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Comment Re:No such thing (Score 1) 354

If you had tens of thousands of visitors a day, then it would have behooved you to sell your own ads. That means:

1. Call big company that may be interested in advertising on your web site.

At which point big company says that "We do all of our online advertising via -insert ad network here-. Contact them at this number..."

Comment Re:What's the deal... (Score 1) 262

When's the last time you watched a Hockey, Basketball, or Football game (of either kind) without seeing a penalty? Those guys cheat constantly.

That is not the level of cheating we are talking about. Routine fouls in sports (even when intentional) compared to doping or motorized bikes are like parking tickets vs. felonies.

Cycling does have the equivalent of fouls - you can get a time penalty for drafting off a team car, or be "relegated" to the back of the pack when shoving someone out of the way during a final sprint.

Comment Re:When is a patch not a patch? (Score 1) 51

'BlackEnergy 3 exploits an Office 2013 vulnerability that was patched some time ago, so it only works if the target machine isn't patched or an employee (either deliberately or after being tricked into it) executes the malicious Excel document,' writes CSO's Steve Ragan.

A vulnerability that is still present if user behavior allows triggering the payload is NOT PATCHED. It's a workaround, at best.

Nonsense. If the user is running as administrator, then the user triggering the payload is perfectly acceptable as far as Windows is concerned, because an admin user is allowed to do whatever they want to the machine. And before you say that it is still MS fault because users need to run as admin - that hasn't been true in years. Some sites still allow users to be admins of their own machines, but that is a policy decision, not something that Windows forces on them.

Comment Re:Rather stupid, apparently. (Score 1) 56

A quick google search says that Americans make 3 billion calls a day.

Metadata consists of at least originating number, called number, time, and duration. Call it 64 bytes per call. Add in cell tower location data and it can be much bigger.

Directory information changes over time, so if you are looking at a 14 year old record, you need to know who held each of those numbers at the time the call was made. So each call has linkages to 2 different pieces of directory information, call it 200 bytes per entry. And additional foreign keys in our metadata records.

Lets make a wild ass guess at how many directory records there are, and how many are added/changed each year. I will postulate 250 million directory entries, with 10 million changing per year.

So now we have:

64 bytes * 3,000,000,000 calls a day * 365 days a year * 14 years = 981,120 gigabytes of data or 981 terabytes of data.
(250,000,000 directory entries + (14 years * 10,000,000 changes per year)) * 200 bytes per = 78 gigabytes of data.

And that assumes that only metadata is kept (no text to speech or compressed audio), and that only calls made within the US are captured (unlikely).

The data can be compressed, but you are starting with on the order of a petabyte. I don't think it fits on a thumbdrive.

Comment Re:Is it really a big issue? (Score 1) 293

I think there are 2 completely different scenarios:

1. You call for a driverless car service, like a taxi or an Uber today - you don't have insurance, the service does. You are a passenger.
2. You own a driverless car, and have it pick you up. You carry the liability insurance on the vehicle. You may turn around and sue the manufacturer, but there are going to be a whole host of things where you need insurance. What if the vehicle was negligently maintained? What if you engaged an emergency override of some sort and caused the accident? What if you threw something from the window of the vehicle?

So for a vehicle you own, you still carry insurance, but since the frequency of accidents should be significantly lower, the insurance should be cheaper, meaning that industry revenue and profits will fall signficantly.

Comment Re:It's all in the execution (Score 1) 464

I would definitely buy a smart gun if I could. Having a weapon for self defense does have the risk of it being turned on you.

However, I would need to be convinced that it would work when I needed it to. If they try and require smart guns, but the unlock mechanism is faulty and causes me to be unable to use my weapon, I don't want it and I don't want that law.

They need to have a mechanism that is nearly foolproof before I'd ever consider that rule. Otherwise, it's a license for the makers of shitty smart gun technology to mint money while no one is any safer.

I've never felt the need for a gun, but knowing how many gun accidents there are each year, I would certainly consider a smart gun if I found myself wanting a gun.

Rather than making them compulsory (which is nowhere in the article), maybe the answer is to change the liability equation.

Smart gun didn't fire when it should have -> manufacturer is potentially liable
Didn't buy a smart gun and gun discharged accidentally or after a theft -> gun buyer is potentially liable

That would force owners and manufacturers to consider the risk of misuse/failure.

Comment Re:Seems pretty reasonable (Score 1) 263

But that's the point. Consent was granted. You can't retroactively revoke it. It's polite to do so, yes, but a stunning overreach of state power to make this a law. You consent to me taking your photo, that photo is mine, and that state will have to pry it from my cold dead hand. Zero tolerance for government censorship.

I think that willfully ignores the reality of couples in a relationship. During the relationship, the consent is clearly understood that the pictures are private between the couple. So long as the couple remains together, there is likely no disagreement about the bounds of that consent.

Treating the consent as blanket after the relationship has ended is silly, and asshattery of the highest order.

Comment Re:END THE FED! I saw this coming 30 years ago. (Score 1) 349

I can confirm that hiring talented C++ or Java developers in the Twin Cities area is very difficult. It takes us a long time to fill open positions, and headhunters are calling people everyday. And we are losing people to other firms that routinely offer someone a big bump to switch.

Comment Re:How can there be? (Score 1) 622

These services are built around the idea of a normalized distribution of usage. If one user uses a million times the average of the rest of the users, then "unlimited" offers can't be economically sustained.

You don't have to agree that it's "abuse". It just makes "unlimited" service models impossible -- one user can ruin it for everyone else. ...

Yes and no. Since the unlimited plans are time based, and the speed of the connection is fixed, the maximum potential usage of someone is speed * hours in a billing period. That means that the outliers aren't as far out there as you might expect. 24 hours * 31 days = 744 hours in a month. If most broadband users manage to use 2 hours a month (no idea, but that feels low to me), then the outliers are at most using 372 times the amount of an average customer. That doesn't seem like an amount that is going to destroy the business model.

I do think that usage based pricing makes sense - in the end the big providers pay for bandwidth, so why wouldn't that be reflected in the pricing you and I pay? But I do have a hard spot for the providers trying to wiggle out of what they have been offering. Why don't they simply refuse to offer/continue the "unlimited" plans and just be honest about it?

Comment Re:Stupid people are stupid (Score 5, Insightful) 956

You make a judgement call, and the teachers here erred on the side of caution. Imagine if this kid was a terrorist and it actually was a bomb, and they had done nothing. I bet you would be the first first person screaming "A muslim kid who no one knows shows up to school carrying a box with a timer on it and NO ONE SAYS ANYTHING??"

Sorry, but erring on the side of caution would be to look at the clock and inspect it for explosives. Or to politely say that because of nervousness around things that look like bombs, they need to take it away and ask the police to look at it. And then when it turns out to be a clock, apologize profusely and say he can pick it up at the end of the day.

Intense questioning, perp walk in handcuffs, and fingerprinting at juvie is an epic level of overreaction. Nobody disputes that it was anything more than a bomb. He didn't leave it somewhere where it would be mistaken for a bomb, he had it in his backpack, and it only came to light because it had an alarm he had to silence. I like the notion that somebody else posted - a public apology by everyone involved, either in the form of a letter to all the parents, a student assembly, or both.

Comment Re:"Drug Companies Seek to Exploit"!!! (Score 1) 93

Drug companies have no intrrest in researching cures.

Drug companies are for-profit. While there is obviously immense profit in providing treatment for maladies, there is a very limited profit available in cures.

Thus, drug companies do not have any intention of curing anything. It would be bad for business, you see.

And yet, I was just reading that there are multiple new (and phenomenally expensive) drugs that cure Hepatitis C. Insurers don't want to pay for the cure, because the course of drugs necessary for the cure can run in excess of $100K. And the latest drug is better than the previous cure, but even more expensive.

Presumably the companies bringing the cure to market are different than the ones selling the palliative care, so they have an incentive to sell the cure.

Comment Re:Outsource polling (Score 1) 292

What interests me, though, is the demographic shift this will tend to have on any number of results. Landline use skews older and older each year, nevermind peoples' habits with the phone. I usually don't even answer my mobile unless I recognize the caller - if it's important, they can leave a message and I'll call back.

And I think things like that will end up driving polling behavior. They will have to adapt to the callback model, or offer people some form of payment to participate in a poll.

Longer term, I suspect the rules prohibiting auto dialers on cellphone lines will go away. IIRC, the nominal justification for that is based on the fact that cell phone users pay by the minute, so the time it takes for the pollster to connect has an actual financial impact. I suspect we are only a few years away from having unlimited talk and text become the norm.

What about SMS surveys? You might get better responses, especially if each respondent only get asked one or two questions.

Comment Re:FDA Certification Part of the Problem (Score 1) 42

The problem is that the FDA is requiring that the patches/updates be 'tested the update for any effect on clinical function'--knowing how FDA testing can and often runs, this probably in practice translates to 'not at all.'

If the tests are limited purely to the ones relevant and necessary, it'd be one thing, but the FDA has a well-earned rep for requiring tests that are antique and/or irrelevant. This is approximately like having somebody in upper management decide that any change whatsoever to the computers can only be done after huge, time-consuming & expensive battery of tests, and that you cannot skip any step under any circumstances whatsoever, even if you would like to know exactly how 'applying humorous sticker to monitor stand' could possibly result in software issues.

It is not nearly that clear cut. Testing requirements vary depending on the risk classification level. Things like a pacemaker or insulin pump are Class III devices, and the requirements for that are indeed very strict. But PACS systems are Class II, which is not nearly as onerous. And both the FDA and the IEC-62304 standard are starting to acknowledge that not taking software updates is likely more risky than taking them, precisely because of the huge numbers of bugs and vulnerabilities found.

But vendors also have no interest in patching old software. The company I work for is good about updating our OTS/SOUP with new releases, and doing a risk analysis and testing of the update, but we do that for new releases, not something we released 2 years ago. We want our customers to take the update (most are on maintenance, so it is free), rather than spend our time releasing updates to 4 or 5 different versions of software.

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