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+ - CAPTCHA Economics->

Submitted by
Opir
Opir writes "From the article:

Workers in Russia, Southeast Asia, and China are paid a pittance to solve millions of CAPTCHAS.

What can only be described as an epic new analysis by a cadre of researchers at UC San Diego has uncovered the seedy underbelly of a sophisticated, highly automated, world-wide network of services that help email, blog and forum spammers get past the CAPTCHAS that are designed to keep them out."

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Comment: Bad idea (Score 1) 362

by darCness (#30456902) Attached to: Are Complex Games Doomed To Have Buggy Releases?

This subject has come up before, and it's just as bad an idea now as it was then.

When you release a physical product, you can issue disclaimers with it like "don't use near flame", "don't use in extreme cold", "don't use naked inside live volcano." Software can wind up installed on systems that are the equivalent of all of these. Can you test on every OS, OS minor version, OS with patches x/y/z, combination of drivers, this chipset, that graphics card? What about on systems that are misconfigured? With corrupt Registries/Netinfo DBs/config files? How about ones infected with Malware? What if the admin/user installs or configures your software incorrectly?

Every system is a potentially highly hazardous environment that you cannot control nor test for.

Comment: Yes and no (Score 1) 263

by darCness (#29937987) Attached to: Zombies As American Zeitgeist Proxies

Representations of the Zeitgeist, sure. What the Zeitgeist is? Eh, no. How about representing many of the things Romero intended? All that stuff hasn't really changed. Mass consumer culture; a rebellion against a sterile, mindless society; unease and dissatisfaction with the state of the country and the world - and the attendant social unrest. Forbes' analysis is interesting, but off the mark, IMO.

The issues that were salient when the original movies were made are just as salient now, if not more so.

Comment: Other "fast readers" we need (Score 1) 90

by darCness (#29659509) Attached to: IBM Researchers Working Toward Cheap, Fast DNA Reader

A reader for all sorts of diseases, especially communicable ones. It'd cut costs in countries with relatively modern health systems by wasting less of medical professionals' time, and since it'd likely be small (and hopefully very cheap) it'd help countries with very poor or non-existent health care systems. Would also be very helpful during/before epidemics break out. I know some of these exist for specific diseases, but we need ones that can test for thousands at once.

A reader specifically for STDs. Would revolutionize casual sex and libertine lifestyles. Meet, test, have sex without worry. Very liberating.

A nutrient reader. No more relying on labels for store-bought food. Would also allow you to test food from eating establishments that do not supply nutritional information. Stick your reader in your food, find out the exact calorie, fat, etc. content instantly. Would also help with obesity/portion control.

Comment: Just wait (Score 1) 295

by darCness (#29138817) Attached to: A Video Ad, In a Paper Magazine

Until they're spread on sidewalks the way those little ad cards are now.

Until people complain that they're getting them in their mailboxes.

Until people complain that they opened their curtains and saw them stuck on the window, facing in.

Until they are on windshields and in clubs like flyers are now.

Until you hear the stories of people getting these things thrown at them by "drive by" marketers.

I can smell the lawsuits now.

Comment: There's even more to it (Score 1) 513

by darCness (#29035129) Attached to: Will Your Credit Report Disqualify You For a Job?

HR departments use these reports, as you well know - along with job history, what font you use on your resume, and what you eat for breakfast - to thin the herd, not determine viability. It's also the reason for credential inflation; what used to "require" a bachelors now needs a masters. Not because the job has gotten more challenging, but because there are ever more people with the older degree. In non-boom times, HR departments can be overwhelmed. Just look at the current number of applicants per job (6(!) for each one as of July 2009.)

It's not just about whether you're "trustworthy". It's trying to make those piles of resumes more manageable to HR. They use whatever they can to do so.

Comment: Wrongheaded (Score 1) 517

by darCness (#27891325) Attached to: Should Developers Be Liable For Their Code?

When you release a physical product, you can issue disclaimers with it like "don't use near flame", "don't use in extreme cold", "don't use naked inside live volcano." Software can wind up installed on systems that are the equivalent of all of these. Can you test on every OS, OS minor version, OS with patches x/y/z, combination of drivers, this chipset, that graphics card? What about on systems that are misconfigured? With corrupt Registries/Netinfo DBs/config files? How about ones infected with Malware? What if the admin/user installs or configures your software incorrectly?

Every system is a potentially highly hazardous environment that you cannot control nor test for.

Comment: Fixing SOX404 (Score 1) 368

by darCness (#26219943) Attached to: How To Create More Jobs

I don't know how many of the people posting about Sarbanes in this thread have actually had to do implementation work in their companies because of it, but I can tell you as someone who has done extensive work on it that it's a way over the top for businesses without huge amounts of resources; that doesn't mean we should scrap it altogether. I've had to do work on change management, privilege separation, accounting, and data reconciliation to support S-O; it's extremely painful. The requirements are probably fine for companies with many hundreds to thousands of employees, but for ones that are 200, 100, or less, it should be seriously scaled down. There should be several levels. Something like:

S-O Max (5000+ employees)
S-O Large (1000-4999 employees)
S-O Medium (500-999 employees)
S-O Small (100-499 employees)
S-O Mini (99 or less)

Each one would have progressively more requirements. For example, at S-O Mini and Small, you'd have much more lax privilege separation requirements (sometimes the DBA is also the Systems Admin) but at S-O Large and Medium, you'd have to have a separate DBA, Assistant DBA, DB Backup operator, Systems Admin, and System Accounting people. The idea of S-O is good, and it seems fairly well thought out if you've read the documentation surrounding it and some of the checklists; the current blanket approach, however, is far too onerous.

Biotech

Watching Brain Cells In Action 37

Posted by timothy
from the as-if-mice-have-brains dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "A Stanford University team has developed a microscope weighing only 1.1 grams. It is so small that it can be mounted to the head of a freely moving mouse to watch its brain cell activity. According to what the lead researcher told New Scientist, 'A lot of work has been done using brain slices, or anaesthetised animals — even using animals that are awake but restrained. But so far it has been impossible to image cellular-level activity in a freely moving mouse.' Not any more. And as mice are the 'preferred' animals in medical labs, this new kind of microscope could lead to new ways to study human diseases."
Businesses

+ - Microsoft Should Acquire SAP not Yahoo

Submitted by
Reservoir Hill
Reservoir Hill writes "Randall Stross has an interesting article in the NY Times that says that if Microsoft thinks this is the right time to try a major acquisition on a scale it has never tried before, it should not pursue Yahoo but another major player in business software, merging Microsoft's strength with that of another. This is more likely to produce a happier outcome than yoking two ailing businesses, Yahoo's and Microsoft's own online offerings, and hoping for a miracle. Stross points to Oracle as a company that has picked up key products and customers while avoiding an "oops" slip, venturing too far away from its core business, or paying too much and recommends that Microsoft set its sights on $59 billion business software company SAP. Microsoft's acquiring of SAP and leaving it alone as an autonomous division would avoid a cross-cultural integration fiasco and large enterprise customers are arguably the best customers a software company can have. A few dozen well-paying Fortune 500 customers may actually be more valuable than tens of millions of Web e-mail "customers" who pay nothing for the service and whose attention is not highly valued by online advertisers."
Microsoft

Library of Congress's $3M Deal With Microsoft 297

Posted by kdawson
from the just-haggling-over-the-price dept.
Cory Doctorow sounds the alarm over a Library of Congress deal with Microsoft that will have collections locked up in Silverlight. I'll double the Microsoft deal and offer them $6M in perl scripts and an infinite value of free OS software if they let me (or Google or any other honest company) publish their collections in free formats. "This deal involves the donation of 'technology, services and funding' (e.g., mostly not money) with a purported value of $3M from Microsoft to the Library of Congress. The Library, in turn, agrees to put kiosks running Vista in the library and to use Microsoft Silverlight to 'help power the library's new Web site, www.myloc.gov.'"
Software

+ - Orrin Hatch - Software copyright violater-> 2

Submitted by
fudreporter
fudreporter writes "Wired.com has an article referring to comments Senator Orrin Hatch(R-Utah) made about downloading copyrighted material from the Internet... Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) suggested Tuesday that people who download copyright materials from the Internet should have their computers automatically destroyed. But Hatch himself is using unlicensed software on his official website, which presumably would qualify his computer to be smoked by the system he proposes. The senator's site makes extensive use of a JavaScript menu system developed by Milonic Solutions, a software company based in the United Kingdom. The copyright-protected code has not been licensed for use on Hatch's website. "It's an unlicensed copy," said Andy Woolley, who runs Milonic. "It's very unfortunate for him because of those comments he made.""
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Wii

+ - Your Wii is now a Commodore 64 too-> 1

Submitted by
Wowzer
Wowzer writes "Games from the Commodore 64 home computer will soon appear on the Wii Virtual Console in Europe, with other territories no doubt to follow in 2008. Games will each be priced at 500 Wii Points. The first games set to appear are: International Karate and Uridium. From the article, a quote by Bala Keilman, CEO of Commodore Gaming: "The massive impact the Commodore 64 had on video-gaming is still evident today with many gamers remembering the computer and its games with great fondness. By working with Nintendo of Europe, we are ensuring that future generations of gamers can play some of the best and most popular titles that kick-started the computer games revolution and so keep the C64 legacy in gamers hearts.""
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The Military

+ - Open-Source Warfare->

Submitted by
spencerh
spencerh writes "'As events are making painfully clear, Robb says, warfare is being transformed from a closed, state-sponsored affair to one where the means and the know-how to do battle are readily found on the Internet and at your local RadioShack. This open global access to increasingly powerful technological tools, he says, is in effect allowing "small groups to...declare war on nations."'. Open-Source Warfare."
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