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Comment: Please Google, build the QuickBooks killer (Score 2) 357

by SethJohnson (#46759079) Attached to: Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings
I've spouted it a hundred times, here's #101:

Intuit's QuickBooks package is in desperate need of competition. It's thoroughly entrenched in the accounting industry such that the interface is nonsensically-antiquated. Yet, it's become one of those industry standards that Intuit refuses to modernize it or introduce any kind of improvements for fear it will alienate the armies of accountants that have been compelled to learn it.

If google were to launch a cloud-based bookkeeping app, this would be a tremendous benefit to small business owners worldwide.

Comment: Re:Is it not obvious? They have dirt on him! (Score 1) 312

by SethJohnson (#46678923) Attached to: Why No Executive Order To Stop NSA Metadata Collection?

I'd have to say it probably has more to do with being shown the Kennedy assassination tapes prior to the stroke of the pen that put it into action.

More specifically, the Kennedy assassination tapes that were shot from a completely different angle than the Zapruder film and hasn't been released to the public.

Comment: Re:50%+ cheaper not to use the cloud (Score 1) 119

If someone is watching an episode of the smurfs where it is raining, you will notice a difference.

Could performance be improved if Amazon were to offload rendering of the raindrops to the client? I'm thinking if the Roku or AppleTV box had to compute the transparency of the raindrop over the skin of the blue smurfs, it might alleviate these performance hits you're seeing on EC2. Either that or replace the raindrops with snowflakes which are more complex due to every single one being unique, but not having transparency issues to manage might speed things up. I suppose the feasibility would depend on the Smurfs episodes' storylines, however.

Comment: Please destroy eBay, Yahoo! (Score 2) 162

by SethJohnson (#46610291) Attached to: Yahoo May Build Its Own YouTube
A long while ago Yahoo tried to compete with eBay offering YahooAuctions. Their heart wasn't in it, and they killed it off. The potential there was huge and because there is no competition, eBay has enjoyed enormous profits at the expense of anyone trying to sell stuff. The commission they take off every sale is huge. Yahoo could shave the commissions down just a bit and still make a healthy profit.

Oh, and it would be trivial for Yahoo to make a craigslist competitor. I wish they would. Heck, with flickr, they've already got the photo hosting set up. Users would be attracted by improved interface and excellent mobile buying and selling app. At present, Craigslist doesn't care about either of these things and deserves to be knocked off its laurels.

Comment: Here's how I found out.... (Score 4, Interesting) 72

Back in 2005, I had a personal blog site defaced. I didn't even know it had happened.

The way I spotted the issue was through an open terminal window that was tailing the apache access log. I'd glance at it every once in a while as traffic trickled over the blog. I saw a request come in from the PENTAGON domain. I thought it was odd because my blog was about skateboarding and didn't think it would be of interest to anyone working at the Pentagon. I looked at the referrer and it was a site I was unfamiliar with: http://www.zone-h.org/.

So I browsed over to that server and saw that the page linking to my site was a list of defaced sites. Then I checked my own homepage and sure enough, Wordpress had been compromised by an exploit and someone had posted an article on the front page.

So, it seems like someone at the pentagon had a script scraping the defacement indexing sites and was then visiting each affected server and scraping that. Never got an email or phone call or anything.

Comment: John Carmack --- Genius Move! (Score 4, Interesting) 535

by SethJohnson (#46578955) Attached to: Facebook Buying Oculus VR For $2 Billion
Wow. John Carmack quit his job at iD (Zenimax) to be the CTO at Occulus Rift and then in less than six months is probably getting a few dozen millions of dollars.

Talk about knowing where to be at the right time....

Same with Marc Andreesen and his VC cash infusion of $75 million just a few months ago. Those guys are going to turn that $75 mill into a bunch more through this turn and burn deal. Not so much a 'burn,' but it is a very quick harvesting on their investment.

Comment: Re:Lets wait and see (Score 5, Insightful) 535

by SethJohnson (#46578727) Attached to: Facebook Buying Oculus VR For $2 Billion
Knutsi- I agree with all your points, but wanted to extend your comment a bit.

Probably that last line is the most significant motivator for both parties--

For Oculus, Sony was raising a threat. Also, supply of displays from Samsung might prove to be an unfeasible constraint. Especially if Samsung decides to create their own VR googles. With FaceBook money, they can build their own OLED factory if need be.

For FaceBook, they have to really worry that a technology on the horizon might take their hundreds of millions of eyeballs off FaceBook html and point them in a different direction- just like FaceBook took eyes away from network television. They just bought what might have been a FaceBook killer in the future. Maybe they aren't planning to weld Oculus rift onto the FaceBook homepage. Maybe they'll let it crush facebook, but they won't care because they'll be riding on top of the beast that stomped it to death.

Comment: This looks GREAT! (Score 1) 30

by SethJohnson (#46521699) Attached to: Code Combat: Free, Open Source, Multiplayer Programming Lessons
Awesome work here.

I used to play the old Robot Wars game on my Apple II+ as a kid. Super fun and that was basically requiring us to write in assembly. Glad to see someone has brought this type of competition back to the public. Major kudos!!

I'm curious about the choice of javascript. I personally don't have a criticism against javascript, but I've recently been working with beanshell and python, so I'm wondering what's driving the javascript decision. Plans to support python or other languages later?

Comment: pings came from inside the engines (Score 1) 145

by SethJohnson (#46502803) Attached to: US Navy Strategists Have a Long History of Finding the Lost
The pings that were recorded after the other communications gear was shut down were emitted by the Rolls Royce engines. The engine vendor apparently wants to maintain records separate from the black box (might not be recovered) in the event of a crash. This way they can document exactly when their engines stopped. If it's at point of impact, then they avoid blame.

So, I do not believe that anyone inside the plane could have shut off the engines' transponders without shutting down the engines.

Comment: The mysterious Time Lord! (Score 1) 20

Slashdot's Tim Lord managed to get in....

I'm assuming this reference to the attendee was missing a letter 'e'. To clarify, this Slashdot staffer is the guy who uses his mystical powers to delay all postings a few days after they've appeared on news.google.com. When people say they don't believe in Time Travel, this guy shows them how to send articles into the future.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 2) 390

by SethJohnson (#46421521) Attached to: Bitcoin Inventor Satoshi Nakamoto Outed By Newsweek

What makes his so-called stash of bitcoins worth the effort of trying to go after him for a cut any more than how wealthy any one of the other multimillionaires or billionaires in the world happens to be?

This is pure speculation, but that's all we have to work with right now.

Nakamoto has worked as a scientist on several secret military projects. This has given him some insight into the ongoing US government research into time travel technology. He must know that by attaching his own identity to the creation of bitcoin, he would become a lucrative target for criminal time travelers. By keeping his identity anonymous, he was protected against time travelers visiting him on the day he created the algorithm and having it stolen from him.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 2) 390

by SethJohnson (#46421357) Attached to: Bitcoin Inventor Satoshi Nakamoto Outed By Newsweek
Here's the difference.

If a gang of thugs captures Warren Buffet, there's not a lot they can torture out of the old codger. It's not believed he has secret knowledge that may be worth billions of dollars.

There could easily be foreign criminal syndicates who could suspect Nakamoto knows a secret backdoor to the algorithm that can be exploited to easily generate bitcoins. The potential riches might be incentive for them to gamble a kidnapping and torture operation.

Lots of wealthy people DO hire security to accompany them in public places. Remember the false-flag conspiracy theories about the private contractors standing around the finish line at the Boston Marathon during last year's bombing? Those guys were security hired by wealthy people running in the marathon. The risk of kidnapping does exist for people in the US. Patty Hearst can corroborate that.

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