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Comment: Re: Agner Krarup Erlang - The telephone in 1909! (Score 1) 328

by j-beda (#48200699) Attached to: An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man

The most "efficient" method in terms of customers served per unit time is multiple lines, one behind each register - then there is minimal downtime between customers and the numbers served are maximized, however it has the major disadvantage of not minimizing the time spent in line by each customer - the unlucky ones pick a slow attendant who managed to get all of the slow patrons with special situations that need extra time to serve. The one line feeding separate servers is most fair as everyone goes through the same line and nobody gets stuck waiting for the slow server or stuck behind the slow patrons while being passed by the lucky patrons who got the faster lines. However, the one line has the disadvantage of causing a delay for everyone for each customer as the customer walks to the checkout from the front of the single line. This can be substantive: if the walk is ten seconds and the line is 60 people long, this is 600 seconds, or ten extra minutes you would be standing in line compared to if the walk was instantaneous. The way around this is to have a long line feeding to short lines (even only one patron deep) at each checkout. Yes, people stuck behind a problem patron can sometimes wait a bit longer than they might like, but on average they tend to be better off. I have seen this type of thing work well at customs checkpoints at airports, where there is someone in authority telling people where to go. The difficulty of course is that any of these single line->multiple checkers work well without mechnisms to keep them working - either a machine or a person telling the next in line where to go and ideally watching the whole system to work around individual slowdowns and special cases. It is not very self-organizing.

Comment: Re:If you want results from the web (Score 1) 312

by j-beda (#48187307) Attached to: If You're Connected, Apple Collects Your Data

It's fine to do that for gmail or yahoo, Comcast, etc but might not appreciate it if iPhones are sending that information back to apple even if it is never published.

I don't think that anything beyond the "" is going to to Apple, but I suppose if you are worried about anyone knowing what your email address is, then yeah, it might be a concern. Someone posted a link to an RFC of some sort that detailed how mail server settings should be published that could make this type of system unneccessary - too bad that is not more widely implemented.

Comment: Re:May I suggest (Score 1) 300

by j-beda (#48186203) Attached to: No More Lee-Enfield: Canada's Rangers To Get a Tech Upgrade

Summer temperatures up north can still get pretty warm. Bettles AK (on the arctic circle) has high temperates in the summer of at least the low 90s occasionally, and this is warm enough that compined with a sealed car and lots of sun can certainly push the car temperatures up pretty high. Summer days can be very long too.

Comment: Re:ET Phone home (Score 1) 312

by j-beda (#48186097) Attached to: If You're Connected, Apple Collects Your Data

Well I could always block encrypted traffic and implement introspection rules or allow encrypted traffic and implement MITM. It is my LAN and there is absolutely nothing apple can do about it ;-)

If my phone and Apple's server already have a pre-shared encryption key, how are you going to implement a MITH attack? (or should that be "an MITM attack"? I suppose it depends if you read it as "em-eye-tee-em" or "Man In The Middle".) You can certainly drop the connection, but I don't see how you could read or spoof it.

Comment: Re:ET Phone home (Score 1) 312

by j-beda (#48186061) Attached to: If You're Connected, Apple Collects Your Data

Same here. I've been using that "feature" to check how long the maid stays when she comes by to do weekly housekeeping.

Now I know how she can afford an iPhone, she charges for 3h but stays 2h!

Untill you knew how long it took her, were you happy with the quality of the cleaning and the price you were paying? If so, try not be be bothered by her "profit margin". If not, renegotiate the fee, or find someone else to do the job.

With all that said, are you paying her a "living wage"? For Alameda County, California that comes out to something like $24/hour for a single adult supporting one child or at least $11.50/hour to support just the working adult.

Of course people working jobs like house cleaning or computer consulting cannot typically get billable hours for 40 hours per week due to scheduling difficulties and travel time, so the hourly rate needs to be higher to account for that, or as your cleaner may attest, the "billing time" might be longer than the "working time". Other ways of offsetting this it to impose time minimums (at least two hours per job) or charge for travel time or distance. Considering that the IRS has a standard car expense of $0.56/mile, if someone is driving 60 mph they are generating an expense of $33.60/hour. Granted, the IRS is very generous on this expense calculation, but the actual expense for most people is probably close to at least half of that.

There are very few people getting rich cleaning houses.

Comment: Re:If you want results from the web (Score 2) 312

by j-beda (#48185833) Attached to: If You're Connected, Apple Collects Your Data

That would require an even bigger violation. They would have to have the client send the actual configuration to Apple as well so they can have the data. Not all businesses would appreciate that.

I'm not so sure - most email providers provide all this information on their web pages anyway. Unless you are suggesting that Apple's mail client is waiting for people to manually set up some email and then sending that information to Apple for use by future users, I don't see any problem for Apple to notice that they are getting lots of requests for email accounts at "" and then someone at Apple looking up setup info for and pushing that data out to users as needed.

While this type of "auto-setup" is extermely useful (especially on iOS where typing stuff and cut/past and switching between the settings and the web-browser are less than ideal), I do wish it was a bit easier to get straight to the "manual" configuration dialogues. For times when I know that the auto-setup is going to do it in a way I do not want, I usually start by entering a bad domain which does not return a useful result and that lets me do the setup completely manually.

Comment: Re:Oh great (Score 1) 546

by j-beda (#48137261) Attached to: Password Security: Why the Horse Battery Staple Is Not Correct

The only thing that keeps me from using a password manager is that I use lots of
different computers, phones, tablets, etc... and I don't know of any password manager than
can manage multiple devices. Does anyone know of a password manager that works with
apps? Even if I wanted to, I don't think my android banking app would work with any type
of password manager intentionally or unintentionally.

Find a password "safe" format that is well documented and widely supported, memorize a good long passphrase for that safe, and deploy it on some cloud service somewhere like DropBox, then each of your devices can access the safe, and you have a variety of software to manage the data. Schneier's "Password Safe" format seems like a good choice:


Even if it does not work with everything you might want it too, a password manager can make for much better security and convenience for large chunks of one's online life, at the expense of having a single point of failure I guess.

Comment: Re:Funny and entertaining (Score 2) 55

by j-beda (#48126589) Attached to: Crowdsourced Remake "The Empire Strikes Back Uncut" Now Complete

My family and I really enjoyed the first "Star Wars Uncut" production of "A New Hope" a few years back. My two pre-teens submitted a scene for this one and we have yet to look and see if it "made the cut". We are looking forward to watching it. There is a torrent of the completed film here:

If you don't like the scene choices, I think the website has the ability to view the other options for scenes that were submitted - maybe you can even mix your own?

Comment: Re: The Global Food Crisis is not a science probl (Score 1) 308

by j-beda (#47989885) Attached to: Irish Girls Win Google Science Fair With Astonishing Crop Yield Breakthrough

Perhaps by having more biofuel at no significant additional cost?

"More food for the same price" can hardly be a bad thing.

Well, if the local farmers cannot compete with the pricing of the imported stuff, then they go out of business and eventually all of the local money gets spent outside of the community on imported food. If there is insufficient local production of something for export, eventually all of the local money is gone, then everyone locally is screwed.

I"m not saying this type of thing is guaranteed to happen, but sometimes when the buggy whip makers go out of business, the knock on effects are wider than one might think.

Comment: Re:There are no new legal issues (Score 1) 206

by j-beda (#47875541) Attached to: Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

once they get a warrant for the password,

One cannot 'get a warrant for the password', at least in civilized countries :)

OK, perhaps not a "warrant" but surely the US has some sort of "production order" where the court says "give us the records you have" ? Perhaps they don't, or maybe that is only in civil cases during discovery.

Logging capabilities may be ubiquitous, but logs that would be useful in a criminal case, much less so. In any case, nothing currently on the market poses this "privacy danger".

I reiterate, the present framework is sufficient in my mind.

Comment: Re:There are no new legal issues (Score 1) 206

by j-beda (#47875013) Attached to: Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

Ok, lets take a slightly different approach.

Would you submit to the government mandating that you wear a camera and other monitoring equipment or have it implanted, provided that they need a warrant to read its contents?

Can you think of ANY negative implications of that? What are they? (Assume for the sake of the argument that the implantation process itself is simple, painless, and complication free.)

What's the difference between that and a disabled person requiring a prosthetic to be made whole?

The solution, by the way, is simple enough. Mandate that the prosthetics encrypt the monitoring data, and require a password from the owner to decrypt. That effectively shields the cyborg.

The problem is the consumer isn't in a position to demand this feature. And the vendor is unlikely to feel competitive pressures to provide it. So it won't come about unless we mandate it.

Sure, that is an extreme position. Nobody is mandating such a thing, and there is nothing currently even available that could work in this manner, and there is no reason I can see to expect that any prosthetics would ever require such position logging.

In short I don't see the need for new legislation absent something that actually exists that might be a problem. Mandating everyone wear tracking devices is something we can fight when it seems likely to be introduced. Having a medical need for something doesn't feel at all like governmental mandating in my mind, and unless significant number of people end up with such medical devices, I see no need to address the hypothetical shortcomings that the current warrant framework has in place.

I am not convinced that mandating an encryption password for such a hypothetical device would give any real protection beyond that offered by the warrant system - once they get a warrant for the password, it seems like you are screwed anyway. If the logs are so vital to the operation of the device, there are going to be ways of getting at them that do not depend on a security system that the user can forget or misplace, and if they are not vital to the operation, then the security minded will remove or turn off that feature or the maker would not put it in in the first place.

I am the wandering glitch -- catch me if you can.