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Submission + - High Frequency Trading: Far Worse then you Thought (economicpopulist.org)

Required Snark writes: High Frequency Trading is a software engineering disaster, according to a study by the Chicago Federal Reserve. As reported at The Economic Populist, problems include:

Industry and regulatory groups have articulated best practices related to risk controls, but many firms fail to implement all the recommendations or rely on other firms in the trade cycle to catch an out-of-control algorithm or erroneous trade. In part, this is because applying risk controls before the start of a trade can slow down an order, and high-speed trading firms are often under enormous pressure to route their orders to the exchange quickly so as to capture a trade at the desired price.

Another area of concern is that some firms do not have stringent processes for the development, testing, and deployment of code used in their trading algorithms. For example, a few trading firms interviewed said they deploy new trading strategies quickly by tweaking old code and placing it into production in a matter of minutes.

Chicago Fed staff also found that out-of-control algorithms were more common than anticipated prior to the study and that there were no clear patterns as to their cause. Two of the four clearing BDs/FCMs, two-thirds of proprietary trading firms, and every exchange interviewed had experienced one or more errant algorithms.

To sum things up, the well being of the entire world economy is now in the hands of greedy, incompetent corrupt insiders who will do anything to achieve a profit. The regulators are all off on a permanent vacation. (The Federal Reserve does not regulate HFT.) What could possibly go wrong?

Piracy

Submission + - Heavy metal band does not support label's decision to prosecute pirates (icedearth.com)

hessian writes: "“It has come to my attention that Century Media is suing fans over illegal downloads of (among others) our latest album ‘Dystopia’. I felt it was important to clarify that we had no knowledge of this motion and were, sadly, not asked permission.

  We all know the music industry is changing. We have been adapting to this model by embracing legal streaming services such as Spotify and by bringing our music to places we have never played before by touring our proverbial asses off.

  As much as we respect that the labels are having a harder time selling music, we feel this is a misguided effort and want to make sure our fans know we would have not given our consent would we have been asked.”"

Patents

Submission + - Apple patents idea of using similar batteries in different things (overclock.net)

walterbyrd writes: "Here's an absolutely brilliant idea from Apple: imagine if you had a bunch of different gadgets, and imagine if they could all somehow be powered by batteries that were rechargeable and all interchangeable with one another. How awesome would that be? Super awesome! If only we'd thought of it a long time ago."

Comment Start by dropping back to dialup. (Score 2) 462

I've been through this, a few years back when our DSL took a hit and I had to keep our connectivity up anyway.

Living with a slow 56k modem link between your LAN and the Internet will:

- give you a reversible foretaste of what you're planning. Don't like dialup? You'll hate cold-turkey so much that you might not be at all productive.

- highlight your Internet time-waster habits, because the waits for those pages to load will become obvious. This is called "rubbing your nose in it". For anything that's not essential, you *will* find better things to do, or more efficient variants on the familiar. Setting your mail-lists to daily-digest, for instance.

- make it obvious what Internet resources you'll have difficulty doing without. Keep a log of the ones you keep going back to anyway: they're your reasons not to give it all up.

- change some of your Internet habits right there, because there is no instant gratification, instead you have to wait for everything to finishing downloading. You can dovetail some tasks into those waits, such as, getting a cup of coffee while Google News loads, or doing the laundry while waiting for all the new-format Slashdot comments to be visible, or going shopping while a YouTube video is being sucked in for local replay. You'll get impatient and get off your ass just to keep some momentum going because the Internet isn't doing it for you anymore.

You'll get used to prefetching bulky things you really want on hand, and using LAN storage to make it available for browsing. wget will get a lot of scripted use, particularly the "wget -c" option, because it can take most of week to get a CD ISO in. You'll learn to use local tooling to replace online stuff that isn't always there. Early on, for example, I set up a local wiki and a web calendar, to be visible to every machine on the LAN. Then I wrote CGI tooling to fill in my specific blanks. YMMV.

You will likely do a lot of scripting to automate fetching in things you really want or really need, and transferring out your responses. A cron'd mail-check every 5 minutes will keep up a dialup link that idles-out in 15 minutes. This might include bringing the link up in the wee hours to do downloads when nobody's likely to phone, and dropping it again, ready or not, when the phone line needs to have a phone ready for use.

Dialup will have you looking at your computer less as a source of consumed entertainment and more as a creative workspace. If that's what you're after, dropping to 56k might be enough.

   

Comment Re:Modern browser on retro OS? (Score 1) 211

The most recent Firefox you can use day to day on win98se is 2.0.0.19. Firefox 2.0.0.20 will install and run, but, in at least one ancient install I have to pamper, it won't run the next time you boot the machine without removal and reinstallation; you only get one good run per install (so make it good).

Comment Re:This is slashdot? (Score 1) 2254

Worse, it's New!Yahoo. Forced rollout of an Awkward New!Ponies look, theme-above-thought, CSS-uber-alles which I KNOW wasn't retro-tested because the topic bullet-list insists on masking the upper-left even of this TEXTAREA (Yeah, this is FF2, which is what this distro supports -- can't imagine how broken earlier browsers look here)... I know I'm pissing-and-moaning here, but seriously, this stuff's broken. I can't wait til http://www.alterslash.org/ has caught up with the changes so I can go back to reading Slashdot, because I sure can't here.

Firefox

Submission + - An FBI-Mozilla Connection? (indybay.org) 1

AHuxley writes: Is a former Animal Liberation Front prisoner and FBI informant now working for Mozilla?
The indybay.org article has a link to grand jury testimony and notes the exchange for a reduced sentence.

Comment Watch your lighting angles. (Score 1) 421

"Glass cubicle walls will cut down on noise like a cubicle would, but does not give as much of the feeling of being in a box as standard cubicles. They allow unobstructed view of the video-wall and you can write on them with grease pens."

They also allow an unobstructed view of things you really don't want to stare at such as bright lights.

My experience is from the dev cubicle floor, not a NOC, but it applies at least as much to monitoring a screen or screens as to staring through the screen into the code-realm. Bad placement plus a low ceiling meant that I had a bright fluorescent fixture showing just above the cubicle corner. I tried sunglasses, moving the monitor, etc. and ended up roofing that corner of the cube with cardboard, just so I didn't have that light stabbing my eye while I was trying to dive into my code. Glass cubes will exacerbate this into a no-escape situation. Nobody's going to want to keep staring at a view which is actually painful.

Even if you don't go with glass, before you sign off on that build, have a short person and a tall person test out every station for glare within scope of view. Be prepared to hood some of those lights to keep them out of people's eyes.

Comment Same MCU, perhaps? (Score 1) 930

Someone with a schematic of the car should have a look to see how those signals are generated and routed. If they go through the same microcontroller...

In my Chrysler-made minivan, I've learned that headlights have to be turned off BEFORE the engine is stopped. If I switch the lights off first (two steps on a rotary knob), things work fine no matter how fast I twist that knob; both switch-events are caught.

If I turn the key first, though, turning off the engine before shutting off the headlights, both headlight-switch events will be missed by whatever MCU drives the headlight relays. The lights are on, the door is open, the engine is off, but I get no chimed 'lights left on' alert unless I put that switch through another full-on-full-off cycle to resync the micro with the physical state of things.
My guess is that the same MCU is responsible for a number of tightly timed engine-shutdown sequence events during which it has to mask off switch interrupts, which is lousy embedded design on Chrysler's part.

Nothing says that the same crappiness of design isn't evident in Toyota's machines, in which case the timing of those brake lights coming on means exactly nothing: that pedal might have been pressed for some seconds before the MCU got around to noticing.

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