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Comment: Re:Black pest 2.0 (Score 2) 166

by swb (#47978257) Attached to: CDC: Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million In 4 Months

I think there's some disturbing parallels to the zombie/ebola outbreak scenario.

The movie "Contagion", while kind of lame, sort of came close to delivering it. 28 Days Later wasn't bad, either, but a little too zombie-like to be "realistic."

It's not hard to imagine a real pandemic where there's a disease with a very high mortality rate, a long incubation period before debilitating symptoms occur but a very short period before obvious but benign symptoms occur that make the infected easy to identify.

I could see a situation like that being a lot like a zombie outbreak -- the infected know they are infected and likely to die but have several weeks without symptoms that make them unable to cause havoc. At some point those infected would probably start to react/strike back at the uninfected as the uninfected pulled back and stopped wanting to have anything to do with them.

Comment: Re:Phone size myopia (Score 1) 242

by swb (#47978107) Attached to: Phablet Reviews: Before and After the iPhone 6

I've bought new releases because I always wanted a faster phone, my wife gets my year old model (making the annual upgrade marginally more justifiable) and "because I work in IT" (hey, my wife buys it..)

But this time around money is a little tighter and the only feature I really cared about was phablet-sized screen, and wouldn't you know it, Apple delivered.

I do think the smartphone as a concept is kind of running out of meaningful upgrades of any type. CPUs are plenty fast, screens are crazy high resolution and LTE speeds can often beat random wifi connections.

Someone is going to have to bite the bullet and start making dockable smartphones that can drive laptops/desktops or something really a bigger leap.

Comment: Re:Solution (Score 1) 224

by swb (#47976813) Attached to: To Fight $5.2B In Identity Theft, IRS May Need To Change the Way You File Taxes

It's usually not worth it on small purchases, but with bigger ticket purchases I will often ask for a cash discount. Sometimes they counter for less than 3% and then I just lay down a credit card and say "No, thanks, I'll take the credit card points". Some are smart enough to give me the 3%, but I'm more than happy to have them eat the 3% and take the points.

Comment: I RTFA (Score 1) 232

by nine-times (#47973759) Attached to: Do Specs Matter Anymore For the Average Smartphone User?

So I had one post that was a response to the question "Do specs matter", but I just RTFA, and I want to respond to that too. The complaint seems to be that, in tests of application load time, a brand new high-end phone isn't significantly faster than a high-end phone that's 1 year old. The conclusion is that, therefore, people buying new phones are doing so for stupid reasons, which is extremely foolish because they cost $900.

And yes, I'm sure some people buying them are doing so for dumb reasons. But the implied assumption there is that new high-end phones are being purchased every year by people whose main concern is application load speed. The truth is, a lot of people buying phones have phones that are at least 2 years old, and in America at least, a lot of them are buying it as part of deal that gets them the phone for something closer to $200. So not only the the cost much lower, the the benefit is much greater because an iPhone 6 actually is significantly faster than an iPhone4, for example.

But beyond that, there are features that are new. Maybe someone wants the bigger screen. It seems like much ado about nothing.

Comment: Phone size myopia (Score 2) 242

by swb (#47973363) Attached to: Phablet Reviews: Before and After the iPhone 6

They haven't released numbers yet, but the press reports seem to indicate that the 6 Plus demand is outstripping supply yet the chorus of people who think that even the 6 is too big let alone the 6 plus is as loud as ever. I think this is an interesting dichotomy.

I think the 6 Plus is fine -- I find more screen better than less screen, even if the increased size limits one-handed usage. I don't think there's an "ideal" size for any phone unless you toss in some usage requirements, like one-handed use or pocket storage complaints. I know some people who would use a full-size iPad as a phone if they could because none of the one-handed use or pocket issues apply to them. I think it's just a matter of personal preference.

I do think it's interesting that Tim Cook's Apple is responding to market demand instead of imposing a Jobsian design fascism. I also think that for a decent chunk of people, the 6 Plus is meant to take over some of the things they'd use a tablet for. I'm mostly happy with my iPad 3 (even with iOS8), but I think with a 6 Plus I'll reach for it less and put off upgrading it until it runs out of iOS updates.

And I think a lot of people who want both but can't swing it financially will find a 6 Plus a reasonable universal device. This is what surprised me about the 6 Plus release as I'm pretty sure it will eat into iPad Mini sales and even some full-size iPad sales.

What would be nice and I don't know if we'll ever get there for lots of reasons (technological and sales/marketing) would be a watch-sized device becoming the root device with the phone or tablet being the kind of screen/user interface, tethered to the phone for network access. That way you could pick your "phone" based on size preference, or none at all if all you wanted was bluetooth audio and phone calling.

Comment: Specs never really mattered (Score 3, Insightful) 232

by nine-times (#47973057) Attached to: Do Specs Matter Anymore For the Average Smartphone User?

I think sometimes people fail to recognize that the specs never really mattered. Not for any of it.

Does it matter what resolution the screen is? No. It matters whether the screen appears to be sharp. Does it matter how much RAM you have, or how fast the clock speed is on your processor? No, it matters whether applications are responsive. What really matters to people is the qualitative experience of using the object.

Specs and benchmarks are ways that you might try to quantify that experience. For the sharpness of the display, you can give the screen resolution and that can serve as an indication of the sharpness. For the speed of the device, you could measure how long it takes to complete a specific task, and that benchmark serves as an indicator of the speed. Those indicators may be more or less helpful. Some of these indicators (clock speed of the processor, megapixels of the camera) are often not that helpful anymore. But either way, they're just pieces of information that are helpful for shopping, for turning the qualitative aspects into quantities that make it easier to perform a direct comparison between products, and that's the only reason they're meaningful.

But a lot of the time, people lose sight of that. Especially when they have an agenda, and want to say, "my gadget is fancier than your gadget because it has more sneezelflopits." It doesn't matter what a sneezelflopit is, or whether it serves any purpose.

Comment: Re:Interest != a position (Score 1) 129

by nine-times (#47972957) Attached to: Nobody's Neutral In Net Neutrality Debate

I explicitly said I have and do participate in debates in where I don't care about the eventual outcome.

Geeze, I'm getting really tired of explaining this to people who obviously just haven't bothered to think. You do care. Obviously you do, or you wouldn't bother. The debate might be between A and B, and maybe you don't care about A or B, but the outcome of real debates (contrary to what they teach you when you're a little kid) is not the choice between A and B. If you want the debate to be fair, or you want the debate to be interesting, or you want to avoid a certain kind of outcome to the debate, then you care about the outcome.

And true neutrality would mean that you don't have *any* agenda and you aren't exerting *any* influence. If you're participating, you are doing those things. I'm guessing you're a guy who's maybe a math guy, to think about it like this: You have two force vectors pushing in opposite directions on the same object. A "neutral" party to the situation would be one sitting idly by, watching, having no effect on the outcome. You think you're being that "neutral" party when you engage in debates when you "don't care about the outcome". But in reality, you might be a 3rd vector pushing along another dimension. You're not pushing one way or another, but you're pushing to the side, moving the object in a completely different direction. Or maybe you're pushing straight down, and instead of moving the object, you're increasing the friction along the ground, making it harder for either of the other forces to cause the object to move.

When you look at it that way, you're not neutral. You're just another force in the system. Your mistake is in thinking that "debates" are ever a simple one-dimensional binary question of "either A or B", and so if you don't care about A or B, you're neutral. But those debates only exist in the mind of extremely small-minded people who fail to see the other dimensions to the problem.

I don't think I'm going to bother to respond anymore, unless you actually have something to offer.

Comment: Re:Why did he lose tenure? (Score 1) 158

by nine-times (#47972325) Attached to: Anonymous Peer-review Comments May Spark Legal Battle
That was my thought. I don't know anything about this case, but if you get fired from your job because an anonymous nutjob posts some unfounded criticisms of your work, then your boss (or whoever had you fired) is to blame. If there's a connection, I'd sooner guess that he was fired because some influential people at his school didn't like him, and the comments were posted by one of those people.

Comment: Re: More great insightful summaries from /. - not! (Score 1) 75

by jd (#47970913) Attached to: Researchers Propose a Revocable Identity-Based Encryption Scheme

I've used the site longer and reserve the right to use Doctor Who references where I'm suspicious of technical details, especially as relate to timing vulnerabilities. This is allowed, as per The Hacker's Dictionary. Bonus points for finding the Doctor Who references included.

Comment: Re: Cursory reading (Score 1) 75

by jd (#47970887) Attached to: Researchers Propose a Revocable Identity-Based Encryption Scheme

That was pretty much my interpretation as well. Which would be great for ad-hoc encrypted tunnels - the source and destination can have keys that are valid only until the tunnel's authentication expires (typically hourly) and where the encryption is based on the identity the other side is known by. Ad-hoc tunnels need to generate keys quickly and efficiently, but also don't need to be super-secure. In fact, they can't be.

If RIBE isn't useful in ad-hoc, then you'd end up having to ask when it would be useful.

Anything that depends on a third party, including PGP/GPG with keyservers, is vulnerable to some form of compromise, SSL/TLS certificates all have a third party signer and Kerberos depends on all kinds of behind-the-scenes work being secure. However, although they're imperfect, they're considered adequate for what they do. Well, except for SSL, perhaps.

RIBE presumably therefore also has a niche where it's good. Rapid key turnover is what's wanted for conversation-based protocols with timeouts. That makes RIBE sound promissing for IPSec ad-hoc and SSL, as it makes store and crunch by attackers less likely to work. But is that the right niche?

Comment: Re:Android sells one and Half Billion every day (Score 5, Funny) 200

by nine-times (#47969061) Attached to: Apple Sells More Than 10 Million New iPhones In First 3 Days

We're what, 9 billion people on this Earth and closest part of space and you want us to belive that 1 billion Android devices are sold every day?

Actually it's more like 7 billion (I think 6.9?) people on Earth, and he's saying that 1.5 billion Android phones are sold every day. I had no idea, but that's pretty impressive.

"There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum." --Arthur C. Clarke