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Ask Slashdot: Do You Run a Copy-Cat Installation At Home?

obarel Re:Next job? (308 comments)

Symmetric?

about 4 months ago
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Desktop Browser of Choice in 2013?

obarel Re:telnet (381 comments)

Real nerds use HTTPS.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Request Someone To Send Me a Public Key?

obarel Re: This is why encryption isn't popular (399 comments)

Whether or not you want to trust a card given by the government is one thing.

But if the government actively encourages people to encrypt stuff then there is greater awareness of privacy and encryption. It means that more people understand the concept of private/public keys and are more likely to generate their own keys and use them. They're also no afraid of encryption as a concept (and a question such as "how do I ask for their public key without sounding like a geek" doesn't exist). I think that's a positive thing.

Other countries actively discourage privacy - yes, you can encrypt stuff, but if you don't give us the password then you'll end up in jail and we don't have to prove a thing. And why teach the masses to encrypt? It's so much easier listening to communication in the clear, and we can even perpetuate the notion that if you encrypt your files or communication then you're clearly hiding something and you're probably a dangerous criminal/terrorist/paedophile, because normal people don't use encryption.

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Moving From Contract Developers To Hiring One In-House?

obarel Re: Have u thought about.. (524 comments)

I'm wondering about the mainframe comment: does it mean that bug-free software was only ever written for mainframes? Because I'm absolutely 100% convinced that not all the software that runs on mainframes is bug-free, having worked on mainframes. Even IBM COBOL compilers had (have?) bugs, and they must have been tested by thousands of businesses.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Moving From Contract Developers To Hiring One In-House?

obarel Re: Have u thought about.. (524 comments)

The reason is that for software to be perfect it has to be either proven or checked against every possible input.

The first may be possible in some cases, but is very time consuming for anything other than trivial exercises (and almost no one is willing to pay for that).
The second is simply impossible and some "representative subset" must be used for testing. This means that the once-in-a-lifetime case could be missed.

The car analogy doesn't work here.

about a year ago
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Dropcam CEO's Beef With Brogramming and Free Dinners

obarel Re:But...Agile teaches us... (400 comments)

So what happens now with last minute customer requirement changes? I'm really trying to understand this (and hopefully learn from this).
If you have to push them in anyway, then you're still working to crazy deadlines.
And if you don't have to push them in, couldn't you have said "no" before moving to Agile? How did moving to Agile change your relationship with the customer?

1 year,5 hours
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Dropcam CEO's Beef With Brogramming and Free Dinners

obarel Re:But...Agile teaches us... (400 comments)

That's one possibility. Another is that whatever is supposed to be The One True Agile (tm) requires certain pre-conditions that aren't always met.

I could say "don't blame the single-pass waterfall process - if it failed for you, then you're doing it wrong". In some (rare) cases, single-pass waterfall is exactly right - a single programmer implementing a rigid specification (for example writing an H.264 decoder). But that's a pre-condition. It won't always fail and it won't always work, just like "Agile" or any other "methodology".

The truth is that there's no silver bullet. Every set of guidelines also includes a set of conditions (implicit or explicit). For example, most software development processes assume that the programmers involved are not all back-stabbing psychos. But even that's not always the case. Blaming reality for the failure of a process is the wrong way around.

1 year,5 hours
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Dropcam CEO's Beef With Brogramming and Free Dinners

obarel Re:But...Agile teaches us... (400 comments)

The one consistent thing about Agile: "you're doing it wrong". I have never seen a different answer to any complaint about Agile.

1 year,7 hours
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LinkedIn Invites Gone Wild: How To Keep Close With Exes and Strangers

obarel Re:People are using the address book feature (164 comments)

I'm pretty sure you're right.

I hardly pay attention to most of what I read online, especially when I'm on LinkedIn (I'm trying not to look at adverts, so I miss the content as well).

I found myself once entering my LinkedIn password into some "password" input box, which, as I wasn't paying much attention, I thought was LinkedIn's "your session has expired". However, it rejected the password, which made me look again. I was entering my password into the "we've got your email address, now just give us the password" box. As I have different passwords for different things, no problem. But I'm sure that some people use the same password for everything, and suddenly LinkedIn sends an email to every contact on their gmail account.

1 year,5 days
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Ask Slashdot: Where Are the E-Ink Dashboards?

obarel Re:Led (242 comments)

Yes, I vaguely remember a time when "screensaver" wasn't an official synonym for "a zombie-making, disk encrypting, key logging trojan".

about a year ago
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How Do You Detect Cheating In Chess? Watch the Computer

obarel Re:Simply put.. (328 comments)

What does it even mean? NP is the class of problems that can be decided using a non-deterministic Turing machine in polynomial time.
"Polynomial time" refers to the class of algorithms that run in O(n^c) where c is a constant.
The "n" in O(n^c) refers to the size of the input. Big-O notation is only meaningful when talking about asymptotic behaviour (as n approaches infinity).

But chess is a given, specific problem, where n=8 (let's say), and there is no asymptotic behaviour anywhere. N is always the same - it's a specific problem, with a specific input size. So talking about NP in relation to chess is simply meaningless. It's only relevant to chess on an NxN board, but who plays THAT? (and more importantly, how many computer programs play NxN chess? What are the rules? How many bishops are there on the NxN board?)

about a year ago
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Why Do Entrepreneurs Innovate Better Than Managers?

obarel Re:Obvious (134 comments)

It's easier to answer "why didn't you do <the right thing>?" than "why did you do <the wrong thing>?". In most cases, "we didn't have enough information at the time" is good enough for the former, whereas it takes a lot more effort to explain the latter.

An entrepreneur only has to answer "where's my money?" (if s/he's playing with someone else's money), but doesn't have to justify each and every decision.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Timed Coding Tests Valuable?

obarel Re:I dunno... (776 comments)

That should be the discussion part of the interview.

In your code you calculate mod(i,3) twice for every number. You also calculate mod(i,5) twice in cases where mod(i,3) is zero (33 times).
In total, you have 2 * 100 + 1 * 100 + 1 * 33 modulo calculations (333 expensive operations).

The code you called "inelegant" calculates mod(i.15) for every number (100 in all). It then calculates mod(i,5) for those that failed the test (94 cases) and mod(i,3) for those that failed the second test (80 cases). In all, it performs 100 + 94 + 80 = 274 expensive operations. So his code will be about 17% faster than yours.

You also call "print" more times (instead of 100 times, you call it 200 times - once for the number/string and once for the end of line).

I won't argue whether it's more elegant or not (that's a bit subjective), but it's just as readable and definitely faster.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To React To Coworker Who Says My Code Is Bad?

obarel Re:50,000? (507 comments)

You'd be amazed what APL can do in a single line.
I wouldn't like to read 50,000 lines of it, though.

about a year ago
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Facebook Paid 0.3% Taxes On $1.34 Billion Profits

obarel Re:Maybe your tax laws ought to be adjusted (592 comments)

But how can a company buy assets if it doesn't have any money? Oh, sorry, of course it does, because it has income which is generated from selling things to customers. So why shouldn't it pay income tax on its income? Ah, because it's an abstract entity that should not pay tax (as the post I replied to suggested).

Alternatively, if companies don't pay taxes, they shouldn't enjoy benefits such as protection of laws or electricity provided by infrastructure that is paid for by taxes. Why should the general public pay the salaries of lawmakers if they're going to pass laws in favour of companies that don't pay taxes?

The concept of a corporation was invented to allow a group of people to shift the risk of enterprise into an abstract entity. But just because it's an abstract entity doesn't mean that it's not part of the economy.

about a year ago
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Facebook Paid 0.3% Taxes On $1.34 Billion Profits

obarel Re:Tax avoidance (592 comments)

You are absolutely right, that's exactly the purpose of a corporation. It's allowed to exist because this lack of responsibility (or the ability to take on risks that are too great for individuals and groups) is seen as a positive. But this shouldn't give corporation the right to do whatever they want, which is what currently happens in some cases.

about a year ago
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Facebook Paid 0.3% Taxes On $1.34 Billion Profits

obarel Re:I applaud them (592 comments)

So people get taxed at the point of earning, but companies get taxed at the point of spending? Why is that?

I suggest amending the definition of a company so that it cannot own any assets (nor be liable for anything). Get the shareholders and/or employees to own the company, pay taxes at the point of earning, be directly liable for the company's actions etc. That'll solve many problems, and once that's done, I will see absolutely no reason to tax companies (because they will not earn anything and not own anything).

And I'm sorry, but I don't buy the argument of "do you prefer that employees lose their jobs?" Many companies have folded and many people have already lost their jobs - having the abstract concept of a company doesn't guarantee anything. The concept was invented to allow people to invest in an enterprise, enjoy the profits and let it sink if it needs to (instead of the owners being directly liable). It's a great concept if you want humanity to take risks (on which progress depends), but it does have a price.

about a year ago

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