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FreeBSD Throws the Clang/LLVM Switch: Future Releases Use LLVM

v1z Re:Not GPL, and suitable for JIT (360 comments)

While a developer can be a user, not all users are developers. Availability of the code means squat to someone who does not know how to write code.

That's ridiculous. If you have the code, you can *hire* someone to fix the thing, ten years after the original supplier went bankrupt or whatever.

I need the plans for my house, even if I'm not licensed to fix the bathroom -- I need them in case I hire someone to do improvements here.

Most every place I've been paid to work with software, the ones with budgetary responsibility have *not* been able to code themselves out of a wet paper bag. They've been readily able to get something fixed, if the source is available -- if needed by hiring someone to do it.

more than 2 years ago

QR Codes As Anti-Forgery On Currency Could Infect Banks

v1z Machine readable serial numbers? (289 comments)

I don't see how this is going to be a big change wrt the current system. You already have to pick a serial number that will either be invalid or a duplicate when forging a bill. Nothing stops a forger from doing the same with a qr-code.

I'm pretty sure banks are already able to machine read sequence numbers -- and embedded metal thread are presumably harder to fake -- I don't see how qr codes would be a big improvement.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: IT Contractors, How's Your Health Insurance?

v1z Re:Just buy insurance...it's honestly that simple. (468 comments)

> My wife doesn't have insurance (pre-existing condition, minor but enough to get her disqualified).

Wow, and I almost thought, hm, 300/month for a family, that's not that bad. Of course when that only covers the people in the family that *doesn't need medical help* -- it *is* pretty bad.

As for the original question: I live in Norway. The only thing we have to pay for (after turning 18) is dental and opticians (ie: glasses/contacts).

We do of course pay taxes, but depending on who you ask, not much more than elsewhere. I know one engineer in offshore that has a UK citizenship, and (via agreements between UK and Norway) has to pay extra tax to the UK because taxes he pays to Norway doesn't cover what he should pay according to UK law.

Granted, I'm guessing he makes well over 100k USD/year.

more than 2 years ago

Julian Assange Served With Extradition Notice By British Police

v1z Still not charged with a crime... (612 comments)

As far as I've been able to gather from Swedish media, Assange still isn't considered a suspect of any crime, nor has he been charged with a crime.

He is still just wanted for questioning, and Swedish police have refused an earlier offer to take a statement in Britain -- for no good reason as far as I can tell.

Additionally, there doesn't seem to be any law requiring (or even allowing) extradition for something as trivial as "we'd like to ask you some questions" -- neither in UK law, or in Swedish law.

I've yet to find any recent articles that actually explore this -- it's all about the accusations, and about the extradition -- but nothing about the legal basis for the extradition order.

more than 2 years ago

Palantir, the War On Terror's Secret Weapon

v1z Re:Hello (276 comments)

Here's the problem with all these liberty-vs-security debates. Before we get into the argument about just how much personal liberty we're willing to give up for security, let's first establish that the proposed measures would actually make us safer. Does any of this security theatre actually work? If torture isn't an effective interrogation technique- and all of the available evidence strongly suggests that it is not- we don't need to have a debate about whether it's moral to torture someone to save lives. If torture doesn't work, then the left, right, and centre should all be able to agree that we shouldn't torture.

It's about counter insurgency, not counter intelligence.

Breaking hearts and shattering minds.

We take your dad/husband/friend/son away in the middle of the night, ship him half across the world, torture him for 4 years for no reason then drop him right back, and pretend it didn' t happen. Why? So you know we're really fucking scary people and you shouldn't try do topple our puppet regime in the name of "democracy" or some other counter-consumerist nonsense.

It's a really old doctrine, formed mostly by the British in India/Afghanistan in the good old days, refined by the SAS and CIA for Latin-America: http://www.soaw.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=98

If you want reliable intelligence, torture doesn't work. Isolation and sleep deprivation and repetitive questioning does.

about 3 years ago

Are Maker Spaces the Future of Public Libraries?

v1z Re:Libraries at their core.... (158 comments)

Well, if they've already got a Nebula or Hugo nomination (or award) they generally make it to my reading list eventually. Of those you mentioned, I was only really aware of Mieville (which appears to be the youngest, incidentally?). And Stephenson, obviously.

I suppose it comes down to taste, but holding up Neal Stephenson of an example of someone that's not an "overrated old guy" strikes me as odd. Granted "the Diamond Age" is great, and "Snowcrash" is great fun -- but after he got so famous editors didn't dare cut back on length (It what it *looks* like happened, more likely he's a voluntary victim of modern publishings idea that many words must be better than the needed amount of words) the novels go kind of down hill.

I recently re-read the foundation trilogy and was pleasantly surprised at how well the characters had stuck with me over the years -- but I suppose some will feel his style is too simple.

On a side note, the sci-fi book I generally recommend people to read first is "the Stars My Destination" -- but I must admit part of what makes it stand out to me is how early it was written.

For any *actual* library 54 books is a little light to represent sci-fi as a genre -- and I'd hope they both fit in Lem, Strugatsky (btw, see http://rusf.ru/abs/english/ for free downloads) Bradbury, Gibson, Sterling, LeGuin, Kress, Vinge as well as newer authors... but I'm hard pressed to list anyone a generation younger than Sterling off the top of my head.

about 3 years ago

Are Maker Spaces the Future of Public Libraries?

v1z Re:Libraries at their core.... (158 comments)

Well, I'd still like to see your list of 54 great young sci-fi authors.

about 3 years ago

Are Maker Spaces the Future of Public Libraries?

v1z Re:Libraries at their core.... (158 comments)

Really? "A great sci-fi collection" ? "Overrated guys" ? I don't think I know of any "great" young sci-fi authors. Elizabeth Moon has at least one good book (speed of dark), I don't think she's got anything I'd call "great sci-fi". Ursulua LeGuin has a lot of *great* stuff, but she's also "old" (and overrated? I hardly think so). There's Samuel DeLaney, black and gay -- but also old. So, which young female author has written something as new, important and good as "Foundation" ? I'd really like to know, great books are really hard to find while their authors are still young - as they haven't been reviewed and recommended as much as older books.

about 3 years ago

The Weight of an e-Book

v1z Or a lot more than... (243 comments)

say - the weight of a single fingerprint? No need to read TFA - the idea that the weight of the reader would predictably change based on the difference beteween a random pattern of bits compared to the almost-random pattern of a compressed binary file... come on!

more than 3 years ago

Domestic Use of Aerial Drones By Law Enforcement

v1z Missing reference: Blue Thunder (299 comments)

Seriously, no ones mentioned Blue Thunder in this thread yet?

Ok, so it wasn't unmanned, but definitely relevant...

The imdb summary http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085255/ even states:

    "The cop test pilot for an experimental police helicopter learns the sinister implications of the new vehicle."

1983 wants its privacy concerns back.

more than 3 years ago

Adobe Releases New 64-Bit Flash Plugin For Linux

v1z Re:Why does linux get this? (240 comments)

It is indeed, trying to be humble. I assume you made an error -- but it works better that way.

more than 4 years ago

What 'IT' Stuff Should We Teach Ninth-Graders?

v1z Version control, wiki (462 comments)

Well, of things that is essential, rather easy, and probably overlooked -- I'd suggest:

  * VCS eg mercurial/git
  * Learning to use a wiki (MoinMoin/Mediawiki)
  * LaTeX (I would suggest Abiword rather than OO -- because OO is an awful, stale reimplementation of MS Word (which, ofcourse isn't original in itself)

Some info on typesetting, and either with LaTeX or html+css learning to use an editor to write text, and a proper tool to layout text -- either with markup, or using a proper dtp-program. Teach them the difference between structuring text, and displaying text. The old idea that you can format text once -- is outdated and wrong. Today at least three layouts are needed: small screen hypertext, big screen hypertext, print.

But the single most important concept to teach, would be using version control systems. The second most important thing would be teaching them to cooperate meaningfully -- and for that a versioned wiki might make a good starting point. Or simply use VCS for that as well.

more than 4 years ago

Schools, Filtering Companies Blocking Google SSL

v1z Non-issue - simply decide if you *want* to filter. (308 comments)

This is a non-issue, mostly.

If you want to filter traffic, and maintain any level of control, first block all internet traffic from computers. Then set up filtering proxys on the application level, for the protocols you want to grant access to. Yes, that means that when a 10 year old hacks your squid-guard machine, she'll be able to steal teachers credit card numbers. But then 8 year olds already had them, because they'd installed hardware keyloggers on a few select pcs...

The fact that it's possible to block/manipulate plaintext protocols is just a bug -- not a feature. Just look at all the sites that still use plain http for login.

You'd still need to monitor for unauthorized wireless lans, student cellphones etc. Most schools I know of don't allow students to use cellphones in class, I see no reason why SSL-traffic shouldn't be limited/filtered in order to provide fewer distractions during class.

Have the firewalls open up all traffic during breaks/lunch hour and/or the application proxies enable xmmp during those times -- or have a simple front end for each vlan/subnet (ie: classrom) where the teacher can select between no-filtering/blacklists+content filter/whitelists.

For good arguments about *why* a school might want to filter/restrict traffic see: http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1693516&cid=32649110

more than 4 years ago

For Automated Testing, Better Alternatives To DOS Batch Files?

v1z Re:Powershell (426 comments)

No, the modern way of doing scripting in Windows is install Bash, Perl or Python. Powershell is to modern as cat is to dog.

Umm, no. Powershell is to modern as more is to less?

more than 4 years ago

Trojan Kill Switches In Military Technology

v1z Re:Open Source (392 comments)

Well, you could start with a "hello world!" operating system:


Seriously, it's a lot easier to build a bomb that can kill a few thousand civilians (air burst fuel-air explosives anyone?), than a rocket that can take out a stealth UAV before it's able to take you out.

On the other hand, if the "bad guys" had access to real weapons, maybe they'd kill some politicians, generals and CEOs rather than infantry and civilians (on "both" sides) ...

more than 5 years ago

Mozilla Messaging Unveils Raindrop

v1z This could actually be the new wave client... (92 comments)

Now, this looks very interesting. It's got nothing do to with wave -- except -- it might be nice to implement wave support for Raindrop ? Before looking at the raindrop source, it's hard to tell -- but from the videos it appears Raindrop handles i/o along several protocol streams, along with a seperate ui.

Stands to reason it should be feasable to implement a wave-backend -- the question then would be if the best way to handle that was encourage widespread wave-server-federation (every couchdb/raindrop-instance it's very own wave server) -- or connect the raindrop-backend to standalone wave-server(s) (more like how email is presumably handled by raindrop).

more than 5 years ago

Google Wave Backstage

v1z Re:Cautiously Optimistic (132 comments)

http://code.google.com/p/wave-protocol/wiki/Installation ?

I like the idea of wave to a certain extent -- but I'm sceptical about the architecture. For IM/collaobration sure -- but as a *replacement* for email/news ? Email is pretty much bulletproof, with failover, handling of temporarily downed servers etc straight out of the box.

Wave (as a protocol) seems far less scalable.

more than 5 years ago


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