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Comment: Re:Lockdown (Score 3, Insightful) 77

by Chelloveck (#47574321) Attached to: "ExamSoft" Bar Exam Software Fails Law Grads

The digital system for the exam works on usersâ(TM) personal laptop, which they bring to the testing facility, where they download the company's application to the computers they use to take the tests. At the end of the exam, the file closes and locks. When the user is able to connect to the Internet, the file uploads. Users cannot make changes to the file after the conclusion of the test.

You have to drive to the exam site but you're expected to bring your own equipment? Who thought that up? Rather than trying to intrusively lock down everyone's machine it would be far better to simply issue everyone a cheap tablet or netbook on which to take the exam. Controlled hardware, no need to try to "lock down" innumerable variations of BYOD. The ExamSoft web site says the software runs on "any modern machine", defined as Windows, Mac, or iPad purchased in the past 3-4 years. But disable any anti-virus, and no VMs. They're basically trying to secure any random machine off the street to prevent cheating. That's a very fine example of "doing it wrong".

Comment: New flash: Humans get bored (Score 3, Insightful) 182

by Chelloveck (#47567789) Attached to: UK To Allow Driverless Cars By January

Requiring a human to be ready and able to take control in an emergency is just plain dumb. The human in question will be distracted. They'll be texting or playing Flappy Birds or doing any number of things that a passenger might do during a commute. Even if you require that their hands be on the wheel at all times they'll get bored and daydream and be absolutely useless in an emergency situation.

The only reason you'd want to require human controls would be in case the vehicle gets into a (non-emergency) situation that it can't deal with. Think about a situation that would normally be wrong, like parking on a lawn or driving on the wrong side of the road due to a blockage or something like that. Something that requires a judgement weighing the letter of the law against the practical realities of the situation.

Comment: Re:Smartphone (or feature phone) (Score 1) 110

by Chelloveck (#47566397) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Open Hardware/Software-Based Security Token?

Anyone actually used them? Is it as good as their demos?

I haven't done any admin or dev work with it, but as far as just logging in to the VPN at work Duo works very well. I initiate the VPN connection on my computer and get a pop-up on my phone almost instantly. Hit approve, and the VPN login on the computer completes. In my pre-smartphone days I used their SMS service. They'd send me 10 codes via SMS and the VPN login would say "enter code A", "enter code B", etc. Each code was used once, and a new batch sent whenever you'd used them up. (This is probably quite insecure if you use Google Voice or some similar service that redirects your texts so you can read them online.)

Plus, I used to work with Dug Song, one of the founders of Duo. Smart guy. I trust him to have done his homework.

Comment: Who authenticates to whom? (Score 1) 407

by Chelloveck (#47559511) Attached to: A 24-Year-Old Scammed Apple 42 Times In 16 Different States

What kind of numbnuts trusts a phone number given to them by the person being authenticated? "Here, call my accomplice-- er, I mean account rep, and he'll verify me." Yeah, pull the other one.

Unfortunately, even my credit card issuer can't get this right. They called me about some charges. "Now sir, to verify that I'm really talking to the account holder, what is your social security number?" Um, no. YOU called ME. You can reasonably assume that the phone number you have on file for me is valid. It's up to YOU to prove to ME that you're from my credit card company. "But sir, we ask this for your own security..." Eventually I got them to give me a ticket number so I could call the number printed on my card and get back to them. Turns out it actually was my issuer calling, not a scammer. Guys, you really should know better!

Comment: What an utterly pointless article (Score 1) 60

by Chelloveck (#47523321) Attached to: How the Internet of Things Could Aid Disaster Response

What an utterly pointless article. IF we had an Internet-of-Things, and IF they all talked with each other directly instead of needing infrastructure, and IF emergency services were prioritized over regular traffic, and IF people were cool with having random devices they own connect to random devices other people own for the sole purpose of forwarding messages in a mesh network, THEN we could use the IoT as a spiffy disaster-resistant emergency network.

No shit? Is that all it takes? Sounds like someone trying desperately to figure out just why the hell anyone would want an Internet-connected toaster, anyway. Emergency services, yeah, that will sell it!

Comment: Re:Don't buy cheap android (Score 3, Interesting) 290

by Chelloveck (#47508451) Attached to: Why My LG Optimus Cellphone Is Worse Than It's Supposed To Be

Two words: "Market Differentiation". I once worked for a company which made printers. One printer line had a low-end model and a high-end model. The hardware was identical except for two things: (1) The print head, which produced higher-quality output and was more durable in the high-end model; and (2) the color of the case. That's it. Otherwise they were identical. The marketing guys decided that the print quality alone wouldn't tempt people towards the high-end model, so they required us to hobble the software. The same software build was loaded into each model, but if it detected the cheap print head it inserted wait-states into memory access to force about a 30% decrease in formatting speed. Voila! Now the high-end product had enough benefit to justify the price difference!

tl;dr: Sometimes yes, companies will expend extra effort to intentionally make a crappier product, if it means that they'll sell more of an expensive higher-profit-margin product. And yes, it drives the engineers completely bananas.

Comment: Performance Art (Score 1) 100

by Chelloveck (#47495677) Attached to: New Digital Currency Bases Value On Reputation

Anderson isn't aiming to supplant Bitcoin, or even challenge the money-exchange model that drives society. But he's hoping it will change the way people think about currency

Ah, so the whole thing's just a performance art piece, not a serious proposal. Good to know. Now we can just ignore him until he goes away.

Comment: Re:So this means... (Score 1) 214

by Chelloveck (#47449605) Attached to: Economist: File Sharing's Impact On Movies Is Modest At Most

For me, price is also a factor. Watching it just while cooking alone or something, I don't want to pay $5 for something that is just not that good. Crappy stream quality also doesn't matter in that case.

There seems to be a trend of the studios to allow digital "purchase" of movies but disallow rental, even for older releases. I'm only going to watch most movies once. $5 is my sweet spot for watching a movie. I'll gladly pay $5 for the ability to stream it for 24 hours, on the same model as the video rental store. I won't pay $15 to "own" it, especially when "ownership" is simply an indefinite-term rental until such time as the streaming service goes out of business. I'd rather just go without than play that asinine game.