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Comment: Re:IBM (Score 1) 94

by Sarten-X (#48946381) Attached to: Cutting Through Data Science Hype

It's poorly worded above, but perhaps a better way to say it is that the time-dependent churn in a particular model is negligible (to a statistical irrelevance) if you can get enough data quickly enough. Effectively, once your data stream outpaces the time-dependent effects, those effects may no longer be relevant variables in your calculations.

For example, I'd expect that Google can collect enough data in an hour to determine if a UI improvement is helpful, or if a particular change to PageRank results in more accurate results. Because Google has such a high volume of data collection all of the time, a very short sampling duration all but eliminates the variation due to the time of day, day of the week, or season of the year.

I'm not suggesting that a Big Data solution is somehow magically independent of time. Rather, what I'm saying is that the "store first, ask questions later" approach that is central to Big Data lends itself readily to collecting useful samples quickly enough that delta-t is negligible.

Comment: Re:IBM (Score 5, Insightful) 94

by Sarten-X (#48943523) Attached to: Cutting Through Data Science Hype

This pretty much sums up the entirety of Big Data.

Data analysis can highlight the correlations that would otherwise go unnoticed, and the "big" data sets involved help to ensure that the noticed correlations are statistically significant. With a large enough sample size, the effects of time can be eliminated from the statistics, supporting analysis of even highly-dynamic models. To a statistician, this is all trivial, given a large enough data set.

Once correlations are discovered, interpreting them in the business context is a different matter for which computers are not well-suited. As the phrase goes, correlation is not causation. A business expert must analyse the observations and figure out what it all means. There may be a correlation indicating a causal relationship, or there may be a hidden cause not covered by the available data.

Even if a causal relationship can be identified, the management may not want to act on it. Sure, the company might make more money by changing their behavior in a particular market segment, but if that segment is dying, it may not be worth the expense to change now. That's also not a task for computers, yet.

Big Data techniques are effectively just a tool. It does one job particularly well, and does a few other jobs well enough to be useful. It is still up to humans to determine if Big Data is the best tool for a particular situation.

Comment: Re:Fifth amendment zone of lawlessness (Score 1) 423

by Sarten-X (#48929299) Attached to: Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

Not really.

With a warrant, they try and try but they just can't find your stash.

With a suitable search warrant, the police can tear your house apart to find your stash. You cannot legally prohibit them from opening your house, and you cannot stop them from executing the search warrant to the full extent of its authorization.

Encryption is the same way. The encrypted container is the house;

And likewise, you cannot prohibit them from opening the encrypted volume.

What if...

Then it's a decision for a judge to make. The judge would be the one to decide if, by not providing a password, you are violating the court orders. You can provide evidence for your story, and the police can provide their own evidence. If you claim that somehow you had a 50-gig corrupt file, and the police show encryption software and logs of file access on volumes that don't exist, you're going to have a hard time convincing a judge of your story.

A better analogy would be evidence locked in a safe. The police can see the safe and can infer that it holds evidence, but you can claim to have forgotten the combination, or claim it's an antique to which you never knew the combination, or claim that it broke. If you can make a convincing case, you have a shot. If the police have evidence that you opened the safe a day earlier, you're pretty much screwed.

Comment: Re:Fifth amendment zone of lawlessness (Score 1) 423

by Sarten-X (#48929137) Attached to: Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

If the court orders you to teach the police how to read your language, then yes, you are in fact required to do so.

You could try teaching them incorrectly, but that's effectively obstruction of justice and/or perjury, depending on how it's handled.

Comment: Re:Fifth amendment zone of lawlessness (Score 2) 423

by Sarten-X (#48925015) Attached to: Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

Just like that zone of lawlessness inside of peoples minds that the pesky 5th amendment creates, think of all the criminals going free because we can't force them to incriminate themselves!

Well, yeah. Remember that the Constitution's version of "due process" is not supposed to actually restrict the government, so much as it protects the people from the historical (at the time) abuses governments had commonly employed.

The 5th Amendment protects against defendants being forced to create evidence against themselves. Remember the fun of the Inquisition, where the accused would be tortured or killed if they didn't confess? The 5th Amendment is a counter to that, and not much more. It's not a magic wand that allows you to hide crimes you actually committed. Notably, it does not allow you to hide evidence that already exists.

Once you put information into anything except your own head, it's fair game for a subpoena or search warrant. Period. Encryption doesn't matter. You can be compelled to provide keys or passwords, because the keys and passwords themselves aren't evidence against you. They just unlock the evidence that already exists.

Comment: Re:Modula-3 FTW! (Score 1) 488

by Zordak (#48907509) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

You do understand that Pascal was first released in 1970, right? Many Pascal programmers in the 1970s asked the same question - why do we need C, with its dangerous string handling and obtuse preprocessor, if it doesn't solve any new problems?

Um, you realize that C came out at almost exactly the same time, don't you? Granted, I wasn't programming anything in the 1970s, but I know enough history to know that the Unix kernel was already being ported to C right around 1970.

Comment: Re:Block Styles [Re:Modula-3 FTW!] (Score 2) 488

by Zordak (#48907215) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

I like the End-X style, such as VB's, because if the nesting gets messed up due to a typo, End-X carries info about which block ender went with which block starter. "End While" goes with "While", obviously, not an IF statement. Brackets lack this ability.

"Lacks" is a strong word; it's just not inherent. Back when I used to write software in C and C++ for money, I would religiously put "}//end if" to make sure I could keep track of which braces went where. If I needed even more context, I would put " }//end if(var1 == var2). It's not that hard. Like many things in C, you have plenty of rope to hang yourself if you really want to, but you can also make it tidy and sensible if you care to. C is not your friend, and is not your enemy.

C is like an M1 rifle. Sturdy, proved in battle many times over, occasionally finnicky, and ready to put a high-powered round precisely where you aim it without apology. Whether you aim at your foot is your business.

Comment: Re:Charged /= Guilty (Score 2) 408

Jokes aside, that's about it. The case in question is a bog-standard investigation and prosecution. The only notable twist is the guy's political connections. There's really no reason for widespread coverage.

This stunt may as we'll be Operation Our Favorite Crime, spreading awareness of Anonymous' obsession with this particular flavor of felony. We'll put it up next to the neckbeard ranting about his favorite video game, and the fat guy touting the virtues of his favorite food. Just like the armchair art critic and the armchair gourmet critic (and the nerd typing Slashdot comments when he should be sleeping) this will accomplish nothing to make the world a better place, but it will give a few individuals a few moments of pride in their hollow awareness campaign.

Comment: Re: Charged /= Guilty (Score 4, Insightful) 408

So in other words, justice is being served, and a sentence is being delivered that the judge (within the guidelines set by legislators) feels is appropriate to the crime committed.

There's nothing left for Anonymous to do, except to remind the world that this guy did something bad, and by so doing, perpetuate the shame and embarrassment his friends and family are subjected to. It won't affect the perpetrator himself, because he'll be in prison for the entire life of this "operation".

Harassing innocent bystanders is what Anonymous does best.

Comment: Re:From the home of industrial espionage, China (Score 1) 114

by Sarten-X (#48886289) Attached to: Apple Agrees To Chinese Security Audits of Its Products

I seem to recall tales of trade cities that were quite paranoid about outsiders learning their craft, some of which predated industrialized Great Britain or Germany by a rather large number of years.

Perhaps the most well-known example is Murano, whose artistic glassblowing techniques were held in high esteem by the region. An older example would be Damascus metalworking, and I have vague recollections of similar industrial pride dating back to Egypt.

I'm afraid my memory is not a particularly reliable source, but I believe there were often stiff penalties for trying to export the local expertise. Perhaps someone with a more complete knowledge of history can fill in the details...

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