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Comment: Re:How is this viable as an attack medium? (Score 1) 41

by Anubis IV (#47574553) Attached to: "BadUSB" Exploit Makes Devices Turn "Evil"

I've heard about a few cases (which is a fancy way of saying, "I once heard a third-hand story, but am too lazy to fact check myself at the moment") of attackers leaving thumb drives in parking lots outside the buildings of offices they wanted to hack, as if the drives had been dropped out there by accident after slipping out of a pocket. Employees of the company inevitably found the drives, some of them kept the drives for personal use, and some of those drives eventually got plugged into computers inside the office. With AutoPlay settings and the like, it used to be fairly trivial for malware to enter an office that way.

Which is to say, if you find a USB drive in your company's parking lot, toss it in the trash if you can't find the original owner.

Comment: Re:Interesting comparison (Score 1) 59

by Anubis IV (#47574189) Attached to: Countries Don't Own Their Internet Domains, ICANN Says

Well, there was that attempt at a power grab for control of the Internet back in 2012 through regulatory capture mechanisms, which failed after China and Russia withdrew their support, but only after the EU, US, and a good chunk of the rest of the Western world (including Google) expressed condemnation of the idea.

Other than that, no controversies come to mind, though I should hope that's the case, given that they're a simple regulatory body.

Comment: Re:Disengenous (Score 1) 227

by Anubis IV (#47570717) Attached to: Amazon's eBook Math

Precisely. There's also the question of how a lower price affects the sales curve in the long-term, since they never provided a time period over which that 1.74 number held true. For a publisher or author looking to maximize profits in the short-term, sure, lower prices are great, no doubt. But if you're trying to develop a sustainable business or career, saturating the market with a flood of cheap copies may not be a good thing, since it may mean that sales drop off faster. Or it may be a good thing, because it attracts more attention or produces an initial sales spike that's big enough to make up for the difference. Unfortunately, Amazon's numbers don't tell us definitively either way, though they try to phrase things such that it appears to be a universal truth that everyone should accept without question as being obvious.

As a quick aside, Amazon is particularly masterful at finding exactly the right set of numbers and statistics to paint the picture they want and then phrasing them so that they sound like a categorical victory, rather than one that has an asterisk next to it. They do it significantly better than Google, Apple, Microsoft, or their other competitors, so whenever they make a press release or financial report, you have to parse what's being said very carefully.

Comment: Re:City of London Police =/= British Police (Score 1) 158

by Anubis IV (#47567409) Attached to: London Police Placing Anti-Piracy Warning Ads On Illegal Sites

Do you have any information on arrestable offenses or crimes in The City of London that could not be made by the Metropolitan Police Force?

I do not. I have no firsthand info. I've heard some off-hand comments from Londoners and looked into the topic yesterday before I started posting here, so it's likely you have a broader knowledge than I do on the subject. Even so, I'll point out that the arrestable offenses in the City don't need to be different for a corporate influence to be at play.

Because they control the vote, they can dictate public policy, but, as you mentioned, they must do so within the bounds of the laws of the country. As such, while they may not be able to make up a slew of new crimes to arrest people for, they can still choose to selectively enforce the laws they have, or spend an inordinate amount of time focusing on preventing illegal activity that most other police forces wouldn't bother with. The latter is what's at play here, which is to say, they spend more time and energy focusing on crimes that harm the corporations than is common in police forces elsewhere. There's nothing illegal about that (nor would I necessarily assert that it is corrupt of them to do so), but it is out of alignment with what the general population wants and expects.

As for influencing vs. governing, I agree that they are different. I think it's apparent that the corporations have a strong influence, at the very least. Whether or not they are governing seems to me to be a question of whether or not you consider a voting bloc who always wins to be governing. If the voters are consistent in showing up to vote as a bloc and are putting their hand-picked people into power each time, they aren't governing directly, but their influence would be so strong at that point that the difference is really just semantic, not practical.

Comment: Re:A/B Testing (Score 1) 161

by Anubis IV (#47565595) Attached to: OKCupid Experiments on Users Too

There are ways to test the algorithm that don't involve flipping the results entirely. Suggesting, as you have, that this is the only means available to them to do so is a bit disingenuous. Moreover, if you are going to intentionally give people results that you believe to be incorrect, contrary to what you have promised them, you have an ethical responsibility to get their permission in advance via some form of opt-in release.

Comment: Re:Just get a case (Score 1) 539

Quite right, I have failed to show anything substantive. And yes, I am too lazy to do the measurements on my own, since I have nothing vested in this topic and plenty of other ways to spend my time and money. It was simply my goal to point out an obvious set of factors which appear to have gone unaddressed in his methodology, and the ways in which they may (as I believe) have impacted his results and invalidated his conclusions.

To go off of what you said, not only do I believe—without having the numbers to back me up—that people who have used slide-out keyboards will correlate heavily with those who preferentially chose them at some point, I also believe that that idea is self-evident to most people. And I also believe—again, without the numbers—that the class of user who has considered and rejected slide-out keyboards without ever having used them is significantly larger than the class of user who at some point has used them (i.e. the ones allowed in the survey). In failing to consider those factors, I also believe that Bennett inadvertently weighted the pool of surveyed users towards those most likely to favor slide-out keyboards.

All of which is to say, you're right that I have no factual basis for my assertions (and I'm glad that folks around here still take people to task for valid reasons such as yours), since I haven't done the surveys or pulled together my own results. Even so, that doesn't change that Bennet failed to consider two factors that have the potential to heavily skew his results, and that, as a result, he lacks a solid basis for concluding "that the near-extinction of slideout-keyboard phones in retail stores is probably not in proportion to what people actually want" (unless by "people" he means "people who used slide-out keyboards"). The only thing he can reasonably conclude, based on his methodology and results, is that among users who have used slide-out keyboards, more than half prefer them. That's it, nothing more, and that remains true whether or not my assertions are correct.

Comment: Re:City of London Police =/= British Police (Score 1) 158

by Anubis IV (#47559439) Attached to: London Police Placing Anti-Piracy Warning Ads On Illegal Sites

I figured you'd follow the links and actually take some time to learn about the topic, so I don't think it's disingenuous of me to have left things where I did. Had you taken the time to read through the links, it would be apparent that the everyday sort of corporate management arrangement you're painting it as is not at all representative of the reality here, and that the police force is run not just by the Corporation, but also by the corporations. To quote from near the top of the page that you'd have reached with my link:

Both businesses and residents of the City, or "Square Mile", are entitled to vote in elections

Well now, that sounds interesting, doesn't it? To provide more details from the link that the OP gave earlier:

The City has a unique electoral system. Most of its voters are representatives of businesses and other bodies that occupy premises in the City. Its ancient wards have very unequal numbers of voters. In elections, both the businesses based in the City and the residents of the City vote.

The principal justification for the non-resident vote is that about 330,000 non-residents constitute the day-time population and use most of its services, far outnumbering residents, who number around 7,000. Nevertheless, the system has long been controversial. The business vote was abolished in all other UK local council elections in 1969.

A private Act of Parliament in 2002 reformed the voting system for electing Members to the Corporation of London and received the Royal Assent on 7 November 2002. Under the new system, the number of non-resident voters has doubled from 16,000 to 32,000.

Which is to say that businesses control about 32,000 votes compared to the residents' 7,000, with the larger businesses getting more votes on account of their having more employees. Those elections dictate who gets elected to the Common Council, and the Common Council is the body that has authority over the police force.

So, in a very real sense, the entrenched corporations have direct control over the elections, allowing them to put the people they want in power. Suggesting otherwise is to deny the obvious.

Comment: Re:A/B Testing (Score 1) 161

by Anubis IV (#47557277) Attached to: OKCupid Experiments on Users Too

You're correct that the matches are not objective, though that really doesn't matter in the end. If I say, "I'll make my best guess," and then knowingly provide you with the choice that is as far away from my actual best guess as possible, there's nothing subjective about the fact that I've intentionally misled you. My guesses may be subjective, but you were expecting my best one, and instead got my worst one. That's a lie.

Comment: Re:A/B Testing (Score 1) 161

by Anubis IV (#47554501) Attached to: OKCupid Experiments on Users Too

A/B testing, as a concept, is fine. The issue here is that A was "truth" and B was "deception", and that's something you shouldn't be A/B testing (at least not without getting ethics waivers signed). Facebook provided feeds that were not representative of what was actually going on and OKCupid flipped bad matches to good matches, both of which compromised their relevant services by misleading users or misrepresenting information. You can't do stuff like that in most (all?) ethical systems, and it may even open them up to legal trouble, since they're knowingly providing something other than the promised service.

At the very least, their doing so runs contrary to the categorical imperative, so for any deontological ethicists out there, it should seem pretty apparent that they were out of line. And if you subscribe to more consequentialist ethical thinking, such as utilitarianism (either the Act or Rule variety), it's trivial to point out that the users were going to obviously be worse off in several of these cases and that happiness was not maximized, nor would it be if everyone was misleading their users like this.

Again, A/B testing is a great tool, but it needs to be used ethically.

Comment: Re:Just get a case (Score 5, Insightful) 539

Indeed. When the market doesn't suit your niche, get a peripheral that does the trick. And I say "niche", because Bennett failed to take note of some rather obvious selection bias that, when taken into account, seems to cause his results to actually suggest the opposite of what he's claiming.

Namely, slide-out keyboards have never been ubiquitous across a class of phone in the way that touchscreen keyboards are nearly ubiquitous across smartphones today. So while nearly everyone using a smartphone today has been forced to use a touchscreen at some point, users who have used slide-out keyboards did so because they specifically chose that style of keyboard, given that there were plenty of comparable alternatives available back when slide-out keyboards were more common.

Which is to say, rather than being a random sampling, the respondents to this survey were likely all people who had a strong preference for slide-out style keyboards at some point in time. That only a hair more than half of the people who preferentially chose them in the past still prefer them just a few years later is actually rather damning evidence against slide-out keyboards.

More or less, Bennett has failed to take into account people who considered slide-out keyboards and chose not to buy them for any one of a number of valid reasons that do not require having used them (e.g. makes the phone thicker, can't switch between alphabets/character sets, don't want to add more mechanical points of failure, etc.). I don't think he did it intentionally, but the outcome is that he's loaded the deck in his favor, yet still only barely managed to get the results he wanted.

Comment: Re:This seems unnecessarily complicated. (Score 1) 138

by Anubis IV (#47532563) Attached to: Will Your Next Car Be Covered In Morphing Dimples?

Based on this AC comment, it sounds like it would actually hurt at either high or low speeds, hence the morphing aspect to it. The dimples would only be present at the speeds at which they'd actually help.

So, stamping them in for typical cars may be counter-productive, and racing teams are unlikely to benefit from it.

Comment: Re:What do I think? (Score 4, Interesting) 223

by Anubis IV (#47528057) Attached to: Chromebooks Are Outselling iPads In Schools

A few months back, I sprained and fractured the thumb on my writing hand. It was almost a week before by thumb was strong enough to even allow me to grip an empty soda can without dropping it, so you can imagine it took awhile before I could write again (nearly two months before I could write more than a few lines, in fact). I also work at a software development shop where a key part of our culture is our use of notebooks. To say the least, I was a bit concerned, since writing seemed like an essential skill.

Because writing by hand was out for me, I turned to taking notes on my iPhone, simply out of necessity. I write by hand at around 30 wpm, I'd guess, which I was able to get on par with almost immediately, without any of the annoying hand cramping that happens after awhile when writing on paper. Plus, the notes are much more legible (even with the occasional auto-correct mishap), have the ability to be searched more easily later, can be synced to other locations, and are "written" using an object I'm keeping with me all of the time anyway. I'm actually seriously considering ditching notebooks altogether at this point, now that my thumb is mostly healed, since I can type just as fast, and if someone throws up a picture on a whiteboard, I can snap a photo more easily than I can copy it to paper anyway.

Which is to say, I'm not convinced that writing by hand remains an essential skill, or else that it will be one for much longer. Useful in numerous situations? Absolutely. Something I'd teach my kids? Without a doubt. But essential? Other than legal and old-world business forms that haven't moved online yet, I can't remember the last time that I had to write by hand, and those are both a dying breed.

Personal note: Just to put it out there, I'm not someone with years of experience as a prolific typist on phones. I'm averse to text messaging and get frustrated when trying to type out e-mails since I'm still, of course, much faster on a full keyboard.

"Hello again, Peabody here..." -- Mister Peabody