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Comment: PCI-DSS (Score 5, Insightful) 203

As an organisation accredited to be following PCI-DSS, we would be crucified if the PCI auditor found us holding the PAN (the long number on the front of your credit card, PAN = primary account number) in plain text. Surely the airlines/booking agents should not be passing the PAN to anyone else if they are following PCI-DSS (which is mandatory if you want to accept card payments)?

Comment: Re:I disagree (Score 2) 240

by Alioth (#47487919) Attached to: Math, Programming, and Language Learning

You might not be terrible at math. I thought I was terrible at math (I'm also a software developer). I also thought I was only good at discrete mathematics (which was a course I took during my university degree, heavily related to programming and CS). Furthermore I thought I was terrible at learning human languages, after having had 7 years of compulsory French at school and not being able to form a coherent sentence in French.

It turned out I was wrong on two counts:

A while back I started learning Spanish. The way I was being taught now was in a fun and easy way. I was also self motivated. In six months after starting, I could actually use some of it and knew more Spanish than I did French from 7 years of French lessons. 14 months after starting I was giving a technical talk in Spain (with an admittedly terrible accent and many grammar errors). Later today I'm off to Spain to help organise RetroEuskal with a bunch of Spanish friends. I started learning Spanish in my mid-30s, not as a kid. I learned it far faster than I would have as a child.

More recently I realised I needed better mathematics skills to be able to do more complex things in my electronics hobby, so I took an algebra course on Coursera. At school I had pretty much flat out failed algebra. In fact I was put into the lower maths set with all the thick kids (where you could only score a C at most in the GCSE, the exam we take at age 16) because both myself and my teachers were convinced that I was bad at the subject. But doing algebra in a course that was interactive, fun and gave instant results - I passed that with a distinction. I then did a pre-calculus course, and passed that with a distinction. I then did Jim Fowler's (Ohio State University) calculus 1 course on Coursera and passed that with a distinction too.

So it turns out that I was wrong about myself. In reality I was not bad at maths nor human languages. Now I admit I will probably never be a mathematician or linguist, but I can now do two things I never thought I ever would be able to. The reason I never succeeded at these things at school was because they were taught in a very boring and overly complex manner, and I was also pathologically lazy and didn't pay enough attention. The reason I succeeded now is due to having more motivation to do it and being exposed to teaching methods that inspire, and that aren't just hours of boredom.

Furthermore, while I don't usually use calculus or algebra in my day job, I have found that learning these things has improved the way I approach a problem.

Comment: Re:IBM (Score 1) 381

by Alioth (#47474769) Attached to: Microsoft CEO To Slash 18,000 Jobs, 12,500 From Nokia To Go

None of the stuff he lists is particularly time expensive.

Cooking? It's fun anyway, and there's no need to cook a five star gourmet meal every meal. Most days just simple, good tasting food - 5 or 10 minutes prep and cooking time.

Car? Even an old car doesn't need that much time spent on it. I've just finished with my nearly 20 year old Audi, I spent about an hour or two PER YEAR on maintenance.

Not buying shit? This actually gives you MORE time not less since you're not driving to and from a shop and browsing for stuff you probably don't actually need.

Comment: Re:user error (Score 1) 708

by Alioth (#47474413) Attached to: People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

You must be unusual. I cycled an hour to work today (and it's not flat, it's hilly where I live, and today is unusually warm). I'm not even in particularly great shape at the moment so I'm having to work harder than usual on the bike. It's over 80 degrees in our definitely NOT climate controlled office, and I did not sweat for hours afterwards.

Comment: Re:Track-train dynamics (Score 2) 195

by Alioth (#47473215) Attached to: The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train

You miss out one innovation - Talgo rolling stock. The company by that name in the Basque country (Spain) developed a lightweight, low CofG articulated train that could efficiently run at high speeds (Talgo is an anacronym - Tren Articulado Ligero Goicoechea Oriol - Lightweight Articulated Train by Golcechea Oriol). The current Talgo designed high speed units run up to 320km/h (just over 190 mph) and have an entirely passive tilting mechanism. The wheelsets are connected via the roof of each vehicle so the car will naturally lean into a corner without requiring the complex electronic controls that dogged the British APT experiment (incidentally the APT technology ended up being sold to the Italians who now use it in the Pendolino trains)

Comment: Re:Youtube Comments (Score 4, Insightful) 237

by Alioth (#47465749) Attached to: Pseudonyms Now Allowed On Google+

The whole problem is UX designers exist. I don't want a user experience. If a user interface is giving me an experience, it's getting in the way of what I want to do. User interfaces should melt into the background and explicitly NOT give me an experience. I should barely notice the user interface.

We need to get rid of UX designers and replace them with competent UI designers instead.

% A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back the when it begins to rain. -- Robert Frost