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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

s4m7 Re:Why do CS grads become lowly programmers? (637 comments)

In the curriculum at my university we learned at least one new language per semester. Assembler was required. Java was required. Python was required. Haskell was required. At different stages we learned about stack management, pointer allocation, memory management, garbage collection algorithms, and so on.

Point is, it's not about what language you use. Learn the techniques and the rest will follow. Learn to learn new languages, you will need them. Learn how the high level code you write is handled at the bare metal. CS is not just about producing programmers... Anybody with time on their hands and a computer can learn to code. CS is about furthering the art and science of computing.

about 2 months ago
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Verizon Throttles Data To "Provide Incentive To Limit Usage"

s4m7 Re: Except,,, (316 comments)

Well the contracts remain month to month after their term, unless you upgrade your phone or change your plan in some way. Those of us who are fighting to keep the unlimited plan have to buy retail price phones to upgrade.

So short answer, yes, they kinda were that stupid.

about 2 months ago
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Verizon Throttles Data To "Provide Incentive To Limit Usage"

s4m7 Re:cretinous because (316 comments)

Well, that's exactly what they're doing. The problem is they're doing it to those of us users who already have unlimited plans which they don't sell anymore, but are paying month to month and buying phones elsewhere to keep our contracts from being re-written. They won't be throttling the new "unlimited" customers because there aren't any.

about 2 months ago
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How long ago did you last assemble a computer?

s4m7 Re: so, I'm in the more than 8 yrs ago camp (391 comments)

Religious wars over operating systems are dead. All the major contenders are "good enough" for general purpose use. Most custom builds are going to have some piece of bleeding edge kit which will require some minor fiddling to get it to work with ANY OS.

Tbh if you find adding a ppa, refreshing the package cache and performing an update a challenging task, linux plainly isn't for you. For those of us who don't find this 30 second procedure paralyzingly difficult, we will continue to use a good POSIX compliant free OS without regard for your feelings about it.

You can feel free to have to run separate upgrade procedures for every single piece of hardware and each individual application over the life of your machine, to be subject to the will of MS for your desktop environments features, and work around the lack of POSIX compliance as long as it suits you.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Bulletproof Video Conferencing For Alzheimers Home?

s4m7 Re: FaceTime (194 comments)

Much as I hate to shill for Apple, this is the correct answer. iPads do silent updates and don't complain much if they cannot. They have tremendous battery life and the simplest power connector ever. Works with all services, interface simplicity cannot be bested. The smart tv solution would probably work too, but there's more room for problems to arise. Not sure how the costs break down but this would even work with used iPads if you need to keep costs down.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Bulletproof Video Conferencing For Alzheimers Home?

s4m7 Re: FaceTime (194 comments)

Just from a compatibility standpoint... I know iPads can work with Skype, google hangouts, etc. is a samsung smart tv compatible with FaceTime?

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Would You Do With Half a Rack of Server Space?

s4m7 Re: mbs/Mbs (208 comments)

As a scientist, you definitely want to be precise with your fractional bits.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Would You Do With Half a Rack of Server Space?

s4m7 Re: power, so no, not really? (208 comments)

I thought the commenter's clear meaning was, "allow us to use the hardware in the racks during the remaining lease time."

about 3 months ago
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Virginia DMV Cracks Down On Uber, Lyft

s4m7 Re: Seems reasonable... (260 comments)

People voting with dollars is the reason we have regulatory capture in the first place. I mean why have any government at all? People can hire their own security forces if they need police. The private fire brigade can run a credit check on you to see if you can pay the bill before they put out your burning home... If it spreads to the neighbors, that's just more clients for them! All roads, bridges, ports, rail and telecommunications infrastructure can be private and commerce will THRIVE. I just had a brilliant idea for disrupting the regulated airlines via a fleet of drones. Who said the skies are friendly? I never voted with my dollars for the FAA and the NTSB.

about 4 months ago
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How One Drunk Driver Sent My Company To the Cloud

s4m7 Re: why cloud? (290 comments)

Generators have become a backup that few people use today.

Few people. Many businesses. Most large buildings. All hospitals.

In other words, the more critical it is to maintain service, the more likely there is an on-site means to provide that service.

about a year ago
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Ask Mark Shuttleworth Anything

s4m7 Re:African? (319 comments)

That may be because Africa, unlike Britain, is a continent. You are, demographically speaking, a European-American.

about 2 years ago
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Secession Petitions Flood White House Website

s4m7 Re:If there was a Bad at Math Map... (1163 comments)

Imagine the message sent to both parties if Stein, or Johnson handed Obama a loss.

You mean like when Nader handed Gore a loss in 2000?

The lesson the Republicans learned was "we have a mandate" and proceeded to pursue a decade of self-destructive jingoistic policy they still haven't recovered from. The lesson the Democrats learned was "don't get Nadered again."

about 2 years ago
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Stallman On Unity Dash: Canonical Will Have To Give Users' Data To Governments

s4m7 Re:Don't use Ubuntu (187 comments)

Mint makes money through their default search engine redirect, or in other words, by selling your keyword searches. Which is exactly what Ubuntu is doing. They've just been doing it for longer.

about 2 years ago
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Stallman On Unity Dash: Canonical Will Have To Give Users' Data To Governments

s4m7 Re:Don't use Ubuntu (187 comments)

They might try some more conventional approaches before being total scumbags.

You mean, for example, selling support services, offering affordable cloud services, and creating an online store for linux-compatible software vendors?

Yeah... they should really try that stuff...

about 2 years ago
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Hiring Smokers Banned In South Florida City

s4m7 Re:Make it illegal (1199 comments)

I was taking a basic reasoning course. We were discussing logical fallacies, and trying to clarify the slippery slope for some people. The prof used the example of banning smoking in restaurants and bars leading to the banning of smoking in public spaces and private homes. "That's absolutely ridiculous," chortled the prof. "Nobody is trying to ban smoking in your home or in parks. That's why slippery slope is a fallacy!" "ah sir, there are towns in florida, california, and connecticut (probably more) where smoking in your own residence is banned. our own city council banned smoking in public parks just this year. That's why it's important to remember that a logical fallacy doesn't necessarily mean that the argument is incorrect." he blushed, and conceded my point.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Would You Fix the Linux Desktop?

s4m7 Re:It's not broken. (1154 comments)

Frankly, the Unity UI on Ubuntu 12.04 is so mac-like i'm surprised apple hasn't "samsunged" Canonical yet. If canonical was a hardware vendor I'm sure they would. If you haven't given it a go, I'd say Unity is an easy transition for OS X users and it's now the default on Ubuntu. If you have tried it, and you disagree with this assessment, please tell me why, as I use both a fair amount and I fail to see much in the way of significant difference.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Not Linux For Security?

s4m7 Re:Fine, I'll bite (627 comments)

And how, exactly, is this different to the situation with Linux? There is no guarantee that someone will report a vulnerability to the maintainers of, say, a Linux distro, any more than that someone will report one to Microsoft. And what Linux distribution or major infrastrucuture project still runs an open access security mailing list today, with guaranteed full and immediate disclosure of all reported vulnerabilities?

Ultimately, unless you personally are directly involved with the security and maintenance of every major Linux project you use, you're still trusting other people to be honest in their disclosure and prompt with fixing security issues.

You're looking for guarantees while I'm talking about options. If you, as a security professional, are concerned about the code, you can scrutinize it. Windows doesn't give you this option. There's no guarantee of disclosure but probability suggests that with greater access to the code will come greater disclosure.

Yes, because obviously the people who are responsible for systems processing a quadrillion dollars of financial transactions just throw a quick Debian CD in the drive to set it up. I don't suppose they're taking any extra steps to audit or secure their systems beyond what a typical home user running Windows for Facebook and gaming would do. Hell, you could probably just walk right into their data centre and remove a hard drive while no-one's looking, and then take it home to look through the files in your own time.

It's ridiculous to assume that when we're talking about securing an office computing environment that we're not allowing for extra steps of auditing and securing in the process. The question is, then, which platform offers a better tool set for doing that?

Leaving aside whether or not any of those things are necessarily true in 2012, about 99.37% of the Linux user base is also experienced enough not to fall for typical malware scams, but I don't suppose that makes any difference.

In the sense that it's completely irrelevant to the discussion, you're correct, it does not. End users will always be the weak point in security. End of story. Now, the question is, do you by default give them write access to system directories, or not? Do you keep granular logs of each file i/o access by individual users?

You won't hear me say that Windows "sucks" at security, or that it hasn't improved significantly since XP. But the fact is that these same mechanisms MS is implementing in 2010, 2011, 2012 have been available to unix users for 30+ years. The whole model has been built around multi-user systems in networked environments with disparate resources moderated by varying levels of access. It's not something that was bolted on 17 years later as an afterthought.

More importantly, if the model that exists doesn't actually serve your organization's needs, there's nothing materially stopping you from modifying it until it does.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Not Linux For Security?

s4m7 Re:Fine, I'll bite (627 comments)

Do a lot of on-line banking on your Android phone, do you? Or have a nice, high bandwidth connection you could saturate to support a DDoS attack on someone who didn't pay their protection money? Or store any juicy company data that could be handy for not-quite-insider trading?

As ozmanjsri said, yes to all these things. My 4g connection is definitely faster than my home broadband.

There have been security vulnerabilities found in just about every major piece of networking/server software on Linux. There is no doubt about this, because most of those packages are open source, and the fixes are a matter of public record. If there was money in writing Linux malware, there have been plenty of weaknesses to exploit, just like on Windows (or any other major platform).

There have been security vulnerabilities found in every piece of networking/server software, Period. The trick is that on Windows, even Microsoft is often not notified of these for months after their discovery by the black hats, and it has been sometimes two years for a fix. You as a consumer may NEVER know about them.

But serious malware today isn't written by script kiddies any more. It's essentially organised crime, and it follows the money. If you think that wouldn't lead it right to Linux if that became the dominant desktop OS, or that being primarily open source makes the Linux ecosystem magically immune to the kinds of security bugs that make it into code written by highly skilled and experienced professionals working for the best funded software companies in the world, then I've got a few friends in Nigeria who would like your help with some financial transactions.

the U.S. Army is “the” single largest install base for Red Hat Linux. Industrial Commercial Bank of China runs Linux at all 20,000 of its locations. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange employs an all-Linux computing infrastructure and has used it to process over a quadrillion dollars worth of financial transactions. No money in Linux malware? Pshaw.

But no, Linux doesn't make you magically immune. It simply has a more mature and advanced security model, better tools for detecting and stopping intrusions, and the ability for a motivated firm to make any security modifications needed on their own schedule.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: My Company Wants Me To Astroturf, Should I?

s4m7 You already know the answer. (391 comments)

If you have moral difficulties with something outside the scope of your employment agreement and/or job responsibilities, then don't do it.

Normally someone doesn't have to ask me to astroturf a project I'm working on. I want my company to be a viable source of employment so their bottom line is my bottom line. The more money I make them, the more money there is around raise time, whether they're keeping a naughty or nice list or not. Keeping that in mind, I'm usually very eager to promote things I'm working on. Even if I haven't tried it, I probably know what advantages it offers over competing products.

I'm perplexed at how developers can make something and not use it. Or marketers can sell something they don't use. Or administrators can manage people working on something they don't use. It strikes me that this is what Marx was talking about with regard to alienation. And it smells like a management failure, either to hire people who care enough about the work they do, or to instill enough of a sense of shared involvement, to casually mention it to some friends.

"Hey guys I'm working on this thing, check it out and let me know what you think!" is subtle, effective and not pushy. If you don't feel right doing that? look for another job.

more than 2 years ago

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