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Ask Slashdot: Which NoSQL Database For New Project?

xelah Re:S3 better than files on disk (272 comments)

Now scale that. Or just lock it properly.

If you want simple, scalable and low sysadmin overhead and all you need are key -> value lookups then Amazon's S3 can be an excellent choice. You don't need to manage it, you don't need to work out how to add servers and its well proven at extremely large scales.

However, like a lot of other posters, I'm very sceptical that NoSQL is the place to start. SQL databases can do a LOT for you, are very robust and can scale very considerably. As your requirements grow you might find yourself wanting things like indexes, transactions, referential integrity, the ability to manually inspect and edit data using SQL and the ability to store and access more complex structures. You're likely to give yourself a lot of pain if you go straight for NoSQL, and even if you DO need to scale later combining existing SQL and new NoSQL data stores can be a useful way to go.

about two weeks ago
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Study: Exposure To Morning Sunlight Helps Managing Weight

xelah Re:depression (137 comments)

Poor sleep, too, IIRC. This is why I'm sitting in front of a 125W compact fluorescent bulb right now. The sort of thing people use for growing, err, orchids. Not sure that'd work if I didn't work from home...but maybe if I didn't work from home I'd be outside long enough each morning not to need it.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Will Older Programmers Always Have a Harder Time Getting a Job?

xelah Re:Ignore Silicon Valley (379 comments)

Hmm, for me I think it's not just the positive vs negative construction that makes it seem odd, although it certainly did leave me looking back along the sentence for the negative I'd missed.

Perhaps it's something like this. Compare 'I don't drink coffee any more' to 'I won't drink any more coffee' (both UK English as I would use it). Now compare 'calling me to join crappy companies anymore' to 'calling me to join any more crappy companies'. The first two sentences imply that I used to drink lots of coffee, and that I'm now not going to drink more. The second two seem to imply that I used to join lots of crappy companies and that I'm being called upon to join additional ones - any additional ones, not specific additional ones. That's not what the sentence is meant to mean and doesn't make pragmatic sense (why would a recruiter want me to join any additional crappy companies rather than a specific one? or possibly he wants me to join any one company which is more crappy than the current one, which is equally strange).

It seems that non-US-English speakers will need to treat 'anymore' as a new dialect word not related to 'any' or 'more'.

about a month ago
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Why Buy Microsoft Milk When the Google Cow Is Free?

xelah Re:Not the only reason..... (409 comments)

Also, for people who don't already have it installed, with Google Docs and pretty much anything else that's free you can just go right ahead and use it. No hassling the IT department to install stuff, and when there's no organization-wide licence available, no messing around getting access to the company's money.

about a month ago
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Overuse of Bioengineered Corn Gives Rise To Resistant Pests

xelah Re:Surprised? (259 comments)

Presumably there are other ways of reducing the pest population and ways of delaying resistance to this and to pesticides. Consider crop rotation, for example. Gardeners know that some plants shouldn't be planted in the same place year after year because the pest population increases over time (and because of the effect on the soil, and sometimes other reasons). I'm sure farmers know this, too. But if maize is the best paying crop and someone offers you these seeds as a way to continue to plant maize on a heavily infested area, what are you going to do?

about a month ago
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NSA Can Retrieve, Replay All Phone Calls From a Country From the Past 30 Days

xelah Re:How? (320 comments)

Presumably any country which already has a centralized the monitoring of its own communications is going to be much easier to attack. Those communications will be available all in one place, and will be full of back-doors to subvert.

Which is an interesting lesson for the United States itself.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can an Old Programmer Learn New Tricks?

xelah Re:You appear to not know fundamentals. (306 comments)

I think you missed one of the most important things about using a framework (or, indeed, a GUI builder, a library or even an SQL database): using a framework does not excuse you - or, at least, your team - from understanding and being responsible for the behaviour of your application as a whole, and indeed system as a whole. Hibernate, for example, is not a way to avoid knowing how a database works, what normalization is, how locking/MVCC is handled, the pros and cons of indexes, how queries are planned, how a write-ahead-log works, what disk access patterns you might be creating and so on. There's a bit of a bad sign in the original question: he's been working on stuff for a long time but not had the curiosity or felt responsible for finding out how they work as he goes along.

about a month ago
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Jewish School Removes Evolution Questions From Exams

xelah Re:Whats the point? (431 comments)

Indeed not. I've only had a little rather indirect contact with those sorts of communities in London, but as I understand it they also tend to shun proper education - university level especially because that's where a lot of people leave their communities - have low income levels and be dependent on state benefits in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Personally, I have no problem funding appropriately limited benefits for people who are unlucky, disabled, not educated properly by their parents and so on....but when a whole community is dependent on forced charity in a self-perpetuating cultural cycle but the problem is considered untouchable because 'religion' then I think it needs to be dealt with a little better. Requiring a proper education would be a good start (and being prepared to help children who want to go to university against their parents' wishes could be a good second thing).

about a month and a half ago
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Jewish School Removes Evolution Questions From Exams

xelah Re:Whats the point? (431 comments)

People don't usually believe stuff like that from a careful consideration of the facts available, though. People believe it because it's socially expected that they believe it, because it's a group marker, because they're raised to consider 'belief', and these beliefs in particular, a moral good. And so parents strive to create an environment for their child in which the social expectations and moral requirements are ones they approve of. Many religious cultures essentially require this, and personally I think it's likely that this is the biggest means of transmission of religions and a big requirement for the success of a religion.

Of course, some people - like Darwin himself - will abandon their beliefs when presented with inescapable evidence that they're wrong. But not everyone is prepared to pay the social cost, and not everyone is really all that motivated by understanding the world better (rather than, say, by social status).

about a month and a half ago
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Scottish Independence Campaign Battles Over BBC Weather Forecast

xelah Re: Firrrst post the noo (286 comments)

That Northern Ireland/Ireland border is not an EU border - and I would presume that England and Scotland would prefer the goods could move freely just as they do now. The EU imposes certain tariffs on everything entering the EU, and all countries in the EU have to impose them (eg, 12% on plums, 8.8% on knitted gloves, 7.6% on non-knitted gloves, etc. to the level of your worst bureaucratic nightmare.). If there's an EU border between England and Scotland then that means either a dispute with the EU, or border posts, paperwork and tariff payments for probably both sides. Think of the effect on supply chains, too.

about 2 months ago
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Scottish Independence Campaign Battles Over BBC Weather Forecast

xelah Re: Firrrst post the noo (286 comments)

Which leads to an interesting possibility: an EU border (with EU tariffs) between England and Scotland, followed by the Scots joining the EU and the rUK leaving so that the border reverses. But at least it might give rUK voters a foretaste of what leaving the EU would mean to help inform their votes...

about 2 months ago
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Scottish Independence Campaign Battles Over BBC Weather Forecast

xelah Re: Firrrst post the noo (286 comments)

He's Portuguese. And, IIRC, he'll be gone before it matters.

about 2 months ago
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Blood Test of 4 Biomarkers Predicts Death Within 5 Years

xelah Re:Risk? (104 comments)

Without risk there wouldn't BE an insurance industry. Suppose there was a test which could determine exactly all of your future medical care costs and when you were going to die. There would be no financial risk at all. Health insurance would become, essentially, a savings plan. There'd be no profit any more.

This is also why a pure insurance model is always likely to be unacceptable in places like the UK. People here - and, I would guess, in most of the world - don't want just a way to make future healthcare costs predictable by pooling risk (and if you can predict that you'll die through being unable to fund it then that's exactly what happens). They want a way to provide an adequate level of healthcare to the whole population, whatever their income.

about 2 months ago
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Will Peggy the Programmer Be the New Rosie the Riveter?

xelah Re:this again ? really (333 comments)

That's not necessarily true. There are many high-income professions which are male dominated.

I think that there's a great deal of interrelationship between the way men and women treat each other, and the way people treat each other at work and outside it. And one of aspect of that that I think is not looked at often enough is the way people make their sexual choices. Women can feel under pressure to be thin and beautiful with large chests because of men's preferences, but men come under pressure, too - under pressure to have high status jobs earning a lot of money (or, at least, to be higher status and higher earning than their prospective partner - one ex-partner told me that she wouldn't have considered me if I had earnt less than her). Inevitably, this will push more men than women in to making the sacrifices to their personal well-being to gain those things. In doing so, they make the labour market and working environment more competitive, political and hostile, and so less attractive to everyone. But that disproportionately puts off women, who don't need to deal with that to find the 'best' partners.

about 2 months ago
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Will Peggy the Programmer Be the New Rosie the Riveter?

xelah Re:this again ? really (333 comments)

The impact of the working environment doesn't just come from hostility, though. Take an organization - or any social group, really - and you're going to find it shaped by and for the people who are actually in it. If it's stuffed full of 22 year old men then you're going to find social expectations that you go out and get drunk with colleagues, and sympathy for people who turn up in the morning with a hangover. If it's stuffed full of 35 year old women you're more likely to find company provided childcare and sympathy for people who have to stay at home with sick children. There may be no hostility or different treatment of men and women whatsoever, and it's hard to say it's anyone's fault, but that doesn't make it go away.

I don't believe this can explain the whole of gender imbalances across industries, possibly not even a large part of it. There are no doubt many reasons. However, it is one of those causes that can be attacked using positive discrimination (though I don't agree with that, personally...I think that if you want equal treatment for each gender on principle, then you need to stick to that principle).

about 2 months ago
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Rolls Royce Developing Drone Cargo Ships

xelah Re:What do the humans actually do on a ship? (216 comments)

I'd hazard a guess that Rolls Royce might make engines which require less maintenance than usual, or maintenance which can be carried out quickly at each port, and so have come up with this idea because it would help turn that in to a competitive advantage. I also notice they mention the Baltic as a first place to try something, which I assume implies quite short voyages.

about 2 months ago
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Internet Shutdown Adds To Venezuela's Woes

xelah Re: This is true (194 comments)

Because this sort of politics is not based on using rational understanding of the world to make good governmental decisions to achieve some goal, it's based on group dynamics. Look at how the US and 'saboteurs' are blamed for everything, and how people are prepared to attack others for mere membership or association with the other group. It's about orchestrating an us and a them, creating insiders to fight and to hate for you to defend your tribe, so the powerful can keep themselves there.

It seems like some people can't see politics or government any other way. Look at the partisan hatred in the US, or those who respond to climate change arguments by ignoring the science and concentrating on defining 'scientists' as a group and questioning their motivation. It's everywhere, from more benign forms to the extreme, from biology teaching in schools to traditional religious wars to nazism and the soviets, and extreme politicians always make it their weapon.

about 2 months ago
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South Carolina Woman Jailed After Failing To Return Movie Rented Nine Years Ago

xelah Re: Debtors Prison? (467 comments)

1) The victim is whoever absorbed the assets of the company at its closing. They've lost the value of the tape.

Not sure how it works in the US, but there's another option: The victim is whoever is owed money by the company when it closes, because the liquidators appointed to close it will bill many hours of accountants' time at huge rates to the company for handling this, far exceeding any amount they'll ever recover for creditors.

Obviously, I have no idea if this is the case here. But people who close companies can have an incentive to investigate every little thing in order to inflate their own fees.

about 2 months ago
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Do Hypersonic Missiles Make Defense Systems Obsolete?

xelah Re:Defense Gap (365 comments)

The US is not going to war with China or Russia any time soon.

Umm, I wouldn't wish to bet on that. And definitely not on the US needing to deter their militaries, especially China's. Think of Taiwan, the Japan/China disputes and Russia's tendency to invade states it thinks it ought to still own when they don't do what they're told.

Still, it's obviously not the only threat.

about 3 months ago
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Britain's GCHQ Attacked Anonymous Supporters With DDoS

xelah Re:Devil's Advocate... (133 comments)

Indeed it can be argued - but there still needs to be a law saying they can. A law subject to democratic (well, ish) and judicial oversight, a law that everyone can see and argue over.

about 3 months ago

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