Ask Slashdot: Linux For Grandma?
Wednesday I got a visit from my neighbor asking for help with his computer. My heart sank. I had set him up with Mint 15 on his laptop and he was happily using it for the past 6 months. "What's wrong?" I asked. He said "something about "user profile service"". Oh, he means his desktop (Vista) so I fix it by doing a system restore. I asked about the laptop. "Its working fine, no complaints."
For this man to have no complaints, you have to understand what a dramatic experience computers are for him. He was a truck driver for the county. Never worked a day of his life at a computer, but his wife was a secretary. (She has passed on). So he tries to do stuff.. but any little thing that changes is a big deal. MSN shut down MSN messenger service and replaced it with Skype. That generated two visits from him - one the "little man" disappeared. And the new Skype icon that they installed for him. He even added his own MyFi to it.
And that is why I recommend Linux. It's never generated a support call to me from him.
It's True: Some People Just Don't Like Music
'Data Science' Is Dead
It's called a counter example.
'Data Science' Is Dead
UA, a Baltimore company hosts data science meetups. Why? Because UA is data science driven. All company decisions are made based on data. So it seems that the OP is complete BS, because it is effectively creating results, and those results are highly successful for a major corporation.
The New PHP
Well, it's like giving children knives and telling them to go play. They are too inexperienced to know the possible outcomes of knife usage. Whose fault is that? If you're going to give them a knife, make sure it at least has a sheath with it. The simple way to do this is to only give them a prepare/bind interface.
Meanwhile in PHP every sql demo and intro I see is gluing SQL together. You have to go looking for the bind interface.
The New PHP
It's that same easy substitution, i.e. $sql = "SELECT fname, lname from people where id='$id'" that leads to data breaches.
The New PHP
You never should have to sanitize your db inputs. Why? Because then you have to always unsantize them, else you end up with a crap string because it isn't escaped/unescaped enough times. The right thing to do is to use the database driver's bind interface. Basically, your DB values should be treated as opaque blobs as far as entry and retrieval go. Now if you need to verify a date, that's another matter. But you should be treating them as opaque blobs, full of nulls, quotes, semicolons and unprintable characters.
The New PHP
You might not be aware of PHP in the old days, but they used to move all the variables into the script so that
$_GET['x'] and $_POST['y']
would be $x and $y... ("register globals") So yeah, you couldn't tell where they came from. The situation with $_* greatly improved things especially when they deprecated register globals.
The New PHP
The New PHP
I've been complaining to a friend of mine about PHP. I was an early adopter around 1.0/2.0, avid user at 3, and have fallen out with it since then. PHP was good, even revolutionary at the time because you either had C or perl PHP had a friendliness to it... Something that ended up making it second rate.
It's always been second rate. Even the PHP devs themselves end up coding vulnerabilities. And look at MtGox. What was it coded in? PHP!
Why in 2014, do I have to decorate variables with '$'? Why is the assiciative array syntax take two characters that look a comparison operator? Why do I need == and ===? ANd vaiable confusion between $_GET, $_POST and $_COOKIE
No one can do a safe site in PHP, it's just too much work to 1) know best practices and 2) code it.
Today, there are many ways to develop dynamic web content. My favorite two are Node[JS] and witty (webtoolkit.eu). While there is no "ace of the page" the Witty apprror say SPDY2.0, approach is best, where you write your application code and it renders code for whatever browser and browser capabilities it has. If Websockets, HTML6, or SPDY2.0 comes out, you just recompile your app against the new library that just uses the new features as appropriate.
In retrospect, there never really was a time when PHP was a "good thing".
Ask Slashdot: How Do You Sort?
If you remember, the O(N^2) shuffe sort is fastest on piles n =6 So I. make sorted piles of 6. These sorted piles of 6 are done using the brains only internal intutitve sort. Then you linear sort the piles of 6 together. I try to go for as many piles at the same time, not just 2. If fact this is more limited by distance than anything else. Since you are sorting things with a physical representation you need to take the time cost of moving yourself into account. With a deck of cards, there is no move costs but with dozens of 8x11 or A4 papers, reach becomes a factor.
I've been doing this since 2001 and I have yet to find a better way.
Augmented Reality Treatment May Alleviate Phantom Limb Pain
In the Ted Video (link below) he claims to have treated phantom limb pain with a mirror. Yes, a chap mirror. No expensive VR.
Ted Talk: Vilayanur Ramachandran
Facebook Shuts Down @Facebook Email System
I remember when facebook replaced all of my contact info with @facebook.com addresses, the bulk update ripped through my phone and messed a lot of things up.
Can I now get my original contacts restored?
The Higgs Boson Re-Explained By the Mick Jagger of Physics
The comic seems to hint at a relationship between he two. Is that correct? Do different values of the higgs field make for different speeds of light?
Ray Kurzweil Talks Google's Big Plans For Artificial Intelligence
Well, you can do that with chess because using a computer is cheating. But if you don't use a computer in life, you are underperforming. The same way normal kids take ADD meds in college to get an edge on the other students.
True there is more to life than the numbers, but in a capitalist society, that's the measure of your ability.
Ray Kurzweil Talks Google's Big Plans For Artificial Intelligence
Because a movie is boring if you know the script. And if you make decisions based on the script, you wind up in a validation trap: you can't change your decision because that would have produced a measurable waste. To put it in an understandable context, it's like changing majors. Would you change your major if you could see how much time and money were wasted coupled with additional time and cost?
And as much as we hate the mundane, our brains need it. If we only ever deal with exceptions, you wind up in a constant high-stress situation of dealing with what the computer can't handle, or handled incorrectly.
Ray Kurzweil Talks Google's Big Plans For Artificial Intelligence
"Computers are useless. They can only give you answers." - Pablo Picasso.
The same goes for ultra-intelligent computers. The hard questions - dealing with creativity, intuition or infirmities will remain the domain of organics for the foreseeable future.
One area of recent development is with extremely large datasets (2006, Google's MapReduce) still can only provide results for stuff that we have data on. The data will only take you so far. The true question is hoe effectively is it used. While progress will be made, it'll be a long time before we can sit back and let the computer make all the decisions, especially of those pertaining to our future. And when they finally do that, life will be incredibly boring.
How Well Do Our Climate Models Match Our Observations?
Look, if you can't see that you and the kettle are both black...
The straight and white were included to show you that your attack on him via his religion is not a valid grouping and qualifies as bigotry. It is not how science is to be debated. The only thing that Ham proved in the Nye/Ham young Earth debate was that devout Christians who believe in young earth are still capable of doing science.
Who cares what the motivation is as long as the science is sound? Science does not bend to motivation. It is universally reproducible.
Fishing Line As Artificial "Muscle"
and varients should be variants. ;-)
How Well Do Our Climate Models Match Our Observations?
So rather than attack his science, you attack his character? Since when can only straight, white, agnostic scientists do science?
I've been flamed before for my stance on the taxation issue. I 'd like to take some time to explain it a bit better.
First of all, I was one of you. When I read in "Good to be King" Badnarik's views on the IRS and 16th amendment, I thought there had to be some "creative interpretation" going on. He had a lot of damn nerve to stand up the the IRS and take a position so counter to common belief. So I embarked on what I thought would be a short journey. The goal was to find the creative interpretation or oversight. Weeks into it (spending much of my waking hours outside of work) I came to the realization that there was at least something fishy going on with the IRS, and they were the ones actually guilty of creative interpretation. Suffice to say, I found no oversight or "creative interpretation". This only pissed me off more because I wanted closure, damn it! I then found the book in my sig. It even if you think that the income tax is real (as most people do) it at least shows that your wages are not to be entered on your 1040 form, depsite that employer issued w-2. Same thing goes for the 1099-misc. You can practice what is in the book, even if you think the income tax is real, or even if you think that it is not. What you end up doing is recovering your payroll taxes, which are the majority of taxes paid by most working Americans.
That book was a nice, cheap ($20) read that seems to work with minimal resistance from the IRS. And it got me thinking - and thinking only happens with me when I want answers. But the longer I go without answers, the more I want them. So next, I bought Otto Skinner's books which have a more acedemic focus on the issue. Appearently, in addition to not having your wages be taxed, you are also not liable for the income tax, though the regulations do look that way. After digesting Otto Skinner's books, I can now appreciate the following quotes:
"Your income tax is 100 percent voluntary tax, our
liquor tax is 100 percent enforced tax. Now the situation is as different as day and night. Consequently, your same rules just will not apply." -
William E. Avis, Head, Alcohol, Tobacco Division of IRS
"The responsibility for determining whether or not
you are a person liable, is yours." -Stephen L. Daige; District Director of New England, August 22, 1997
Such quotes can only arise when someone finds themselves liable absent of a legal liability. In fact, though that know how to properly argue their case usually get dismissed (When the IRS is the plaintiff). The problem is though, that the IRS convinces people to go to a "Tax Court". Such tax courts are only for "taxpayers". The method for getting to the Tax Court is that a "taxpayer" must petition the court. This does several things that the average Joe is not aware of:
* Admit to being a taxpayer (and in doing so admistting a liability)
* Recognizing the court has jurisdiction
* Puts the burden of proof on themselves.
Such a situation spells doom for many who have tried to argue they are not a taxpayer or are not liable. (Incdentally, this is a Circuit court, and you fill find no shortage of pro "income tax" rulings in US Circuit courts)
Indeed the only solution is to go into DISTRICT court and ask for the law/statute that makes you liable. Indeed, there is none. Sections 1,61,60xx and 7xxx all put a tax on "taxable income", establish tax tables, and establish penalties, but none establish a legal liability. the 60xx section has a clause that makes someone pay if there is tax due, but that still is not a legal liabilty.
All of this would be more clear if the 16th amendment hadn't been ratified. Some claim that it never was. But the whole issue is a red herring. (And this why FairTax is just supporting a federal sales tax AND income tax - the FairTax conditions that the 16th amendment will be repealed and "end the income tax" but imagine their surprise when they finally realize that the 16th amendment is irrelevant!) It looks like it does establish an income tax, and it does allow congress to do just that. Congress has done that to some degree, but congress has not established an income tax on individuals. (Back-point: those in HR who allege you have taxable incomes with w-2, w-3s and 1099-miscs are treating you as a legal fiction when it comes to the word "income" - that is why they generate "taxpayer evidence" and usually insist on doing so. They know the company is liable for income taxes, but fail to recognise that "income" from flesh and blood is fundamentally different from a fiction's income.)
When reading the 16th amendment, you must factor in Brushaber vs Union Pacific (Surpreme court, delivered 3 years after the 16th amendment was ratified), which established the nature and interpretation of the 16th amendment. It held that the fundamental powers of taxation originally laid out in the Consitution are indeed still fully in effect and were not modified. (After all the amendment does not say that it "repeals or modifies", so the only other option is to be "in addition to"). Instead the court ruled that the "income tax" was still an excise tax. The definition of excise is a tax on excercising a privilage, and measured by something. No where in the laws does it say what privilage we, flesh and blood people, are engaging in. There are plenty of excise taxes laid, but the only one that does not fit is the "income tax" on individuals. Indeed, one must only ask in district court what privilage is creating the legal liability for him to be liabile for the tax, and the case should be dismissed. Don't worry, you will not be the first to do this. The others that have done this seem get their cases dismissed. You'll never find these cases because they never get flagged for publication. (I wonder why...)
I probably would not be so bold about taking on this issue, but there have been several recent vicoties for the people. There have also been a number of set-backs for the IRS.
March 7 2005 (three weeks ago)
Tax Court documents must be made availible for appeal
two months ago:
That all "enforcement actions" including petitioning the tax court are voluntary. There is no legal authority to deprive someone of money until district court rules on the issue. Additionally no fines can be assesed for not compling for the administrative proceedures set forth by the IRS.
I hope the above will give you some idea that the "income tax" is at least worth your own look. Today, these issues are more relavant than ever, particulary with the failure of social security in the next 40-80 years. (Regardless of privatization, tax increases and the like, it will become pyramid balancing on its point. with people putting in less than those drawing out.) Using the methods in CtC is the way to protect that money to make sure you will still have it by the time you retire.
PS. One question is why is this happening now in American history. Several things have come together:
* Internet - collaboration and research in microseconds.
* FindLaw?Cornell law library - Court cases and laws online
* Rumors of failing Social Security increase awesess of taxes which we might not get back
* The tax rate has increased to 33% (from 1% when initially enacted) and now eats into our economic development (30yr mortgages instead of 10yr, etc)
* People unhappy with Democratic and Republican parties - many people I know want to pick and choose platform issues from both parties. In this, they may invistigate other parties and see that these two main parties suck more then they have to. Other parties are typically for a much smaller federal government, which means lower federal taxes.
PPS. Why did Donald Duck have to convince people to pay federal income taxes? Shouldn't a law have done that?
PPPS. I get the question "How is the federal government supposed to fund itself?" Well the same way it did up until 1913. Duties, foreigners, treaties. We always operated with an "embarassing surplus" up until we had a federal "income" tax. Don't forget when needed, Congress can apportion taxes to the states for collection.
Part 1 talks about entanglement, matter/animatter and sets up this article. Where we cover what really happened during the BB (Big Bang).
The BB is more of a trasitional event than a birth. It is the cocoon that hatches the transformed universe. Before the BB, we have a state that sums to zero. We have equal amounts of matter and antimatter. We then also have something that is just a number. It is the differnence in decay rates between matter and antimatter. It take up no space, no energy in the scene. It is just like the color of film. It quite litterly translates into a filter of sorts.
The BB is a destabilzation event bewteen the matter and animatter states. Something went wong. I have not thought about it enough to speculate what. Perhaps that will be "Part 3". But we have a destabilzation one the less. The universal center is the point at which this event occured. Immediately at the destabilzation, we have matter and antimatter decaying and giving rise to its anti-equivilent on the other side. Animatter becomes matter, matter becomes animatter. To clarify, they matter that we are was previously antimatter, but was converted to matter at the BB. The reverse is true too. However this conversion was projected on to the universe with a bias for matter. The result is that after the decay we now have an unbalanced univserse - one entirely of matter.
It may be that the BB and the bias are intrinsically tied. Assume temporarily that the bias is 0. We could have been oscilating between matter-antimatter/antimatter-matter universes for some time, until there was a bias, however small, for one over the other.
Lets take a look at what is going on Mathmatically:
1+ (-1)=0 (we'll call this m1)
and on the other side of the big bang:
-1+ (1)=0 (we'll call this m2)
We define the BB as f:
m1 -> f -> m2
As long as f is -1, everything remains balanced and m1 can be converted to m2 and back.
This argument is rather mathmatically pointless, since as soon as f changes to be not -1, we can never go back to a previous state. But if we can argue that it went back and forth, then we can argue that there is no god (aside from f) and that the variation of f was natural and not divine. Surely a god would set f once and be right. If he messed up though, there would be a mess on his hands.
Anyway, what is an explosion on one side of the big bang is a sink on the other. Once instability is achevied, space ruptures and suck on from one side to spew out on the other side. The difference is that this time, there is no balance, and no return trip. All the energy availible to the new universe is processed and burst forth into the new universe.
Of course this is a one-time universe. Once the matter-antimatter balance is destroyed, you can never go back. With all the universe spilling through a point in space-time, I should hope that that force is greater than what the force of gravity can muster, particularly once you've converted all your antimatter (and its gravity as well) to energy.
If the universe would ever come back together to a single point in space-time, then you'd just get a black whole that would convert matter to energy and spew that out until it was no longer sustainible. This process may repeat (where the spewed energy forms matter and is sucked back in and becomed fuel) bit eventually the average rate of energy spew will be low enough so that matter cannot be reformed. You'll be left in a universe of little energy and a few remaining bits of matter too useless to do anything. Such a shame. That is the way the universe ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper.
Getting back to the beginning of the universe, we use entanglement to hold the universe in the delicate balance. Without it, forces are developed that are not balanced. Indeed, the matter and antimatter particles could have developed several non-uniform areas. However it would be impossible to have a steady state natually ocur, You'd have to brace the house of cards until you wanted to watch it fall down. If things are entabled, then it makes holding things in balance so much easier. The BB becomes a deliberate event rather then a guarenteed event.
Whatever happened to imbalance things, it was an intrisic part of the 'f' function. There is some chicken-and-egg problem here. Did f get unbalanced, or was an imbalanced date fed into F? The outcome is the same, but in order to get the result that we have today, we can't start in the middle of the conversion. If we did, then both sides would have stable state characteristics and unstable state charaterisitca, but at opposite times. The f conversion would have spewed some stable-state stuff through followed by unstable state stuff. There should then be a layer of stable-state matter and animatter, still stable at the edges of our universe. Perhaps this explains the rate of expansion increase of the universe? The perfectly matched and balanced states would look to be zero. Dark matter and energy? Perhaps. It could also exist in the universe too, though it would be affected by matter, but still in a balanced way.
Hrm... I only meant to explain the big bang. But I found myself explaining before the big bang, after it, debunking the 1-time-universe, the ultimate cold death, and dark matter and energy. And it all comes from the same thing. Pretty eligant. A lot more than I originally thought possible.
Quantum Enganglement and The Big Bang Part 1
On the drive in to work today I was pondering the moments leading up to the big bang. I had been a part rather fruitless discussion a few weeks prior on such matters. However the NASA scientist failed to understand waht I was trying to say (most certainly it was I who was not communicating clearly) and a lay man with no appearent understanding of Linear Algebra. I left the discussion because the lay man had it mind made up (on bad math none the less) and didn't want to be told more. But I and the NASA scientist (who works on Ion Drives) had been arguing the same thing to this guy, so I assume that my shade-tree-scientist skills were somewhat up to snuff.
Revisiting that discussion in my head, along with attempting to understand the basis for quantum entanglement, I hit upon an interesting concept that could possibly add to our understanding of the big bang.
We assume that the big bang came from a point in space, and that all matter exploded from it. The nuances here are subtile. It was more likely that pure energy burst fourth, manifestied it self into matter and anitimatter, then due to unequal decay rates, we wound up with the matter universe that we have today. There may be original cosmic antimatter floating in space in theory, but in practicality, it would be extremely improbable. The magnetic attraction of matter and animatter would have ensured collisions dispite the gentle force of gravity. I am not saying it is impossible, just really, really, really improbable.
Then we have quantum entanglement. A "Spooky interaction at a distance". We know that reguardless of space-time quantum effects are simultaneous and guarenteed between two entangled particles. We have not yet seen entanglement between two different kinds of particles, but I think it is possible. We can entangle two same-kind paricles because both have the same behavior constraints. The time and force that it takes to change spin between to like particles is the same, therefore, entanglement works well.
Consider now entangling animatter with matter. In theory, this should be possible because all pramters are the same, just reversed. Therefore quantum effects are reversed. Changing spin on normal entangled matter flips the other one to the opposite state. In a matter/anti-matter entanglement, the states would flip to the same state. If matter is flipped to 'up', the antimatter particle would flip to anti-'up'. (Deriviatives of that term will surely work into geek card games) Anti-up would then be equivelent to 'down'.
Thus I have devised an explanaion why matter-matter entanglement changes is negated. Originally (before the BB) matter and animatter was held in quantum entagled states. The interesteing side effect of this is that we do not need all the matter (or energy) in the universe to be in close proximity with each other. You could have everything in the universe evenly sitributed in distributed in space. If this is the case, then we can have a before-time of the big bang. And, I would contend that we have time before, during and after the BB. However, the BB is now seen as an event that created the universe as we know it, but no longer is the initial state of the universe.
- Introduce 'Linux' and show then that Windows is not the only choice.
- Show them what "Linux" is like (in reality KDE or GNOME)
- Allow then to test out their hardware compatibilty under Linux.
- Perform a function for free - in wondow's they'd need to probably buy something.
So it is a live CD, and has all the features as such. There is nothing to say that they can't close default application (in this case a button panel and a few dialogs to automate my FLAC/MP3 operations) and use it as a regualr desktop. But you get a targeted purpose. You get to slip Linux into their experience like spyware slips into "free" windows' downloads. Aside from the rebooting you'll have a product any user will love.
Blame Monkey Corp
A lot of objection to OSS in the workplace rests on the community support aspect. While I find community support to be superior to commercial support, businesses still like to have a blame monkey. (This is the ??? in the step before "4) and Profit" open source business scheme)
Here's my idea. Create a company that is the blame monkey. There's some bug in KDE. A company needs it fixed. Call Blame Monkey Corp (BMC). Pay them what's you'd pay for the software to start your account. Describe the bug to them. Blame Monkey Corp finds a code money and says 'get it fixed'. BMC appoints you (the code monkey) as bug master - it's up to you to get it fixed. They exchange contact info betweent he money and the company. When the bug is resolved, the monkey submits the patch to the appropriate vendor, and patches the customer's computer. Then BMC awards a portion of the support licence to you. Some of it is kept for BMC operating expenses, pay the BMC managers, and to pay idle blame monkeys for new adding new features.
Companies buy support licenses (entitlements) for the applications they select. These are non-refunable fees. I expect most to go unused. You can't buy a license then ask for a feature and expect it to get done - only bugs. But you can submit feature requests for idle code monkeys. BMC coordinates resources and is responsible for distrbuting money to the monkeys. No payout is done if someone not in that BMC does not fix the problem.
One BMC should be enough, but there is a possibilty for many. BMCs can compete with each other on support fees, response times and monkey pay-out rates. They can also pre-release new features to clients before the patches make it out to a release. One BMC might pride itself on features, another short resolution times. Another might be damn cheap.
This would fix that there's only community support and no one to blame situation that companies are so leary of.
Out of Band: Why technology is making life harder
I will now sum up a 4-year computer science degree in 1 sentence: Find the pattern, model it in code. Those who do that stand to benefit enormously.
Computers are very logical, proceedural machines. All the programming is modeling of a process that was once done by a person. Since the proceedure was very definable, with well-defind conflict resolution, these proceedures made good canidates for computer adaptation.
Over the years, more and more things were adapted tot he computer. It has a very accurate math processor, so those apps were done first. Plus there are only a few operations you can do with numbers. Then it was abtracted to objects with well-defined behaviors. This allowed for even morethings to be modeled.
As more and more things were modeled, the computer was doing intelectual grunt work faster, cheaper and more accurately than the people could. Since most people get bored easily, after some inital worries, most people began welcoming computers as labor and error saving devices.
What this did was very quietly and smoothly transition us to handle everythign the computer can't. We don't like proceedure, but we are intelligent - so we can handle the things that don't fit in a computer well. And indeed that is what we do.
Computers and algorithms are ubiquous enough now such that people are just glue code between computer systems. Someone somewhere has to handle a problem that the computer can't. It has to defer to us on how to handle a situation. We after all, know control our world, we care about what goes on. It is us t hat has the wants and needs we programmed the computers to support.
So we have a human handle these "Out of Band" issues. Usually the resolution of these issues ends up in the hands of a person, who doctors it or does what the machine can't yet do, but whatever it is, it's a handling of the exception. Then it's remolded and untered back into the computer.
So we have a food chain with people at the top and a lot of people in the middle. The people at the top start a chain reaction that ripples down. Like a sensory nerve cell firing in a central nervous system. The signal ripples through the nerves, goes to many places, before finding it's ending spot. An exmple is paying bills online. You initialte a transfer, the change ripples through your bank's computer, to another bank's and possibly a third banks. 'Money' ends up changing hands. If anything goes wrong, the computers try to handle it, but failing that, someone of flesh and blood handles it. It could be that the middle bank dropped the transfer. Someone at that back will use a program to start it back up again when you call to complain that it didn't get done.
So we are both at the top and in the middle. A few of us are at the bottom, but er are never peers int he system. People can be peers, but machines are always following our commands, or giving us commands to follow. There is no one that works along side a computer.
Software developers come closest to peers. They know wha tthe computer can and can't do. They make many decisions on how to tructure the program, its input and output and define it's involvement. But for the most part developers are at the top, though they may make decisions due to cimputer implementation details.
So we have effectively managed to produce a system there the monotomy is handled exclusively by computers. Which leaves us to fight the fires that they can't handle. That's why life seems more frantic than ever. They blast along until there's a problem, then it all stops. We bust our butts to resolve it quickly so the computer can get to the next problem. The problem is it can find the next one before we can rest.
It's only going to get worse my friends. Computers will only get faster, finding problems for us to solve faster, and the easiest resolutions will be coded in, leaveing only the hard problems for us to solve.