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Comment: Re: bye (Score 4, Insightful) 425

by Kjella (#49753343) Attached to: Ads Based On Browsing History Are Coming To All Firefox Users

I don't think you have to come up with that many conspiracy theories, Mozilla's "problem" is that they won. They broke Microsoft's monopoly, made HTML/CSS properly standardized and together with KHTML/WebKit/Blink some 80% use an open source renderer though many use it in a closed source binary. Microsoft would be laughed at if they tried any new proprietary extensions and for the rest the implementation details are all in the open.

I'm talking of the unwanted UI changes. Then there were the release frequency changes that broke extensions every release for a long time. Then there were more unwanted UI changes, cumulating in the despised Australis UI. Then there was the switch to Yahoo for searches. There were the grid advertisements. Then there was the mandatory HTTPS proposal. Now there's this nonsense. All of this is being done when there are still many bugs to fix, some of them existing for years.

Their problem can be summed up in two words: "Now what?" and it turns out they didn't really have any other goal in common than slaying the dragon and now the dragon's dead. Some UX designers get to make an art project. Some cowboy coders thinks more releases is better. Some will do anything to get away from the reliance on their biggest competitor. Some security nuts get to go overboard. Some want to go after Android/Chrome OS with Firefox OS, but this time they're not competing against proprietary and neglected shovelware and barking up a tree Ubuntu has made essentially no progress on.

Let's face it, Mozilla mainly won because Microsoft was trying to keep the web from competing with local applications so they could sell Windows licenses, they got to the head of the pack and grinded it to a halt. They didn't want to compete, they wanted to put a spanner in the works for as long as possible. It annoyed many and gave Firefox enormous amounts of goodwill even when it didn't work properly, out of spite for Microsoft people kept using it and pushing for sites to support it. They don't have a clue on how to compete with someone that puts up a fight, which is their second biggest problem.

Comment: Re:Math (Score 1) 184

by Kjella (#49752733) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

An asteroid may kill a lot of people, but it will not cause global extinction. No asteroid strike has ever completely wiped out life on earth.

Isn't that argument a bit like "I plan to live forever, so far so good"? After all, if it did wipe out all life well then we'd be dead so obviously it hasn't happened yet. Some large extinction event seem to happen once every 50-100 million years, what does a once in a billion year event look like? Ceres, the biggest object in the asteroid belt is about a million times bigger (10^20 kg vs 10^14 kg) than the dino killer. That one isn't going anywhere, but there's clearly quite a few potential total extinction candidates if they came to intersect with Earth's orbit.

Comment: Pot, meet kettle (Score 2) 184

by Kjella (#49752453) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

Excessive hyperbole is silly, yes...

Each year that passes sees roughly a 0.0000005% chance of a species-threatening asteroid coming our way, while real threatsâS - âSenvironmental, medical and political (i.e., war)âS -âScould literally wipe us off the face of the Earth in the blink of an eye.

Global warming is a sloooooooooooooooooow process and even if you burned every bit of coal and oil you wouldn't make Canada into Sahara, it's hardly an extinction level event. A modern day pandemic could presumably kill millions, but it's hardly an existential threat to the human race. Same goes for total thermonuclear war, there's be a lot of direct deaths and many more indirects deads from nuclear winter and starvation but not enough to wipe us out.

Tsar Bomba (most powerful nuke): 50 MT
Chicxulub asteroid (dino killer): 100,000,000 MT

We're not even remotely in the same league. The odds are small that it happens tomorrow but in terms of "worst case" asteroids have everything us humans can come up with beat by far.

Comment: Re:How could you protect against this? (Score 1) 144

I can only come up with the obvious client-side encryption, but will the network as a whole still be able to use the data as it's supposed to (in this case; find adult friends)?

This. It seems sexual preferences, age and location is rather essential for the service they provide and email, well how else are they going to notify you that someone has taken an interest in you or that you got a reply? You can't ask a doctor to not work with medical data, there's of course good and poor security but at the end of the day if there's a total system compromise you're screwed.

How could you protect against this?

Best practice seems to be as follows:
1. Public facing server makes web service call to locked down proxy server.
2. Proxy server validates every request thoroughly, everything that looks even remotely funny is rejected.
3. Proxy server queries stored procedure in locked down database, no SELECT * for you.
4. The results are serialized back to XML and sent to the public facing server for display.

A lot of work if you want to do it right, but you get a fairly good barrier to a total breach from the outside. Of course they could compromise your web server and start harvesting data, but you should have some sort of tripwire system for that with audits and logs checking for abnormal activity.

The other way in is of course from your network, if they can compromise someone on the inside with database access or developers to plant vulnerabilities that'll go into the production system. But that's usually a much tougher route and really no different from breaking into any other secure network.

Comment: Re:Quite the Opposite (Score 1) 256

by Kjella (#49749133) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Career Advice For an Aging Perl Developer?

I could go on an on about the differences between an Engineer, a Tech, a Manager, and a Team lead. It sounds like what you are looking for in a manager is really a team lead position.

Formally, you could be right. Informally, both the team leader and manager hat usually end up on the same person, even if he lacks one title or the other. If you haven't got a team lead it's pretty obvious, if you do have a team lead then in my experience the manager does the HR/administrative bits and leave the actual work management to the team lead or the project manager if you work on a project.

For example, with no formal title I basically had the responsibility to:
1) Execute the actual project
2) Delegate as possible to the two juniors
3) Support the two juniors
4) Train the two juniors

Sure, there was a project manager dealing with the contract and formal contact with the client. There was a manager dealing with formal HR bits. But I felt I was a bit project manager, a bit team lead, a bit manager and a bit mentor all at once. It was a constant prioritization between:

1) What must I do to get the project done?
2) What can I delegate to free up my time?
3) What should I delegate to teach them?
4) What should we walk through together?

When you're in practice managing 100% of their time, you get all the hats whether you want to or not.

Comment: Re:Bad Solution (Score 1) 817

by shaitand (#49740079) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax
" Use-based taxing on roads... if there's a need to tax for "economic benefit", put it somewhere else"

Agreed a fair tax on use would be very complex and cumbersome to calculate. Which is why there shouldn't be use taxes and fees. Shift everything to the income tax system or better yet a tax on wealth.

Comment: Re:Bad Solution (Score 1) 817

by shaitand (#49740037) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax
"As it stands, the wealthy people pay the vast majority of the income taxes, and the poorer HALF of the country pays essentially no income tax at all."

Hardly. The top 5% do. The top 5% aren't the wealthy. You could provide full government healthcare, fully paid higher education, a paid year off work for new mothers and fathers, and the top .001% could pay 100% of the bill and the only thing it would do is slightly slow their rate of wealth accumulation. And currently, they pay the same effective tax rate as that of the lowest income bracket.

"Or would you just keep taking some of everyone's assets, every year, until nobody has anything left?"

Way to beg the question. People would be better educated and more healthy. More money would be moving in the economy. Wages would increase across the board, revenues would increase across the board, infrastructure would improve and for the vast vast majority of our population this would easily give them enough to pay the tax on their meager assets without losing anything, it might even allow them to actually have some assets. This would make it easier for small businesses to start and generate enough revenue to stay alive. The only ones with an issue might be massive corps and those shifting their increasing wealth around from investment to investment and who make all their wealth passively.

Comment: Re:Bad Solution (Score 1) 817

by shaitand (#49739737) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax
"Do you really believe the rich get 80% of the use of the road? I, the working man, wanted to go to McDonalds. I used the road for myself, to get where I wanted to go. Am I free to go to McDonalds when I feel like it, or not?"

I don't see what that has to do with a McDonald's employee using the road to go make McDonald's money. I'm talking about wear and tear on the roads from people commuting to work and commercial trucking. If McDonald's employees stop using roads/sidewalks/traffic signals/police and fire protection/etc to drive to work and back every day for a month and that doesn't cost McDonald's any money I'll concede that they shouldn't be on the hook for paying for that infrastructure.

"You do realize there is only one logical end conclusion to your line of thinking; the rich should not be allowed to exist in the first place. They are always going to 'get more benefit' from everything than the non-rich. Maybe you can do away with them even though everyone else in the past 100 generations tha has tried, has failed."

For now I'd settle for not charging people using roads fees and pay for them via the income tax system. Sure it unfairly punishes the top 1% while the top .001% pay an effective tax rate that is less than the lowest income bracket but it's better than expecting a McDonalds burger flipper to pay the same per mile to drive to work as passive investor who gets all the profit from that drive and doesn't even have to drive to work.

Comment: Re:Bad Solution (Score 1) 817

by shaitand (#49739483) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax
"The most fair would be for each person to bear their portion of the cost that they create. Since that isn't practical, a rough approximation is the next best thing. How much of the maintenance costs do they cause? As a rough approximation, it's proportional to the amount they use the resource (the road, in this case)."

Which is exactly what I'm proposing. The employer is depending on the road infrastructure to facilitate it's business function, namely, to get all the employees who generate 100% of it's fiscal gains to where it's needs them to be. Since it gets the majority of the financial gains it should pay the majority of the expense. Saying the employee is the one using the road is equivalent to charging this tax to the truck drivers a company employees. Want to test it? How about all the employees of HP not utilize any public infrastructure for their commute one month without detaining staff and see if it impacts their revenues. If not being able to use buses, subways, sidewalks, roads, traffic signals, or depend on the protection of police has no impact on HP's business you win if it does then the commute is in fact part of HP's business function.

"The fact that one person, for whatever reason, has accumulated more dollars is not directly relevant at all. It's just like when you go to the grocery store to buy a loaf of bread - the price is based on the cost of ingredients, the preparation costs, shipping, wages for workers, some portion of the store's overhead, some portion for profits. Nowhere in that equation is how much money you make, how hard you work, etc."

It is completely relevant. Bread is not public infrastructure. But it does cost in terms of public infrastructure to make, it causes wear and tear for employees to commute, it costs on the subsidized power grid, it costs to enforce the regulations to make a bread shop produce safe product, it costs to provide police to protect it, it costs federal funds out the wazoo to support the banking structure and security, healthcare costs to keep staff healthy and able to produce the bread, drive the trucks, repair equipment, education for the same, etc. The things you list are actually only a minor factor in the price of bread or anything else, that is the minimum cost, the actual cost is whatever the consumer can be gotten to pay. However all these expenses are present for every loaf of bread, and if a loaf of bread is $1 and I have $10 dollars in my pocket I have the public resources required to produce 10 loaves of bread sitting in my pocket. If you have $100, your $100 represents 10x as many public resources.

Comment: Re:Bad Solution (Score 1) 817

by shaitand (#49739157) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax
"You want to use MORE tax dollars to keep a running tally on what percentage of the value of a road's use is reflected in the ebbing and flowing profitability of all of the businesses that might be located somewhere along or connected to a given municipality's various types of roads?"

Nope. I want to eliminate all government fees and all taxes (at all levels) and replace with one, I want that one tax to be on wealth and not revenue (revenue stimulates the economy, accumulated wealth does not). This eliminates all need to make special exceptions based on income, tally expenses, etc. Zero tax breaks, zero tax exemptions, zero variation in rate.

I also would like to see that tax administered at the state level and not the federal level and let the federal authorities request their funds from the states.

But all that is another issue. In the meantime I'd settle for absolishing all use based fees and paying for all those things with federal tax dollars. Businesses already get a huge advantage here. Last I checked the rest of us pay higher tax rates and don't get to deduct all the money we've spent through the year and only pay tax on what's left over.

Comment: Re:Bad Solution (Score 1) 817

by shaitand (#49737365) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax
"Your notion that road taxes should be higher if you make more money than someone when you get where you're going is ... preposterous. "

I raise you rush hour. Commercial transport of goods, work related travel, and commuting to and from work by far constitute the largest source of wear and tear on the roadways. Both the employee and the employer have need for this travel to generate revenue. This is in the interest of government and society because it stimulates the economy. We are spending government resources to generate that revenue, if I get 100% of the revenue I should pay 100% of the costs from that revenue, if I get 70-90%, I should pay 70-90% if you switch out the "I" in those statements with "my employer" it remains true. If it is fair to say the person using the roadway should pay it's cost because they get the benefit, it's fair to point out that 70-90% of the benefit is gotten by their employer.

"What about two shoe salesmen who drive down the same road to the same store to go to work? One is a poor communicator, never takes a shower, and can never seem to handle more than one customer at a time. His co-worker has his act together, and customers respond well by buying more shoes. He makes three times the commission, which translates to a much better income. You're suggesting that he (the better shoe salesman) should be charged more to use the same road because he's not a lazy idiot."

In what way? That changes the scale, in both cases the owner of the shoe store is getting 70-90% of the value generated by the salesman's efforts and therefore gets 70-90% of the benefit from their use of the roads. However, how the more successful salesman ended up with more money is irrelevant and largly none of the governments business. 3 x the dollars represents 3 times the purchasing power in goods and services which means about three times the total public infrastructure cost the bill for ending up with 3 x as much of the goods and services and therefore the person who ends up with those dollars should pay a proportionate bill. Your saying one guy should get the benefit of (dollars generated by) 75% of their combined public infrastructure costs while they both pay 50% of those costs? I'm saying the cost should 70-90% fall on the owner who got 70-90% of the dollars, and the remaining balance be split 75/25 again in accord with who got the dollars. Which seems more fair? Any "laziness" has already been accounted for by earning 25% of what the other salesman earned.

Comment: Re:Bad Solution (Score 1) 817

by shaitand (#49737019) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax
"Interesting. Is there a practical way to address this, though?"

Eliminate all use based taxes and fund all government spending via wealth based taxation. Scaled revenue taxation is better than use or sales based taxation but revenue generation benefits our economy. Wealth accumulation on the other hand is of no benefit to the economy.

"Also, it seems extremely rare to have a road lead just to one business, so the 70-90% number is probably on the high side."

I earn six figures so not low income, still my employer still bills 100% of my time out at 5 times what I make. That means 80% of the revenue I generate goes to my employer. That means anytime I travel to and from work or for anything that benefits my career my employer should be paying 80% of the cost of any wear and tear on the roads. Additionally, since I spend nearly 50% of my waking hours (aka life) producing revenue for them 80% of all government infrastructure (roads, replacement drivers licenses, medical infrastructure, police, housing, "my" share of government agency costs, defense, etc) costs that come from my life should be paid by them.

It's no different if you make $20,000-30,000/yr like most folks. Your employer still generally will be taking 70-90% of the value you generate. Therefore 70-90% of "your" share of public infrastructure and services use cost belongs to them.

Even if you think the share of someone who earns six figures vs someone who earns $20,000yr should be equal based on millage (I don't, dollars represent goods and services and $1 buys roughly 100000x less of them than $100,000 and therefore requires about 1/100000th the public infrastructure to generate). How much public roadway infrastructure do you think is used by people commuting to work for someone else? Ever been in a city at rush hour?

Comment: Bad Solution (Score 1) 817

by shaitand (#49735867) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax
This tax, and the one it replaces, would charge people commuting to McDonalds equally with the owners of McDonalds even though the owners get somewhere between 70-90% of the economic benefit from that road use. Almost all government taxes/fees which are applied with use rather than scaled on revenue share this problem. Pretty much universally, these kind of taxes are a way for people who get only a partial share of the value they create to pay a full share of the cost of the public infrastructure required to create that value, making the poorest among us subsidize the wealthiest.

Comment: Re:Stupid reasoning. (Score 1) 1067

by Kjella (#49735729) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour

"More useful" by whose definition? Money is llike water - it can only generate power if it's moving. That 'useful stuff' you speak of often looks like putting the money behind a dam, where it does nothing to stimulate the economy. Consumption, on the other hand, drives the economy.

That's a fairly flawed interpretation, globally all that is consumed must be produced so the only way to raise total consumption is to increase total production. If we consume more than we produce we run a deficit and are either living off means we already have or incurring a debt, which means we've spent less in the past or will spend less in the future. Increasing consumption won't grow the economy as such.

However circulation helps the economy find the most efficient means to produce what we want so I pay McDonald's because it's cheaper than growing and harvesting and cooking my own meal. They again buy from their suppliers and so on stretching your money so you get more for less, but all of this is because of advantages of scale. The value-add comes from us being more efficient when we're specialized, not because we play musical chairs with our money.

Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. - Isaac Asimov