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Comments

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China Successfully Launches Second Moon Probe

sohp leaping ahead (86 comments)

Thanks to self-interested politicians like Utah's Orrin Hatch and others who'd rather fatten up on pork, China has a viable space program, while the US just has a money sink that keeps corporations flush in fat lobbying budgets.

more than 3 years ago
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Unions Urging Actors Not To Work On Hobbit Movie

sohp Re:One does not... (576 comments)

... and wwwwrrrrrrrrrrrriggling

more than 3 years ago
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The Last Component To Fail In My Computer Was The...

sohp heat sink (715 comments)

I voted CPU, but technically it was the plastic clips holding the heat sink against the CPU getting old and brittle. One of the clips cracked just enough to let the heat sink lift partially away from the CPU and, well... buh bye magic smoke.

more than 2 years ago
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Copying Trumps Creating For FarmVille Creator Zynga

sohp A$$h0les (319 comments)

What is it that determines whether a jerk sticks around long enough to succeed and become someone at the top that others excuse and follow or is fired with a "do not rehire" mark on his HR record?

"Sometimes people don't understand the responsibilities that CEOs have, so sometimes they'll take that as, 'Why is he being such an asshole?'" Wolff did allow that Pincus sometimes uses language devoid of "soothing qualities," and could be challenging to work for, depending on how you adapted to his management style. "He's moving at 100 miles per hour. You've either got to get on the bus, or you're not on the bus," he says. "Most people have a buffer. ... Mark's not like that. He thinks it, and he says it."

Perhaps the gameplay of FarmVille offers a lesson: you'll put up with shit if you get a little candy now and then, with a promise of a big payout later. Guys like Pincus have a knack for showing just enough promising results (cash profit) to whet the appetite while exploiting the "compulsion loop" of the people they work with. Nice work, if you can stand yourself.

more than 3 years ago
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Copying Trumps Creating For FarmVille Creator Zynga

sohp Re:Whales? (319 comments)

Makes total sense, as Zynga's 'games' are far more like casino slots and other sorts of gambling than real skill- or puzzle-based games.

more than 3 years ago
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Frustrated Reporter Quits After Slow News Day

sohp Re:Slow news day. (178 comments)

Bjeat mje tjøø ijt.

more than 3 years ago
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IE9 Team Says "Our GPU Acceleration Is Better Than Yours"

sohp Re:Pointless battles (360 comments)

I figured any software developer worthy of the title had heard the story and understood the details already, so I merely linked to the Wikipedia article for reference. Yes, the full filesystem was the root cause, but the repeated reboots and failure of commands to the rover to go into night-time shutdown arose from a race condition within a critical sequence. If you want a more technical analysis, you'll find many, but one is http://www.cs.princeton.edu/courses/archive/fall09/cos109/mars.rover.pdf

more than 3 years ago
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IE9 Team Says "Our GPU Acceleration Is Better Than Yours"

sohp Re:Pointless battles (360 comments)

While no doubt the atomicity of rename() will prop up the code of naive programmers, there's a great deal more to the operation in question than just changing the file name. Once again, oversimplifying the solution ensures that subtle bugs remain. As for the comment "relatively safe", that's like saying a 39-story fall from the roof of a 40-story building is "relatively healthy".

And of course, if your world is only POSIX and Windows, then portability is still an unrealized goal.

Every two-bit peachfuzz-face programmer in the open source world thinks he has the solution to lots of long-standing bugs. Being able to read what a spec says and actually understanding how it works in actual implementations. For example, what's the behavior of rename() if the file is actually a symbolic link? Patches or GTFO.

more than 3 years ago
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IE9 Team Says "Our GPU Acceleration Is Better Than Yours"

sohp Re:Pointless battles (360 comments)

The fix is trivial: simply write the new config file out-of-place, and then replace the original with it once it has been fully written.

You left out, "and do it in a way that avoids race conditions". You must also do it in a way that is portable, so it can't depend on OS-specific crutches, and is secure and doesn't interact badly with locking mechanisms that may be transparently in place on the underlying filesystem (NFS, for example). Programming 101 may teach you some things, but most assuredly if that's all you know, a "trivial" write-new-and-replace implementation will be worse. If you are so 100% sure you know how to avoid all these problems, there's some programmers who troubleshot a similar race-condition error from millions of miles away who might have even more possible failure modes to throw at you.

more than 3 years ago
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IE9 Team Says "Our GPU Acceleration Is Better Than Yours"

sohp Re:Pointless battles (360 comments)

OK smart boy. The mozilla project is open source. If this bug is so all-fired important to you, get to coding, or because you admit you don't have the skills, hire someone who can code it. Don't go whining "THEY won't fix a bug I care about". This 'bug' isn't going to get fixed simply because the folks who could fix it have far better things to spend time on than working around an arbitrary limitation in a not-too-far-in-the-future legacy 32-bit platform. I would be willing to wager that your assertion that web pages have lots of GIFs any more is false anyway. The PNG and JPG formats have pretty much completely replaced that 80s-era 256-color format.

As a matter of fact, with the introduction of things like infallible malloc, you're likely to see more badly-engineered platforms crashing on crappy web pages.

But again I say, if YOU don't like the bug, then YOU fix it, and submit a patch. If they don't accept your patch, then you can build your own FF from source and patch it however crazy way you want.

And by the way, the wikipedia page on GIF, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphics_Interchange_Format, doesn't crash FF 3.6.10 running on OS X Snow Leopard in 32-bit mode. As they say in the business, WORKSFORME.

more than 3 years ago
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The Joke Known As 3D TV

sohp Never gonna happen (594 comments)

Comparing 3D tv to color is completely missing the problem. The move to color made sense and was a natural progression that mirrored film. The move to 3d is just another to way to get consumers to consider their old equipment obsolete and force them into buying new TVs. Like a lot of the consumer electronic gadgetry out there, the benefits are questionable at best and the upgrade treadmill only benefits the vendors. Now that they've sold digital to everyone and forced the decades-old standard into obsolescence the electronics makers smell blood. What better way to ensure profits than following the personal computer model of convincing everyone that the perfectly good equipment they bought two years ago is now "outdated" and needs replacing.

Anyone remember the 1981 movie "Comin' At Ya!"? Noted at the time for all the action shots of exaggerated movement towards the camera (arrows, knives, boobies), it was nothing but a gimmick. Sounds like almost 30 years later the salespeople are still pushing the same tricks.

more than 3 years ago
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Toyota Adds External Speakers To Warn Pedestrians

sohp look out! (531 comments)

There was a time, in the early days of "horseless carriages" when the law required that a person on foot carrying a flag precede the presumably scary, steam-huffing monstrosity, to warn the pedestrians and horses that the oncoming fuming and chuffing machine of the devil was approaching.

more than 3 years ago
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How Can I Make Testing Software More Stimulating?

sohp Re:You can't? (396 comments)

Wear a different hat each day.

I put on my robe and wizard hat.

more than 3 years ago
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The Risks of Entering Programming Contests

sohp Re:Pardonez-moi (154 comments)

There a many corporate-sponsored contests like this photography, mostly geared at amateurs. Back in the 80s I learned to look at the terms carefully, and if anywhere in them was a clause giving up rights to the photographs entered to the contest-holder, to run far away. Prestigious contests always make it clear that all rights remain with the photographer, although they may legitimately request a time-limited right to display entries for promotional purposes only, not for resale ever.

Stock agencies used to use these contests to pick up vast swaths of decent, if unremarkable, photographs for almost nothing, and with no pesky trouble like having to keep track of who took the photo for credit and payment. I imagine now with Flickr and the flood of digital images, they don't really have work even that hard.

All this remains true for programming contests, and really any contest where the creative work of an individual is made available to another party.

more than 3 years ago
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Gasoline From Thin Air

sohp Re:This cocking around is stupid... (283 comments)

Yes but what you linked isn't ready for prime time yet. Good specs to be shooting for, though.

more than 3 years ago
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Adapting the Post Office To the Digital Age

sohp Why profitable? (299 comments)

The article starts from a false assumption: that the postal service must be profitable, or at least break even.

Framing the issue this way has nothing to do with what the USPS should or should not carry, or how much they should charge.

Why is that so for the postal service but not for the military, department of transportation, or most any other government agency that provides a service? Universal free mail delivery is something that the citizens of the US want -- or at least did at one time. As a government service, it's something taxpayers agree to pay for.

Now clearly the two authors of this article, management consultants, have a different view of that need. Perhaps they are ideologically inclined to expect that government services should break even or better, in which case, they ought to take on a real challenge and explain to the Pentagon how they can "save" the armed forces. Or perhaps they have a financial interest in private delivery services like FedEX and UPS, who knows? It's clear from early in the article, "Should the federal government continue to compete against the private sector?" that the authors have a sense that somehow there's money to made for UPS, FedEx, and other private delivery services if the postal service was forced to compete on the same level as them. I'm sure they wouldn't advocate for reforming USPS if they thought it would take money away from the private sector.

In any case, before people go trying to reform USPS, let's first decide if we want to continue to support the current expectation of free (for the recipient) door-to-door mail service for everyone in the country everywhere. If citizens clearly want that, then budget (and tax) for it, and shut up about billion dollar "losses" that pale compared to the "losses" racked up by other services we expect as a modern nation. On the other hand, if the country decides that hey, we don't need to deliver everywhere any more, then go ahead, revamp the postal service to be just another profit-motivated competitor.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Silverlight ejected by Major League Baseball

sohp sohp writes  |  about 5 years ago

sohp writes "Microsoft has lost one of it's highest profile Silverlight users. This season Major League Baseball has switched to Adobe's Flash to serve live and on-demand video. That's a loss of half a million users of Silverlight. Flash has its issues, but at least now fans of this sport can choose which operating system and browser they want to use."
Link to Original Source
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Defendant must tell government his password

sohp sohp writes  |  more than 5 years ago

sohp writes "Over at The Volokh Conspiracy, reports are out that the case of a man who invoked the 5th amendment when asked to supply the password to decrypt his hard drive to allow police to search for child pornography has a new development. A judge has overturned the original magistrate's decision allowing the defense and has ordered Sebastien Boucher to supply the prosecutors with a decrypted hard disk. Note that the order is not that he produce the key — just that he provide an unencrypted copy."
Link to Original Source
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Dying to get into First Class

sohp sohp writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sohp writes "Complaints about the woeful state of airline customer service are going around, but here's one that tops them all. A woman died after being refused oxygen on an American Airlines flight from Haiti to Ne w York. After she died, the plane continue on to JFK with the woman's body on the floor in first class."

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