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Comments

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Ask Slashdot: How Important Is Advanced Math In a CS Degree?

sohmc Classes aren't requirements... (656 comments)

An important lesson I learned after college is that not every "requirement" is an actual requirement. Requirements like classes are often hurdles that are placed to either weed out people who don't want to do the hard work. Sometimes they are there to seem accredited to other organizations, allowing the school to justify their degrees.

I couldn't get a CompSci degree for the same reason. I couldn't handle calc. I got As in all my programming classes, but couldn't do the math.

I would say CS requires more creative thinking than logical thinking, but both are needed. However, in my every day life, I use maybe an Algebra 2 level type math?

Unless you're going to be writing video games or the like, you probably don't need it. But unfortunately, nothing you can do about it if the school is requiring you to.

You can do what I'm doing: get an English degree, show off your computer skills, and tell employers that with my geekiness and my English skills, I make great presentations and write very well.

about a year ago
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Web of Tax Shelters Saved Apple Billions, Inquiry Finds

sohmc Re:Before you call the kettle black... (716 comments)

Then the problem isn't the company; the problem is the legislator.

If legislators had the backbone of not caring about re-election, we might be in better shape. Then again, we re-elect over 95% of the legislators, so maybe the problem is the electorate.

about a year ago
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Web of Tax Shelters Saved Apple Billions, Inquiry Finds

sohmc Before you call the kettle black... (716 comments)

Remember: most American's take advantage of the "legal loophole" called the itemized deduction.

You are under no legal obligation to itemize your deductions. And, unless I'm mistaken, you do not have to claim all your allowances.

Yes, I realize there is a huge difference between corporations skipping on millions in taxes, but they are taking advantage of the various tax laws that allow them to lower their tax liability, like any one of us do on April 15th.

The problem is not the corporations but the laws. I'd like to see a more simple tax system so that I don't have to spend an entire weekend figuring out how much I need to pay the government. Then again, I'm sure flying cars are more of a realistic possibility than our tax system being fixed.

about a year ago
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Microsoft Reads Your Skype Chat Messages

sohmc Re:Damned if they do... (275 comments)

Illegal for the government.

The Bill of Rights is a document that restricts (in theory) what the government can do to you. Corporations can quarter troops in your house, limit your speech, etc. You, of course, also have the right to shoot them right in their face. :-)

about a year ago
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UN Says: Why Not Eat More Insects?

sohmc The "ick" factor (626 comments)

It doesn't matter how ingenious, how wonderful, or how awesome a product is. If people don't want it, they won't buy it.

The US suffers from the "ew, bugs are gross" factor. Until this changes, the US won't adopt eating bugs en mass. This will be a fringe thing until we're basically forced to because meat becomes prohibitively expensive.

about a year ago
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CISPA Passes US House, Despite Privacy Shortcomings and Promised Veto

sohmc Re:90% (231 comments)

The problem of ruling by the majority is that minority interests get overlooked (see gay marriage).

The system we have in place currently is *SUPPOSED* to balance the will of the people (via election) and the morality of the elected (via legislature).

But you are still right that we have moved passed this. The sad thing is we deserve the government we vote for. Congress has a 95% re-election rate while having a 10% approval rating. Everyone hates what Congress has become, but everyone also things it's not their reps fault.

The only way to fix this is if EVERYONE votes out their representative, regardless of their party affiliation. We need fresh blood in there. Some of those reps won't leave until they either resign or die in office.

about a year ago
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Chinese Hack New York Times

sohmc Re:Must be bullshit (116 comments)

I'm glad to hear I'm not the only person to do this. I block the entire country of China. Their hacking attempts outnumbered legit requests by a factor of 50 to 1.

Why doesn't the great firewall of China work the other way around?

about a year and a half ago
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Facebook To App Developers: Good Idea, Now Stop Using Our API

sohmc Re:OpenID and security perspective (158 comments)

It's a single-point of failure. If your Google account gets compromised (either due to Google's incompetence or yours), you're pretty hosed. Of course, this assumes that your attacker is aware of which sides you used Google authentication (or any other authentication for that matter).

There is always a trade-off between convenience and security: If you don't want to carry keys, you can leave the door unlocked, etc...

My typical workflow is "Does this site have a bugmenot login?" If not, am I okay with this site having my personal information, regardless of how much Facebook/Google/Twitter/etc guarantees it won't share it because this can change at any time? If not, either create an individual account or do not interact with the site.

More often than not, I choose the last option.

about a year and a half ago
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Facebook To App Developers: Good Idea, Now Stop Using Our API

sohmc Re:Stupid question... (158 comments)

Depending on the service, having to use Facebook, Google, Apple, Twitter, etc. is much more preferable than having to create a brand new account that you will most likely only use once.

Granted, from a security perspective, it isn't that great. But you can't beat the convenience.

about a year and a half ago
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Worldwide IPv6 Adoption: Where Do We Stand Today?

sohmc What about the big ones (e.g. verizon, AT&T) (327 comments)

My FiOS ISP does not have an IPv6 address. I support it internally on my router. I imagine that the hold up is that the big guys aren't there yet. This makes sense since they have the most equipment to replace/reprogram.

I'd actually be interested in where these guys are at. I'm sure they figured it out for businesses but I'd like an IPv6 address for my house.

about a year and a half ago
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Why "We The People" Should Use Random Sample Voting

sohmc Re:They would ignore it no matter what. (141 comments)

"We the People" is probably the stupidest and most successful placebo button any politician has ever created. While I didn't vote for Obama the first time around, I would have voted for him the second time around IF instead of creating an "official response" they actually got some lemming on congress to run with it, regardless of whether he agreed with the petition or not. (He can always veto the bill if it ever got to him.)

That would have been a step in the right direction. But no, being the political coward he is, made it so that us little people could complain and nag and he would not have to do squat about it.

I would not be surprised if his official response is a very simple "No."

about a year and a half ago
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Who Would Actually Build an Ubuntu Smartphone?

sohmc Re:I can't see Verizon activating my white box pho (230 comments)

Verizon, et al (with the possible exception of Sprint) have a large enough market share that the small percentage of hackers (classical definition) won't make a dent in their bottom line. This is assisted by the high cost to enter the market. Unfortunately, unless there is some sort of apocalypse or some other technical catastrophic, this will require legislative solution.

It's kind of ironic that the iPhone was successful for AT&T. Apple was the first company (at least I'm aware of) that told the carriers, "No, we're going to make the phone. You have no say. You will buy it as-is or we go to someone else." Verizon said no because they wanted to lock down the phone. AT&T, knowing the number of acolytes willing to switch over to get an Apple device, said, "Sure!" Granted, this changed down the road, with AT&T getting more and more features. But, for the first time, a cell phone manufacturer dictated to a carrier the terms of how a phone would work.

Unlike Apple, Canonical doesn't have the name brand. And their fans are too small in number to take this much of a risk. I imagine that people who will use the Ubuntu interface will be people like you and me, who load the ROM directly on the phone.

I just hope that the source will be released so we can all benefit.

about a year and a half ago
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Using Technology To Make Guns Safer

sohmc Re:Reliability, reliability, reliability. Left han (1013 comments)

Non-lethal is only useful when there isn't an immediate threat to someone's life.

When you absolutely need to be sure someone won't kill someone, there's only one way to do that. That's why police don't wield tasers when confronting an armed criminal. They wield them when confronting someone who is acting wildly, but is not an immediate threat. (A Youtube video comes to mind where someone is going bat crazy at a police officer for writing her a ticket. She starts slapping him so he tases her.)

Using a taser against someone carrying a shovel is one thing. Using one against someone carrying a full-auto M14 is another.

To your point though, I'm not sure if keeping any gun/taser in a classroom is a good idea (unless it was on the teacher's person, in a holster). Too much can happen and a student can gain possession before the teacher can do anything.

about a year and a half ago
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Using Technology To Make Guns Safer

sohmc Re:We can make complex AND reliable things (1013 comments)

Let's take the analogy away from the hot button issue (guns) and apply it to something else: stoves.

I prefer my stove to be simple. I absolutely hate electric stoves and convection. Yes, other people like them but if something breaks, it's usually far more complicated to fix and requires much more maintenance.

My gas stove has one switch that regulates the flow of gas. That's really all I need. Timers are nice, but are not necessary.

I think the point your making is that there must be a trade off. And while I agree with the premise, you are missing a huge part of the argument which is simplicity. When I cook, I don't want to have to figure out which buttons do what when I just want to cook my food and be done with it. Temperature meters, sensors, etc...these are all things that make it better for some, annoying for others.

If people want to buy them, I won't stop them. The moment you or the government tells me I MUST give up my simple stove for a bloatware ridden electric one that costs five times as much is the same moment that I resist.

I don't care if my simple stove has caused more carbon monoxide deaths than electric ones. There are ways I can monitor that. The trade-off is not enough for me to make that switch.

To bring the discussion back to guns, the only way I'd be willing to have added "security" to guns is to make the police liable. Too many anti-gun people say, "well, if there were more police, these things wouldn't happen." When seconds count, the police are often minutes away. If you can guarantee that the police can be at my house within seconds of a break in, I'll gladly turn in my gun.

I don't know anyone who is willing give up their personal privacy within their home and give the police carte blanche access. If you are, good for you. But don't make that decision for me.

about a year and a half ago
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ISP Data Caps Just a 'Cash Cow'

sohmc Why is data paid both ways? (353 comments)

This may seem like a really stupid question but it has always bugged me: why do both me and the content provider pay for data?

Back in the bad old days of Long Distance Calling, whomever initiated the phone call (assuming you're not calling collect or on a 800 number) paid for the call. It made sense: why pay for something that you didn't start?

However, in data, both sides pay. Am I the only one confused by this? I understand that I should have to pay for a connection (like the phone company) but why do I get a bandwidth meter along with the other side?

The only reason I can think of is because the data is "asynchronous" (e.g. the same amount of data isn't being exchanged). But this reason only goes so far since once side is uploading and the other side is downloading.

about a year and a half ago
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Text Message Spammer Wants FCC To Declare Spam Filters Illegal

sohmc Re:where will it end? (338 comments)

That leads to a whole other problem: targeted advertising.

about a year and a half ago
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Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos Calls For Governments To End Patent Wars

sohmc Not unless we have a revolution (135 comments)

The USPTO generates the most income for the government, outside of the IRS. There is absolutely no incentive to Congress to get rid of a patent that requires absolutely no materiel, don't exist, but worth a lot of money. For congress, software patents and the like are cash cows.

The only way this will change is we have a revolution and write a new constitution. Technically, we need to get the right people into office; but in this case, we need to get 51% of people into office. And once they are in office, there is no guarantee that they will write the bill.

While I will hope that this changes without the watering the tree of liberty with blood, I'm not going to hold my breath.

about 2 years ago
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Boxee TV's Unlimited Cloud-based DVR Holds Users Hostage To Monthly Fees

sohmc Re:Bet it doesn't upload anything (174 comments)

Having a single master copy might be difficult do in part of the "redistribute" part of copyright. It's one thing if John Q. Public records a show in his private home for later watching. It's another for John Q. Public then makes copies of that recording to distribute to friends/family/etc.

Also, local affiliates get ad money for local businesses so I'm sure that there would be a lot of push back on this.

What the Boxee probably does is store the recording on a small drive (40GB maybe) and then uploads it as bandwidth allows.

about 2 years ago
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Quantum Measurements Leave Schrödinger's Cat Alive

sohmc Schrodinger's cat equivelant? (210 comments)

When I try to explain this thought experiment to non-techies (or laymen in general), I use the following:

Imagine a box where you throw in a coin. Close the box and rattle it around. Schrodinger's theory is that the coin is both face up and face down (as seen from the top of the box).

Is this an accurate analogy? Schrodinger's cat had too many pieces and explaining it tended to be too complicated.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Steve Wozniak Anything

sohmc The Next "iPhone"? (612 comments)

Regardless of how one feels about the iPhone, it did revolutionize the mobile phone industry in one BIG way: took manufacturing power AWAY from the phone companies. And while phone companies are still doing this to Android phones, Apple has remained relatively unscathed.

I believe the only hurdle left for the iPhone is to make it a completely data-only phone, relying on SIP instead of traditional phone numbers. I realize that this would be a HUGE negative for phone companies, who profit handsomely from unused minutes and struggle to profit from data hogs like iPhones.

Where do you see the iPhone going next? Are there any more new big advances similar to when the iPhone first debuted?

about 2 years ago

Submissions

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Google awaits approval for Siri replacement 'Voice Search'

sohmc sohmc writes  |  about 2 years ago

sohmc (595388) writes "Some time ago, Google admitted that the biggest threat was not other search engines but services like Siri. However, Google just bridged that gap with Google Voice Search, already available in Jelly Bean, but also available via downloadable app. Google also submitted this app to the iOS App Store and is currently waiting approval. However, Slashdotters are no doubt recalling to mind the "Google Voice" fiasco, in which Apple refused to allow it to appear, saying that it replaces a native function. It wasn't until Apple was brought before Congress to answer questions on how it approves or rejects apps that Google Voice was brought in."
Link to Original Source
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I actually read the Service Agreement!

sohmc sohmc writes  |  more than 2 years ago

sohmc (595388) writes "I recently ordered a new phone from AT&T. While most people (including myself) just quickly click "I agree!", I decided to actually print out the 26-page contract and actually read it. While you can read the rest in my journal, I did want to point out the one thing that surprised me the most:

* AT&T states that "e-mail attachments can not be sent, downloaded, read, or forwarded on the mobile device" (pg. 21)

I plan to call AT&T about this and ask them for clarification, but fear that they might terminate me for being "unreasonable"."

Link to Original Source
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Man claims he invented the internet, sues Google, Yahoo, and others

sohmc sohmc writes  |  more than 2 years ago

sohmc (595388) writes "Michael Doyle claims that he invented the first internet. It was designed to allow doctors to view embryos on a browser window. If the name sounds familiar, it's because back in 1999, his company Eolas successfully sued Microsoft for violating the same patent. Microsoft appealed, but eventually settled. Tim Berners-Lee — father of the early web — is scheduled to testify. As someone who denounces software patents in general, I wonder why Google, et al, would even ask him to testify. Many of these companies (think Amazon's 1-click patent) have used patent laws to their advantage. It will be interesting to see what shakes out."
Link to Original Source
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GoDaddy, feeling the pinch, now actively opposes S

sohmc sohmc writes  |  more than 2 years ago

sohmc (595388) writes "It looks like the massive exodus has finally lit a fire under GoDaddy's collective butts. PCMag is reporting that GoDaddy is now officially opposing SOPA and it's sister bill IP PROTECT. In a statement, CEO Warren Adelman said, "GoDaddy opposes SOPA because the legislation has not fulfilled its basic requirement to build a consensus among stake-holders in the technology and Internet communities." There is so much spin on their official press release that you could power a small city."
Link to Original Source
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Poll: How do you like your data formatted?

sohmc sohmc writes  |  more than 3 years ago

sohmc (595388) writes "I don't know all the choices, but here are the ones I know:
-XML (including ATOM, RSS, etc)
-JSON
-CSV
-Your own proprietary format"

Journals

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I actually read the Service Agreement!

sohmc sohmc writes  |  more than 2 years ago

I recently ordered a new phone from AT&T. While most people (including myself) just quickly click "I agree!", I decided to actually print out the 26-page contract and actually read it. I wanted a printed copy since I know that AT&T can change the terms on their website at anytime.

I'm not a lawyer, but a lot of the terms actually give me pause. Some of the other terms are interesting. Of particular note:
* AT&T can terminate the agreement without notice if I "behave in an abusive, derogatory, or similarly unreasonable manner with any of our representatives" (pg. 2)
* I can terminate the agreement if AT&T increases the price of any of the services that I subscribe to (pg. 2)
* If I take AT&T to arbitration, they "will promptly reimburse" the filing fee. Additionally, arbitration hearings will take place in the county of my billing address. (pg. 7)
* If my phone is stolen and the thief makes a call, AT&T considers the call as "authorized" (pg. 11)
* AT&T "may screen and delete information prior to delivery of that information" (pg. 11)
* "Unlimited voice" is limited to 750 minutes per month (pg. 16)
* AT&T "reserves the right to terminate [my] data services with or without cause" (pg. 18)
* AT&T has a LONG list of prohibited uses, including "web camera posts or broadcasts" (pg. 19)
* AT&T states that "e-mail attachments can not be sent, downloaded, read, or forwarded on the mobile device" (pg. 21)

I knew that the contract was one-sided, but I didn't realize that much of what I do is actually against the contract. Just goes to show that we should all read the contract before accepting it blindly.

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