171 posts • joined Tuesday 11th August 2009 14:03 GMT
When it's no longer enough for the parasitic academic publishing industry to leach off the work of researchers, universities, and tax payers, to whit, society at large; when it's not enough that the refereeing, editing, writing are donated, and the same institutions generating the bulk of the content pay to buy their own work back; when it's no longer sufficient that this content that supposedly furthers human knowledge is hidden behind paywalls and made inaccessible to the vast majority of humanity; the final opportunity to piss on society presents itself: beating any individual who dares object with billion dollar lawsuits.
Good job A-holes. Makes me glad I left academia.
Re: How scary
and we get a bigoted, small-minded, xenophobic post that manages to disregard a billion plus people with a sweeping stroke of the brush on the first shot. Well done sir, you are a shining light to commentards everywhere.
Re: The accepted wisdom
I think that it is easy to overstate this case. Do computers help kids learn to read, appreciate literature, do art, learn math, etc? Generally not so much.
However, from first hand experience, computers can be a godsend to special needs children. I was fortunate enough to have computer access growing up which helped me overcome some severe difficulties with fine and gross motor coordination-- I've never had a problem with typing, but it took me years to get my handwriting to any point that would be considered legible. Computers let me focus my thought on the assignment rather than the task of handwriting.
My case is pretty minor-- there are the applications we've seen highlighted recently for children with speech difficulties to assist their communication, speech synthesis for the blind, etc.
So while I hear your point generally, I think that there are cases where considered application of technology (and instruction!) can make important differences for children.
Re: Oh no!
My sentiments exactly. Not long ago there were no known exoplanets, then a small handful, and over the past few years, we started getting news of potentially habitable planets every few months. With NASA's budget being brutally slashed, the odds of a replacement anytime soon seem grim. Maybe China or the ESA will step up?
Re: IP profits lawyers and extortion style law suits
I'd like to agree with Eadon-- I do agree copyright is far too long and there does need to be a better means for returning actual orphaned works to the public domain (I am thinking for example of 1980's era games)-- but a law that only applies to photographs and requires you to be a large corporation to achieve the protection to use orphaned works clearly is something else. My take is that our social networking overlords got unhappy about being sued for reappropriating their users' pictures for the purposes of advertising (unless someone wants to fill me in and explain that this doesn't cover rights over personal image and likeness).
Re: Logitec Linux fail
what on earth are you talking about? My logitech mouse and keyboard work just fine with linux. ~$20 each and no problems, what's not to like?
"We in the West have to be tolerant in this age of multiculturalism and have to bend over backwards to accommodate every 'johnny foreigners' foibles."
Funny, on my only visit to Seoul, I was amazed at how friendly and accommodating the South Korean people were. My friend and I visited some hole in the wall restaurants and the owners went out of their way to help us, even though they spoke no English and we spoke no Korean.
The South Korean government even has instituted international cabs to bend over backwards and accommodate Johnny Foreigner-- these are specially licensed cabs whose drivers are required to be proficient in one or more foreign languages and are required by law to give the best rates to their customers.
Maybe you ought to take a peek out from under your bridge and visit some places. It's a big world out there, and many of the people in it are kind and worth knowing.
Re: Why have I heard of the place?
Also, Brigham Young University.
Re: Actually those networks should belong to the people
indeed. It seems like many people posting on this thread missed some of the recent history of municipalities attempting to do just this-- Comcast and others came down like a ton of bricks with their lawyers and friends in high places to get it declared anticompetitive.
I'm no Google fan, but pretty much anything that helps break the local cable monopolies in the US is a big step forward. It looks like Provo has put in the right sort of requirements too-- Google have to actually hook up everyone, and high quality basic internet service will be completely affordable. Having the whole project be public run and public owned would be brilliant, but this seems like a reasonably good alternative.
@Def Re: Lousy Jobs
Speaking as a yank, what the hell are you talking about?
Lousy means bad, crappy. As in, "every day it's the same lousy job."
hope this isn't comfortable
Not because of any animosity or schadenfreude, but I sure hope that Zuck feels at least mildly uncomfortable being confronted with his 15 year old self, preserved forever on the web for all the universe to see. The permanence of digital communications is a serious problem and platforms like facebook serve to amplify it by providing ease of access and search. I hope this is a spur for Zuck to think about the problem of creating space for his users to grow and change.
"Google want to use their browser to help sell ads. MS want to use their browser to lock you in."
And as a professional, one of these leads to a readily understood risk, while the upshot of the other is a big scary question mark. What exactly are google willing to do with their browser to help sell ads? For MS lock-in is presumably sufficient, but clearly it can't end there for Google if their mission is to "monetize" their market share.
are you stupid, willfully ignorant, or trying to whitewash? Have you ever tried to move an OXML file between libre office and word? Pictures, equations, formatting, content get mutilated and lost.
Don't piss on my head and tell me it's raining gold. Unfortunately, doc 97/2000 remains the most compatible format for the two environments and it's clear to anyone who followed the shameful theater of the standardization process exactly who is to blame.
Re: This is very good news for Ubuntu
also, nothing prevents a FOSS distributor from putting in changes that are not accepted by the core teams. Sure, Linus & co can spot evils in the kernel or elsewhere and reject them from the official kernel distribution, but China is plenty big enough to effectively run a fork. Assuming they play nice with copyright law and recognize the GPL as legally binding, all they need to do is either:
a) block access from their population to sites that host the relevant source
b) tell their users that of course the benevolent government needs to monitor their computer use, and if they don't want to be re-educated, they will use the approved distribution.
Big, powerful governments have a lot of options for shoving crap down people's throats. FOSS doesn't change that.
can't speak to cobol, but I find it far closer to the wisdom tooth extraction than perl, except when you get your wisdom teeth out, they normally give you Vicoden or something nice.
Perl does its best to get out of my fucking way. Python, like Java, has an agenda, and I don't appreciate that.
not thinking hard enough
Maybe google aren't either though--
surely having the information on all of the news feeds that individual users follow, as well as the particular articles they read, time they access them, etc. has some value for building more sophisticated models of your users and thus delivering better targeted ads to them throughout the google ecosystem, providing more interesting demographic reports to advertisers, identifying brand loyalties, etc. Just look at the article recently about what is possible based on mere "likes"
Re: "Fire engines will all swarm to put out the nearest fire..." and so on...
sadly, this is indeed a great example of the sort of problems that could be great for offloading to the cloud during gameplay. Lots of hard graph theory that could benefit from a grunt-ton of computation, but the data transmission requirements aren't a lot, and the latency requirements aren't hard either (hey, maybe your dispatcher takes some time to update optimal fire routes). But what would EA care?
entirely too correct-- the authors claim that 3% of deaths could have been prevented by reduced consumption of processed meat, but I'm pretty sure the correct figure is exactly 0%. Postponed maybe, but then what is the point of life without bacon, ham, and sausage?
your suggestion implies a sort on the longitude coordinate (i.e. it serves as an index into your query) and also does a bounding on the longitude. You'll find that the method described in the article is substantially similar though more efficient. I'd suggest you read a decent background article about DBs-- might be useful to you someday :-).
why developers care about acid
The article quotes some guy called Bradford Stevens as saying developers don't care about ACID. I dunno, maybe if they are a bunch of NCGs who've never had to maintain code over any period of time (and there are a lot of companies in silicon valley where that describes the entire engineering staff). But for the rest of us, not needing to have special case checks to recover when your operation only partially succeeds (atomicity), not worrying about the impact of other storage clients when accessing the store (consistency and isolation), and being damn sure that your data makes it to disk (durability) is hugely important.
Let's suppose you do a typical startup half-ass approach to development and you tolerate lots of weird partial transactions because hey, you're not operating on credit card data. At some point, some pointy haired person is going to get the brilliant idea that there's gold in them there logs. Now you're going to need to build some sort of ETL flow to get that data into a nice, easily queriable form. And then you're going to find that you need shit-tons of special case logic to coerce all those different botched transactions, each of which is going to take significant time to detect, track down, and support.
But hey, by that time your NCGs will probably have moved on to other, shinier, newer, pursuits. So maybe they don't care after all.
Re: contingency plans
I'm glad they have contingency plans and I do want to see Space-X succeed, but on the other hand it seems like they've got a long ways to go to get their base reliability up as high as Soyuz or the shuttle. If I'm counting correctly, they've had a pretty major incident on 2 of their 3 journeys to the ISS now. Obviously the Russian and American governments have been doing this for longer, and hopefully Space-X will make modifications, etc. to improve reliability. But as it stands right now, I sure wouldn't want to be launched into orbit on a Dragon.
Re: Maths v Math
give it a rest. The reg has its share of both readers and writers from a variety of nations. Some of us have different ideas about where to put c's and z's, or use er instead of re, or write o instead of ou. Who the fuck cares?
By the way, I think you'll find that Americans and their math have a fairly good record in space. Remind me when the last time was a British spacecraft, designed using proper maths, made it out of Earth's orbit?
Re: I suppose
I've visited companies where to enter the campus, everyone sends their belongings through a metal detector, phones are checked to make sure cameras are taped over, sd cards or flash drives are banned, etc. etc. In the government sector too, there are some pretty extreme measures taken for security (e.g. supercomputers that are physically partitioned so that confidential simulations can't possibly be spied on by other code).
Generally though, I assume the powers that be look at the relative cost of preventing malware via draconian measures (quality of employee, worker happiness, inefficiency in working with clients who want to use e-mail attachments) and decide that it's much better to employ a handful of smart people to setup firewalls, IDSes, monitor developments in the security field, etc. and basically hope that the risk is reduced sufficiently.
Similar considerations apply to safety from muggers-- if you wanted to make sure you'd never get mugged, you could hole up in an underground bunker with 80 years worth of non-perishable food, cases of ammunition and high powered weapons, hopped up on methamphetamines monitoring your CCTV, and you'd have a pretty high confidence in your personal safety. On the other hand, it might not be a very happy existence.
Re: Worlds of misunderstanding
cool, didn't know that existed-- still doesn't give me full-fat acroread, sun java, nvidia drivers, etc, but good to know about.
Thank you mr(s?). penguin, have a beer.
cure still worse than the disease?
Why should I care about "improvements" if putting mcaffee on a system still borks it harder than any virus? Whenever I see a relative's computer running butt slow, either it or Symantec are almost always to blame.
Re: life beyond the US
Sorry Trevor, I know you're up in the great Canadian north-west, but I do recall you also posting articles about crossing the border for work (apparently the US government makes this hard). And the dollar value threw me-- for the vast majority of my life, the exchange rate has been roughly $2 canadian to $1 US-- I suspect it's the other way now.
Also, I am forever unable to think of Canadian currency as the dollar after reading this:
Re: short sighted
it's a good suggestion and would actually probably make Linked In more money. One problem-- wage and cost of living disparity across the US. A few years back, $85K in Texas worked out to an equivalent CA wage of about $110K. Pretty sure you wouldn't be happy earning $75k in the bay.
@AC: re visio and omnigraffle
Agreed that Omnigraffle is the bee's knees. Every time I try to use Visio I end up swearing because I can't align things perfectly and copy paste doesn't work properly with the rest of the MS Office suite. The one beef I have with Omnigraffle is that it is Apple only and even with the pro version doesn't have great compatibility with visio, so it is hard to share work with colleagues who aren't on Mac. yEd is a worthy cross platform alternative-- not nearly as slick as Omnigraffle, ugly default colors, but lines stuff up right, is free, and works everywhere.
Re: Worlds of misunderstanding
think there's another type missing from your catalog: Power luser-- knows linux, can make stuff work if needed, but really prefers not to.
For example, I have no interest in fighting with my inetd configuration or figuring out how to install the right driver for my graphics card (what? need to escape to console, gdm stop, run some crap, and gdm start? grrr. @%!*). I use Linux because I love the tools-- gcc, make, bash or tcsh, vi, perl, man, pipes, etc. Once properly configured, it is a great environment for getting stuff done. There is a lot of complexity in this environment, but it is ultimately rewarding to use.
The less configuration I need to do because some kind person (either sys admin or distributor) figured out how to make it work, the happier I am. If said kind person wants me to work through their guis rather than directly hacking config files, fine, I don't care, as long as there's a way to print without spending hours fighting with cups, listen to audio without fighting with some awful combination of alsa, lame, oss, gstreamer, etc. The low level configuration is totally distribution dependent too, so while I can transfer my knowledge of code development from SuSe to Centos to Ubuntu and never notice much change, if I have to create a service on each of those, the work will be different. Does knowing all these little weirdnesses make me a better or more effective developer? Probably not. Give me a distro that comes with all the dev tools, productivity stuff, and generally nice things like codecs that I want and let me get on with my life.
Note: Ubuntu fails at this-- it takes a decent amount of searching to figure out where the man pages for the c standard library are, the system doesn't come with development tools like gcc, and it replaces perfectly fine free tools with poor open source replacements, like open-jdk and evince that almost but don't really work. It also doesn't ship with proprietary drivers-- why on earth can't they detect that I have an NVIDIA card during install and set it up correctly for me? Where are my microsoft fonts so I can view documents reliably in Libre Office? (I know, I know, it's a political thing about GPL and free software, but shouldn't the purpose of a distro be to serve users?). I can't say if Mint fits the bill since I haven't used it, but the general description sounds about right.
What I don't understand is how, with what must be a very high proportion of downvotes to upvotes, Eadon gets a silver badge. Isn't that supposed to be an indicator that it is a valuable contributor to El Reg's ecosystem? Makes me wish they'd just get rid of the badges, except maybe the gold ones for special commendation (e.g. Trevor Pott).
careful with that word "you"
as a consumer of corporate IT services, I don't have a say in the broken software selection process that causes horrible things like Ultipro or other internet-explorer only webservices to be foisted upon me. I suspect that IT frequently doesn't get much say either-- some bean counters get wowed by salespeople and they are the ones who get to choose the payroll system (for example). Bean counters who don't give a crap about corporate security or browser compatibility.
Here at the bottom of the foodchain, there's not a lot of choice. If I want to get on with my real job, the easiest thing is to use IE for anything on our intranet, and since it's already fired up, might as well use it for the internet too. It doesn't make me happy, but it's better than fucking around with some combination of firefox, chrome, and opera and hoping I can find one that is compatible with each of our services with enough cursing, plugins, and modification of settings.
Re: Took you long enough Lester!
Think I'm with your father on this-- I'm seriously surprised at the number of reg readers who think teabags are acceptable except when there isn't an alternative (e.g. at an American restaurant where tea generally shows up as a bag of liptons and some tepid to hot water). Do they also consume instant coffee, or (blech) coffee bags? And what's with making an entire pot of tea from teabags? Once you've got the pot there's no excuse.
For me, it's got to be:
brown betty, warmed with boiling water
loose leaf tea (Scottish Breakfast, or Darjeeling or Ceylon for the afternoon, never never Earl Grey)
cover leaves in boiling water and let sit in cozy for a few minutes
this opens the leaves and distributes the flavor better
fill to top with boiling water and let steep a few minutes more
For best results, use a dutch tea cozy (they look like little suitcases and keep your tea deliciously hot for hours).
Personally, I like my tea like most other things, straight up, no bullshit. But I accept milk, honey, or sugar as legitimate additions. Lemon however is plain wrong.
Re: Neither here, nor there...
and going delightfully off topic:
I learned the rhyme as "i before e except after c or when sounded like A as in neither or weigh"
Now, I have no clue who on earth says "Nayt-her"-- I do know people who say nigh-ther. And what about weird? Probably this all made sense at one point when germanic influences on English pronunciation were stronger, but it seems an overhaul to the mnemonic is overdue. How about: "i before e/except when you see/some long since dead guy/placed e before i" ?
Destroy All Monsters, your test for worthiness of a patent would eliminate a shit ton of hard work from patent protection while maintaining it for land-grabs and rounded corners.
How about methods of write levelling on SSDs, object tracking, recovering signal loss due to multipathing in radio communication? I could go on and on. With a black-box approach you can tell someone else's product is doing a good job or not, or even if it is attaining similar performance to your method, but you can't tell if they are infringing your clever method of doing it.
If you don't reject the patent system entirely, then this sort of discovery is a necessary consequence.
Re: IR filter
I agree it's a little surprising he's suggesting using IR since most cameras incorporate IR filters to get reasonable image quality (IR is not your friend). I see two reasons this could work:
1) filters don't get perfect cutoff, so if there's enough power coming from the LEDS they could still mess up the response. Radiating in NIR probably helps this since the cutoff will be worse.
2) many security cameras operate without an IR filter so that they can bathe an area in IR light and thus claim to "see in the dark". Adding a filter to these setups would prevent their ability to operate after hours.
Re: Give it time
what the hell, someone who has taken the time to get down and dirty with a piece of technology writes a thoughtful response about that experience and where he thinks the technology is going and gets 30 downvotes while copy-paste rah rah linux rants get the opposite? I'm personally not an MS fan, I use Linux when I can, but this is sad and juvenile.
For what it's worth, the killer for me is that the surface doesn't come with RT Pro, outlook and active directory integration. My work laptop is basically an outlook client and power point player-- a surface could easily replace it if MS only had clean integration with their enterprise offerings.
Re: Hehehe, Crafty, Creative
randomly quizzing him might not trigger any filters-- after all, odds are good the guy probably *was* a pretty strong programmer since he'd presumably need to audit and clean up all the code he was outsourcing. Generally you get what you pay for, so if he was paying 1/6th of his salary for multiple contractors, quality was probably pretty low before receiving the Bob filter.
Clever bastard, but his company missed a trick-- they should have put him in management.
Re: @Bush_rat re. the take-photo-button
why the down votes for BXL? What he/she/it says is exactly correct-- most cell phone cameras use a rolling shutter with some interesting resulting artifacts.
Re: a fight to get into a space that no one wants?
yup, that's on the money. And there's another important point in Linux's (and sadly, particularly Ubuntu's) favor for power users-- it is the easiest platform for developing android code. All the google tool-chains are setup around Ubuntu, and with (presumably) lots of money from app development and mobile services, why wouldn't you want your power users / content developers to run systems that match and play nicely with whatever it is you are offering customers via "cloud" and "mobile" services?
But my grandma running Linux? Not happening, and unity-whizz-bang-wtf is certainly not going to convince me to walk her through it when it takes me 20 minutes just to figure out how to get a terminal or where my windows are.
Re: 6/8 time...why not 3/4 time?
yeah, that might not have been the best example for deciphering a time-signature. 6/8 time is normally played as something weird called a "compound time signature", though it is less frequently played straight (each eighth note gets a beat). There isn't enough information in the time signature to know which way it is intended-- sometimes the music itself will clue you in (e.g. by breaking the eighth notes into groups of three).
House of the Rising Sun is a nice example of how this time signature feels and why it's called "compound"-- you can feel properties of both 3/4 and 2/4 in each bar-- the lyrics are clearly two beats to the bar (there is- a house) while the guitar part is going 1,2,3 1,2,3. . . it's a pretty distinctive sound.
love this about the reg-- there is almost always at least one commentator who really knows their shit, regardless of the subject. Think the posts on this article have been far better than the article itself, and this one does a great job of cutting through the fluff. Happy new year's. beer since there's no champagne icon.
Re: leds for home/office lighting
just double checked with home depot's website and my memory isn't too far off -- they range between 25-45 usd. I suspect that this is a case of Europe being ahead of the states-- both Osram and Philips are European companies. Here in the states, we're still migrating to CFLs, so I dunno. Maybe Osram/Philips and co are using the states to dump their CFLs as they phase them out and phase in LED tech.
On the other hand, here in the heart of silicon valley, we still haven't figured out the principle of grounding wires (most residences don't have them due to a combination of age of construction and some incredibly backwards tax laws), so who knows. I
Re: better CRI than tungsten??
well, CRI for a tungsten filament bulb is rated at 100 (I suppose that they round to nearest integer). But yes, you're right. Think you picked the wrong icon though-- here, let me fix that for you :-).
and for those of you keeping score, daylight is even further from a perfect black body due to the effects of filtering through the earth's atmosphere, so CRI should be slightly worse than tungsten (omg wtf bbq).
better CRI than tungsten??
With all due respect, what *are* you smoking? CRI is a measure of color similarity to a black body (aka incandescent) source at the same color temperature. By definition, you can't beat an incandescent light on that metric. It is possible, particularly with the three component LED lights (RGB as opposed to blue + phosphor) or the triphosphor fluorescents to get greater color saturation from an artificial source, but that's certainly not the same as from color fidelity.
leds for home/office lighting
I'm not convinced they are there yet-- manufacturing variation in chromaticity is very high (that is, three or four units from the same manufacturer of the same nominal color temperature will be visibly different). Producing a pleasant warm light (<4000K) is still a big challenge, and as someone above mentioned, that is a must for US/EU markets.
Fluorescent lighting, which is obviously much more mature, has solved these problems and you can get some very nice CFLs now that can be dimmed or provide instant on as well as high CRI. Factoring in the difference in unit cost vs efficiency (a single LED replacement bulb here in the states was about $50 last I checked) and the value proposition just doesn't make sense. I'm sure that LED lighting will improve over time, and there is a lot of potential, but I'm not about to retrofit my home.
Re: "Where do you see yourself in five years' time"
I suggest you change your interview strategy then. I suspect many good candidates will find this question both demeaning and trite. Most employers don't offer five years worth of career development, so an honest answer from anyone with half a brain would be "probably not working here." Clearly that isn't going to land the job, so now you're putting your interviewee in the position of lying to make you happy. This isn't very comfortable for the person you're trying to attract, and you haven't learned anything valuable about the candidate as a potential team member.
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