the intake of hospitals to the point that all influenza and food poisoning
cases require twenty professionals for 48-72 hours our system will crumble.

Since sanitation is the common best tool society at large has at its disposal... and since
hand washing is low cost, requires minimum training and has good impact to the larger problem
I believe it is an important and necessary activity to encourage.

Time for me to wash my hands and go and give blood.

about a month ago

Who's In Charge During the Ebola Crisis?

niftymitch No the constitution is fine.. (279 comments)

"general welfare" as part of the spending power section is all that congress
needs to craft well considered laws.

Federal agencies could be funded to establish top level technical resources.
States could then move forward.

Emergencies open doors as well....

As scary as Ebola is it may not qualify as an emergency we have
common problems from influenza, food poisoning, pneumonia that
kill more...

However congress could declare Ebola in Africa and others problems
as a health risk to the US and fund emergency actions.

My gut reaction is if citizens were to take personal responsibility
and act on all the common influenza, food handling, common cold
basic sanitation programs Ebola would vanish only to be found in
footnotes referencing a small number of individuals and hospitals in
the US. Sadly Africa is still behind the eight ball in this disaster.

about a month ago

Raspberry Pi Sales Approach 4 Million

niftymitch Re:Alternative? (146 comments)

What would be like RaspPi, but without the USB problem?

The RaspPi model B+ with 4 USB ports. They've fixed electrical problems, added IO pins and greatly improved the physical layout.

Yes the latest revision is much improved.

The RaspPi as a teaching tool is unmatched.
It is less expensive than most textbooks.
Replace the SD card and it is a new OS or new test project.

As a teaching tool any part from u-boot up to modern computer languages
and multiple OS distributions are all possible. Multiple node MPI clusters
are easy to assemble which allows distributed multiple noded distributed
computation research to begin (they are slow as slugs though).

At this price it is a computer any class can require for all their students.

Those expecting classes in MS word from their computer "science" department
will be disappointed.

Hardware expansion is possible with minimum difficulty.

about a month ago

Bugzilla Bug Exposes Zero-Day Bugs

niftymitch Re:Headline does not match subject (34 comments)

You get administrative rights, ......
1.The bug enables unknown users to gain administrative privileges ......

I suspect the NSA noticed they were not the only ones lurking and slurping up bugs.
Too early in the season for snow to tell anyone they were done.

about a month and a half ago

Object Oriented Linux Kernel With C++ Driver Support

niftymitch Re:Why do people still care about C++ for kernel d (365 comments)

C++ is an enormously powerful and comprehensive language, and it relies on the programmer or organization to use a reasonable subset of it and use good judgement in applying any given feature. ......

Good judgement... made me giggle.
At this point C and C++ are both just wrong for a long list of reasons....
However there have been advanced in database technology and programming
language design to a degree that one could be optimistic.

Knuth worked with a language subset to craft TeX and Metafont... translators like p2c
took that cautious work and emitted C.

There is almost no assembler left in Linux because of compiler improvements.
In a decade one might say "there is almost no C left".

C++ has power and is an interesting choice but the ability to muddy the
design standards with C is just too easy.

Perhaps it is time to dust off some of the good old languages and make
a short list -- and design the next player.

about a month and a half ago

Ebola Has Made It To the United States

niftymitch Re:Asymptomatic people are not contagious (475 comments)

You are correct the problem with our modern hospitals is they would quickly be overwhelmed, my wife was in the local hospital last week inI the ICU ward, we live in a small town of about 10,000 people, the local hospital serves a population of about 25,000 people, and the ICU ward has a total of 8 beds, 3 to 5 of them were occupied when she was there.

And ICU is not full contagious in/out quarantine. i.e. It is most likely bias designed to
keep bugs from getting into the ICU and infecting patients not out.

The necessary full feature Ebola medical facility is a difficult challenge
and more involved than most MRSA protocols which are still a good start.

about 2 months ago

Ebola Has Made It To the United States

niftymitch Re:They need to lock this down now! (475 comments)

Why are you telling us? I'm sure the nincompoops at CDC are standing around by the water cooler trying to figure out what to do and they're certainly not reading slashdot! Quick! Get on the phone and lend them your expertise in this area!

My mental image of this has them in moon suites.

The big risks would be gatherings... even at work, at the market.

The key saving grace I can see is this is a fragile virus and common bleach and sunlight can knock it back a long way.
Every fast food shop I know maintains a sufficient standard of sanitation that I know I will not starve
as long as they stay open and the freezer stays full of processed food like stuff.

about 2 months ago

Ebola Has Made It To the United States

niftymitch Re:Basic income from a millionaire's perspective? (475 comments)

As I wrote here:
"Right now, a profit driven health care system has sized emergency rooms for average needs, and those emergency rooms are often full. .........

One awkward truth is the ability to quarantine and isolate the folk running a fever and complaining is beyond the system.
Consider that some 5-20% of the US population get the flu and in the first 48 hours there is no easy way to isolate and maintain those
folk with the flu. Heck hospital food is terrible but hospital kitchens could not muster meals for 5% of the population for 48 hours.
"Initial signs and symptoms are nonspecific and may include fever, chills, myalgias, and malaise. Fever, anorexia, asthenia/weakness are the most common signs and symptoms. .....
"Due to these nonspecific symptoms particularly early in the course, EVD can often be confused with other more common infectious diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever, meningococcemia, and other bacterial infections (e.g., pneumonia)."

Today it is novel and clearly has a "traveler from " component. Should it escape Africa and the
bounded list become unbounded we have a problem Houston.

about 2 months ago



Ebola and the War of the Worlds

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  about a month ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "Compare and contrast todays news coverage on Ebola and the topic of the upcoming PBS special replay:
War of the Worlds
Aired: 10/29/2013 52:10 Rating: NR
Shortly after 8 p.m. on the Halloween Eve, 1938, a panicked radio announcer broke in with a report that Martians had landed in the tiny town of Grovers Mill, New Jersey. Although most listeners understood that the program was a radio drama, the next day's headlines reported that thousands of others plunged into panic. It turned out to be H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds performed by Orson Welles."

Link to Original Source

Sure blame the computer -- Ebola

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  about a month and a half ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes ""The Dallas hospital treating a patient with Ebola blamed a flaw in its electronic health records as the reason he was first released despite telling a nurse he had come from West Africa".
Now blame the computer....

OK flabbergasted I am. The blame game begins.
Five individuals under voluntary quarantine were threatened by officials
for going out to get food. Now under mandatory quarantine.

Silly rabbits know.
Quarantine for 21 days without food is tantamount to a death sentence.
Especially with screaming healthy small children inside a 1000 sq ft apartment.
If there are any complications starvation is serious.. Yes M. Ganhdi did fast for 21 days...

Removal of soiled linens and the bed but no plan to replace them will have
them sleeping on the floor. Oh wait now the carpet must be ripped out because
the carpet is now bedding.

Removal of common trash. Can common water bottles be recycled with other
trash. Can food scraps be composed in the local landfill."

Link to Original Source

A Polygraph is not private, OH MY....

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  about 4 months ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "

"TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – WIAT 42 News has obtained a copy of Justin “Ross” Harris’ personnel file from the time that he was employed as a dispatcher with the Tuscaloosa Police Department. The documents detail Harris’ employment history, some drug use, and the results of a polygraph test that was conducted before his hire. Harris was hired as a tele communicator basic with the police department in June of 2006. He was promoted in his second year with the department, and then in May 2009, he resigned."

This is a tangle of astounding reach. A polygraph is a process to coerce "honesty" from individuals... But there is no US constitutional protection and no privacy as this release demonstrates."
Link to Original Source


SF-fire-chief-bans-helmet-cameras BUT WHY?

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  about a year ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "San Francisco's fire chief has explicitly banned firefighters from using helmet-mounted video cameras, after images from a battalion chief's Asiana Airlines crash recording became public and led to questions about first responders' actions leading up to a fire rig running over a survivor."
Link to Original Source

Like this cannot be hacked...

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  about a year and a half ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "Like this can never be hacked.... One can hope.

"A high-tech startup is wading into the gun control debate with a wireless controller that would allow gun owners to know when their weapon is being moved — and disable it remotely.

"The technology, but not an actual gun, was demonstrated Tuesday at a wireless technology conference in Las Vegas and was shown to The Associated Press in advance. It comes at a time when lawmakers around the U.S. are considering contentious smart gun laws that would require new guns to include high-tech devices that limit who can fire them.""

Link to Original Source

Should health departments relax in emergencies?... radiation did it...

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  about a year and a half ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "State health officials said several vendors have set up in Moore to help provide food to residents and workers in the area, but some are failing to follow basic health guidelines. Cleveland County Health Department officials say there have been reports of numerous vendors in the area giving away or selling food for people living and working in the area.

The director of the state health department's consumer health service, K.C. Ely, says that while they appreciate that people want to help, they are finding "multiple food safety hazards."

Ely said a check of several vendors found no means for washing hands, water, screening, overhead protection or other basic food safety requirements."

Link to Original Source

Man Jailed in UK 4 fake detectors.

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  about a year and a half ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes ""A British judge on Thursday sentenced a businessman who sold fake bomb detectors to 10 years in jail, saying the millionaire had shown a cavalier disregard for potentially fatal consequences.

"James McCormick made an estimated 50 million pounds ($77.8 million) from the sales of his non-working detectors — which were based on a novelty golf ball finder — to countries including Iraq, Belgium, Niger and Saudi Arabia."

Now will the purveyors of the of those body scanners to the TSA be next?"

Link to Original Source

CNN anchor Deb Feyerick opened with a rather odd question

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  about 2 years ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "The fifth branch of the US gvment needs an education!

On Friday, an asteroid will come within 17,000 miles of the Earth—“a very close shave” by space standards, as my colleague Phil Plait puts it on Bad Astronomy. Recently, Bill Nye the Science Guy went on CNN to discuss the phenomenon—and anchor Deb Feyerick opened with a rather odd question: “Is this an effect of perhaps global warming?”

BTW: The fourth branch is special interest groups."

Link to Original Source

Moo, Tracking School Children With RFID

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  more than 2 years ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "Just as the U.S. Department of Agriculture mandates Radio Frequency Identification Device chips to monitor livestock, a Texas school district just begun implanting the devices on student identification cards to monitor pupils’ movements on campus, and to track them as they come and go from school.

Tagging school children with RFID chips is uncommon, but not new.

The risk is in the abuse. Merchants and many many more locations can deploy readers and track these passive ID tags. The result is that it is not only the school that can track the students."

Link to Original Source

The clairvoyant patent.. OMG #7,958,388

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  more than 2 years ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "And I quote from US patent 7,958,388
United States Patent 7,958,388
Bullen , et al. June 7, 2011
"The above description of the preferred embodiments has been given by way of example. From the disclosure given, those skilled in the art shall understand the invention and its advantages, but will also find apparent various changes and modifications that can be made to the methods and structures disclosed. We seek therefore to cover all such changes and modifications as fall within the spirit and scope of the invention, as defined by the appended claims and equivalents thereof. Thus, it is intended that the specification and examples be considered as exemplary only, with a true scope and spirit of the invention being indicated by the following claims."

Which I take to claim that anything a workman like programmer discovers as missing is included even if they have not thought of it yet.


It is illegal to talk.

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  more than 2 years ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "Apparently it is illegal to talk about the superbowl. .....descriptions are a violation of copyright. Listen closely right before the commercials and you will find yourself being told that not only are unauthorized reproductions a no-no, but so are..."
Link to Original Source

Zappos - zapped

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  more than 2 years ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "Zappos tells us.

"First, the bad news:

"We are writing to let you know that there may have been illegal and unauthorized access to some of your customer account information on, including one or more of the following: your name, e-mail address, billing and shipping addresses, phone number, the last four digits of your credit card number (the standard information you find on receipts), and/or your cryptographically scrambled password (but not your actual password).""

Link to Original Source

How to file a friend of court brief?

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  more than 3 years ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "What is unique and novel in Patent number: 7822816 System and method for data management J. David Payne...

This claim sounds like BSD "learn" to me:
      "creating a questionnaire comprising a series of questions" or even the SAT tests. With swizzled bubble .vs. question mechanism to make shoulder surfing near impossibe.

Another sounds like classic bubble test read by a machine and even Myers brigs tests.
  "tokenizing said questionnaire; thereby producing a plurality of tokens representing said questionnaire".

This is hitting the courts in MacroSolve, Inc. v. Whoop, Inc.; U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas; Civil Action No. 6:11-cv-00523

The whole thing reads like: "I patent the use of the following things when used in the manner that they were designed for and intended to be used." i.e I patent any method where when you have a hammer and you hammer nails.

The mention of XML is interesting because the design of XML was to address difficult to maintain compact data encoding methods. i.e. compact encoding predates XML.

Another claim reads like the "dragon book" where compact intermediate tokens are designed to be used as input for another program.

Anyhow the captcha for this is :retard: which makes me wonder if /. is a magic eight ball in disguise. Is it the patent or me.."

Obama Tax Plan implemented at ATT

niftymitch niftymitch writes  |  more than 3 years ago

niftymitch (1625721) writes "AT&T announced that it will reduce the data throughput speed of its biggest data users on the unlimited data plan. The company stated it's responding to the explosive growth in data usage and the network congestion that comes with it. ......
Instead, it's targeting the top 5 percent of heaviest data users on the unlimited plan, who use 12 times more data than other users, according to AT&T."

Link to Original Source


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