Archive for the ‘Scrapbook’ Category

Australian Internet Censorship

Friday, February 26th, 2010

From Slashdot Your Rights Online Story | Aussie Internet Censorship Minister Censors Self

Re:Not helpful (Score:4, Interesting)

by ghostdoc (1235612) on Friday February 26, @12:26AM (#31281768)

When I get involved in these arguments, I like to point out that in fact the vast majority of child abuse in this country has been carried out by members of the clergy, particularly the Catholic church, and that statistically the most effective way of reducing child abuse in this country would be to close all church-run orphanages and missions.

This would eliminate something like 99% of all child abuse, and wouldn’t affect the everyday lives of anyone else. While implementing the Conroy Filter will create a burden on the rest of the country but will not stop a single child being abused.

Needless to say, this doesn’t go over particularly well.

Re:Not helpful (Score:4, Interesting)

by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday February 26, @01:03AM (#31281938)

Dunno if it made the news down there, but well over a decade ago Sinead O’Connor tore up a picture of the pope on live television in the USA and said “Fight the real enemy” as she did it. She was hugely censured for it and although it did not kill her career as a musician it probably forever kept her off the pop charts here.

The thing about her protest that most people didn’t even realize, was that she had just finished singing a version of the classic reggae song “War” in which the lyrics were repurposed to be about stopping child abuse. Her message was drowned out by all the media outrage – for a few weeks we learned that everybody in America was catholic, but nothing else really came out of the incident.

A decade later and the news media finally pick up on the abuses perpetrated by the catholic church – even the ‘discovery’ of an official super-duper-secret document detailing how to deny any molestation accusations and denigrate the accusers written by the guy who is now pope from back in the 70s – but not one of those people who took O’Connor to task for telling people the truth back then has come forward to apologize and say, “Sorry, guess you were right and we should have listened to you.”

So yeah, it doesn’t go over very well when you tell them and they sure aren’t willing to give you credit when they can no longer avoid the facts either.

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Thursday, February 25th, 2010

From Slashdot Your Rights Online Story | Magicjack Loses Legal Attack Against Boing Boing

Ran their EULA through EULAlyzer… (Score:5, Informative)

by WidgetGuy (1233314) on Wednesday February 24, @04:29AM (#31257088)

…and it concluded:

“The license agreement above has a high calculated interest ID. It’s extremely long, and there were a high number of detected ‘interesting’ words or phrases.” That means Eulalyzer thinks its a bad EULA. The interesting words or phrases are listed and can be viewed in context: (1) Advertising, (2) Emergency Calls or Services, (3) Third Party, (4) Web Site Address, and (5) Without Notice. I’ve never seen a EULA with that many “‘interesting’ words or phrases” called out by the program.

EULAlyzer is a free (download: []). If, like me, you don’t have the time to read through the EULA’s for software you’re thinking of purchasing, this is just the program for you. At the very least, it will give you a “heads up” and point you to the ‘interesting’ parts of the EULA where you can, then, read as much “legalese” as you can stomach..

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Fail often, fail fast, fail cheap

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

From Slashdot News Story | Jimmy Wales’ Theory of Failure

‘Fail Often, Fail Early’ Is Not Just Wales’ Mantra (Score:5, Insightful)

by eldavojohn (898314) * <my/> on Saturday February 20, @09:16AM (#31209820)
Homepage Journal

This is a really old mantra in the business world that I was indoctrinated with when I partook in R&D for a Fortune 500 company.

Oh, and everyone’s got their own version of it []. I’ve heard people correct me when I said “Fail Early, Fail Often” and they say that the order matters. But you’ll hear three concepts in these phrases:

  • Fail frequently. This can also be said “fail often” and simply means “accept a lot of failures.”
  • Fail early. Don’t invest a lot of time into what you’re failing at and just accept the failure and move on. Just as long as you don’t get hung up failing all the time (like Wales said). Also have heard it said as “fail fast.”
  • Fail cheap. This might be derived from ‘fail early’ as time is money. But this is the third optional part you’ll hear from investors and businessmen.

So the ultimate incarnation I’ve heard of this is “Fail often, fail fast, fail cheap.”

Now for the warning: if you take this too much to heart, you see people axing everything. And from the technical point of view, it sucks. And is demoralizing. Another thing is you get really really sick of hearing it and just being the silver bullet response to “why can’t I do X?”

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The decline of Silicon Valley

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

From Slashdot Story | Are Silicon Valley’s Glory Days Over?

It’s the manufacturing, stupid. (Score:5, Interesting)

by Animats (122034) on Friday February 12, @11:45PM (#31124396)

First, bypassing the “story” and a layer of blogs, is the actual report [].

What’s really happened in Silicon Valley is that it’s been hollowed out. Silicon Valley used to be a major manufacturing center. San Jose once had the highest percentage of manufacturing employees of the major US cities, something like 54%. Today, the assembly plants are gone. Most of the fabs are gone. Much of the engineering is gone. This is what happens when you “outsource”. Eventually, everything moves to where the production is, including management and finance.

Part of the problem was the “dot com boom”, with its fake companies and fake prosperity. That caused a major change in the culture, away from engineering and towards marketing. When the bottom fell out of the dot-com boom, most of the marketing types left. The number of twentysomethings in San Francisco dropped by half. (A friend in the club business says “and the other half are working their butts off and don’t go out much.”) The big name in Silicon Valley now is not HP or Intel or IBM or National Semiconductor or Fairchild. It’s Google, which is an ad agency. That’s a huge change in emphasis.

The innovation culture is declining. Portola Valley (a rich suburb) used to have the highest percentage of patent holders of any US community. That’s dropped. There’s not that much exciting innovation going on. I go to venture capital meetings, and the ideas being presented are just not very exciting. (I’ve heard a pitch for a social network for cats. And that made it through two rounds of filtering before I heard it.)

People are still struggling to get semiconductor line widths down, solar fab costs down, and such. But that’s a grind. Mobile devices are not a fun area in which to work – the weight budget, the cost budget, the power budget, and the time budget are all very tight. The manufacturing is in Asia, anyway, and the engineering is going there. New areas aren’t

There’s noise about “green tech”, but realistically, “green tech” is either vaporware, like the “smart grid”, silly, like small windmills, or something that requires massive manufacturing, like big windmills. Five years ago, the noise was about “biotech”, which doesn’t employ
many people.

Fewer young people in the US are going into engineering, and that’s a rational decision. It’s hard, it’s expensive to study, your job may be outsourced, and it’s now a low-status field. In 1970, lawyers and electrical engineers made about the same amount of money. That was a long time ago. On the other hand, in Asia, an EE degree puts you in the top few percent of the population in terms of income and status.

US government polices haven’t really had much of an effect one way or the other on Silicon Valley, except that allowing the runup in real estate increased living costs substantially and that free trade has made outsourcing so easy.

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Copyright laws say “‘the music industry controls music”

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

From Slashdot Your Rights Online Story | Overzealous Enforcement Means Even Legit Music Blogs Deleted

This is exactly the spirit of the law (Score:5, Insightful)

by damburger (981828) on Sunday February 14, @01:48PM (#31135884)

The laws in question are basically a way of saying ‘the music industry controls music. There shall be no music without our say so’ whilst appearing to be a justified set of rules to make the industry fair. Even if this were the first example (it really, really is not) then nobody ought to be at all surprised. Few service or hosting providers have the balls to actually look into the matter when a legal-sounding letter arrives; they just err on the side of not being taken to court and comply immediately, which is exactly the kind of environment the content industry has sought to create.

Rather than there being a presumption of innocence for those publishing on the web, and the rights holder having to prove guilt – there is a a presumption of guilt and the publisher has to prove innocence, normally with far fewer legal funds available than the rights holder. There is also no consequence to the service/hosting provider for taking content down.

In a society so thoroughly and openly corrupt, how can this be a surprise? If the entire government and legal system is open to the highest bidder (true in every western nation I can think of) then naturally the intent of all laws will be to keep entrenched elites in place.

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Google CEO privacy quote

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

From Slashdot Technology Story | Google Buzz — First Reactions

Re:Public vs private (Score:3, Interesting)

by nine-times (778537) <> on Wednesday February 10, @01:56AM (#31082668)

you’ve still shared it with someone who believes that you have no right to privacy, and that if – as their CEO puts it – you don’t want someone to know about you doing something, don’t do it.

In fairness, he didn’t say you had no right to privacy, and the quote is often taken out of context. It was in the context of saying:

If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines – including Google – do retain this information for some time and it’s important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities.

So he’s not saying, “screw you, I don’t value your privacy.” He’s giving a warning that your information is probably not as private as you’d hope regardless of what service providers you’re using. Microsoft also keeps records of searches for some amount of time (I believe it’s at least 6 months) and they *will* turn that information over to the government. You know what? Your ISP has records of your web surfing, and will probably turn it over to the government if asked. Assuming you don’t host your own email, there are employees at your email service provider who can read your email. These are things you should know.

His advice may be a little flippant, but it’s not bad. If there’s something that you would be totally ashamed if people found out you were doing it, then you should probably at least consider not doing it. That’s true regardless of whether that “something” takes place on the Internet. Of course, the Internet, as it exists today, isn’t any good at securing privacy. Most people don’t encrypt their email, which means even if you want to, you can’t. Websites keep track of which IP requests come from and your ISP keeps records of your IP. Unless you’re rerouting encrypted traffic through proxies, you have TONS of information out in the open. It would be irresponsible of Google to claim that they can ensure your privacy.

So I’d put it this way: If you absolutely cannot afford to let anyone know that you’ve done certain things online, then you should either be taking strong enough measures to secure your own privacy that Google couldn’t track you if they wanted to, or else you should just not be involved in those activities. Otherwise, you’re just taking your chances.

I’d say the much more valid grounds for concern with Google is that, with all the services they offer, it’s such one-stop-shopping for anyone looking to invade your privacy.

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Sysinternals + Dependency Walker

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

From Slashdot Technology Story | The Hidden Treasures of Sysinternals

Re:Duh (Score:3, Interesting)

by hairyfeet (841228) <> on Wednesday February 10, @03:00AM (#31083012)

Same here, I figured better safe than sorry. With a full Sysinternals suite on a flash along with the “Computer Repair Utility Toolkit V2” (I’d provide a link but some FOSSies had a fit and made the original website take it down. I’m sure you can find it on MegaUpload) that I update with new AV and antimalware tools it is like having a “shop on a stick” that lets me fix a good 80%+ of the problems I run into on customer’s boxes out in the field.

With those two suites and Dependency Walker [] on a 2Gb flash stick I can carry all my “save my ass” tools in my pocket, making my life a whole lot easier. I’ve found we PC repairmen are a lot like plumbers, as when we go to visit friends we often get “Hey, while you are here…” and with the Sysinternals suite and the above tools I can fix most problems in no time flat. So if you read this, thanks Mark, your tools kick ass.

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Designing for IE6

Friday, February 12th, 2010

From Slashdot Ask Slashdot Story | Is Internet Explorer 6/7 Support Required Now?

Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

by (721745)

For basic websites, I highly recommend Universal IE6 CSS [].

I’ve decided that I will never design a website that supports IE6, but instead will only server up this rudimentary (if nice-looking) style sheet. As long as your website is standards-based, compliant, and content-oriented, this CSS file works great. You do, however, have to include some of those annoying <!– [if lt IE 7]>…<![endif]–> tags.

For web apps, which are more complex, then I use a browser sniff and redirect IE6 users away.

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When to use Agile methodologies

Friday, February 12th, 2010

From Slashdot Games Story | Game Development In a Post-Agile World

When to use “agile” methods. (Score:3, Interesting)

by Animats (122034) on Tuesday February 09, @02:23AM (#31069448)

“Agile” methodologies are most appropriate when the project consists of a large number of loosely coupled user-oriented features with no major architectural or technical innovations. Like PHP-based web sites. Or, in fact, much programming which involves using an existing “framework”. Someone else has already figured out what the different parts of the system need to say to each other and roughly how they will say it. Development is mostly filling in the blanks.

Trying to use “agile” on a hard, tightly-coupled problem with no predefined structural framework, like an optimizing compiler or a database engine, is likely to result in a disaster.

A game can fall into either category. If the game requires new technology, especially something hard, (advanced AI, a new physics engine, a very large seamless world, etc.) a very front-end design-driven approach may be necessary. On the other hand, if most of the game consists of developing content for different areas of the game world, an
“agile” methodology could work fine. Second Life is probably the most extreme example of this.

It’s interesting to note that movie-making has become very much a waterfall model business. A few decades ago, moviemaking was much more “agile”, and most directors came from a theatrical background. For a theatrical director, there’s a debugging phase involving actors on a bare stage, and the content may change considerably during development. Big-budget moviemaking today involves going from script to storyboard to previsualization (making a low-end animated version as a planning tool) to production. That’s very much a waterfall process.

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Why The Phantom Menace Sucked

Friday, February 12th, 2010

From Slashdot Entertainment Story | The Definitive Evisceration of The Phantom Menace *NSFW*

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Review by Red Letter Media.

Re:Different Audience (Score:5, Funny)

by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 21, @02:13PM (#30515444)

Star Wars was for children because it was about a teenage hero who teamed up with a mysterious old wizard and a swarthy space pirate to rescue a princess, battle an evil knight dressed in black armor, and destroy the Death Star.

TPM was for children because it was about galactic teamsters strike negotiations, interspersed with with CSPAN footage of a senate sub-committee debate on interplanetary tariffs. If the Jedi don’t foil Senator Palpatine’s evil plan in time, he will be elected to a Senate sub-committee chair! The video game probably expands on this theme by including lots of exciting amendments and cloture votes, because kids love that stuff.

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