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Ask Slashdot: Beginner To Intermediate Programming Projects?

s_p_oneil Re:Pieces of impossible (172 comments)

Seconded. All seemingly impossible projects can be broken down into manageable pieces. Break it down logically and tackle specific pieces that seem doable, then build on top of them.

about 4 months ago
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Biofuels From Corn Can Create More Greenhouse Gases Than Gasoline

s_p_oneil Re:Uh ... it's still carbon neutral, isn't it? (159 comments)

I don't think that's true unless its waste and/or corpse gets buried deeply enough that bacteria can't cause it to decompose. When bacteria eats plants/animals/organic waste, it releases a lot of CO2 back into the atmosphere.

about 5 months ago
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OpenBSD Team Cleaning Up OpenSSL

s_p_oneil Re:Backport\Upstream? Seems unlikely (304 comments)

If they end up stripping it down to a minimal library with the core functionality, cleaning up the public interface (e.g. exported functions), and making it easy to create your own OS-specific wrapper around it, then they are actually doing something that should have been done in the first place. If they do it right, it will become much more popular (and most likely more light-weight and secure) than the current OpenSSL project.

about 5 months ago
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Netflix Gets What It Pays For: Comcast Streaming Speeds Skyrocket

s_p_oneil Re:Consumers pay (328 comments)

I think Netflix's business model is more like WalMart's early model. Even if they can get away with it, they avoid raising prices because they want to stay on top by consistently offering the lowest price (usually by keeping very low profit margins). When they were finally pressured to increase prices, they chose to split the streaming and DVD rentals into two separate services (allowing you to lower your monthly cost if you only wanted to keep one). IMO they also fought against the price increase for as long as they could, and while many customers got pissed off and threatened to leave (and many did), there still wasn't a competitor that came close to it unless you count pirating the shows.

Very low margins makes them vulnerable to lobbying/litigation/price-fixing attacks from other companies like Comcast/AT&T, which is what we're seeing right now. This bandwidth throttling scheme is analogous to a price-fixing scheme, and Comcast/AT&T are using lobbyists and lawyers to keep it from being declared an anti-competitive practice. They really don't care about the little bit of extra money they're extorting from Netflix right now. They know Netflix has margins low enough that this will hurt, and they know Netflix's customers are ultra-sensitive to price increases. Either way Netflix will be hurt, which is their primary goal. Both offer more expensive competing services to Netflix, and together both offer the only way for most Americans to access Netflix. It's a clear conflict of interest. They will do the same to Hulu and any other serious competition that pops up.

about 5 months ago
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The Highest-Flying Wind Turbine

s_p_oneil Lightning surge (143 comments)

And when lightning strikes one of these babies, you get a nice surge of 1.21 Jigawatts.

Being more serious, I think this is a really good idea, but I would think big storms would be the biggest problems for these things. Of course, FTA:

"The largest barrier to implementation right now is the need for a product that is reliable in all weather conditions for long periods of time,"

about 6 months ago
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Bitcoin Exchange Flexcoin Wiped Out By Theft

s_p_oneil Hey, I have the perfect solution! (704 comments)

Hey, I have the perfect solution! After each deposit, the bitcoin exchanges should print the critical bitcoin info out on paper (encrypted first with a private key) then destroy the electronic copy. Then, in case they get robbed by a physical thief who is also a hacker, they should destroy all copies of the private key. See? It's perfect.

about 6 months ago
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Google Removes "Search Nearby" Function From Updated Google Maps

s_p_oneil Maybe it's because only 300 people know about it? (255 comments)

Maybe it's because only 300 people know about it? Yes, that was a joke, but seriously Google Maps has millions of users, and Google knows how many people click on it. If the vast majority don't (even if it's due to not having a clue), I could see why Google might drop it.

about 8 months ago
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Lawsuit: Oracle Called $50K 'Good Money For an Indian'

s_p_oneil Re:Where is "racial" discrimination? (409 comments)

Good point. I missed that part of it. Though in cases where the company feels they can get away with giving you a smaller increase (like if they think someone from rural Georgia won't notice and/or complain), a lot of businesses will. It's not racially biased, it's business.

about 8 months ago
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Lawsuit: Oracle Called $50K 'Good Money For an Indian'

s_p_oneil Re:Where is "racial" discrimination? (409 comments)

I don't think it matters. Companies will pay significantly less for employees in rural Georgia than they do for the same employees in Silicon Valley because rural Georgia has a much lower cost of living. This is standard business practice everywhere. Is that racial (or any other kind of) discrimination? Of course not. This is the same practice regardless of whether the manager technically said "for an Indian" (which sounds less politically correct) or "for someone living in a low-cost area like India" (which sounds more politically correct). And IMO it doesn't count as whistle-blowing to call someone out on a business practice that is neither illegal nor immoral. He's being fired for being a dumbass and making a big stink about nothing, not for being a whistle-blower.

about 8 months ago
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2013: an Ominous Year For Warnings and Predictions

s_p_oneil Re:Sometimes those warnings are muted (94 comments)

"That'd be nice - 'science' could just stick to doing sciencey things, then, instead of creating contrived and falsifiable histrionic reports about things which, almost invariably, will not prove out to be true."

All of this started when NASA was asked to do "sciencey" things with a clear non-political goal, namely to start tracking/modeling/predicting global weather patterns to help the US prepare for natural disasters like hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes, floods, droughts, etc. However, those things are very hard to predict without trying to look at larger climate patterns, which means gathering and crunching as much data as they could pull together. When all of that data pointed toward a potential long-term danger, NASA scientists did their jobs and informed their bosses of the potential danger.

Is that danger 100% clear? No. Did NASA scientists claim it was 100% clear? No. People like Al Gore may have, but last I checked, he wasn't one of NASA's scientists. Have the predictions remained constant over the years? No, they've been modified as more has been learned, and they will continue to be modified because there is always more to learn in every field of science. Have their discoveries and claims been backed up by other climate/weather tracking organizations like the ESA? Yes. The only thing that is 100% clear here is which side of the fence has been politically motivated the whole way and which side has not, which side has been trying to learn more and which has merely been obstructionist, etc.

The human race has never been short of people like the hunters who killed the very last of the dodo birds and smashed the last of their eggs, poachers who illegally hunt elephants and tigers toward extinction, fisheries who dredge the ocean floor because it's getting so much harder to find/catch enough fish to stay in business, or loggers who illegally cut down the rest of the trees in the Amazon rain forest. Every one of them is certain that the world is too big for their contribution to make a difference, and every one of them is wrong. Most global warming deniers aren't doing anything illegal or immoral (unless they're actively publishing fake scientific "studies"), but they have the same mind-set.

"I don't see what your point is. People (and the companies they run) make choices in the interest of self preservation and self-interest."

They sure do. And just like when someone's (or some company's) choices involve something illegal like human trafficking, it is the government's job to put a stop to it. It is also the government's job to decide whether something that is legal today should remain legal. They'll never be able to satisfy everyone, but it's their job. Of course, we can't outlaw coal and oil without harming everyone (yet), but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be trying to look for ways to head in that direction.

about 9 months ago
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2013: an Ominous Year For Warnings and Predictions

s_p_oneil Re:Sometimes those warnings are muted (94 comments)

Actually, I find the opposite to be true. If people stop believing in (e.g. forget about) the evil others can do when unchecked, then it all comes crashing down.

about 9 months ago
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Exponential Algorithm In Windows Update Slowing XP Machines

s_p_oneil Best way to force an upgrade (413 comments)

That's the best way to force users to upgrade that I can think of. They're already planning to end-of-life it. After EOL, they can simply start adding empty patches to the update system until it drives left-over XP users to upgrade. ;-)

about 9 months ago
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DARPA Issues $2mil Cyber Grand Challenge

s_p_oneil I've got an idea! (67 comments)

The title of my contest entry will be called the MCP (Master Control Program). It will enslave all other programs on the network.

about a year ago
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Windows 8 Killing PC Sales

s_p_oneil Re:And a turbo button! (1010 comments)

Exactly, only it didn't always fully compensate. Ultima 3 still ran WAY too fast to be playable with turbo disabled on my 386.

about a year and a half ago
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Motorola HC1: Head-Worn Computing For Workplaces With Deep Pockets

s_p_oneil Oil collector? (42 comments)

And I thought my laptop case and touch-screens got oily fast from fingers. Head-worn devices will bring it to a whole new level for a lot of people.

about 2 years ago
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The US Navy's Railgun Program

s_p_oneil Re:Is this news? (321 comments)

"Any country hostile to the USA would need to devote some of its resources, both money and brains, into similar RAD."

Not really, the Chinese will wait for us to sink the money into the tech, then steal the plans.

about 2 years ago
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CyanogenMod Drops ROM Manager In Favor of OTA Updates

s_p_oneil Re:Better Android (111 comments)

Oh, I agree 100%. I'm just pointing out that the grass isn't always greener on the CM side. CM definitely improved battery life for me, let me get rid of the crap-ware, and gave me more control, but the lack of a camera still killed it on that specific phone.

I go for the cheaper no-contract phones because I'm not willing to pay $40+ a month for phone service I rarely use/need. So I go for the $200 no-contract phones (recently picked up the Exhibit 2 for $180) and I pay $10 every 90 days for 30 minutes of cell time, and I only use it for emergencies (including minor ones, like when the wife changes her plans and needs me to pick up the kids). I think the only time I needed to recharge the minutes before the 90-day period was up was when the car broke down and the tow truck driver had a hard time finding me (he called my cell about 10 times while driving around looking for me).

If that means I need to avoid CM because the devs spend more time perfecting the more expensive phones, for $3.33/month it's something I can live with. ;-)

about 2 years ago
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CyanogenMod Drops ROM Manager In Favor of OTA Updates

s_p_oneil Re:Better Android (111 comments)

I don't know. I never had a working camera app with CM. It would take anywhere from 0 to 3 pictures before forcing me to reboot the phone, and when I tried to take video, the visual quality was so bad that you couldn't recognize the people in the videos. That kind of killed one of the major benefits of having a smartphone for me.

Maybe they've improved it since then, but the last thread I read on the subject (maybe 6-12 months back) was "Well, the camera still doesn't work, but..." Needless to say, when I upgraded my phone, I chose NOT to install CM.

about 2 years ago
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Quantum Teleportation Sends Information 143 Kilometers

s_p_oneil Re:Why Satellites? (333 comments)

I think his point was valid. If instant communication is possible between a hub in the US and a hub in without wires or line-of-sight issues, there's little point spending the money to put those communication hubs into orbit. Sure we'd still have classical channels leading from those hubs, and we'd still need satellites for things like GPS, but the need for communication satellites would be greatly reduced.

Of course, the point is moot if the bandwidth sucks on these things. If it's 300 baud, I don't care how amazing the ping time is. ;-)

about 2 years ago

Submissions

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Cloudwar - An Internet Arms Race?

s_p_oneil s_p_oneil writes  |  more than 6 years ago

s_p_oneil writes "Are we ready for the US government to explore offensive measures to combat cyber attacks? While I agree that the US government needs to enhance defensive security measures across the board, I think we should protest offensive measures being developed by internal agencies. At the very least, these offensive measures should be handled by the military, and the military should only be allowed to use them against foreign aggressors. There are good reasons that offensive technologies are developed and tested by the military and not by local authorities like the NSA or the FBI. The potential for abuse/misuse is too high.

In addition, the military is more well-equipped to set up different groups and stage cyber-war games to test various offensive and defensive technologies against each other. If they're already doing this, then that's great. It also means the NSA doesn't need to be doing it."

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