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Comment: The scammer's dream. (Score 3, Insightful) 121

by Animats (#47551715) Attached to: US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

Over half the Bitcoin exchanges have gone bust. Entire Bitcoin "stock exchanges" disappeared with the money. Bitcoin "investments" promising substantial returns each month were, of course, Ponzi schemes.

Bitcoin is a scam magnet. Irrevocable, remote, anonymous money transfers are the scammer's dream. (Yes, there are people talking about cryptographic escrow schemes so you can buy something with Bitcoins and have some recourse if it doesn't show up. So far, that hasn't reached usability.)

That's why Bitcoin needs regulation. If you're going to hold other people's money, you have to be regulated. Deal with it.

Comment: Each server is worth $189 or less. (Score 1) 203

by Animats (#47544815) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Would You Do With Half a Rack of Server Space?

If you want more servers like that, Wierd Stuff Warehouse in Sunnyvale, CA, has the same HP series G Xeon servers for $189. (2 3GHz quad-core Xeons per server! Hard drives are extra, but cheap.) Wierd Stuff has huge supplies of previous-generation data center equipment.

It's amazing how cheap computer hardware is now.

Comment: Space travel isn't feasible. (Score 3, Interesting) 103

by Animats (#47544719) Attached to: SpaceX Executive Calls For $22-25 Billion NASA Budget

Reality check: space travel with chemical fuels just barely works. It takes huge rockets to launch dinky payloads, and that hasn't improved in 45 years. Satellites and probes are useful. Man in space has just been a boondoggle.

If fusion ever works, this may change, but with chemical rockets, it's not getting much better.

Comment: Well done guy's (Score 1) 120

by ras (#47537471) Attached to: Long-range Electric Car World Speed Record Broken By Australian Students

Inspirational. You managed to elicit a dick waving competition from our fellow geeks in the US, all chanting "Tesla".

But Telsa isn't in the same league. It can't be. It's a mass produced product.

Sadly, they don't know what we know. We may be able to design the 1st one. But we can't build the next 1000 economically, unlike Tesla.

Please guys, devote some of they enthusiasm and energy to figure out how to manufacture the thing. Don't do the work for some Chinese company.

Comment: Amazon isn't out of expansion area (Score 1) 168

by Animats (#47533631) Attached to: Amazon's Ambitious Bets Pile Up, and Its Losses Swell

Amazon isn't out of expansion area. Their target is all of retail, and there's still a lot of non-Amazon retail. Most other big US companies with lots of cash have hit their natural limits.

Trying to go beyond those limits is tough. Google has not been successful in expanding beyond ads. (Android only makes money as an ad platform; Google's phone revenue is small.) Apple has a lot of cash, but can't find any way to use it that will yield the kind of margins Apple is used to. Facebook is still growing, but again, it's all ads.

There's only so much ad spending in the world, and the ad-based companies are all fighting over the same pot. There's more room to grow when your business model is "sell everything".

Comment: Nice job (Score 1) 60

by Animats (#47520503) Attached to: Raspberry Pi Gameboy

That's a nice job. Of course, the only original part is the case. Coneniently, there's someone who sells a board with buttons designed to fit in a GameBoy case and bring out the buttons for emulation purposes.

If you 3D printed a new case, you would't need a Game Boy at all. I wonder if there's a decal set for that.

Comment: iDrive has the same problem (Score 4, Interesting) 175

by Animats (#47520455) Attached to: Dropbox Head Responds To Snowden Claims About Privacy

iDrive, which is supposed to be a remote backup service, has a similar problem. They used to be a honest remote backup service, with client-side encryption. (They didn't protect the client password very well on the client machine, but at least the server didn't have it.) File contents were encrypted, but filenames were not, so you could look at logs and the directory tree on line. Then they came out with a "new version" of the service, one that is "web based" and offers "sharing".

For "sharing" to work, of course, they need to know your encryption key. They suggest using the "default encryption key". Even if you're not "sharing", when you want to recover a copy of a file, you're prompted to enter your encryption key onto a web page. The web page immediately sends the encryption key to the server as plain text, as can be seen from a browser log. Asked about this, they first denied the problem, then, when presented with a browser log, refused to answer further questions.

They try real hard to get their hands on your encryption key. After you log into their web site, a huge pop-up demands your encryption key. Without it, some of the menu items at the top of the page still work, and with some difficulty, you can actually find logs of what you backed up. You can't browse your directory tree, though.

It's possible to use the service securely (maybe), but you have to run only the application for recovery, and never use the web-based service. They don't tell you that.

This isn't a free service. I pay them $150 a year.

Programmers do it bit by bit.

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