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Comment: Re:Michael Lewis's Vanity Fair article (Score 4, Informative) 37 37

Worthless if you are trying to build your own HFT system perhaps. But not so worthless if you can reverse engineer critical parts of the code and demonstrate that its purpose is to front-run other people's trades rather than just being really fast. If you can show this, you can make a very good living testfying in civil court cases on behalf of clients that got screwed by Goldman Sachs.

That only works for clients of Goldman Sachs. It doesn't apply to the stock market in general. Because HFT is regular trading - by the time you are notified of the trade, it's already happened.

You don't need HFT to front-run a trade - if a client says they want to buy one hundred shares of XYZ Inc., you as the brokerage could front-run that yourself. You always could, and it doesn't take a computer to do that.

HFT just trades really fast. Once a trade takes place, it's broadcast to everyone who adds that trade to the algorithm. But once you hear about a trade, it's happened. The only way to "see into the future" is inquire into the bids and asks queue which will show you the most a buyer is willing to pay (and the amount they want to buy), and the lowest a seller will sell for (and the amount they want to sell). This spread is where everything happens. In an ideal world, if you want to sell stock, there will be a willing buyer at the price you want, and vice-versa, but if the bid-ask spread is high, then your stock is a lot less liquid - either you have to dump it because the bids are low, or you have to overpay because the asks are high. (Remember, you can't just sell stock - you only put it up for sale. The trade happens when buyers and sellers come together and agree - i.e., the buyer is wiling to pay the seller's price, and the seller is willing to accept the buyer's price).

Now there are isolated incidents where trading centers get confused and you get arbitrage happening, but that's a normal behavior as well - surely you must've thought about buying up a bunch of product that doesn't sell in your area, then reselling it where it's constantly sold out.

So many people don't realize how the stock market works, which is a shame, because the stock market is just like any other market or store. Just because you "sell" something doesn't mean it'll sell - all you did was put it up for sale. You can ask anything, but it's up to the buyer or seller to accept.

All markets work the same way - even eBay. Putting something up there doesn't guarantee a sale if the buyers feel the price is too high. Even "sniping" isn't a bad action - it's just putting a bid close to the end time of an auction to try to get the item at a price close to its current bid. But if someone put in a bigger bid earlier, that prevails.

In fact, there's a very accessible "stock market" that with some patience, you can earn a few bucks without any investment. Go get a Steam account, and wait for a sale, and do whatever you can to get cards. Then sell those cards In the marketplace. The marketplace works just like a stock market complete with bids and asks, and the Valve trading server will perform the sales as buyers and sellers agree on a price. You can see trendlines, volume, etc., and learn a lot. And it won't cost you anything - you can easily make $2-5 this way, which isn't a bad way to go for an education in how markets work.

You can experiment as well - sell too low and the trade happens immediately because you'll have buyers. You can be a buyer and put in a bid and see how long the bid takes to be fulfilled.

Comment: Re:it could... (Score 1) 125 125

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't that much reduction be fairly pointless? Wouldn't you basically have to make it out of unobtainium (the high-torque parts, anyway... most of it, that is) in order to do useful work with it?

I think the point is it's a gearbox that's quite small for its reduction ratio. And to make it that small requires basically being unable to assemble it in the traditional fashion because there's a lot of gears that going about inside one another.

To assemble a gearbox with that kind of reduction ratio with even the smallest parts the traditional way would make it quite big, short of using extremely small precision gears like that in a mechanical watch.

Comment: Re:Democracy (Score 1) 407 407

In other words, it sounds like the Greek government is living in a fantasy where everybody else pays for their society.

This sounds like the USA, where all the world economy is sustaining the dollar's value.

Except the USA isn't bankrupt, and there's plenty of people who don't mind investing in the US. Sure the country may be spending more than it gets through taxation, but everyone feels that the US fundamentals are good, and there are valuable assets in the country. And in general, the US economy is generally good.

Greece, well, other than tourism and exports, doesn't have much. Their economic fundamentals are far weaker, and the only reason people were investing in Greece was to prevent their economy from collapsing. Unfortunately, Greece's economy is basically dead with very little economic output (mainly tourism, but even tourism is suffering because tourists need to bring cash, not credit or debit).

By the time the US gets to the point where Greece is, the world has far bigger problems as in everyone else has screwed up quite badly.

Comment: Re:Because...it's the LAW! (Score 1) 396 396

All Constitutional issues aside (Free Speech, Prior Restraint, etc.) They can't keep details of their spying program out of the news. They expect to prevent people from exchanging these documents?

Actually, ITAR is a brilliant solution.

Because no, they don't expect you to not post the information. Because you can - as long as it's within the US or to people in ITAR-approved countries.

It's just like the "strong encryption" thing of two decades ago. You were free to distribute software containing strong encryption, but only to ITAR countries.

And export of such content was basically a criminal act.

So yes, you can post your 3D gun plans, but you need to verify the user is in an ITAR approved country lest you be charged with export of munitions.

Comment: Re:Links to the actual study? (Score 1) 292 292

The study is only available on HD DVD.

You jest, but the real truth has shown what really decided the HD format wars - money. And lots of it. The better part of a billion dollars paid out by Sony to the studio.

Because consumer acceptance of HD-DVD was quite strong - it was anywhere from 10:1 HD-DVD to Blu-Ray to 2:1 at the lower end.

In the end, what really happened was Sony was getting quite worried because Blu-Ray was performing poorly. So poorly a lot of studios were actually thinking of switching away. Warner was telling the HD-DVD camp if they could get another studio to switch, they will switch. HD-DVD knew Fox was going to switch, so that would cause Warner to switch exclusively to HD-DVD as well.

A week before Fox was to make the switch official, they canned the deal - it was later revealed Fox was paid $120M to stay Blu. Warner was also paid $500M to stay Blu.

So yeah, Sony was pretty desperate and threw a lot of money around.

Comment: Re:People predicting earthquakes? (Score 1) 29 29

How do they know what is significant? I assume that after earthquakes in the past some zoo employee reported that he/she saw the animals behaving strangely but didn't realize they were trying to tell him an earthquake was imminent. This in the country that uses rhinoceros horns and bear gall bladders as aphrodisiacs.

Well, that's why you do ... research!

The hypothesis is "animals can predict earthquakes and we can detect it because they behaved 'funny'". Well, we need to find out what 'funny' is. So you're going to have to do a lot of post-earthquake interviewing with the animal handlers to see what they report. And you're going to have to do observations of animals as well.

This is going to basically amount to a TON of data collection and observation, and we won't know until an earthquake happened. And we'll have to observe a lot of animals - both of the same species, and of different species to see if the behavior transfers.

Once you narrow down "funny behavior" then you can do research with large numbers of animals to see if they all exhibit the same behavior, if the behavior is accurate, if it's statistically significant, etc.

The short answer is - we don't know, which is why we're doing research. But the sheer scale of the exercise (and the general lack of earthquakes on demand) may mean the study goes on for decades.

Comment: Re:When will they learn (Score 1) 92 92

I carry extra batteries as well. Unfortunately the market is full of people who will argue to the death that internal batteries are OK, and thus the smartphones that have changeable batteries are dwindling.

Well, unless you have an external method of charging those batteries, extra batteries are a huge PITA. Now, some phones DO have extra docks and such available so you can charge batteries outside the phone, but the vast majority do not.

The problem is, the user switches batteries, and goes home, puts the phone on charge. Now what? Most users don't have the discipline to wait for the first battery to charge, then swap the batteries again so it charges the dead one. So now the user is carrying spare batteries, one of which is dead.

Back in the old days, chargers did come with spare areas for charging extra batteries - you slip the spare into the spot in the charging cradle and it charged both automatically.

So for the vast majority of users, an external pack (which is far easier to keep charged since they either use an existing micro USB charger, or have their own charger, or even support tandem (charger to battery pack to phone) charging). is way more convenient and less "time to swap batteries".

Comment: Re:Duh (Score 1) 456 456

and flexible swapfile (linux's swap partition is bonkers).

Uh, you could use a swap file with Linux for many versions now. I know I had it running on a Linux machine way back in 1997. I can't remember why we did it (I think the hard drive with the swap partition died and we needed the machine back up for other services), but it was documented including all the steps from using dd to create the swapfile (it needed a pre-allocated file), to mkswap and then swapon.

In fact, the mkswap man page tells you how to make a swapfile. And I know that man page was virtually identical back in 1997.

Comment: Re:Austerity fails again (Score 3, Informative) 1264 1264

You'll need to do some googling, I can't teach a full econ class here. But the TL;DR version is that every country that tried austerity has recovered more slowly than every country that didn't. That and the entire justification for austerity was in that one spreadsheet that turned out to have a glaring error.

While true, you have to remember that the creditors were demanding austerity. Basically the creditors were telling Greece that the only way that they'd lend any more money is if Greece cut back its profligate spending.

If you switch to say, the US, creditors know that the US has far greater assets and far more people are interested in investing in the US that creditors don't have as much economic power.

You are correct in that austerity generally screws over the economy - see the Great Depression, and the intense spending and printing money that the US Treasury did helped pull the US economy out far faster. (And thankfully, the right part was in power to do so). However, that's because the US has the ability to borrow money REALLY cheaply because so many creditors want to invest in the US. The US also has a far better credit rating so creditors know they have a good chance of getting their money back.

Greece is different. People aren't so willing to invest. Pretty much all the institutional investors aren't giving Greece money. So the only reason Greece is getting any money is because the EU is being forced to prop them up, with little to no expectation of getting repaid. And they're demanding the government cut back because the government is spending more money than the economic activity they can generate.

In a more microeconomic sense, it's like spending more money than you earn. You'll eat through your savings, and many creditors will lend you cheap money at first. But continue on and if they see your debt approach your assets, they'll stop lending to you. You can still borrow, but now you're in the predatory lender category where you're basically renting to own at hugely inflated priced. You know, where you spend $50/month to rent a $500 PC for a couple of years before you own it. And miss a payment and it's repo time and you lose all your "equity".

The US is in the former category - they're basically balancing the books and have lots of assets. Greece is in the latter. And with the chaos caused by the past few weeks, they've effectively said "screw you" and the economy is in shambles. The only sector that still has promise is tourism, and even now tourists are seeing problems. Paying for stuff electronically may or may not be successful (because there's a run on the banks, withdrawals and transfers are limited, and Greeks need cash, because it's very hard to convert a card payment to cash).

Comment: Re:Its obvious (Score 1) 92 92

Its shark week

In Canada, we have a daily (normally M-F) newsmagazine show called Daily Planet and for Shark Week (which does start today, Sunday, so they did a special episode) they're doing shark themed segments.

The first segment is interestingly all about this research.

(Coincidentally I turned on Daily Planet just before visiting /.).

Comment: Re:Why can't this be the law everywhere? (Score 1) 270 270

The "one phone call" is a myth made up by Hollywood. Last time I was arrested, there were several phones in the holding cell, and I was there for four hours. I could make as many phone calls as I wanted, to anyone, either local or collect.

I don't think it was a myth so much back in the day - the supreme courts ruled that if you were arrested, you have a right to contact someone. I.e., the police could not arrest you, then toss you in jail without you being able to talk to someone who can try to do something about it.

Perhaps it's more apt to the smaller communities, you know, the ones where the cops are just as crooked and looking to arrest you for any reason whatsoever. The one phone call came into play saying you were at least to have the right to contact someone - otherwise the police would just lock you up for a month, then set you free.

In most "normal" areas, yes, the phone is freely available for use because the last thing anyone wants is for you to be let go because you did not have sufficient time to contact someone, especially an attorney.

So today it's more likely a myth, but back maybe 50 years ago, it probably wasn't. Plus probably a bunch of court precedent that basically said under what conditions that "one call" really meant (is it one call, and if you reach a busy signal, no answer or an answering machine and that's it?). Just safer to let them have use of the phone as much as possible so no lawyer can get the guy off because he was denied sufficient phone access.

Comment: Re:Umm, who are these guys? (Score 1) 92 92

This product doesn't appear to be outside of the realm of the possible; bulk metallic glasses are a real thing (and apparently not excessively expensive for consumer electronics, a number of Sandisk's adequate-but-cheap-and-wholly-unexciting MP3 players used them as chassis materials); and the rest of the specs are on the high side; but available.

However, there appears to be almost nothing about this 'Turing Robotic Industries' except a couple of sites with the same 3d renders and vague puffery. Is 'cryptic' just what all the cool kids are doing these days, or is this the ever delightful scent of vaporware?

I suspect these guys may be an industrial manufacturer or some form or other, where a webpage is basically whoever can host web pages for free and who use gmail for email.

Given Apple just renewed their exclusivity to use Liquid Metal technology (in consumer electronics), someone's going to be in a world of hurt.

Could be these guys may be forced to license through Apple, Apple may demand damages from Liquid Metal for allowing this to happen, or Liquid Metal might terminate the contract with these guys.

Might want to hold off on the pre-orders...

Comment: Re:Why release it? (Score 2) 94 94

They probably just ran into a million issues on OS X and its implementation of OpenGL and Apple doesn't give a shit.

I also never heard of DX11 on OS X. I imagine he must be referring to Bootcamp, although I don't know the state of Apple's drivers for bootcamp.

I guess they could have just not released the game in the first place instead of pulling it later...

No, they basically recompiled their app using a Windows API library.

There are lots of Windows API libraries - like WineLib - where you take your Windows source code, compile against the library and you have a Mac/Linux/Etc. app.

Square used Cider, which is an older port of WINE (before WINE switched licenses because TransGaming was effectively selling WINE without contributing back)

And no, there is no "DirectX for OS X". There's a DirectX API provided by the library that runs on top of OpenGL. Basically they're hoping the next release of Cider will have improvements in the Windows API library.

But it still will run like crap. Because it's a Windows game that runs on a Windows API emulation layer that runs on top of OS X. So of course, when you add in the library, it's no wonder performance on OS X sucks - OS X is running a virtual Windows API layer.

The reverse is also true - iTunes/QuickTime are notorious offenders in the "runs like crap" category, because they do the same thing - Apple has an OS X API layer that runs on Windows, and it's that OS layer that iTunes runs on.

Comment: Re:Conflict of Interest (Score 1) 311 311

It's simple. As long as a significant portion of Apple's revenue comes from having a closed, "walled-garden" ecosystem, Apple will be disinclined to participate anything that might result in the demise of that ecosystem. After all, it's hard to be in the same boat as everyone else supporting WebAssembly etc., when that same technology will ultimately result in the death of on-platform app stores.

Apple's walled garden and iTunes revenue pales in comparison to their iPod revenue, which has been declining for 10 years straight. (It's roughly on order of a billion dollars). Just to compare, Macs account for several tens of billions of dollars. And iPhones/iPads account for hundred billion.

Apple's take from iTunes is small and not essential. Unlike Amazon whose business model IS to sell content, Apple's model is to provide content, to sell hardware.

Oh yeah, iTunes content sales include music and movies as well. (Apple does not break it out any finer grained than that).

Anything Apple does is to sell hardware - that's their main revenue generator. Everything else is just icing. Especially to encourage sales of new hardware.

Safari upgrades don't sell hardware.

Comment: Re:E-book prices (Score 1) 97 97

You know, I think since this court case, eBook prices have actually gone up. I mean, when we actually had Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iBookstore competing, you could get books for $10. Now that iBookstore was colluding and banished as a competitor, damn has prices risen.

Yeah, Apple sucks, blah blah blah, but now we have less competition and Amazon's dictating the pricing rules. I don't think the ebook market is as healthy as it was back then, nor as competitive... especially now with Barnes and Noble on life-support, iBookstore gone, it's just Amazon...

It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.