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Comment: Re:Yes, you can (Score 1) 617

by Altrag (#49801175) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Happens If We Perfect Age Reversing?

Even more likely is that they'd require you to store sperm/eggs and then be tied or otherwise sterilized so that reproduction can be specifically chosen based on laws/person's life/whatever (and yes, almost certainly the person's economic and social standing because humans probably won't stop being assholes to each other.)

Its the only way to really maintain population control while still allowing people to play with each others' fun bits whenever they want (which you won't be able to stop no matter what you do.)

Though obviously it would require perfecting storing and using sperm/eggs for potentially dozens if not hundreds of years. We're running around a decade or two at the most right now and that wouldn't be sufficient in a world where raising a kid could theoretically be desired and plausible at 100 or 150 years of age or later.

Comment: Re:And I Bet He Still Locks His Front Door (Score 2) 230

by Altrag (#49531219) Attached to: UK Police Chief: Some Tech Companies Are 'Friendly To Terrorists'

Not to support that guy's inane rambling, but this is a terrible analogy -- the difference of course being that the police _CAN_ break the lock on your house.

Yes it may take a couple of extra seconds, but that's a far cry from the couple of extra universe lifetimes it could take to break properly implemented encryption.

It would be a more apt analogy if your typical front door was a 24" steel vault door that takes several hours of torching to cut through (and presumably the rest of your house would be equally solid so that they can't just go smash a window instead..) And even then its a far cry from breaking modern encryption.

Comment: Re:Hackers and Gearheads (Score 1) 649

by Altrag (#49525353) Attached to: Automakers To Gearheads: Stop Repairing Cars

But its a good excuse for ramming unfair laws down our throats.

You'll get zero public support if you're a billion dollar company (that pays almost no taxes to boot) and you start whining about your profits.. but if you word it as "safety" and "what if its your kid in the way when the ev1L haxx0rs can't brake?," our human nature tends to make us stop worrying about silly things like logic and reasoning and focus purely on the emotional content.

Its an extremely tilted uphill battle to be on the other side of those kind of arguments, no matter how stupid, vague or even outright fallacious they are. My mind no longer registers "Ford's profits vs your freedom," it only hears "my kids vs your freedom."

You can call me stupid or naive for falling for it (and you'd be right, in a sense) but that doesn't change the situation since I'm not seeing you as the enemy and don't easily trust what you say anyway, and slamming me with insults isn't helping that in the slightest.

Comment: Re:workshop (Score 1) 229

I'm sure it wouldn't be hard for Steam to add an "or registers a code from a boxed game" alternate qualification if this became a huge problem. Of course that would depend on boxed game codes not being terribly easy to forge, but I'm assuming that's the case anyway for pure business reasons.

Comment: Re:Execute JavaScript and CSS (Score 1) 276

by Altrag (#49506695) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Features Would You Like In a Search Engine?

There's a bit of a practicality issue there. Static pages are very well defined in terms of how they're requested and shown.

Dynamic pages are all over the map. There's a handful of popular frameworks, a larger handful of less popular frameworks, and a huge number of roll-your-own solutions. I mean sure to some degree there should be enough commonalities to make a best effort attempt but its never going to be perfect and frankly, Google's more important to your site than your site is to Google so its not surprising that the onus is on you to make your site work with Google rather than the other way around.

Comment: Re:Regular expressions (Score 1) 276

by Altrag (#49506409) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Features Would You Like In a Search Engine?

Ugh. Yes this so much!

Also those "answer" sites that are all just word-for-word carbon copies of each other. Even if there's useful answers on the page, we only need one copy of each answer set.

I have no idea how Google could manage that (more from a legal perspective than a technical one) but its certainly freaking annoying from a user's perspective.

Comment: Re:Who needs links to websites anyway? (Score 1) 276

by Altrag (#49506235) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Features Would You Like In a Search Engine?

Wow. That was a terrible article. Their example is searching for a person's name and then claiming the results didn't give them the information they wanted.

Except they don't tell you what they were wanting! They mention songs, stories, history.. well you could add those terms if that's what you're looking for and get results that are a lot more specific to what you want.

Bringing up the Wikipedia page is probably the _best_ possible option given how vague the query is. Sure the first 3 lines that get turned into the blurb may or may not say anything useful, but everyone knows what Wikipedia is and how it works. If you're just looking for random information about a topic, that's a great place to go as it will have at least a little bit of all of those categories mentioned above and you can go redo your search with more specific terms once you've decided what you're interested in.

And OK sure you can pull up countless examples of when somebody somewhere made a troll edit to the Wikipedia page.. but what on earth makes the author think that the (usually completely unreviewed and uncurated) articles from "way way down the list" will more accurate in any sense?

Same with the news stories. How is Google supposed to know if you're interested in the most recent news or the most controversial news over time?

If you don't even know what you're looking for, how the hell do you expect Google (or any other search engine) to know? A "story" is fine, but if all I'm looking for are concert dates, I just want a damned list of dates and cities I don't want a whole bloody "story," whatever that even means given the lack of context.

Comment: Re:True boolean search, ability to vote on results (Score 1) 276

by Altrag (#49506119) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Features Would You Like In a Search Engine?

Wikipedia has a few million pages, all within their domain and (ultimately) under their control, the majority of which have minor or no controversy involved.

Google has many billions of pages that they have no control over at all, almost all of which are controversial (even if the controversy is "I want to be above my competitor in the results.) Human auditing would be immensely impractical, and crowd-sourced human auditing would be even worse due to the fact that the people most invested in breaking the system are generally the ones who can afford to put the most time/money towards doing so.

So they're relegated to using automated systems. And honestly, Google in particular has been really good at coming up with algorithms to beat overly aggressive SEO. Sure they sometimes fall behind a bit (its an ongoing battle after all,) but overall not bad.

Google's primary failures in the past few years have been their not-nearly-as-accurate attempts to outsmart their users' search terms. "Having" "to" "double" "quote" "every" "word" and still seeing your top result with a "Missing terms:" disclaimer is immensely frustrating.

Comment: Re:Searching (Score 1) 276

by Altrag (#49506069) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Features Would You Like In a Search Engine?

The trouble is, it does affect searching. When it works its helpful (but not required.) When it doesn't work its horribly frustrating.

To take your example, what if a popular singer releases a song called "What's your phone #?" Suddenly Google is "helpfully" readjusting your "Where is my phone" query and you end up the top 14 pages of results being about a song you're not interested in. Similarly, if a movie is released with a main character named "Euraud."

Now, if you're lucky, the search engine will provide useful ways to tell it to stop trying to outsmart you, and the onus is now on you to figure out all of the necessary hoops and jump through them in order to get a simple search to just bloody work.

And if they don't even provide hoops (or the hoops get too overridden by advertisers and SEO?) Now you're stuck trying to manually search through dozens or hundreds of irrelevant results and just hoping that the information you're actually looking for is obvious from the first 3 lines of blurb.

Comment: Re:Turing complete protocols (Score 1) 118

by Altrag (#49497305) Attached to: Exploit For Crashing Minecraft Servers Made Public

Now solve all the other problems without knowing what they are.

Sandboxing solves pretty much all other problems. Sure there are situations where a sandbox isn't a practical solution, but again that's not really limited to being Turing-complete. Any language that allows a client to modify data risks the ability to modify it in unfortunate ways.

Certainly more complex languages will have more possible avenues of attack but they also provide more (legitimate) capabilities and sometimes the benefits outweigh the risks, especially in these days where patching a previously-unknown risk can be done relatively easily via internet distribution once it becomes known.

Comment: Re:looks like Indians are smarter than us (Score 1) 75

And why is it suddenly T-Mobile or Panora's job to help TinyIndieSite.com?

When did I say it was? I said the government should be preventing them from harming TinyIndieSite.com, with the additional (ok somewhat implied) restriction of unfairly.

Just because this is 'on the internet' doesn't make it anything special.

When did I say it did? I was talking about cell phones (or cable packages or other mono/duo/small ogliopolies.) T-Mobile takes Pandora. Verizon takes Spotify. Make your other matchups as you will. Where does TinyIndieSite.com fit in now? They don't have the clout to take on Pandora or Spotify..

If they were able to charge $1/mo for their small selection they might be able to get some business against an $8 or $10/mo Pandora (I don't know what the real prices are, adjust as necessary) but they sure as hell can't compete with a $0/mo Pandora. And Pandora's getting front page advertising as part of their deal to boot.

Does that mean Netflix can complain because they aren't also getting that treatment?

Can and should. The only reason they don't (or that it isn't big news if they are) is because Netflix is already the market leader by a large margin and don't have to worry about being shut out by the exclusionary practices of third parties.

In fact up here in Canada, Netflix is currently one of the biggest proponents of fair laws in the media industry at the moment. Because while they've certainly have huge public support (and income from us all,) they're still not the incumbents and situations like Bell preferentially streaming their own services is a huge detriment to Netflix. I fully trust that should Netflix achieve a large enough status that they'll switch to being apathetic (or even outright malicious -- corporations can never be fully trusted) but for the moment their underdog legal position combined with an assuredly not-underdog bank account has put them in a position to make some positive changes in our media system (or at least help prevent negative changes.)

Because I can also order Netflix and my cable company will stream that to me too without issue

Until you hit that download limit you mentioned a couple of sentences prior. Then Netflix becomes an overage (in addition to the $8 up front!) while the cable's own VOD service is still covered.

Its a shame that anti-trust laws only seem to work on such a narrow definition of 'monopoly'. There are plenty of ways that two companies in collusion can have the exact same effect on the market as a monopoly, but we apparently choose to ignore it if we have to count past one.

Comment: Re:Turing complete protocols (Score 1) 118

by Altrag (#49497043) Attached to: Exploit For Crashing Minecraft Servers Made Public

if (took too long) { throw TookTooLongException(); }

Problem solved. Undecidability is only an issue when "running forever" is actually possible.

Defining what "too long" is may be difficult in some scenarios to be sure, but when you're dealing with something like a game that inherently requires responsiveness, "too long" can be defined fairly strictly without too much negative impact -- anything (even completely legitimate) routines that take more than a few fractions of a second per game loop is going to "break" the game.

Things like SQL are another story. A query that takes an hour to run may well be legitimate in certain large-data scenarios. You could have a configurable max query duration I suppose but there's certainly no globally valid duration. But of course you really shouldn't be giving unrestricted query access to untrusted clients in the first place (which is any client you don't have 100% control over!)

Also, being Turning-complete is sufficient but not necessary to have this problem -- any language that provides an unrestricted looping mechanism can loop forever even if it doesn't have all of the other necessary features to be Turing-complete (in particular, to be truly Turing-complete an unlimited tape aka storage capacity is required.)

Comment: Re:Limitations of Safari for iOS (Score 1) 75

Which is among the many reasons I refuse to use Apple products, but there's still a distinction between the levels of "Safari doesn't support it" vs "You must use Safari in some manner."

Of course if its "Safari doesn't support it specifically because we want to block sites that use it" then you're getting into the territory of mixing the two issues. But as long as Safari's lack of support is simply due to lack of time/money/motivation, you can't really associate maliciousness with that particular aspect of it.

Comment: Re:looks like Indians are smarter than us (Score 1) 75

or are blocking Spotify from forming a similar partnership

That's pretty much the catch right there. Spotify in particular is probably big enough to perhaps do something, but what about TinyIndieSite.com? On top of not being well known in the first place, they're also competing against a subsidized service.

And given how tied these services are to the phones they run on, not to mention the contracts that you usually have to enter in order to obtain the phone in the first place, means that you can't easily just "go to another company."

The only reason this isn't immediately obvious as an anti-trust issue is because they're two separate companies rather than two branches of the same company. Would your opinion change if Pandora was owned by T-Mobile? Why? Does it make any difference to you or the market in general whether the subsidy payments fall under internal or external expenditures?

As I mentioned, its a hard one to justify stopping because it seems on the surface to be a good deal.. but if you try to look at it in the context of long-term effects on a market, the outlook gets quite a bit dimmer.

The life of a repo man is always intense.