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Comment: Re:Total BS (Score 1) 210

And your father's knowledge is broader and more accurate than this report's ..... because?

There was certainly a time when wage disparities were truly enormous, though not that big. But the entire premise of this story is that what we knew to be true just ten years ago is now out of date.

I suspect your father was giving you information that was once correct but no longer is.

Comment: Re:hilarious (Score 4, Interesting) 267

by IamTheRealMike (#47690895) Attached to: Are Altcoins Undermining Bitcoin's Credibility?

When Bitcoin was launched, Satoshi had only been mining for a day or so. If you had been paying attention to the right forums, you could have started mining more or less at the same time he did and in fact some people (like Hal Finney) did exactly that.

What's more, Satoshi does not appear to have dumped his coins. Nor did he engage in much pumping. Indeed once people started hyperbolically talking about how Bitcoin would bring about world peace, trying to get Wikileaks to accept it and so on he retreated into the background and eventually left. His coins are still there.

Creating something new with no built in advantage for yourself, being totally honest about it, and then when its value soars not selling ..... is pretty much the opposite of a pump and dump scheme.

Comment: Re:End state and private capitalism. (Score 1) 323

by IamTheRealMike (#47689511) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

BI is different to social security in one crucial way - you get it regardless of need. Even rich people get it. That's why it fundamentally can't reduce the divide between rich and poor. The idea is to break the cultural link between receiving income from the state and being a layabout.

Comment: Re:Incentive Bug Finding (Score 3, Funny) 323

by IamTheRealMike (#47688295) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

I guess it's time to start punishing those who are unable or unwilling to keep their computers secure.

But as most people just use the tools they're given and can't control how secure those tools are, in practice that would mean punishing computer programmers.

If you want the usage of C and C++ to be considered equivalent to suicide then this would be a great policy to bring about such a world.

Comment: Re:End state and private capitalism. (Score 1, Offtopic) 323

by IamTheRealMike (#47688293) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

He said universal basic income, which is certainly not high enough to allow anyone to buy anything they want. There would still be a divide between rich and poor with such a policy.

BTW I don't think basic income has ever been tried. Certainly massive nationalisation of all industries a la Soviet communism is not it.

Comment: Re:Only allowed to have civilian firearms ... (Score 1) 264

At the cost of ensuring any attempt to enforce the law results in a massive and relatively even firefight that is likely to result in a whole lot more blood spilled?

Generally, sane countries want police to have a systematic advantage over criminals when it comes to basic things like weaponry and ability to drive fast. The UK is able to have a mostly disarmed police force because the population is also mostly disarmed. So you can solve it in both directions.

Comment: Re:Real Problem (Score 2) 264

It's been well established that the long term fall in violent crime is primarily (or totally?) due to the removal of lead from petrol, not due to changes in any policing policies. Also, the UK has extremely strict and well enforced gun prohibition which makes it very hard to engage in violent crime, gun crimes have been falling for the last 15 years or so.

Comment: Re:Just red tape? (Score 1) 140

by tlambert (#47686869) Attached to: Delays For SC Nuclear Plant Put Pressure On the Industry

As you surely know, coal plants exhaust is filtered to the extend that the exhaust is cleaner than the intake. At least that is so in germany

Accepting your premise...

It sounds like the Germans need to set up some big filter plants that do nothing but intake, filter, and exhaust the air, if their air is so shitty that running it through a coal fired power plant cleans it.

Comment: Re:https is useless (Score 1) 166

by IamTheRealMike (#47684095) Attached to: Watch a Cat Video, Get Hacked: the Death of Clear-Text

No, you've got to do better than, "I wouldn't think of doing such a thing" when it comes to 21st century governments.

Alright. What do you propose?

Fundamentally, encrypting all traffic all the time requires a public key infrastructure and the only way we know how to build one that works is to have trusted third parties. You trust your browser, for example. Your browser maker outsources ID verification of websites to CA's.

Ultimately SSL cannot survive being explicitly banned or subverted by the state. It just can't. They can force browser makers to give them a back door. No system can survive explicitly being banned by the state. Luckily this has not (yet) happened - strong SSL is not illegal and there are no documents in Snowden's archive that discuss compromises of CA's, probably because when armed with a bunch of zero days you don't need to exploit a CA to strip SSL, you just infect the target. Much more stealthy.

What's more, Google is pushing certificate transparency forward quite hard. CT is a system that requires certificates to be published to an audit log for a browser to accept them. It should make it much harder for a CA to issue certificates in secret. The audit logs can be data mined to look for bogus certs, e.g. certs that are issued but never show up in production usage, either by big well known targets like Google or by third parties. So far it's the best proposal that exists for how to raise the security of SSL. All others are busts.

Comment: Re: Uber is quite retarded (Score 1) 340

by IamTheRealMike (#47676935) Attached to: Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

The libertarian view is that everyone should check that the vehicle is safe and the driver competent before making a contract to be transported with them.

Hardly. The anti-Uber-banning view (call it libertarian if you like) is that governments already require drivers licenses to check for competent drivers and road vehicle licensing to ensure safe vehicles, which is why most people are totally OK with getting into the car of a random friend or relative. But we're expected to believe that once you pay someone for a trip, suddenly all those existing licenses become irrelevant and we need extra new (invariably very expensive) licenses to provide safety and competency.

Here's a thought. Maybe if someone trusts Uber to do a better job of policing their drivers than their local government, they should be allowed to test that theory out? So far I haven't actually encountered anyone who has had a bad experience with Uber. I'm sure they exist, but people with bad experiences of regular licensed taxis are a dime a dozen. It's not like paying a big fat fee to your local city magically makes people awesome.

Comment: Re: Uber is quite retarded (Score 1) 340

by IamTheRealMike (#47676901) Attached to: Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

Unless you're the person in the lane next to the Uber car when its high-mileage, improperly-maintained components break, or the person crossing the road in front when the Uber driver falls asleep, and then you get to be in the accident too.

So I guess travelling salesmen have to get special licenses too, or anyone who has an especially long commute? I guess this government licensing regime applies to anyone who drives more than a certain number of hours per day? No? They apply only to people who are paid to take passengers around and thus have money to squeeze? Hmm.

Regulations on commercial drivers exist for a reason, and it's not just for the benefit of the passengers inside a commercial vehicle.

The entire Uber hullaballoo is happening exactly because nobody seems able to clearly articulate the value that this giant pile of red tape brings to the table. People handwave and say "of course regulations make things safer", but why Uber can't achieve the same outcomes better is not exactly clear. I don't think a government license magically makes people less likely to fall asleep at the wheel, for example - rules around how long any driver can drive would do that, but that's not what taxi licensing achieves.

It seems pretty clear that technology can solve some of the problems that historically have been achieved through government licensing. Governments are NEVER going to decide that some laws can be replaced with new technology, their history of doing this is non-existent because the people who pass laws are not technologists. So conflicts like Uber vs taxi licensing regimes are inevitable. But that doesn't make Uber automatically in the wrong. It's just a sad reflection on the lack of software ability at the top of our societies power structures.

Comment: Re:There's more to EU transport than cheapness (Score 1) 340

by IamTheRealMike (#47676871) Attached to: Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

The first airplane was created by Orville and Wilbur Wright, American brothers. No other craft was capable of flying prior to this. This is undisputed.

Interestingly, after inventing the airplane they then filed patents on it and their company stagnated, technologically. Meanwhile planes were being invented at around the same time in Europe, and they weren't protected in the same way, so by the time World War 1 started the American's had to fly in European made planes because the US ones weren't good enough. Eventually of course the patents expired and US aircraft caught up pretty fast.

Comment: Any software requiring documentation is broken. (Score 4, Interesting) 198

by tlambert (#47672681) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should You Invest In Documentation, Or UX?

Any software requiring documentation is broken.

I blame Bob Wallace.

Bob Wallace was one of the originators of the concept of "shareware", and he got paid not for his software. This made people wonder how Quicksoft was able to stay in business.

When questioned about this at one convention, he made circling motions with his hands on either side of his head, and said "Software is ... all up here ... it's not real, it's ephemeral. I don't sell software, I sell manuals". So Quicksoft made its money, and its livelihood in the margin between the cost of mass-producing a manual vs. printing it out from a floppy disk and using up a bunch of tractor feed paper and expensive ribbon.

Or, to put it another way, Quicksoft made their money by having a relatively feature-full product which was nearly impossible to use without documentation. And people have been mistakenly trying to copy his success by utilizing the same technique, ever since.

Why did WordPerfect lose out to Microsoft Word? It wasn't because WordPerfect didn't already own the market; it did. It wasn't because Microsoft Word had more features; it didn't. Was Word a lot better, intrinsically, than WordPerfect? It actually wasn't.

Frankly, it was because of the F1 key. By the time WordPerfect got around to deciding they needed a "Help!" key, some of the function keys were already assigned, and so they assigned the next available one to be the "Help!" key. It helped sell a hell of a lot of keyboard templates. And it hid the help from anyone who'd experimentally go looking for it by hitting unlabeled keys in order until they found it (in fact, this would totally screw you up in WordPerfect).

Microsoft hit on a UX innovation: when something goes wrong, make the "Help!" key the first key someone is likely to hit, before all other keys.

And then they did it one better: The F1 was assigned to be the "Help!" key in *all* their products. Instead of just being a great UX thing, locating the key where they did on the basis of probability, they turned it into a Schelling Point: anyone who wanted "Help!" in any Microsoft product knew where to go to find it, if they had ever used some other Microsoft product, and needed "Help!" there.

So back to the original question: should you invest in documentation? Well, yes... if your product has already failed to the point where it's nearly impossible to use without documentation, or because, like Bob Wallace, you intentionally made it nearly impossible to use without documentation because that's one of the premises of your business model.

Maybe you want to write books on your project, once it's used by enough people to make that profitable, and that's how you plan to turn your hobby into a vacation fund. Or maybe you want to get to be a published author about a product so you get hired as a tech writer somewhere, or you get a lot of speaking engagements, and monetize your efforts that way. But if making your product hard to use was one of your initial conditions, then I think your software is broken.

Man must shape his tools lest they shape him. -- Arthur R. Miller