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Comment: Re:crap direction (Score 1) 223

by TheRaven64 (#49385795) Attached to: Why More 'Star Wars' Actors Don't Become Stars
I could have put up with the bad acting if there had been a good script and a story that made sense. Rewatching some of the original Star Trek is like that: the acting is wooden and the sets are obviously cheap, but there's some fantastic dialog and story telling in there. Hint for writers: if your script relies on everyone in the universe being stupid at the same time, it may be realistic but it's not going to be enjoyable (unless it's a comedy about stupidity).

Comment: Re:Contradiction in article summary (Score 3, Insightful) 223

by TheRaven64 (#49385605) Attached to: Why More 'Star Wars' Actors Don't Become Stars
It's not just the teeth. You particularly notice this if you compare US and UK TV. I find it really hard to tell the actors on US TV apart, particularly the female ones who seem to mostly conform to 2-3 stereotypical appearances. The same is true for the young male ones, though at least there are some older male roles that have distinctive appearances. There are very few ugly actors. Compare this with a BBC drama, where there will be a whole range of physiques.

I find it harms willing suspension of disbelief when watching US shows. I sit there thinking 'really, everyone in this low-income school has a personal trainer and stylist? And these people manage to have perfect hair as soon as they wake up or after running through the mud?' Actually, the UK isn't immune from the last part: Sean Bean in Shape has magic hair that is immune to mud, gunsmoke, and everything else the napoleonic wars can throw at him. No matter how dirty his face and uniform get, his hair always looks as if he's just come from the hairdresser.

Comment: Re:Investment Tax Credit (Score 1) 166

Good. Once it's gone, maybe we'll all be rich enough to buy solar panels.

A solar panel tax break just raises the damand by, say, $500 of government incentive, plus persuasive incentive margin. That is to say: a $1500 installation that gets a consumer-reaching $500 rebate becomes a $2000 installation, in theory; in reality, the consumer sees a chance to obtain a discount on a $2000 installation, and manufacturers can profit more by raising that installation cost to $2100 because fewer than 20% of customers are turned off by that extra $100. Thus the consumer needs $600 more in his pocket, and comes out $100 poorer in the end.

These numbers are, of course, illustrative of a concept in market demand economics dealing with subsidies on the consumption end. The reality is more complex. For example, as you have pointed out, the imminent revocation of the ITC is driving up demand as people grab for the perceived free money; this means prices can go even higher, people can be even more disadvantaged by the government rebate, but they will still have more incentive to buy than in a non-credit market where the total cost to themselves is lower because there is no perceived monetary benefit in such a market.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 215

by bluefoxlucid (#49385373) Attached to: Why You Should Choose Boring Technology

The main point is not to jump into new things in your industry. When I grabbed for MongoDB, it wasn't MongoDB 0.2 alpha or 1.0 or whatnot; it was MongoDB 2.2, a relatively mature product. At the time, it was new to the industry: a lot of articles on Slashdot and so forth were jabbering about these new "NoSQL" databases and "Document stores" and whatnot, and arguing their merits and shortcomings. The article proscribes that MongoDB would be something that cost me an "Innovation Token" if I were to grab it right then.

My point is that I did just that: I saw MySQL wasn't working, at all, for our projects, and that MongoDB fit some of our needs much better. Our software design and code became orders of magnitude more manageable and efficient. After that, we rewrote the MySQL calls as ORM, while using MongoDB via direct query--we quickly integrated and profited from two new technologies, reducing our risk and streamlining our business.

We did exactly the opposite of what the article says, and gained great benefits in opposition to what the article claims. By identifying and selecting the correct tools, be they old or new, we opened the path to innovation, allowing ourselves to carry out new strategies and develop new ideas quickly and effectively.

Comment: Re:So... (Score 2) 107

by Kjella (#49382949) Attached to: SCOTUS: GPS Trackers Are a Form of Search and Seizure

Not to look a gift outbreak of common sense in the mouth, but how the fuck can GPS trackers be a form of search and seizure and civil forfeiture NOT be a form of search and seizure?

It's a form of seizure, but the supreme court hasn't found it an unreasonable one. And it's been used for a very long time. Basically, the issue was that without forfeiture they had a hard time catching the owners of smuggling ships. As long as you can't establish them as an accessory to the crime or you have jurisdiction problems, they can legally provide the supplies while the criminals operate on an asset-less basis. So the solution was to declare the assets - in this case the ship - used in illegal acts forfeit, making it a risk and a cost to be used in crime. This goes all the way back to the British.

I've been reading some of the court cases and it seems the minority has been trying really hard to find tortured ways of getting out of their own past precedents as the cases become more and more unreasonable but the majority falls down on "we've approved of civil forfeiture for 200 years, we can't overturn that now". They really, really, really don't like interpreting an old law in a new way. So without acts of Congress saying this is not okay, I don't think anything will change.

P.S. Civil asset forfeiture puts the US way ahead of the UK as fascist country in my opinion, I'm not really even sure if it should qualify as an "innocent until proven guilty" system anymore since you can be robbed blind and need to prove your innocence to the court. It stinks to high heaven.

Comment: Re:Unsealed after Ulbrich conviction (Score 1) 143

by StikyPad (#49381407) Attached to: Silk Road Investigators Charged With Stealing Bitcoin

being actually innocent of the crime isn't the courts job according to him.

It's generally not. The job of the court is to provide a fair trial, the job of the jury is to make the decision of guilt or innocence, and perfection at all costs is not a reasonable goal either. But please keep reading.

The discovery of new evidence clearly shows that a trial was not fair. It may have been fair at the time, but part of human progress is uncovering new truths, and our justice system should reflect that. DNA evidence has been an example of that -- people were convicted before it was testable, and exonerated afterward. But sometimes investigations are incomplete as well, and new evidence is honestly discovered, such as the Robert Durst handwriting and confession obtained during The Jinx.

On the other hand, allowing new evidence to result in a new trial incentivizes the willful withholding of evidence. Keep some evidence in your back pocket, and if you lose a trial, simply present it as new evidence and voila, retrial!

We need to come up with rules for new evidence to limit abuse, but the goal should still be to provide a fair trial, weighted toward keeping innocent people out of prison, but not at all costs.

Comment: Re:Don't be an asshole. (Score 1) 258

by Kjella (#49381263) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dealing With User Resignation From an IT Perspective?

He's still an employee during his notice period; treat him like one.

Or not, either way is fine.
a) You're leaving for another company but during the notice period while it is our paycheck we expect you to be professional and loyal to your current employer. That means continuing to carry out your job duties to the best of your ability and help transition them to other employees. I'm sure they'll appreciate someone with working knowledge of the system guiding them.
b) I'm sure you know it's company policy to immediately terminate all access for leaving staff members, regardless of reason so don't take it personally. Think of it as two weeks paid vacation. Have you got everything in order? I can pretend I haven't seen this for another hour, but if you're ready I'll call the honor guard to escort you out. The check will be in the mail.

I mean you have to screw up pretty bad to make the last seem like a bad thing for an employee that's leaving voluntarily. You're getting two weeks pay for doing nothing. Pretty much the worst you can do is make them stay, but act like you don't trust them anymore.

And if they care a bit too much about their coworkers and start talking about transitioning, it should be pretty easy to to talk them out of it. Sure it'll be tough on the remaining staff, but it'll be like a "what if he was hit by a bus" exercise and we'll find out how much documentation and routines we're missing. They'll cope somehow and besides, it's company policy so I can't really make those kinds of exceptions.

Comment: False dichotomy (Score 1) 341

by StikyPad (#49381221) Attached to: Why America's Obsession With STEM Education Is Dangerous

the dismissal of broad-based learning, however, comes from a fundamental misreading of the facts â" and puts America on a dangerously narrow path for the future.

Nobody is seriously proposing that STEM come at the expense of broad-based learning, nor does it have to. That may be a possibility, but it's a completely separate discussion. Any STEM degree from almost any accredited university still has humanities and "soft" sciences as prerequisites. What we can say is that test scores indicate that we're not doing very well at teaching math and sciences compared to the rest of the industrialized world. We're actually doing a lot of things worse than the rest of the industrialized world. (Except self-esteem. We're #1 at that!)

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 3, Insightful) 258

Yes, and there are also key close-out tasks to cap off open projects to deliver to the next guy, or to transfer knowledge and move off responsibilities gracefully. Cutting off is a great strategy where the user is not unique, and a devastating one where he is training his replacement or in charge of things that rarely require attention; most often, it's somewhere in-between, and some careful decisions are required.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 3, Insightful) 258

Malware isn't as targeted as an individual, although I've seen financial records damaged and personal e-mails disseminated by malware. My stint at various companies, contractors, government positions, and private sector jobs has given me a lot of exposure to shit that goes wrong. Even when I had little technical power, I slowly identified ways to leverage the small access I needed, and to gain higher access; access control is idyllic, and information often leaks around a lot due to the need for certain things to be available.

I used to administrate IDS systems and approve firewall requests. In this capacity, I had no ability to do any real damage: every system I interfaced with was handled by an agent, either to install my hardware, to set my network routes, to configure the firewalls, to route span traffic to me, or to shut off ports when I discovered dangerous behavior on the network. I could damage our IDS, but nothing else. By contrast, those administrators each had a massive amount of power: they could sniff network traffic, route it for man-in-the-middle attacks, leak any information they wanted; even I was able to regularly extract administrative network passwords from our traffic, since our IDS ran decryption through our internal certificates and showed me raw attack traffic. I couldn't see your personal gmail account, but I could see the plaintext of your ssh connection to a CISCO switch.

I do work in network security; most mundanes who dabble figure that security is this rock-hard wall of protection, or it's wrong. They often forget the definition of information security, which includes confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility; it is the accessibility that people most forget, demanding confidentiality and integrity while refusing to sacrifice either where accessibility is impacted unacceptably. In my example with the IDS, the IDS must decrypt traffic to search for attacks which may compromise confidentiality or integrity, yet it also reveals passwords to a small group of people who may themselves compromise confidentiality or integrity by using these passwords; this is why HMAC was invented, but it is not always available within a protocol suite.

Felson's Law: To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.