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Comment: Re:Finally, a decent April Fool's Day article from (Score 4, Insightful) 187

by rhsanborn (#49390997) Attached to: Amazon Moves "Buy Now" Into the Physical World, With the Dash Button
Amazon does ridiculous stuff like this regularly. Free shipping for Prime members was a crazy idea when it was first introduced. Now several companies have copied their prime model. I don't think these buttons are the end-game. They may be a wedge/marketing gimic that gets people to start buying household products from Amazon. I buy laundry detergent locally because I usually don't think about it until I'm almost out. Having a button staring me in the face reminds me 1) that Amazon sells it, and 2) that I might want to think about it a few days in advance on needing it. Once I get that habit, it won't be a stretch to get rid of the buttons and simply have a phone app that lets me easily order non-perishables.

Alternately, Amazon is hoping the price for these buttons becomes negligible as "Internet of Things" chips ramp up. Either way, homeowners buying name brand products through Amazon without even thinking about the price, is good for Amazon.

Comment: Re:Thanks Obama (Score 1) 223

by rhsanborn (#48991691) Attached to: US Health Insurer Anthem Suffers Massive Data Breach
It's an anachronism of the early concerns of the US founders. They wanted to balance the interests of the more populated colonies/states with the interests of the less populated colonies/states. So they setup the house that is strictly based on the proportion of population to "represent the will of the people, and the Senate which has 2 votes per state regardless of population to ensure smaller states aren't drowned out in this republic. They never foresaw the effects of gerrymandering on the House. It's the downside of being the first modern democracy, we had to work some kinks out. I think there is value in discussing proportional representation, but the existing interests would never let that happen.

Comment: Re:And no consequences? (Score 1) 223

by rhsanborn (#48988351) Attached to: US Health Insurer Anthem Suffers Massive Data Breach
The scary thing is that this is in the industry with the most consumer data protection laws (healthcare). We've never had a breach this large, so we have no idea on the fine size. The largest fine levied so far was a combined $4.8M split between two entities. Unfortunately, I suspect the cost of securing a network this large accumulated over 5 years is probably more than the fine. The bigger pain will be the knock on effects of lost business, remediations, etc. The only other similar breach is Community Health Systems who lost ~4.5M records around August. Fines haven't been announced that I know of, but the all-in estimate is about $100-$150M.

Comment: Re:Every 30 days. (Score 1) 247

by rhsanborn (#48527511) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Convincing My Company To Stop Using Passwords?
That is one of the xkcd comics that really bugs me. Yes, if you treat every character as an independent element and try to calculate it's complexity, those passwords look really complex. Unfortunately, most password crackers aren't brute force crackers that try every character combination. They try combinations of well known words, phrases, and number/symbol combinations. So, you're mathematically complex password is exactly what crackers are looking for.

To be fair, as long as you're the only one in your company doing it, it's reasonably secure, as soon as it becomes company policy, all your passwords fall within regular cracking procedures, and are likely easier to crack.

Comment: Re:Stupid (Score 2) 130

by rhsanborn (#48385061) Attached to: Sony To Take On Netflix With Playstation Vue
That's because they need to stop trying to make a Netflix clone and do something new. Apple pay isn't better or all that different from Google's NFC pay, the difference is that they've done the legwork to build a network of vendors. Similarly, whoever can build a model where their service has live streams of TV shows and channels that people want, or something similar, will be fantastically successful. It's not clear, but this may very well do that.

Comment: Re:This. (Score 1) 273

by rhsanborn (#48318919) Attached to: Too Many Kids Quit Science Because They Don't Think They're Smart
No, it's about encouraging the correct behaviors, not the correct results. Most people fail several times while studying/practicing STEM subjects (or most subjects worth studying, for that matter). If we insist on telling little Johnny how gosh darned smart he is all the time, he may not be any good at handling that failure. Or he may assume that "he isn't a math person" because he's always been told how smart he is, and he just isn't getting it. Instead, we ought to be encouraging him to try harder, fail better, and reward him for persistence, and good study habits.

Society rewards results. Definitely. So getting excellent results is important. But, parents and teachers aren't necessarily there to evaluate results. They're there to teach Johnny how to get them. Rewarding hard work, and continued effort is one important way to get those results, and it hasn't been focused on. Instead, we tell him that it's alright that he didn't get the right answer, and he should stop trying so hard and come have a cookie so he doesn't lower his self-esteem. This has the opposite effect, he doesn't get the results, and he fails to learn about work ethic.

Comment: Re:Boys are naturally curious... (Score 1) 608

by rhsanborn (#48240151) Attached to: Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment
Ah, the classic, "I don't like the peers, so now we get to fall back to no data whatsoever and argue from gut feelings" gambit. Good one gweihir, good one. Fortunately, that's not how science works, or we'd all be screwed. "Your peer group way over-represents geologists, and is therefore skewed toward round-earthism, therefore we can now discuss my ideas of flat-earthism as equal and valid."

Behind every great computer sits a skinny little geek.