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Comment: Re:Whistleblower (Score 1) 323

"Accidentally" isn't certain here. If I was part of something that was wrong and I wanted it to be known, I would very well "accidentally" leak it too.

Except I don't see how that applies in this case. Stay or leave -- it's not the bank's call. But if politicians are putting leaving the EU on the table, even as an empty gesture, then naturally the bank has to start thinking about contingency plans. That's just common sense, even if you think the very idea of leaving the EU is mad.

It's also common sense to keep that on the DL to prevent misguided overreaction to what is after all still a hypothetical scenario. The Bank of England a central bank and so people must be constantly scrutinizing it hoping to glean inside information on future monetary policy. That's to say nothing of having to deal with the conspiracy theory nutters.

Comment: Incorrect (Score 5, Interesting) 163

It is easier with something simpler, not something smaller. When you start doing extreme optimization for size, as in this case, you are going to do it at the expense of many things, checks being one of them. If you want to have good security, particularly for something that can be hit with completely arbitrary and hostile input like something on the network, you want to do good data checking and sanitization. Well guess what? That takes code, takes memory, takes cycles. You start stripping everything down to basics, stuff like that may go away.

What's more, with really tiny code sizes, particularly for complex items like an OS, what you are often doing is using assembly, or at best C, which means that you'd better be really careful, but there is a lot of room to fuck up. You mess up one pointer and you can have a major vulnerability. Now you go and use a managed language or the like and the size goes up drastically... but of course that management framework can deal with a lot of issues.

Comment: Well, perhaps you should look at features (Score 1) 163

And also other tradeoffs. It is fashionable for some geeks to cry about the amount of disk space that stuff takes, but it always seems devoid of context and consideration, as though you could have the exact same performance/setup in a tiny amount of space if only programmers "tried harder" or something. However you do some research, and it turns out to all be tradeoffs, and often times the tradeoff to use more system resources is a good one. Never mind just capabilities/features, but there can be reasons to have abstractions, managed environments, and so on.

Comment: Re:Tolls? (Score 4, Insightful) 825

by hey! (#49736133) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

Well, with electronic toll-paying that could work, but it would still shift the burden from low MPG to high MPG cars.

The great thing about a gas tax is that it's a simple way to kill two birds with one stone: encouraging higher mileage and paying for infrastructure. The problem is that not everyone agrees that both birds are important. Two-birders think that high mileage vehicles should be discouraged because of externalized costs -- pollution mainly, but also space required in parking lots, greater risk to other road users etc. One-birders don't care about externalities but understand that the roads and bridges need to be repaired. Zero-birders are just idiots.

I'm a two-birder myself, so raising the gas tax is a no-brainer. I'd also issue everyone a flat rebate per driver, because in fact I'm a three-birder: I'm concerned about the effect of a regressive tax on the working poor who have no options but to drive to their jobs.

But I'm also a realist. There are a lot of one-birders out there and the roads need repair. It's also politically easier in one-birder territory to sell something as a fee rather than as a tax, even though from my perspective that's an irrelevant difference if you're raising the same revenue either way.

Comment: Re:I wonder how long... (Score 3, Insightful) 50

Well, they're already opting to have damaged natural joints like hips and knees replaced. That's a case of upgrading from natural to artificial to gain function. As the performance of artificial limbs increase, it might become an increasingly commonplace treatment for older people, just like knee or hip replacement.

If we project that trend forward for twenty or thirty years I wouldn't be surprised at all to see artificial legs that outperform natural legs for the purposes of walking or even running. But I don't think people with normal abilities will be trading in their limbs just to be able walk a little longer, run a little faster, or carry more weight. That won't happen until the replacement is subjectively indistinguishable from the real thing; until you can feel the grass under your toes.

I'm comfortable predicting locomotion parity in the next fifty years, but I wouldn't care to speculate on when we'll see sensory parity.

Comment: Once more into the breech, dear friends. (Score 3, Insightful) 100

by hey! (#49735075) Attached to: US Levels Espionage Charges Against 6 Chinese Nationals

I have no problem with going after people who steal trade secrets, anything more than I have a problem with going after people who steal nuclear secrets. The only thing is that the FBI has a long history of racist paranoia about Chinese scientists, from Quan Xuesen in the early 50s to Wen Ho Lee in the 90s.

Rhwew may well of a legitimate case against these guys and if they do I hope they nail the bastards. But I'm not jumping to any conclusions based on FBI say-so.

Comment: Re:beat that straw man, beat it hard (Score 1) 150

by hey! (#49735011) Attached to: Survey: 2/3 of Public Sector Workers Wouldn't Report a Security Breach

You're the one worried about passwords that can be broken in 25 years; that's a non-issue. The issue is security that works well enough for long enough and is workable for the users. Impressive sounding, inflated requirements means something else has to give: price, performance, or usability.

Comment: Re:Password updating (Score 1) 150

by hey! (#49734339) Attached to: Survey: 2/3 of Public Sector Workers Wouldn't Report a Security Breach

Well, once you've cracked the VPN traffic the password is almost a secondary concern, isn't it?

This is the wrong way to think about security, e.g. for a hypothetical world where users adhere to anything you demand of them no matter how intrusive or onerous that is. In reality if you decide that usability and convenience aren't factors in your planning then that's actually an oversight which will come back to bite you on the ass someday. The only thing you can say for that approach of wishing usability away is that when disaster comes you'll be able to point the finger of blame at the users -- even though their non-adherence is a predictable result of your poor understanding of system requirements.

Comment: Re:Bottom Rising (Score 1, Insightful) 228

by hey! (#49730113) Attached to: Marvel's Female Superheroes Are Gradually Becoming More Super

Originally Susan Richards' powers were turning invisible and creating a force shield around herself. This wasn't for doing cool things, it was for staying safely out of the way while the boys did the fighting. By the mid 70s when I was buying comic books her purely defensive powers were upgraded to being able to produce a shower of spherical force bubbles, which on the offensive force scale was about one step up the awesomeness scale from telekinetically throwing couch pillows.

I don't think the reason for this change was to throw a sop to feminists, or because fans were demanding strong female characters. In either case she'd have got a more impressive upgrade. I think it was simply upgraded storytelling. A character that can basically hide and shield herself is not as versatile as a character than can do useful things. So this kind of incremental upgrading naturally gave her more of a swiss-army knife skillset.

As for modern superheroines having multiple, I have not much to add, other than an observation. This multiple super-power thing kind of mirrors what we expect women to be like today. We expect them to be able to multitask, to juggle several very different roles on our teams. Versatility has become a cultural expectation for women, so it might not be coincidental that female superheroes get more of toolkit rather than one very big hammer.

Comment: That's why they didn't do it (Score 1, Funny) 243

by Sycraft-fu (#49728713) Attached to: Why Apple Ditched Its Plan To Build a Television

Because they couldn't overcharge. I'm sure they researched the industry and discovered that it is highly price competitive and that just putting an aluminium frame on it would justify a doubling or tripling in price. So they weren't interested. Apple only likes markets where they can overcharge to a massive degree. They don't want to just make money, they want to make stupid amounts of money.

Comment: Re:One Assumption (Score 1) 607

by hey! (#49728127) Attached to: The Demographic Future of America's Political Parties

A second assumption is that parties don't reinvent themselves. Of course they do; if they're to last they have to reinvent themselves every generation or two. Go back through the history of both parties since the 1850s; ideological continuity in both cases is a fiction that papers over a series of opportunistic shifts in focus.

An empty shell of a party in a two-party system is like the shell of an abandoned building in Manhattan; the real estate is too valuable to remain unoccupied. So some time in the next twenty years as its demographics becomes untenable the Republican party will radically shift focus, with some kind of face-saving formulation that presents the fiction of continuity, or even a return to longstanding principles. This is just like the post-Reagan rightward shift in the Democratic party as the DLC became dominant in national Democratic politics. The old style social democratic (using European terminology) FDR Democrats remained with the party because they had no place else to go in a two party system.

Likewise the rump of the current social conservative and Evangelical Republican party will be made a welcome but impotent minority in the new Republican party. They'll get occasional lip service at in-party functions but they won't be allowed near the mic lest they spout what sounds like grandpa's crazy talk -- pretty much like the FDR style Democrats were treated by their party in the 90s and 00s.

Comment: A two factor device (Score 4, Informative) 88

by Sycraft-fu (#49727625) Attached to: Yubikey Neo Teardown and Durability Review

I know, only because where I work is using them. Idea is it is a general two factor token. Can be programmed by the end user or their org. Also in theory a lot of companies could all use their platform and you have one two factor device for everything but in reality you use it for whatever your company does and nothing else.

Once programmed it acts like a HID class keyboard. You push the button, it spits out a string of characters, that being the two factor code for your account at the time.

Comment: Re:I wonder why... (Score 1) 289

by hey! (#49722481) Attached to: North Carolina Still Wants To Block Municipal Broadband

Show me the part of the US Constitution that says the Feds can tell a State it can't regulate its political subdivisions.

Easy-peasy. I don't even have to google it. The Interstate Commerce Clause. All you have to do is find some pretext that says the regulation affects interstate commerce in some way and the feds can quash it.

In this case the issue to use is plain as a pikestaff. By preventing municipalities from providing high quality internet service the state is hinder access by out-of-state vendors to consumers in that community. That justification is WAAY stronger than other that have held up to scrutiny.

In the sciences, we are now uniquely priviledged to sit side by side with the giants on whose shoulders we stand. -- Gerald Holton

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