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Comment: Re:Or (Score 2) 73 73

Or you could wash the wings once in a while. You're on the tarmac for over an hour while:
      - Passengers are busy boarding despite their boarding group not being called.
      - Crews are not loading your luggage.
      - The pilot is working on his second cup of "sober up" coffee.
      - The flight attendants are gossiping about who fucked whom.
      - Etc.

Might as well have a guy spend 2 minutes hosing off the wings. Impact of build-up during a single flight surely falls below the point where applying and maintaining a fancy coating is cheaper than having Jose hos-e off the bugs.

Bug guts are sticky. They do not simply hose off. You need to actually scrub them off, and if you're doing that, you need skilled labor because there are lots of sensitive things that stick out of aircraft.

More than one aircraft has been lost because someone missed removing some tape covering some hole or other that was applied in order to wash the aircraft.

And there's a lot of surface to scrub, too.

Even little bug smashers like Cessnas take a good while to clean off (and flying through a bog meant you often flew through a crowd of mosquitos, so the leading edge was covered in lots of little red spots).

Comment: Re:How stupid could someone be? (Score 1) 64 64

The real solution is to NOT use a generation algorithm for keys. Generate strings, then approve only those you actually sell and distribute.

Hash collisions will eventually happen. I believe Windows XP suffered from it where the sheer number of installations has meant that there was a good chance a keygen will also make a valid key that's already been issued. Sure you are blocking a good chunk of them at the beginning, but eventually a keygen will stumble upon a valid key that you DID issue.

I believe it also happened to a widely pirated game - the end result was legitimate users were getting locked out because the publisher created a huge list of keys (and the server checked it was issued!), and the keygen created keys on the list as well, so pirates could play the game, while the key was sitting in the box on the shelf at Best Buy. User comes around and boom, key is used.

To expand on this... you should also generate an "Installation ID" upon validation, stored server and client side along with the key.

This prevents users from trying to activate the key on more than one system, and allows you to offer controlled multi-system installs if you so choose.

On update you validate both the key, and the installation ID.

In the event a user needs to move the software to another install, you can contact the licensing dept and revoke the previous installation ID.

The problem with that is users hate calling for support, and how long are you going to maintain it?

I mean, great, you do this. Now you'll have to handle calls from people calling about a 10 year old version they need moved to a new PC. And forget about offering in-system deregistration because most users, by the time they install it, the old installation is gone - either hard drive died, got corrupted, etc., and there is no way to deregister the key.

So either you have to deal with users who call to move their 10 year old copy of software (no longer supported) to new PCs (and hell no they will not pay to upgrade) even though it's no longer in production, supported, and bugfixes stopped 5 years ago, or you will end up with a really pissed off user.

You also have to remember we're talking about $20 pieces of software. If it was a $500 piece of software then maybe you'll have more diligent users who will tolerate phoning software support, but likely not.

For something like Malwarebyte's product, since it's online only, it's easy to check keys since it will have to get updates always.

Comment: Re: I'll tell you how- they're turning the interne (Score 1) 177 177

by tlhIngan (#50013073) Attached to: How Television Is Fighting Off the Internet

Fwiw, Netflix pays big money to try and make sure it does interest you.

That's because of business model.

Netflix gathers a TON of statistics about who their subscribers are. Right now, they're mostly upper middle to middle class people who generally have professional style jobs and university degrees and all that.

Why is that important? Because Netflix's revenue source is subscribers. So they have to produce and obtain content that appeal to their subscribers. You're not going to see the latest exploitive TV show on Netflix if it's not appealing.

The goal if Netflix is to weigh the balance - who are the people likely to subscribe? Who are their current subscribers? If they produce content, are their current subscribers likely to leave?

Appealing to the lowest common denominator works for network TV, because those people are eyeballs and network TV is all about eyeballs. (If you want free TV, stick an antenna on the roof. Network TV still produces TV for free).

But those eyeballs even if you put the content on Netflix are unlikely to become subscribers. So it's pointless for Netflix to produce those shows because it'll attract few subscribers.

And yes, it's all about balance - is the Netflix subscriber base ready for a show about homosexual people? Maybe, if their subscriber base is more liberal, and they know that liberal minded people are more likely to pay for subscriptions.

That's the sort of decisions that go into Netflix programming. Netflix is not about eyeballs, it's about subscribers, and knowing their preferences. It's also about knowing their demographic - the people who would subscribe but currently don't, so knowing more about them to produce programming they like to encourage them to subscribe.

But that's not the same decision making that goes into CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, and others, because they don't have subscriber counts, they have raw eyeballs.

Comment: Re:You think Greeks want MORE electronic money? (Score 1) 299 299

by tlhIngan (#50012897) Attached to: Greek Financial Crisis Is an Opportunity For Bitcoin

The problem most Greeks suddenly face is that their money is now locked up as electronic balances in banks that have shut down for a week and won't let them have more than 60 euros at a time. After crises like this (even America's own "great recession"), people tend to prefer forms of money are more than just bits or fiat paper, such as gold and silver.

Greeks aren't stupid.

They're withdrawing their money now while it is in Euros. Not gold or silver, but Euros. Because if/when Greece exists the Eurozone, they may return to drachmas. And those Greek bank accounts that were holding Euros? They'd be converted automatically at some set rate. So one day the machine will spit out Euros, the next day, it's drachmas.

And Greeks know that if they switch back, drachmas will be basically worthless because no one will accept them.

It's not the Euro crashing in price (the market has pretty much priced that out already), it's whatever currency Greece uses next. It can be tree leaves for all anyone cares.

So Greeks are causing a huge run on the banks because at least their money is safer in Euros than it is in drachmas, tree leaves, Zimbabwe dollars, etc.

It's not electronic currency that's the problem, either - part of those whole 60 Euro a day thing also means Greeks can't transfer their Euros outside of Greece.

The Greek public isn't stupid. They know their country is in trouble, and they also know their life savings will evaporate in a pinch once they leave the Euro. That's why they're withdrawing Euros as fast as possible because the Euro will have value. The government will force-convert all existing electronic balances at some rate.

To put it another way - let's say you have USD$2000 in the bank (not in the US, but your country happens to use US dollars). The economic conditions are such that the government will probably go to a new currency because the US dollar is too expensive for them to maintain. So what do you do? Do you wait it out so your government will turn your bank account from US dollars to worthless scrip? Or do you try to withdraw all your US dollars because that will likely have more value than whatever scrip comes out?

In most failed countries, the default currency will be either the Euro or the US dollar, because the local currency is worthless. Zimbabwe is an extreme example of it.

Comment: Re:TRWTF: List is used instead of Map (Score 2) 115 115

Stupid, stupid, STUPID! Why have numRows and numCols in a sparse array? Things with unnecessary, arbitrary bounds annoy me. My implementation of Conway's Game of Life runs on a sparse array precisely because that allows the world to stretch arbitrarily in any direction a glider goes, limited only by the capacity of the bignum library and the total store available to the program.

Easy. How do you test that you're handling boundaries correctly?

I mean, yeah, your bignum goes from negative infinity to positive infinity. But what happens as you approach those numbers?

Also, how do you test that you're not arbitrarily limiting the results? More than one program has been caught in the 32-to-64 bit transition because they cast pointers to uint32's. (Enough that there's "uintptr_t" which is an int type big enough to cast a pointer to).

So why not have a way to arbitrarily limit the size? Even better, add in the ability to adjust the boundaries. That way you can do testing on small, easily testable and quickly reproducible array sizes and nail down the most common bugs you'll encounter (especially ones that require wrap around handling), before you run more extensive tests.

Plus, constants can be changed. One common test would be to change numRows and numCols and rebuild/re-run the test and make sure it handles the new value successfully and that it still works. You know, to make sure values like that aren't hard coded. (You may laugh, but enough people code "C:\Windows", or "C:\Program Files", to matter. It's basically assuming a constant will stay, well, constant, instead of checking. Apple threw Square Enix for a loop because Apple renamed the documents folder for storing volatile per-app content. Square Enix hardcoded their paths (despite Apple telling people HOW to do it properly), resulting in app breakage. Even worse, Square Enix's solution was "do not upgrade your phone/tablet". Apple threatened to withdraw their apps because of complaints, and within a week, new versions were released).

So yeah, you may use bignums, but maybe someone internally decided 32 bit ints were good enough, because well, it's a test app and no one was going to actually run it long enough to verify. (Funny, in production, how often people hit limits we think are "too big"... see IPv4. Windows' 49 day bug, etc).

Comment: Re:A/B Testing (Score 1) 133 133

by tlhIngan (#50012575) Attached to: Chromecast Update Bringing Grief For Many Users

Google's stock price would barely quiver if Chrome, Android, GMail, etc all evaporated overnight. Might even go UP like when companies announce staff cuts. Those little freebie side-projects are largely there to convince the public and Google's own employees that they're a do-good technology company. Delivering tested, bullet-proof software apparently isn't part of the agenda in that "cool" part of their shop.

No, the purpose of Chrome, Android, GMail, etc isn't to show the public they are a do-gooder technology company. It's to attract eyeballs. Android was a response to iOS - Google was worried that Apple's dominance in the area would be bad news for their mobile advertising aspirations, so they needed a mobile OS in order to retain and attract eyeballs.

Google's products are merely an attractant to get eyeballs. When you are the product, they need to make stuff to keep you coming back. They sell advertisers access to those eyeballs.

The whole point of their testing and adjustments is seeing if it will attract or deter eyeballs.

Comment: Re:Large charities (Score 1) 27 27

by tlhIngan (#50012075) Attached to: Philanthropy For Hackers

Then there are charities which do things worldwide and have naturally high overheads. Orbis International, aka "flying eye hospital" is one of them. Basically they fly a donated DC-10 (from FedEx, I believe, one of their old planes and they remain one of their biggest sponsors) to poor parts of the world, and treat all manner of diseases that affect eyesight, for free.

Flying a DC-10 isn't cheap, and operating one isn't either. But they do it because this lets them have a controlled operating room and recovery area. These are places where if there is a hospital, it isn't set up to do eye surgery, so they bring the hospital to them with a minimum level of technology and cleanliness.

So yeah, they have huge overheads, but for all those children and adults they help, it literally is a life changer to go from barely seeing to opening a new dimension to life. It also means instead of living their days out on the street begging they could actually be productive members of society, and be able to attend school Or even a father with failing eyesight can have his vision restored and resume working. (They're not about eyeglasses, but more about cataracts, glaucoma, cancer, and other complex eye diseases).

If you want your dollar to have the most impact on people, give locally - the food bank is generally an excellent place who have the connections that literally stretch every dollar (while they get lots of in food donations, they need money to buy the staples that aren't often donated - fresh produce, for example). But there are a few charities where yes, more money goes into running them, but that's because they need to do bigger things - MSF, Orbis, etc.

Comment: Re:Sorry most Americans... (Score 1) 117 117

by tlhIngan (#50011687) Attached to: World's First Commercial Jetpack Arrives Next Year

Also, 30 minutes is waaay better than the versions we've seen previously, which could only operate for a few minutes at a time. And... I guess we're still calling it a "jetpack" even though it's just using turbofans? I guess there's no other commonly-known term to describe it?

The Bell Aerospace rocket belt (what we used to call jetpacks) only worked for up to 30 seconds at a time. More commercial versions again, 30 seconds.

It's why those water jet things that use a jetski are so popular - sure you're tethered 20' to a jetski or other thing sitting on the water, but you get 90% of the way to a jetpack without the annoyance of only 30 seconds of flight.

The Martin Jetpack has been going for a long time now - over a decade, so I'm confident they got the issues worked out (a decade ago, they were already demonstrating, albeit tethered).

As for 'jetpack' well, the term is ambiguous, and there's a reason we call the ones we see in public rocket belts. But turbofan engines are popular on jetliners (see what I did there?). Especially modern high-bypass ones.

Comment: Re:it would be pretty to think so (Score 1) 70 70

I suspect the primary reason for this is to maintain high ad prices by not charging advertisers for useless click. For instance, if I were to post this response on a mobile platform, I would first have to close the ad tab at the bottom so I could click the submit button. Sometimes instead of closing the ad, I click it. If the advertiser is getting charged per click, and google were the provider, this would generate revenue for Google while providing negative value for the advertiser, as it would tend to make me dislike the advertiser. This would tend to push ad rates down, which still would not compensate for the negative end user impression.

Ding ding ding ding! We have a winner.

Of course Google is trying to reduce accidental ad clicks - because accidentals reduce ad rates if advertisers feel most people are not viewing the ad because they want to.

And you can bet more than a few advertisers probably pulled their campaigns after seeing most of their money went to Google over people who never intended to follow through with the ad.

Anytime Google does something beneficial to the users, it's probably because the advertisers got pissed off. Here, it would be advertisers getting pissed off paying for accidental taps.

Google rarely, if ever, allows real malware to slip through. Yes, there is adware and exploitive free to play games, but you can uninstall them and they're gone. What makes malware malware is you need to ffr to get rid of it.

Sorry, not true. Maybe if you stick on the straight and narrow "Google" ads, but Google owns most of the ad networks out there, including your favorites like DoubleClick (famous pop ups and pop unders, and more than a few times sent infected ads), AdMob (who does most of the mobile advertising - Google themselves don't do it), as well as several others. Google owns the online advertising business - the only ones they don't are the scummy ones who advertise on bittorrent sites and the like

Comment: Re:What is it? (Score 1) 188 188

by tlhIngan (#50005223) Attached to: iPhone 6S New Feature: Force Touch

My watch has force touch, and I'm not a big fan. You have to push a little too much to make me comfortable, it's not a natural motion. It's also just a binary thing, you either tap or force touch. There's no gradient of pressure. We'll see what the implementation is on the watch

You can really think of it as the touch equivalent of "right click". Something that touch screens do poorly is how to emulate a right-click or contextual action. Many do it as a touch-hold (press your finger to the screen for a second). If you're able to sense pressure, that lets you avoid the delay and just call up a contextual action by pressing hard.

Though, you'd probably need feedback to show that you did press hard enough... like a tap.

Comment: Re:Security team (Score 1) 507 507

by tlhIngan (#50005195) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Post-Install Windows Slowdowns Inevitable?

I worked for a company that had similar policies - they installed tons of spyware on their system. The spyware would monitor what files got written, what files got opened, and so on, and it would visibly slow down the PC. (The tons of other management apps they had on it didn't help, either).

And these were brand new i7 laptops, running Windows 7.

A few weeks into the deployment, and people were complaining about sluggishness or other odd behavior, and ended up getting their antivirus swapped out which seemed to fix some of the oddities. The others suddenly got BSODs constantly - they coudln't go through a whole day of work without a BSOD in the middle of it, and it turned out the old antivirus was having a conflict with the disk encryption software. (One effect of being switched to new antivirus was they also switch encryption software to Bitlocker), and I remember that the machines without BSODs had their encryption and antivirus swapped out.

And yes, they spied on you. If you copied source code to a USB drive, you could expect either an email the next day from IT asking why you did it (CC'd to your manager), or have IT security and your manager come up to you and ask what you did it for.

They also spied on what you did - employees have been fired for playing a pirated movie on their laptops at home, on the off time. And I'm sure it was heavily scrutinized, given there were perfectly legitimate reasons to have stuff like VLC on your PC, or movie files (you needed them for testing).

Heck, the source code thing caught a few people who needed to do testing - testing USB hardware by doing basic file I/O (they copied the source tree to serve as test files). And it was especially fun since one of the processors had firmware and you had to copy the firmware you just compiled using USB for testing. It was all too easy to include a few source files in there...

About the only good thing was they had a backup utility so when you connected over VPN or to their network, the backup would run and get you most of the way should your hard drive crap out. But that was the only good slowdown that happened. You learned to connect to the VPN when you got into work, let it backup your PC while you get your coffee etc,

Comment: Re:Instead of building thin bendable phones... (Score 1) 149 149

by tlhIngan (#50005149) Attached to: AppleCare+ Now Covers Batteries That Drop To 80%

2) A battery back is physically bigger than a phone battery and most require an extra cable. How is that ever going to be more convienent then just carrying another charged battery?

How do you charge said battery? I know Samsung, for some models, make a "dock" so you can stuff your battery in that and charge it. But otherwise, you have to charge it in your phone. If you're using the second battery, you then have to swap out the batteries, then put your phone back on charge. If you're like me, you forget to do so a few hours later and now you have a dead battery and a charged one, and no time to charge the dead battery.

With an external pack, I plug the charger to the external pack, and either plug the phone into another charger, or into the pack, and they all charge in a chain. In the morning, the pack and phone is charged, and I didn't have to anything more complex than put them both to a charger.

Extra batteries are for chumps unless your phone has special charging dock that lets you charge it outside the phone. Charging batteries in the phone is annoying unless you remember to swap them once the existing one fills up. And most likely, you'll forget, so you're back to one battery again.

I've never seen such push back over something that really is much more annoying. Sure an external pack is bulkier, but they are way more convenient to use - especially when charging.

It's like removable batteries for laptops - so the low battery warning goes off, what do you do? Shut everything down and change the battery? (Old Apple laptops back in the day had a 5 minute battery so you could suspend the laptop to RAM, then swap the main battery without losing RAM and then resume where you left off, back in the days when people carried several batteries as a matter of course, and there were charging bays and all that...). I don't think many Windows laptops did - once the battery ran low, you had to shut it down, swap, then boot it back up. And these days I don't think any computer has a temporary battery for swapping while suspending.

Comment: Re:This problem needs a technical solution (Score 2) 264 264

by tlhIngan (#50005129) Attached to: Drone Diverts Firefighting Planes, Incurring $10,000 Cost

Agreed. On the other hand... what plane can't tolerate a drone strike? Not really up on drones but seems to me the vast majority are smaller and lighter than a lot of birds. Bird strikes obviously aren't good if they hit an engine. But outside of that I'm trying to figger out what the major problem is. So did the drone encroach the planes airspace or did the plane encroach the drones airspace?

A bird strike is damaging. If you have altitude, you have options. Firefighting aircraft don't have altitude - they're working at 1500' or less. At that altitude, if something happens, there aren't many options. If the engine is damaged (yes, the plane survives, but that doesn't mean it doesn't incur damage. You can survive an earthquake or a car accident, but that doesn't mean you're not severely injured), there are serious issues about getting out there.

Flying in a fire is extremely difficult, too - the air is extremely turbulent from the heat, and you have to maintain a narrow line so your water/retardant has most effect - too high and it scatters, useless, too low and you lay a narrow thick line that doesn't cover much area.

Last thing you want to do while concentrating on flying through is worry about other traffic. In fact, in most active aerial firefighting, one aircraft serves as a traffic controller - each aircraft, be it a waterbomber, helicopter with bambi bucket, or other vehicle is carefully sequenced and told where to drop. An unauthorized party - be it drone, aircraft or other vehicle calls off this out of safety of the third party (while rare, a sudden drop of water can cause significant damage or crash a light aircraft, endangering the people inside).

And in a fire zone, the airspace is restricted. It doesn't matter if the drone was flying before the fire - once the fire starts up, the area is immediately restricted airspace. I had to fly around wildfire restricted zones which happened to encroach in the approach path of an airport - it doesn't matter - you have to divert around the zone. ATC helps by keeping you away, but you're expected to know about the airspace restrictions.

Comment: Re:Confirmed... I've been hiring. (Score 1) 178 178

Pay more for the background check, apparently. They shouldn't take a long time, especially since they're mostly worthless.

No, paying more doesn't help.

I know of several background check companies. One of them checks everything in your resume - they verify that yes, you attended College U. between those dates you claimed, and that yes, you were in the right department (that information's mostly public). They even go and verify your past employers. When you hire people from other countries, it takes even longer (the larger companies have scouts in other countries).

Then there are ones that check your references, and they have to give a couple of weeks for responses as well. I got fed up doing so many of those I just answer basic questions so it takes no longer than 2 minutes. Because the only information they need is the start date and end date. I'm not going to divulge salary information to a third party, nor am I going to offer opinions or judgements. The last two require ME to do work, and sorry, you didn't pay me to answer your questions.

And what's with them doing it in the most obnoxious way possible? I get an email with a word document or HTML file, and they want me to FAX IT BACK?! I didn't bother with the ones who couldn't even be courteous enough to give me a toll free number.

Perhaps those background check companies need to look at themselves first and realize that the people they're checking are busy folks too, and if they want answers, making it as frictionless as possible to answer would go a long way to getting better responses. Hell, mail me a letter, enclose a $5 gift card, and I'll be more than happy to spend 10 minutes doing your thing. And if you're doing that, SASE please, so all I have to do is drop it in the mailbox.

Show you did some effort (even if it was Bob in the mailroom whose job is to take a printout of your forms, stuff in a gift card and a return envelope into a bigger envelope, and drop it in the mailbox).

Comment: Re:Yeah, sure, Google. (Score 1) 44 44

by tlhIngan (#49995595) Attached to: Google Tests Code Repository Service

I still wonder how could Google access these files, if CRC does not allow this.

The same way other companies like "expert sex change" (.com, if you must) used to show up in the rankings, but if you go there, you see paywall after paywall.

Basically the sites look for the Googlebot user-agent and adjust their results slightly - by exposing the entire content of the page. So all of it is nicely indexed by Google, and when you search, they show up. But the answer (which Google got to see) is hidden away through logins because you're not Google.

You used to be able to see it through the cache links, and I think Google is actually cracking down on people who try to SEO by targeting the bot (you don't see expert sex change on the list anymore).

But sites like CRC did the same - if you were Google, you got more access. You might want to try browsing the web as Googlebot...

The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination -- but the combination is locked up in the safe. -- Peter DeVries