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Comment: Re:Two things... (Score 1) 62

by rsmith-mac (#49597625) Attached to: Game:ref's Hardware Solution To Cheating In eSports

I'm not sure what consoles this guy has been playing, but cheating is rampant in pretty much every popular console game. Some kinds of cheats may be harder to implement on consoles, but they always find ways to do it.

Consoles aren't fool-proof. But other than the PS3 there's no easy way to inject arbitrary code. So other than taking advantage of bugs (which are the developer's fault), you can't really cheat on something like the XB1 or PS4 like you can the PC.

Cheating the PC, by comparison, is almost always accomplished via arbitrary code. Wallhacks, aimbots, complex macros, tools that unveil more data than the player is meant to see, etc.

Comment: Re:The author forgot one other option. (Score 1) 105

by steelfood (#49573507) Attached to: Why Crypto Backdoors Wouldn't Work

Only they can't do that.

Here on the other (this) side of the pond, we have constitutional protections from self-incrimination. Which means that we can't be compelled to reveal something that we choose not to. And if it happens, the evidence acquired by such means can (and likely would) be thrown out in court.

Now, these protections don't extend to stupidity, so the cops usually get what they want anyway. Which is all the more reason why circumvention of strong encryption and mass surveillance largely is unjustified and should be fought against tooth and nail. It has no bearing on successfully catching real criminals, but it certainly will pick up undesired thinking.

Comment: Re:Silly (Score 1) 118

by steelfood (#49532893) Attached to: Swallowing Your Password

How about instead of an implant, just put it into something the size of a credit card. And as a bonus, make it digestible too so it can be disposed of quickly when necessary. And then, for ease of use (to prevent key loggers and such), make it so that the only way to add new passwords is to physically input it into the device.

Oh wait...

Comment: Re:We can learn from this (Score 1) 163

I think you've identified the problem quite well. I don't think the carte blanche "public financing" is a sufficient solution however. If you look at countries with public financing, it's not as if money is any less of a problem in their elections. The biggest wallet is still the strongest competitor. Even without PACs and SuperPACs buying up the airwaves, even if everybody knew everything via the most democratic form of communication, i.e. Internet, there are still numerous ways for money to enter the election (in the latter case, via astroturfing).

Running for office is currently a popularity contest. In fact, the very mechanism is called "popular vote". The best person doesn't necessarily win. Rather, the most popular person does. Popularity comes about in multiple ways, but in the end, it boils down to marketing. Marketing is not necessarily telling the best-sounding lies (though it's likely the case considering these are politicians we're talking about). Marketing also involves raising awareness and manipulating the narrative. Any campaign is dead on arrival without a good marketer with a good marketing strategy, knowing who to say what to when.

A good marketer requires money. Or promises of benefits. We're all intelligent people here. We all are talented. We all command a price (though money is but one type of payment), and understand and implicitly acknowledge that the price of our talent is higher than the price of those with inferior talent, but also lower than those with superior talent. There's no reason to believe that this does not apply to marketers.

The only way to remove money from politics is to remove popularity from the process. There are many ways to blunt the impact of money (public financing being one such, spreading money around more evenly is another), but so long as there is value in talent, money and power will remain correlated.

Now, as for the methods of reducing money's influence in a popular election, those would be public financing, reducing income disparity (the two I previously mentioned), improving education, and democratizing communication. Tying the number of representatives to a fixed population size (rather than fixing the number of representatives and floating the population represented) will also eliminate other corrupt practices like gerrymandering. Going to a ranked voting system would also help, but that's more to eliminate the two-party dominance. These last two reforms would indirectly reduce the amount spent per party though they would not reduce the total spent nor the impact per amount.

Comment: Re:280km (Score 1) 189

by JanneM (#49523715) Attached to: Maglev Train Exceeds 600km/h For World Record

For the Osaka-Tokyo route, the Shinkansen made the difference between an overnight business trip or return the same day. That made it insanely popular. With the new train, you can not just make a set of meetings; you can do a full days work and still get back the same day (even more so for Nagoya of course).

Many people here get stationed at offices in other cities for months or years, and leave their families behind. They effectively do a weekly commute, and come home only on weekends. For a lot of people this would let them get home more often or even stay home and make this a daily commute. Expensive, but on the other hand the company doesn't have to pay for a second short-term apartment and the other costs of two households.

Comment: Re:Define "affordable" (Score 5, Insightful) 540

by steelfood (#49512391) Attached to: George Lucas Building Low-Income Housing Next Door To Millionaires

1) Nobody says the tenants are buying the homes.

2) Nobody says Lucas is trying to recoup the costs of construction.

3) The total cost per unit is probably much higher if you factor in the value of the land.

FYI, low income housing is usually rentals. Many low income people have trouble saving for a down payment, much less get a loan from a bank, no matter how small the amount borrowed is.

The main problem with cheap rentals is the building's maintenance costs. Government subsidies are used to help with that usually. If Lucas isn't willing to bleed in the long term, at best, he's going to have to price the rentals for middle income, working class people. Which may still constitute "low income" in that part of California.

Comment: Re:Sadly, I don't see an "out" for AMD (Score 2) 133

by rsmith-mac (#49492379) Attached to: AMD Withdraws From High-Density Server Business

I like AMD, I really do. They've gotten the short end of the stick over and over again. But even I have to admit that the Tek Syndicate benchmarks are poor proof of value right now, and for 2 reasons.

  1. They were specifically structured to make the AMD processors look good by running a high CPU load H.264 encoding task (XSplit) while also running a game, which leads us to...
  2. XSplit has been rendered functionally obsolete by newer software that uses the on-board H.264 encoders provided by AMD/NVIDIA/Intel. H.264 encoding is now a virtually free operation (with a 5% perf hit), which means that specific scenario isn't applicable in 2015. And that's about the only reason you'd ever want to run a game and a high CPU load alongside a game

There are still some things AMD does well at, but they're few and far between, especially at the high-end since they haven't introduced a new FX processor architecture since Piledriver. Things are far more interesting towards the low end with Kaveri versus Haswell thanks to AMD's much better GPU, though they still lose in a CPU fight.

Comment: Re:Confusing (Score 2) 222

by steelfood (#49488153) Attached to: Google Sunsetting Old Version of Google Maps

What you say is true when it comes to organizations that have a strong managerial structure.

In this case, I think it's the programmers (I cannot call them engineers because real engineers tend not to pursue new and shiny for the sake of new and shiny) themselves who are to blame. Their reasons for completely destroying old productive systems are a dangerous combination of the two factors mentioned: 1) new and shiny as I mentioned and 2) making their mark, as you've mentioned.

Developers can actually be motivated by either one and not fall into this trap. But with both of theses combined into one (often-subconscious) goal, this is the kind of atrocity that results: complete abandonment of what exists and works with a poor or no replacement.

Comment: Re:Wasn't quite the revolution ... (Score 1) 134

by JanneM (#49481743) Attached to: Chinese Ninebot Buys US Rival Segway

I appreciate your idea, but I don't think it's that good a fit for the Segway.

People that can't walk a mile most likely needs their own assistance tech - a walker, a wheelchair - on the bus or train as well. And people that don't have time to walk a mile or two won't be helped by a thing that barely moves above walking speed. A bicycle rental spot (or free city bikes) would be more helpful and less costly.

Always try to do things in chronological order; it's less confusing that way.

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