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Comments

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A Corporate War Against a Scientist, and How He Fought Back

sqrt(2) Re:How do we fight back against Beta? (253 comments)

It's clear that they have no intention of backing down or addressing user concerns. The only question now is, what site will we all move to after Beta stops being optional?

I'm doing the Slashcott, too, but I don't have any delusions that it'll get them to adopt the only course of action that would be acceptable: abandon the Beta site, keep "classic" Slashdot, issue an apology, and never try this shit again.

Dice doesn't care. They bought Slashdot for the name and the traffic. They'll end up ruining the former and driving away the latter.

about 5 months ago
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Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

sqrt(2) Re:The Life We live (545 comments)

1. Be willing to be on call 24/7... why should this be the case? Maybe this should change.
2. Spend free time researching and learning? Really... I need this for my job? No I don't and companies can train people.
3. Forgoing human contact? There is no reason for this again. Many tech jobs heavily involve communication be it for product planning, support, design meetings... ...

You're competing against people (mostly men) who ARE willing to do these things.

about 6 months ago
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Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

sqrt(2) Re:Hire them at companies without experience (545 comments)

So she's not very qualified relative to the other applicants. She's no worse off than a man with the same qualifications. When the labor supply is so much larger than demand, employers just keep raising the bar. If we were struggling to find programmers, things would be different. This push to make more and more people into programmers is only going to worsen the situation for people seeking their first job, and will depress wages for the people who do get hired. ...it's almost like that's the point.

about 6 months ago
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Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

sqrt(2) Re:The Life We live (545 comments)

Were you able to find a teacher or educational paradigm that fostered her success in mathematics? What does your daughter say she's interested in?

about 6 months ago
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Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

sqrt(2) The Life We live (545 comments)

Spending 8+ hours a day isolated at a computer, forgoing human contact to spend most of your free time researching and learning, interacting with machines and electronics at the lowest and least intuitive levels, willing to be on call almost 24/7--takes a certain constellation of personality traits. For whatever reason, these traits skew male; not entirely, but heavily. You can debate about whether this is cultural, environmental, genetic, or some combination. Open for discussion is even the question if we should be concerned at all. You don't hear the same kind of panic about the lack of men in early education or nursing.

There are probably as many women in tech as want to be there. What's really stopping them other than themselves and their own preferences?

about 6 months ago
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Virtual Boss Keeps Workers On a Short Leash

sqrt(2) Re:In otherwards (664 comments)

The point was for a small amount of taxation to alleviate a small amount of the poverty, such as the worst cases affecting the most disadvantaged children. That wasn't clear in my original post.

about 6 months ago
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Virtual Boss Keeps Workers On a Short Leash

sqrt(2) Re:In otherwards (664 comments)

Maybe if we actually had a viable liberal party in the USA. It's not a two sided note, it's a Möbius strip

about 6 months ago
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Virtual Boss Keeps Workers On a Short Leash

sqrt(2) Re:In otherwards (664 comments)

Do you think he did this out of the goodness of his anti-Semitic heart, or because he saw the writing on the wall and wanted to get out ahead of the labor movement? Things were heading in that direction anyway and he just preemptively implemented a policy which was rapidly approaching. Why was it approaching? The labor movement.

He probably avoided a lot of smashed windows.

about 6 months ago
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Virtual Boss Keeps Workers On a Short Leash

sqrt(2) Re: In otherwards (664 comments)

It's the GPL vs. BSD license debate all over again!

about 6 months ago
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Virtual Boss Keeps Workers On a Short Leash

sqrt(2) Re:In otherwards (664 comments)

Happy workers are productive workers.

I have a hard time believing someone can be so ignorant of history. Do you think slaves were happy? What about feudal serfs? Or pre-unionized steel workers? Or the children working in textile factories?

Capital has never, and will never, care about the happiness of their workers unless those workers force them to care. We had to fight tooth and nail for the rights we have now; eight hour days, forty hour weeks, weekends, workplace safety, sick leave, maternity leave, minimum wage. These things make workers happy, and none of them were offered up voluntarily. They had to be bought with the blood and the lives of the working class from generations ago, and capital has been tirelessly waging a ceaseless campaign to take them back.

about 6 months ago
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Virtual Boss Keeps Workers On a Short Leash

sqrt(2) Re:In otherwards (664 comments)

I've mostly stopped typing out my own rebuttals and just started linking to the specific part of my .sig that addresses whatever particular libertarian fallacy someone is invoking. Rarely do I need to go offscript, and even more rarely is a competent rebuttal offered that doesn't distill down to a simple difference in values. Libertarians are, at heart, corporate fascists. They are simply working from a different value system--a horrifyingly barbarous one.

You can consider the debate over when you get them to affirm their subscription to the unadulterated version of those beliefs. For example, I've cornered one before and forced them to admit that rampant poverty is preferable to even a small amount of taxation to alleviate it.

I'll give them credit for their absolute devotion to ideological purity. That's real devotion.

about 6 months ago
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Virtual Boss Keeps Workers On a Short Leash

sqrt(2) Re:They should call it an anti-retention device (664 comments)

Not if this technology actually delivers and makes the workforce more efficient--even if it's through dehumanizing total control. Your hippy dippy startup won't be able to compete.

So while you're giving extravagant perks to your employees such as unmetered bathroom breaks and letting them skip their quarterly non-work related conversation log review, your competitors are brutalizing their employees and reaping the rewards associated with turning human beings into pliable, docile, terrified, machines.

The worst thing about fascism is that it can actually deliver; as long as you don't get side tracked by useless and expensive crusades of ethnic cleansing or territorial expansion.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Linux Desktop Users More Pragmatic Now Or Is It Inertia?

sqrt(2) Linux UI as drying cement (503 comments)

What exactly is a "classic" desktop anyway? Are we talking classic Windows? Classic Mac OS? There's a constellation of UI paradigms which work. Some of them are mutually incompatible, you can't use them simultaneously. If you want to come up with something new, it has to actually work better than what we had before. If it merely works "as good" as what it's replacing then users won't be happy. You're changing things for the sake of change. So from those choices you pick the ones you think work best together and create a DE out of them. So we get Gnome Shell, KDE, XFCE, et al. Then there are the numerous eccentrics, throwbacks, and masochists running things like Awesome, DWM, Trinty, or any of the others which don't even add up to 1% all together.

I don't think Linux users are getting more pragmatic. The different camps have mostly just solidified around their own "classic" vision. There's 3-4 different main camps now depending how you choose to slice it, and numerous sub groups and forks if you drill down deeper. It'll always be more fragmented, contentious, and fluid than Windows or OS X. That's a good thing, as long as you have the wherewithal to navigate your way between all the various spin-offs and cousin projects spawned when the devs make a boneheaded change for change's sake. Gnome 2 users need to know enough that MATE is their upgrade path, etc.

I've actually been using Unity these days. It's level of polish and completeness is better than anything else I've found and it replicates the features I most enjoy from OS X. I had to install a less offensive theme and icon pack, change the system font to Lucida Grande, but after that it's a very nice desktop. I only have a few criticisms: you can't move the dock to the bottom; the search features aren't as simple and elegant as Spotlight, lenses are over-engineered and pointlessly complicated for what the achieve even if it's a more powerful tool overall; and there are a couple minor GUI glitches which I've come to find unacceptable after spending so much time in the pixel-perfect world Apple has created.

about 6 months ago
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Microsoft Extends Updates For Windows XP Security Products Until July 2015

sqrt(2) Windows XP or security products? (417 comments)

In case some people don't RTFA,

In other words, while Windows XP will no longer be a supported operating system come April, companies will be at least partially protected (the actual OS still won’t get security updates) until next July.

Emphasis mine. XP updates ARE ending, but MSE/Forefront will still get updated. XP will still be susceptible to any zero day until it gets detected by MSE--if it's even installed at all. This is a marginal increase in safety for XP post-EOL, at best. The apocalypse is still nigh.

My advice for fellow ITAs. Don't mention this to your boss at all if you're still trying to migrate. It's not really relevant to the threat posed by XP's end of support. If they get wind of it on their own, emphasize that XP itself is still going to be wide open. At best all MSE does is let you know you've been owned after the fact once MS gets around to updating the definitions. MSE already has a pretty poor record for detecting even older threats. It's better than nothing but you shouldn't be relying on it.

about 6 months ago
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FISA Judges Oppose Intelligence Reform Proposals Aimed At Court

sqrt(2) Re:It's rigged (187 comments)

It's theoretically possible that they don't bother submitting requests unless they are highly confident it will be accepted. I don't believe that, but it's at least possible. We need to know more about the process and the types of requests--unfortunately that's difficult with a secret court.

about 6 months ago
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Windows 9 Already? Apparently, Yes.

sqrt(2) Re:i heard it's UNIX (1009 comments)

Seriously, there is so much freely available Unix derived code available with permissive licenses, and it works better than anything they could make from scratch or by improving the NT kernel. They should fork the BSD kernel, port the Windows 7 UI to it with the necessary upgrades, and write a Win32 emulation/compatibility mode for legacy apps. It can't be that hard, WINE et al were able to do it with zero help from MS.

Apple essentially did the same exact thing with less money and manpower than MS has at their disposal.

about 6 months ago
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Doctors Say Food Stamp Cuts Could Cause Higher Healthcare Costs

sqrt(2) Re: Decreased Costs (1043 comments)

Absolutely true, if you're willing to plan it out ahead of time and use pre-emptive force. Libertarians can't use preemptive force, it's sort of their thing. They need the desperate poor to make the first move so they can kill them in self-defense. The response will of course be disproportional, but as long as its technically a reaction and not an initiation of force, it's kosher in their religion.

about 6 months ago
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Doctors Say Food Stamp Cuts Could Cause Higher Healthcare Costs

sqrt(2) Re:growing up, I always thought... (1043 comments)

They'd rather pay the, as you pointed out, much greater costs of extermination/disposal of the "undesirables" because it's the ideologically pure position in their system of thought. Libertarians don't really care about outcomes, they obsess on keeping the process pure.

about 6 months ago
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Doctors Say Food Stamp Cuts Could Cause Higher Healthcare Costs

sqrt(2) Re: Decreased Costs (1043 comments)

The end game of these libertarian fantasies is the literal wholesale murder of millions of poor "undesirables", either directly on the small scale and justified as self defense or the defence of property, or enmasse through isolation into ghettos and systematic starvation. It would dwarf the Holocaust in numbers of dead.

If you start with the premise (itself not unreasonable) that every individual has a right to defend themselves from harm and their property from theft, and you have millions of people with no ability to survive other than the appropriation of resources by force, you're going to end up with a lot of dead humans. And when the tent cities gather enough boldness and enough desperation to march on the proper cities, then you'd have the military and police slaughtering thousands at a time to protect the property rights of the middle and upper classes.

Horrifying to imagine, but there are some people who would not only be willing to go through this conflagration, but would practically welcome it. Indeed, some are even working in earnest to bring it about. They want to see the streets run red with the blood of the poor. The worst reflection I've ever had on the human condition is that some of them don't just see this nightmare as a horrible means justified by a glorious utopian end--the process itself satisfies some dark urge inside them to cause pain on the largest scale possible. If evil exists, this is it.

about 6 months ago
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Doctors Say Food Stamp Cuts Could Cause Higher Healthcare Costs

sqrt(2) Re:second whine (1043 comments)

I tried to report them, no one cared.

This is how I know you're lying. You should have stopped at the just plausible anecdote, but you couldn't resist overreaching and throwing some stereotypical beuracratic incompetence into your yarn.

about 6 months ago

Submissions

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Congress Passes SAFE Act, Burdens Public Networks

sqrt(2) sqrt(2) writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sqrt(2) writes "As reported by Techdirt on the recently passed SAFE Act, "So what's so awful about the law? Well, like most "protect the children" legislation, it goes way overboard in terms of what people are expected to do, and like most legislation having to do with technology, seems utterly clueless about how technology works. The bill would require anyone providing an "electronic communication service" or a "remote computing service" to record and report information any time they "learn" that their network was used for certain broadly defined illegal activities concerning obscene images. That's double trouble, as both the illegal activities and the classification of who counts as a service provider are so broadly defined.""

Journals

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I've Cleared My "Foes" List

sqrt(2) sqrt(2) writes  |  more than 6 years ago I think keeping an "enemies" list is a petty and juvenile thing to do, especially on a site like Slashdot that is supposed to be an open forum for the free exchange of ideas on tech and science subjects. Hiding opinions you don't agree with can only harmful to yourself not to mention quality of the discourse as a whole.

So with that in mind am no longer going to be setting people as foes for any reason. All the people on my list already are being removed, unfortunately Slashdot's friend/foe system seems to have a limit in how many people you can add and remove from your lists and how fast because it keeps locking me out. It was twelve hours between the first rounds that I was able to remove and the second, but slowly they will all be removed.

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I Cannot (Easily) Trust Religious People

sqrt(2) sqrt(2) writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I Cannot (Easily) Trust Religious People
Why atheists must constantly question the motivations and actions of all theists.

The United States of America is a democratic republic. That's a fancy way of saying that we elect people who think like us, or as close to it as possible, to write laws and carry out the daily duties of our government. That's their full time job that we pay them to do. We all get to participate in this system, which is a beautiful thing that we all seem to take for granted. Where the distrust part sets in is when I start to think about who my fellow Americans are voting for, and why. Specifically, the Christian Americans.

The fundamental difference between atheism and theism is faith--specifically the faith in the existence of some kind of god. Faith, is the belief that something is absolutely true without requiring evidence. Faith, is the ability to trust in someone or something never having seen, or heard, or experienced it yourself. All religions require at least that, the belief in some thing that cannot be, and is not attempted to be proven or demonstrated. So all theists have at a minimum that much in common with each other. There are countless religions and sects but they all ask as the first act of the their followers to make that leap of faith. And it is there that the problem begins.

Theists have already demonstrated that they are capable and willing to believe the words that other people say with zero proof or evidence. The reason that I cannot trust them to make rational decisions is this: how can I tell if they will take something on faith AGAIN, something that they get to then vote on, something that will directly affect MY life and MY freedoms? Personal religious matters are none of my business or concern, but it is the same people making the decisions on real world issues that have chosen that leap of faith in their private lives. In this way, religion is inseparable for theists from their daily lives and decision making; they will always be the same person that chose once to believe something told to them with out a scrap of substantiating evidence. Why would the same group that believes my very existence constitutes an act of willful malice against their own beliefs and god figure defend my rights and liberties?

A religious person, and I'm talking about the Christians in this country specifically, will not value the liberties and equality of non-believers over his own faith when forced to make that decision. No debate or discussion will ever be equal, because in their eyes I am already inferior to them. Gone are the days of the inquisition when atheists and others were tortured or murdered; today's Christians dismiss outright the words of unbelievers and pigeon hole their ideas and input--no Christian sees an atheist as an equal, it is impossible. The atheist is going to hell to be punished eternally; the Christian will be rewarded with eternal life for his service. That is as far as they think. This is as far as they are required to, according to their faith.

As an atheist you must always question the motivations and actions of a theist. Christians especially often make decisions based on the teaching of their faith, and nearly all will carry these beliefs and prejudices into the voting booth. Motivation is an important thing to understand. In a democracy it is vital to know what is motivating a person to have the ideas and stances they have. Are they based on observation of empirical data, or are they arbitrary moral code prescribed by their holy texts? All theists are guilty of choosing the latter at least once in their lives, and many form their entire political career on doing it. These people will not protect you or your liberties, so you had better look out for them yourself.

Trust must be earned, even from other atheists. The crucial difference to see is that while atheists begin with a blank foundation to build your trust upon, the theist's record begins marred by a nearly irreparable hole: their faith.

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