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Comment: Re:Oh good (Score 5, Informative) 907

by Neon Spiral Injector (#47994905) Attached to: Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

A friend of a friend has a car with one of these. It might be possible to bypass it, but blocking the signal isn't the solution. He parked his car in an underground garage, and when he came back it wouldn't start. Turns out if the disabler hasn't received a ping in a certain elapsed time it also disables the starter. He called the loan company, and they had to send a technician to get the car to start, and be able to drive out of the garage.

Comment: Re:Glaring Mistakes (Score 1) 226

I think this leads to a more pressing question: How do you decide where to balance technical accuracy with accessibility for the majority of people who won't understand it? Does the show count on getting away with some minor mistakes, knowing that 99+% of the audience won't catch it?

I've noticed several mistakes myself (in the handful of episodes I've watched with my girlfriend, who loves the show), especially around quantum physics (my preferred subject of study). I always wonder if they're deliberately introduced, or if they are genuine mistakes by the writers and/or actors due to lack of understanding or knowledge.

Comment: Re: I hope not (Score 1) 511

by Max Littlemore (#47754293) Attached to: If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

You can also write bad procedural code in an "OO language" because that is also a methodology. I see that crap all the time; giant 50+ line methods that do a bunch of things and all the utility functions are procedural-style class methods. Lots of Rubyists don't have any idea even what the difference between OOP and Procedural is, they just assume they must be doing OOP since they're using an "OO language."

... and in some cases breaking with OO methodology is the correct approach at least for Java. I'm thinking of squeezing performance out of an Android app on low end devices where it's a good idea to use the "static" keyword all over the place and in doing so treat member variables as globals and functions as effectively global subroutines. I think of it as risotto code - a big bowl of starchy mess that's a bit less stringy in appearance than spaghetti and potentially harder to get your head around.

Which sort of brings me to my view on whether or not Java is cool. Java itself is kind of like a swiss army knife that can be used to do just about anything you could want to do. It comes with a huge amount of bloat to that allows it to handle just about anything and while it's almost never as good as a specialist tool but you can always make it work. Swiss army knives are cool to boys between about 8 - 16 years old give or take. An adult with a swiss army knife in a leather pouch on their belt on the other hand is never cool.

Useful maybe, but never cool.

Comment: Re: Automated notice not necessary here (Score 1) 368

by Mattcelt (#47664535) Attached to: Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

IIRC AT&T (I can't find a link, so my details may be off - YMMV) lost a case regarding this several years back, claiming that their "we may record this conversation" disclaimer applied to only the originally-disclaiming party.

To wit: if the other party consents to the recording of their own volition, you do not need to get additional consent to record, in any state. Their "this call may be recorded" statement provides their blanket consent to all recording.

Comment: Re:Time capsule or doomsday timer (Score 1) 170

So what do you do when technology and law provides such an attractive feast for "content 'owners'" that it becomes impossible to purchase anything outright, and everything you pay for comes in the Netflix model?

To answer the OP's question, there is a solution: TecSec*. It provides a crypto-wrapper of sorts that allows for external data (literally anything quantifiable; e.g., geolocation data, time data, etc.) to be used as a condition for decryption. The notable caveat here is that you need a trusted source for the information to be used for criteria. But while difficult, it's possible to create a solution that will withstand (literally) the test of time.

* Full disclosure, I am an acquaintance of the CEO, but we met because of the technology; I'm offering my opinion as a security professional, not a friend.

Comment: Re:Ripe for abuse (Score 1) 106

by Mattcelt (#47166889) Attached to: Tracking Tesla's Quiet Changes To the Model S

Agreed. Though I can only speak anecdotally, every wealthy person I know - which I'm defining here as would not need to earn any more money between now and the day they die and still live comfortably in their chosen lifestyle - is not a spendthrift.

One of the wealthiest men in the world balked at an aircraft avionics upgrade that cost less than his income for one day.

And more often than not, even seemingly-frivolous expenditures have ulterior money-making options that may have long-term returns. Richard Branson may seem a spendthrift, but I assure you that nearly everything he does has long-term gains in mind. (He is not the person referenced above, btb.) Some pan out, some do not. But an expenditure that is knowingly not a good buy is a rare event.

I don't know if the research is still the most current, but in the Millionaire Next Door study, the ONLY absolutely consistent factor for American millionaires was their marriage to frugal wives.

Frugality is very heavily correlated to wealth gain and retention; to the point where I'm comfortable calling it a factor in causation.

Comment: External TBC (Score 1) 201

by Venner (#46911009) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Which VHS Player To Buy?

>> To avoid frame dropping, you need an external TBC (different from the TBC in the VCR) acting as a frame sync.


Let me add for the person asking the question that I found an external TBC extremely useful back when I was transferring family movies from VHS. Even though I used a nice SVHS unit with an internal TBC, some of the worst older tapes still had lots of dropping out, tearing, and sync issues that magically all but disappeared when I fed the signal through the external TBC. Perhaps you don't need it in your case, but I definitely did.

Here's an in informative thread where someone asked about the need for an external TBC. Be sure to look at the images in post #7.

If I have a VCR with TBC, why is a separate unit needed anyway?

Comment: Re: Chip and PIN (Score 2) 210

by Mattcelt (#46881855) Attached to: Target Moves To Chip and Pin Cards To Boost Security

I still have a Target-branded chip-and-pin card and USB reader from 10+ years ago from an early pilot they did with a well-financed crypto startup. I would imagine some of their executives are kicking themselves now for having shut the project down then.

It's nice to see the US finally catching up with what Europe has been doing for a very long time.

Comment: Re:Catastrophism (Score 1) 71

by Neon Spiral Injector (#46759783) Attached to: Saturn May Have Given Birth To a Baby Moon

Velokovsky (and Ackerman) wrote about the birth of Venus, and Mars waging war on the Earth as an actual hypothesis as to how the solar system got to how we view it today. Hogan, as was often his style, took that idea and wove a fictional story around it.

I wish I had recommendations of other lesser known authors of a similar style, but I've never encountered any. For the most part I probably read the same books that most techies do, Asimov, Gibson, Stephenson. It was just a fluke that my mother bought me the fourth book in Hogan's Giants series for Christmas one year, and despite not having read the previous three books I was hooked.

Comment: Re:Catastrophism (Score 1) 71

by WasteOfAmmo (#46759601) Attached to: Saturn May Have Given Birth To a Baby Moon

I have to say I miss Hogan also. My wife and I have also read most of Hogan's books and thoroughly enjoyed them. We are currently introducing our youngest to Hogan by reading Code of the Lifemaker as a family. His writing was not as good near the end and in all he did not publish near enough for my liking. I've yet to find a similar author to replace him in my library. If you have any suggestions I'd be interested in hearing them.

That all said, I had not heard of Velikovsky or John Ackerman... will have to check them out.

Comment: Re:Catastrophism (Score 1) 71

by Neon Spiral Injector (#46752543) Attached to: Saturn May Have Given Birth To a Baby Moon

You think Velikovsky got carried away? John Ackerman picked up where he left off.

But I came to leave the same comment. Well, the Velikovshy part, I didn't expect to find anyone who had read Jim's stuff. I miss him, I used to e-mail back and forth a occasionally. I do own copies of all of his books, most in hardback, and the first editions of the last dozen or so. I never had to heart to tell him that his last few were not very good.

Anyway, here's to the new baby moon in Saturn's cradle.

"Is it really you, Fuzz, or is it Memorex, or is it radiation sickness?" -- Sonic Disruptors comics