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Comment: Physical objects wear out, digital objects don't (Score 5, Interesting) 240

by markdj (#42795823) Attached to: Amazon Patents 'Maintaining Scarcity' of Goods
This has to do more with the fact that physical objects wear out and digital objects don't. Publishers have complained that when a library lends a physical book, it can only do so for a limited number of times before it has to buy another copy because the first wore out. When libraries lend digital objects, they never have to buy another again. So publishers want a limit to the number of times that a digital object can be lent before requiring a repurchase. The same goes for CDs/DVDs.

Comment: End users should be able to install the software (Score 1) 288

by markdj (#41437821) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should Developers Install Their Software Themselves?
I work with Industrial Automation Software. I have developed the software and installed it a customer sites. Any customer that depends on the vendor to always install the software is courting disaster. What if your critical enterprise software is custom installed, runs for five years and then due to a hardware failure you need to reinstall from scratch? Will the original person who did the install still be available? Is the software still being supported? All end users should have explicit written instructions for how to install the software. The industrial automation software I use can kill, cause fires, and do all manner of damage if not installed and configured properly. It is just good practice to have explicit detailed installation instructions, that someone with a modicum of knowledge of the system can follow to reinstall from scratch. I've seen plenty of customers who are using software for which they have no idea how it is configured or installed. The original engineers are no longer available. They were laid off in cost savings events. Then I have to come in to figure out what they have so that I can determine how to upgrade them to the latest version while preserving years of data because once the hardware failed you can't get it to use the old software and the old software won't run on newer hardware.

Comment: Re:Many factors involved (Score 1) 280

by markdj (#41068607) Attached to: Prices Drive Australians To Grey Market For Hardware and Software
I guess you don't understand International Business 101.

I was not addressing the gray market, I was pointing out why Aussie prices are expected to be higher than US prices.

Most companies require their country divisions to factor in the costs of doing business in that country to the prices they charge in that country. They don't spread their costs over all their customers worldwide. They do it by maket. It costs more to do business in Australia than the US simply because of the size of the market.

Each country charges different import duties (when they apply).

By international treaties, different countries can charge different copyright and patent fees.

All these and others factor into the costs companies must recoup in the price they charge.

There are other factors including warranty costs. Different countries have different minimum warranties a company is required to provide.

Now do the price differentials also have some gouge factor built in when the "expectation" is that prices in a particular country are expected to be higher than in the country of origin? Probably.

Comment: Many factors involved (Score 2) 280

by markdj (#41067833) Attached to: Prices Drive Australians To Grey Market For Hardware and Software
There a number of factors that lead to price differentials between countries.

1. Tax differences - Aussie GST is 10%. No US state has a sales tax that high. Aussie prices are quoted with tax included. US prices are not.
2. Labor costs- US retail workers are paid less
3. Size of the market - Costs in the US can be spread over a much larger customer base than in Australia.
4. Shipping costs - Shipping to Australia is more expensive than to a US address, even from Asia!
5. Import duties differences
6. Copyright and patent licensing fees differences
There may be others.

Comment: Depends on the realism you want to achieve (Score 1) 1086

by markdj (#40934629) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Many of You Actually Use Math?
If your game needs to simulate physics and your programming library and tools don't do that, you will need the appropriate equations. Proper physics equations can be complicated and involve calculus. A good example is moving a vehicle around a curve realistically. There you need math to simulate the equilibrium between forward motion in the curve and centrifugal force that want you go straight.

Comment: This has been discused and nothing gets done (Score 1) 277

by markdj (#34641442) Attached to: Passwords Are the Weakest Link In Online Security
We have discussed this ad nauseum - still nothing gets done. We have way to many passwords to remember. We have way too many different password policies to follow. What is a valid password on one site is not at another. It takes too much time to look up a password you have "written" down and you need a separate password to get into the list!. That supposes you have the list with you when you need it. Today the internet is mobile and not just used at home or at the office. Additionally, there are sites whose compromise could ruin you financially or ruin your reputation and sites where compromise doesn't matter. So most resort to a few easy to remember passwords, phrases or algorithms and these are probably easy to crack.

It's not clear what could be done. An RSA key fob and biometrics need a reader. You have to remember to have the fob with you. The blind can't read it. All this costs extra.
Privacy

Big Brother In the School Cafeteria? 425

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-an-A-in-cafeteria dept.
AustinSlacker writes "An Iowa school district's lunch program asks children as young as 5 years old to memorize a four-digit PIN code so it can monitor what they eat in the school cafeteria - prompting some parents to claim it's an unhealthy case of 'Big Brother.' An over reaction by parents or an unnecessary invasion of privacy?"
Security

Two Unpatched Flaws Show Up In Apple iOS 171

Posted by samzenpus
from the rotten-apple dept.
Trailrunner7 writes "The technique that the Jailbreakme.com Web site is using to bypass the iPhone's security mechanisms and enable users to run unapproved apps on their phones involves exploiting two separate vulnerabilities. One of the vulnerabilities is a memory-corruption flaw that affects the way that Apple's mobile devices, including the iPad and iPod Touch, display PDFs. The second weakness is a problem in the Apple iOS kernel that gives an attacker higher privileges once his code is on a targeted device, enabling him to break out of the iOS sandbox. The combination of the two vulnerabilities — both of which are unpatched at the moment — gives an attacker the ability to run remote code on the device and evade the security protections on the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The technique became public earlier this week when the Jailbreakme.com site began hosting a set of specially crafted PDF files designed to help users jailbreak their Apple devices and load apps other than the ones approved by Apple and offered in its official App Store."

Comment: This is more serious than you think. (Score 3, Insightful) 329

by markdj (#33028386) Attached to: The End of Forgetting
What if you were arrested for shoplifiting in a small town where the newspaper publishes the daily arrest record online? Later you are convicted and your sentence includes getting your record expunged once you serve your community service. However, the record in the paper of your arrest is not. The town doesn't have the power to tell the paper to expunge your record. A background check might find that arrest, but not evidence of the outcome. Now you could lose jobs, security clearences all for something that is not supposed to exist. When your record is expunged, you are supposed to be able to answer no to having been arrested, but the internet says otherwise.

There is never time to do it right, but always time to do it over.

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