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UNSW Has Collected an Estimated $100,000 In Piracy Fines Since 2008

plcurechax Re:Not the holder's money (98 comments)

If the University is fining them instead of blocking their access and is failing to prevent the copyright violations that it is benefiting financially from

Some universities already have copyright clearance agreements in place, due to concerns of copyright material being duplicated in libraries, these agreements may allow the university or library to generate income as a means of cost recovery of any expenses from administering the program, and an incentive for enforcement.

Since approximately 1% (or less than $1000 total, divided amongst all the Top of the Pops artists for the past 6 years) of the proceeds would likely end being paid to the artists, songwriters, and/or performers; really what difference does it actually make?

about a month ago

Google Launches Service To Replace Web Ads With Subscriptions

plcurechax Re:Adblock plus is free (319 comments)

Think of it less as a way to avoid ads, more of a way for your favourite sites to stay in business.

Unfortunately I'm not certain how many of the IT / technology website are worth subscribing to. Too many of them are already hollow shills, with writers and "editors" who either lack technical or literary skills if not both. Scarcity of journalism, professionalism, or ethics makes me wonder whether they would just continue to produce more "sponsored content" which is merely advertising being sugar-coated as content, whether new product info, amazingly uncritical glowing reviews, verbatim printing of marketing material. Such that I would be paying to read/ view advertisements. Pretty much why people stopped paying for cable as soon as they could, why pay to get content filled with marketing? Let alone the growth in product placement / endorsement in prime time television.

For websites where the user community or user base is the actual value, then how much money should an active user who already contributes their time and knowledge and/or creativity, be expected to pay on top of their donated time and effort?

And I'm not a cheapskate, I have repeatedly subscribed to print magazine subscriptions for magazines that were 100% reader paid (i.e. no advertisements). A small number succeed, and others devolve or get absorbed into what they were trying to avoid. (e.g. Christopher Schwarz's Woodworking Magazine, Citizen Science Quarterly, etc.) One thing that is certain, is that they do have some of the least bias product reviews.

about a month ago

An Applied Investigation Into Graphics Card Coil Whine

plcurechax Re: The Cause (111 comments)

BTW, it would be kind of awesome if the computer hardware testing sites incorporated sound tests into their general testing of stuff.

You mean like this:
  Tom's Hardware: Sapphire's Vapor-X R9 290X 8GB - Temperature, Noise And Power.

Actually I continuously get frustrated by "enthusiast" computer sites reviews who seems to being entirely lacking in technical knowledge when it comes to anything beyond quoting the manufacturers press material. Half of them might as well have a companion site reviewing shoes and fashion tends given their display of technical ignorance.

about a month ago

An Applied Investigation Into Graphics Card Coil Whine

plcurechax Re:The Cause (111 comments)

Naïve question maybe, but couldn't some sort of lacquer be applied on wires to prevent them from physically moving?

For small gauge magnet wire, it often is used on better, but it is not perfect.

Better components tend to cost more, which for commodity priced* products like video cards, saving a few cents can be considered worthwhile.

*) A lower bill of materials cost, can be used to past on some or all of the savings to the consumer, where for price sensitive consumers, the company with the cheapest product can end up selling potentially 30-400% more if you have the cheapest of a seemingly similar product (video card with chip Y9000), thereby increasing net profits even with lower profit margins per unit.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Programming Education Resources For a Year Offline?

plcurechax Writing in natural language(s) (223 comments)

I agree with the idea to study mathematics, as a useful exercise, that would in many cases benefit programmers by giving them a good mental workout, and hopefully reinforce if not expand their understanding of mathematics, logic, and reasoning.

Beyond that I would argue for the study of writing, in a natural (human-oriented) language of your choice.

Programming as a profession, and as an art, is about the meaningful expression of ideas; in a detailed, unambiguous manner that can be processed by a computer. Programming languages are tiny, simplistic, and restrictive in their ability to express ideas, and the execution of these ideas. Writing in a natural language is much more complex, particularly when you strive to remove undesired ambiguity*. The other issue is that as a professional, programming is not done in isolation. Even if you are an independent contractors, you must be able to communicate effectively with clients and users.

*) Ambiguity can be desirable in humor and poetry.

I think that any programmer can benefit from the abilities to make logically sound, comprehensible arguments in a written document; that these abilities will make them better in their ability to understand, and be understood by users, customers, or colleagues.

The argument has been made in the past by Steven C. McConnell in Code Complete, in The Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas, Coding Horror by Jeff Atwood, and Joel Spolsky (of Joel on Software) in his Introduction to Best Software Writing I and College Advice. And like tons of other software developers, and their managers; repeatedly.

You see, communication is the only really important aspect of software development that people really have trouble with. The rest are details and small bugs, but for really big screw-ups you need miscommunication (or greed)

about a month ago

The Plane Crash That Gave Us GPS

plcurechax S/A vs. C/A & P codes (236 comments)

It didn't take long, though, for commercial providers of GPS services to start complaining about the system's "selective availability" which reserved access to the best, most precise signals for the U.S. military.

Actually the most precise signals (Precision (P) code) are still restricted, even though the selective availability (which was basically introducing jitter) was turned off for the Coarse/Acquisition (C/A) code.

about a month and a half ago

Mozilla Teases First Browser Dedicated To Devs

plcurechax Re:To infinity and beyond! (132 comments)

What leaks? [...] I think the memory leak meme has outlived reality...

That just means it's gone gold, as far as Internet memes are concerned. If an Internet "meme" can remain in usage past the natural lifespan or the relevance of its subject, some people mistakenly think that makes it funny.

grumble, grumble Al Gore invented the Internet @(&*@) The Internet is ... a series of tubes *&^^$%^)*#@ 640k[i]B is enough memory for anyone #$@#$@*& BSD is dying !$%#@#)

about a month and a half ago

16-Teraflops, £97m Cray To Replace IBM At UK Meteorological Office

plcurechax Re:And the U.S. falls further behind (125 comments)

And no source for his (Cliff Mass's) claim of performance. As far as I know the US National Weather Service (NWS) in fact operates multiple clusters, I don't think they have any classic singular "supercomputers," but then again neither does anyone else anymore, since the original Cray supercomputer heydays.

The various models are run on several clusters AFAIK. I believe North American Mesoscale, NAMS and Global Forecast System, GFS may run on the primary operational cluster, but I was under the impression that other models like Rapid Refresh, High Resolution Rapid Refresh (RAP/HRRR) were run on a different cluster. I believe climate models are run on separate ("non-operational forecast") clusters as they don't have the same timeliness constraints. I'm unsure about oceanographic (wave, sea surface temperature) models. See their Environmental Modeling Center

about a month and a half ago

jQuery.com Compromised To Serve Malware

plcurechax Re:They will never learn (103 comments)

What makes YOUR site so safe?

I used FrontPage to create it, and host it on MySpace.

about 3 months ago

Outlining Thin Linux

plcurechax Please identify submitter honestly (221 comments)

This submission was made by snydeq who may or may not be Paul Venezia, but certainly appears to have a clear vested interest in frequently promoting Paul Venezia's column and other articles from Info World on a nearly weekly basis.

Considering the overwhelmingly poor quality of the vast majority of Info World's trade rag (slang trade magazine), where most of the better "articles" (i.e. aka "filler," the stuff between the ads) tend to be cribbed from vendor's white papers, don't seem to merit being frequently promoted at Slashdot unless there is a financial arrangement in place, in which case the ethics of journalism would indicate that such a financial arrangement should be disclosed to readers.

Not that I'm suggesting Slashdot considers itself involved in journalism, regardless of the usage of the terms such as: articles, submissions, and editors in the Slashdot vernacular. I will mention that the US FTC publishes March 2013 disclosure guidelines for sponsorship, marketing, and promotions.

about 3 months ago

Anonymous Peer-review Comments May Spark Legal Battle

plcurechax Re:Why did he lose tenure? (167 comments)

There's a third, more mundane possibility: he lost his tenure because he quit. When he lost his new job offer, he went back to Wayne State asking for his old job back, and they said no.

Well in fact he did get his old job or position back at Wayne State, Michigan, but at the reduced level of pay, and without the other benefits of tenure. This was most likely simply the administration trying to control their expenses, as they had most likely planned on replacing him with a non-tenured professor.

> Moral: never, ever, quit your current job until the ink is dry on the legal papers for your new one.

Good intent, but often hard to keep in practice while also managing obligations such as the notice period for resignation (14-90 days), and planning (i.e. relocation) - most employers won't continue to pay you while you move away from your place of employment. In terms of selling a house, moving out of state / province, these things are fairly significant events that take time and away from your current job.

I don't know the legally binding nature of a job offer, I suspect it varies by state/ province and by the actual offer, but they do not offer the same protection as a contract of employment, a document that I have normally not been able to sign until the first day of work.

about 3 months ago

Reanalysis of Clinical Trials Finds Misleading Results

plcurechax Re:MDs do not grok statistics! (74 comments)

... As basically no profession has a good grip on statistics except [statisticians], ...

There I fixed it for you.

about 3 months ago

Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

plcurechax Re:Python is eating Perls lunch (387 comments)

Or to paraphrase whimsically: "C: it's been ignoring Unicode since before you were born."

about 3 months ago

Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

plcurechax Re:Python is eating Perls lunch (387 comments)

Can any language do unicode right yet?

You can throw away any language that uses UTF-16 right from the start. What's left is C/C++, if you are careful enough.

In fact C (C89/90 to C11) is character-set neutral, and continues to maintain support for EBCDIC for those still stranded without 7-bit ASCII (which is technically superseded by ISO/IEC 646) by providing trigraph ( and digraph ( support.

See Section 1 Scope: 2. "This International Standard does not specify / the mechanism by which C programs are transformed for use by a data-processing system" and the definition of 3.6 Byte which is an "addressable unit of data storage large enough to hold any member of the basic character set of the execution environment". So yes Cray, you can even have 12-bit bytes (CDC Cyber).

Kids these days.

about 3 months ago

Intel Launches Xeon E5 V3 Series Server CPUs With Up To 18 Cores

plcurechax Re: TSX (105 comments)

> These shiny new processor having working TSX instruction sets? The ones that are supposed to help with virtualization?

TSX is not for virtualization, but for transactional synchronization, it provides efficient transaction locking for multi-threaded applications. Not necessarily virtualization, although it can benefit from efficient locking as well

No, as far as I know, these have TSX disabled, or will be with a microcode update, as TSX isn't expected to be fixed until 2015 in Broadwell or Haswell-EX Xeons (not Haswell-EP which these are).

about 3 months ago

How the Outdated TI-84 Plus Still Holds a Monopoly On Classrooms

plcurechax Baseless article (359 comments)

From what little I have read on calculators in standardized testing, Texas Instruments never had or has a monopoly on approved calculators. In particular I have never seen a list of approved calculators that did not have at least some Casio or Sharp models as well, and more complete lists often included at least one HP model -- the real premium calculator for geeks.

The fact that the TI-84 Plus was probably the most advanced model approved, meant it marketed that position into a perception of being a highly desirable model that encouraged parents who were willing to pay the premium because they wanted to give their child ever advantage they could possibly afford or find.

Parents are "trained" (indoctrinated) right from pregnancy to buy "educational" toys, aids, to prenatal music blankets. After the child is born, they are constantly bombarded with "educational" products that often have no merit, beyond the statistical correlation between parents who invest the most money into their children's learning, are more likely to be the same ones who invest time in their children's learning as well.

While a Math/CS major in undergrad I used a $5 whatever-brand scientific calculator rather than my $100++ graphing calculator, because a) I didn't need any graphic or fancy features - they were useless, b) the battery life sucked, and I was too cheap to constantly replace them, c) other than engineering students who bought RPN calculators (e.g. HP-35) it didn't matter one iota, beyond merely having the cheapest scientific calculator you can find.

about 3 months ago

Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

plcurechax Re:False premise (546 comments)

Maybe you missed this part of the heading (not even TFA):
"Nearly half of the software developers in the United States do not have a college degree."

Did you not notice the lack of citation, age, or accuracy of this "factoid?" It's worth less than the electrons used to create it, with no creditability to be seen.

"Nearly third-quarters of software developers smell funny." Hey look, I created a "factoid" too. Just as meaningful as the one in the article and summary, and probably slightly more reliable and accurate.

about 3 months ago

Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

plcurechax Priorities? (546 comments)

Actually in terms of self-awareness, development and personal growth, experiencing university life can have a tremendous impact beyond the classroom. On average, I'd say it can at least doubles your social skills to an order of magnitude improvement social skills for some, and improve your quality of life. My personal opinion is that for many young people (and perhaps those not so young) considering this question, this can be an far greater benefit, and a more important benefit to your quality-of-life.

Having a degree can also make it easier to get a chance to be considered during a tight job market, and improve chances at negotiating a better salary / contract.

Getting a degree, without learning to code, will certainly make you an incompetent bane of your co-workers existence, no matter how short that career may be.

While being aware of the financial realities (and potential opportunities for assistance) of the cost of university, the strongest case tends to obviously be: do both.

Others have pointed out the obvious complimentary nature of knowledge (theory) combined with experience (practice). If you don't know what to work towards, you can waste a lot of time and effort doing things the hard way or rediscovering the bubble and merge sort. Or if you don't know what can and can't be done, or how to do it, you end up a hard working monkey with a very limited playbook. You may find the ever constant change in technology a burden, rather than an enjoyment (I mean after the first 5 years), because in my experience those who understand the fundamentals, those abstract or theoretical bits, can adapt to change more readily and often with dramatically less effort.

Most famous university dropouts (in Sciences and IT) both made it through admissions obviously, and more importantly left before they could finish their degree: that is to say, they were most likely in their 3rd or 4th year, not entirely flunking out first semester (though having a rough to horrible first year grades isn't particular uncommon even for many who later become professors themselves). In a fair number of cases, including some William guy from Redmond, they complete their degree later in life.

In the end; it is what you make of it, just like everything else in life.

about 3 months ago

Interviews: Ask Tim O'Reilly About a Life Steeped In Technology

plcurechax e-books? (39 comments)

What do you see or expect for the future of electronic-centric publishing?

Are e-books going to be dominated by the established publishing companies tendency to try and extend their control over the works of their authors, and their customers, as demonstrated with the limiting of adopting due to DRM, and fear of digital piracy?

Will there be a role for publishers, perhaps as curators and editors (in both senses of the word) of fiction and non-fictional works, separate from that of the retailers?

Will authors be able to find an economically sustainable means of financing their writing (including any necessary research) that can withstand the perils of near-free proliferation of illicit unlicensed digital copies of their works? Or will authors have to have either patrons (sponsors) (e.g. literary awards' prize money) or employers (e.g. academics) who pay them to write, perhaps limiting most content to be "safe" or "salable" topics for the most part.

about 4 months ago

"Secret Serum" Used To Treat Americans With Ebola

plcurechax Re:"Secret" (390 comments)

It's only "secret" in the sense that almost all pharmaceutical research is completely ignored by the media.

If you dig around you'll find some articles about ZMAPP in no-name low-impact journals like PNAS and Science.

They (the media) mean Mapp Biotech didn't issue a big-name PR firm to issue a press release about this "secret" (pre human trials) treatment, which is how most "science" and "health" news is researched by the media.

Does Mapp even have a publicly traded stock? No mention of ticker symbol, how could they be a real pharmaceutical company without hyping that?

I mean my kids have a NASDAQ Biotech company now, after their lemonade stand was closed down by the IRS for not printing a "forwarding looking disclosure" on their investment prospectus (aka napkins).

about 4 months ago



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