A laptop with a cat on it.
445 posts • joined 26 Jun 2007
Rockstar dev debate reopens: Hero programmers do exist, do all the work, do chat a lot – and do need love and attention from project leaders
Common volunteer dynamics
GitHub projects sound much the same as any volunteer group: you have your core of especially passionate, knowledgeable people that keeps the whole thing running, surrounded by a broader halo of people who pitch in to do whatever low-level stuff is needed as time and life allow.
When it goes well, this means you have a stable core which applies its institutional knowledge to keep things running, and to mentor new people.
When it's not working well, your project collapses because one key person left and they were a silo who never shared their knowledge, or they've already driven all their possible replacements away by being a toxic person, or they fell out with some other long-time person and decided to wreck things on their way out the door.
Did you know?! Ghidra, the NSA's open-sourced decompiler toolkit, is ancient Norse for 'No backdoors, we swear!'
Switching off the oxygen
Some years ago, a past workplace of mine got one of those systems installed which could deoxygenate the server room in the event of a fire. The control panel was mounted right by the door, and unfortunately was very sensitive to jostling, like the vibrations from the door slamming because someone was carrying something bulky in and didn't have a hand free to close the door gently.
Luckily, this system would wait a few seconds before actually activating, giving someone the chance to stop it first. So those of us non-admins who worked nearby remained blissfully unaware of the hazard until the inevitable day when someone didn't manage to deactivate it in time. A lazy summer afternoon was interrupted by the almighty FFFFWRRRMMM of the system activating, followed by a couple panicky minutes of realizing what the sound must have been, trying to locate someone with server room access who was not actually in the server room at the time, visualizing colleagues passed out from hypoxia... (It was not until after this incident that we were told it didn't lower the oxygen level so far as to become totally unbreatheable.)
Six Earthsea books
"The rather prematurely named Earthsea Trilogy (start with A Wizard of Earthsea – you've got another four after that)"
Five! The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, Tehanu, and The Other Wind. A fantastic (in more than one sense) journey watching a world evolve. She left Earthsea alone for a long time after the first trilogy, and again after Tehanu, and it's fascinating to see how her thoughts about it changed. Whichever one you missed, check it out!
Google diversity memo: Web giant repudiates staffer's screed for 'incorrect assumptions about gender'
Focus grabbers must die
Slack is the most recent offender for me. Restart computer to allow patches to install, click a few things I always have open to let them get on with starting up, and when Slack was ready it jumped to the front and captured what I was currently typing. Which happened to be the end of my passphrase for my SSH key. Luckily it gave me just enough time for my conscious brain to stop me reflexively hitting Enter...
Re: Incorrect and incomplete on the Hugos
"Seriously? Naomi Novik (female,) Neal Stephenson, Lois McMaster Bujold (Female,) Stephen King, Nnedi Okorafor (Female, POC) These are truly odious?"
Not those. Look up the Rabid Puppies slate. Novik, Okorafor, and Jemisin made it onto the ballot in spite of the Rabid Puppies.
There have been accusations that Hugo voters voted for all women because Hugo voters = SJWs; the bit I quoted from the Register story seems to agree with that. The Rabid Puppies have also been making that accusation, and they have spent the last couple years trying to stuff the ballot with works they deem less politically correct; ironically, the few non-slated fiction works that made it onto the ballot through true organic popularity have been by women and POC.
So I'm not calling the winners odious. I think they are all excellent and deserving. I'm trying to combat the implied narrative of "political correctness has taken over the Hugos".
Incorrect and incomplete on the Hugos
"All four awards for books at the Hugo Award"
I believe you're thinking of the four *fiction* awards: Best Novel, Best Novelette, Best Novella, and Best Short Story. Of those four, only Best Novel is likely to go to a standalone book.
(There is a second category, Best Related Work, which often goes to books, in which no award was given.)
"were won by women after it was plagued by claims, made by the group Sad Puppies, that it advanced a 'niche, academic, overtly to the left in ideology and flavour' viewpoint."
...and after another group, the Rabid Puppies, engaged in block voting to game a bunch of truly odious works onto the ballot, crowding out many fine possible choices with a variety of authorial genders. (Yes, rule changes have been made.)
Re: Home state of Oregon??
Yes, all that's in California is the HQ. Most of its US presence is here in Oregon, which is why it's big news in The Oregonian (front page of Saturday's paper, IIRC).
There are pieces of it in Beaverton, Aloha, and Hillsboro-- all suburbs of Portland, so from a sufficient distance (like El Reg Central), "Portland" is a reasonable enough approximation.
Also, those with allergies may be happy to know that development has displaced all the grass seed farms in between Hillsboro and Portland by now.
Not Trump, but the GOP
The notion that poor people bear the blame for being poor has long been part of the Republican orthodoxy, but a large part of what's drawing the working class to Trump, and making the Republican establishment apoplectic, is that he's telling them it's *not* their fault.
The overall story of the current US campaign season is, in fact, poor people becoming tired of this crap. It's what's driving both Trump and Sanders, and why many of their campaign promises look remarkably similar. (Where they part ways is in deciding who is really to blame for poor people being poor: for Trump, it's immigrants and political correctness getting in the way of the Real Americans who should be winners, and for Sanders, it's the elites rigging the game so that no one else has a chance.)
Thanks for mentioning him. I didn't know Hartwell personally, but I know a number of people who did. The sf world has been flooded with tributes.
Unfortunately, I need to point out a typo: His widow's last name is Cramer, not Kramer.
And she's asking for donations in his name to the Elizabethtown Community Hospital so that it can get a mechanical respirator. Explanation why here: https://www.facebook.com/kathryn.cramer/posts/10153923650809853
And actual donation link here: http://www.ech.org/make-a-contribution.html
Help! Handwriting to text on Android?
I have a family member who is eyeing the Galaxy Tab + S Pen for the following workflow:
1. Enter text via handwriting
2. Export said text to a PC (via Dropbox or somesuch would be okay) as text
3. Do final polishing in a traditional word processor
I've having a suprising amount of trouble locating a suitable app. There are a number of apps that mention handwriting recognition, but I've yet to find one that will export files in some obvious format like plaintext or RTF. Anyone know of a good one I'm overlooking?
Alternatively, is there some other device/software combination that would be better suited to this process?
"But you can't hack a sextant, or the planets"
How do you know that your sextant is accurately marked, and your ephemeris is correct? There was probably software involved in creating both of them. And they've both probably spent some time sitting in a cabinet that multiple people had access to, and a supply depot before that.
Swipe is still the rule
This article gives the impression that most US businesses have duly complied with the deadline and only a few lone luddite holdouts are sticking with swipe terminals. Nope. In the entire metropolitan area where I live (Portland, OR-Vancouver, WA), the only chance I've ever had to use NFC is when using the fare machines for the light rail system. Most of the readers I commonly encounter don't even look like they have ability to read a chip.
I seem to be ahead of most US-based commenters in this thread, though, in that all but one of my cards *have* chips at this point.
What could possibly go wrong?
1. Autonomous cars become common in an area which depends heavily on fines for municipal revenues (e.g. St. Louis County-- https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/09/03/how-st-louis-county-missouri-profits-from-poverty/ )
2. Cars behave in predictable ways reacting to something that's invisible on cameras
Re: "...it happens a lot earier than college"
"This is then reinforced at school - teachers offering different praise to girls than boys"
Or just offering flat-out bigotry. When I was in grade school (primary school, elementary school), the teachers were very clear that only boys were supposed to be good at math. Luckily, I hated that school and thus felt no need to conform to their expectations.
(The teachers were equally clear that only girls were supposed to be good at spelling and composition, with equally predictable results.)
Super Cali goes ballistic – Uber says it's bogus (even though its contract is something quite atrocious)
Re: Copyright law only
*Federal* copyright law does not cover sound recordings pre-1972. However, those sound recordings are still subject to *state* copyright laws, which vary hugely (part of the reason sound recordings were brought under federal law). Some of those state copyrights are actually more stringent than the current federal ones.
"For what it’s worth, I think it is that all true hackers (no matter how that trait manifests itself) love problem solving. Whether those problems are manifest in code or engineering is essentially immaterial."
Or science, or any human technology or process. I loved reading this, and I don't even drive.
Economic sense isn't enough
"But as a rough guide, a UK yearly household gas and 'leccy bill is some £1,400. So, if anyone comes along with a piece of kit that works for 10 years and costs, say, £5,000, then people will buy and install it."
Having learned a fair amount of situational psychology, I feel confident asserting that far fewer people than you expect will rush out and buy it. The slow adoption of more-efficient light bulbs may be instructive here.
Thumbs-up anyway because I'm always happy to hear about new advances in cheap energy.