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Comment: Re:You mean... (Score 1) 236

by Sloppy (#47938243) Attached to: AT&T Proposes Net Neutrality Compromise

Except Netflix offers to deliver an entire bakery to the the table.

Yes, one bite at a time. You're not allowed get your second bite of cake onto your fork until you have swallowed your first bite, and you're sure as hell not allowed to have your cannoli on the table until after you have finished your tiramisu.

Say you have a waiter who isn't delivering your individual bites fast enough. Maybe he's legitimately crippled, or maybe he's just a spiteful asshole, but you're stuck with that waiter. What would you do about it? I'd tell the chef wearing the Netflix apron in the kitchen, to send me a whole slice of cake, and let's forget this whole bite, ack, bite, ack, bite nonsense. I'm hungry (and this baking analogy isn't helping!) and intend to minimize the waiter's impact upon my meal.

I suppose I see how using timeshifting to make speed less relevant, has a downside: it removes our incentive to increase performance. Ok, then go ahead and remain vulnerable to networking problems (whether it's due to your ISP being assholes, or because someone else in the house is using the Internet for something else, or whatever) for political reasons, both as a protest and to keep your own passion inflamed (so that you'll stay activist). But when AT&T starts suggesting that bulk video get special QoS, the bluff is starting to get a little too real. There are people taking this idea seriously. That is bad.

It's going to increase your Netflix bills and it's going to increase your AT&T bills. So here is what I suggest instead: take the monthly amount of money that they're taling about increasing your bills by, and spend it once on SSD or spinning rust instead, and stick that storage into your player computer (since apparently it doesn't already have any?!?). Have a download process that writes to files, and a player process that reads from files. Then don't start playing a video until you're pretty sure you're not going to "catch up" to however much has downloaded so far (or if that sounds complicated, then just don't play things until you're finishing downloading them).

You just saved a shitload of money, made it so that your internet speed doesn't really have an effect on whatever video bitrate you use (if you want to use a huge high-res TV at a house with a slow connection, that'll be fine), and now you're more resistant to "weather" (kid in other room's torrents, ISP-ISP and ISP-video_provider contract disputes, etc: all that stuff fades in significance).

What's not to like? Everyone wins except the spiteful waiter, except that even he just got an easier job, even if it's instead of the raise that he wanted.

Comment: Re:You mean... (Score 5, Insightful) 236

by Sloppy (#47918577) Attached to: AT&T Proposes Net Neutrality Compromise

I think the idea is that you pay the ISP for a "Netflix booster", and then your Netflix traffic gets un-humped into the fast lane.

Is it just me, or does anyone else see the foolishness in one of the highest volume uses of the Internet also being one of the highest priority? That people are thinking of the huge transfers of pre-produced video as being something other than the dead last, lowest priority cheapest-per-byte traffic there is, is totally ridiculous.

The only things that should be "fast laned" (low latency) are VoIP, videoconferencing, interactive terminals, etc: most of which is either low-bandwidth or else niche. If "high priority" is what many peoples' connections are doing several hours per day, then our very sense of "priorities" is fucked up.

I can't say I'm a fan of the ISPs that Netflix is fighting with, but at the same time: Fuck Netflix. Netflix is a case study in how to do video technologically wrong and it seems like they're just totally ignoring common sense. Why shouldn't doing things like a luddite, be relatively expensive? (Really, having storage in your box is still considered prohibitively expensive? It sure wasn't expensive in 2000 with Tivo series 1. Things got worse since then?!?) If the pampered princess insists that her cake be delivered from the kitchen a bite at a time and the commoner just puts a whole slice on his plate and takes a bite at the table whenever he wants it, we expect the princess' servants to be rolling their eyes when she's not looking, embezzeling, etc.

When we have broken up the monopolies and our streets have conduits under them containing a dozen competing fibers, we can re-evaluate the tech from our position of abundance. Maybe video streaming won't be on-the-face-of-it-stupid, then. But that's the future, not today.

Comment: Re:How about (Score 2) 208

by Sloppy (#47891047) Attached to: Turning the Tables On "Phone Tech Support" Scammers

So sure, it's easier to hang up on them but you are actually doing them a favor and helping them out by doing so.

No, failure to take hostile action isn't a favor; it's neutrality. Installing their malware would be a favor. I can appreciate those with the time and energy to take fight to this enemy (good on you!), but I have other battles to fight with my (however high) limited anger.

The problem with this enemy, which makes it so hard to care, is how irrelevant they are. So they call people about bullshit, wasting their time. That can be annoying, but there are so many more annoying things.

I suppose some people would say this enemy is worse that that, because the call is just a way of performing a SE attack, but I disagree. I just can't help but get blame-the-victim-y with SE attacks like that. I think many of our society's real problems are caused by SE, much of it legal (e.g. "vote for me, because I'm a member of the correct party," or "believe our religion's dogma, because your parents did") and that we'd all be a lot better off with more "scam antibodies" in ourselves. So part of me hopes these scammers flourish, thereby teaching people to stop being so fucking gullible. Maybe you can't fix stupid, but we can try, and an environment full of con artists is good for that. These assholes are evil, but they're good for us.

No, I'm not fully committed to that outlook (sure, I wanna hurt the bad guys too) but I'm conflicted enough that it evens out. And while we're at it, don't knock lazy! So a position of neutrality, it is.

Comment: How about THIS? (Score 1) 208

by Sloppy (#47890653) Attached to: Turning the Tables On "Phone Tech Support" Scammers

I have never gotten one of these calls. But I have gotten a few calls like this:

[Phone vibrates. I see the non-local calling number. Reject and block.]

That's the new, lazy version. Until a few weeks ago, I had many of these:

[Phone vibrates. I look at the non-local calling number and wonder who that could be. Google the number and apparently every non-local number that ever calls me, is associated with robocalling. Reject. They call again a few days later. Reject and block. Then a few days later I look at my Visual Voicemail which my shitty Galaxy S4 software never tells me has new entries until I refresh it, and some actual human speech may happen.]
ME: "Fuck."
[And I see they left a few messages containing nothing but silence. Delete.]

But that second scenario doesn't happen anymore. Robocallers have successfully trained me.

Comment: Re:Example? (Score 2) 366

by Sloppy (#47884487) Attached to: The State of ZFS On Linux

(I still do things the classic way: filesystem on lvm on luks on mdadm. not using ZFS yet.) I'm not sure it's exactly about what's required.

Consider wear leveling on SSDs. Only the filesystem really understands which blocks need to preserve data and which ones are don't-care. So to do SSDs right, it needs to pass info about unallocated storage down to the volume manager, whch then passes it to the encryption, which then passes it to the RAID, which then gives it to old-school "real" block device (which then passes it to the wear-leveling firmware, I guess). Sure, that can work. But when the filesystem can talk to the physical block device, it's easier. If you're writing block devices that implement things like volumes and encryption and RAID, from your PoV, things that are allocated vs not-allocated are totally different than how the filesystem sees it. To you, a block is just a block and a whole bunch of ioctls are totally irrelevant and not related to what you're working on. You're going to find this type of information to be pesky and you might not handle it right (or more likely, it takes a long time before you handle it at all). And in fact that has happened a few times, where certain block devices' feature set lagged a bit, behind what people with SSDs needed.

I suppose another easily-contrived example would be if you have a few gigabytes of data on a few terabytes of RAID, and need to [re]build the RAID. If your RAID doesn't know which blocks actually have data, then it'll need to copy/xor a few terabytes. If it's a unified system, then it can be complete after copying/xoring a few gigabytes.

Comment: Re:hmmmm (Score 1) 275

by Sloppy (#47880321) Attached to: California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

..contracts requiring NDA's that now allows customers to review secret details of products or company practices on public forums.

Can someone who favors this, explain why this might be a good thing instead of a bad thing? Maybe an example? It sounds to me like endangering such a (seemingly, to me) bad practice might be an intended consequence, not an unintended one.

I can't even see how a review made under an NDA might be useful. The premise is that the reviewer is withholding information. "The spaghetti was excellent. [censored]I am prohibited from saying anything about the sauce.[/censored]"

Comment: Consider owner !=user (Score 2) 471

by Sloppy (#47873483) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

I started trying to think of situations where a person can have a wrist-worn PC but cannot have a handheld PC with them -- situations where people are constrained for some reason.

The obvious thing most people come up with, is where it's a natural or convenient constraint. You don't want to be holding something extra while you're swimming or swinging an axe or climbling a cliff. I think the related applications are already well-discussed.

What about when it's an artificial constraint? I initially drew a blank on how such a constraint would emerge, until I considered situations where the served parties by the two PCs are different, so that the handheld (if one is present) might serve the user (or manufacturer) but the wrist-worn serves someone else.

Once you start thinking of situations where the user is in an adversarial (or seemingly or potentially adversarial) relationship with the owner then it gets easier to see the applications.

Prisoners, parolees, etc. It's not so much that you let them wear the Pebble or iWatch, as you make them wear it. And your prisoner doesn't need to be surfing the web or otherwise doing things where the PC needs to communicate things to the user, so many of the disadvantages relative to handhelds, become totally irrelevant. The application, of course, is monitoring: being an open spy for the government.

Somewhat similarly: children. Mom wants to know where you are, but isn't really interested in giving you Yet Another porn terminal. Quit fapping and get back to your homework at the libra-- your friend's house?!? Get back to the library!

Marketing. Get 'em cheap enough, and these could replace your "frequent shopper" cards as your cookie. Wear our wrist PC as you walk around our store and check out, for a 2% discount. The application is spying, again. And I guess as long as it has a speaker, it can play location-triggered ads. "Whoa, you just walked right by our delicious canned spoo and instant flarn. Are you sure you don't want some?" The idea here is that you could perform the application with a handheld, but the existing handheld PC would be too pro-user so it might not really play the ads out loud and it might report false travel data. So you want the pro-store computer to be a physically different one. Then it becomes a wrist-worn simply because that's smaller and cheaper ($10 instead of $100).

Sweatshops. The Slurm factory employees are spending too much time on bathroom breaks, and texting their friends. Well, the employee wearable PC doesn't do texts, and it delivers a shock after 90 seconds in the bathroom. If a supervisor ever sees you without your wearable, you're fired.

Jealous spouses. Hubby's "Love Watch" chemical sensors are picking up interesting volatiles: perfume? My, he sure is breathing hard and the GPS has him in a residential neighborhood, not at the mid-town office. Oh, those are just fringe use cases: everyone knows the real purpose of the Love Watch is that it instantly relays every time you speak "I love you" into it. (OMG, that last part is so sickening that I bet a variant of this product already exists today.)

Think in terms of why you might want to "plant" (though not necessarily with subterfuge) your computer on someone else, to be your agent rather than the wearer's. Those may be the best applications for wrist-worn PCs.

Comment: Re:little ridiculous (Score 1) 94

by Sloppy (#47791487) Attached to: Google Introduces HTML 5.1 Tag To Chrome

It's nonsense because most users, when they think about how a web app responds to an event, they're thinking of their "clicks" (or touches) rather than changing viewports. Changing viewports is a rare event (and therefore relatively unimportant) compared to pretty much anything else.

Saying a page is "responsive" when someone tilts their tablet, is like saying a car has "great handling" because the door handles feel nice whenever you stroke them. It's not that either is a bad thing; they're simply labeled stupidly and also imply things which might be false. And for whatever reason, some people resent terminology that is simultaneously stupid and deceitful. (Weirdos!)

Comment: Tail Fins (Score 1) 220

by Sloppy (#47662727) Attached to: Samsung Announces Galaxy Alpha Featuring Metal Frame and Rounded Corners

What's the obsession with...[computer enclosure flavor of the month]?

There was a cartoon in some [Amiga-oriented, I think?] magazine about a quarter century ago. It was a guy showing off a computer in an unusual case, saying "We figured out what users want isn't more power or increased applications, but rather, really cool tail fins."

Comment: Untrustworthy != Useless (Score 1) 175

by Sloppy (#47630603) Attached to: Yahoo To Add PGP Encryption For Email

If Yahoo ends up holding the private keys, then it's completely untrustworthy and useless.

Let's hypothesize that Yahoo does this the worst way possible, so we can play to everyone's fears. Let's say the users aren't even going to have the key on their machines ever, and instead, Yahoo explicitly announces they have your private key, and their server will do all the decryption and signing for you (your machine won't even be doing it in Javascript), and they're under US jurisdiction and therefore subject to CALEA and NSLs, and furthermore just to make things worse, let's just say that they even publically admit that they would happily provide keys to any government who asks, without even a warrant or sternly-worded letter. But when you ask 'em if they really mean every government, "even Russia?" they reply with "no comment" so you're not sure they're really publically admitting everyone to whom they'll give the key.

There. Did I cover all the bases? Did I leave anyone's pet fear out?

Sorry, let's add a few more things. Let's say Yahoo's CEO is a Scientologist, all their network admins are required to be either Holocoaust Deniers or Creationists, and every employee is required to have at least 25% of their investments in MPAA companies. The receptionists all have iPhones, the corporate mission is the next president of the USA must have either Clinton or Bush as their last name, and henceforth all their web ads will be for either Amway or Herbalife. All the interns are spies for Google and Microsoft and Chinese industries, except for a few which are spies for Mossad, FSB, or Al-Qaeda. The head janitor is being blackmailed by two unknown parties for his participation in a kiddie porn network, and the top sysadmin hasn't heard about Heartbleed yet, the top programmer (who bears the title "Grand Wizard" on his business card) doesn't believe in comments, their implementation of OpenPGP uses a 1938 Luftwaffe cipher as its entropy source for generating session keys, and the company weather station's thermometer was installed on a south-facing patio that gets direct sun all day long.

You may possibly harbor doubts about trusting this company. Yet in that situation, switching to Yahoo email would be more secure than what most people have right now, with plaintext email. So how's that "useless?"

Comment: Re:Awesome!! (Score 1) 175

by Sloppy (#47630207) Attached to: Yahoo To Add PGP Encryption For Email

Now all I have to do is get my father, my mother, my sister, my half-sister, my grandmother, my wife, and my assorted friends to learn what PGP is and how to read the emails I send them.

You jest, but don't you see how popular webmail providers adding insecure PGP implementations to their platforms would be a pretty good first step to doing exactly what you say?

A modem is a baudy house.