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Comment: Re:What about text chat? (Score 1) 65

by edgr (#48129469) Attached to: WhatsApp's Next Version To Include VoIP Calls and Recording

Whatsapp being phone only is what kills it for me.

It's not a bug, it's a feature. It's what allows it to take the place of SMS. If your contact is on WhatsApp and you message them, you know they will get your message on their phone. If you send a message to someone on facebook messenger, they might not get it until they log in to facebook on their computer next week, so unless you know their habits you have to send an SMS if it needs to be timely.

Comment: Re:Start your own provider? (Score 1) 353

by edgr (#44787519) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You Fight Usage Caps?

And that's just for ONE person without any file sharing; imagine a house full of people that actually use their technology.
But sometimes nice things are nice to have...

And there is no reason why a single person using their internet fairly sporadically should pay the same as a house full of people streaming HD video 24x7. Nice things are nice to have, but why should someone else pay for them?

Comment: Re:Privacy issue in Europe (Score 1) 684

by edgr (#40531133) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Smart Meters Safe?
Yep, see for example Nonintrusive appliance load monitoring. It's possible to identify common appliances reasonably well using the size of changes to power consumption and, depending on the smart meter hardware used, the shape of the power-usage curve (e.g. the brief initial surge when turning on compact fluorescents). It's not perfect but it's not too bad and it's getting more accurate.

Comment: Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (Score 1) 247

by edgr (#39246441) Attached to: AT&amp;T Clarifies Data Limitations On "Unlimited" Data Plans
Exactly this happened in Australia with fixed-line broadband. ISPs offered 'unlimited' plans, in small print noting you get throttled after a certain figure. They got smacked down by the ACCC (the government consumer watchdog) and now plans are either "x GB - throttled" or "x GB - $y/GB excess fee", or genuinely unlimited.

Comment: Re:Spotify a promising alternative to Pandora (Score 2) 170

by edgr (#38849605) Attached to: How much of your music/video entertainment is streamed online?

I use spotify for almost all my music listening. I don't even bother with offline playlists, I generally just stream music on my mobile when I'm on the go. It's great being able to access such a vast library on the go - when someone is talking about a new track I can bring it up immediately, even if it's an artist I've never heard of.

I haven't paid for music for years, and now I'm spending $10 every month.

Comment: Re:Confused? (Score 1) 180

by edgr (#38081900) Attached to: $50,000 To Solve the Most Complicated Puzzle Ever
A lot of research has been done on the second step of this algorithm in bioinformatics. When sequencing a genome, generally all you get are millions of short sequences that need to be stuck together. The algorithms work by calculating probability scores for various pieces to be adjacent and then doing some funky statistics. It's a non-trivial problem to calculate those probabilities for the document reconstruction problem, and then the reconstruction is in 2d instead of 1d, but the bioinformatics algorithms could provide some interesting approaches.

Comment: Re:Obligatory XKCD (Score 5, Informative) 205

by edgr (#38020758) Attached to: DARPA Wants To Get Rid of Password Protection

i'm not sure i completely agree with that. for one thing, he calculates entropy wrong. according to wikipedia, the set of all ascci characters has an entropy of 6.5446 bits per character. given an 11 character password, thats ~72 bits. a 26 letter character set has an entropy of 4.7004 bits per character with 24 letters, that gives the password 112 bits. that doesn't make my case for why i disagree, just showing that he calculated entropy wrong. i actually don't even know how he came up with those numbers.

People understanding things in this way is exactly why everyone chooses bad passwords. His point is that if everyone has passwords like Tr0ub4dor&3, password guessers won't guess random printable ASCII characters, they'll guess a word and then try some substitutions on it.

So 'Troubador' can be guessed with a dictionary attack, which is why the word only gets about 16 bits of entropy (that puts it in the top 64000 most common words in English). There is additional entropy added by the substitutions but substituting '0' for 'o' is much easier to guess than changing the 'o' to a random character.

i'm not going to try to calculate the possible number of permutations of a 24 character english word password but its definitely significantly less than the 112 bits of entropy we calculated earlier. is it less than the 72 bits for the ascii character set? i don't know. but maybe someone smarter than me can go tell us that one.

And again, since an attacker would be using a dictionary attack, the correct way to calculate entropy is per word, not per character. The xkcd calculates 11 bits of entropy per common word which suggests these words are in the top 2^11=2048 most common words which seems reasonable (a quick glance at wikipedia suggests around 80% of the words in written texts are built from the most common 2000 words). So we get 44 bits of entropy. Obviously less than 72 bits but how many people are really going to create a completely random alpha-numeric-punctutation string of 11 characters (not built from a word or pattern)?

Comment: Re:Noscript wins again (Score 3, Interesting) 330

by edgr (#34532910) Attached to: Two Major Ad Networks Found Serving Malware
Most of the big banks in Sweden allow you to create a temporary (virtual) credit card with a specified limit and expiry date. You type the credit limit and expiry in, push a button and it spits out a new mastercard number. At least one bank (Swedbank, one of the largest in Scandinavia) requires this kind of card for all online transactions.

Comment: Re:Home Security Theater (Score 1) 633

by edgr (#34169868) Attached to: TSA Bans Toner and Ink Cartridges On Planes

The quickest path towards resolving this is genuinely for all non-criminal young Middle Easterners to start ejecting the radical element from within their ranks.

Just like when the IRA was having their campaigns, I should have told them to shut the hell up so I could go about my business? I'm an Australian, although I look Irish due to my ancestors around 4 generations ago emigrating from there. Racism is not the answer.

Comment: Re:A return to baseline... (Score 1) 506

by edgr (#32440642) Attached to: Caffeine Addicts Get No Additional Perk, Only a Return To Baseline

Usually stuff like this isn't researched on very big groups and over and over again.

I think sporting bodies have researched this thoroughly. For example, in Australian football (the most popular sport in the country) caffeine was legalised a few years ago. The clubs spent big bucks testing their usefulness, but as far as I know none use them any more.

Comment: Re:Perspective (Score 1) 958

by edgr (#29691843) Attached to: How many countries have you visited?

When it is thousands and thousands of kilometers to get out of your own country in every direction if you don't can't the USA as a destination it is a bit more difficult to travel to many countries.

I live in Australia, you insensitive clod. I can drive for 25,000km on one highway without leaving the country. Apart from a few pacific islands, New Zealand is the only country within 6 hours flight of me (Melbourne).

And yet, most of my friends have travelled to several other countries. In the time it takes to drive 2000km, you can fly pretty much anywhere it the world.

Is it possible that software is not like anything else, that it is meant to be discarded: that the whole point is to always see it as a soap bubble?