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Comment: Re:Its a Trade-Off (Score 2) 372

by Bergs007 (#39353707) Attached to: Multiword Passwords Secure Or Not?
What's wrong with writing passwords down though? The biggest threat to online accounts are over the network where malicious entities do not have physical access to a machine. If you write down your passwords next to your computer, the biggest threat model is what? House guests? I'd much prefer people have high-entropy passwords and have to write them down in a notebook than moderate-entropy passwords that are easier to remember. Essentially, you'll have a better idea if your notebook gets stolen/copied than if your password gets cracked over in Indonesia.

Comment: America (Score 1) 163

by Bergs007 (#36171998) Attached to: The Future of Shopping

Brittney Watters, who had arrived at the store at 3 a.m. and had two GPS devices and several toys in her cart, appreciated the speed. "It works well," she said. But there can be hiccups: The scanning gun sometimes stopped scanning, slowing the process down.

America: We can't buy shit fast enough!

Comment: Re:Smart Meters... dumb paranoia (Score 1) 405

by Bergs007 (#36097170) Attached to: Is Your Electricity Meter Spying On You?

I disagree. I think appliances have distinct and identifiable energy signatures, and depending on the detail the meter records this could easily translate to dependable information about you and your habits. See regular spikes over the year on weekdays, starting at 7am which end at 8am? Your routine involves waking up at 7am, and leaving for work at 8am. Regular spikes starting at 7am that last throughout the day (but level off at 8am)? Your routine is waking up at 7am, and working from home. 700 watt spike most mornings for 30 seconds? Your toast. Likewise, your water heater will have a particular wattage and they could use that to tell when you shower. Thing is, maybe they don't know what the specifics are for your appliances... until they care. Once someone cares, they can make a profile of energy signatures (1100 watt spike for .1 seconds followed by constant usage of 1500w for at least 10 seconds? Hey, that's the pattern for a brand X model 1a1 water heater!), and then start data mining. Yes, I'm sure they'd make mistakes, but overall they could form a pretty accurate portrait of your daily life. I think either A) you are underestimating the amount of usable data you can get by data mining or B) you are assuming that the smart meters must be limited to a rather coarse granularity such as total usage per hour... where in fact there's nothing stopping it from recording usage per second or even microsecond.

You basically just gave the summary for this paper:

Comment: Re:Paranoia run rampant? (Score 1) 405

by Bergs007 (#36097108) Attached to: Is Your Electricity Meter Spying On You?
The nice thing about electrical data is that it compresses quite nicely if you intelligently select your thresholds. Essentially, if your algorithm is good enough, you can send discrete data points that correspond one-to-one with appliances turning on or off. And with each data point comprised of only 4 or 5 bytes, I'll let you all do the math.

Comment: Re:Smart Meters... dumb paranoia (Score 2) 405

by Bergs007 (#36096874) Attached to: Is Your Electricity Meter Spying On You?
It's actually pretty easy to generate an appliance profile for a house and figure out which appliances are on at any given time, even for loads as low as 10W. Considering the time delays between running around to every device in your house, it's also possible to figure out in what order the appliances were turned on! Relevant papers:

Comment: Re:Great idea but not likely to happen (Score 1) 244

by Bergs007 (#34984772) Attached to: Mozilla Proposes 'Do Not Track' HTTP Header

Along the same lines, this would probably make the issue worse. Based on that tag, people are going to simply assume security and privacy where there is none.

Not only that, but even worse, this tag will give data miners something to latch on to. "Oh they're using the Do Not Track tag? There must be some juicy info here!"

Comment: What does the software look like? (Score 1) 92

by Bergs007 (#34051200) Attached to: From Touchpad To Thought-pad
I'd be more interested in learning how they implemented this in software. Is it just something like: if(brain.madeNoise == 1) then canvas.removeTopImage() else canvas.removeBottomImage() ? Or are there more complicated things going on here? I have trouble imagining that this is based off a normal touchpad interface, because there aren't any controls I'm aware of that can select between one of two overlaid figures....

Comment: Re:Who ever came up with this should be fired. (Score 1) 1268

by Bergs007 (#33240028) Attached to: US Students Struggle With Understanding of the 'Equal' Sign

That was my first thought, but their usage is even worse.


If we treat () as variable x, we get: 4+3+2=x+2=11

Simplified: 9=x+2=11


The problem here is not the use of the equal sign, it is their completely asstarded implementation of the parenthesis that is some how intended to imply one variable twice, with a line break in the middle.

What? No. That's not how the problem is supposed to be done. That is exactly the point too. The *children* are trying to do the problem like that because they have no fundamental understanding of what an equals sign is supposed to mean. Try reading the summary more carefully, and perhaps even the article if you dare! Maybe the next study should focus on reading comprehension...

"Life sucks, but it's better than the alternative." -- Peter da Silva