Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment: Predictions vs. reality (Score 5, Insightful) 753

by mhkohne (#47445555) Attached to: Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

"Lots of people think it will happen" means about nothing. People are HORRIBLY bad at predicting future trends. More so en-mass.

What people say they want and what they really want (and demonstrate by doing) are pretty much unrelated. So even if people SAY they want cashless, I doubt they'll actually vote that way when the rubber hits the road.

Comment: Re:Useless coins (Score 2, Informative) 753

by mhkohne (#47445545) Attached to: Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

Don't get me started on pennies. The reason we still have them is mostly sentimental. If it were my choice I'd drop the penny AND the nickle, AND the quarter, introduce a 20 cent piece, and be done.

Dollar coin never took off because they kept making bills. Other countries that have dollar coins stopped making the bills, so the coin took over as the bills left circulation. The actual economics of the bill vs. coin in the US are quite interesting due to how well made our bills are and how long they last in circulation, but then you add in the fact the people tend to drop change in a jar at home and the question of which is better for the government gets really interesting (there's a GAO report on the subject somewhere).

Two dollar bill just doesn't really serve much of a purpose - $5 is small enough for normal use, the $2 doesn't really add much functionality to the system.

Comment: How stupid do you have to be, Hollywood? (Score 3, Insightful) 243

The Kickstarter used the phrase 'Digital Version' in some places and 'Digital Download' in others. I see no mention of DRM-free, so all they have to do is hand out Amazon credit to those who complain about the streaming solution. But no, they'd rather pay out a bunch of money than give people something that matches what they paid for. I'm thinking everyone who has a piece of this (the production company, any stars that get a piece of the action) ought to probably demand an accounting to make sure Hollywood didn't charge them for the returned cash...

Comment: Ask them what they actually mean... (Score 1) 467

by mhkohne (#39015243) Attached to: Dealing With an Overly-Restrictive Intellectual Property Policy?

Some places (and I've worked at one) had policies that could be read as them owning anything I did while employed, but could also be read as just applying to things in their area of interest (video test equipment, as it happened). I talked to my boss about it when I came on and he assured me that in fact it was only intended to read as applying to things that were related in some way to their business - stuff that was totally unrelated they didn't care about.

Now that was verbal, not written, but I suggest that you start by asking the question, and see what they say.

Comment: Send it back (Score 1) 385

by mhkohne (#38982177) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Deal With Refurbed Drives With Customer Data?

If it doesn't have the same diag partition, then NewEgg didn't do their usual refurb testing on it. Which means that there's a chance it's not in as good a shape as the others. So send it back and make them give you one that's been properly refurbed. There's no excuse for them not to have wiped the drive in the process of testing it before they resold it.

Comment: Finding patterns in random data (Score 1) 467

by mhkohne (#33633998) Attached to: Distinguishing Encrypted Data From Random Data?

OK, I wanted to try to find out if there were encrypted data at some offset in a chunk of random data, I'd start with Knuth's tests for randomness. I'd break the thing up into decent sized chunks (1 meg or so) and run a bunch of different randomness tests on each chunk and on the whole data set and see if any patterns emerge.

The thing is, even if the encrypted data looks pretty random, it's likely to look DIFFERENT than the surrounding random data.

The worse problem is that if you have someone who's asking you if there is encrypted data, and they find some bogus pattern in the random noise, then you've got a problem because you can't prove that there ISN'T any data there. If you are being prosecuted in a normal US court, you might get away with this (if they can't prove that you've got anything encrypted, it may be hard to hold you in contempt trying to get you to give up the keys), but if you fall under the sway of some intelligence agency that doesn't like the look of you, it's not likely that they'll just let you go because you claim there isn't any data.

"Your stupidity, Allen, is simply not up to par." -- Dave Mack (mack@inco.UUCP) "Yours is." -- Allen Gwinn (, in alt.flame