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Comment: Re:say it again (Score 1) 163

by IamTheRealMike (#47727705) Attached to: Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

Part of this is the much-hated reference requirement -- all facts in a Wikipedia page must have an external source to back them up. This rule alone causes a huge amount of strife among those who don't understand

It causes a huge amount of strife because it's yet another policy that's easily manipulated by people with no common sense.

For a long time the article on Bitcoin stated outright that it was a ponzi scheme, despite that Wikipedia's own article on Ponzi schemes had a list of requirements which Bitcoin obviously did not meet. Attempting to get this fixed was a kafkaesque nightmare due to someone camping on the page and immediately reverting any change that removed or even just qualified this statement. The reason: the statement had "citations" which turned out to be (a) someone's blog, and (b) an article in The Register, that well known bastion of reasoned and careful analysis.

Wikipedia is a project that manages to work in spite of the absurd management and crazy policies, because the idea of a global encyclopedia is such a compelling one. But it badly, badly, badly needs to be forked by people who find a way to run it better.

Comment: Re:Total BS (Score 1) 210

And your father's knowledge is broader and more accurate than this report's ..... because?

There was certainly a time when wage disparities were truly enormous, though not that big. But the entire premise of this story is that what we knew to be true just ten years ago is now out of date.

I suspect your father was giving you information that was once correct but no longer is.

Comment: Re:hilarious (Score 4, Interesting) 267

by IamTheRealMike (#47690895) Attached to: Are Altcoins Undermining Bitcoin's Credibility?

When Bitcoin was launched, Satoshi had only been mining for a day or so. If you had been paying attention to the right forums, you could have started mining more or less at the same time he did and in fact some people (like Hal Finney) did exactly that.

What's more, Satoshi does not appear to have dumped his coins. Nor did he engage in much pumping. Indeed once people started hyperbolically talking about how Bitcoin would bring about world peace, trying to get Wikileaks to accept it and so on he retreated into the background and eventually left. His coins are still there.

Creating something new with no built in advantage for yourself, being totally honest about it, and then when its value soars not selling ..... is pretty much the opposite of a pump and dump scheme.

Comment: Re:End state and private capitalism. (Score 1) 323

by IamTheRealMike (#47689511) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

BI is different to social security in one crucial way - you get it regardless of need. Even rich people get it. That's why it fundamentally can't reduce the divide between rich and poor. The idea is to break the cultural link between receiving income from the state and being a layabout.

Comment: Re:Incentive Bug Finding (Score 3, Funny) 323

by IamTheRealMike (#47688295) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

I guess it's time to start punishing those who are unable or unwilling to keep their computers secure.

But as most people just use the tools they're given and can't control how secure those tools are, in practice that would mean punishing computer programmers.

If you want the usage of C and C++ to be considered equivalent to suicide then this would be a great policy to bring about such a world.

Comment: Re:End state and private capitalism. (Score 1, Offtopic) 323

by IamTheRealMike (#47688293) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

He said universal basic income, which is certainly not high enough to allow anyone to buy anything they want. There would still be a divide between rich and poor with such a policy.

BTW I don't think basic income has ever been tried. Certainly massive nationalisation of all industries a la Soviet communism is not it.

Comment: Re:Only allowed to have civilian firearms ... (Score 1) 264

At the cost of ensuring any attempt to enforce the law results in a massive and relatively even firefight that is likely to result in a whole lot more blood spilled?

Generally, sane countries want police to have a systematic advantage over criminals when it comes to basic things like weaponry and ability to drive fast. The UK is able to have a mostly disarmed police force because the population is also mostly disarmed. So you can solve it in both directions.

Comment: Re:Real Problem (Score 2) 264

It's been well established that the long term fall in violent crime is primarily (or totally?) due to the removal of lead from petrol, not due to changes in any policing policies. Also, the UK has extremely strict and well enforced gun prohibition which makes it very hard to engage in violent crime, gun crimes have been falling for the last 15 years or so.

Comment: Re:https is useless (Score 1) 166

by IamTheRealMike (#47684095) Attached to: Watch a Cat Video, Get Hacked: the Death of Clear-Text

No, you've got to do better than, "I wouldn't think of doing such a thing" when it comes to 21st century governments.

Alright. What do you propose?

Fundamentally, encrypting all traffic all the time requires a public key infrastructure and the only way we know how to build one that works is to have trusted third parties. You trust your browser, for example. Your browser maker outsources ID verification of websites to CA's.

Ultimately SSL cannot survive being explicitly banned or subverted by the state. It just can't. They can force browser makers to give them a back door. No system can survive explicitly being banned by the state. Luckily this has not (yet) happened - strong SSL is not illegal and there are no documents in Snowden's archive that discuss compromises of CA's, probably because when armed with a bunch of zero days you don't need to exploit a CA to strip SSL, you just infect the target. Much more stealthy.

What's more, Google is pushing certificate transparency forward quite hard. CT is a system that requires certificates to be published to an audit log for a browser to accept them. It should make it much harder for a CA to issue certificates in secret. The audit logs can be data mined to look for bogus certs, e.g. certs that are issued but never show up in production usage, either by big well known targets like Google or by third parties. So far it's the best proposal that exists for how to raise the security of SSL. All others are busts.

Comment: Re: Uber is quite retarded (Score 1) 340

by IamTheRealMike (#47676935) Attached to: Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

The libertarian view is that everyone should check that the vehicle is safe and the driver competent before making a contract to be transported with them.

Hardly. The anti-Uber-banning view (call it libertarian if you like) is that governments already require drivers licenses to check for competent drivers and road vehicle licensing to ensure safe vehicles, which is why most people are totally OK with getting into the car of a random friend or relative. But we're expected to believe that once you pay someone for a trip, suddenly all those existing licenses become irrelevant and we need extra new (invariably very expensive) licenses to provide safety and competency.

Here's a thought. Maybe if someone trusts Uber to do a better job of policing their drivers than their local government, they should be allowed to test that theory out? So far I haven't actually encountered anyone who has had a bad experience with Uber. I'm sure they exist, but people with bad experiences of regular licensed taxis are a dime a dozen. It's not like paying a big fat fee to your local city magically makes people awesome.

Comment: Re: Uber is quite retarded (Score 1) 340

by IamTheRealMike (#47676901) Attached to: Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

Unless you're the person in the lane next to the Uber car when its high-mileage, improperly-maintained components break, or the person crossing the road in front when the Uber driver falls asleep, and then you get to be in the accident too.

So I guess travelling salesmen have to get special licenses too, or anyone who has an especially long commute? I guess this government licensing regime applies to anyone who drives more than a certain number of hours per day? No? They apply only to people who are paid to take passengers around and thus have money to squeeze? Hmm.

Regulations on commercial drivers exist for a reason, and it's not just for the benefit of the passengers inside a commercial vehicle.

The entire Uber hullaballoo is happening exactly because nobody seems able to clearly articulate the value that this giant pile of red tape brings to the table. People handwave and say "of course regulations make things safer", but why Uber can't achieve the same outcomes better is not exactly clear. I don't think a government license magically makes people less likely to fall asleep at the wheel, for example - rules around how long any driver can drive would do that, but that's not what taxi licensing achieves.

It seems pretty clear that technology can solve some of the problems that historically have been achieved through government licensing. Governments are NEVER going to decide that some laws can be replaced with new technology, their history of doing this is non-existent because the people who pass laws are not technologists. So conflicts like Uber vs taxi licensing regimes are inevitable. But that doesn't make Uber automatically in the wrong. It's just a sad reflection on the lack of software ability at the top of our societies power structures.

Comment: Re:There's more to EU transport than cheapness (Score 1) 340

by IamTheRealMike (#47676871) Attached to: Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

The first airplane was created by Orville and Wilbur Wright, American brothers. No other craft was capable of flying prior to this. This is undisputed.

Interestingly, after inventing the airplane they then filed patents on it and their company stagnated, technologically. Meanwhile planes were being invented at around the same time in Europe, and they weren't protected in the same way, so by the time World War 1 started the American's had to fly in European made planes because the US ones weren't good enough. Eventually of course the patents expired and US aircraft caught up pretty fast.

Comment: Re:Hmm? (Score 2) 84

by IamTheRealMike (#47661663) Attached to: Twitter Reports 23 Million Users Are Actually Bots

The purpose of securities regulations is primarily to ensure people know what they're investing in, and secondarily to stop people investing in ways that are likely to lead to them losing their shirts.

Twitter shares are now a publicly traded investment. That means it's reasonable that people should understand what they're investing in when they buy those shares. As Twitter is the only source of reliable information on Twitter, securities regulations compel them to list risks investors should be aware of. A significant percentage of their users not actually being human is absolutely information that could affect the ROI of buying Twitter.

I can't say honestly say I love red-tape laden financial regulations but the spirit of these ones is at least reasonable, even if the implementation might leave a lot to be desired. Listing risks to your company is not the most burdensome part of issuing publicly traded stocks.

Comment: Re:Why are we still blocking spam ? (Score 1) 79

Google, if you set up a white listed email system, my friends and family will happily sign up.

They already happily sign up. Gmail is the largest email provider in the world.

BTW the Gmail spam filter, like any good one, does have per-user whitelists. If you reply to mail or mark mail from a sender as not spam, the filter will leave mail from those senders alone (modulo caveats like the sender properly authenticating). Thus the filter spends almost all of its effort on email from senders you haven't interacted with, like, for example, the password reset mail from the website you used 3 years ago and forgot how to log in. You wouldn't want to lose those, would you?

I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman