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Comment: Re:We have more but we USE more. (Score 2) 93

by vux984 (#48214693) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Smarter Disk Space Monitoring In the Age of Cheap Storage?

But you are four years past the safe lifespan of your disk, and when needed, it could fail.

Hence... backups.

Hoarding capacity for a decade is as foolish as running out of space tomorrow.

Hoarding capacity? I don't even really know what that is supposed to mean.

Comment: Re:We have more but we USE more. (Score 1) 93

by vux984 (#48214423) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Smarter Disk Space Monitoring In the Age of Cheap Storage?

In my experiences, a 90 percent full drive has as much time left before running out as it did a decade ago.

In your experience maybe. Not in mine.

I don't use 10s of GB at a time. If I start a new torrent, dump my phones camera onto my computer, or install a new game that eats a several GB. But everything else is pretty steady state with very slow steady growth. I don't download a lot of torrents on this particular PC, and sometimes remove old ones, I install a few new games a year and sometimes uninstall old ones...

When I hit 90% full on my current data drive, I'm probably 1 to 2 years out from hitting 95%.

Comment: Re:Randomized MAC for background scans ... (Score 1) 133

by vux984 (#48214345) Attached to: Austin Airport Tracks Cell Phones To Measure Security Line Wait

If you've got a recent iPhone, it's already randomizing the MAC used for background scans:

Sort of.

The key is 'device's processor is asleep'. Any time it wakes up, it probes with its real mac. So if your in line at the store, phone is in your pocket, and twitter gets an update (over cellular data), that still wakes your phone up, and it probes with its real mac.

Or, since your in line at the store and bored, you pull out your phone and check the time, and respond to an sms... its awake and it probes wifi with its real mac.

It turns out its a lot less useful at protecting your privacy than you think.

Comment: Re:A bit???? (Score 1) 133

by vux984 (#48214301) Attached to: Austin Airport Tracks Cell Phones To Measure Security Line Wait

How do probes with random macs break it? If a known network it wants to connect to is present it can use its real address.

But for probing -- for determining what available in-range SSIDs are present; so that location services can use the SSID list to assist positioning, and so that it can decide whether it wants to present its real address in a follow up / probe / connection request... that seems like something simple that shouldn't break anything.

And beyond that other than filtering by mac (which is idiotic) even the real mac should be randomizable between sessions with the same network SSID. (And should work with vlans, bridges etc)

People with a deep knowledge of 802 protocols are looking at this and it isn't simple or easy.

probing without connecting should be simple and easy.
I concede that maintaining any sort of connectivity needs some thought.

Comment: Re:A bit???? (Score 3, Informative) 133

by vux984 (#48213989) Attached to: Austin Airport Tracks Cell Phones To Measure Security Line Wait

I disagree. Although i do think my phone should change its mac address regularly so that the tracking is at most session based. They know -a phone- was in line for 30 minutes. They don't know the phone is my phone. And when they see a phone a for 30 minutes next week they won't know its the -same phone-.

Also, just a heads up to those excited about Apple's ios mac randomization -- its proving to be not remotely as good as they led us to believe it would be. (It only sends out a random mac when a) not connected to a network, b) AND asleep.

Any time anything wakes up the phone it probes with its real mac. (So for example, if your on cellular data, and twitter or email or something gets a message to your phone, it wakes up and probes wifi with its real mac...) rendering the feature all but useless. Apparently the fake probes also include your recent SSID list too making them even more useless.

So... not worse than ios7 ... but not exactly useful either.

And on that note, does anyone recommend a good automatic mac randomizer for android?

Comment: Re:Enough with the concern trolling (Score 1) 751

by russotto (#48208693) Attached to: NPR: '80s Ads Are Responsible For the Lack of Women Coders

Alternatively, if the reason is that the "culture" of technical workplaces is hostile to women, then that culture should be named and shamed until it changes because it is morally reprehensible to treat people badly, even if the current members of that culture don't think they're doing anything wrong.

What if it is "hostile to women" without treating them badly? For instance, perhaps it consists largely of unattractive men who enjoy making jokes about obscure subjects?

Comment: Re:"Reasonable" my ass (Score 1) 631

by russotto (#48207419) Attached to: FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

And bogus FTDI marking on the package.

Maybe. I haven't cut open the device they're housed in to see it, and I doubt too many buyers of the final device have. Since the driver can't see the marking on the packaging either, it doesn't seem relevant. The makers of the device probably know the chips are fake no matter what they're marked.

Comment: Re:Can we stop trying to come up with a reason? (Score 1) 751

by russotto (#48201469) Attached to: NPR: '80s Ads Are Responsible For the Lack of Women Coders

No, that's nonsense; there was no "data entry" degree. A while back I checked to see if the gender disparity numbers for computer science were skewed due to a decline in "business programming" or any other computer related degrees; they weren't. The related fields followed the same pattern as computer science itself. And it was in the 1970s, not the 1980s, that the existence of a CS degree (rather than a specialization) become commonplace.

Note that the gender disparity graph for computer science is unique. If you look at NPRs graph (and don't listen to what they're saying, which doesn't match their own graph), you see that for a decade before the peak, the percentage of women in CS rose much faster than it did in other fields. Then you get that unique 1984 peak, a sharp decline, and a long slow decline followed by another sharp decline that was general.

The rise of the personal computer is certainly tempting to explain that peak. But it's a peak in degrees granted. IMO, it's a little bit too early if the problem was boys having early exposure to computers which was denied to girls; the personal computer barely started taking off in 1979, the year before 1984 graduates would have been entering college. But certainly there could be other reasons related to the personal computer.

Comment: Re:Goal Should Be Zero Revenue (Score 1) 392

by vux984 (#48199617) Attached to: Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

Red light violation ticket costs are way out of proportion with the potential damage done. For example: I go through about 40 traffic lights as part of my daily commute. If I sneak through only one of them every day, then I could potentially owe about $40,000 in fines each year.

And if I go out at 2am drive to the nearest deserted red light and just drive backwards and forward through it, I can rack that up in a single evening. I'm not sure what your point is? That you can deliberately hang yourself on the law if you are an idiot? Ok... I'll give you that.

In 10+ years of red light cameras here, I've never gotten a ticket from one, ever, and I drive through at least 3 to 4 protected intersections a day. And I don't count myself as a qualified driver ed instructor or anything else. I go days even weeks at a time without seeing the camera flash at any one; so its not like the general public has a difficulty with the concept.

I'm certain the safety aspect of a few extra cars going through the end of a red doesn't constitute enough of a safety issue to warrant fines at that level.

It does if you want them to stop doing it. Because a normal person isn't going to get 40,000 in fines, they are going to get 1 or 2 and then "figure it out" and stop getting them. But if the fine is $5 they won't care unless they ARE getting them daily.

Anyone with $40,000 in annual red light camera fines shouldn't be on the road, because if nothing else, it means they are incapable of "figuring it out".

If a rule is being ignored, then it's probably a bad rule.

Like stopping for red lights? Is that a bad rule?

Also, I assure you that a few extra cars getting through a red light doesn't promote gridlock at the next one

Traffic jams can arise nearly spontaneously via something like 'butterfly' effects. A few cars sneaking through the red (and in turn delaying the traffic moving crosswise as a result) can disrupt traffic in both directions leading to congestion "waves" that lead to jams where it would otherwise not occur. It doesn't take much at all to disrupt traffic and create waves.

There's a demo on youtube where they asked drivers to simply drive on an even circular track at 30km/h maintaining the same distance from the car in front, and within a short time there was a conjestion wave causing cars to have to stop completely when it hit them.

Its amazing how little it takes to disrupt stable traffic flow.

The state of traffic engineering is pretty dismal.

No argument. But saying that, traffic is much more complicated than regular fluid dynamics, and good mathematical models are hard to come by. And then to top it off you've got various political meddling overriding otherwise good design.

Comment: Re:Goal Should Be Zero Revenue (Score 1) 392

by vux984 (#48197581) Attached to: Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

Your opinion that red light cameras would help with traffic flow is just a gut feeling, not data

Within a couple months of red light cameras being added the situation where 1 to 10 cars would stream through the red light during each cycle during rush hour had ceased.

That much is a fact not an opinion. Sure, whether or not it improved traffic flow is question for debate. Presuming the traffic light timing is engineered properly its a reasonable speculation, but I'd be happy to see a study funded.

I strongly suspect that adding a red light camera to an intersection would not allow more people to go through per hour.

I don't think you realize how much congestion can be alleviated by regulating flow properly. Getting more cars through one intersection only to have them completely gridlock a little further in is a net negative.

I'd further suspect that enforcing the signals reduces aggressive driving and road rage -- because people get irate when they have a green light and a stream of traffic running the red light prevents them from starting, and only reinforces the urge to run the red light yourself when presented with the situation.

Even if it helped, a traffic circle would help more

Maybe. I like roundabouts, and traffic circles. I supported having one put on my street during the public consultation period when they were reassessing the intersection. But they don't work everywhere. Roundabouts aren't easy to navigate for large trucks so they don't make sense on truck routes, highways, etc. And and proper multi-lane traffic circles need space -- are you proposing we knock down downtown skyscrapers to put one in at every intersection? How exactly is that a simple cost effective solution without conflict of interest?

so why bother with a solution that costs good people money

That's just it. Red light cameras don't cost good people money. Good responsible people don't habitually run red lights*, so its a non-issue. The cameras, with the threat of a fine, were effective at altering good peoples behavior at intersections, which was the goal. I've never gotten a red light camera ticket; my wife has never gotten one. We both drive through camera protected intersections every single day, we aren't even conscious of them.

Policing should not be automated.

I generally agree. But I'm not outraged by red light cameras.

Alhtough I do think any enforcement revenue collected by automated systems should simply be paid back to the residents as a dividend against their property taxes. It shouldn't go to the police. It shouldn't go to general revenue. It shouldn't create entities dependent on the money.

* Speed enforcement is completely different because the conflicting objectives of driving with the flow of traffic combined with speed limit changes, terrain changes, vague signage, plus the imprecise nature of vehicle speed measurement means that yes, the majority of good responsible conscientious drivers DO habitually exceed the limit, at least sometimes, by a little.

Comment: Re:Goal Should Be Zero Revenue (Score 1) 392

by vux984 (#48196361) Attached to: Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

Running a light that is obviously red is very dangerous, so it is rarely done on purpose.

Running a late red on purpose is very dangerous and nobody does it on purpose. And people who do it by accident aren't going to be any more deterred by a red light camera, because if they'd realized they it was a red light they would have stopped, with or without a camera.

However, in some cities I've been in, during rush hour, at busy intersections I've observed a pattern where the light is green and cars flow through the intersection, the light turns yellow, and cars continue to flow, the light turns red and cars keep flowing through. Its not particularly "dangerous" because traffic is heavy enough that the opposing lanes are all stopped and backed up themselves, and they won't start while the intersection still has an uninterrupted stream of cars flowing through it, even though they might have a green light.

Another related pattern is left turns on regular green lights, where by law (at least where I live), a car can 'establish' itself in the intersection during a green (or yellow), and then when oncoming traffic clears, it completes its left turn. It might enter on a green, and have to wait until yellow, or even red before completing the turn. And this is legal.

But again, I often see cases where multiple cars complete the turn, even cars not 'established' in the intersection, but several cars queued up, the last several are entering the intersection on a red, and again this is only mildly dangerous as opposing traffic has been stopped, and is waiting for the intersection to clear, and again the cars running the red are part of an uninterrupted stream.

I've seen it in some cases, where more than half the opposing traffics green light is blocked by a constant stream of red-light runners. Each one 'secure' that as long as they are in the stream, opposing traffic isn't going to start.

Red light cameras effectively curb this undesirable behaviour.

This is supported by a large amount of data that show that accident rates either stayed flat or increased in almost every case

Provided they don't mess with the timings, there may be a rash of relatively miner rear ender as drivers adjust to the idea that they can't run red lights anymore. And this isn't necessarily a 'bad thing'. A bit of mild short term pain for long term gain, and a reason why looking at the accident rate doesn't tell the whole story.

Here's the real question - why do people continue to push red light cameras for safety when there is real data that shows that red light cameras have no net positive effect on safety?

Red light cameras as revenue generation is asinine. And red light cameras for 'safety' is dubious at best.

But they can improve traffic flow by enforcing the timings as displayed by the lights. (per the scenarios above). And indeed they are an appropriate solution here.

And I generally support responsibly installed red light cameras. (Ie those installed without tampering with yellow duration).

The average responsible driver will never run afoul of them.

I despise speed cameras though. (And not because I get speeding tickets, but because they are misused in ways that are just disgusting... I was recently in Melbourne, and the tolerance there is crazy low. They automatically ticket people for doing 62 in a 60. And they'll do things like set up traps just in front of the 100km/h sign -- and ticket people transitioning from 50/60km/h to 100km/h as they approach the sign (since its not technically 100km/h until after the sign...)

That's not about safety. That's not about traffic flow. That's just revenue generation.

Comment: Re:These laws are hard to grasp (Score 1) 469

by Alsee (#48193299) Attached to: Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

There are clear indications that traditional porn serves as cathartic material and reduces the number of instances of rape and other acts inspired by sexual frustration. The same does not seem to hold for child pornography, where the opposite seems to be the case

When you say "seems" are you to referring to anecdotal comments rather than research?

For an earlier comment here I did a Google Scholar search on the rate of sex-crimes before and after countries changed pornography laws, and some of those studies included changes in the legality of child pornography. It seems that every scientific study found the same result - countries where child pornography became legal experiences a decrease in rates of child molestation, countries where child pornography became illegal experienced an increase in rates of child molestation.


"Irrationality is the square root of all evil" -- Douglas Hofstadter