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Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS

swm If you strike me down... (388 comments)

I will migrate to plain-text web pages, searchable via google
Here's the first one


about a month and a half ago

Job Postings Offer Clues to Future of Google Fiber

swm Job postings are cheap (38 comments)

Long ago, I worked for a little company in one state, that bought a big company in another state (don't ask), and the big company had a union shop. At some point they were trying to negotiate something with the union, and they weren't getting what they wanted, so the next week they advertise 300 job openings in the local city paper, like they were going to move the entire shop in-state and just cut the union loose.

Nothing ever came of it.

about a month and a half ago

Do you worry about the singularity?

swm The meta-Turing test (181 comments)

The meta-Turning test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation.
-- Lew Mammel, Jr.

I'll start worrying about the singularity when an AI passes the meta-Turing test.

about 2 months ago

My resting heart rate:

swm Re:A bell curve! (169 comments)

The bump is an artifact of the intervals: the last interval is much larger than the others.
If it continued 100-109, 110-119, etc. then the bell shape would probably continue too.

about 4 months ago

My resting heart rate:

swm A bell curve! (169 comments)

Hey, look: a bell curve!

about 4 months ago

SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

swm Re: Can someone explain to me (123 comments)

I think for the cost of the shuttle program, you could treat the HST as disposable, and just keep building and launching them until you get it right.

about 5 months ago

The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI

swm The meta-turing test (285 comments)

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation.
--Lew Mammel, Jr.

about 7 months ago

Cosmic Mystery Solved By Super-sized Supernova Dust

swm Re:"gets compressed and cools down"? (16 comments)

The only thing I can think is it works like a refrigerator.
The shock wave compress the the dust, which raises its temperature, so it radiates heat (a lot of heat: P ~ T^4).
When the shock wave passes, the dust expands and cools back down below its original temperature.

about 7 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How Often Should You Change Jobs?

swm How long does a job last? (282 comments)

I've made my career building out new applications that are enabled by advancing computer technology. These jobs only last for a few years. A basic product development cycle is maybe 2 to 5 years, at which point you've either
- succeeded, and don't need people like me any more
- failed, and definitely don't need people like me any more

When the job goes away, I find a new one. Sometimes I find a new job at the same company, but that is inessential.

The short tenure of these jobs doesn't have much to do with me. It is driven by the staggering speed at which the underlying computer technology is advancing and changing.

about 7 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Inspired You To Start Hacking?

swm DigiComp I (153 comments)

DigiComp I was a plastic, hand-cranked, 3-bit state machine, with some restrictions on the allowed state transitions.
You programmed it by pushing little plastic tubes on to little plastic tabs.
I had one when I was 9 or 10 years old.
I've been a hacker ever since.

about 8 months ago

Why You Shouldn't Use Spreadsheets For Important Work

swm You can't audit spreadsheets (422 comments)

I figured this out twenty-mumble years ago.
I was doing data analysis in spreadsheets, and realized that I had no way to audit them.
The data and the analysis were all just...there...in the spreadsheet.

As soon as I got a grip on my data, I changed over to C programs that I could test, and document, and validate, and run at any time to demonstrate that input X generated output Y.

about 8 months ago

Microsoft Cheaper To Use Than Open Source Software, UK CIO Says

swm Re:Linux developer arrogance (589 comments)

I heard an interview with Torvalds where they asked him why there was no kernel ABI.
He explained that the reason people want ABIs is so they can link object code into the kernel w/o releasing the sources,
and then that code breaks, and he ends up having to debug kernels with incomplete sources.
And he doesn't want to do that.
So no kernel ABI.

I don't know that I'd call that arrogant. Selfish, maybe...

The good news is that because the Linux kernel has no ABIs,
the sources are all necessarily available,
which means that you can get the sources, and fork them, and add ABIs, and create a binary driver compatibility layer,
so that people can link in drivers w/o sources,
and then you'll be running a kernel with incomplete sources,
and then....ummm....wait....what was the good news again?

about 9 months ago

Online Skim Reading Is Taking Over the Human Brain

swm Information density is the controlling factor (224 comments)

My reading speed moves up and down to maintain a constant information density.
In a low-density text, like, ummm, Slashdot comments, I skim.
In a medium-density text, like a novel, I read every word.
In a high-density text, like a math book, I *study* every word.

And it's not something that I have to think about either: it happens automatically.
My subjective experience is that I'm managing a tradeoff between boredom (too slow) and incomprehension (too fast).

about 10 months ago

"Microsoft Killed My Pappy"

swm I'm Pappy (742 comments)

I'm Pappy. I'm not dead, but my kids have been hearing me bitch about Microsoft as long as they can remember. At this point, they probably think of it like a fixture of the landscape: the old man doesn't like Microsoft.

So my oldest finally graduates college, and gets his first real job. He's an engineer; industrial controls. The vendors only write drivers for Windows, so everyone uses Windows, and no one cares. He's provisioning servers in plants, and doing Windows installs, and running VMs, and trying to automate things. And it's all done in Windows Power Shell.

After a few months, I start getting calls from him. He's astonished: "This thing really sucks!" he tells me. It kind of a broken, crippled, over-engineered, badly implemented shell. It's always in his way. Everything is a needless problem. He talks about what a relief it is to go home on weekends, and work on his own systems, in Linux, running bash, and being able to work on the actual problem, instead of spending all his time fighting with the system and the tools. And every time he calls, it's the same refrain with more exclamation points: "This thing really sucks!!!"

So, yeah, he learned it from me, but then he learned it for himself.

about a year ago

Stack Overflow Could Explain Toyota Vehicles' Unintended Acceleration

swm Re:Read this before you blame the driver (664 comments)

local variables can cause stack overflows.

I've seen this assertion in two comments now.
How do local variables cause stack overflow?

If you aren't using recursion, then total stack space requirements can be computed from static code analysis.
If you are using recursion, then you can overflow the stack with return addresses alone.

BTW, I did read most of the expert testimony, and some of the expert report.
The suspect software is catastrophically bad.

about a year ago

Can Electric Current Make People Better At Math?

swm Ob. Cars (112 comments)

I threw a monkey wrench into the engine of my car, and it ran slower. Maybe if throw something different into it, it will run faster

about a year ago

Government Secrecy Spurs $4 Million Lawsuit Over Simple 'No Fly' List Error

swm Re:I was on that list too... (239 comments)

The late Senator Ted Kennedy was famously put on this list as well.

They wouldn't let him board a flight from Boston to Washington, so he was stuck in Boston for a few days until someone removed his name. Then he flew to Washington.

I was very disappointed by this. I was hoping that he would stay camped out at Logan airport, and pledge not to fly until the government created a procedure for people who aren't United States senators to get their names off of the list.

about a year ago


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