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German Government Advises Public To Stop Using IE

try_anything Re:A stinging lesson (320 comments)

You think I'm a Microsoft apologist? In case you didn't notice, I insulted IE users ("target demographics") and IE itself (by pointing out that malware writers are much more familiar with IE than with Firefox.) Funny you read that as a defense of IE.

In any case, the attack demonstrates an exploitable bug in Firefox. How exploitable is it? If you have some way of knowing, please tell me. My guess is the attackers put a higher priority on launching an effective attack as soon as possible than on trying to subvert Firefox as well.

more than 4 years ago
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German Government Advises Public To Stop Using IE

try_anything Re:A stinging lesson (320 comments)

The exploit is in the IE plugin, not Adobe Reader. The criminals probably figured out some exploit of Firefox that caused it to crash on the site knowing that Firefox users instinctively open IE when Firefox fails to load a site properly.

More likely, Firefox and IE are both vulnerable to this attack, but the attackers had to pick one target, and they chose IE because of familiarity or target demographics. Executing the IE-targeted attack against Firefox has the random effect of crashing the browser.

more than 4 years ago
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Ten Applications That Changed Computing

try_anything Re:Industry Changing? (437 comments)

Standards aren't important to end users, but they're critical to developers.

I'm having a hard time seeing that as an argument that Firefox changed computing. Firefox is an end-user application. Even in the darkest days of IE dominance, end users could choose from several browsers that worked decently enough. Gmail debuted in 2004, at the height of IE's dominance, so IE didn't prevent innovation and evolution in web programming, either.

Even for web developers, better compliance with standards hasn't changed things that much. Professional web designers still have to make sure everything works in IE6. They depend heavily on cross-browser libraries that hide browser incompatibilities, and they still regularly run across discrepancies, even between different highly-standards-compliant browsers. The web designers who sit near me at work test against IE6, IE7, IE8, Firefox 2, Firefox 3, and a couple versions each of Mozilla, Opera, and Safari. Plus they make special mobile versions of lots of pages, highly optimized for iPhone but also tested against BlackBerries.

And yet I still see professionally-done pages that don't render correctly in Linux Firefox. dominos.com is unusable under Linux Firefox, for example. Whether that's a bug in the page or Firefox or Flash or Firefox's embedding of Flash, it shows that web standards haven't changed the basic rule of cross-browser rendering: if the developers are committed to testing and tweaking their code against a browser, then it will work with that browser. Otherwise, it's a crapshoot.

So, given the continuing need to make everything work under IE6, it seems like the only thing that web standards changed is that there are now four or five decent rendering engines instead of two or three. You still can't be a web designer without being a student of browser quirks. Even if you attributed the entire HTML/CSS/Javascript standardization phenomenon to Firefox, it still wouldn't qualify as one of the top ten apps that "changed computing."

more than 5 years ago
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Ten Applications That Changed Computing

try_anything Re:Industry Changing? (437 comments)

Standards have nothing to do with it. Browsers are supported on the basis of market share, nothing else. In other words, there's no chance that a sizeable number of people would be left without a working browser. Maybe we'd all be stuck with IE6 (and slightly crappy IE6 renderer-clones on Linux, like we have OpenOffice and KOffice for MS Office docs) -- but what would have been radically different about that? It would suck a little bit not to have tabbed browsing and AdBlock, and a few other amenities like keyword search might be missing, but would that change the web experience so much?

Besides, according to Wikipedia's market share numbers IE had over 90% of users during 2002-2006. I managed to rely on Mozilla and Firefox during that time period, so Firefox's success was not a prerequisite for alternative browsers to work "well enough."

more than 4 years ago
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Ten Applications That Changed Computing

try_anything Re:Industry Changing? (437 comments)

Agreed. Half the apps the author chose were just winners in markets created by other products. If Microsoft Office had never existed, office computing would not have skipped a beat. Everyone would have adopted something very similar, possibly superior, on the same timeline. The fact that the author favored Mozilla or even Firefox reveals that he is too impressed by winners. What did Firefox change? Would web browsers have stopped evolving and improving without Firefox? Not likely. I used an ancient version of Mozilla earlier today, in fact, and frankly, if we were still stuck on 2002-era Mozilla (with a modern Javascript implementation) the web wouldn't be much different.

For Oracle, the article says,

Oracle, founded in 1977, was able to come of age right around the time database systems became both affordable and necessary for enterprises.

In other words, right place, right time, the product itself was inevitable but Oracle came out on top.

By that standard, Usain Bolt totally changed Olympic sprinting. Without him, it would be a bunch of slow fat guys, right?

more than 5 years ago
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Flu Models Predict Pandemic, But Flu Chips Ready

try_anything Re:This is H1N1 (216 comments)

H1N1 is the most common type of human influenza. It causes a large proportional of seasonal flu illnesses. It happens to include both Spanish Flu and this new strain, as well as milder forms.

more than 4 years ago
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Flu Models Predict Pandemic, But Flu Chips Ready

try_anything Re:What's the point? (216 comments)

100 cases and 1 death don't give us a 1% fatality rate... we have to make sure those 100 people recover.

100 cases and 1 death don't give us a 1% fatality rate, because we have to take into account the people who got sick and didn't seek medical attention.

Anyway, where do you get those numbers? I thought the latest word was that it might not be any more fatal or infectious than normal. And since nobody has told me what the original fear of high mortality was based on (unless it was the 12 dead out of 312 confirmed cases in Mexico, a terrible statistic to base a mortality estimate on) I'm not inclined to buy into it.

more than 5 years ago
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Flu Models Predict Pandemic, But Flu Chips Ready

try_anything Re:Here's some points.. (216 comments)

Damn, how did I post that AC? For the record, it was me.

more than 5 years ago
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Flu Models Predict Pandemic, But Flu Chips Ready

try_anything Re:What's the point? (216 comments)

That is an excellent answer and the first sane article I've read about the issue.

Still, I'm not convinced it's worth it. What's the maximum N for which we should keep N thousand students out of school for a month to save a life? We're leaving it up to somebody to answer that question for us. Who is it?

more than 5 years ago
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Flu Models Predict Pandemic, But Flu Chips Ready

try_anything What's the point? (216 comments)

What's the point of closing schools if the virus isn't virulent enough to burn itself out? If it's about as severe and durable as the garden-variety flu strains that circulate everywhere anyway, then it will continue to circulate in Mexico indefinitely, and wherever else it establishes itself. We can't exterminate it any more than we can exterminate other moderate strains of flu.

So when we reopen the schools, borders, or whatever else people are screaming for, the swine flu will be there waiting... waiting to make us cough and hack and stay home from work... waiting to kill children, the weak, the elderly... waiting... just like the regular garden-variety flu that we get every year.

(I'm not a biologist, I'm just baiting a real biologist to correct or clarify anything I got wrong. Please and TIA.)

more than 5 years ago
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Old-School Coding Techniques You May Not Miss

try_anything Whippersrnappers unaware of old-school techniques? (731 comments)

Hell, we seem to be obsessed by them. We romanticize them. We justify using crappy obsolete technology by the fact that it caters to old-school techniques. We seem to think that if it weren't for the old-school techniques, there wouldn't be any opportunity to improve our software using hard work and ingenuity.

"Our software sucks because we use Python, which doesn't offer any scope for hard work and ingenuity. Man, if we wrote in assembler or Perl, we could rock out with some wicked cool code and give our software the hard, nasty edge we need to kick ass!"

No, no, the opportunities for hard work and ingenuity are sitting right in front of us while we daydream about how awesome we would be if the world hadn't gone all soft and candy-assed on us.

more than 5 years ago
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World Privacy Forum's Top Ten Opt-Outs

try_anything Re:Opt-in actually makes more business sense. (162 comments)

What you said:

In our geographical market most of the households do in fact reply to junk mail and so forth.

What your GP said:

I've run opt-in marketing campaigns, and have converted multiple employers from opt-out to opt-in. Before the switch, every mailout would result in an inbox full of complaints and threats.

Connection?

Mike Tyson thought she wanted it, too. Keep your unsolicited junk out of my slot.

more than 5 years ago
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Watchmen 50 Days On, Was It Worth the Gamble?

try_anything Re:Bad time for movies (448 comments)

A 'movie meal' (large drink with popcorn or nachos) is $15.

If movie tickets cost $12 or $15 where you live, then $15 for a meal out is a bargain. (Eating movie nachos for dinner sucks, but that's your mistake.)

more than 5 years ago
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Watchmen 50 Days On, Was It Worth the Gamble?

try_anything Re:It Is Rated R! #6 for Opening Weekend! (448 comments)

But I'm also glad that I didn't have a stake in it - It had to be an unsettling investment for those who did. It's got to feel good to have participated, but it was obviously a gamble from the beginning. Watchmen is definitely aimed at a niche market.

On the contrary, it was probably a pretty predictable quantity compared to other movies. Not that any new release is predictable, but this one wasn't anything like 300 or Sin City where they were hoping to pull in people who knew nothing about the source material, or like Persepolis where it was unknown whether the enthusiasm for the books would last through the release of the movie (and where there was probably a lot of doubt that fans of the books would even bother to see the movie.) It was a so-so movie based on a popular and prestigious graphic novel. They knew the size of the niche. They knew that the readership of the graphic novel would contain more movie fans than the general population, and, having test-screened the movie, they knew it wouldn't break out to a broader audience or inspire massive rewatching.

Assuming that the broadcast and rental rights were sold before the film screened, the DVD sales are probably the riskiest part -- how many people want to see it again? Will fans of the graphic novel want to buy a movie that failed to do the source material justice (inevitably and maybe blamelessly, but still)?

more than 5 years ago
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Where's Your Coding Happy Place?

try_anything Re:It's a Zen thing (508 comments)

That's the perfect state for when there's a clear path ahead. The conscious mind has a role in creative problem-solving, but sometimes it doesn't know when to get out of the way and let your instincts handle the trivial problems in the marvellously efficient way they have.

more than 5 years ago
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Where's Your Coding Happy Place?

try_anything Re:Not a matter of where, but when (508 comments)

If you don't like waiting for the internet to settle down at night, I find it helps to wrap some old towels around the tubes. That muffles the sound of the bits flowing through. American bits are pretty loud no matter what you do, unfortunately.

more than 5 years ago
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Where's Your Coding Happy Place?

try_anything Re:My happy coding place? (508 comments)

You can churn out quite a bit of good code but one error and your night is gone.

Funny, this was my experience with alcohol also. It was wonderfully disinhibiting, and I wrote a lot of pretty decent code without obsessing over fine points of style like I normally would. However, after three or four I was absolutely helpless at fixing anything I had screwed up except minor typos. I couldn't even get my C++ code to compile unless the compiler reported an error at exactly the right line number, because I literally could not read the template error messages from g++ (and believe it or not, I normally can.) Eventually I figured out just to give up and go to bed (or keep coding without compiling) at the first sign of trouble. And eventually I realized drinking and coding late into the night was not the right way to deal with that crappy job, and eventually I quit and got a new one.

more than 5 years ago
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Why Republicans Won't Retake Silicon Valley

try_anything Re:Typical politics (445 comments)

Um... congratulations? Or are you just trying to point out that the article should have been in Politics instead of News?

more than 5 years ago

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