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Comment: Re:The appcrap boom is over (Score 4, Insightful) 171

by Panaflex (#47462997) Attached to: Is the Software Renaissance Ending?

Amen! I'm know there were some gems in the rough, and also some amazing apps that I never saw, but by-and-large the emphasis on shiny marketing and top tens over quality has overshadowed the market for a couple of years.

I have some genuine good ideas I'd like to throw at an app, but I'm looking at the market and I don't really want to touch it.

Comment: Have they looked in their own backyard? (Score 0) 190

by Panaflex (#47350253) Attached to: NASA Launching Satellite To Track Carbon

What about the amount of pollutants released with the launch of this satellite? Solid rockets and hydrazine aren't exactly environmentally friendly when you burn a million pounds in 12 minutes. The production of H2 and LOX is pretty dirty also, even if the final product is water.

I may sound a little pedantic, but at least I'm not roaming the globe looking like Chuckles the CO2 clown...

Comment: Re: Straight Talk GSM or Ting CDMA (Score 1) 146

by Panaflex (#47342657) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: SIM-Card Solutions In North America?

I second straightalk. You don't need a credit card - just buy the $45 dollar sim kit and you can choose att, tmobile or verizon - a full month unlimited talk, text, data all included. They also have a 60 dollar international plan.

Don't screw up the activation - dont port your number. Just get a new number - otherwise you have phone hell. And straighttalk phone service is awful. But the phone service is great. Go figure...

Comment: Re:Bitcoin lost 11.6% of its value this week ... (Score 1) 87

by Linsaran (#47239263) Attached to: Expedia To Accept Bitcoin

In its current form, there's no way any cryptocurrency replaces paypal or credit cards. The major problems: Anonymity, Lack of protection from fraud, susceptibility to loss (lose your wallet, oops.), and user unfriendliness (expecting the average Joe to deal with wallet software and bitcoin addresses is major stretch).

I don't necessarily see all of those things as problems, but let's go through them, shall we.

1) Anonymity: While it is possible for a dedicated person with resources to track crypto transactions (since by it's very nature all transactions are stored in a giant public ledger), the transactions themselves do not identify you. It is in this sense pseudonymous, you know which wallet has bitcoin X in it, since you can follow it's path on the blockchain, but since you cannot identify who a said wallet belongs to without access to information from outside the block chain. As you can create neigh infinite addresses for a personal wallet, and need never give the same one out twice, it's hard to be sure that any given address belongs to any given person. This is not to say that bit coin is untraceable, because it by design is very traceable, it's just that used correctly you can conduct transactions without actually revealing your identity, in much the same way that using cash doesn't necessarily reveal your identity.

2) Fraud protection: On one hand, the fact that bitcoin transactions are irreversible is a good thing, a merchant who accepts bitcoin need never worry about whether they're going to get paid for their services. There is no risk to accept bitcoins because they can never be charged-back, unlike credit cards which can actually result in a chargeback up to 6 months after a sale is complete. As far as someone committing fraudulent transactions using your bitcoins, there is no real protection against that, other than securing your wallet. If someone stole your money clip and spent the cash in it, there's no fraud protection against that either. The lesson to be learned is to better protect your money clip, or in the case of bitcoin, encrypt your wallet.

3) Susceptibility to loss: if you can't be bothered to back up your wallet, then you have no one to blame but yourself. Losing access to your wallet can happen, but with a minimum amount of effort can be prevented. People who fail to do regular back ups of their computers are just tempting fate. And besides, you can lose a real wallet just as easy (arguably easier) than a digital one, so susceptibility to loss is not unique to crypto.

4) user unfriendliness: this is really the only 'problem I really agree with you on, but it's really just a matter of time before the pieces click together.

Comment: Re:At least there's always... (Score 1) 475

by Linsaran (#47009021) Attached to: Comcast Predicts Usage Cap Within 5 Years

While I don't believe for a second that Verizon won't jump on the data cap bandwagon once everyone else is doing it, they haven't spent the last few years pushing data caps onto their customers.

Except that they have. My data plan started at unlimited, then got moved down to 5gb, then got moved down to 2gb, and finally moved down to 2gb shared between my entire family.

You're confusing Verizon with Verizon wireless, a related, but independently managed corporation. You're probably right that Verizon will start pushing caps at some point, but Verizon (the telecommunications company) =/= Verizon Wireless (the cellular phone company)

Comment: What about Ammonia? (Score 1) 659

by Panaflex (#47002841) Attached to: Future of Cars: Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Or Electric?

Not as sleek, awesome or expensive... but Ammonia fuel cells are getting pretty good these days. Ammonia is already produced across the planet as fertilizer by the ton. And it can be produced already using several processes from oil, natural gas, propane, biologicals and of course recycled sewage.

Ammonia has a higher energy density than hydrogen, is easier to store, and can be transported easily at 8-10 bars of pressure. Lastly, ammonia is the second most widely produced commodity chemical in the world.

Only downside, it's poisonous. On the upside, you can easily smell a leak at safe levels 1ppm. I think hydrogen would asphyxiate people if there was a slow leak, as it's odorless.

Comment: Re:Or you could just you know... (Score 2) 187

by Linsaran (#46999293) Attached to: Do Embedded Systems Need a Time To Die?

OpenWRT is so fucking easy to install and configure (easier than some consumer out-of-the-box experiences, even) that there really is no excuse if you expect a secure local network.

No. It's not. To you, or the typical computer tech-savvy /. reader, maybe; but we're not average consumers. My father-in-law is well above average in that he bought a Linksys router rather than depend on the FIOS installed default, and he actually changed the password, but he's not going to reflash it any more than I'm going to rebore my car engine's cylinders with a hand drill. And the various older neighbors who I assist with network stuff, who think the Internet is broken if a web site changes its format, would have no clue whatever.

The REAL question we should all be asking is, If OpenWRT can be so much better, then why is the commercial stuff *not* better?

Step 1, find out what runs on your router (at wikidevi or similar) step 2, download the firmware image (there are even multiple forums with helpful folks to ask if you arent 100% sure) step 3, flash it the same way you would a normal firmware update, step 4 change the default password, and enjoy your new LAN! The only excuse is not knowing... there is no actual technical knowledge required, just basic keyboard/mouse skills, and reading comprehension.

Step 1, presumes that people are aware there are alternative firmwares for their router, which most non-technical people would not realize, if they even know what a firmware is in the first place.

Step 2, presumes that people can navigate a forum, or possibly multiple forums to find the link to a file that they're looking for. Considering how many people must click on those stupid 'download now' ads that end up on half the file managers out there, and end up with some spyware laden crap on their machine when they were looking for a driver or some nonsense, I don't trust non-technically inclined people to figure that out either.

Step 3, presumes they know how to do a normal firmware update, again non-technical people might not even know what firmware is.

Step 4, most non-technical people have less issue with whether something is secure, and more issue with whether something works. The reason so many people use dumb ass passwords like 'password1' is because they're easy for them to remember. They either don't realize that password1 is a bad password, or they don't care as long as it's easy for them to remember.

TL;DR people want stuff that works, and doesn't require they reinvent the wheel to make it work. In their mind a commercial router should work out of the box, without needing to do open heart surgery on it.

Comment: Re:Freedom of Speech? (Score 0) 328

by Linsaran (#46667603) Attached to: Federal Bill Would Criminalize Revenge Porn Websites

See people got it in their head that the 1st amendment is about 'freedom of speech', which is really a very loose summation of what the 1st amendment really is. The first amendment is to guarantee that you cannot be politically silenced. It is to guarantee that you can peaceably assemble, and discuss whatever the fuck you feel like (ostensibly for the purpose of enacting political change). It guarantees that if you choose to espouse something which may not be popular, as long as your speech is not inciting dangerous behavior, the government will not attempt to silence you. If you are attempting to start a riot via hateful demonstrations, it is not protected. If your speech is damaging to another party (such as a political rival), and you do not have sufficient evidence of it's validity, it is not protected.

The problem is that the amendment has been taken too broadly to mean that any form of expression should be protected against censorship. And while I am anti-censorship in all of it's forms, the 1st amendment was not meant to guarantee your right to show pictures of titties on the internet for the purpose of titillation or any other non-political purposes.

Comment: Re:Who'll spit on my burger?! (Score 3, Insightful) 870

by Linsaran (#46581727) Attached to: Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate

You're a human being with a reasonably competent understanding of basic technological concepts. There is a LARGE portion of the population who does not meet this criteria. [/understatement]

There are people who cannot grasp the concept of putting 3 color coded wires from one box into the back of another box. There are people who cannot understand the difference between their tv remote and their cable remote, and are probably the same people who need someone to clearly show them how to use their remote even though the purpose of each button is clearly labeled. Switching inputs on a TV between a cable box and a DVD player is a challenge to these sorts of people. And these are some examples of a technology (the tv) practically everyone is familiar with, the examples I've given are not new technological developments for TVs, these sorts of capabilities have existed on TVs since the 90s, giving roughly 2 decades for people to become familiar with them. But it still confuses the heck out of a good 20% of the population.

These are people who have trouble working their microwave and you expect them to suddenly work a touch screen order taker, and not screw it up? Not likely. And guess who these people are going to blame for their failure to operate? I mean it obviously wasn't their fault that your machine didn't understand that when I said only ketchup, I meant I didn't want mustard, I still wanted the pickles and onions.

Comment: Re:slight exaggeration (Score 3, Interesting) 126

by Grond (#46573243) Attached to: Adam Carolla Joins Fight Against Podcast Patent Troll

It's even more exaggerated than that. So-called patent trolls are not generally interested in shutting down infringers (unless they have an exclusive license with someone else, which I don't think Personal Audio does). They want infringers to stay in business so they can get paid licensing fees. Since they want to maximize their revenue, they don't even want the license to be so burdensome that infringers simply close up shop rather than pay. What's more, the normal standard for patent damages is a reasonable royalty, so in most cases the patentee can't even ask for (much less receive) enough damages to shut down infringers.

Comment: Re:You should have to defend patents, or lose them (Score 5, Informative) 126

by Grond (#46573205) Attached to: Adam Carolla Joins Fight Against Podcast Patent Troll

The law already recognizes this. First, damages for patent infringement can only go back six years. Second, the standard for issuing an injunction takes into consideration how long a patentee sat on its rights and the extent to which the public has become dependent upon the wide availability of the invention. Third, there is an equitable doctrine called laches that can prevent a claim from being made after a long time, sort of like a flexible, implicit statute of limitations.

Comment: Re:Short answer, yes (Score 1) 631

by Linsaran (#46355113) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Do You Still Trust Bitcoin?
Even a 'day or so' is frankly outrageous considering our current technological capabilities. There is no real reason that an international transfer of funds should even take that long. I'll be fair and state that the 2-3 weeks is an outlier situation, but it's not at all unreasonable for someone transferring funds to a 2nd or 3rd world nation.

Testing can show the presense of bugs, but not their absence. -- Dijkstra