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Comment: Re:New law passed one the following day (today) (Score 1) 519

by Helix_Sky (#46424645) Attached to: Massachusetts Court Says 'Upskirt' Photos Are Legal

I'm all for plugging up this hole in the law, and I do think it is a hole in the law, but I am a little concerned at the speed at which this was done. I wonder if there might be some unforeseen consequences for the new law that weren't caught because no one was looking. For example, what if a woman is sitting in a short dress with her legs apart? Would no one be able to take a picture near her for fear of photographing her underwear? Does the new law still apply if someone is wearing an coat on top of a skintight dress? Would it be illegal to take a photo if the coat opened up a bit to reveal the dress?

I'm not saying that the law would be triggered in those situations. I am just wondering how much thought was done by the legislature to find potential flaws in the law.

Comment: Re: What problem? (Score 1) 234

Nobody said that this is a perfect system. Only that it is a better system. Do you refuse to lock your car door because anyone could just break the window. Security isn't about absolutes. It is about increasingly making it more difficult for an attacker to compromise you.

This system is simple enough that it could get a mass market uptake. That would vastly increase the security for a large number of people. For simple sites like Slashdot it would eliminate identifiable information stored in their database. As an example of the increased security, NeoGaf a popular gaming site, right now is forcing a password reset due to their system being compromised. If they had been using SQRL then that would be unnecessary.

This also provides built in onetime password protection. Compared to the current username/password security method this is far and away better, and will be relatively easy to set up.

Comment: Re:Designed Poorly (Score 2) 177

by Helix_Sky (#43893841) Attached to: In France, a Showcase of What Can Go Wrong With Online Voting

I agree that this can happen but to be able to change an election you'd typically have to change thousands of votes. That kind of coordination would be hard to hide and is the reason why all the GOP hair pulling about possible current voter fraud is stupid.

As a safety measure you set up two tiers of priority voting kiosks. The first tier kiosks would be in public places but provide privacy so that no one can see your vote. The second higher tier kiosks would be in official government locations and would require you to present your id to a person first before using the kiosk. The first tier kiosks would be less secure but more numerous, while the second would provide the same level of protection as currently voting in person. The highest tier vote, with online being tier 0, takes precedence over all other votes no matter when they are given.

You have the whole system available at least a week before the election. If your online vote is coerced then you have a week to use any of the kiosks to record your true vote. While it is possible that someone could watch you an entire week to make sure you didn't change your vote, it is not something that could be done on a large scale.

The kiosks would also take your picture to prevent someone from using a stolen card.

Comment: Re:Designed Poorly (Score 2) 177

by Helix_Sky (#43893741) Attached to: In France, a Showcase of What Can Go Wrong With Online Voting

Traditional voting is done in secret. There is no one standing behind you to see what you voted. So all you have to do is say "Yea, I voted for " and no one knows the difference. That is why the most coercive stories you heard about the US presidential election were bosses threatening to close down a business or fire people if Obama won.

The big advantage of the current system is that there are independent observers that can ensure that you are not being coerced at the time you make your vote.

Comment: Re:Forcing strong passwords in the first place. (Score 2) 211

by Helix_Sky (#43576023) Attached to: Mitigating Password Re-Use From the Other End

An overcomplicated password that need password management software ceased to be a password ("something you know") and were turned into a token ("something you have"). If your Lastpass DB is corrupted, goodbye passwords.

It is still "something you know". You have to know your LastPass password. Saying it is "something you have" is like saying needing a browser to access my bank site is needing "something you have". If I have access to the internet then I have access to LastPass.

As for your corrupted db problem, you can make offline backups of your LastPass db

Comment: Re:Sequestration is a gimmick (Score 5, Informative) 720

by Helix_Sky (#43532437) Attached to: FAA On Travel Delays: Get Used To It
The dems only wanted to raise taxes on the rich, so by your acknowledgement it would not have touched you. The cutoff rate was $200,000 or $250,000 a year. I can't remember which. The part that a lot of people did not understand was that it was a marginal tax rate increase. That means that if you made $200,001 in a year, only $1 would be taxed at the hire rate given a $200,000 cutoff. People seemed to think that once you went into a higher tax bracket, ALL you income would be taxed at the high rate. What that all boils down to is that only the very rich would feel the tax increase.

On the other hand, it was the GOP that wanted to cut all tax rates but keep it "revenue neutral" by ending some deductions. The problem was that they could never specify what deductions they wanted to end. When economists tried to make head or tails out of it, they only way the GOP plan could work without blowing up the budget was if they eliminated deductions that would disproportionately affect the middle class. There simply weren't enough high end deductions that could be eliminated that would pay for the revenue that would be lost by the tax cuts. The end result is that while the GOP sounded like they wanted to lower taxes, the effective taxes for the middle class would actually go up.

Comment: Re:A good reason to go independent (Score 1) 550

by Helix_Sky (#40896521) Attached to: Is Your Neighbor a Democrat? There's an App For That

Really? Then why did they start protesting only after Cathy made his comment? And if the uproar was over donations made by Chick-Fil-A, then maybe you should notify CNN and every other news outlet that thinks this is about what Cathy said. Here is a quote from a CNN story:

Same reason why a community will ban together to save a single beached whale, while few in that same community would lift a finger about the nearly 1,000 unintended killings of dolphins and porpoises a day by nets.

Comment: Re:Encyclopedia Galactica (Score 1) 305

Have an option for the OS to provide dummy data. Oh you want to see my contacts, here is John and Jane Doe my two bestest friends. Oh you want my GPS location, I'm at some random point in my current zip code. Hmm, you need to see my file system, sure but I got to warn you it's a bit small and I really haven't saved anything to it yet.

Comment: Re:My theory (Score 2) 203

by Helix_Sky (#40287145) Attached to: The Billions In Mobile Ad Money Nobody Can Grab
It is not just about getting you exactly what you would have gotten anyway. It is also about offering you things that you would like but never would have know existed. Haven't you found something cool because a friend recommended it? Or how about some new gadget that you fell in love with because an article was written about it on your favorite tech site? Hey I've got a stupid little head scratcher sitting next to me right now because a few people raved about it in comments to a Reddit post.

The point is that if advertisers could exactly guess your future behavior without that loss of privacy adversely affecting you, it would be welcomed with open arms. The rich can hire personal shoppers, but this could open that concept up to the masses with much greater accuracy. For instance I hate shopping for clothes. If I could scan my body dimension into a system, and give that system a way of discerning my tastes... Scratch that. My tastes suck. I want it to tell me what I will look best in. I want to be able to set a budget and retain some overall veto capability, but once I get confidence in the system, I just want it to work autonomously.

In fact I think the whole ad model should be turned around from convincing you to by something, to gathering as much information possible to accurately guess what you want to buy. Those predictions in aggregate should create demand that in turn creates the products to fill that demand. With our mythical perfect system, you would no longer be selling products, but the recommendation system.

I think that is where Google wants to go. My groceries just arrive when needed along with some samples of new products that it wants me to try out and review. A new tv series is created to satisfy my entertainment needs because they know exactly what I like and have determined that enough other people would want to watch it too. A new electric fly zapping fly swatter is added to my weekly recommendation list because it knows I like gadgets like that. Oh and anything on that recommendation list comes with a no hassle money back guarantee. They'll even come out and package it up for me if I want to return it.

Why would they spend that money to do all that? To make my buying decision as frictionless as possible. They will also want to keep me loyal to their recommendations and use all of that as yet another signal into my ever changing desires. That loss of privacy will scare most people today, but in the future that feeling will seem as quaint as the idea that a woman in a bikini on the beach use to be.

Comment: Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (Score 2) 368

by Helix_Sky (#38656214) Attached to: New CO2 Harvester Could Help Scrub the Air

Yesterday, wasn't the general consensus from the scientific community that we were 1500 years off from the next ice age, and that the current concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere would result in pushing that off for at least another 1000 years?

Well then there is that whole ocean acidification thing. Rising temperatures aren't the only effect of climate change. There is no free lunch here.

Comment: Re:In "competition", consumers always lose. (Score 1) 327

by Helix_Sky (#34833204) Attached to: Verizon To Offer iPhone Users Unlimited Data

Probably part of that too.

However you just can't get around the fact that it is not economical to run multiple phone, gas, power, sewer and cable lines to every house. Even if you could, would you want the streets dug up or blocked every time a new company wanted to compete?

It really only makes sense as a managed monopoly. Pure capitalism isn't the best fit for everything. Use the right tool for the right job.

Comment: Re:In "competition", consumers always lose. (Score 2) 327

by Helix_Sky (#34833138) Attached to: Verizon To Offer iPhone Users Unlimited Data

Well of course the government is enabling the financial sector, but they kind of have to now. The problem was not breaking up the "Too big to fail" before they failed. If you are on a sinking ship with nowhere else to go, you'll give anything to keep it afloat even if it is junk.

Btw, you just can't blame the government. It's the citizens too. Remember all the outrage over bailing out the bank. You'd think that they'd want to at least break them up now, or get tighter controls since we foot the bill for the banks screwups.

But NO!!!! Now all you here from that crowd is "We don't want government telling business what to do". If I didn't know better, I'd say it was just all manufactured outrage to get pro-business Republicans elected. But hey, I'm just not that cynical. Oh wait.. I'm:)

Comment: Re:In "competition", consumers always lose. (Score 1) 327

by Helix_Sky (#34832838) Attached to: Verizon To Offer iPhone Users Unlimited Data

I don't know the particulars, but my guess is that the monopoly was given in order to secure investment in order to build out the infrastructure.

That is btw another good example of where government is needed. It is necessary to manage situations where the overhead of duplicated effort is prohibitively expensive. Without the duplication of effort there is no choice. Without choice, market forces can not work. For utilities it is simply not practical to have multiple lines wired to every house. Therefore we have managed monopolies instead.

Oh and one more thing. I hope you are not trying to imply that government is always the problem, because I can easily list cases where not enough government oversite was the issue. Lets go with Enron and Bernie Madoff of the top of my head as prime examples.

Comment: Re:In "competition", consumers always lose. (Score 1) 327

by Helix_Sky (#34832610) Attached to: Verizon To Offer iPhone Users Unlimited Data
Yes, I thought you were saying that there was no role for government action in a well run capitalistic system. I say that not only is there a role, but a necessary role.

It is true that government itself can become a problem (see software patents), but you can't use a slippery slope argument to prevent all government involvement.

Oh btw, I do disagree that government is currently doing more bad than good. I think the greatest threat to our current economy is the unchecked cancerous growth of the financial sector. It is taking an ever increasing percentage of GDP and giving back nothing extra but instability.

Capitalism is a great engine for finding an optimal solution to the problem of supply and demand. However it is not guaranteed to correctly frame the problem of supply and demand. The current focus on short term profits, and the ability of middle men to make money on volume not outcomes is perverting the system. Government is needed to ensure the risks to the overall financial system are taken into account and that failure becomes an option for the high risk takers.

Contemptuous lights flashed flashed across the computer's console. -- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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