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Comment: Agreed: Transactional Currency, not Investment (Score 1) 143

by billstewart (#48628899) Attached to: Will Ripple Eclipse Bitcoin?

Sure, some people will invest in Bitcoins, and other people will invest in racehorses. (I avoid the problem by mining Dogecoins, which are almost totally worthless.) That's missing the point of Bitcoin, which is that it's intended to be a currency for relatively-private transactions.

Unfortunately, the markets that most wanted a currency for relatively-private transactions didn't do as good a job as they should have about being relatively-private on their own end (i.e. Silk Road got busted), but there is still a market for legitimate transactions, as you've pointed out.

Comment: Good Voice-only Interface for Phone (Score 4, Informative) 226

by billstewart (#48628547) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Can I Really Do With a Smart Watch?

What you need is a good voice-only interface for your phone, and if possible in your clean-room environment, some kind of Bluetooth headset. Phone rings, you tell it "answer". If you want to do something, tell Siri or equivalent, and get voice feedback. Not being an iPhone user, I don't know if Siri's good enough. (The Android stuff I've used so far hasn't been, but my car's phone-dialing interface is at least a start.)

Comment: Re:I hate funerals for a friend (Score 4, Informative) 70

by billstewart (#48607425) Attached to: Webcast Funerals Growing More Popular

Get used to it, you'll have more of them as you get older.

One thing I hadn't really thought about before my mother-in-law's funeral was that, if you die when you're old, most of the people at your funeral other than your family will also be old - mobility and transportation were difficult for some of her friends, there were more people with wheelchairs than the restaurant we went to afterward really knew how to handle, and there were people who didn't come because it's just too difficult, and this might have helped them some. It's not the same as being there, but sometimes you can't.

Comment: Fonts make you very identifiable (Score 4, Interesting) 159

by billstewart (#48598543) Attached to: How Identifiable Are You On the Web?

Standard Mozilla behaviour last time this question came up is to include a list of fonts that your browser can display; I don't know whether other browsers do the same, or if they've changed it, but it's the kind of "feature" that hopelessly breaks your chances of non-uniqueness if you've ever installed fonts.

My work laptop has a font that's the Official Corporate-Branded font for $DAYJOB's corporate logo. Almost every Windows machine at my company has that (at least, every physical machine and the virtual machines running on the hosted virtual desktop cloud; there may be some lab machines that don't, and maybe some contractors, etc.) You might work for a smaller company that does the same. In my case, I've installed all sorts of other random fonts, either to see what they looked like, or simply because back in the 80s of course you wanted Elvish and Dwarvish fonts on your computer, or because I wanted a better monospaced programming font than the default MS one or Courier New.

Lots of other things leak information as well (cookies, etc.), but fonts are a quick and dirty way around identifying people who block those.

Comment: Re:Just downsized to 256GB SSD, Arrgh! (Score 1) 127

by billstewart (#48592189) Attached to: Samsung SSD 850 EVO 32-Layer 3D V-NAND-Based SSD Tested

Laptop, not workstation; I'm usually not connected to a work LAN, so network drives are for backup and file exchange at best, not for data I actually use. (Email's theoretically also backed up on a server, though I'm not convinced that's reliable for anything older than a month or two.)

There's a project to get everybody to move to VMware-based Hosted Virtual Desktops, but I haven't bitten that bullet yet; it would let me access my stuff from different machines, but needs network connectivity to be usable and I lose control over some of my storage. (If Google Chromecast supported HVD, it might tempting to just leave the PC at work and use TV+Chromecast to telecommute :)

Comment: 3D printers at TechShop, Shapeways, or Kinkos (Score 1) 173

by billstewart (#48587743) Attached to: 3D Printer?

3D printing technology is changing much faster than I can come up with things I want to 3D-print, so it doesn't make sense to buy my own. If I want access to printers, there are places like TechShop that have them (hey, Bay Area Privilege is useful if you've got it), and I've heard that FedEx / Kinkos copier shops were also doing a pilot project with them (though it may have been in the Netherlands or Belgium and not the US yet.) Also, for slower turnaround, you can send your printer files to Shapeways and they'll print them and mail them to you.

But if you do want to buy one, I was in Home Depot the other day and there was a guy there demoing them, plus they have a whole display rack or two of Lasers, and probably a Robots section that didn't notice. It's really getting to be the Future!

Comment: SDxC is cheap up to 64GB, expensive above (Score 1) 127

by billstewart (#48552777) Attached to: Samsung SSD 850 EVO 32-Layer 3D V-NAND-Based SSD Tested

Where did you find cheap SDxC cards for 128-256GB? When I looked online a month or so ago (plus in Fry's today), they were reasonable up to 64GB, then expensive above that (except for no-name Chinese brands on Amazon that had reviews saying the capacities were fake.)

For USB2/USB3 flash sticks, they seem to be cheap up to 128GB, but with most laptop designs, that's going to stick out of the case, so I'd prefer SDxC cards that can stay installed, as long as I'm not using them for high-speed applications. (If I really believed that ReadyBoost accomplished anything, I'd be tempted to get a 16GB USB3 stick just for that, but I assume that makes a lot more difference on a spinning-disk machine.)

The cheapest ones at Fry's today were $40-45 for either 64GB SDxC or 128GB USB sticks. Since I've got just about 60GB of music I had to offload from my work laptop (new one had SSD that's smaller than the old hard drive), 64GB isn't quite enough so I'll wait around for Moore's Law to catch up.

Comment: Just downsized to 256GB SSD, Arrgh! (Score 1) 127

by billstewart (#48552757) Attached to: Samsung SSD 850 EVO 32-Layer 3D V-NAND-Based SSD Tested

The lease expired on my work laptop, and the new one has a 256GB SSD instead of the 320GB spinning disk the previous one had. It's not enough :-) Specifically, it's not enough to keep my ~60GB of music on, along with the actual work stuff, so that's temporarily off-loaded to an external drive, plus I had to off-load a lot more stuff for the "move almost all your stuff to the new machine" software to have working space.

And unfortunately, the IT department won't let me crack it open and add an extra spinning disk inside it. The state of the art in SD memory cards seems to be that 64GB cards are cheap, but 128GB cards are really expensive, so I'll probably wait six months for 128GB cards to get cheap and install one. 128GB USB3 flash sticks are getting to be cheap, but I can't leave one of them plugged in all the time.

Comment: Libel Lawsuit by CCC would get them to do that (Score 1) 135

by billstewart (#48541135) Attached to: British 'Porn Filter' Blocks Access To Chaos Computer Club

The filters have usually been super-secret because letting the public know what was being censored would let "the children" get around them, and would promote the worst kinds of pornography by telling perverts where it was. But English libel law is surprisingly broad, from the perspective of those of us in other countries, and allows people not from England to sue other people not from England if there's some English hook in the publication somewhere, so maybe the CCC can demonstrate that they've been censored and argue that it's libel that's causing them actual damage (after all, the fact that they were censored by the pr0n filter says they were pornographers or Even Worse.)

Comment: Entrapping idiot with dubious plot (Score 3, Interesting) 388

by billstewart (#48541087) Attached to: Man Caught Trying To Sell Plans For New Aircraft Carrier

Yes, the guy had a security clearance, so I suppose entrapping him can be considered part of the quality control process, but it's still ridiculous; Egypt would get much more effective military use from a dirt airstrip in the Sinai than an aircraft carrier. But hey, the FBI gets to put out a press release claiming they caught a spy! And it's less ridiculous than the time they entrapped half a dozen drunken bums in Chicago into a "plot to bomb the Sears tower", and less dangerous than the time they helped half a dozen Al-Qaeda plotters mix fertilizer explosive for the first World Trade Center bombing.

No one gets sick on Wednesdays.