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Comment They Do Cool Stuff (Score 1) 125

My next door neighbor in Celebration just had hernia surgery at the Nicholson Center done using this technology, it's pretty amazing. Minimal invasivness and very efficent. It's nice to see Celebration getting good press for this type of thing.

Interestingly, residents in Celebration have access to the very best fiber connections, competitive to Google but from a smaller regional telecom. For $60/month residents get 1000/1000 internet. On the town message board, residents routinely post their Speedtests with tests in the high 900 Mbits.

Comment Re:memory (Score 4, Informative) 148

This is very flimsy, as well. Sen. Wyden gave the DNI advance notice of the question, and, his office offered the DNI to correct the testimony in the written record the day after (which happens often with minor technical or honest mistakes; basically an aide to the person testifying who is knowledgeable sits and takes notes on anything that needs technical or administrative clarification after the fact, and then in the official copy of the testimony that is submitted for the record, these imperfections are buffed out; incidentally it would be nice if normal people had this courtesy when dealing with the law).

These statements from Clapper were premeditated vicious lies. He knew that Sen. Wyden knew the truth, being privy to it, and he knew that it would be a felony for Sen. Wyden to reveal that he knew Clapper was lying. Clapper only had to be exposed because of Snowden.

Comment Re:Holy misleading summary, Batman! (Score 1) 587

Sad Puppies is different because it used the slate to effectively take over a category. In the past, there most definitely has been bloc voting, any look at the nominations clearly shows that the nominated blocks haven't changed much at all. A very small number of nominations has been enough to get you on the ballot.

The slate providing 4-5 nominations per category pushes out other works, which is new. So in the past, a bloc or voting campaign would get the target work on the ballot, which was seen as fine, because other works also got on.

I think something like 75% of the nominations made it to the ballot.

Comment Re:Honestly (Score 1) 587

That's also where I heard it. It might be a fine story, it's just sort of an odd choice for SF/F. I think the Sad Puppies campaign is a backlash against this, among other problems they see with the genre.

What just makes it that much more odd is that the Nebula is a jury award, and is arguably (with the Hugo) the pinnacle of the industry. The author is pedigreed and connected well enough that she was a quite an industry star, and that may have helped her otherwise not SF/F work - Iowa Writers Workshop, UC, etc.

I makes sense that SF/F should be diverse and progressive, it's just a little weird to see the awards spin fairly far off base from the roots of the genre.

There is also a popularity gap. The works that win are trending down into more obscurity, except in some categories. I mean this year's nominations include self-published works read by not more than a few hundred people, and episodes of Game Of Thrones, seen and loved by millions.

Seems like disarray.

Comment A Good Thing but for bad reasons (Score 1) 98

This is probably a good thing, but the most likely reason to do this is to juice their diversity numbers. Both companies have problems with diversity and by bringing in lower skilled, lower paid workers to the corporate fold, they will immediately increase the number of minorities on staff.

Next reporting period, when they disclose their racial and ethnic diversity numbers, look for a big jump in the number of minorities on staff.

Comment Re:What it really reveals (Score 1) 112

True, you didn't built everything from source, but you were happy enough that everything traced back to "the" sources to make you feel secure. That's a lot more protection than anything from a commercial vendor, who probably just sold you formulaic encryption without any extra work to make you feel secure. Your data would have been more secure, if not actually secure, but you'd have felt it less, because really you have no way of knowing. So without somebody taking the extra time to make you feel secure, you naturally wouldn't feel it very much, if at all.

The problem is that there is no conceivable way to do what you are saying. It involves compromising or proxying disparate traffic, expertly.

And then, after all that, it would involve rooting an otherwise secure installation that is barely network connected, and using that to inject what, defects into the right sources so that the resulting binaries are weak or exploitable?

I agree that the NSA, CIA, and FBI have extraordinary capabilities, but the attack vectors that have thus far been revealed are the same attack vectors that security researchers have known and published for a long time - firmware, obscure libraries that are often used but seldom examined, zero-day exploits of popular software, mathematical flaws in encryption implementations, and physical security and chain of custody.

All of which is to say, the basic landscape of the threat has not changed much in 20 years. It is sophisticated, but as always, a strong layered defense and strong procedures and policies will minimize the possible impacts, exploits, and severity of breaches (if they occur in the first place). There are few things more secure than a well maintained GNU/Linux or OpenBSD box running in the wild.

Comment Re:Actually, ADM Rogers doesn't "want" that at all (Score 5, Insightful) 406

If, on the other hand, you live in a world where simply crying "Encryption!" is some kind of barrier that magically sanctifies the underlying data, and that it then cannot and should not ever be accessed by anyone other than the data owner...well, then I would ask what you think about the German and Japanese codes in WWII?

I think it's deeply sick that our government or anyone would equate our foreign, Congressionally declared, military enemies locked in nearly unrestrained warfare with the private effects and papers and their electronic equiavlents of it's peaceful citizens.

The law and Constitution (as interpreted and implemented by our system of government) are the constraints -- not specific technological capability.
Disagree. The Constitution recognizes an inherent right - that of a person to be secure in his person and papers from unreasonable search and seizure of his person and those effects. That natural right, along with the natural right to be held personally inviolate (i.e. not tortured) are the dual foundations for the presumption that encryption keys, like secrets ensconced in your memory, are immune for the government's attempts to ascertain them.

What he "wants", when US-based companies hold data that still can technically be accessed for legitimate foreign intelligence purposes supported by our system of law, is that a legal framework should allow for it. When it can't be, it's up to NSA to determine other mechanisms to access that data.

It is impossible to know hat the NSA, or any government agency, actually wants. There is no legal nor oversight mechanism that will force them to disclose that information to you, or me, or even to their Congressional overseers, or even to other members of the Executive branch. They have demonstrated lawlessness at the highest levels and vast dishonesty, using every legal, regulatory, judicial, and yes extra-legal mechanism possible to avoid operating transparently. Whatever the intention, whatever the reason, it is beyond question that civic minded citizens should believe any pronouncement, no matter how clearly worded it appears to be, from the Executive branch. When the Director of National Intelligence says point blank they are not collecting records of millions of Americans, it is not simply a matter of redefining away the words. It's lying. Without punishing those who deceive American citizens and especially Congressional oversight, we must only be left to assume that the NSA operates outside of the realm of the rule of law, and because of that, we must act accordingly.

Even if it means a massive terrorist attack on US soil, even if means the collapse of the government, or invasion, or a mushroom cloud over a major US city, we have to resist the presumption that any agent of the executive acts without oversight and accountability.

Comment Re:What it really reveals (Score 1) 112

I don't know how true this.

I had a high-security/high-trust scenario, and I ended up bootstrapping a machine from source-built binaries, and then building a compile system. I used the compile system to verify that binaries I was using from the official Debian distribution checked out from the various original sources. True, I did not built everything - literally everything - from source, but I was happy enough that everything was traced back the sources enough to make me feel secure. That's a lot more protection than anything from a commercial vendor.

Comment Totally Worthless (Score 5, Insightful) 271

Was very interested. Then realized that this is based on revenue per employee, which is totally useless as a measure of success. Enron had revenue of $100.8 billion in 2000.

Try the whole study again with profit, or at least, net income, and it might interesting.

Comment Re:So what will this accomplish? (Score 2, Insightful) 154

Why is this rated 5? Yes, paying drivers more *might* slightly increase supply but my guess is that the number of drivers is somewhat

You guess? Well lets just throw out the Iron Clad Law of Supply & Demand, on which almost all of the worlds productive economy is based, because you guess.

fixed so without also charging passengers more you do nothing on the demand side. The point of demand pricing is to reduce demand
so that you don't overwhelm the relatively fixed supply. If your goal is to always have cars available, then increasing the price while
paying the drivers the same would actually be a better solution than increasing the pay while charging the same but that would also be
idiotic.

You cannot look at one side of the equation.

When demand is up, there are only two options. Option number one is shortages (of supply). Option number two is that supply must increase.
When supply is down, there are only two options. Option number one is shortages (of demand). Option number two is that supply must decrease.

In either case, the solution is price elasticity. When the price drops, because supply is too high or demand is too low, drivers will drop out of the market. When the price raises, because supply is too low or demand is too high, drivers will enter the market.

Uber has a flexible work force, and it is no way fixed. They also posses 100% more information about the market and their drivers than you do, or the AG does.

This is the case of government using consumer protection laws in a way that will hurt consumers. Economics and the market are not friendly, but they do produce desirable outcomes. If the desirable outcome is fairness, than what the government and AG are doing will produce a fair outcome - everyone regardless of ability to pay will have an equal chance of getting or not getting a car, based on random luck, your skin color, or whatever else motivates you.

If the outcome is to provide as many rides possible, this requires a market with supply and demand efficiency. By curbing supply efficiency by limiting price elasticity, you provide fewer rides than the market will optimally support. If you are frequent driver, you know that by going to where the demand is, to when the demand is, will produce more and more profitable rides. If you are a rider, you know that by relying on Uber during exceptionally busy times, you will only be able to get a ride by paying far more than you would otherwise.

This is really a great case of the nanny government stepping into a situation which is drastically over it's head, in the name of "fairness". Fairness is not an economic goal, it's a social goal, and it's stupid to try to enforce a social goal like this on the very tail end of the policy stack.

Comment Re:Not about code (Score 1) 307

When Apple's prices change (actually, has that happened in the last few years? I think the price has been steady for a while) the market doesn't reconfigure around that price.

Apple has effectively raised prices. The Iphone 5 and 6 lines both have less stuff (namely, storage) for the same amount of money. This is a price increase in everything but optics. While prices should be declining, they are actually stagnant (while adding higher price points).

Apple's control extends only to their own product

No, I don't think this is true. Cell phone sales slow and crawl for all carriers and brands before a new Apple product announcement or release. Additionally, what's unusual, is that typically if there is a constrained supply of a product, some of the unfilled demand bleeds off into other competing products. Like, around Xmas, you go to the store, Toy X is gone off the shelf. Do you give no present? Nope. You substitute a competing product. There is surprisingly little of this in cell phones. One good theory why is because of platform lock-in. In this way, Apple is able to constrain the ability to switch to a competing product effectively. It produces a magnifying effect to their market share. This is very similar to the tying claims that Microsoft go in trouble with in the 90's.

If Apple disappeared tomorrow, the world would still have smartphone manufacturers.

This is true, but not that relevant. There's always another dog.

The only way this monopoly argument could hold water is if we decide that Android and the handsets it runs on should be considered a completely different category of product.

I don't think this is true. Android is not a thing you buy, just like iOS is not something you buy. You buy the phone, with the OS. So for comparison purposes, you can't say it's "Android v. iOS". It has to be handsets for the iPhone. Until you can reasonably buy phone OS's, really, there is no such thing as a market for Android the platform. Since the platform is so fragmented, switching between Android platforms is non-trivial.

In this regard iPhone is a huge market leader and has a greater share than competing products. And that gulf is wide enough that in other industries, combined with the market power, there is a reasonable case to be made that Apple has monopoly control of the smartphone market in the US.

Comment Re:Not about code (Score 1) 307

As people are always delighted to point out, Apple's market share is by no means the majority. Apple isn't a utility.

I agree, but only for now. In the future, if they are running a communication service over a public utility (i.e. regulated internet access), it certainly seems iMessage is exactly like other communication services over regulated infrastructure, namely phone service. Carriers can't lock out each other from similiar over the air services, like SMS, for the same reason.

BlackBerry missed the boat about a dozen times at this point and that's their fault, not Apple's.
Yeah, BB is totally irrelevant to the meat of the discussion. They are screwed.

As far as Apple and monopoly power, it's an interest case. A company does not need to have X% of a market to have a monopoly. Companies have monopoly power with much smaller shares. In some industries, a company can have monopoly power with even 20% of the market. In terms of Smartphones, it's often seen as "Google v. Apple". But really, Google is just a small player. Just because Android runs on many smartphones, does not mean that Google is a direct actor in the market. Apple competes with partnerships of Google/Handset maker. If you were to look at share in this light, I think Apple is by far the largest player. (But I can't find any numbers. Last I found was in mid-2014, with Apple around 40% and Google around 45% and everyone else doing the rest).

The key elements of Apple's monopoly power are there though: they can effectively set prices in the market, they have the ability to raise or lower production to affect prices and availability of the good, they can suppress or increase the market by withholding or releasing products. This last one is important.

This is an interesting time to see what happens with Apple. The practices and behavior of Apple right now are not far off from where MS got itself into trouble in the 1990's. Especially with regards to bundling, tying, and price controls.

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?

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