Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:For all of you USA haters out there: (Score 1) 354

by xaxa (#48932769) Attached to: Why ATM Bombs May Be Coming Soon To the United States

The whole lot is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L...

The next fleet of trains will cost £16 billion, the lines the trains are for have an annual ridership of about 600 million, and we could assume the trains will last 55 years (same as the ones they're replacing). That's 16G/600M/55 = 48 pence per journey?

I wonder if a boring design would cost less. I suspect it doesn't make much difference in the end -- a custom design is needed to maximise capacity in the old tunnels in any case.

Comment: Re:For all of you USA haters out there: (Score 1) 354

by xaxa (#48932369) Attached to: Why ATM Bombs May Be Coming Soon To the United States

What were they doing before the useless encryption chips? Stealing dozens of cards and beating the PINs out of the owners? How did these magical encryption chips put a stop to this practice?

Cloning magstripe cards to use in ATMs. The chips can't be cloned.

“Fraud on lost and stolen cards is now at its lowest level for two decades and counterfeit card fraud losses have also fallen and are at their lowest level since 1999. Losses at U.K. retailers have fallen by 67 per cent since 2004; lost and stolen card fraud fell by 58 per cent between 2004 and 2009; and mail non-receipt fraud has fallen by 91 per cent since 2004.”

Similarly, the national roll-out of EMV in Canada in 2008 had a dramatic impact on fraud. Losses from card skimming in Canada fell from CAD$142 million in 2009 to CAD$38.5 million in 2012, according to the Interac Association.

http://www.smartcardalliance.o...

Comment: Re:For all of you USA haters out there: (Score 1) 354

by xaxa (#48932335) Attached to: Why ATM Bombs May Be Coming Soon To the United States

I think some American trains just look old. Bare aluminium (sometimes fluted!) and boxy corners.

Compare the newest NYC train with the newest London Underground train: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F...

(London's oldest trains are from 1972, and will be replaced in 2025. The next oldest are from 1980, and will be replaced this year. How long trains last seems to depend more on how well they were built and maintained, rather than simply age.)

Comment: Re:For all of you USA haters out there: (Score 2) 354

by xaxa (#48932187) Attached to: Why ATM Bombs May Be Coming Soon To the United States

The funny thing is that last year I my latest Amex card came with a chip, and so far the only place that I have actually used it is at Walmart of all places.

It was similar in the UK, until the law changed to allow Visa and MasterCard to push the liability for non-chip fraud onto merchants. In the months leading up to that, everyone updated their card readers.

The law changes in the USA in October.

Comment: Re:For all of you USA haters out there: (Score 1) 354

by xaxa (#48932125) Attached to: Why ATM Bombs May Be Coming Soon To the United States

I was wondering about a solution to this problem, and I find that prepaid travel EMV cards are available for purchase to those who think to do so in advance. Do you think tourists could also buy such cards after arrival?

Yes, I've found these: http://www.idtprime.com/ http://www.splashplastic.com/ which are available in shops in the UK. (From http://www.mastercard.co.uk/fi... and I said I was 13 and didn't travel.) They can be topped up with cash. (Check thoroughly before relying on these, I don't know anyone with one!)

You could ask your American bank to send an EMV card. Non-EMV cards are often accepted in person for shopping, restaurants etc, but you can get stuck dealing with machines (e.g. buying train tickets, or collecting cinema tickets you've ordered online) or very cheap merchants (trader at a music festival, market stall holder etc).

Comment: Re: You nerds need to get over yourselves (Score 1) 209

by TheRaven64 (#48913625) Attached to: Why Coding Is Not the New Literacy
Even in Finance, they've done that. Look at PayPal. The only reason that it exists is that the banks and credit card companies dragged their feet with online payments. They're now doing free electronic person-to-person transfers, but it's still expensive to take credit card payments online.

Comment: Re:You nerds need to get over yourselves (Score 1) 209

by TheRaven64 (#48912547) Attached to: Why Coding Is Not the New Literacy

When people say coding is the new literacy they are not suggesting that everyone become professional programmers anymore then saying someone should be able to read and write means they should become professional writers.

Exactly. Go back a couple of hundred years and you even have well-off people saying 'I don't need to learn to write, I can afford to hire a scribe'. You had people saying 'not everyone needs to learn to read and write, there aren't enough jobs for that many scribes anyway'.

Before he retired, my stepfather was the head groundskeeper on a golf course. Not exactly the kind of job you think of as requiring coding skills. Except that they had a computerised irrigation system that could trigger sprinklers in response to various events (humidity sensors, motion sensors, time, and so on). It came with a partly-graphical domain-specific programming language for controlling it. It's going to be very hard in the next 50 years to find a job that doesn't require some programming to do it competently - even this kind of stereotypically low-tech job requires it now.

Comment: Re:grandmother reference (Score 4, Insightful) 462

It's really the only viable answer to piracy that's left and publishers are embracing it wholeheartedly.

I used to pirate games and I used to buy games. I eventually couldn't be bothered with pirating and worrying about malware or with trying to jump through the hoops that the publishers wanted, so I stopped playing games altogether. Then gog.com launched and sold me games that I was nostalgic about, cheaply. Then they started selling newer games. I spent more with them last six months than I did on total on games in the five years since Steam was launched and the industry wend DRM-happy. I can download DRM-free installers for all of the games, often in OS X, Windows, and Linux versions.

It turns out that there's another answer to piracy that works: sell your product in a way that's easy to use at a reasonable price. Stop worrying about pirates and start worrying about customers. Someone who wouldn't buy your game anyway who pirates it is not a lost sale, but someone who can't be bothered to put up with your treating them like a criminal and so doesn't buy from you is. Buying a game from gog.com is easier than pirating and, if you factor in the cost of your time, probably cheaper as well.

Give me a product I want for a reasonable price and I will happily hand over my money, because I feel that I'm getting something valuable in return. Don't, and... well, computer games are not the only form of entertainment available.

Comment: Re: DirectX is obsolete (Score 1) 133

by TheRaven64 (#48902995) Attached to: DirectX 12 Lies Dormant Within Microsoft's Recent Windows 10 Update
Actually, a lot of these games just use WINE's implementation of DirectX. This either translates the calls to OpenGL or implements a DirectX state tracker directly if you have Gallium drivers configured correctly. The same is true of a lot of Mac games. Good luck getting WINE to run on a console though...

Comment: Re:DirectX is obsolete (Score 1) 133

by TheRaven64 (#48902991) Attached to: DirectX 12 Lies Dormant Within Microsoft's Recent Windows 10 Update

Your typical GPU driver is about 10MB of object code. It contains a complex optimising compiler and controls a device that has complete DMA access to your computer. It is written with speed as the only significant goal. Making a GPU driver 1% faster contributes enough to sales to pay the salaries of several driver developers. Making the GPU driver more secure generates zero additional sales.

The shader code that's fed into this stack from WebGL is sanitised and is completely safe to run, assuming that your driver stack is 100% bug free. Still feel safe?

Comment: Re:DirectX is obsolete (Score 1) 133

by TheRaven64 (#48902983) Attached to: DirectX 12 Lies Dormant Within Microsoft's Recent Windows 10 Update

If you write a game that uses Direct3D, you can easily target Windows, XBox, and Windows Phone. If you write a game that uses OpenGL, then you can easily target all of the major desktop, mobile, and console platforms. If your game runs on a generation-old console, then it will run on current-generation mobiles as well. This gives you three markets: First release for high-end PCs, second for consoles, third for mobiles. You can get a solid revenue stream out of each one. You don't lose the Windows marked by choosing OpenGL, but you do lose every other market by using Direct3D.

That said, the APIs are so similar these days that you'll typically use some middleware to provide the abstraction. All of the important code is written in the shaders and these are much easier to port between GLSL and HLSL than they are to port between different GPUs and maintain performance.

Comment: Re:Modula-3 FTW! (Score 2) 488

by TheRaven64 (#48902963) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

Implementing this in the standard library means that the language needs to support pass-by-reference (which Pascal and C++ do, but C doesn't). This single feature does a lot to reduce readability. In C, I know that inc(x) is a function that does not modify the value of x, without reading any additional code[1]. In Pascal or C++, I need to look at the definition of inc() to know if x will be the same before and after the call.

An important idea at the core of readability for a language is the amount of code that I have to read to understand a single line. In any language that has pass-by-reference, this amount is larger than a language that doesn't. To achieve the same thing in C, I'd have to write inc(&x), and then everyone reading that code would know that x may be modified. (Note: the almost-equivalence of array and pointer types in C is a good counterexample where Pascal wins massively in readability).

[1] It could be a macro, but most coding conventions require macros that can't be used as if they were functions to be all-caps.

Comment: Re:Modula-3 FTW! (Score 2) 488

by TheRaven64 (#48902951) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?
This would be true, except for two things:
  • Lines with more than 66 non-whitespace characters decrease readability.
  • Statements with more than 66 non-whitespace characters are common in most programming languages.

This means that you end up either with lots of continued statements or lots of overly-long lines in Python. If you have the former, then it's hard to see the indentation. If you have the latter, then you can see the indentation but the overall readability suffers. This can be fixed by using tabs for semantic indentation and spaces for alignment and an editor that supports highlighting tabs, but the Python style guides tell you not to do this.

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller

Working...