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Comment: Re:About time! (Score 1) 121

by smallfries (#48424161) Attached to: Court Shuts Down Alleged $120M Tech Support Scam

If they claim that they are from The Microsoft you could say that you are "Bob from the Internet" or vica versa. Spend some time finding out if you have friends in common, maybe from back when you worked at the Facebook. Did they know June from the New York office? Really? Because June died five years ago!! etc etc...

They can be a lot of fun. When you get bored with them just ask how they *feel* about scamming people for money. Good times.

Comment: Re:The answer is...virtual credit cards (Score 1) 301

by smallfries (#48416307) Attached to: UK Hotel Adds Hefty Charge For Bad Reviews Online

Did you know that cards can be validated for an amount as well as charged?

When I book a hotel stay for $x and give them a card to hold it the first thing they do is validate with the CC company that the card can be charged $x. When I check out they ask how to settle the bill including charging the amount to a different card.

So if a hotel wants a card to book a room (guaranteeing payment on no-shows) and you provide a dummy card that they could not charge for the amount then over here we call that fraud. But I guess you call them idiots...

Comment: Re: Be the Change You Wish to See in the World (Score 1) 438

by smallfries (#48357379) Attached to: The Students Who Feel They Have the Right To Cheat

Been there.

First student to offer proof they are the author gets a bare pass mark, the other three fail. If nobody offers proof then they get referred to the Disciplinary board (for expulsion). It's not quite a Prisoner's dilemma, but the expected payoff is close enough to push someone into action.

Comment: Re:Hyperbolic headlines strike again (Score 4, Insightful) 181

by smallfries (#48344399) Attached to: There's No Such Thing As a General-Purpose Processor

A lot of the value in your article is lost by trying to shoehorn "general purpose processors" into an argument about task-optimisation. The difference between properties relating to computational power and those relating to performance is really basic textbook stuff that we teach to undergraduates. Being able to run any program, and being able to run any program efficiently, is a difference taught in undergraduate architecture courses.

The parts of your article that are interesting and valuable would have been better served by a narrative that does not rely on a straw man. Cleanly separating the issue of power / performance and explaining that task-neutral optimisation is impossible would have been a better article, and one that would have been easier to write. There is a natural analogy with representation-bias in machine learning that would have provided more explanatory power without the unnecessary rhetoric. I know its the queue, but even so I am a little disappointed in your reviewers.

Comment: Re:Old saying (Score 1) 249

by smallfries (#48316567) Attached to: New Atomic Clock Reaches the Boundaries of Timekeeping

Indeed the addition of a 4th fix does not constrain the equations, I was thinking of a slightly different positioning system when I wrote that.

The 4th signal is not historically from a ground station: most GPS receivers will generate an estimated position with a low-accuracy warning on 3 fixes, but they expect 4 in order to generate a real estimate. That 4th signal is normally another satellite. I did look briefly for the difference in CEP-50 between 3 fixes and 4, but could not find a source. You have not linked to any previous discussion on this subject, or external references, so if you have numbers on what the real difference between 3 and 4 fixes is then they would be interesting.

Ground stations are used in d-GPS, but not only as an extra point of reference. As an known location they can be used to cancel errors in the satellites estimate of its position.

Comment: Re:Old saying (Score 3, Informative) 249

by smallfries (#48307699) Attached to: New Atomic Clock Reaches the Boundaries of Timekeeping

Actually basic geometry does not say that at all. The receiver does not get given an accurate distance to each satellite, instead it is an inacurrate relative difference in distance. The intersection between the three spheres is a 3d region rather than a point. The extra fix is required to constrain the equations to a single point. There is more info here.

Comment: Re:Checksums (Score 2) 126

by smallfries (#48228053) Attached to: Researcher Finds Tor Exit Node Adding Malware To Downloads

Stagger is also a verb, as in to cause staggering. Specifically to cause doubt in one's own view and to leave one reeling in disbelief. Literally: that persons sheer stupidity (as demonstrated through their inability to detect sarcasm) is of such magnitude that I am starting to doubt the world around me, as previously my world view did not include people of such low intellect. The cognitive dissonance between that world view and this one has left me spinning and powerless to resist.

Hope this helps. Additional language lessons are available for the low low price of $1.99.

Comment: Re:Yes, worse (Score 1) 313

by smallfries (#48185117) Attached to: If You're Connected, Apple Collects Your Data

I would guess that it is part of a system survey. About this mac takes a snapshot of OS version / point release / software installed / modules active etc. Or it certainly does when you press More Info, but I guess it does it when you trigger the dialog. The cookie sounds like a GUID. Firing off both would allow them to build up a distribution of platforms that Yosemite is running on, similar to the Steam hardware survey. Can be useful for finding out how and where the code is used (i.e. in combination with which hardware / software). Would work better than a periodic push of the data from every machine, and it would bias the sample towards people having problems with their configuration (because that is when most people hit that menu item).

Per buck you get more computing action with the small computer. -- R.W. Hamming