* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Hey! Where! are! the! white! women! at!? It's! Yahoo!

Tom 13

Re: the early days women dominated programming

not sure how you'll count circa 1980 but mine would be:

Mr. Checkett

Mr. Light

Mrs. Lausch.

Mrs. [completely forgot her name]

who were all math teachers at the high school. Checkett and Light had lead on bringing in the TRS after comparing them with an Apple. All of them consulted with Todd B. who was one of my classmates when they got stuck. I was tutored directly by Mr. Checkett as an extra activity without credit from our Probabilities and Statistics class. My friends William and Eric each had an Apple II something and we plotted the sin a/a function on it after working on the problem in Calculus class. Mrs and Mrs told us there was no way to port a disk program [centipede clone] that they ran on the master computer in the classroom to the terminals attached to it. That didn't sound right to us so we got out the manual and were soon all happily playing it on the terminals.

When I got to college and took the intro course it was taught by a woman whose name I have also forgotten. Her I liked a bit more than either of the Mrs listed above. I didn't pursue my initial interest any further because she was honest with me. The next class was a weed out class. It wasn't intended to teach you, it was intended to drive away 5 out of the 6 people who thought they wanted to enter the field.

Tom 13

Re: Why did the women move out?

Probably for the same reason men are attracted to it:

There's no mushy gushy emotional interface. The computer does what you tell it to. Exactly what you tell it to and if it doesn't work it is your fault. You don't develop a relationship with it no matter how much the sci-fi shows try to sexualize it with their holograms and voices. For whatever reason, women are drawn to the emotional bonding. You can get that in PM and marketing, but not so much on the programming side.

Tom 13

Re: I always write "prefer not to say"

Which the EEO types translate to WASP - male when they get the form and enter the information into their database.

Tom 13

Re: wouldn't say that overrepresentation of Asians screams out

Then you are quite oblivious. As a percentage of the US population, they are 4.8% which puts their over representation in that sample at about 5x. I can't tell from your post whether those numbers are applications or actual students.

Democrats pitch long-shot bid for FCC ban on prioritization deals

Tom 13

Re: fix a problem that exists in someone's brain

Oh, there are a real problems.

1) Too many large companies with too much money have been able to buy monopoly service areas in too many parts of the US.

2) All the large carriers are now getting into the content delivery business as well as the service business. This opens a potential pathway for it to be economically feasible to gouge your competitors on the service end.

But reclassifying broadband service as common carrier doesn't nothing to fix the first issue. While it can be argued that it would help with the second, as you have pointed out there are significant costs associated with that, most notably that there will be a decrease in technological innovation as well as a rush to the bottom for service delivery. It seems to be the better solution to the second problem is that your content delivery has to pay the mean cost of your commercial service charges.

Tom 13

Re: but what does 'Common Carrier' status imply?


Near as I can tell, it says the FCC will set ISP rates instead of the ISPs.

So the question is, who do you want setting your ISP rates? A politician who doesn't know jack about what he's regulating, or the tech company selling the service?

British boffin tells Obama's science advisor: You're wrong on climate change

Tom 13


Only now with the improved HPCs they can GIGO even faster!

Tom 13

Re: it makes sense to look for alternatives at the point.

It always makes sense to look for cheaper alternatives, that's part of how you drive productivity. What doesn't make sense is mandating changes when it is still be best option available at the current price point and you cannot foresee any workable alternatives.

Tom 13

Re: It's really only the oil that's running out,

Even the oil isn't running out. Back in the mid 70s we "only had 70 years of oil at current consumption rates." Last time I checked current consumption rates have increased every year, even in countries where the rate of increase was falling. And we still have 70 years worth of oil left. So maybe "70 years of oil" is one of those magic economic numbers: given current money it is all we bother to calculate. Sort of like when I was in college and the price of a pizza was always a dollar a slice when we ordered because none of us had quarters to make change. Sometimes this was a felicitous happenstance for the delivery person, but not usually.

Tom 13

Re: oncoming catastrophe of Global Cooling.

No, they weren't nearly that level headed. I distinctly recall they threatened me with an oncoming Ice Age.

Tom 13

Re: Who do you think makes the models that run all day and night

For some time now I've been convinced it is the same group of script kiddies we know better as Anonymous.

People will happily run malware if paid ONE CENT – new study

Tom 13

Re: Statistically weak?

And the premises were flawed from the get go.

Use of the Mechanical Turk and linking the study to CMU both biased the study, especially as it was an actual CMU study. While I am not specifically familiar with Mechanical Turk, since it is on Amazon the assumption is that somebody with a hell of a lot more resources than I have has already scanned the applet for malware and passed it as legitimate. Failure to mention the study on any CMU website is also pretty meaningless. It's not the sort of thing you'd expect to find on their websites, or if it is, it will be so buried it is difficult to find.

The bit about the UAC is a complete red herring. The UAC is only useful for drive-by malware. If you've downloaded it, you know it is going to pop up, and you know you're going to have to authorize it.

If the program was even minimally well behaved, there's no cause to look further for malicious activity. The reality of the security situation right now is that you pick your preferred suite, install it, and count on them to detect the malware. So unless they were providing their code to the AV vendors for inclusion in the malware signatures, there's no cause for a typical user to question the applet.

To get even a semblance of reality into this study they need to have a new name, release it through typical malware vectors (that is not Amazon, Chrome, or Apple app stores but possible dodgy sites or banner ads displayed on random web pages) including some drive-by installers. Collect the data from those instances and see what the results are.

Greenpeace rejoices after getting huge renewable powerplant cancelled

Tom 13

Re: bunny rabbits exploding...

Not these bunny rabbits:


Tom 13

Re: It's looking more and more...

No, that's only half the equation. The other half is they want the developed countries back to those conditions too.

We're ALL Winston Smith now - and our common enemy is the Big Brother State

Tom 13

Re: financially support any political party that is serious about abolishing taxes.

What an odd thing to say given how they have informationally supported (far more valuable than any mere cash/lobbyist contribution could ever be) the party in the US that is most likely to raise taxes.

Tom 13

Re: I am not so worried about Google having my data

You should be. Because they've selected farmed out access to their data to a single political party in the US.

Tom 13

Re: Niven has this one covered

Perhaps we can learn from one of the most advanced, most enlightened, highly educated societies in the world.

Perhaps you should read more Orwell:

Secondly there is the fact that the intellectuals are more totalitarian in outlook than the common people. On the whole the English intelligentsia have opposed Hitler, but only at the price of accepting Stalin. Most of them are perfectly ready for dictatorial methods, secret police, systematic falsification of history2 etc. so long as they feel that it is on ‘our’ side.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/08/12/george-orwell-s-letter-on-why-he-wrote-1984.html (not much commentary, mostly just Orwell's letter on the subject)

I didn't like reading 1984 and I haven't read much else by him. But I at least am aware of his primary tenets and don't try to re-write them.

Tom 13

Re: the real-life inspiration for 1984 was Stalinist USSR

that's funny, because in my reading Orwell references Hitler and the Spanish Civil War more than he ever referenced Russia. And he noted frequently that it was written for the UK and America because he did not think we are as naturally immune to fascist thinking as we too often suppose.

While it is true that Churchill made his famous Iron Curtain speech in 1946, it is also true that he was on his way out of politics even as he made that speech. So no, Stalinist Russia was not the model for 1984. Rather even though Orwell fancied himself a democratic socialist, he was drawing on what he knew of socialism in all of its various forms as it had been practiced in and around him.

Tom 13

Re: I would argue that k varies dependent

So, did you fail basic calculus or your search engine skills?

Niven explicitly said k is fixed only for a given individual and otherwise varies according to a great many inputs.

Kids hack Canadian ATM during LUNCH HOUR

Tom 13

Re: fully published on the web.

Yep, 32 random characters drawn from all printable ASCII types with no dictionary words (backward either) or simple number sequences isn't going to help when it's printed on a public website.

Blame WWI, not Bin Laden, for NSA's post-9/11 intel suck

Tom 13

Re: The basic social contract for governments is the sparingly use

No, it's not. The basic social contract for government is that it protects its people from even greater aggressive threats than the government induces.

I'm not talking ethics/philosophy. On that basis I concur with the Founders. But you have to realize what the Brits started in 1215 and which we on this side of the pond set out more forthrightly in 1776 is a very, very rare occurrence in history. China, far older than either of our countries has NEVER been ruled on this concept. It may be that India is now approaching the concept. But even while under British colonial rule I don't think it is quite accurate to characterize it that way. Russia has never been ruled that way. Rome kind of sort of ruled that way for about 200 years of its 1000 year history but the rest was the epitome of the contract I am noting as the basic social contract. And such a thought would have been purest blasphemy in medieval times.

No, tyranny is the basic social contract throughout history. And the peasants just hope to have enough grain left for their families after the Cossacks have left.

Tom 13

Re: There's a big difference though

That depends on exactly what you mean by "spied upon."

Let's assume for a moment that the US government is hoovering up all data that passes through any all of the big internet hubs in the US and western-friendly countries plus a few in unfriendly countries where they've managed to plant malware (including possible physical devices). Let's also assume they are hoovering up all radio data across the globe 24/7/365.25. Let's assume they can scan all mail sent via the post office and read it without opening it. And that they scan all voice calls that aren't digital.

Doesn't "spying on" imply that somewhere there is a human that sees the data? How can any small number of people read that much data? Because as soon as you put an algorithm on it which kicks out a group of people as "low probability of ____" you're not looking at their data even if it was collected. And you have to put a hell of a lot of filters on the data before you can get down to the point where even with 10,000 agents you are looking at some significant portion of information about the general public.

So what we get down to isn't the massive spying. The real question is: are the filters only being used to control truly bad actors? We all agree we need to control bad actors right? Bad actors of the sort who kill a couple of thousand at a pop without batting an eye lash. Because if we can't agree on that point, we are in an ideological war that will only end with total victory over the enemy.

Tom 13

Re: "Socialists"? Try Bolshevists.

My only quibble is with worrying over differentiating Bolshevists for other flavors of commie. It's all from the same rotten tree. Only the Progs worry about it. I think it has too much in common with the Emo Phillips skit about religion:


Link leaves out a good chunk of the monologue, but gets the key bits.

Splash! Three times as much water as ALL of Earth's oceans found TRAPPED underground

Tom 13

Re: Bible Thumpers Rejoice

You mean this one:


Or is that to ask: Is science if finally catching up with what the Bible recorded so long ago? It'd difficult to argue with The Universal Observer.

Tom Hanks NICKED my COPYRIGHTED PIC, claims Brit photog

Tom 13

Re: From my experience

Thank-you for taking the time to defend yourself, especially as you might have had to travel internationally to do so.

I think if more people took the time to defend themselves, I think we'd have fewer problems with this sort of thing.

Tom 13

Re: I hope he sues.

As a 'Merkin, I do too. The site should be primary with Hanks as secondary, letters as appropriate to both before filing in court. I expect Hanks to settle quickly which should expedite rolling over the website. And yes, he should apply for the enhanced penalties since they slapped a false copyright on it.

Tom 13

Re: copyright laws as they exist are based on the premise that copying is a difficult process

Copyright law has ALWAYS been premised on the fact that copying is easier that writing the original, hence the penalties and enhanced penalties.

FCC launches probe into Verizon/Netflix spat

Tom 13

Re: haven't tried this with Youtube or Facebook.

FB doesn't have the oodles of streaming data that Netflix does. YouTube certainly would, but now that Google own them it would be imprudent to sue or worse try such tactics on them. First off, it's never a good idea to sue someone who can print money (effectively). And who can say what minor tweaks to algorithms might do to your search status.

I never had a problem with metered billing when I had a CompuServe membership. Never bought one for AOL. CompuServe's interface might have been obscure, but AOL always looked cartoony.

'Hashtag' added to the OED – but # isn't a hash, pound, nor number sign

Tom 13

I think hashtag is emminently descriptive.

If you're looking at anything that has been tagged by one, you can bet it is a complete hash.

L337 crackrz use dumb passwords too

Tom 13

Re: Policies

Obligatory XKCD since you seem to have missed it:


Tom 13

Re: That's the point.

I think the counterpoint is that FukU2 or variations thereof would seem to be the sorts of things a careless and haughty script kiddie would select, even in Russian or Chinese.

FCC boss threatens to BRING WRATH DOWN on states that limit broadband competition

Tom 13

For a minute there I thought I was going to be happy.

I read the headline and thought 'Great! About time too!' And then I read the article and discovered it is nothing of the sort. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The states are quite right when they prohibit politicians from diverting public monies to what would otherwise would be commercially viable enterprises. Where they go wrong is when they corrupt those enterprises by creating monopoly conditions via restrictive regulation. The FCC would be within its delegated powers and the Constitution if they came down on those states that enable the monopolies. But turning the state into the monopoly is even worse than what we have now.

If the people of an area want to setup non-governmental NPOs for internet service, I'm fine with that. But it cannot be the state directly, which is what this jackalope is trumpeting.

Tom 13

Re: only affect commerce within each state

That horse is gone, dead, and his carcass cleaned by the buzzards ages ago. It died way back in The Great Depression when SCOTUS ruled that a farmer growing corn to feed to his chickens ran afoul of one of FDR's socialist "you can't grow that without government permission" laws.

Microsoft challenges US gov over attempts to search overseas data

Tom 13

Re: this is the exact reason their fighting this.

No, it's not. Go back and read the article again. They are fighting it because the judge conflated a subpoena and a warrant. The entire case is being brought under US Constitutional law, specifically the 4th amendment.

If they were going to fight it on the grounds you suggest they would have to get the EU Court dismissal and then come back to the US and claim the ruling was binding on them via Treaty. Not sure how well that would work because I'm not sure which Treaties you'd need to reference.

Cabbies paralyze London in Uber rebellion

Tom 13

Re: way to shoot yerself in the foot.

And they did it 'Merkin style too! One barrel per foot, double-ought buckshot.

Tom 13

Re: just that the playing field must be level.

Fine. Level the playing field. But do it the right way:

eliminate the requirement for black cabs to have a taximeter if they are using an Uber-like app to book their fares.

Tom 13

Re: Doesn't hide the major problems with Uber, though...

When reality issues a wake up call, it usually is a bitch. The wake up call here is that reality just changed the rules and kvetching about the existing ones is pointless.

Tom 13

Re: Argument

It's always amusing to watch somebody whinge about "those on low incomes" when what they really mean is "I don't want market pricing to apply to me."

Tom 13

Re: it is rather the uneven playing field

The playing field is uneven because they haven't made the incremental changes they should have been as the technology was emerging. They've hidden behind a government monopoly. When you do that, your comeuppance is always rather severe.

The Force of tax breaks brings Star Wars filming to Blighty

Tom 13

Re: Don't get it?

I'd say there are multiple vectors on the whole "don't get it" thing:

- failure to produce entertaining material.

- failure to produce original material.

- failure to set reasonable prices.

- failure to stay in their lane. (Hollywood should be focused on entertaining us, not selecting our next world leaders.)

Tom 13

Re: it was a bad rehash

On one level, I get the impetus to reset Star Trek. Since Roddenberry launched Next Gen the studios have made a hash of his universe, especially with Enterprise which should have been a far more interesting show than it was.

What I couldn't stand was their mechanism for doing so. It's one thing for Dr. Who to be all timey-whimey -- that's been inherent in the show since it inception even if it has been exacerbated a bit lately -- it a whole other thing when it moves to Star Trek. I find it's a lot like ozone - you want a good layer of it in the stratosphere, but not at ground level.

Tom 13

Re: Crony Capitalism

Any time someone with billions of dollars bribes pays a government official to change a law so his particular firm industry can make more money than they otherwise would, it is crony capitalism.

Flat tax rates for everyone, or it's just a different form of graft.

Mind you, I won't hold it against Disney for getting you to roll over for them. That's your fault. And if I were the CEO of Disney and you were willing to roll over for me, I'd be remiss in not taking advantage of it for my shareholders.

Tom 13

Re: we import them due to tax relief

Hollywood doesn't make movies in Hollywood anymore. It's too damned expensive because of all the taxes. Vancouver and Montreal seem to be the preferred location at the moment.

Tom 13

Hollywood studios interested in making movies in the country

If you can figure out a way to bring in the rest of Hollywood, I'll personally donate two Benjamins to Her Majesty's Revenue service.

Everyone can and should learn to code? RUBBISH, says Torvalds

Tom 13

Re: Economics 101 - accounting using spreadsheets

Economists don't give a crap about accounting. Accounting these days is just another form of lawyering to avoid government fees.

Tom 13

Re: Linus is right

Yes, but as usual, you have to read all of him, not just the head/subject line.

AWS breaks silence over Truecrypt's role in data import/export

Tom 13

Re: Just to tick the box in the compliance statement?

If you can't just tick the box in the compliance statement, it ain't getting deployed here bub.

Sure, in theory you can audit the code, but most places don't have a stable of world class security boffins available to work on that. Which means you need traceability to known trusted sources. Anonymous places on the interwebs don't make that cut.

Zuckerberg and other directors sued over gigantic packages

Tom 13

@AC Re: Jackass

I think you missed this bit: Delaware Chancery Court on Friday

That's a bit like trying to sue a patent troll in East Lansing, Texas.

UK govt preps World War 2 energy rationing to keep the lights on

Tom 13

Re: The future's bright then...

I survived the 1970s. They weren't this bad. Even at the end of Jimmy's catastrophic term.

Torvalds hits 'Go' button for Linux 3.15

Tom 13

Re: Torvalds hits 'Go' button

Read his actual post. It is very orderly and business-ey.

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