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Comment: He's trolling and you fell for it (Score 2) 116

by Wrath0fb0b (#49161519) Attached to: Craig Brittain (Revenge Porn King) Sues For Use of Image

You really don't think he understands the irony of his request?
You really don't think he understands (or was explained) the flimsy legal basis for his request?
You really don't think he knew that the headline "Man who violated privacy upset about privacy violation" was going to spread like crack?

Please do not feed the trolls
Please do not reward the media whores.

Comment: Re:Should be damaging (Score 1) 431

by Wrath0fb0b (#49122335) Attached to: Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

The point about offending Canada isn't about whether he allows it or not, it's about the convoluted and interminable process that they have gone through to find out whether it is allowed. Realistically, they cannot start entertaining other (more costly) options, until the final rejection is received.

If there's one thing I hope could unite people that disagree on whether it should be completed or not is that the process should have a deterministic end point where a final decision is reached. It doesn't have to be quick -- it ought to take as long as necessary to thoroughly develop the factual record -- but there should never be a process that goes on indefinitely.

Comment: Sounds like a good use for FPROM? (Score 1) 138

by Wrath0fb0b (#49067941) Attached to: NVidia Puts the Kibosh On Overclocking of GTX 900M Series

From a technical standpoint, it seems like the ideal solution is to have some programmable ROM that users can blow to indicate that they have accepted any harm that comes from clocking it beyond what the design (heat/voltage/lifetime) allows. That ROM would have to be queryable via a tamper-proof BIOS or EFI hook so that stores could verify that it is intact before accepting returns.

Ultimately, user freedom to do what they want with their own hardware has to come with user responsibility over the consequences -- and for that to happen there has to be auditable tracing of what software was run. In other words, freedom to tinker comes with an obligation to be accountable.

Of course, from a marketing/deployment standpoint we can't do this. The monkey at Best Buy can barely work the register, let alone query some low-level EFI hook. And that's the common denominator we have to work with.

Comment: Re:GOTO is a crutch for bad programmers (Score 1) 677

by Wrath0fb0b (#49041337) Attached to: Empirical Study On How C Devs Use Goto In Practice Says "Not Harmful"

Use a single generic cleanup that only cleans up what it has to clean up. That way you don't have a difference between the regular code path and the exception path. Also keep track explicitly on what you have allocated and what you haven't.

int func(void)
    int something = E_NORESOURCES;
    ResourceHandle handle1 = NULL;
    ResourceHandle handle2 = NULL;
    ResourceHandle handle3 = NULL;

    handle1 = GetResource1();
    if ( ! handle1 ) goto out;

    handle2 = GetResource2();
    if ( ! handle2 ) goto out;

    handle3 = GetResource3();
    if ( ! handle3 ) goto out;

    something = DoSomething(handle1, handle2, handle3);

    if ( handle1 ) Release(handle1);
    if ( handle2 ) Release(handle2);
    if ( handle3 ) Release(handle3);

    return something;

Comment: Re:About time. (Score 2) 309

by Wrath0fb0b (#49019981) Attached to: The IPCC's Shifting Position On Nuclear Energy

That's fantastic, as an engineering solution but is very capital-intensive. Right now nuclear is being hobbled by huge up-front costs (and the cost of financing them over a large amortization schedule), so it's not the best business solution, even if it's right from a technical perspective.

Sad but true ...

Comment: Re:Can't eat what you don't grow (Score 4, Interesting) 690

by Wrath0fb0b (#49013687) Attached to: Free-As-In-Beer Electricity In Greece?

How many failed capitalist experiments are we going to be subjected to before corporations are no longer people, and the fruits of labor are distributed much more equitably here in the US?

What if it didn't matter how the fruits of labor were distributed so long as the number of fruits grew faster for each individual? That is, what if society was not a zero-sum game involving distribution of a set supply but a question of setting up the rules for maximum growth of the total?

I, for one, would rather consume 50-units in a community of individuals making 100 each then just getting 25 in a community making 25, even if the latter was distributed more equitably. To be fair, this is a point that a lot of people differ on - I've had some people earnestly believe that the disparately of consumption is itself an evil that's worth paying the price of making everyone worse off on an absolute scale.

[ Note that none of this suggests that unbridled capitalism is the best at growing the average consumption power. The history of capitalism is full of crony deals and other market perversities that ended up making everyone poorer on the whole (even as it made some individuals rich). Ultimately this is distinction that I think we need to abide -- are people getting rich by making everyone better off (e.g. by giving people things they actually want at a price they are willing to pay) or are they getting rich at the expense of others. ]

Comment: Patent Law and the 2yr Product Cycle (Score 1) 32

by Wrath0fb0b (#48985441) Attached to: Dept. of Justice Blesses IEEE Rules On Injunctions and Reasonability

Half the time these injunctions are issued they apply to some ancient product anyway, because the suit was initially brought 18 months ago. So then they fight over whether they can add new products to the suit, the defendant argues against it, and the whole thing drags another 12 months until the original product is no longer being sold and the injunction is moot anyway.

I'm not a huge fan of patent law in general, but it strikes me as absurd that the legal system does not consolidate these sorts of claims into a general "Company X is infringing patent Y with products Z, Z2, Z2S, ZPLUS and any further evolutions of the Z-line that contain this technology. And this applies even if it's not called 'Z'"

Otherwise it's just nominalism -- you slap a new name on it and release it for a new year and suddenly it's not part of the same controversy?

Comment: Throughput versus Latency ... Again ... (Score 2) 63

by Wrath0fb0b (#48958999) Attached to: MIT Randomizes Tasks To Speed Massive Multicore Processors

This is old hat in the CS world that gets re-discovered fairly often: you can increase throughput at the cost of ravaging your latency. For some tasks, this is an acceptable tradeoff -- for others (especially anything interactive) it's completely unacceptable. Moreover, any synchronization point in the program converts the worst-case latency of the previous tasks into limits on throughput, e.g. the time it takes to join a set of N threads is equal to the maximum latency of any single thread in the list.

The best analogy is an elevator (sorry car folks): you can optimize your elevator for throughput by having it always select the closest floor with an active call. The cost, obviously, is that if people are shuffling between floors 1 & 5 a lot, then the poor guy up on 30 might wait a really long time. The throughput is still maximized though, since the elevator can do more operations per unit time by avoiding the long trip to and from floor 30.

In some cases this is fine, in the vast majority of cases you want to ensure that all tasks complete in a more bounded amount of time, even if that reduces the total number of tasks completed per unit time.

Comment: Re:Spectrum is measured in Hz? (Score 1) 91

by Wrath0fb0b (#48941465) Attached to: US Wireless Spectrum Auction Raises $44.9 Billion

To a first approximation, 65MHz of spectrum gives you a fixed amount of capacity, regardless of its start and end points.

No, that's a zeroth approximation. To a first approximation, 65Mhz of spectrum gets you capacity linearly proportional to the frequency.

Of course, in reality there's a few more nasty surprises -- higher frequencies can carry more capacity but have much worse penetration through obstacles. Lower frequencies give better coverage at the cost of capacity. That's why shoving T-Mobile and Sprint up in the 1800+ nosebleeds means they will never get the coverage range of VZ and ATT down in the 700-800 range.

Comment: Re:physical access (Score 4, Informative) 375

by Wrath0fb0b (#48925285) Attached to: Why Screen Lockers On X11 Cannot Be Secure

Comparing this to Windows is silly, because Windows doesn't have anything like the X11 protocol. On Windows, running code can disable the screen saver in other ways: patching or replacing DLLs, changing system configuration, etc. No difference from a security point of view.

I'm no Windows fanboy, but this is just factually incorrect.

(1) All those operations require elevation, so unless the user has lowered UAC from the default, they will require authentication. I suppose a malicious installer could do that, but it is emphatically incorrect that any running code can effect that change.

(2) Since 7, when Windows elevates it completely suspends the old 'Desktop' and creates a brand new one for the elevation prompt. If you look closely, you'll realize that all the other 'windows' are actually just a static screenshot of what happened on the unprivileged desktop at the point where the elevation prompt was created.

So "from a security point of view", on Windows you have a specific privilege required to change the SS that is mediated through a privileged interface where it cannot be snooped/intercepted by unprivileged processes.

[ Of course, this comparison is also patently unfair -- Windows 7 was written in the 2000s, X11 was written in the 1980s. Expecting them to be comparable in terms of security is pretty ridiculous. ]

Comment: Re:Why should the requirements be onerous?? (Score 1) 216

Reading posts in context is pretty key. For instance, I was replying to a post with the claim:

you simply check off a different box on the registration form when you register it

When now (taking your info) it should specify that you check a box and pay more for registration and your insurance costs more.

So you are right, and the guy to which I was responding was wrong. Doubly wrong for using "simply" for something that wasn't simply that.

Comment: Re:Cumbersome to obtain (Score 1) 216

Mostly (a). For instance, most registration can be done online but comercial still requires an in-person trip to the DMV. The fees are also higher for no perceptible reason, but (c) is off the mark since we are talking about commercial vehicle registration, not commercial driver licensing.

As to the last question, I don't think it matters. If the State wants to impose a uniform insurance requirement (details tbd) on all taxis and similar ride services, they can go ahead and do that directly and clearly. There's no need to tie it to registration or any other thing -- just go ahead and plainly say that you need such-and-such insurance if you give rides in exchange for money.

[ Of course, that would increase the cost of traditional taxis just as much as Uber, which is (IMHO) a feature of a fair set of regulations. They are supposed to protect the customers by providing insurance/inspection/training requirements, not pick favorites among competitors. ]

Comment: Re:Why should the requirements be onerous?? (Score 1) 216

If it was just a matter of ticking off a different check box, why wouldn't every Uber drive just go ahead and do that when registering? In fact, if checking an additional box gave you more privileges, why wouldn't everyone do it all the time?

In practice, of course, it's not at all "just checking the box" but rather a red-tape nightmare of confusing and contradictory regulations. The process needs to be cleaned up and the regulations (which I'm sure the content of which are mostly fine) need to be stated clearly and applied uniformly. That's not too much to ask.

Comment: Cumbersome to obtain (Score 2) 216

Commercial licenses are cumbersome to obtain...

Maybe the DMV should streamline the process instead of lowering the requirements? In fact, living in CA I can say that the DMV has pretty reasonable objective requirements/policies even when they have godawful process/implementation.

They should make it trivially easy for anyone that meets a set of clearly-defined objective requirements -- training, insurance, inspection, whatever else -- to get a commercial license. I don't even particularly care what the content of those requirements is -- so long as they are non-arbitrary and enforced even-handedly.

[ In fact, they ought to do the same for cabs -- write up the requirements, then implement them. Most of the reason for Uber is that cities had these absurd fixed-number-of-medallions systems anyway. By doing that they ultimately authored their own destruction. ]

Comment: Awesome for botnet owners too (Score 2) 480

by Wrath0fb0b (#48794583) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

In addition to selling your credit card and social security numbers, they can now offer to sell your vote for 10 cents apiece. Just harvest the private keys and it's a race to see which botnet can sign with the stolen key first! Sell them on TOR or I2P, I'm pretty sure Koch and Soros will bid big money to literally buy the election -- you can auction them against each other.

And if you say "we'll put the private key on a dedicated USB stick only for voting" then not only have you killed a lot of the convenience (for instance, you cannot do it from a phone but need a PC that can act as a USB host) but you've just moved the point of pwnage up a little bit to having to steal it right as you vote (or present a bogus voting interface!).

Really what you need is a set of physically separate machines that people can go to and plug their USB drive into a known secure environment. You could even put them in convenient nearby locations like schools and churches ...

C for yourself.