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Comment: Re:$25 PC? (Score 1) 349

by bioster (#37290428) Attached to: Details About Raspberry Pi Foundation's $25 PC
Some problems with this:

1) shipping 10 year old junk computers is going to be a bigger deal
2) 10 year old machines will die a lot more often
3) As you mentioned, power is an issue. IIIRC, the RasPi takes about 1 watt of power. It can also run off of AA batteries if you need it to. I could see getting enough energy from a solar powered recharger to run one.

Comment: Likely some are suppliers? (Score 1) 346

Apple declined to say if the companies named were in fact its suppliers"

Well, that seems like a fairly damning statement. I'm sure Apple (or any other company) would be falling over themselves to deny they were involved with the named supplies if they could.

Comment: Re:Paging Darth Vader (Score 1) 951

by bioster (#37254402) Attached to: Microsoft 'Ribbonizes' Windows 8 File Manager

I offer you a challenge then: Force yourself to use the ribbon interface until you become comfortable with it, then try and go back. After doing this tell me whether you still think the ribbon is a bad idea.

I have used the ribbon interface until I became "comfortable" with it. I had to do this because I cannot go back, at work. I have to use the software I have to use, and it's ribbon. I dislike the ribbon, and I think it is a bad idea.

The ribbon is an improvement in user interface design, even if you don't personally like it.

Now, this is why I'm posting. I'd like to ask you why you think the ribbon is an improvement in UI? Personally, I find it cluttered and messy. I like the idea of customizing it, but if I then prune it down to the point where it's simple and shows me only the things I use frequently, how do I get to the commands that I use infrequently?

Maybe I just don't get the ribbon, and I'm missing something fundamental that makes it easy to use. However, I would argue that I'm a fairly technical person and if I don't get it then the average person probably doesn't either. The only advantage I see with the ribbon is a completely non-technical person will be comforted by all the big icons... however, I doubt they'll be any more productive.

So, please... why is the ribbon a better UI? What am I missing?

Comment: Re:Not cybercrime (Score 1) 122

by bioster (#37222116) Attached to: Coordinated, Global ATM Heist Nets $13 Million
Sure, it was meatspace... all except for a key part of their plan:

Armed with unauthorized access to FIS’s card platform, the crooks were able to reload the cards remotely when the cash withdrawals brought their balances close to zero.

Your other guesses are likewise incorrect. Basically they figured out a way to reload their cards and then ran around emptying ATMs as frantically as possible before the banks caught on.

So uh... did you RTFA?

Comment: Re:Online voting cannot be secured (Score 1) 405

by bioster (#37132204) Attached to: Canada To Adopt On-Line Voting?
Additionally, since the elections officials and the party reps are present for the count they should be able to verify that the correct count is used in the national results. This means that in order to buy an election in a single riding you would need to bribe several key people, probably including reps from the parties. This goes a long way to ensuring no ballot counting shenanigans happen on a large scale.

Comment: Re:And who paid for this study? (Score 1) 235

by bioster (#37118648) Attached to: IE 9 Beats Other Browsers at Blocking Malicious Content
Well, there are some suspicious things about the report itself, too.

They start with 5000 URLs, but only 1188 URLs "passed our post-validation process and are included in the results". This is certainly an opportunity to add bias. IMO, an honest report should be as transparent as possible when showing their inputs, because selecting your inputs to a test has a huge effect on the test itself. I'm not sure why they had to prune the URLs at all, to be honest. (They mention that it gets pruned if it becomes unavailable which is fine I guess, but there were other reasons they pruned as well.)
Also, it would have been nice to include the actual list of URLs used. They do mention they saved the content of the pages, so hopefully if anyone were to audit them those would be available.

The next suspicious thing are the results themselves. When I go look at CPU benchmarks I expect numbers like "CPU A trails CPU B and only gets 90% of the speed" when we're talking about fairly competitive products. (Actually with CPUs I usually expect much closer numbers than that, but whatever.) To get numbers like 99.9% for IE9 (Malware URL Response Histogram) and 12.7% for the next highest product... well, that makes me wonder. The gap is just suspiciously large. It looks to me like either they're specifically testing a feature that IE9 has that other products don't, they've massaged the inputs, or they've gimped the competition in some way. At least, that's what I immediately start thinking when I read numbers like that.

Additionally, they only seem to be measuring the rate at which bad URLs get blocked (you can figure out the False Accept Rate - FAR from this), and that's an incomplete story. We also need to know how often the browsers block something that they shouldn't have (False Reject Rate - FRR). To take an extreme example of why we need to know that, imagine an algorithm that just blocks everything. You'll get 100% malicious URLs blocked and have a 0% False Accept Rate. However, that's obviously wrong... you'll also have a 100% False Reject Rate. All they say about this is "Periodically, clean URLs were run through the system to verify that the browsers were not over-blocking".

Comment: Re:And who paid for this study? (Score 5, Informative) 235

by bioster (#37111744) Attached to: IE 9 Beats Other Browsers at Blocking Malicious Content
Frankly, the page itself screams bias with the line "has proved once again". I don't recall this being proved in the past, but hey, I try to be open minded. So I threw NSS labs into google, and immediately turned up:
http://www.thetechherald.com/article.php/200912/3268/Can-you-trust-the-NSS-Labs-report-touting-the-benefits-of-IE8

So apparently they tested IE8 and thought it was awesomesauce. Uhm, ok... I thought IE8 wasn't completely terrible but I wouldn't say it was good. That link seems to think NSS might be a microsoft shill. But ok, I like to be open minded. Let's keep looking. Going down the first page of my google search:
Firewall Vendors Challenge Findings of NSS Labs Report | PCWorld
Haavard - Malware report from NSS Labs manipulates statistics?
Google Responds to NSS Labs Browser Security Report | News
A recent test by NSS Labs gave a near-perfect score to Internet Explorer 9 beta and very poor marks to Chrome and other browsers.


So uhm... yeah... at first glance, I'd say treating them with some skepticism seems more than warranted here.

Comment: Re:Set the exchanges to a clock. (Score 1) 339

by bioster (#37109232) Attached to: How Linux Mastered Wall Street

Yea, what a horrible idea. You'll realize how bad an idea that is when you want to go unload your "investment" and no one wants to buy it.

Liquidity comes at a price. Those who provide liquidity take on risk. It's a generally accepted practice to pay people for taking on risk (see, for example, interest rates).

Come back when you understand how markets work.

I don't think you understand what people mean when they say it 'adds liquidity'. You seem to think that HFT investors are buying the stocks that "no one wants to buy" and holding them until someone does want to buy. That's not what happens, if I understand HFT correctly.

What HFT investors do is listen to buy orders and sell orders, and then when you put in a buy order for X and someone else puts in a sell order for X-.01 they quickly snatch up the X-.01 sell and resell it to you for X. That's not adding any ability to you to buy the stock... the original seller would have sold it to you just fine and made an extra penny (or you would have bought it for a penny less). They only jump in where there was going to be a sale anyways, and skim from the difference in buy/sell price. Personally, I see this as a disservice.

What I think people mean when they say "but HFT adds liquidity" is the definition of liquidity that says you can buy and sell something without it affecting the price. So when you buy the stock at X the price stays at X even though someone was completely willing to sell at X-.01. So the price "stabilizes" at the cost of a tax on the transactions. However, the value of this kind of liquidity is hard for me (and probably most people) to judge.

Personally, I'm uneasy about such an important part of the economy being controlled by a complex dance of competing super-fast algorithms. It seems inevitable that sooner or later they'll end up in a death spiral that will do significant damage, and in the meantime they are producing dubious benefits for a very real and measurable cost.

Comment: work for hire requirements (Score 5, Informative) 243

by bioster (#37098860) Attached to: Music Copyright War Looming
It was recently pointed out to me that I was wrong about how I thought a 'work for hire' worked. So I did 10 seconds of research on wikipedia (yeah yeah, not authoritative, blah blah), and found this page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work_for_hire

Giving it a read might help you arm-chair lawyers, but I'll skip to an easily digested sound bite for everyone:

A "work made for hire" is— (1) a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment

On the other hand, if the work is created by an independent contractor or freelancer, the work may be considered a work for hire only if all of the following conditions are met: * the work must come within one of the nine limited categories of works listed in the definition above, namely (1) a contribution to a collective work, (2) a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, (3) a translation, (4) a supplementary work, (5) a compilation, (6) an instructional text, (7) a test, (8) answer material for a test, (9) an atlas; * the work must be specially ordered or commissioned; * there must be a written agreement between the parties specifying that the work is a work made for hire.

So, put simply you either have to be a regular 9-5er employee (which I think it's clear the vast majority of musicians are not), or you have to fulfil a pretty specific list of requirements which includes an explicit clause in their contract that it be a work for hire. Long story short, they've got no case.

Comment: Re:Same boat here .... Parent 100% correct! (Score 1) 772

by bioster (#37070246) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Am I Too Old To Learn New Programming Languages?
The problem for minimum wage jobs is that when they look at your resume all they see is "overqualified, will be unhappy working here and will find a better job in a couple of months". I ran into that problem... fast food places wouldn't even give me interviews.

You can try what I did until you find a job, and be self employed. I'm not sure what you're qualified to do, but I do know the girl who I hire to clean my condo makes at least as much money per hour as I do at my job (even after travel time).

What the world *really* needs is a good Automatic Bicycle Sharpener.

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