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Comment Re:The technical problems with this are immense. (Score 2) 154

It might be possible to do some sort of staging approach where one uses some set of batteries to nearly empty and then have them break off in a modular plane that returns to the ground site. But that itself would lead to all sorts of additional problems.

You just solved a big part of the problem! LOL Think about gliders. Once towed to altitude, they can soar for a long time. So Musk could have some kind of quadcopter type superstructure, which includes batteries, etc, which boosts the aircraft straight up to say 15,000 feet. The craft then releases and uses standard lifting surfaces and a small electric powered prop to propel it (aka it's a standard type airplane but electric). The quadcopter framework then returns straight back down to the launch point, and either swaps out batteries or recharges. It's just a vertical elevator essentially. If your flight is less than a hundred miles, which I bet most would be, you wouldn't need much extra propulsion in the airplane portion since you are already at such a high elevation to start with.

Comment Re:Missed the Boat? (Score 1) 254

The "once someone is paid, they stay paid" is a feature of BTC. It would be nice if there were an escrow mechanism with a time limit so if Alice sells a vend a goat machine to Bob, Bob puts the BTC in escrow, until Charlie vets that the vend a goat machine made it to Bob's place and is usable, then allows the transaction to proceed, or before a time limit, interrupts the transaction and has the money sent back to Bob if instead of a vend a goat machine, it were just a box of cinderblocks. This will help against one of the more common auction frauds, and it protects the seller (the currency goes into escrow before the product is shipped), and the buyer (the escrow agent validates that they actually got what was in the package.)

Of course, this isn't perfect... the Bob the Buyer can pull the vending machine out, place some stones, then allege fraud to Charlie so Charlie nixes the transaction... but that goes from common auction fraud which is an everday happening, to actual felony larceny. Escrow does raise the bar though, and given a high enough value transaction, it might be Charlie has his people waiting with Bob for the package to actively validate that all shipped as it should have.

There is another downside... Charlie's reputation. This was discussed back in the 90s on the cypherpunks list, that if the value of Charlie's reputation was less than what the transaction was, he could collude with either Alice or Bob to fuck over the other party. It might sully Charlie's doings in the future, but if the transaction was valuable enough, hosing one party might just be worth it to the escrow agent, as they could go find another biz after that.

Comment Re:Good idea, but not ready for primetime (Score 1) 254

Right now, we are seeing version 1.0 and version 1.1 of cryptocurrencies.

I can see a version 2.0 of a cryptocurrency coming out, with some features to help:

1: Escrow. It would be nice if a third party, Charlie, could be part of the transaction, and Alice and Bob's transaction it wouldn't be completed until Charlie gives the OK. If Charlie doesn't give the OK, Bob doesn't get the currency... eventually after a selected timeout, the coins wind up back with Alice. Or, it could be configured the other way, where Bob gets his coins if Charlie doesn't step in and say "no" after a period of time. Of course, there can be collusion between Charlie and either Alice or Bob to fuck over the other party, but having the -option- for an escrow service so both parties are happy would go far in making a currency usable for trades.

2: Auditing. The ability for a party to tag their own expenses with their own ID for something, so they can in the future run through the blockchain, and find all occurances of that ID. It would be equal to the "For:" line on a checkbook.

3: Refunds. The ability for both parties to reverse a transaction, on the premise of the item in question being returned. This will go a long way in proving ownership of something if it gets questioned.

4: Disabling spending of currency for a period of time. This adds a "timelock" value, so if the currency owner is going to be gone for six months, even if someone has access to the wallet, the coins can't be spent. Of course, once the time expires, it becomes a race between the legit owner and anyone else who has access to the wallet's private key, but it is a way to ensure coins are not going to be gone while someone is on a trip. Of course, this value should be limited to a fairly period of time (6-12 months), so coins are not tossed out of the economy permanently.

5: Similar to #4, but disabling spending of coins for a period of time... but allow them to be re-enabled if another wallet or private key gives the go-ahead. This way, one can have one wallet that coins go in, set a time lock, but still have an offline wallet that can re-enable use of the coins should the need arise.

6: A way to mark part of the transaction as sales tax (with the receiver agreeing on that), so the sender is showing that the 110 units they are paying, 100 are for the product, the rest are going for taxes like a VAT or the like. Similar to #2, but covering the tax angle. In case of audit, it would be easy to just show the blockchain and that the receiver acknowledged that the tax was properly paid.

7: A way to preen the blockchain after a period of time, say seven years of older transactions, but still keep the crystallographic integrity of the entire thing. This way, eventually, the blockchain size will tend to stabilize as soon as old transactions get expired.

I'm sure there are other ways, but adding some cryptographic tricks (like escrow and moving coins out of play for a period of time) will definitely add to currency security.

Comment Re:So Let Me Get This Straight (Score 2) 225

The Telnet server required an Expect script to use... and yes, you -can- do stuff that way... but it is a relative PITA compared to ssh, Python libraries, and Ansible. As the parent said, sending unencrypted passwords through a link (yes, one -could- do tunnels, but that is another bunch of hoops) was possible... but with SSH (especially with RSA authentication), it is far, far easier.

Comment Re:So Let Me Get This Straight (Score 2) 225

SQL server is a database server, and some applications require it... but at least there are others, and one doesn't have to run their business on it. There are alternatives, from MySQL/MariaDB to Oracle, and the nice thing about Oracle is that there are no license keys to manage, so if there is a disaster, getting your RAC cluster back operable isn't dependent on licensing/activation.

This isn't to say SQL server is bad, but if one wants to move from Windows, there are RDBMS products which are just as good available. If you like NoSQL, but still want ACID... there is always MarkLogic.

Comment Re: Turd (Score 2) 225

This. I'd love the ability to provision a Windows box, toss a SSH key on it and have it ready to be managed via Ansible.

On the development side, being able to Vagrant up a Windows box as easily as I do other boxes would be nice, and make life a -lot- easier when it comes to testing. If I need to create a Windows box to make sure a certain set of Registry settings works, it would be nice to create a base box, boot it, have Vagrant provision it, and have it ready to go. Then, when I want to prove my stuff works to another developer, I point them to the repository with my Vagrantfile and provisioning scripts.

Vagrant is a wonderful tool for testing in the UNIX environment. It (pretty much) guarantees that I will have the exact same environment for testing as the developer, and if their code works in a Vagrant box, it will work in mine. I'd love to have the same ease of use on the Windows side. The closest I can come to this is a WIM image and a directory full of MSI files.

Comment Re:Social Justice Twitter (Score -1) 91

Typical SJWNPAT (my acronym for SJW Normal Person Anti-Terrorist), all Twitter is doing is censoring people for criticizing Ethics in Western society. Sure, some people have claimed in ISIL's name to have murdered a few people here and there, but first of all THOSE people they supposedly "murdered" are professional victims and their claims of being murdered are highly suspect no matter how many videos we produced of them being beheaded and threads on /r/WesternSocietyInAction you can point at where every laughed at the Beta Cuck Infidels. And secondly, just because they said they were ISIS doesn't mean they were, I mean, it's a hashtag, you can't police that. You can't blame some guy on Twitter who is just concerned with Ethics and sends a few rape threats to Hillary Clinton THAT ARE CLEARLY NOT SERIOUS with some other guy who murders people because that's totally unfair. And also (continued on thread 94)

Comment Re:Essentially a dupe from 3 months ago (Score 1) 126

I'm sorry, but his "testing equipment" isn't all that great if it can't handle that. I mean, that's pretty much the simplest problem there can be right? Entire pins of the cable swapped. Ethernet testers are designed to catch this exact thing. Slap a diode on the frigging test equipment or something.

Comment Different strategy, same effect (Score 2) 241

Simply switching off the ringer on my landline has had the same effect; after tailing off over the first 6 months or so, I rarely get telemarketing calls anymore (as in, not even once a month). Anyone who really wants to reach me will leave me voicemail. Messages from those few telemarketers who don't hang up get deleted on recognition within the first couple of seconds of playback. And anyone who really needs to reach me directly will have been given my cell number to do so. Works admirably.

UK Wants Authority To Serve Warrants In U.S. ( 135

schwit1 writes with this news, as reported by USA Today: British and U.S. officials have been negotiating a plan that could allow British authorities to directly serve wiretap orders on U.S. communications companies in criminal and national security inquiries, U.S. officials confirmed Thursday. The talks are aimed at allowing British authorities access to a range of data, from interceptions of live communications to archived emails involving British suspects, according to the officials, who are not authorized to comment publicly. ... Under the proposed plan, British authorities would not have access to records of U.S. citizens if they emerged in the British investigations. Congressional approval would be required of any deal negotiated by the two countries.

Comment Re:Oh good, a reason (Score 1) 343

What are Trump and Cruz's views on NSA mass surveillance? I doubt that either oppose it but I'm happy to be proven wrong. Rubio's comments don't seem, on the surface, to be out of whack with 99% of Republicans. I'd be surprised if other current candidates considered by most to not be insane strongly disagree with him on this. (Yeah, Rand Paul might, but he's already dropped out, and in any case...)

What makes Rubio more attractive than those two are that he's not on the theocratic wing, unlike Cruz, and... well, he's not Trump.

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