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Comment: Re:Good. (Score 2) 162

by ToreTS (#34669290) Attached to: UK Banks Attempt To Censor Academic Publication
From what I've read, UK banks will say "the correct PIN was used, so you must have been negligent and written it down somehow, the Chip and PIN system itself is unbreakable". Here in Norway we have had a PIN-based system since the 1980s, and in the beginning, Norwegian banks took the same stance (correct PIN used - customer automatically at fault), but time has shown that this is not true, as shown by skimming frauds where criminals read a customer's PIN using stealthily mounted cameras. Another approach is for the criminals to watch people typing in their PINs using binoculars and then pickpocket them. It's clear that stories coming out such as the exploit where a stolen card can be used without knowing the correct PIN must be really bad for the banks, since it breaks their "the system is perfectly secure, it must be your fault" line of argumentation.

Comment: What will they break this time? (Score 1) 385

by ToreTS (#34632550) Attached to: Firefox 4 Beta 8 Up
I wonder what part of Firefox's functionality will be arbitrarily changed this time? I always delay upgrading until they cut off security updates for the old version, and every time I finally upgrade there is some part of the application that works differently, and I need to google some arcane config setting to put it back the way I like it.

Comment: Re:So where's the "close" button this time? (Score 1) 291

by ToreTS (#33477680) Attached to: Ubuntu 10.10 Beta Released
Yeah, this is one of my pet peeves with Firefox as well. Everytime I upgrade, some default setting is changed, such as the behaviour of the tab close buttons, the location bar etc., and then I have to spend time tweaking settings in order to get things back the way I want it. It has gone so far that I put off upgrading Firefox until they stop putting out security patches for the old version. It was the same when upgrading to Thunderbird 3, and judging by the Mozilla forums, I'm not the only one experiencing this. Maintaining consistency is definitely important for the "non-geeky" users, and it seems that at least some open-source development teams do not get this.

Comment: Re:Theres one technical point (Score 1) 620

by ToreTS (#29755591) Attached to: Tim Berners-Lee Is Sorry About the Slashes
DOS already used the slash for command line switches (similar to - in Unix), and this was borrowed from CP/M. Since they did not want to break compatibility, they had to find another path separator, and adopted the backslash for this purpose. Modern versions of Windows now accept forward slashes as path separators, but on the command line you will have to enclose a forward-slash-separated path in quotation marks, in order to avoid it being parsed as command-line switches.

Comment: Re:Easy (Score 5, Informative) 1091

by ToreTS (#29159341) Attached to: How To Prove Someone Is Female?
Actually, I imagine they would be doing a PCR assay looking for the SRY gene on the Y chromosome, which is what gets things going in the male direction during foetal development. This would have a greater chance of detecting any abnormalities since in some rare cases, the SRY gene can end up on the X chromosome, giving an XX male. This would not be detected by a karyotype, but would show up on a PCR assay. Also, PCR is heavily automatised and probably easier to do than a karyotype, which involves a lot of human work. There are also other conditions that could cause something to go wrong, such as being a XY male with some defect in testosterone synthesis/sensitivity. Anyways, if she has the SRY gene, then that is a pretty strong indicator that her genes intended for her to be a man, but that something happened during foetal development to make things go another way.
The Internet

Wikipedia Approaches Its Limits 564

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the time-to-start-over-i-guess dept.
Reservoir Hill writes "The Guardian reports that a study by Ed H Chi demonstrates that the character of Wikipedia has changed significantly since Wikipedia's first burst of activity between 2004 and 2007. While the encyclopedia is still growing overall, the number of articles being added has reduced from an average of 2,200 a day in July 2007 to around 1,300 today while at the same time, the base of highly active editors has remained more or less static. Chi's team discovered that the way the site operates had changed significantly from the early days, when it ran an open-door policy that allowed in anyone with the time and energy to dedicate to the project. Today, they discovered, a stable group of high-level editors has become increasingly responsible for controlling the encyclopedia, while casual contributors and editors are falling away. 'We found that if you were an elite editor, the chance of your edit being reverted was something in the order of 1% — and that's been very consistent over time from around 2003 or 2004,' says Chi. 'For editors that make between two and nine edits a month, the percentage of their edits being reverted had gone from 5% in 2004 all the way up to about 15% by October 2008. And the 'onesies' — people who only make one edit a month — their edits are now being reverted at a 25% rate.' While Chi points out that this does not necessarily imply causation, he suggests it is concrete evidence to back up what many people have been saying: that it is increasingly difficult to enjoy contributing to Wikipedia unless you are part of the site's inner core of editors. Wikipedia's growth pattern suggests that it is becoming like a community where resources have started to run out. 'As you run out of food, people start competing for that food, and that results in a slowdown in population growth and means that the stronger, more well-adapted part of the population starts to have more power.'"

Comment: Re:Our own fault (Score 1) 272

by ToreTS (#28820613) Attached to: The Irksome Cellphone Industry

Of course that's one option, a better one would be to enable free competition between cellphone carriers. Here in Europe, if I think I pay too much for text messages, I can change to a provider that charges me less, and keep my number and handset. Apparently, that is not possible in the US due to anticompetitive practices of locking down phones and requiring customers to get a new phone number if they change carriers.

Of course, it's possible here too to enter a contract where I get a cheap phone in exchange for being locked to that provider for a year, but once the locking period expires I am free to change to another carrier.

It's interesting that Europe, which is chided as "socialist" by US inhabitants, actually has a more free market in this regard than the US itself.

How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else. -- R. Buckminster Fuller

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