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Comment: No apps = no customers (Score 2) 278

by VernorVinge (#44907299) Attached to: Ballmer Admits Microsoft Whiffed Big-Time On Smartphones
Android took a while to catch up to Apple's market share because of a smaller apps store, but they managed to do so because they already achieved a critical mass of apps. Blackberry failed because they never had enough apps to attract customers. Barnes and Noble tried to sell Nook tablets with their own tiny app store, and had to give up because customers were rooting the devices to access Google Play. Microsoft will never catch up to Apple or Android without a massive infusion of cash and labor. Developers have a hard enough time building apps for two platforms, let alone three.

Comment: Permanently unsafe (Score 2) 773

by VernorVinge (#44814313) Attached to: Apple Unveils iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S
I can live with the knowledge that my passwords are inherently unsafe. They can be changed as needed. If a hacker gets access to my full finger print scan, then its game over, permanently. We do not have the ability to reset fingerprints without radical surgery. I for one will never use my fingerprints for e-commerce.

Comment: Most Chinese computers are already infected (Score 5, Interesting) 520

by VernorVinge (#44506675) Attached to: China Has a Massive Windows XP Problem
In May, Panda Labs (not Express) published a study suggesting that 55% of computers in China are infected by malware. http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/half-chinas-computers-infected-malware-study-finds-1B8290982 I had the pleasure of cleaning up malware on friends' computers while living in China, back when XP was the dominant OS. Though my sample size was small, I believe the Panda Labs number comes much closer to reality than what is captured by the afterthought that is Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool. Popular programs like QQ are laden with security holes that essentially invite any hacker to take control of a PC. The end of XP updates may cause extra few million computers to be infected, but it will be a drop in the bucket compared to the true problem. My advice is- don't trust personal computers in China or email servers in China.

Comment: Re:Have they actually found it? (Score 1, Insightful) 652

by VernorVinge (#40547093) Attached to: Texas Scientists Regret Loss of Higgs Boson Quest
The Nobel Prize is a large trust left by the inventor of dynamite to perpetuate his legacy. The prizes are awarded each year by six Swedish scientists in secretive deliberations with no input from the scientific, academic, or political community at large. I have long abandoned the belief that the prize is in any way an accurate indication of the recipient's accomplishments.

Comment: Wasted funds (Score 1) 312

by VernorVinge (#40537033) Attached to: SETI Running Out of Money
I used to have one of those SETI @Home programs running day and night on my computer. After a few months, I read up on the methodology and realized that the program purposely ignored some of the most significant types of structured signal spikes. No reason was given in the literature. I uninstalled the program and haven't paid them any attention until today. If SETI ever hopes to survive, they need to show us they know what they are doing for a change.

Comment: Got skillz (Score 1) 708

by VernorVinge (#40524457) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do I Stay Employable?
If you are truly fearful for your job, apply to other companies. The job market is not at zero right now. I changed careers twice this year without breaking a sweat. If you can't switch laterally, ask yourself, are my skill sets unique or easily duplicated? If you are just a sheep, start diversifying your responsibilities, get additional training, or even go to school part time. Develop skill sets that no one else can replicate, and you will always be in demand.

Comment: Re:Is it illegal? (Score 1) 538

by VernorVinge (#40466439) Attached to: High-Frequency Traders Are the Ultimate Hackers, Says Mark Cuban
I studied under Laura Tyson and professors who administered the S&L bailout in the 80s. Unlike you, I did do my research.

You failed to mention if you would like to go back to the robber barons days with no regulation. I'm sure you think your clean drinking water, 8 hour work days, safe work places, blue skies, Social Security and Medicare, and civil rights just magically appeared out of thin air?

The reason there are so many problems with government programs is because of rent seeking, people who seek unjustified profits through controlling government contracts and programs. You tea baggers and efficient market theorists do nothing but stand in the way of making reasonable fixes to our problems. When will you learn that government is a necessary evil? The sooner you stop frothing at the mouth and start being part of the solution, the sooner we can get this country back on track.

Comment: Re:Is it illegal? (Score 1) 538

by VernorVinge (#40464163) Attached to: High-Frequency Traders Are the Ultimate Hackers, Says Mark Cuban
Jane, I forgot to answer you question.

So you would rather live in the world of the robber barons, child labor, 14 hour work days, and unrestrained pollution? Or better yet, to 1929, when the goverment also ceded complete control of the economy to the private sector. You need to brush up on your Econ 101, missy.

Unrestrained capitalism is a force that favors monopoly as an outcome. No one wins except for the monopolist. Efficiency is the result of goverment actively regulating the economy to allow competition to flourish.

We've grown fat and lazy off TV and potato chips, and have stopped fighting for our democracy. The monopolists are close to complete control of our government, and I only pray it's not too late to fight back. I do agree with you, the government is

Comment: Re:Is it illegal? (Score 2) 538

by VernorVinge (#40464095) Attached to: High-Frequency Traders Are the Ultimate Hackers, Says Mark Cuban
I have no doubt that the market is hopelessly corrupt. I used to be a trader and a stock broker and have seen the good, the bad, and the truly ugly. The entire financial system is built on convincing average people to give money to mutual funds with no questions asked. In 30 to 40 years, the money you were promised may or may not be there, but those who sold you the investments are long retired to their private islands. All the meanwhile, traders such as myself are siphoning money off every trade these mutal funds make. The only way we can fight the Wall Street's growing power is to vote with our pocketbooks. Invest in retirement yourself instead of giving it to money managers. If you don't understand the market, buy hard assets like art and real estate. If you don't understand that, then sock it in a CD.

Comment: Re:Is it illegal? (Score 1) 538

by VernorVinge (#40463759) Attached to: High-Frequency Traders Are the Ultimate Hackers, Says Mark Cuban

You'd have better luck predicting a coin toss based on starting velocity, wind speed, ambient humidity, etc., than you would predicting a stock's day-to-day movement based on all available data.

How does efficient market theory explain all the millionaire and billionaire stock traders Manhattan and London? People who claim it's impossible to make money trading simply don't know how to trade. With the exception of Communism, Milton Friedman's BS theories on efficient unrestrained capitalism have done more to destroy the world economy than any other intellectual movement in modern history.

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