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Comment: Re:Changing IMEI is illegal (Score 1) 109

by Sneftel (#46751203) Attached to: Inside the Stolen Smartphone Black Market In London

That's a significant problem, I agree. You could program the same IMEI onto all the mainboard chips and make them inoperable unless the IMEIs all match, but the screen and touchscreen are still expensive and useful to salvage. It's not a panacea. But it would precipitously drop the street price of a stolen iPhone, and that would make theft less lucrative. Every bit counts.

Comment: Re:Changing IMEI is illegal (Score 1) 109

by Sneftel (#46751177) Attached to: Inside the Stolen Smartphone Black Market In London

The fuse bits would be on the radio chip, the IC that actually does the cellular stuff, so patching and soldering would be useless. Fuse bits are set in a manner similar to flash memory -- via commands to the chip. The only significant difference is that once set, they can't be changed.

Microcontrollers already use fuse bits. Your average less-than-a-dollar PIC microcontroller includes several fuse bits to do things like make it impossible to reprogram. It's well-known technology, and just as cost-effective as the current system. It just doesn't allow for IMEI modification, and it's starting to look like allowing IMEI modification is a win for the manufacturers.

Comment: Re:Changing IMEI is illegal (Score 3, Insightful) 109

by Sneftel (#46749823) Attached to: Inside the Stolen Smartphone Black Market In London

It would be trivial for manufacturers to make the IMEI absolutely unchangeable using fuse bits. The fact that they have not suggests that they see widespread phone theft as an overall benefit for them, which makes sense -- it drives sales of new phones among those able to afford them.

Enforcement of those laws would help, but enforcement of such things is always expensive and imperfect. Simpler and more effective to mandate that manufacturers make IMEIs absolutely unchangeable.

Comment: Re:OMG FAG LOL (Score 5, Informative) 183

by Sneftel (#46591181) Attached to: Xbox One Reputation System Penalizes Gamers Who Behave Badly

They're not basing the reputation system on reports of cheating, though. As you pointed out, it's difficult, and hopelessly subjective, to tell the difference between a really good player and a cheater, so expert oversight is necessary to interpret those flags. (The good news is, automated analytics are getting remarkably good at telling the difference. It's an arms race, of course, but not as lopsided as it once was.) Rather, this system is for tagging griefers.

Comment: Re:Teaching programmer? (Score 1) 381

by Sneftel (#45510599) Attached to: More Money For CS Instructors Who Teach More Girls

Bullshit, I self taught myself. I had no teacher and my parents were computer illiterate, and many of the greatest programmers I know followed the exact same pattern.

Wonderful! If, as you say, the greatest programmers are entirely self-made, purely because some god-given vocatio made them start BASICing up roguelikes, then applying incentives to teachers won't matter one way or another.

But if, on the other hand, this stuff isn't genetic but rather a matter of environment and upbringing, of a word of encouragement at the right time, of giving a seed of talent a place to grow.... well, but no. No, all you need is a computer and to be the chosen one.

Comment: Re:Teaching programmer? (Score 3, Interesting) 381

by Sneftel (#45509129) Attached to: More Money For CS Instructors Who Teach More Girls

You don't know a single competent programmer who just started programming just because they wanted to. They started programming because they had the opportunity to, and the support. And if manipulating teachers is effective in countering their (probably unconscious, but nevertheless well-researched and documented) bias towards offering opportunity and support towards mostly boys, then it's the right thing to do.

Comment: TTIs (heh) (Score 2) 68

by Sneftel (#45163193) Attached to: Printable Smart Labels Tell You When the Milk's Gone Bad

There are already time-temperature indicators, which are low-cost, (usually) non-electronic devices affixed to perishable products to check whether they've remained in the appropriate range, and how long they were out of that range. Those are what this new tech is competing with, not the temperature-sensitive LCD strips you see on aquariums.

Comment: ugh (Score 5, Insightful) 479

by Sneftel (#45110207) Attached to: Charlie Stross: Why Microsoft Word Must Die

Yes, let's enumerate all the structural untidinesses of Word. Let's blame that application -- which held its own, against many, many competitors, not because of a megacorporation strong-arming it (remember, MS was not always a megacorp) but because it was good at doing what users wanted it to do -- for the inelegance of its data model. Let's compare it to SGML, which is so much nicer and easier and so much more elegant if you're a programmer and can appreciate that sort of elegance, and if you're not a programmer, well then for god's sake why are you touching a computer?

If you want SGML, you know where to download it.

"You tweachewous miscweant!" -- Elmer Fudd