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How Nest and FitBit Might Spy On You For Cash 92

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-let-them-take-your-analog-shoelaces dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes: "Forbes offers up a comforting little story about how Nest and FitBit are planning on turning user data in a multi-billion-dollar business. 'Smart-thermostat maker Nest Labs (which is being acquired by Google for $3.2 billion) has quietly built a side business managing the energy consumption of a slice of its customers on behalf of electric companies,' reads the article. 'In wearables, health tracker Fitbit is selling companies the tracking bracelets and analytics services to better manage their health care budgets, and its rival Jawbone may be preparing to do the same.' As many a wit has said over the years: If you're not paying, you're the product. But if Forbes is right, wearable-electronics companies may have discovered a sweeter deal: paying customers on one side, and companies paying for those customers' data on the other. Will most consumers actually care, though?"

Comment: Re:A "millionaire" isn't what it used to be. (Score 1) 457

by CastrTroy (#46772875) Attached to: Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires
Exactly. I know people who rent in the same neighbourhood I live in, in exactly the same model of house. Their rent is actually higher than my mortgage payments. The only difference is that I had to save up for a down payment. Not only that, but rent payments keep increasing, while mortgage payments (assuming constant interest rate) actually stay the same, so they go down relative to inflation.
Games

Ubisoft Hands Out Nexus 7 Tablets At a Game's Press Event 43

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-must-be-new-to-this dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With Watch Dogs launching next month, Ubisoft is ramping up the promotion. That includes holding press events to show off the game to journalists, many of whom will end up reviewing Watch Dogs. One such event was held last week in Paris, and it has been revealed by attendees that Ubisoft decided to give everyone who turned up a Nexus 7 tablet. Why? That hasn't been explained yet, but in a statement on Twitter, Ubisoft said such gifts were 'not in line with their PR policies.' You can see how it would be viewed with skepticism; after all, these are the individuals who will give Watch Dogs a review score, which many gamers rely on to help them make a purchasing decision."

Comment: Re:Depends on who uses them (Score 1) 188

by CastrTroy (#46760337) Attached to: The Security of Popular Programming Languages
Exactly. Perl had the fewest vulnerabilities. But only the most experienced coders would even attempt to do a site in Perl, so you kind of end up with exactly what you expect. The popular languages all ended up with the same number of vulnerabilities. It's actually quite surprising the PHP had slightly fewer vulnerabilities than .Net and Java.

What would be really secure would be a language that actively tried to stop you from doing stupid things like requiring that database queries be parameterized. Don't provide any APIs for running database queries without parameters. Sure you could still construct queries that didn't actually use the parameters, but it would at least get you off to a good start by forcing you to pass them into the function. You could even parse the SQL and throw an error if a value was used where a parameter should be. You could also force checking for a token when submitting forms to ensure CSRF is not being done.

Comment: Depends on who uses them (Score 5, Interesting) 188

by CastrTroy (#46759951) Attached to: The Security of Popular Programming Languages
It may be cliche, but how secure a language is depends on who is using it. PHP is very accessible, and used by a lot of newbies, so "in the field" there turns out to be a lot of vulnerabilities found. However, by following some relatively simple guidelines, code can be made pretty secure. Most of the problems in PHP code are either due to SQL injection, which can easily be avoided by using parameterized queries, or from turning on options that are known to be insecure, like register_globals. C on the other hand would only be used by a small number of highly trained individuals, at least for web applications, so it's less likely to experience problems in the wild, but due to buffer overflows and other memory management problems, it's much easier to shoot yourself in the foot without realizing it.

Comment: Re:Breaking News (Score 2) 80

by CastrTroy (#46756133) Attached to: Humans Are Taking Jobs From Robots In Japan
Yes, but the most efficient way for humans to do something isn't the most efficient way for a computer/robot to do something. Think about something like drawing a color picture. You could do this by mimmicking a human, having a robot that picks up pens of various colors, and draws lines on a stationary page, and indeed these do exist. But you could also use something like a laser printer that feeds the page through and prints across the entire page at once. Sure some inefficiencies could be figured out by getting people to do a task, but you may not get the most optimum result until to look at methods that are impossible for people. With manufacturing, you want to get to the end product with the least amount of cost. Sometimes, an end product with the exact same function as the original human made part may be really cheap to produce with a machine, but may be impossible for a human to assemble.

Comment: Re:It was a "joke" back then (Score 2) 275

That's not going to stop them from doing it. In the next couple of years, a phone with a 4K display could be a real possibility. It won't be 4K^2, because the screens aren't square, but it will have the same effective resolution. They have to upgrade something to keep people paying high prices for devices. As technology improves, the same old stuff gets cheaper, and this creates lower profits for manufacturers as the barrier to entry gets lower. This is why you can now buy a laptop for under $300, and won't need to be updated before it dies. Contrast that to 15 years ago when I bought my first desktop machine, which cost close to $2000, and even then had to spend money on upgrades within a couple years.

Comment: Doesn't matter if it gets funded. (Score 3, Informative) 157

by CastrTroy (#46750285) Attached to: Will This Flying Car Get Crowdfunded?
It doesn't matter if it gets funded because it won't get built. If it flies, it's controlled by the FAA, and you'll be required to have a pilot's license to fly it. Not only that, but even if it has vertical take off you'll still have to take off from an airport or other helicopter pad or some other designated area. Your neighbours aren't going to stand for the sound of propellers spinning up every morning so you can fly off to work. And spinning props aren't very safe with kids and pets around. If you have to go to the airport and fly from there, and land at another airport, you might as well just drive to the airport, get in a real plane (rented most likely to save money), and then rent a car at your destination. There is simply no reason for a flying car to ever happen.

Comment: Pretty much true (Score 1, Informative) 578

by CastrTroy (#46725841) Attached to: Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code
Not only is it hard for people to learn new skills later in life, but coding is something that requires a certain aptitude. Sure, some coal miners might be able to learn how to code, but I would think very few of them could. If they could, they wouldn't be working in a coal mine. There's plenty of people who chose programming as a career and yet still can't program their way out of a paper bag (fizz buzz), I don't think the chances of most people from non-technical fields are good at all.

Comment: Re:A law for everything... (Score 1) 477

by CastrTroy (#46714467) Attached to: New French Law Prohibits After-Hours Work Emails
But if the people are ignorant, they won't be aware of the laws that stop employers from requiring them to more hours. If they're desperate and poor, even if they know the laws, they may choose to ignore the laws, because having a job is better then no job. And even if it was possible to enforce, employers would still find other ways to take advantage of their employees.

Comment: Re:We've come a long way (Score 1) 146

by CastrTroy (#46705721) Attached to: Born To RUN: Dartmouth Throwing BASIC a 50th B-Day Party
What use case is there for having two variables with the same name that only differ by case? In VB.Net, you declare a variable using the desired case, and then when you use the variable, you can just type it completely in lower case (or upper case if you prefer) and it fixes the case to what was in the variable declaration. So the variables always end up with the same original case, and you don't end up with problem where 2 variables have been defined, with the only difference being capitalization of the first letter.

Comment: Re:We've come a long way (Score 3, Informative) 146

by CastrTroy (#46703571) Attached to: Born To RUN: Dartmouth Throwing BASIC a 50th B-Day Party
Yes very much so. And VB.Net still puts people off because of that long history. Even though it's pretty much exactly the same functionality as C#. Last I checked, it has some features C# didn't have, the biggest of which is better background compiling. You can add entire classes with actually compiling your project, and Intellisense will work. Maybe C# will do that now, but VB.Net has basically always had this feature.

Practical people would be more practical if they would take a little more time for dreaming. -- J. P. McEvoy

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