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Comment: How it works. (Score 4, Interesting) 229

by mbarkhau (#28651483) Attached to: Researcher Discovers ATM Hack, Gets Silenced
I only read this on another forum so take with a grain of salt.

The hack is based on the assumption that if you make a withdrawal from an ATM and don't take the money you forgot to take it, so the machine takes the money back and refunds the amount to your account.

The thing is that the machine doesn't have a way to count how much bills it takes back, so you can just take the bills from the middle and you will get a full refund.

Supposedly this also works if you take the money right before the ATM pulls back in the money.

Comment: Re:Android just won't catch up with iPhone (Score 1) 117

by mbarkhau (#28517755) Attached to: Unlocking Android
Have you used one? The interface is pretty nice if you ask me. The main thing I would change about the G1 is battery life, other than that I think it's on par with the iphone. Tactile feedback FTW.

The main things I see Android has going for it:
lots of (cheaper) devices
great dev tools
Java > ObjectiveC (at least more people know it)
no need to buy a mac for development

The android challenge 2 seems to have created a lull in released apps, but over time I think the better environment for developers will ensure more and better apps than for the iphone.

Comment: Shouldn't we have stupid disks? (Score 1) 196

by mbarkhau (#28371281) Attached to: Solid State Drives Tested With TRIM Support
What I don't get, is that we have wear leveling in controlers and they also have to translate virtual blocks to physical blocks.

We have file systems that are meant for hard disks, so why don't we have file systems for SSDs? You could just buy any old stupid SSD and get decent performance out of it.

Comment: Technical analysis of online voting (Score 1) 202

by mbarkhau (#27757057) Attached to: Using the Internet To Subvert Democracy
Working on the Metagovernment project, I made this technical analysis of online voting:

We emphasise making decisions by coming to consensus and synthesising proposals rather than deciding through a majority vote. This may be impractical and idealistic if put to the extreme. It has been shown practical in small scale open source projects. Even if it isn't possible to reach consensus for every decision, the fact you are forced to decide on something with a vote raises a flag that something is wrong and that there is the possibility of discrimination against a minority.

In any voting scheme there are some criteria to be considered. I've taken the voting principles used in Germany as a basis (Grundgesetz Artikel 38 Â 1).

Voting must be open, direct, free, equal and secret.

Open means anybody must be allowed to vote. Direct means that the decision isn't made through intermediaries. Free means that no pressure may be exerted on the voter to vote against there will. Equal means that every vote has equal weight. Secret means that nobody should be able to determine how an individual voted.

For each of these there are some considerations for online voting.

Open: Using computers to vote may be discriminatory against those who aren't comfortable with them. On the other hand it may increase participation, by making voting easier for those that are comfortable and for people with disabilities.

An exception to this principle is made for people under 18. The intent is for the electorate to have a certain degree of experience. The system would be much more open though, if anybody could participate based solely on merit.

Direct: Representative democracies are by definition indirect, so you could argue, that in spirit Artikel 38 is being violated with the current system. I think it was mainly introduced as a reaction to the electoral collage in the US. Online governance has great potential to do this principle justice.

Free: I can't think of any system that can guarantee this other than a voting booth in a public venue. By voting on the Internet from any computer the risk is introduced of a third party having control over that resource and forcing the voter to vote a certain way.

I think this problem is inherent an haven't been able to come up with a solution in the few years I've been thinking about these systems. I can only find a partial justification that in a civilised society this should be a statistically insignificant problem.

Equal: No difference as far as I can see.

Secret: I could talk for hours about this but the best solution I've seen so far tries to limit the number of parties you have to trust to as few as possible. And even that system relies on Public-key cryptography, which due to a lack of understanding and thereby transparency may not be trusted by every voter, even if they trust the one party they are sending their votes to.

Considering all the problems with online voting, my conclusion is that we should reconsider voting not as a binding for decisions, but as an indicator for the direction the community wants to take, so that gradually consensus can be reached.

The entire thread can be found here:

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.