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Comment: Re:I prefer a tablet for some things to a smart ph (Score 2) 278

by buchner.johannes (#48923997) Attached to: The iPad Is 5 Years Old This Week, But You Still Don't Need One

Tablets are useful for reading colored PDF files (e.g. research articles), for which eBook readers are not meant (better for breakable text).If I were to buy a tablet, I would foremost go for battery life, the most important feature for reading.

Comment: Re:pretty much expected. (Score 2) 46

IT security is about tradeoffs.

Not true, you can have worse security without gaining anything. So you can also increase security without loosing any comfort. You are setting up a false premise that more security always requires a sacrifice. What we really need instead is a measure of achieved security, to rid ourselves of unnecessary, security-theatre-based sacrifices both in terms of privacy and money.

Comment: Re: Scaled Composites renamed (Score 1) 38

by jd (#48909771) Attached to: Virgin Galactic Dumps Scaled Composites For Spaceship Two

Solar sail can achieve 25% light speed, according to NASA, and Alpha Centauri is 4 light years away.

You want a manned mission (with robots doing all the actual work) to determine if the conventional wisdom that a manned mission to the outer planets is physically impossible is correct. Even if the pilot dies, you learn the furthest a manned mission can reach. There's seven billion people, you can afford to expend one or two. Ideally, they'd be volunteers and there'll be no shortage of them, but if you're concerned about valuable life, send members of the Tea Party.

Comment: Re: Scaled Composites renamed (Score 1) 38

by jd (#48909107) Attached to: Virgin Galactic Dumps Scaled Composites For Spaceship Two

No big surprise. The military are willing to invest what it takes for what they need. Military entities are, by necessity, pitifully naive when it comes to anything useful, but once they specify what they think they want, they don't shirk at the cost, they get the job done. A pointless job, perhaps, but nonetheless a completed job.

The corporate sector wants money. Things don't ever have to get done, the interest on monies paid is good enough and there hasn't been meaningful competition in living memory. Because one size never fits all, it's not clear competition is even what you want. Economic theory says it isn't.

The only other sector, as I have said many times before, that is remotely in the space race is the hobbyist/open source community. In other words, the background behind virtually all the X-Prize contestants, the background behind the modern waverider era, the background that the next generation of space enthusiasts will come from (Kerbel Space Program and Elite: Dangerous will have a similar effect on the next generation of scientists and engineers as Star Trek the old series and Doctor Who did in the 1960s, except this time it's hands-on).

I never thought the private sector would do bugger all, it's not in their blood. They're incapable of innovation on this kind of scale. It's not clear they're capable of innovation at all, all the major progress is bought or stolen from researchers and inventors.

No, with civilian government essentially walking away, there's only two players in the field and whilst the hobbyists might be able to crowdsource a launch technology, it'll be a long time before they get to space themselves. The military won't get there at all, nobody to fight, so the hobbyists will still be first with manned space missions, but it's going to take 40-50 years at best.

We have the technology today to get a manned mission to Alpha Centauri and back. It would take 15-20 years for the journey and the probability of survival is poor, but we could do it. By my calculations, it would take 12 years to build the components and assemble them in space. Only a little longer than it took for America to get the means to go to the moon and back. We could actually have hand-held camera photos taken in another solar system and chunks of rocky debris from the asteroid belt there back on Earth before Mars One launches its first rocket AND before crowdfunded space missions break the atmosphere.

All it takes is putting personal egos and right wing politics on the shelf, locking the cupboard and then lowering it into an abandoned mineshaft, which should then be sealed with concrete.

Comment: Re:Mod Parent Up (Score 5, Insightful) 302

by buchner.johannes (#48872383) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Has the Time Passed For Coding Website from Scratch?

Here's my website. I invite anybody to look at the source code, and compare it against your run-of-the-mill WordPress website.

It doesn't do comments on blog posts, it does not have an interface to post new blog entries, it does not keep track of which articles have been viewed. You might as well generate your pages from templates and serve them statically, 0 lines of python needed on the webserver.

Comment: Re:Choose a CMS you like (Score 4, Informative) 302

by buchner.johannes (#48872345) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Has the Time Passed For Coding Website from Scratch?

I know all the php/wordpress snobs on /. will dismiss this and laugh but personally if i'm building a site for someone (usually for no money and limited time) I just install wordpress, 'secure it',

I dismiss this and laugh because you think you can secure WordPress.

If you're using WordPress for clients, you better budget in the time you/they will spend upgrading WordPress to fix its latest security vulnerabilities.

Actually you can upgrade Wordpress with the click of a button on the Admin panel. You can even delegate that to your users. Or have Wordpress.com host you. Yes, there are more secure frameworks (your hand-made one is not among them), but few that receive as much auditing as the widely deployed Wordpress.

Building websites based on Wordpress is super-easy, there are extensions for everything, and you can let other people design and integrate the layout/template. Also, other people can take over what you leave behind.
Your other options are things like Drupal or Joomla!, but they take significantly more effort to adapt and hack.

Comment: Re:ok. i'll play. "my experience is... (Score 1) 39

by buchner.johannes (#48870695) Attached to: Jim Blasko Explains 'Unbreakable Coin' (Video 2 of 2)

enduring complaints concerning crypto-currency." yeah, i bought BitCoin back in the day. sold it soon, too. made a little coin. kinda like betting in Vegas. for the lulz.

I suspect that there is an enormous selection bias in that people who made a lot of money with BitCoin are featured in (online) newspapers, those who made a little money comment in discussions and the other 80% who lost a little or a lot of money do not comment.

Also, many people invest a lot in hardware to mine BitCoins (and other Coins), which is where their profits go entirely. That seems like a hamster wheel to me. Those people like the experience of learning about hardware and crypto-currencies. Then again, some people like running in hamster wheels too for fitness, so I think the comparison is not off by much.

Comment: Re:ok. i'll play. "my experience is... (Score 5, Insightful) 39

by buchner.johannes (#48870667) Attached to: Jim Blasko Explains 'Unbreakable Coin' (Video 2 of 2)

"Are you up to loaning bitcoin or something less popular for 10 years?" Confidence in any given currency can be tested with the terms current holders are willing to accept to make loans payable in that same currency. (On the other hand, if large companies will accept it in payment, they've probably got an idea that a given currency will be around next month or next year.)

That does not follow. A large company can accept Bitcoins and convert immediately to their local currency. That does not require faith in a long-term forecast.

Comment: Re:They already have (Score 5, Informative) 666

by buchner.johannes (#48870419) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

Sadly not true. The fashion for some scientists to make names for themselves by producing misleading headlines for their supposed evidence has yet to fizzle.

Was 2014 the warmest it has ever been globally? No.

The satellite records (either one) show no special warmth for 2014 and the BEST record shows no statistical significance to the claim that 2014 was the hottest. Why? Because the tiny increase was well within the error bars of the mean temperature statistic

(The report can be found at http://static.berkeleyearth.or...)

Your argument is misleading. It is true that the question "which was the hottest year since recording in 1860?" Has three possible answers within the uncertainties, 2014, 2010 and 2005. But to the question "which was the hottest decade since recording in 1860?" has a clear answer: the last one. Of course there will be year-to-year fluctuations. But to look at the plot on page 3 and say "oh global warming has stopped just now" is wishful thinking. Also look at the "Ocean Surface Averages", page 5.

Comment: And five minutes later... (Score 0) 238

by Samantha Wright (#48858215) Attached to: Google Thinks the Insurance Industry May Be Ripe For Disruption

...Someone from the back row shouts out "Because our AdSense profile has determined you were visiting websites about cigarettes recently, your health insurance premium has gone up by 5% and you will probably die slightly sooner. Remember, [i]f you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place!"

Is it cynicism if you're just using a Markov chain to predict what other Slashdotters will say?

(Although obviously this is auto insurance, so I'm sure someone can translate the threat appropriately.)

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