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Linus Torvalds Promises Profanity Over Linux 3.10-rc5

npsimons Read and learn (334 comments)

*Sigh*. I guess I'll just have to post this for the millionth time:


If you don't agree with the decisions in that link, please do us all (and yourself a favor), and go use something besides open source kernels. If you can't even be bothered to read (at least!) the executive summary in that link, then please stop posting.

about a year and a half ago

On the Heels of Wheezy, Aptosid Releases 2013-01

npsimons If you think Debian Stable is too old to be usefu (79 comments)

If you think Debian Stable is too old to be useful, give Atposid a spin!

If you think Debian Stable is too old to be useful, you're a retard.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: What Video Games Keep You From Using Linux?

npsimons None (951 comments)

To be honest, I've kind of "grown away" from video games (and before anyone gets resentful, no, I don't mean I'm "too grownup for video games", I just have other hobbies that eat all my time these days), but even if I were gaming more often, I have more than enough from TuxGames (especially ones I never finished or are endlessly fascinating to me). I tend to "suck the marrow from games" and get a lot of worth from them.

I am not really your target market. But I'll say this: maintaining Windows (or OSX) for games just isn't worth the hassle, and keeping the hardware up to spec eats too much into my budget. If I were still gaming, I would not buy a game that didn't run under Linux. Full stop.

more than 2 years ago

US Government: You Don't Own Your Cloud Data So We Can Access It At Any Time

npsimons Re:So.... (531 comments)

That would be Romney... good luck there.

At least luck is a factor.

Not really; since the platform that Romney stands for wants to deny control of their body to 50% of the population, what makes you think he'd be any more concerned about servers? Unless you were a big corporation, of course.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How Would You Fix the Linux Desktop?

npsimons Re:It's not broken. (1154 comments)

This dominant vendor was nearly able to kill off Apple with an OS that has no GUI and required MANUAL MEMORY MANAGEMENT.

Well, to be fair, let's not forget that Apple was pretty much the last org out there to offer protected memory and true multitasking; MacOS before X was a joke, something that looked like a student project, and a poor student at that. These days, even OSX is crippled by stupid policy.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How Would You Fix the Linux Desktop?

npsimons Re:It's not broken. (1154 comments)

I can second this, but I have to say that if I had to dump the current "winners" (KDE and GNOME), I'd push full-tilt for EFL. It's just incredible how fast and lightweight it is, plus it has teh shinee going for it.

There are two (well, 2.5) things that really need to get done for this to happen:

  • Bindings to something more portable than C. Sure, it will lose you some speed, but in this day and age, you really need to allow programmers to program in something like Java (or Python, Scala, Vala, Clojure, etc). Python bindings are already there, but the more (portable) languages, the better.
  • Stabilize things. EFL has been stable for a while, but I always have the fear that it will be re-written from scratch, yet again.
  • And someone big needs to push it, and push it openly. The problem with Tizen is that it isn't very open (invite only). I was excited to hear about a new open tablet, but slightly disappointed to find that it was KDE based. All due respect to the KDE and Qt camp, but you just can't beat EFL/Enlightenment for speed, small footprint or shininess.

Sure, I know these comments are aimed more towards tablets and phones, but for low end desktop, resources also matter, and the beauty of EFL and Enlightenment is that they encourage experimentation. Wanna build something radically different? Go ahead and try it out with EFL! Wanna build a run of the mill, just get it done but eat resources desktop app? Go with Qt and KDE.

more than 2 years ago

GNOME 3.6 To Include Major Revisions

npsimons Re:Iterations (327 comments)

After a few more iterations, it'll look just like OS X.

That's okay; maybe in ten years OS X will have finished copying all the eye candy from Enlightenment. I doubt it will ever be as fast, though.

more than 2 years ago

The Programmers Go Coding Two-by-Two — Hurrah?

npsimons The thing that always bothered me (318 comments)

about pair programming was how it was described that "one would be thinking while the other one typed". Huh?! Shouldn't both programmers be thinking? Maybe their editor wasn't designed very well and the one typing had to concentrate on typing too much. Probably wouldn't happen with a better editor

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How Did You Become a Linux Professional?

npsimons How I became a "Linux Professional" (298 comments)

Didn't read even the summary, but here goes: started out as a used computer salesman in high school, built my own 486 to run OS/2, got to college and found out I needed to know Linux to do help desk, learned Linux for that and classes, became help desk monkey, applied for systems programmer job, mentored under UNIX/Mac guru, took his job over when he graduated, then I graduated, then I worked for a startup working on RTLinux (http://fsmlabs.com), then the crash happened, then I tried (and failed) to freelance (including a stint with some accounting programming under AIX), then I got hired by the DoD, and that's where I am today. Unfortunately, I don't always get to work with Linux anymore (I still miss my job at FSM, but that's also because we didn't have an office, so we worked from home; even working to midnight is fun, if the code is fun and you can do it on your couch). I've never really gotten the hang of contributing to open source projects, something I *really* need to do, because if there is anything that being involved in this industry has taught me, it's that you get paid for what you are good at, and you get good at something by doing it. Unfortunately, I get distracted easily (probably why I never went on to get my grad degree or start my own company), and I hate working with Microsoft or Apple products (besides the fact that they are crap technically, there's the principle of the thing too), but you do what you need to get the bills paid.

Another thing I can recommend is going to conferences; I'm headed to Linux Plumbers Conference again because I found it so . . . invigorating? Inspirational? Heartening? In any case, it was nice to see that the Linux community is alive and kicking, and meet so many interesting people. It gives me hope that one day I may again get to hack on open source for a living. Preferably from my couch ;)

more than 2 years ago

Is Sexual Harassment Part of Hacker Culture?

npsimons Two problems (1127 comments)

I see two major issues here; first and foremost is denial. Yes, there is a problem, and if you can't see it, it's probably because you are part of it (and almost certainly a male). It's like how whites in the South think that racism isn't a problem anymore. This *needs* to be addressed, and the first step is admitting there is a problem. As for dealing with the problem itself, I can say that part of it is the whole "brogrammer" phenomenon which has cropped up in recent years. I can say unreservedly, brogrammers need to fuck off; they are not welcome, and if they won't police themselves, we will. Hacker culture is one that should, above all else, respect intellect and creativity; gender, oneupmanship and "frat" antics don't come into it at any point.

The second issue I see is that the answer to the article question is no, sexual harassment is not a part of hacker culture. If sexual harassment is happening, it needs to have a bright light shone upon it, like a software bug, so that it can be fixed. We need to not allow these broken windows to exist in our house. The perpetrators should be shamed and banned from conferences, at a minimum. Some of the anecdotes I've heard would warrant criminal charges being pressed. The New Atheist movement is having similar issues, and they are starting to respond by banning people. If you think this is "censorship", fuck off; you can get your own fucking website and post all the misogyny you want, but you can't force others to host it for you.

I went to university with Valerie, and she's very smart, probably smarter than a lot of people here (definitely smarter than the knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing, misogynistic brogrammers who have infested the computer industry). She's been writing and talking about this problem for long time; it would be wise to listen to her.

One last point: I'm not "disgusted" or "offended" by these acts; I consider them the vulgar acts of those not fully human (for they lack empathy) and therefore beneath my contempt. These people should be treated like the animals they act like, and kept out of hacker culture so that we can get on with real work.

more than 2 years ago

Web Exploit Found That Customizes Attack For Windows, Mac, and Linux

npsimons Re:Blah (204 comments)

I keep hoping people here would be a little more informed than average

Ah, see there's your mistake: not in assuming that the general crowd at slashdot is smarter than average (they are); you are overestimating the average level of intelligence.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Why Not Linux For Security?

npsimons Re:been done before (627 comments)

One big reason why things are the way they are, is that corporate types want somebody to blame when things go pear-shaped. There's not many linux companies of enough size to handle that. Just RedHat and SuSe.

Hmm, well then they better not have too close a look at any of MS or Apple's EULAs. They're all "no indemnification" and all that. Good luck suing MS or Apple, or even getting a response unless you already paid out the ass for a support contract.

The simple fact of the matter is that when it comes to big companies and technology, the ones making the "corporate" decisions are blithering idiots. Think about it: where are the smartest people you know working? Either they are actually getting (fun) shit done (eg, engineers solving problems), or they are in charge of their own startups (and how many startups go with MS?). Also, as someone else mentioned, there are some other large factors known as "mindshare" (why do you think MS gives deep discounts to college students) and bribes. If there were any justice in this world, MS would have gone out of business ten years ago due to everyone seeing through their BS. The depressing reality is that PT Barnum was right (and even that is a good example of mass ignorance: Barnum didn't say that, his opponent Hull did).

more than 2 years ago

X Server Now Available For Android

npsimons As an N900 owner . . . (131 comments)

I'd like to say, congratulations! Android has very nearly caught up with where Maemo was when it was released in 2009. Also, suck it Wayland!

more than 2 years ago

Interrupted Sleep Might Be the Best Kind

npsimons Re:Naps (277 comments)

Or as they are commonly known in the post-industrial world: meetings.

True story: years ago, before I had a seploplasty and dropped about 30lbs, I was fighting sleep in a meeting. Fortunately, it was one of those huge, 100+ people "let's all gather to waste everyone's time with slides we should have emailed" type of meetings. Unfortunately, a guy right next to me raised his hand to ask a question just as I was doing one of those head-slumping-attempt-to-jerk-myself-awake maneuvers. I was trying to stay awake in the useless meeting, but the boss took this as me insubordinately sleeping in a meeting and called me into her office aftwerword. She said "if you can't stay awake in meetings, don't bother showing up." I said, "Okay" taking it as a free pass to never show up to meetings again, as I had a habit of falling asleep in them. That apparently wasn't the correct interpretation (NB: she and I didn't have the best employee/manager relationship before this incident).

I usually can stay awake in meetings these days, even if they are useless, although I try to make sure that meetings I attend stick to three simple rules: 1) no longer than an hour 2) must have an agenda or schedule (at a minimum, a topic to be discussed or question to be answered) 3) attendees should want to be there (ie, no "mandatory" meetings; everyone present should have a stake in the agenda items).

more than 2 years ago

So long and thanks for all the fish

npsimons Re:say it ain't so (3 comments)

I have to admit, what makes slashdot hard to leave are the community and the comments generated thereby. I can't help feeling, though, that constant reloading of the front page and flame wars are not the ideal way to spend my time.

Thanks to your replies, I have reconsidered a complete exodus. I think I may still post journal entries and submissions (I''ve been too lazy to setup comments on my blog), but I am going to try to not read the front page for a week and see how that goes. Maybe I'll keep modding the firehoses, they can certainly use it. The one exception to the front page rule would be moderating; I feel I owe it to the community for that, at least.

Keep up the good fight!

more than 3 years ago

Are Google's Best Days Behind It?

npsimons Google has problems, but lock-in ain't one of them (283 comments)

Perhaps the minds of the masses haven't been made yet, but I am always cautious when it comes to marketers and advertisers and Google is definitely one of those.


I think this tying together of services is a way of locking in and firmly identifying its users.

Then you'll be happy to know that Google themselves discourages lockin.

Their push against pseudonymity/anonymity has me and many others worried.

I as well, but one of the amazing things about Google is that most of the time, when someone calls them on something or complains, Google listens. How many times has Apple or Microsoft changed policy because of user complaints? Google could be better, and if you talk them, they probably will be.

more than 3 years ago

Are Google's Best Days Behind It?

npsimons Re:Yes. (283 comments)

And let him show a better place than google for tech employees at this moment. 'losing its appeal to tech workers' my ass.

Precisely. I wouldn't consider working for Apple or Microsoft, and it's not just because my experience is primarily with Linux. Google is the place to be for software guys, even if you're not staying there permanently. Everything I've seen and heard leads me to believe it's an incredible work environment, whether you are a code monkey or want to do research in computer science. Could they improve some things? Sure. Are they anti-competive, anti-choice and anti-consumer? No, and lockin to Google is FUD.

more than 3 years ago

Are Google's Best Days Behind It?

npsimons Re:I'm gonna go with... (283 comments)

I think the real question is: "who's paying for the continual stream of anti Google stories in the tech media; why are they so desperate; and do they really think we are that stupid"

If I were a betting man, I'd wager that the answer to your first question would likely be Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, or all three. As for your second question, it should be obvious why they are so desperate. Unfortunately, the answer to your third question is that they don't care what *we* think - if they can convince enough end users, IT procurers, legislators and judges, that's all that matters to them. Technical superiority doesn't come into the equation. That's what FUD is all about.

more than 3 years ago

KDE Plans To Support Wayland In 2012

npsimons Re:Stupid (413 comments)

Yet, most applications do not use X for that anymore and render everything by themselves, sending to X only the final image to display. X became a simple display driver with a fancy network interface. Why the layer is needed at all?

Okay, if this is the case, why is Wayland ignoring network transparency? Fine, the X rendering layer isn't used anymore and should go away; maybe the entirety of X should go away; why does it immediately follow that network transparency should go away? Don't throw out the baby with the bath water.

Another memorable problem is that X is unable to support full-screen games.

That's funny, I could have sworn I used to run all sorts of games full screen, across multiple monitors no less, since at least 2001. And yes, this was Linux with X11, with games that made heavy use of OpenGL (NWN, Unreal, etc).

So those behind Wayland are not only bubbling windows fanatics - but also people who want to stream-line Linux' graphics stack.

Fine, but I ask again - why does network transparency have to go? I might be more convinced that those behind Wayland weren't bubbling Windows fanatics if their solution to the remote GUI apps problem wasn't the same as Windows and MacOSX. No, remote desktops in their own window *isn't* good enough. If I really wanted that, I can *choose* it, but I'm not *forced* to run remote GUI apps that way.

I would love to have some guarantees that X would survive and I would be able to run a GUI app remotely, but something tells me that the days when I was taking that for granted are counted.

And this exact same feeling is why others are wailing so loudly against Wayland.

more than 3 years ago

Google Accuses Competitors of Abusing Patents Against Android

npsimons Re:Seriously (294 comments)

So Microsoft, Apple and Oracle wanted Google to join them and jointly bid with them, allowing access to the patents for everyone. Google didn't join, and lost the bidding when they tried to get it all for themselves. Who is the real hostile company here?

Let me propose a little thought experiment, let's call it an "analogy" if you will: say a bunch of "family men" came to you with a proposal: if you give them just a small pittance of your income, they promise nothing bad will happen to your business. Sure, others you do business with might not be so lucky, but these guys are trying to help you and only want to band together for yours (and their) own good. Would you be "hostile" for refusing to join them?

Microsoft, Apple and Oracle can't keep up with Google technologically, so they're trying every trick in the book to shut them down, from FUD to legal bullying. They are no different from thugs and need to be stopped; at the very least, patents need some serious reform; at best injuctions should be put in place against them.

more than 3 years ago



The Problem with Open Source GUIs

npsimons npsimons writes  |  more than 3 years ago

npsimons writes "Ingo Molnar has posted a short, but very insightful rant about open source GUIs. Molnar suggests that the GNOME and KDE projects need to stop focusing on competitor's products and start focusing on process. He cites git and the move of GNOME to git as positive examples of thinking more carefully about products and their users. He also suggests that OSS developers have a unique opportunity to engage desktop users in the development process."
Link to Original Source



Slashdot, you've really let yourself go

npsimons npsimons writes  |  about 2 years ago

I thought slashdot had hit bottom, but apparently I was wrong. I can't friend/unfriend or foe/unfoe people anymore here. On top of that, it's become even closer to useless because of all the Apple fanboys, Microsoft shills and just flat out trolls. I keep coming back to upvote posts that speak truth to FUD, but then I see informative posts like this marked as troll. Why do I even bother? Oh, that's right, I keep getting mod points.

I'll keep upvoting good posts, but don't count on me to read other comments; there are better forums than slashdot around.


Run Windows better than Windows

npsimons npsimons writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Reading an article about KVM being ported from Linux to a derivative of Solaris, I was intrigued by the claim that running Windows in this virtualization environment would be faster than running it on bare metal. I knew Windows was coded poorly, but is this for real? I suppose also that some tricks can be done if you know the workload, but I find it hard to believe that you'll see ten to fifty times better performance. Does anybody else envision running software ever faster by continuously virtualizing it until we reach the singularity?


Mathcad, Prolog and LISP

npsimons npsimons writes  |  more than 3 years ago

However much I despise closed source, proprietary software, occasionally I have to deal with it. And sometimes there isn't (currently) anything in the OSS world that fills the niche a closed source program might. Mathcad seems to be one of those: a closed source, Windows only "engineer's scratchpad" that is an interesting concept, and somebody must like it because it's been around a while. While Mathcad seems interesting for quickly prototyping and crunching out equations, the reusability and flexibility of it's "language" leaves much to be desired. For example, even though Mathcad has loops, I can't figure out how to make them work on a list of files. The only way to really automate Mathcad appears to be through COM or VBScript (including Excel), also not my ideal technologies of choice. But at least VB is Turing complete, so I started digging up examples of that.

Looking in some of the directories of Mathcad, though, I find .prolog and .lisp files. While I don't know much about Prolog, I'm pretty sure the .lisp files are for real, but Google searches and a quick perusal at the files themselves don't reveal much. There's also some MuPAD .mu files, but those don't seem to be of much use to me.

Does anyone know what the possibilities are for automating Mathcad via Prolog or LISP?


So long and thanks for all the fish

npsimons npsimons writes  |  more than 3 years ago

There's a trick to the Graceful Exit. It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, a relationship is over -- and to let go. It means leaving what's over without denying its validity or its past importance in our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving on, rather than out. The trick of retiring well may be the trick of living well. It's hard to recognize that life isn't a holding action, but a process. It's hard to learn that we don't leave the best parts of ourselves behind, back in the dugout or the office. We own what we learned back there. The experiences and the growth are grafted onto our lives. And when we exit, we can take ourselves along -- quite gracefully. -- Ellen Goodman

I probably shouldn't be indulging in such egotistical pastimes as writing what amounts to a "Dear John" letter to slashdot, but I had a few loose ends to tie up, so here goes.

To PopeRatzo: sorry I didn't get back to you earlier, and now that journal discussion is closed. Maybe I am seeing it through rose-colored glasses, but it seems that the number of submissions (and how many make it on the front page) from different firehoses (such as apple vs linux) leads me to believe slashdot is being inundated by Apple fanboys. It's too much for a Linux fan who remembers the heady early days of slashdot to take. In any case, I'm looking to move on to more Linux-y sites.

To everyone in general: I've seen far to many interesting articles in the firehose never go anywhere, only to be drowned out by Apple press releases. People here no longer seem to appreciate or even care about Freedom, and many who booed Microsoft now cheer Apple for the exact same practices. Even those who booed Microsoft now say "install Windows, it's what everyone knows and uses."

Gah. There's more, but I've made this too long already; check my first (and last submission), my comments, and my blog if you are curious; I'm going to try switching to other sources for tech news, and put more time into the blog and website. If nothing else, that should be a more worthwhile endeavor than shouting down the fanboys.


Looking for Alternatives to Slashdot

npsimons npsimons writes  |  more than 3 years ago

I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but the focus of slashdot has shifted away from open source software (Linux in particular). Anyone who doubts this is welcome to count the number of open source articles versus blatant slashvertisements. I guess my mistake was in thinking that "news for nerds, stuff that matters" was more truthful than "fair and balanced." In any case, it's a battle I don't have time to fight, so I'm wondering: what sites would you recommend as alternatives to slashdot? What's your favorite Linux news site? How about open source, or Debian? Can I find a site dedicated to important scientific advances, instead of the latest fashion trends?


Ethics in who you work for

npsimons npsimons writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Let's say you were approached to work for a big name company who is working on a lot of really amazing high tech products. Their current employees seem intelligent, motivated, friendly and happy to work there. The work environment looks sweet. The only thing making you have second thoughts is that some of their actions (such as pushing for lower corporate taxes) don't exactly mesh with your ethics. Sure, they're not anti-competitive; they even do a lot of open source; but more than a few of their actions have come under fire as unethical. Would you work for them? Would an employment boycott be effective?

Just for the record, no, I have not received an offer yet; I don't presume that I'm a shoe-in (they have a very high false positive rate). I'm putting this out early to get as many responses as I can. I currently work for the US DoD, which some would see as extremely unethical. If you can't figure out from what I've told you so far (and my comment history) which company this is, you probably shouldn't reply to this, but I'll take all the input I can get.


Apple submissions no longer showing up in firehose

npsimons npsimons writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Am I the only one seeing this? Why aren't Apple submissions showing up in the firehose? Can I get the same effect on the front page, pretty please?


Why Movies Suck

npsimons npsimons writes  |  more than 3 years ago

This. So totally fucking this.This is precisely why I don't even *know* what other movies came out last year, but I went to see "Inception" in the theater *four times*, and got it on DVD /and/ Blu-Ray as soon as it was available.

I'm not the most cogent person in the world, nor am I a film expert, so when a piece like this comes along that so totally defines what is wrong with Hollywood, I have to share. And yes, I consider most movies released these days to be mindless pap that is insulting to the intelligence of toddlers.


Work conditions

npsimons npsimons writes  |  more than 3 years ago

So, the project I'm on is having their funding cut, and as part of that, I've been told to move to another project. Of course, it probably didn't help that I made a big mistake (to be told in another JE; short story: always perform an estimate of time to completion up front). I'm paranoid, cynical, depressive and insecure to boot, so I have to wonder if I got let go for other reasons as well. That's why I'm writing here, to try to get a third opinion, and because I'm curious how this is handled in other places. Of course, I'm biased, but I'll try to be as NPOV as I can.

One of the things that happened before they let me go was that they suggested we standardize our platforms on CentOS. Now, I have nothing against CentOS, but I strongly prefer Debian because of it's wide selection of packages that are very well packaged and the ease of installing those packages. Just to clarify, I work where systems cannot be hooked up to the Internet, so having 5 DVDs (or 8, for Debain 6) of software packages at my fingertips makes life much easier. Not to mention some packages I have come to rely upon for fast prototyping (see this), and seeing how I don't use much besides Debian, I don't even know if those packages are available on other distros, and even if they were, I'd have to find them, download them and all their dependencies, then burn a CD and sneakernet them to the CentOS box they want me to use. Say, an hour to find, download and burn packages, versus five minutes to 'apt-get install binfmtc'. The choice is obvious, right?

No, they believed that delays were being caused by my insistence on using Debian, and they wondered aloud why I thought it was okay to go ahead and install Debian on my development machine.

Some background here: I've been a systems administrator for a decent amount of time. I run my own email, web, print and file servers, along with associated network and firewall. I'm very comfortable and confident when using Debian, because it's pretty much just fire and forget. When I get to a new project at work, usually my first step is to install Debian so I can get some real work done. Even if I'm porting to another platform, I use Debian for day to day development because I'm familiar with it and I can easily set up nightly builds to check out from the repository, build, run unit tests under a variety of code checking tools and email me the results. All without having to download a single package.

I get defensive when people with a lack of experience in software development start telling me how to do my job, and that includes what tools I use. I've tried other distros, I've tried other editors, I know what works best for me. Sure, I've made some mistakes, and I'll admit when I've messed up (if I'm aware of it), but I'm fairly certain my selection of software tools is not one of them.

I'm just curious: at other companies, how much control do you as a software developer have over what you can and can't install on your development machine? If you find a new tool that would help you get things done more quickly or reduce defects, how long does it take to get it installed? I chafe at the idea that I am trusted with vital secrets, yet they don't trust me, the expert, to select the right tool for my job. Am I overreacting?


zcat /usr/share/state/us-constitution.gz | grep -i god

npsimons npsimons writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Hmm, above command returns no results. Let's try another:

zcat /usr/share/state/us-constitution.gz | grep -i jesus

Hmm, no results for that one either. One more before I give up:

zcat /usr/share/state/us-constitution.gz | egrep -i "creat|divin|christ"

No results for that one either.

(note that the above was run on a Debian system with the "miscfiles" package installed)


Uploading photos from N900 to a photo gallery on my server

npsimons npsimons writes  |  about 4 years ago

Dear lazyweb,

I'm looking for some software (possibly two pieces) that I can use to upload photos quickly and easily from my N900 to my personal web server and have the web server add them to a publicly viewable gallery. I've heard of pixelpipe (http://pixelpipe.com/), but I don't want to use someone else's server(s), that's why I have my own. I know I could probably throw something together with SCP + {Perl|PHP|Ruby|Python}, but I'm lazy and very much don't like to reinvent the wheel (what security holes might I being missing? how long will it take me to work out the bugs on software that's not my day job?). Just thought I'd drop this question in the spirit of lazyweb questions I've seen on http://planet.debian.org/. Thanks in advance!


Boost UBLAS matrix iterators and templates - Solved

npsimons npsimons writes  |  more than 4 years ago

UPDATE: I had a look around, figured I would try substituting a std::vector<std::vector<double> > for the uBLAS matrix<double>, still got the same error. So I started looking better into templates (no, I'm not quite done with vol2 of "Thinking in C++") and found out about typename. Seems to fix the problem.

I know I should probably post this to stackoverflow or the Boost/UBLAS mailing list, but I figure there are plenty of smart people here at slashdot.

Let's say you are using UBLAS from Boost and you want to implement a cumulative summing function for matrices. Here's what I think is a fairly straightforward way to do it:

// For boost::numeric::ublas::matrix<>.
#include <boost/numeric/ublas/matrix.hpp>

// For std::partial_sum().
#include <numeric>

template<class T>
boost::numeric::ublas::matrix<T> cumSum
(const boost::numeric::ublas::matrix<T>& input_,
const bool& colWise_ = true)
using namespace boost::numeric::ublas;
using namespace std;

matrix<T> result_(input_);

if (colWise_)
for (matrix<T>::iterator2 colIter = result_.begin2();
colIter < result_.end2();
for (matrix<T>::iterator1 rowIter = result_.begin1();
rowIter < result_.end1();

return result_;

For now, I'm ignoring completely templatizing this to make the row-wise/column-wise distinction disappear in the code and focusing on just getting it working. Only it doesn't work; won't compile. Couldn't figure out why, but g++ kept saying it was expecting a ';' before colIter and rowIter. I had a hunch and replaced one of the iterator's 'T's with 'double' and it stopped complaining about that one. Am I missing something, or does UBLAS not implement iterators properly?What am I missing?


Tragic Love Story Junkies anonymous

npsimons npsimons writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Hi, my name is Nat^H^H^HJim, and I admit, I have a problem: I'm addicted to tragic love stories.

It started simply enough with "Romeo and Juliet", but then I saw "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", and I was hooked, because it had not one, but TWO sets of star-crossed lovers.

Next was "Moulin Rouge", which even my gay brother despises. But it holds a special place in my heart.

I was okay for a while, high on such movies as "Fight Club". But then that bastard Chris Nolan had to make "Memento" (I'm particularly drawn to stories about men who have lost the woman they love). For some odd reason, the "Star Wars" prequels didn't really strike a chord, although they were close.

Then I got married, and I thought I was doing better. Then along comes "Inception". Oh sure, everyone hypes it for being "mind-bending" (what? it wasn't like it was "Primer"), but I secretly believe that Nolan knows how to make an excellent tragic love story, and it shows in not only "Memento" but "Inception".

As I sit here listening to the final track of the "Inception" soundtrack CD (the music from baggage claim to the credits; my favorite by far), I find myself hungry for more. I'm not even sure how to find more, as it's hard to describe. Some other stories I'm acquainted with touch close on similar feelings: the ending to "Lord of Light" by Zelazney, "Permutation City" by Egan (and even further off track, but still close in tone "Diaspora"). "The Fountain" by Aronofsky is definitely another movie that meets the criterion, as well as "Chasing Amy" by Kevin Smith.

I guess I could at least take a stab at some adjectives: a sense of loss, a longing for those truly special people we will never meet again, a feeling of mystery and awe; stories that end with catharsis. So, could you do a junkie a favor and find him one more fix? Thanks :)


Fucking Microsoft

npsimons npsimons writes  |  more than 4 years ago

You know why I hate Microsoft? They can't follow standards. Or they declare themselves a de facto standards body, even over things they have no rights to dictate standards on. Like C++. I had forgotten that MSVS has a broken version of std::copy(). It doesn't work on simple char arrays. Works fine on VxWorks and Linux. Fucking Microsoft.


Dear slashdot

npsimons npsimons writes  |  more than 4 years ago

The foe/friend limit is ridiculous, even with subscription. 400 friends/foes is simply not enough to foe all the people who post baseless assertions and get modded to +5, and simultaneously friend people who who get modded troll for posting an informative link that blows the moderators' beliefs out of the water. Pls fx, kthxbye.



npsimons npsimons writes  |  more than 4 years ago

No, not the racial kind. This has to do with code efficiency. I was recently writing patch acceptance guidelines, and was trying to explain that maintainability matters far more than efficiency. I was trying to be polite about people who harp on "efficiency", but my basic feelings boil down to: "People who talk about software efficiency, yet aren't familiar with software profiling, are idiots." Discuss.


Rare earth metals

npsimons npsimons writes  |  about 5 years ago

Just a quick thought before I have to go into work today: so China is possibly looking at cutting back their rare earth metal exports, but that doesn't seem to stop them putting them in children's toys and/or jewelry. So, why not this: don't chastise China for bad behavior; just buy up all the heavy metal toys as they are imported and melt them down! Heck, it even says in the article that the jewelry "easily sheds" cadmium.

I mean, lead was one thing, we're not in need of that (apparently we use something else for our pipes now). But cadmium? Last I checked, that was good for electronics, and we *always* need more of those.


Stable API Nonsense

npsimons npsimons writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Recently there was a discussion about how Linux cell phones are basically DOA, and within that discussion was a thread on a stable driver interface in Linux. Rather than respond to every comment as to why this is a bad idea, I figured I would just post the original response to this request for a stable driver API which was put together the first time people noticed it was hard to ship binary drivers for Linux:

Let me just point out that this approach *works* and *has worked* quite well for quite sometime. These days, when I buy a new piece of hardware, I throw out the driver CD without even looking at it. I plug in the hardware to my Linux box fully expecting it to work; if it doesn't, I figure it's broken. Occasionally, it's not broken hardware but rather I have made a mistake and invested in a piece of hardware from a company that has not seen the light and open sourced their drivers. I make a point never to buy from that company again, and I get a refund for the hardware. I might point out that this is a very rare occurrence. Most of the time there is support for hardware out of the box under Linux - no driver CDs, no install and no reboot required - just plug and go.

Implementing a stable API for drivers would lead to bloat, insecurity and instability; we've seen it happen in Windows, and even starting to happen with binary drivers under Linux! The technical argument is that Linus (and his kernel devs) reserve the right to rip out or reimplement anything they please in the kernel, with no regard whatsoever to backwards compatibility. This model has worked very well so far, as evidenced by the fact that you can plug in 99% of hardware into a Linux box and have it just work, no driver CD, download or install required.

Still, some people argue this is a political issue, not a technical one. I would agree, on one point: the hardware vendors are the ones making this a political issue. By refusing to release their source code, they limit how well their device can be supported. For what purpose do they need to keep their drivers closed? They sell hardware, not software, therefore they don't even have an economical reason. The arguments for releasing source are legion: support in ALL distros on ALL architectures by default; more stable and better tuned drivers; no need to ship driver CDs; no worry about having to support your drivers as they are now in the kernel, etc. I can think of no reason other than petty greed to keep drivers closed. And it's greed that doesn't even function properly at that, as it doesn't gain the greedy companies anything.

Is there any *technical* reason to keep drivers closed source? Please elucidate, and remember that even if there is, it must somehow outweigh all the benefits of having the same driver as an open source driver in the kernel in order to argue that there should be a stable driver API. This isn't an ideological, or even political issue; open source drivers have been shown *in practice* to work better, and provide all of the benefits I've listed. Why should we throw out one model that works for one that has been shown to not work nearly as well?


Found something that I think sounds cool

npsimons npsimons writes  |  more than 5 years ago

*Sigh*, I'm still waiting on my 1TB HDDs for the file server, which I will use to replace the 250GB drive, which I can then put in the web and email server. For now, that means I still post journal/blog entries here, as I don't see the point of upgrading the software on the web/email server until I have the drive available for it. Anyway, my pointless rambling is all a preface for this:


I found it while looking for recordings of sheet music we play in our Big Band (guess which song I was looking for :). I thought the song sounded pretty cool, so I'm sharing it with you. Hope you enjoy it!


"Free Software doesn't have end users"

npsimons npsimons writes  |  more than 5 years ago

So, I was going through the links on BBSpot today, and I found what I can only describe as one of the most lucid, well-written articles on Free culture I've seen in a long time: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to explain this to you. It's so fan-fucking-tastically good that I'm severely tempted to make my new signature on slashdot a link to that article with the title "Free Software doesn't have end users".

Every time I see some whiny bastard say "but Linux will never take over the desktop! you have to pay attention to MEEEE -*- cough -*- I mean, you have to pay attention to the end users!" I just want to bitchslap the little schmuck. What have these so-called "end users" done for Linux? Fuck them! The end users of Linux and Free Software have always been the same people who created it: the developers. If you "just want it to work", and you can't even be arsed to file a bug report, fuck you. It works for us; you should be grateful we decided to share the source with you.

Ranting aside, this really cuts to the heart of why I use Free Software: even if it wasn't technologically superior (which it is, precisely because it is Free Software), I would still use it because it is the only software I can modify and use however I want without having to say the equivalent of "please sir, may I have another?" to some big corp. whose only concern is next quarter's earnings.

Free Software doesn't have end users; that's kind of the point. You can either participate and contribute a little something back or you can pay some company to tell you what you are not allowed to do. We welcome your input, but if all you can do is say "your software sucks! do what I say or I'll use someone else's software!" then all I can say is farewell and peace be to you.

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